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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Terror Alert Lowered from Orange to Yellow

Aired February 27, 2003 - 11:49   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, we want to get back to some of the breaking news we were following in the last hour, and that is a lowering of the terror alert.
Jeanne Meserve has more on that -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn, we have now gotten an official statement from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, outlining the reasons why they are bringing the threat alert status down from orange to yellow. It says that the decision to raise the threat level on February 7th was based on specific intelligence, corroborated by multiple sources.

Today's decision to lower the threat level was based on a careful review of how the specific intelligence has evolved and progressed over the past three weeks, as well as counterterrorism actions we have taken to address specific aspects of the threat situation.

Among the factors, the passing of the Hajj. This statement says, "The lowering of the threat level is not a signal to government, law enforcement or citizens, that the danger of a terrorist attack has passed. We emphasize that the United States and its interests are still at a significant risk of a terrorist attack." "Detained Al Qaeda operatives," this says, "have indicated that Al Qaeda will wait until Americans have lowered their guard before they strike again."

And the statement goes on to say that, "A number of security precautions will remain in place even though the threat level has been lowered, these at federal facilities. They include things like continuation of increased surveillance, 100 percent identification of personnel entering facilities. And also random inspections of passenger vehicles entering parking lots and restricted parking as necessary."

So this, the official explanation from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, as to why they have made this move to bring the threat level down to yellow.

The headline here, we're still at risk, don't let your guard down completely -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Very good advice. Jeanne Meserve, thank you so much for filling us in on that.

MESERVE: You bet.

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