Chertoff Will Shun “Sky Is Falling” Terror Alerts


New U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael plans a “disciplined” approach to sharing threat-related information with the public, says USA Today. Chertoff hopes to keep citizens “vigilant (without) creating too much of a sense of anxiety or alarm.” He spoke one day after some television networks inaccurately reported that follow-up tests were positive for anthrax in the Washington area. The tests proved negative.

Chertoff said the public must understand that it can take days to complete scientific tests in such cases. Despite demand for instant answers, he said he will “mightily resist the temptation to give information out prematurely.” Chertoff may drop the color-coded threat advisory system of his predecessor Tom Ridge. “I don’t want to get up in public and say ‘the sky is falling’ if it’s not,” Chertoff said. He favors a “risk-management” approach that assumes officials can’t protect against every threat. “Managing risk means managing expectations,” he said. “We cannot pretend that nothing bad can ever happen and that perfect safety is within reach.”


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