RealNews

Threat level lowered to yellow

The Bush administration lowered the nation’s terrorism threat level Thursday, indicating that officials no longer believe there is an imminent threat of attack. But at the same time, the FBI said it remains very concerned about possible terrorist suicide bombings in the USA. The administration’s decision to lower the threat level from ”high,” or orange, the second-highest of five levels, to ”significant,” or yellow, came 20 days after officials issued dramatic warnings about the possibility of biological, chemical or radiological attacks and urged all Americans to prepare. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the decision to lower the alert was based in part on passage of the hajj, a Muslim religious period that ended in mid-February. It followed a ”careful review” of how specific intelligence that led to the heightened alert ”evolved and progressed over the past three weeks, as well as counterterrorism actions.” ”The lowering of the threat level is not a signal to government, law enforcement or citizens that the danger of a terrorist attack is passed,” they said in a statement. A ”high” alert level leads to increased security steps, such as more air marshals on flights, limited access to government and office buildings and more thorough checks at borders. The alert level has been increased twice from ”significant” to ”high” when officials believed an attack could be imminent. It has always been regarded as a short-term measure, because governments and private industries could not afford such stepped-up security indefinitely. Full Story

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