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No sign attack planned in U.S.-Homeland Security

July 7, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials reacted with little
public fanfare to the terrorist attacks in London on Thursday,
reporting no indication a similar attack was planned in the
United States and no immediate plan to raise the terrorism
alert level.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said federal
officials were promptly in contact with local authorities and
commuters were urged to be alert after a series of explosions
rocked London killing several people. British Prime Minister
Tony Blair said it was an apparent terrorist attack coinciding
with a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Scotland.

President Bush was in Scotland for the G8 session and said
he directed homeland security officials to be extra vigilant as
Americans headed to work. Vice President Dick Cheney was on a
scheduled trip to his ranch in Wyoming and would be returning
to Washington, as planned, on Thursday afternoon.

“The war on terror goes on,” Bush said.

U.S. stock futures plunged on word of the attacks but
operations in the U.S. capital proceeded largely without
interruption with no extraordinary measures taken.

“The Department of Homeland Security does not have any
intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the
United States,” spokeswoman Katy Montgomery said in stressing
that the department would “constantly evaluate both the threat
information as well as our protective measures.”

She said officials at the Department of Homeland Security
had spoken with others at the state and local level as well as
public and private sector officials representing major
transportation systems.

She declined to say what additional security measures had
been taken and where.

Washington police said security had been increased around
some key buildings and a spokesman said a Joint Operations
Command Center, only activated for large-scale demonstrations,
parades, or emergency situations, was activated immediately.

“At this time, there are no immediate plans to raise the
nation’s threat level,” Montgomery added.

The Department of Homeland Security raised and then lowered
the threat level for the financial services sector in New York,
New Jersey, and Washington from “high” or code orange to
“elevated” or code yellow in November 2004. The country remains
at code yellow.

The overall threat level has not been raised since the
December 2003-January 2004 holiday period.

In Washington on Thursday morning, the Metropolitan Area
Transit Authority said it was beefing up police presence
because of the London attacks.

“In response to events in London … we ask customers to
please be alert and report any unusual activity or suspicious
packages,” the authority said on its Web site.

Bomb-sniffing dogs were on some Metro platforms and police
cars were seen outside stations. Police were also searching
buses.

Authorities in New York, where twin hijacked plane attacks
on Sept. 11, 2001, killed almost 3,000 people, said there had
been no additional security ordered or any unusual incidents
reported.

“We’re reminding people not to leave unattended packages.
… We’re also checking our trains before they leave the yards,
before they leave the terminals, as we always do,” said Paul
Fleuranges, spokesman for New York City Transit.

(Additional reporting by Sue Pleming and Caroline Drees and
Claudia Parsons in New York)




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