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US Terror Alert Level Lowered One Step from 'High' to 'Elevated' - 2004-01-10


U.S. officials are lowering the nation's terror alert level by one step, but say some industries and areas will keep their high alert status.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the alert level is being lowered from "high" or orange to "elevated" or yellow. "High" is the second highest level in the five-step terror alert system.

Secretary Ridge said the level is being cut to "elevated" because there are fewer credible indications of possible attacks. But he said "more selective alerts" will continue in some industries and in some parts of the country.

Aviation security will remain tight. But he refused to say which other industries and areas will remain under the higher alert level.

The terror level was raised to "high" on December 21st and Secretary Ridge warned of a high risk of attacks during the holiday period that could be bigger than those of September 11th in 2001.

During the "high" alert, U.S. authorities passed on intelligence information about possible threats to aviation, and airlines in Britain, France, and Mexico canceled flights around Christmas and New Year's.

The United States also ordered foreign airlines to put armed marshals on some flights, and have dispatched fighter jets to escort some incoming planes.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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