December 22, 2003
Threat Level Raised To "Orange-er"

"High-ish" Risk Present, Says Ridge

The Homeland Security Department raised the threat level to "orange-er" Sunday, noting the the risk level was "higher-ish" than it had been when the threat level was last raised to orange.

"The risk may be greater than at any time since September 11," said Ridge, noting that the level of terrorist chatter had reached the threshold that intelligence officials called "loud cocktail party blather."

"We 're encouraged, however, that the chatter hasn't yet reached the level of 'boisterously drunken boasting' -- 'B.D.B.'" said CIA official Matt Whelk.

The last time that the threat level was raised to orange, Ridge said that a terrorist attack was "almost certain." The threat level is higher this time because a terrorist attack is "almost more certainer," said Ridge.

"If that's the case, Secretary Ridge," said reporter Anthea Flisk, "How come the level hasn't been raised to Code Red, or Severe?"

"We can't do that," said Ridge. "Going to red means we have to put Vice-President in a sealed capsule the size of a muffin."

Posted by Tom Burka at 12:31 PM in News