Homeland Security Chief Napolitano Unveils New Terror Alert System

NYPD Commish Kelly Says Approach More 'Common Sense'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano unveiled the replacement to the color-coded terror alert system at an event in New York City on Wednesday.

The often-criticized color-based terror alert levels were implemented in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: A New, Simpler System Will Replace The Color Chart 

The updated system will be in place by next week and consists of just two warning levels: elevated and imminent. An elevated alert would be issued to prevent an attack and would warn against a credible threat but likely not specify timing or targets. An imminent alert would warn about a credible, specific, and impending terror threat or ongoing attack.

“These alerts are designed for when there’s specific credible information where people need factual content in order to know what they need to do — how they protect their families and how they can help us protect the communities,” Napolitano said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: The Color-Coded System Is Biting The Dust

The new system also formalizes what observers said has for the last several years essentially been a “gut call” on issuing a threat.

At the first sign of danger, a newly-formed special counter-terrorism advisory board would have just half an hour to meet to begin inter-agency intelligence sharing. An official threat warning must then be issued within two hours.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: New Yorkers Sound Off On The New Terror Alert System

The Department of Homeland Security‘s new approach will also favor the use of social networking. When it comes to notifying the public, officials plan to use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the elevated or imminent threat warnings.

Any alert will automatically expire after a specific time, normally about two weeks, unless new information shows that the threat persists.

The Department was also taking a cue from New York’s “if you see something, say something” campaign, asking the public to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and report it.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS 2’s Don Dahler he was not a fan of the old system, but likes the redesign.

“I think it is a sound, common sense approach to distributing terror-related information, both to law enforcement and to the public. And I am confident that it will better serve the unique needs of New York City,” Kelly said.

Are you glad they are replacing the old terror alert system? Is the use of social networks to spread word of terror alerts a good idea? Sound off in our comments section.

More from Juliet Papa
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  • J L Peterson

    It seems that we get closer to 1984 with each passin law. How could obima justify appointing Napolitano? Oprah Winfrey was better qualified. P



  • 21st Century Amerika

    I think Napolitano’s idiocy level was just elevated. Frankly I didn’t think it could go any higher. What is this unqualified, repulsive buffoon doing in this type of position? She makes Hillary Clinton look like Winston Churchill. Social networking to notify people? If thats the best you can do, Al-Qaeda has already won.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    who really cares about the DHS or the NYPD,..If you are looking for them to keep you safe you are a walking dead man anyway

  • nyc

    Why dosen’t she do something serious about stopping Illegal immigrants from coming into our cities ? Guess it’s not politically correct ! I still can’t believe that the special interests groups actually got Lou Dobbs fired from CNN ! I am a minority in New York ? Hell, New York used tp be a friendlier city when english was our main language !!

  • Brian F.

    Ok, for everyone that seems to be missing the point here, the simpler system IS a good thing, and the social networking is only another way for notification, NOT the only way! Good grief, can you find absolutely nothing else to whine about? For those who travel quite a bit, social networking is a big deal, so get over your sniveling little pettiness, and be grateful for improvements! It is the government you know, what’d you expect….

    • MikeHunt

      Charlie Brown!

  • steve B

    There was nothing wrong with the first color coded system its just people like to complain. The real problem is once the people are accustomed to a system by learning the color codes, they decide to change it on the people so they have to learn a new system all over again. You know, like changing the subway train numbers, letters and colors of the cars after all the city finally learned the codes.

    • cc

      Oh, I know. It’s going to be so difficult for some people to learn two levels. I mean, some people can’t count that high. I feel your pain.

  • whitefoote

    Excellent comments! I DO FB but not twitter. This is obviously not the only means of notification but still…..many do not use technology. Either can’t afford it (and who can with gas as high as it is) or don’t want to play. As for the two levels? GREAT!!!!! As long as you don’t keep us on permanent Elevated Alert…..as we HAVE been for TEN YEARS!!!!!! It means nothing. NO ONE can stay on alert for TEN YEARS!!!! It has no meaning!!!! Heck, we can’t even get our ATC controllers to stay ‘alert’ for ten hours let alone ten years. Please………..

  • MLS

    This system is as reliable as the weather men when predicting the weather: always too late and always wrong. Face it: the terrorist won and will always win. The USA must accept the fact.

  • Rick

    My feelings about these alerts are the same as the potential for a neuclear attack on NYC we expierenced during the cold war. Where do I want to die? Sitting in traffic with 8 million New Yorkers or in the comfort of my home?

  • Marion Nigro

    okay janet – you dumb ass – I don’t twitter – If I have to depend on this –
    Idie – thanks for such a great system. It really just went over your
    little pea brain. Do you actually thinkeveryoneis texting and twittering. Someo f us workto earn our money. We don’t spend the day on our i phones and i pads. I knew you were an idiot – but now I think you are an efn idiot.

  • Gor_Gor

    Quit playing with your crayons Janet, you worthless troll.

  • nycwolf

    I think its great to simplify the alert system… but PLEASE.. don’t ever depend heavily upon social networking. Many people like myself don’t use them, don’t have time for them. Others, like seniors don’t have computers and smart phones. Old fashion radio and tv. still work the best.

  • Michael W. Stewart

    Bravo for making the change and defining it. Cudos for explaining what each level means. What the samhill were you thinking when you projected that most of the population was on the social networks. There are millions of people who want nothing to do with those things; also many are just plain too overworked to even look at media. Please take a harder look at your communication venues and try not to give the foolhearty a leg up. Thanks.

  • mr. Philip Philips

    Suppose the terrorist deliberatly start a terror alert on the web which will get people panicy and disprupt normalcy, which might be easy. then using this as a ploy attempt something somewhere else. how safe can it be. When people know they can look for a terror elert on the internet Then they will be looking for it all the time and they can easily be fooled into believing so, Then its only a small spark that will cause a big problem

    • Michael H.

      Congratulations, you just defined “terrorism” to a ‘t’.

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