Terrorist threat level at orange
Mar 18, 2003 12:00 PM
The terrorist level of the Homeland Security Advisory System now stands at high (orange) after President Bush announced Monday night that Saddam Hussein and his sons have 48 hours to leave Iraq, as well as concerns related to Al-Qaida.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) advises the trucking industry to implement security precautions accordingly, check trade associations communications, and monitor information on the ATA Web site.
There are many recent indications that Al-Qaida's planning includes the use of chemical, biological, and/or radiological materials, according to information from Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary. Intelligence reporting also indicates that while Al-Qaida and those sympathetic to their cause are a principal threat, Iraqi state agents, Iraqi surrogate groups, other regional extremist organizations and ad hoc groups, or disgruntled individuals not connected to existing organizations or state agencies, may use this time period to conduct terrorist attacks against the United States, or US interests abroad.
In recent months, there have been reports of suspicious activity in and around military facilities, ports, waterways, general infrastructure (bridges, dams, power generating facilities), and targets that are considered symbolic to US power and influence, according to Ridge.
Earlier, ATA alerted the trucking industry that recently-apprehended Al-Qaeda operative, Khalid Mohammed, had explored the use of trucks as weapons to attack bridges and other points in the transportation infrastructure. The alert was issued through the ATA's Highway Watch program and sent out to all drivers currently enrolled in the program after US intelligence sources released the terrorist information. Under ATA's Anti-Terrorism Action Plan, professional truck drivers are being trained to spot and report any suspicious activities that might have terrorism or national security implications.
The plan is a coordinated effort of the Trucking Security Working Group, a task force of organizations representing trucking, and trucking-related workers in the United States and Canada, including tank truck carriers, intermodal groups, long-haul and local trucking companies, agricultural transporters, moving and storage firms, truck rental companies, and truck stop operators.
For more information from ATA, visit truckline.com or contact Jack Legler, ATA director of trucking security and operations, at 703-838-1849 or e-mail him at jlegler@trucking org.