The federal government is phasing out its color-coded system for notifying citizens about possible terrorism threats.
The color-coded system, with five levels of rainbow colors ranging from green to red, will start to be dismantled this week and be completely gone by late April. The news came Wednesday, one day before Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was set to make a formal announcement.
Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican and chair of the House committee on homeland security, said the old system served an important purpose in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks but a new system with more specific response measures was needed.
“It sounds to me like the changes they are proposing make sense,” King said in a statement. “We will have to wait and see how they implement this new, more targeted system. I expect the biggest challenge for DHS will be balancing the need to provide useful and timely information with the need to protect sensitive information.”
The government has not altered the threat level since the second-highest level of orange since 2006, despite an increase in attempted attacks. Security protocols, however, have changed in recent years follows attempts like the one on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
The terror alert color system enacted under the Bush administration has been criticized for sparking fear and making more people afraid then prepared. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the top-raking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee said, “Each and every time the threat level was raised, very rarely did the public know the reason, how to proceed, or for how long to be on alert.”What people are talking about.Story about security alert colors.