Posted by: Taylor Hoff | September 23, 2009

Homeland Insecurity

Well, homeland security has reached a state of paranoia unheard of since… well… ever. The new color code system now consists of Yellow (Terrorism is brewing), Orange (Terrorism is in your backyard), and Red (Terrorism is right there OH SHI-). There is no blue or green, woe be upon us if we ever stop looking over our shoulders! This really is the wrong move, the color coded system is already completely FUBAR as it is. Nobody trusts it, being that we’ve been at Orange for about three years straight. They’re looking for a terrorist cell here in Denver and putting the transit systems on alert, and we’re still at Orange. Now, if you ask me, what was going on before the Denver terrorist watch should have been yellow at the most. NOW we have a legitimate reason to be at Orange, as if that made a difference anyway.

Trust has to be earned, and so far I fail to see what Homeland Security has done to earn mine. I’m sure it was setup in good faith, but fear-mongering for political gain is pretty despicable if you ask me.


Color-Coded Threat Level Advisory Under Attack

By David Kravets – September 16, 2009


The often-spoofed, color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System may get an overhaul – moving from five colors to three in a bid to win the public trust.

The nation has been at Yellow, “an elevated significant risk of terrorist attacks” for three years. International and domestic flights have been at an Orange “high risk of terrorist attacks” for the same period.

A proposal by the Homeland Security Advisory Council, unveiled late Tuesday, recommends removing two of the five colors, with a standard state of affairs being a “guarded” Yellow. The Green “low risk of terrorist attacks” might get removed altogether, meaning stay prepared for your morning subway commute to turn deadly at any moment.

The Threat Level advisory system was set up in 2002 in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks and has changed 17 times — the last in 2006. It has never been lowered to Green “low risk of terrorist attacks” or the Blue “general risk of terrorist attacks.”

“There is currently indifference to the public Homeland Security Advisory System and, at worst, there is a disturbing lack of public confidence in the system,” the council wrote Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary.

The 19-member panel’s recommendations are not binding. Panel membership ranges from Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to Joe Shirley, president of the Navajo Nation. Some members supported scrapping the color-coded system.

But the group said the public should feel confident in a new three-color rating system because, “for reasons of public credibility,” the scale won’t be politicized and instead the government “should elevate the threat status only when compelled to do so in the interest of public safety and security.”

That statement comes two weeks after Tom Ridge, the former Homeland Security secretary, wrote in a new book, the Test of Our Times, that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Attorney General John Ashcroft unsuccessfully lobbied him to raise the threat level days before the 2004 elections, in a bid to seal President George W. Bush’s re-election.

“Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level, and was supported by Rumsfeld,” Ridge writes. “There was absolutely no support for that position within our department. None. I wondered, ‘Is this about security or politics?’”

The new system, if approved by the agency, would consist solely of Yellow, Orange and Red.

Here are the new meanings:

  • Yellow = Guarded  – “A constant state of vigilance to protect against a terrorist attack.”
  • Orange = Elevated  – “Increased protective measures based on specific threat information regarding a known or suspected terrorist plot.”
  • Red = High Alert – “Maximum protective measures to protect against an imminent or ongoing terrorist attack.”

Don’t forget to stock up on duct tape.


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