U.S. says no precise threat to homeland from Islamic State; Iraq operation costing $7.5 million/day

(Reuters) – The United States is not aware of any specific threat to the U.S. homeland from Islamic State militants, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday after Britain raised its international terrorism threat level.

Islamic State militants and their supporters, however, “have demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. He noted that DHS took steps over the summer to strengthen security at overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.

Johnson said he has spoken to UK Home Secretary Theresa May about Britain’s decision to raise its terrorism alert to the second-highest level. It is the first time since mid-2011 that Britain has been placed on this high of an alert level…

Related:Obama faces a tough sell in Congress for Islamic State strategy: (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to consult Congress about any expanded military action against Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria, but support from the divided legislature is unlikely to come quickly – if at all.

Republicans are generally reluctant to vote for Obama’s policy initiatives. And many of the president’s fellow Democrats are deeply wary of any more foreign military involvement after over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If Congress were to be asked to approve extended military action or funding, it would probably be at a politically sensitive time just weeks before the Nov. 4 congressional elections in which Republicans hope to gain seats.

If the administration decides it needs additional money for expanded operations against the Islamic State, it will need to secure quick action in Congress or wait until after the elections…

Pentagon says Iraq operations costing on average $7.5 million per day: (Reuters) – U.S. military operations against Islamic State in Iraq have cost an average of $7.5 million per day since they began in mid-June, the Pentagon said on Friday, a figure that means the department has spent more than $500 million on the conflict.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told a briefing the expense of U.S. operations against Islamic State in Iraq had varied since U.S. forces became involved on June 16 but on average “it’s costing us about $7.5 million per day.”

“As our op (operational) tempo and as our activities have intensified, so, too, has the cost,” Kirby said, noting that the figures were based on a snapshot of expenses between June 16 and Aug. 26.

He did not offer an estimate of the Pentagon’s total costs so far, but an average cost of $7.5 million per day for 71 days would mean the department has spent roughly $532 million…

Share