told reporters Saturday that he has no plans, for now, to raise
nation's threat warning from its current
level of "yellow" or "elevated."
said his department reserves the right to raise the alert level
to "orange," or "high," if
and when new information warrants doing so.
Mr. Ridge spoke one day after the Arabic television network al-Jazeera
broadcast the latest videotaped statement by Osama bin Laden. In
the tape, the al-Qaida leader made no overt threats, but said the
United States can prevent future attacks by changing its policies
in the Middle East.
Secretary Ridge said Americans should feel safe casting their
ballots in Tuesday's general election.
"There is no specific intelligence that targets election day,
polling places and the like," he said.
At the same briefing, U.S. counterterrorism official John Brennan
said the government is trying to determine whether there is a correlation
between bin Laden's tape and another video broadcast this past
week on ABC television.
In that tape,
a man who identifies himself as Assam the American threatens
attacks and says, in English, that "blood will
run in the streets of America."
Mr. Brennan, who heads the Terrorist Threat Integration Center
says authorities are trying to get any information they can from
the two tapes.
"What we're trying to do from an intelligence perspective is to
analyze these tapes and make sure that we understand what they
mean, what their significance is in the broader context of the
intelligence that we have - and then insure that we are able to
provide that intelligence to the Department of Homeland Security,
to the FBI and to others," he said.
Secretary Ridge insisted that federal, state and local officials
are taking terrorist threats seriously and that thanks to their
efforts, the nation is sater than ever before.