'This Week' Transcript: President Obama

THOMAS: In addition to threats from abroad, those officials have to worry about so-called lone wolves here at home. Extremists radicalized on the Internet, like the Tsarnaev brothers, who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.

So as Fourth of July celebrations near, those intelligence officials will be as intense as ever, even though there's currently no known specific plot.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Pierre joins us now. And Pierre, we also saw yesterday that the Libyan charged with being the mastermind of those Benghazi attacks, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was brought to federal court in Washington, D.C. after two weeks of interrogation on a slow boat from Libya. There are some reports that he's been cooperating with questioners. How much is he cooperating? What are we learning?

THOMAS: George, on this slow boat ride across the Atlantic, Khattala faced two separate sets of interrogation. First, the special team pressed for intelligence about any imminent threats. Then about a week ago, he was read his rights by the FBI, who also pressed him for answers. We're told he cooperated, giving some details, but never admitting guilt.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is a complicated prosecution ahead.

THOMAS: George, he'll be treated like a common thug in civilian court. Prosecutors have to be able to show evidence that ties this guy directly to their case. The pressure is going to be on the Justice Department to prove that case in court. And he faces pressure because he now is looking at the death penalty, he's going to have to roll the dice. He can either go to trial or plead guilty and perhaps save his own life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre, thanks very much.

Let's hear more on that terror threat from the crisis in Iraq. Officials estimate that the ISIS militants have about 2,000 fighters with Western passports that can enter the U.S. without a visa. In my exclusive interview with President Obama, he conceded that the threat they pose is growing.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I think we have been under serious threat my entire presidency. I think we have been under serious threat pre-dating 9/11 from those who embrace this ideology.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're gaining strength, aren't they?

OBAMA: Well, they're gaining strength in some places. We have seen Europeans who are sympathetic to their cause traveling into Syria and now may now travel into Iraq, getting battle-hardened. Then they come back. They've got European passports. They don't need a visa to get into the United States.

Now, we are spending a lot of time, and we have been for years, making sure we are improving intelligence to respond to that. We have to improve our surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence there. Special Forces are going to have a role. And there are going to be times where we take strikes against organizations that could do us harm.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get more on this now from Congressman Peter King from the House Committee on Homeland Security. ABC chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz just back from Iraq. Welcome back.

And Congressman King, let me begin with you. You saw the president right there. Conceded that the threat is growing, what is the biggest danger right now?

REP. PETER KING (R-NY), COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY: The president shouldn’t be conceding it. This is a real, real threat. There’s nothing to concede. We should be very aggressive on this.

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