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SLUG: 2-293897 U-S Terror Warning (L)









INTRO: U-S officials are warning of a higher risk of terrorist attack as the nation prepares to mark the anniversary of last year's September 11th assault on New York and Washington. V-O-A Correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Washington

TEXT: U-S Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the government has raised the threat level to "code orange," which means a high danger of a terrorist attack.


The U-S intelligence community has received information, based on debriefings of a senior al-Qaida operative, of possible terrorist attacks timed to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States.

/// END ACT ///

The announcement came one day before ceremonies marking last year's terrorist attacks, which killed more than three-thousand people.

Mr. Ashcroft says there are reports that cells of the al-Qaida terrorist organization operating in Southeast Asia may be planning attacks.

The attorney general says targets include U-S embassies and military installations overseas.

President Bush says the United States is doing everything it can to protect the American people.

/// BUSH ACT ///

The threats that we have heard recently remind us of the pattern of threats we heard prior to September the 11th. We have no specific threat to America, but we are taking everything seriously obviously, so therefore we have gone to a different level of concern.

/// END ACT ///

The Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, urged Americans to be vigilant, but not to change their plans on the anniversary.

/// RIDGE ACT ///

I don't think America needs to be reminded that we are at war. However, this announcement is a reminder that there are people around the world who would do us harm. Our response is to continue to be America, but to be alert, to be vigilant. We have persevered through this, we will persevere now.

/// END ACT ///

Increased security concerns have led Vice President Dick Cheney to alter his schedule and cancel a speech. Reportedly the vice president is in a secure, undisclosed location.

The U-S Navy is warning commercial shipping companies that use routes in the Persian Gulf or near the Horn of Africa of a possible al-Qaida attack.

The warning by the Navy is based on what are being called unconfirmed reports of planned terrorist attacks on oil tankers.

A statement by the Navy says there are no indications an attack is imminent, but says the threat should be taken seriously. (Signed)


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