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AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Among the things, honestly, that are disconcerting today is the fact that the nation is on an elevated state of alert. Military bases in Afghanistan are on their highest state of alert, the state of alert that occurs if they believe an attack is under way or imminent. It is not the kind of thing that you normally prepare for.
To give you some idea of how the troops overseas are dealing with the day, Bob Franken is at the Pentagon, and he has been covering that and more. And so, we welcome him into the mix.
Bob -- good morning to you.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you.
And as you know, Aaron, there is an A to D security stratification in the military: A-Alpha, B-Bravo, C-Charlie, and D- Delta. Delta is the highest. As you said, it is the designation hen there is a prospect of an imminent attack.
And the practical effect of it is, is that the military forces in the various countries that are covered by the Central Command are at their weapons. They are prepared to immediately engage in combat. It is a highly unusual designation. It is something that, in fact, is quite startling, because of its severity.
The CENTCOM, the Central Command, of course, covers Afghanistan and most of the Middle East. And those countries, of course, are right in the middle of the greatest security fears. Of course, the entire world, including the United States, learned a lesson last September 11 that all places are the danger zones in the world.
In addition to that security, there is the military reality that around the country right now, there are now, what they call, 10 combat air patrol sites. That means that in 10 spots around the United States, airplanes are in the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, combat jet aircraft protecting the skies. In addition to which, there are 15 strip alert sites. Those are military bases where the people can scramble and be in their planes and in the air, ready for combat in just a few moments.
Most military bases in the United States have gone up from the combat readiness of Alpha to Bravo today on September 11. And of course, that is all part of the concern about September 11 and some intelligence (ph).
One of the things I wanted to show you appeared here at the Pentagon as the ceremonies here were going on with the president of the United States. On the roof of the Pentagon, we could see -- right now, you are seeing missile batteries that surround Washington. The are mobile missile batteries carrying stinger missiles. It is the first time that there have been armed missiles surrounding Washington D.C. since the Cuban missile crisis in the '60s.
In addition to which, what you are looking at right now, is the rooftop of the Pentagon in back of us. That, we saw just a while ago -- snipers and observers watching for any problems.
Now, part of this is based on information which came from an informant, a Kuwaiti, Omar al-Faruq. According to CNN's David Ensor, intelligence sources are saying this is somebody who has been held by the United States, who has been interrogated for quite some time. Only recently did he give information that was corroborated with information that the interrogators and other intelligence sources have been gaining over the weeks and months. That is what caused everybody to ratchet up the security alerts.
So, the United States, of course, Aaron, is jittery today, but it is a substantive jitteriness. And it is just protection to make sure that there is as little chance as possible that anything could go wrong.
BROWN: Well, we hope that's exactly what it is. That this is one of those exercises that, in the end, mean nothing.
We would just point out that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) any time the president of the United States is anywhere, there is intense security. There are snipers on rooftops (UNINTELLIGIBLE) under ordinary circumstances. So, just again, it's just a note of context.
Thank you, Bob.
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