U.s. Raises Terrorism Threat Level

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U.s. Raises Terrorism Threat Level

Post by spatulaoflove » Fri Feb 07, 2003 3:10 pm

U.S. raises terrorism threat level

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal government on Friday raised the national terrorism threat level to "orange," indicating a "high risk of terrorist attacks."

The move is only the second time since the September 11 terror attacks that the level has risen above "yellow," or elevated risk.

Attorney General John Ashcroft, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and FBI Director Robert Mueller made the announcement at a Washington news conference.

Ridge outlined how the public might be affected by the heightened security level.

"...increased security personnel at points of entry," Ridge said. "In fact, limited points of entry and exit, enhanced identification checks, restrictions to travel around federal facilities and airports ... will be implemented."

Ashcroft described the threat. "Recent intelligence reports suggests that al Qaeda leaders have emphasized planning for attacks on apartment buildings, hotels and other soft or lightly secured targets in the United States," he said.

In addition, the heads of the nation's military branches on Friday were considering raising security levels at bases across the country.

"There is a large spike in threat reporting that shows al Qaeda cells are possibly close to attacks," a senior military official told CNN.

Also, state security officials said security will be increased at major bridges and tunnels. The officials said they would be calling authorities in the private sector and asking them to heighten security at key pieces of infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, railroad lines, and ports.

State Department officials told CNN that arrests of suspected terrorists in Britain with the chemical agent ricin, in France with cyanide compounds and in Spain with other chemicals prompted the caution.

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