Still at Code Yellow, DHS fears 11 months of 'heightened alert'
With 99 days until the presidential election, the Department of Homeland Security is raising vague concerns about possible terrorist attacks in the US or abroad.
ABC News' Pierre Thomas says DHS officials are "quietly declaring" that the US is entering a "Period of Heightened Alert" because of the upcoming Olympics, the Democratic and Republican conventions, the November elections and the fact that a new president will be taking office in January. Officials tell Thomas the next 11 months will be "a time frame when terrorists may have more incentive to attack."
Accusations of politicization haunted DHS's decision to move the nation's color-coded advisory system from yellow, or elevated risk, to orange, or high risk, just three months before the 2004 election. (A week after President Bush was re-elected, the agency returned the advisory back to yellow.)
This time around, DHS isn't changing colors, Thomas reports, because the "do not want to be accused of trying to inject themselves into the presidential campaign."
Instead, apparently, anonymous officials are simply passing unspecific warnings to a correspondent for a national television network.
Government officials point to the Sept. 11 attacks, which happened just nine months into a new administration, and the Madrid train bombings, which were carried out just three days before Spain's 2004 general election.
They say history suggests a need to take potential threats seriously -- especially in the very near future.
At the moment, though, there are "no specifics" indicating an imminent domestic attack.
This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast July 28, 2008.