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STATEMENT BY SECRETARY RIDGE ON LOWERING THE THREAT LEVEL

04-16-2003

Following a review of intelligence and an assessment of threats by the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has made the decision to lower the threat advisory level to an elevated risk of terrorist attack, or "yellow level."  

While we continue to be at risk to the threat of terrorism at an elevated level, extensive protective measures remain in place throughout our nation.  As Secretary Rumsfeld has noted, hostilities from Operation Iraqi Freedom still continue and there is, "a lot of work left to do."  

 We must be vigilant and alert to the possibility that al-Qaida and those sympathetic to their cause, as well as former Iraqi-regime state agents and affiliated organizations, may attempt to conduct attacks against the U. S. or our interests abroad.  

In particular, I extend my grateful appreciation to the Governors, Mayors and other representatives from the public and private sector for their tremendous support and cooperation throughout the last several weeks.  I also applaud the hard work of the many dedicated law enforcement officials, security personnel and responders for their efforts to shield our nation.   They have protected our freedom at home in this time of war while their brave counterparts in our armed forces are fighting for this same cause thousands of miles away in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

The signal we have sent our enemies over the past few weeks has been clear.  We will continue to resolutely defend our Nation and its freedom.