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Terror Alert Level Raised


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from CBS news:


Terror Alert Level Raised


WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 2003


(CBS/AP) The government on Sunday raised the national threat level to orange, the second-highest, saying attacks were possible during the holiday season and that threat indicators are ?perhaps greater now than at any point? since Sept. 11, 2001.


?Information indicates that extremists abroad are anticipating near-term attacks that they believe will rival or exceed the scope and impact of those we experienced in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania more than two years ago,? Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a statement released before his news conference on the announcement.


Officials tell CBS News they continue to have concerns about possible suicide attacks involving aircraft - including commercial passenger aircraft.


As of Friday, officials had no intention of raising the level. But in the past 48 hours, they have been able to corroborate further information regarding the possible threat.


The color-coded system was last raised to orange on May 5. Authorities reported receiving general intelligence that pointed to possible terror attacks in the United States related to bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco that killed dozens of people. The threat level was returned to yellow 11 days later.


U.S. officials by the end of last week were telling holiday travelers to be vigilant about the threat of terrorist attacks. The warning was prompted in part by a raised level of ominous intercepted communications that has not quieted for months.


The significance of the sustained level of intelligence ?chatter? ? a shorthand term that describes intercepted communications and other intelligence ? is unclear, the officials said.


Homeland Security officials said they did not expect a change in the threat level unless more specific intelligence was received.


On Friday, the Arabic television network Al-Jazeera aired a new statement from Ayman al-Zawahri, the chief deputy of Osama bin Laden. The CIA said Saturday it believes the tape is authentic.


?We are still chasing the Americans and their allies everywhere, even in their homeland,? according to the voice on the tape.


Some statements from al Qaeda leaders are later regarded as preludes to attacks; others simply propaganda.


Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday morning that officials were trying to determine whether increased terrorist chatter being detected in recent weeks was an aberration or something more serious.


?There is no doubt, from all the intelligence we pick up from al Qaeda, that they want to do away with our way of life,? he said in a broadcast interview.


?And if they could use another catastrophic event, a tragedy like 9-11; if they could do that again, if they could get their hands on weapons of mass destruction and make it 10,000 (deaths), not 3,000, they would do that.?


Myers said he and Ridge were to discuss the threat level ?in the next 24, 48 hours? and raising the level was under active consideration.


?It's Secretary Ridge's business, but the Department of Defense does play a role in supporting federal agencies in this regard, and so we're discussing this right now,? said Myers, who just returned from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.


Much of the threat information suggests attacks directed at U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, officials said last week.


?My guess is the government is taking this very seriously both in Saudi Arabia and here,? Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a broadcast interview shortly before Ridge's announcement.


The State Department last week recommended that its nonessential diplomatic personnel as well as diplomatic families leave the Saudi kingdom.


But U.S. officials also believe there is a domestic threat from al Qaeda operatives in the United States.


The May change in alert status was fourth time it had risen to orange. Each change set off a flurry of increased security measures by cities, states and businesses. The lowest two levels, green and blue, and the highest, red, have not been used since the system was put in place in early 2002.




these things don't seem to do much for me anymore, but for everyone's sake, i hope nothing happens over these next two weeks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

shaking in your sandals isnt a good way of going through life.


Without the threat warning system, the government would get a huge amount of blame placed on them if something did happen.


It's just a way of shifting the blame to Intelligence, and not to the higher-ups.


I don't see anything wrong with the color system, the threat warning, what have you. Seems to me, people are just tryin to find something to complain about. I choose to be indifferent about it. The argument doesn't really tickle my fancy. Maybe it tickles some yall's fancies. I dont know.

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i was on a NY to Cali flight the week before the original terrorism. and honestly i flew within 3 months later. if they are gonna get you so be it. i will not let them win by giving up my rights and privledges.


we can not live in fear its just not worth it.

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well, the color coding system has more significance than just informing the people of terror threats.


the high threat level mandates that additional national and local resources are redirected toward homeland security. that's the primary purpose of this system.


if we have an increased level of credible threats pointing to specific time frame (e.g. new years), i sure as hell would like both the national and local governments putting more resources and manpower toward preventing a terrorist attack. how is this a bad thing?

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