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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Terror Threat Level to be Raised

Aired February 7, 2003 - 11:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: And now CNN's Mike Brooks tapping into his law enforcement experience.
Mike, you heard you heard what Jean was saying in a survey. As many as one-third of law enforcement agents say the last time they raised the terror threat level, they didn't do anything. And a lot of these agencies say that because they don't know what to do. It's just not specific enough. They don't know what they're looking for.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That was the complaint last time when they raised the level. There were a number of police chiefs that came out and said, they raised the color, but they haven't told us exactly why they raised the color. I think that has been addressed with some of the joint terrorism task forces that you have around the country. You have almost 56 of those task forces now in place that all that have local, state and federal law enforcement all playing into it.

So if there's any information to be passed from the FBI, from the homeland security to the local police departments, that is the conduit. That's how it has been working, and it has been working effectively. I spent six years on one myself, and I was a conduit between the FBI and the Metropolitan Police in Washington.

LIN: What could you tell them? What could you learn from the FBI that you could actually tell your police department?

BROOKS: Every one of those members has a top-secret security clearance, so there is some information that can be taken down and sanitized, if you will, to give to the police department.

For instance, if we heard there was supposedly a truck or a possibility of a truck with a bomb coming through the city and we knew it with specifics and sometime we would get this information, specifics about that, who wants to know about that? Our bomb squad, you know, your first-responders. You have to understand that the law enforcement officers in the country all over the United States from small departments all the way to departments the size of New York and L.A., they're the front line on this terrorism. They're the ones that need to know that information, and it's important that that force gets out through the terrorism task forces, and it has been working effectively, and I think it will continue to work effectively.

And they've also increased some of the task forces since 9/11. So there's increased funding, there's increased personnel. So I think that has helped quite a bit. I think as we move into this elevated threat level, it will even play a more significant role than we've seen before.

LIN: It will be interesting to see how different communities respond and what we see in our own backyard.

BROOKS: It will be.

LIN: Thanks, Mike. Stay right there.

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