RealNews

Threat 'Matrix' Guides Terrorism Alerts

The decision to put the country on high alert for a terrorist attack was based largely on a top-secret daily report produced by the FBI and CIA that details every sign of a threat, from intercepted e-mails to satellite photos to clandestine whispers of spies. Running up to 30 pages, this threat “matrix” has become part of President Bush’s morning routine in the fight against terror. Each day Bush is at the White House, Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director George Tenet brief the president in the Oval Office about threats facing the United States at home and abroad. The crux of their briefings is the document formally titled “Terrorist Threats to U.S. Interests Worldwide,” or more informally, the “Daily Threat Matrix.” The high level of threat “chatter” collected worldwide and detailed in the Matrix was a key to the Bush administration’s decision Tuesday to raise the terror threat level from elevated (yellow) to high (orange). The other main consideration was recent deadly bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco that officials say point to a resurgence of activity by the al-Qaida network. Full Story

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