In what may have seemed like a reassuring statement to a European audience, President Barack Obama said he’s more worried about “the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan” than the threat to national security posed by Russia.
“Russia’s actions are a problem,” Obama said in The Hague, Netherlands. "They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”
The White House assured the public that Obama was not talking about an imminent terror threat to New York City, according to the New York Daily News.
“The president was not discussing intelligence when he said, ‘I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan,’” said White House National Security Staff spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
“For years, the NYPD has recognized the fact that Manhattan is considered a potential terror target,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Davis. "We continue to maintain an appropriate level of security according to ongoing threat assessments. There are currently no known threats of this nature against the city."
The president was responding to a question about whether Russia's taking over Crimea proved Republican Mitt Romney was right in 2012 when he called Moscow America’s top geopolitical foe.
"There's no question but that the president's naiveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia's intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face," Romney said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"And, unfortunately,” Romney continued, “not having anticipated Russia's intentions, the president wasn't able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you're seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you're seeing in Syria."