Government officials raise national terror alert level from yellow to orange
The government is raising the national threat warning from yellow, the midpoint on its five-color scale, to orange, a federal official said Sunday.
In a news conference held Sunday afternoon, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the elevation suggests the possibility of attacks around the holiday season and beyond. Ridge also said the threat indicators are "perhaps greater now than at any point" since September 11, 2001.
By the end of last week, U.S. officials were telling holiday travelers to be vigilant about the threat of terrorist attacks. The warning was prompted in part by a raised level of ominous intercepted communications that has not quieted for months.
On Friday, the Arabic television network Al-Jazeera aired a new statement from Ayman al-Zawahri, the chief deputy of Osama binLaden. CIA officials said Saturday they believe the tape is authentic.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg says New York City officials will step up counter-terrorism efforts. The city itself has been on an orange alert since September 11, 2001. Though other parts of the country saw a rise to orange, that level has not decreased in New York City. Still, the mayor says there is no specific threat to the city. He urges the people of New York to go about business as usual.