Security Secretary Tom Ridge this week defended the color-coded
national terrorism-alert system, which some say is too vague to
remarks came after the Congressional Research Service released a
report last week that said the system wasn't specific enough, leading
to concerns the public may come to disregard the warnings.
attending a National Governor's Association meeting in Indianapolis,
Ridge said the system is good, but the Homeland Security Department
will continue to improve it.
is a system designed – and I think it's worked fairly well – to,
one, alert the public generally that it is a consensus opinion within
the president's Homeland Security Council … that the level of threat
has either gone up or has receded," Ridge said.
said some governors were frustrated with the general nature of the
warnings issued. The system is flexible enough, however, to allow
for the issuing of specific threat advisories to states or localities
if such intelligence were received, he said.
assure you, when the information is specific enough to warrant a
warning being limited to a particular area, we will do that,"
Ridge told the governors.
Ridge also called on governors to identify five additional officials
in each of their states who would receive security clearances giving
them access to classified homeland security-related information.
also said the Homeland Security Department is planning to build
a secure Web site to allow federal and state security officials
to share information.
addition to improving information-sharing, the Homeland Security
Department also plans to work with state homeland security advisers
to determine what permanent security measures can be implemented
at 150 high-level targets throughout the country that were identified
during Operation Liberty Shield, Ridge said.
also said the department plans to work with state officials within
the next six months to identify and improve security at a second
tier of 180 sites.