U.S. at 'high alert' on anniversary of 9/11
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the first anniversary of September 11, the United States is at code orange -- the second-highest threat alert level on the Office of Homeland Security's color-coded system.
The U.S. government raised the threat level on Tuesday after receiving what officials called "an abundance of credible intelligence" indicating terrorists were planning attacks to coincide with the anniversary.
It was the first time the threat level had been raised from code yellow since the color-coded system was implemented in March. (Full story)
"The threats that we have heard recently remind us of the pattern of threats we heard prior to September 11," U.S. President George W. Bush said at the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington.
"We have no specific threat to America, but we're taking everything seriously," he said.
Senior U.S. officials said Bush decided to raise the threat level after being told there was a significant increase in communication among terrorists and suspected terrorists -- including a discussion about the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said most of the intelligence focused on possible attacks against U.S. interests overseas. (Read transcript)
He said the potential targets could include the transportation and energy sectors and facilities that are recognized symbols of the United States -- such as military installations, embassies or national monuments.
Ashcroft also said intelligence from the Middle East pointed to possible suicide attacks on U.S. interests, but no targets were known.
The State Department closed several embassies and consulates in Asia, the Middle East and Africa as a result of the intelligence. (Full story)
Intelligence officials say an al Qaeda prisoner was the primary source of information prompting the United States to go on a high state of alert. The officials said the prisoner is Kuwaiti national Omar al-Faruq, who "only recently started to talk." (Full story)
"He is in U.S. custody but not in the U.S," a senior official told CNN. Al-Faruq ran al Qaeda operations in Southeast Asia until his arrest in Indonesia about two months ago, U.S. officials say, and was turned over to the United States in recent weeks.
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