The color-coded terror alert system that has greeted travelers at airports since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings is being phased out, the government will announce today.
Long a joke on late-night 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, according to a Department of Homeland Security briefing paper on the change and lawmakers.
The five-step color codes, ranging from green to red, will be phased out in the next 90 days. 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-Miss., the 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."
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, also praises the move.
"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," he said.
... The government will not abandon alerts completely. According to the Homeland Security briefing paper, the agency may decide to issue specific warnings to local law enforcement agencies, airlines or businesses if it fears there is heightened risk of an attack. Or it could issue broader alerts through public announcements, it says. ...
via Homeland Security to replace color-coded terror alerts - USATODAY.com.