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U.S. Seen Ready for Terror Attacks, Measures Begun

The U.S. government said on Tuesday it was ready for possible terror attacks in light of the looming war with Iraq, and stricter measures were already in place with the National Guard deployed around the nation to help protect infrastructure and symbolic targets. A day after putting the nation on the second-highest level of terror alert, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge detailed the heightened security steps adopted as part of “Operation Liberty Shield” and defended a decision to temporarily detain some asylum seekers. Although intelligence indicated al Qaeda and those sympathetic to it remained the principal threat to the country, Ridge said anyone could take advantage of the situation. “Iraqi state agents, Iraqi surrogate groups, other regional extremist organizations and ad hoc groups or disgruntled individuals may use this time period to conduct terrorist attacks against the United States,” he said. On Monday night, Ridge announced the color-coded terror alert level had been raised to “orange,” meaning a “high” risk of attack, minutes after President Bush told Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to go into exile or face war. Full Story

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