President Barack Obama’s top homeland security official has ordered a review of the nation’s terrorism alert system to reflect what he called the growing threat of attacks originating within the United States.
The U.S. has never used the National Terrorism Alert System, a two-level system that replaced the oft-derided color-coded terrorism alerts installed after 9/11 to spread the word about potential attacks from abroad. But after a “homegrown violent extremist” killed five service members in Chattanooga, Tenn. — and amid the expectation of more terrorist-inspired attacks — the Department of Homeland Security wants to revise and jumpstart the system.
“I’ve asked our folks to consider whether we should revise that system to accommodate how the terrorism threat has evolved,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C.“That review is underway now.”
Instead of the post-9/11 green-to-red progression, the NTAShas just two states of alert. An “elevated threat” means there is a credible threat against the United States. An “imminent threat” alerts the public to just that, “a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States.”