Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Report Questions Value of Color-Coded Warnings
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
ASHINGTON, July 12 - The federal government's color-coded threat system is too vague and confusing to help many local and state law enforcement officials prepare for possible terrorist attacks, Congressional investigators said Monday in a report that prompted leading members of Congress to call for an overhaul.
The report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, cited widespread concern among federal, state and local officials about the quality and timing of threat information they received from the Department of Homeland Security. A survey sent to 84 agencies, states and United States territories as part of the study found that the warnings were often vague and inadequate, and had "hindered their ability to determine whether they were at risk" and what protective measures to take in response.
Representative Christopher Cox, the California Republican who leads the House homeland security committee, said in releasing the report that the officials overseeing the threat system needed to "make it work better or get rid of it."