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From Yellow to Orange: U.S. raises national terror threat level

Joshua Bunton

Joshua Bunton
December 21, 2003

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the national terror threat level from "Yellow to Orange" on December 21, 2003. Secretary Ridge made the announcement during a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Secretary Ridge said, "The U.S. intelligence community has received a substantial increase in the volume of threat-related intelligence reports." Ridge added, "Credible sources suggest the possibility of attacks against the homeland around the holiday season and beyond." Secretary Ridge also stated:

  • Strategic indicators are greater now than at any point since September 11, 2001.

  • Information suggests extremists abroad are anticipating "near term attacks" that will either rival, or exceed, the September 11, 2001 attacks.

  • Specific plans go into place as we speak (during the press conference).

  • Leaders in the private sector that control resources critical to our country will be contacted today and provided specific measures to take to protect resources and the communities in which those resources are located.

  • Awareness and vigilance can help tremendously, so please use your common sense and report suspicious packages, vehicles, or activities to local law enforcement.

Upon delivering his speech, Secretary Ridge answered questions. Secretary Ridge was asked if he could detail the types of chatter he was talking about? Secretary Ridge answered, "We continue to hear, one, the interest in using aircraft as a means of attack; two, there's continued discussion again, these are from credible sources about near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experienced on September 11th.

Secretary Ridge was also asked, "With security already so high at the airports, why is there continued concern about airplanes being used as weapons or bombs being put on them? I mean, I think Americans would think our airports are pretty secure right now."

Ridge answered, "I hope they do, because we think aviation is far, far more secure from the curbside to the cockpit. I mean they are layered, comprehensive, defensive measures baggage screeners, which are now professional. We've armed hundreds; we're going to arm thousands, of pilots. We've got hardened cockpit doors. We've got thousands of federal air marshals."

Since September 11, 2001 the national terror threat level has been raised to "Orange" four times. The Color "Orange" means: "There is a high risk of terrorist attacks."

When code "Orange" is declared, Federal departments and agencies take the following measures:

  • Coordinate necessary security efforts with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies or any National Guard or other appropriate armed forces organizations.

  • Take additional precautions at public events and possibly considering alternative venues or even cancellation.

  • Prepare to execute contingency procedures, such as moving to an alternate site or dispersing their workforce.

  • Restrict threatened facility access to essential personnel only.

Americans have been told to stick to their travel plans and have been promised "extensive and considerable protections" around the country.

Joshua Bunton is the Editor and Founder of ConservativeIssues.com. Josh's website promotes "Americas freedom," while advocating, equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all.

Josh Bunton is the founder of ConservativeIssues.com. Josh's website promotes "America's freedom," while advocating equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity for all.

© Copyright 2003 by Joshua Bunton

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