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Old 12-21-2003, 05:03 PM   #1
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Increased terror threat

Any thoughts on this?

Nation's Threat Level Rising to Orange
12/21/03
Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge speaks at a threat level press conference in Washington Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003. The U.S. government on Sunday raised the national threat level to orange, the second-highest, saying attacks were possible during the holidays and that threat indicators are ``perhaps greater now than at any point'' since Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Lauren Burke)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government on Sunday raised the national threat level to orange, indicating a high risk of terrorist attack, and said threat indicators are "perhaps greater now than at any point" since Sept. 11, 2001, with strikes possible during the holidays.

Americans were promised "extensive and considerable protections" around the country and told to stick to their travel plans despite intelligence indicating the al-Qaida terrorist network is seeking again to use planes as weapons and exploit suspected weakness in U.S. aviation security.

Some of the intelligence information gathered in the past few days suggests that "extremists abroad" are anticipating attacks that will rival or exceed the scope of those of Sept. 11, Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said.

He also said officials did not see a connection between last weekend's capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the heightened security alert.

The threat information comes from multiple, credible sources but officials are unaware of a specific target or means of attack, added a senior law enforcement official.

Some of the intercepted communications and other intelligence mentions New York, Washington and unspecified cities on the West Coast, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Authorities also are concerned about dams, bridges, nuclear plants, chemical facilities and other public works.

Thousands of state and local law enforcement agencies have received an FBI advisory urging special notice of sites that could be a conceivable target and potential security upgrades, the official said.

In addition, Ridge has contacted his counterparts in Canada and Mexico about increasing border security.

At a hastily arranged news conference at department headquarters, Ridge said credible intelligence sources "suggest the possibility of attacks against the homeland around the holiday season and beyond."

"The strategic indicators, including al-Qaida's continued desire to carry out attacks against our homeland, are perhaps greater now than at any point since Sept. 11," he said.

The alert level had stood at yellow, an elevated risk and in the middle of the five-color scale, since May.

The White House declined comment, referring all questions to Ridge's department.

Ridge said the government acted after U.S. intelligence agencies "received a substantial increase in the volume of threat-related intelligence reports."

"Recent reporting reiterates that al-Qaida continues to consider using aircraft as a weapon. They are evaluating procedures both here and abroad to find gaps in our security posture that can be exploited," Ridge said.

But he added that U.S. aviation "is far more secure" than ever.

As a result of the change in threat level, all federal departments and agencies were putting action plans in place and stepping up security at airports, border crossing and ports, Ridge said.

"Extensive and considerable protections have been or soon will be in place all across the country," Ridge said.

"Your government will stand at the ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to stop terrorism during the holiday season and beyond."

The secretary sought to reassure Americans about the warning, urging them not to disrupt holiday plans and to use common sense and report suspicious items and to prepare or review personal emergency plans.

"We have not raised the threat level in this country for six months, but we have raised it before. And as before, Americans can be assured that we know what we must do and we are doing it," Ridge said.

Federal aviation security officials were in contact Sunday with general aviation officials, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which represents 400,000, or two-thirds of all pilots in the United States.

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

On Friday, the Arabic television network Al-Jazeera aired a new statement from Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden's chief deputy. 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.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier Sunday that officials were trying to determine whether the increased material detected was an aberration or something more serious.

"There is no doubt, from all the intelligence we pick up from al-Qaida, that they want to do away with our way of life," he told "Fox News Sunday" after his return from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Four times before had the threat level risen to orange. Each change sets 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.

___

Associated Press writer Curt Anderson and John J. Lumpkin contributed to this report.




Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Old 12-21-2003, 09:44 PM   #2
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Nothin like good 'ol fox news to keep the american public paranoid during the holiday season.
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Old 12-21-2003, 09:47 PM   #3
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actually , i thought it is always orange
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Old 12-21-2003, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by WinnieThePoo
actually , i thought it is always orange
No, it's been usually at the next level, yellow. The two lowest are blue and green, and they haven't been used since the system was implemented in early 2002. It's been elevated to orange four times, if I'm not mistaken, so this makes the fifth time. It's also never been red, the very highest threat level. Speaking of Fox, they scared the hell out of me a few days into the war. I was (foolishly) watching something on their network, and the terror alert of orange was shown. Damn if they didn't show such an intense orange it looked red! I actually posted notes on the Internet claiming that they'd elevated the threat level to red! (This included FYM) Imagine my embarrassment when I was told the threat level was still orange. Damn Fox!!
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Old 12-21-2003, 11:02 PM   #5
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best of luck america..

i know this is never end...not in the next 15-20 years
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Old 12-21-2003, 11:48 PM   #6
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Verte if I remember right you weren't the only one who was questioning what colour that was.
If the alert was now red, I'd worry.
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Old 12-22-2003, 08:56 AM   #7
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my boyfriend's flying this week to see me. as if i needed more reason to hold my breath.
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Old 12-22-2003, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Verte if I remember right you weren't the only one who was questioning what colour that was.
If the alert was now red, I'd worry.
We actually had a thread about the alleged "red" alert, I think. I was nervous because there was a war going on anyway, not a tranquilizing influence, and I freaked out when I saw the, uh, bright orange.
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Old 12-22-2003, 10:50 AM   #9
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The color system, developed after the clamoring for warnings following 9-11, will only cycle between yellow and orange.

Red means the planes are in the air....
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Old 12-22-2003, 11:07 AM   #10
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The color system, developed after the clamoring for warnings following 9-11, will only cycle between yellow and orange.

Red means the planes are in the air....
So the blue and green are there for "academic" reasons? They'll probably have to shut down the terrorist cells, bust bin Laden and his operatives, etc, etc for them to actually use blue or green. I don't see this happening.
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Old 12-22-2003, 12:39 PM   #11
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I think you are on the right track. What must occur before you would declare the threat level at its lowest level?
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Old 12-22-2003, 12:42 PM   #12
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That was to overshadow the news that the Kurds actually captured Sadaam. Personally I think it's BS.

If they were so worried they'd, actually fund Homeland Security instead of playing with peoples fears. All rhetoric - no action.
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Old 12-22-2003, 07:48 PM   #13
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I just hope and pray that nothing happens

I'm not complacent..honestly every day the possibility is on my mind. The raised alert just emphasizes that possibility.

I'm sure your boyfriend will be fine Olive
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Old 12-22-2003, 08:24 PM   #14
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what exactly does fox news and rhetoric have to do with any of this

the level has been raised to orange 4 times (except for in ny, where it's been at a constant level of orange since 9/11/01). in those 4 times there have been no attacks on american soil. so i guess you can see this ine one of two ways... either it's rhetoric and there's some kind of big conspiracy between bush, ridge, bill o'reilly and mel gibson to strike fear into the hearts of americans everywhere... or perhaps just maybe the system is working.

if you don't think they've tried to hit us here in america again in the two years since 9/11, you're nuts. but they haven't. so call it nothing more than drumming up fear and paranoia if you'd like. i'll call it part of a system that so far has worked... and God willing will continue working. stay vigilant, stay safe.
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Old 12-22-2003, 10:12 PM   #15
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how exactly does one stay "vigilant"?
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