- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

The FBI issued its latest nationwide terrorist alert following “the convergence of information from credible sources,'' Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said today, material deemed related to Osama bin Laden or his al-Qaida network.

At a White House news conference, Mr. Ridge said Americans should be on alert at the same time they continue to go about their normal lives. “America has to continue to be America,'' he said.

Mr. Ridge spoke as officials disclosed that Vice President Dick Cheney had been taken to an undisclosed secure location last night and remained there today in order to safeguard the continuity of government in the event of an attack on President Bush.

Mr. Ridge provided little by way of elaboration of the statement by Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday.

The announcement was made because the “decibel level was louder'' in routine intelligence information, suggesting an attack. “It was just the convergence of credible sources that occasioned the alert, more than usual," Mr. Ridge said.

Asked about the quality of the information, he replied, “Credibility we leave to the experts but I think you can fairly assume that the experts view this tied in, this information somehow related to al-Qaida or bin Laden.''

Like Mr. Ridge, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer sought to prepare the public for a new lifestyle in a terrorist age. “This is what has been called the new normalcy,'' he said. “It's fair to say that until the war on terrorism is brought to a successful conclusion, … this is going to be the case in our country.''

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