Press Conference by Secretary Michael Chertoff U.S. Department of Homeland Security
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 7, 2005
(Remarks as Prepared)
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are closely monitoring the bombings that occurred in London. I have spoken to the President and to my counterparts, the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom.
The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims of this tragedy and our friends in Britain.
In light of today’s attacks in London, the United States Government is raising the threat level from Code Yellow – or Elevated – to Code Orange – or High – targeted only to the mass transit portion of the transportation sector. This only includes regional and inter-city passenger rail, subways and metropolitan bus systems. We are also asking for increased vigilance in other transportation systems.
Currently, the United States has no specific, credible information suggesting an imminent attack in the United States. However, we know the tactics and methods of terrorists, as demonstrated by the horrific rail bombings in Madrid last year. The intent of al Qaeda and affiliated organizations to attack in Europe and the United States has been well documented and continues to be reflected in intelligence reporting.
We have already taken additional measures to secure transit systems since 9-11 and the railway bombing in Madrid. At the direction of the President, we are working with the Department of Transportation, our other federal partners, state and local officials and transportation authorities to take all necessary precautions and to increase the security of our transportation systems and the citizens who depend on them.
We have asked state and local leaders and transportation officials to increase their protective measures including: additional law enforcement, bomb-detecting K-9 teams, increased video surveillance, spot testing in certain areas, added perimeter barriers, extra intrusion detection equipment and increased number of inspections of trash receptacles and other storage areas.
We ask the public to remain alert and to report any suspicious activity, particularly on or around transportation systems, to your local law enforcement authorities. But we are not simply suggesting that people avoid public transportation systems; rather, we are asking that they do so with an increased awareness of their surroundings.
We have been in continuous contact with federal, state and local authorities, as well as our allies in the United Kingdom as they investigate this incident. We are reviewing intelligence streams and the information out of London closely and will continue to provide regular updates to the public as soon as information becomes available.
Again, our thoughts and prayers are with the British people and the grieving families. America stands with you in this time of crisis, to assist and support you in every way possible.
Terrorists may bomb and attack and attempt to use weapons of fear to shake the will of free nations and free people. But we have a more powerful arsenal; it includes our resolution and resiliency and an unyielding determination to do what we can and must to keep our citizens and our allies safe and track down the perpetrators of this incident and bring them to justice.
Thank you, and now I’ll take 3 to 4 questions.
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