Terrorist threats have prompted Homeland Security officials to elevate the national threat level to “high risk” (code orange) for the fourth time in the last year amid fears of a resurgent Al Qaeda operating on U.S. soil.
Like the previous alerts, yesterday’s triggered heightened security measures by cities, states and businesses across the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. L.A. Mayor James K. Hahn and Police Chief William J. Bratton said police would step up patrols around 605 potential targets citywide and reestablish checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport. Authorities also asked the public to report suspicious behavior immediately.
The nationwide change in the threat level “is based upon the recent terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, also in conjunction with intelligence reports concerning anti-U.S. terrorist group intentions,” said Asa Hutchinson, the Homeland Security Department’s undersecretary for border and transportation security.
The FBI has detained two Arab men who may have been sent to the United States to scout out new targets. Information about their identities and arrests are under court seal. One official said the latest move was based almost entirely on “logic.” In recent days, U.S. officials have received ominous pieces of intelligence, including an intercepted e-mail warning of a possibly “devastating” and imminent attack on major East Coast cities such as Boston and New York, according to one senior U.S. official.