Homeland Security secretary: US to revise terror alert system to improve communication

The Obama administration will announce changes to the terror alert system "in the coming days," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will announce changes to the terror alert system “in the coming days,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday.

Johnson described the change as a new alert system, which he said would better inform the public about threats to the United States, but he did not provide specific details.

This will be the third change to how the Homeland Security Department warns the public about security concerns since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The much maligned colour-coded system was replaced in 2011 by the National Terrorism Advisory System, which has never been used.

Johnson announced the new alert system during a forum with Defence One magazine. He said the National Terrorism Advisory System hasn’t been used because it requires a “specific, credible threat” to the U.S. in order to be activated. The new effort will include an “intermediate” step, he said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said later Monday that the alert system wasn’t being replaced, but rather tweaked to be more effective. He said a review of the system had been doing on for “quite some time.”

“You should not consider this a replacement of this program, but rather some important reforms of the program that would allow it to be more effectively used to communicate with the American public,” Earnest told reporters.

The plan to change the system was announced in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which the FBI has declared a terrorism investigation. The FBI is investigating the possibility that shooting suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik were inspired by the Islamic State group to carry out the attacks that killed 14 people attending a holiday luncheon at a social services facility.

Johnson said that while a specific motive has not been determined in the California case, the threat from home-grown radicals or those inspired by foreign groups is a growing concern in part because such attacks may not be discovered in advance. The new terror alert system, he said, better “reflects the current environment and current realities.”

“We need a system that adequately informs the public at large … about what we are seeing, what we are doing and what we are asking the public to do about it,” Johnson said.

This story has been corrected to show that the name of the alert system is the National Terrorism Advisory System.

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read