DHS raises threat level to Orange

May 20, 2003
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has raised the national threat level from an elevated to

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has raised the national threat level from an elevated to high risk of terrorist attack--or Level Orange, according to information from DHS.

The US Intelligence Community believes that Al-Qaida has entered an operational period worldwide, and this may include attacks in the United States. In the wake of terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Al-Qaida and those sympathetic to their cause, are still a principal threat, but threats may also emanate from other anti-US terrorist groups, regional extremist organizations, and ad hoc groups or disgruntled individuals not connected to existing terrorist organizations or state sponsors of terrorism, the DHS information states.

These attacks underscore terrorists' desires to attack soft targets. Weapons of mass destruction, including those containing chemical, biological or radiological agents or materials, cannot be discounted.

The American Trucking Associations reminds the trucking industry that when high (Condition Orange) and severe (Condition Red) terrorism threats are declared, trucking companies have the need to consider their own actions in parallel with those implemented by government agencies. These build upon the procedures under the elevated (Condition Yellow) that has been the baseline for the last year.

ATA advises carriers to monitor the ATA and state trucking association communications and Web sites closely, as information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Since events may unfold quickly and at unpredictable times, the following are some considerations in the event high or severe threat conditions are declared, according to the ATA information. High Alert (Threat Condition Orange):
•Assign your management crisis team, verify their 24/7 contact information and place them on "ready alert" through the period of High Alert.
•Reduce your internal tolerance for "security anomalies," such as overdue or missing vehicles, perimeter of physical plant intrusions, unverified visitors, evidence of tampering and the like.
•Report suspicious activities, especially those fitting any profiles presented in threat alert advisories, immediately to law enforcement and/or the nearest FBI field office.
•Conduct emergency/contingency procedures reviews with drivers, dispatchers and line management personnel. Brief personnel on the threats that triggered the alert and how these threats may present themselves in the field.
•Test your emergency communications systems.
•Identify state and/or local emergency planning agencies, industry resources and the like through which event response and recovery information can be obtained.
•Assure that company personnel monitor news and other information sources for events or changes in conditions and respond as appropriate.