Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's The Threat Level? Do You Know Or Care?

Do you know what the Homeland Security threat level is in the United States? If you even do, do you pay any attention to it?

Frankly, I think most people are now becoming quite complacent.

I saw someone leave a backpack at the side of a building here in Manhattan the other day. He kind of wandered away. I stood there and watched to see if anyone took notice. Nope.

I can tell you that in the days following the 9/11 attacks, something like that would have resulted in multiple calls to 911. Back then, the NYPD bomb squad was out all day long, responding from one call to another of a suspicious package. Thankfully, as in the case of the one I spotted the other day, they were all determined to be items carelessly tossed or forgotten. Totally benign. But the point is, today, few people are paying attention.

To that point, today Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the formation of a task force to conduct a 60-day review of the Homeland Security Advisory System. The task force, she says, will assess the effectiveness of the system in informing the public about terrorist threats and communicating protective measures within government and throughout the private sector.

I can already tell them before they start their review - it's totally ineffective.

Fran Townsend, former homeland security assistant to President George W. Bush and former CIA and FBI Director William Webster will co-chair the task force.

By the, just in case you're interested, the current national threat level is yellow, or "significant." Except for the airline sector where the level is orange, or "high."

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