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STATEMENT BY SECRETARY RIDGE ON LOWERING THE THREAT LEVEL

05-30-2003

The Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has lowered the national threat level from Code Orange or high risk of terrorist attack to Code Yellow or an elevated risk of terrorist attack.  

This decision is based upon a number of factors including a review of the intelligence and assessment of threats. The U.S. intelligence community has also concluded that the number of indicators and warnings that led to raising the level have decreased and the heightened vulnerability associated with the Memorial Day holiday has passed.

The lowering of the threat level is not a signal to government, law enforcement or citizens that the danger of a terrorist attack has passed.  The U.S. intelligence community remains concerned that Al-Qaida is attempting to exploit our weaknesses and believes that the United States and its interests are still at a significant risk of terrorist attack.

Visible security does serve as a deterrent and for this reason and for the safety and security of our nation, we will continue to have security measures in place at federal facilities and other key areas of the country.  I encourage the nation's governors, mayors and other local officials to remain vigilant during this period of elevated level of threat.

America has significantly more security measures in place now at Code Yellow compared to last year.  More and more of our partners in the federal, state and local governments, and the private sector have adopted the homeland security advisory system and have identified protective measures to strengthen security and reduce the nation's vulnerability to terrorist attacks.  

We wish to thank all federal, state and local government and public safety officials, representatives of the private sector, and individual citizens for your patience and resolve.  Know that your efforts are making a difference.  Through this partnership, we send a signal to those who would do us harm that America stands alert, united, and ready.