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U.S. Heightens Alert, Asks for Guard Call-Ups

The U.S. government raised its terrorist threat level to orange, or “high risk,” last night even as President Bush was delivering his speech on Iraq. Top federal officials, meanwhile, asked many of the 50 states to deploy the National Guard or state police to protect sensitive sites across the nation from possible attack. While National Guard troops have periodically been assigned to patrol some airports and other facilities since Sept. 11, 2001, this is the first request for deployment of the units across such wide swaths of the country. They or state police contingents are expected to be assigned to patrol some railroads, bridges, chemical plants, nuclear facilities and other key infrastructure sites, officials said. “The intelligence community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S. and coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S.-led military campaign against Saddam Hussein,” Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a statement released last night. “A large volume of reporting across a range of sources, some of which are highly reliable, indicates that al Qaeda probably would attempt to launch terrorist attacks against U.S. interests claiming they were defending Muslims or the ‘Iraqi people’ rather than Saddam Hussein’s regime.” Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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