Government initiates code orange alert

| Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Citing "specific intelligence" about terror threats against U.S. interests overseas, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Sept. 10 the government is raising its nationwide terror threat status to code orange, signifying a high risk of terror attacks.

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.

A government official, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, said the action that prompted code orange involves specific and credible information about threats to American embassies overseas.

U.S. intelligence officials have been saying since the weekend that there has been an increased amount of "chatter" among al-Qaida sympathizers. Meanwhile, the FBI issued a warning that became public Monday asking operators of computer networks, utilities and transportation systems to be wary during the anniversary of the suicide hijackings that leveled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

The United States has been on a yellow alert, which indicates a significant risk of attacks. Under an orange alert, security officials are to take additional precautions at public events, prepare to work at an alternate site, and coordinate security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement agencies.

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