21 December 2003

US National Threat Level Raised to Code Orange

DHS | Department of Homeland Security | DHS Home Page:

Statement By U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

December 21 - Today, The United States Government raised the national threat level from an Elevated to High risk of terrorist attack - or from Code Yellow to Code Orange. We know from experience that the increased security that is implemented when we raise the threat level, along with increased vigilance, can help disrupt or deter terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Intelligence Community has received a substantial increase in the volume of threat related intelligence reports. These credible sources suggest the possibility of attacks against the homeland around the holiday season and beyond.

In addition to knowing that homeland security professionals at all levels are working to keep our communities safe, we ask individual Americans to do a few additional things during this time of heightened alert. I have said it before - and I am saying it again - homeland security begins at home. Never has that been more true. Your awareness and vigilance can help tremendously, so please use your common sense and report suspicious packages, vehicles, or activities to local law enforcement.

Finally - no matter your faith or culture - now is the time of year for important celebrations. So, I encourage you to continue with your holiday plans. Gather with your family and friends and enjoy the spirit of this season. There is no doubt that we have a lot to be thankful for - not the least of which the opportunity to live in the greatest country in the world. It is a country that will not be bent by terror. It is a country that will not be broken by fear. But instead, we are a country blessed with a population marked by goodwill and great resolve. We will show the terrorists both this holiday season - goodwill toward our fellow men, readiness and resolve to protect our families and our freedom."

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