Level Orange -- Threat "Perhaps Greater Now Than Ever"
that extremists abroad are anticipating near-term attacks that they
believe will rival or exceed the scope and impact of those we
experienced in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania more
than two years ago."
Those words came from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge
Sunday, as he raised the threat assessment level from yellow to
orange. It was the first time since May 20th that the government's
terror threat indicator has been so high.
"Recent reporting," said Ridge, "reiterates that al-Qaida
continues to consider using aircraft as a weapon. They are
evaluating procedures both here and abroad to find gaps in our
security posture that can be exploited."
Ridge said American intelligence agencies "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. These
strategic indicators, including al-Qaida's continued desire to
carry out attacks against our homeland, are perhaps greater now
than at any point since Sept 11."
Ridge has scheduled a news conference for Monday to further
explain the warning.
What It Means At The Airport
Parking -- Parking at
airports will be impacted. The amount of parking spaces may
be reduced and/or there may be increased random inspections of
vehicles in and around the airport facility.
Increased Law Enforcement Officers Presence -- TSA working with
airport and local law enforcement officers will increase the number
of patrols of local law enforcement officers throughout airport
facility and increased patrols of airport perimeters.
Checkpoints at Airports -- TSA screeners are
always on a heightened state of alert and continue to perform at
Screening Checked-Luggage for Explosives -- TSA
is already screening 100% of all checked-luggage for explosives and
has been since December 31, 2002.
Checking Airport IDs -- TSA has advised air
carriers to review and ensure the validity of all personnel IDs for
those who have access to secure areas.
Delays -- Due to the changes with parking
procedures as well as other increased security procedures TSA
recommends that passengers allow themselves plenty of extra time to
make your flight.
NOTE: We've also been informed that heightened
restrictions will be in force for the "DC-3" (CGS, VKX & W32),
effective 0600, 12/22/03.