The color-coded terrorism alert system that has greeted travelers at airports since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings will be phased out within 90 days, USA Today reports. Long a joke on talk shows, the color codes are being replaced by a system designed to give law enforcement and potential targets critical information without unnecessarily alarming or confusing the public.
Among the changes: Passengers will no longer hear the public-service recordings at airports announcing the alert level. The aviation threat has been on orange, or “high” alert, since 2006. “The old color-coded system taught Americans to be scared, not prepared,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), highest-ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Each and every time the threat level was raised, very rarely did the public know the reason, how to proceed, or for how long to be on alert.” Committee chairman Peter King (R-NY), said, “Though the system served a valuable purpose in the terrible days and months following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, it was clearly time for the current color-coded system to be replaced with a more targeted system.”