Threat level lowered from high to elevated

| 4/17/2003

Twenty-nine days after raising the national threat level to orange, or high, the Department of Homeland Security April 16 reduced the level one step to yellow, or elevated.

The threat level was raised from yellow to orange at 8 p.m. March 17, when U.S. President George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein a 48-hour ultimatum to step down as leader of Iraq.

"Following a review of intelligence and an assessment of threats by the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has made the decision to lower the threat advisory level to an elevated risk of terrorist attack, or yellow level," Tom Ridge, Homeland Security secretary, said in a statement.

He also said: "While we continue to be at risk to the threat of terrorism at an elevated level, extensive protective measures remain in place throughout our nation. As Secretary Rumsfeld has noted, hostilities from Operation Iraqi Freedom still continue, and there is a lot of work left to do."

Ridge added the country "must be vigilant and alert" to the possibility that al-Qaida and those sympathetic to their cause, as well as former Iraqi-regime state agents and affiliated organizations, may attempt to conduct attacks against the U.S. or our interests abroad. 

"The signal we have sent our enemies over the past few weeks has been clear. We will continue to resolutely defend our nation and its freedom," Ridge said.