US Revamps Homeland Security Alert System

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

U.S. Revamps Homeland Security Alert System.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. updated its terror alert system on Wednesday, unveiling a new “bulletin” category intended to better inform the public about evolving terrorist threats. The Department of Homeland Security issued a new type of terror alert on Wednesday, warning Americans that self-radicalized suspects inspired by foreign extremists could strike without notice.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there remains no credible, specific terror threat to the United States but that the department nevertheless issued its first bulletin to keep the public informed in a “new phase of the global threat environment.” Wednesday’s bulletin will be in effect until June 16, 2016 and outlines much of what Johnson and other federal have said in the days and weeks since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Johnson reiterated that while there’s no specific threat, the government remains concerned about terrorist-inspired extremists, such as the attackers in California who killed 14 people before dying in a shootout with police. As a result, the bulletin said, there will be greater security activity at public places and events. “This may include a heavy police presence, additional restrictions and searches on bags and the use of screening technologies,’’ the bulletin said. An elevated alert warns of “a credible terrorism threat” while an imminent alert advises the public of a “credible, specific and impending terrorism threat.” Johnson said administration officials considered issuing an alert earlier this year but decided that there was not enough specific information to meet the threshold do so.

Bush administration created a color-coded threat level system, ranging from green (the safest) to blue to yellow to orange to red, which came to be criticized as confusing. The Obama administration scrapped that format in 2011, replacing it with just two categories of notification: one for a credible threat and another for an imminent threat.

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