- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

The Bush administration raised the nation's terror alert warning to its second highest level today code orange signaling a "high risk" of attack ahead of the September 11 anniversary. The government increased security at federal buildings and monuments and closed some U.S. embassies abroad.
"We take every threat seriously. The threats that we have heard recently remind us of the pattern of threats that we heard prior to September 11," President Bush said.
He said there was no specific threat to the U.S. mainland. But, Attorney General John Ashcroft cited intelligence from a senior al-Qaida operative "of possible attacks on U.S. interests overseas." He said there was information about possible car bombings and other attacks on U.S. facilities in south Asian countries and the threat of a suicide attack against U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Mr. Ashcroft and Homeland Security Adviser Tom Ridge announced the new alert level.
At the same time, the State Department announced that the government was temporarily closing for public business about two dozen U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide. Officials cited specific threats against U.S. embassies in southeast Asia, including embassies in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Even before Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Ridge made their announcement, Vice President Richard B. Cheney left the White House for a secure, undisclosed location, canceling a speech tonight and sending the disappointed audience a videotaped address instead. Mr. Cheney's schedule for tomorrow was up in the air, as well.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mr. Cheney had also spent last night at a secret, safe spot "based on an ongoing review of information that is received as well as out of precaution."
Mr. Bush's own public schedule for September 11, including a major speech at the Pentagon and an emotional visit to New York's Ground Zero, remains unchanged, Mr. Fleischer said.
Mr. Ashcroft said the government was not urging Americans to change their travel plans or that there be a cancellation of events. Similarly, he said there was no call for government workers to stay home.

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