- Man arrested in car bomb plot at Kansas airport
- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
Color-coded terror warnings to be gone by April 27
WASHINGTON (AP) — By the end of April, terror threats to the U.S. will no longer be described in shades of green, blue, yellow, orange and red, the Associated Press has learned.
The nation’s color-coded terror warning system will be phased out beginning this week, according to government officials familiar with the plan. The officials requested anonymity to speak ahead of an announcement scheduled Thursday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The Homeland Security Department and other government agencies have been reviewing the Homeland Security Advisory System’s usefulness for more than a year. One of the most notable changes to come: The public will no longer hear automated recordings at U.S. airports stating that the threat level is orange.
The Obama administration will take the next three months to roll out a replacement, which will be called the National Terrorism Advisory System. The new plan calls for notifying specific audiences about specific threats. In some cases, it might be a one-page threat description sent to law enforcement officials describing the threat, what law enforcement needs to do about it and what the federal government is doing, one of the officials said.
When agency officials think there is a threat the public should know about, they will issue an announcement and rely on news organizations and social media outlets to get the word out.
Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the old threat system served a valuable purpose in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but that a more targeted system was needed.
“It sounds to me like the changes they are proposing make sense,” Mr. King said in a statement. “We will have to wait and see how they implement this new, more targeted system. I expect the biggest challenge for DHS will be balancing the need to provide useful and timely information with the need to protect sensitive information.”
The five-tiered, color-coded terror warning system, created after the Sept. 11 attacks, was one of the Bush administration’s most visible anti-terrorism programs. Criticized as too vague to be useful in communicating the terror threat to the public, it quickly became the butt of late-night talk show jokes.
The government hasn’t made changes in the colored alert levels since 2006, despite an uptick in attempted attacks against the U.S. However, the government has changed security protocols since then based on threats. For example, new airport security measures were introduced after an effort to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day 2009.
“The old Bush color-coded system taught Americans to be scared, not prepared,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Each and every time the threat level was raised, very rarely did the public know the reason, how to proceed, or for how long to be on alert.”
Under that system, green, at the bottom, signals a low danger of attack; blue signals a general risk; yellow, a significant risk; orange, a high risk, and red, at the top, warns of a severe threat. Since the outset, the nation has never been below the third threat level, yellow — an elevated or significant risk of terrorist attack.
The use of colors emerged from a desire to clarify the nonspecific threat information that intelligence officials were receiving after the 2001 attacks.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Suspected Colo. school gunman kills self amid standoff
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama birther theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama and family holiday in Hawaii again
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Musings of a bilingual, agnostic, combat veteran and jewelry maker.
Topics will include politics, religion, race, culture, and anything else that needs to be discussed...
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow