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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
US terror alert: Are you worried?
US authorities are introducing new security measures after a "credible" terror threat to the most famous US financial institutions.

The security alert has been raised to "high" - the second-highest level - in parts of Washington DC and New York.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings and the New York Stock Exchange were among those considered possible targets.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said there was no indication when the attacks might be attempted but that the intelligence received involved "extraordinary detail" about targets including unspecified British ones.

Do you work for the institutions that might be targeted? Are you worried? Will you be going to work today? Do you feel threatened by al-Qaeda where you live?

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Very! After Irag, the White House has zero credibility. Now, without hard detailed evidence, I don't know whether to worry that the President is building us up for purely political reasons, or whether the potential threats are real. In either case we are unprepared.
Paul Dawson, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The Bush administration simply cannot be trusted
Gary, Tampa, USA
I would have more confidence in our ability to fight the terrorist elements if i had confidence in our nation's leaders. The Bush administration simply cannot be trusted.
Gary, Tampa, USA

I am wondering how these "cells" were able to update their information since 9/11. I am suppose to fell safer knowing they have been able to update and get more info!
Susan Robotti, Stamford, US

I generally worried about another terrorist strike either in the US or at home in London. I am a little nervous about transatlantic flights too. Having said that, there isn't much individuals can do except to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Americans are still learning the basics like phoning the police when belongings are left on trains and in public places but they will get the idea as time goes on.
Chris, San Francisco

To those that ask why divulge our knowledge? Why not wait in ambush to catch the bad-guys? How naive can you be? This is not some five-and-dime robbery. The cops cannot just sit and wait for the robbers to come in the back door. The simple logic others have expressed is all to clear: The best policy is to err on the side of caution. I agree with the majority that are thinking clearly when they see this is the best solution to a no-win situation. Politically motivate? Keep looking.
Brian, Cincinnati, USA

I figure if several million Israelis can get up and go to work every day, why can't we?
Alan, New York, USA

In Manhattan there's greater risk of being run over by a bicycle messenger or falling onto the subway tracks. I won't let a gang of murderers change my routine. I figure if several million Israelis can get up and go to work every day, why can't we?
Alan, New York, USA

I work within three blocks from the White House and I am very sceptical about all these security alerts. If the US authorities had real information on terrorist attacks, they would act without spreading fear around the nation. Besides, what good does this alert do? To alert possible terrorists and force them to amend their plans? This is simply a political game of those who are trying to manipulate us.
Ivana, Washington DC

Am I worried? No I'm not. The thing to do is to call these so called terrorists by the right name cowards. Anybody that does what they do and are always hiding, meaning underground (Saddam) or in caves (Osama) are cowards and that is period.
Dale Anderson, Canby, CA, USA

Remember all those old Cold War pictures of countries behind the iron curtain, where mean looking armed guards stood on every corner. That's where we are now. It'll be random stops next for anyone and everyone. Welcome to the Land of the Free.
David McLean, Newport, South Wales

There is not a chance in the world that these murderous punks will succeed in scaring Americans. We have faced down the Nazis, stood resolute in the face of communist aggression and developed the greatest democracy in the history of the world. It will take more than a ragtag band of thugs to scare us.
Ross C Glen, San Francisco, USA

Bush is trying to fish in troubled water. This is nothing but a vote catching stunt.
Hamid, Colombo, Sri Lanka

He who hath a secret should keep it secret that he has a secret
Gary Evans, Titusville

He who hath a secret should keep it secret that he has a secret - I would imagine that is one of the basic tenants of intelligence work, so for the American government to widely publicize the threat just doesn't make sense. Now they've given the terrorists a head start on developing other plans. Perhaps a new government might have a little more common sense and judgement?
Gary Evans, Titusville, FL, USA

The level of scepticism on this board is yet another proof that invading Iraq completely blundered the war on terrorism.
Yann Chambrier, Hong Kong

No I am not afraid and I continue to do what I have always done. Bush is doing his job. I do not care what the rest of the world thinks of President Bush or even my own Countrymen. Some people here on the message board needs to grow up a bit.
Jan, Seattle, USA

There is no doubt terrorists will hit again, somewhere, sometime, in the USA
JosÚ Kirchner, Sacramento

Worried? Yes. Worried sick? No. There is no doubt terrorists will hit again, somewhere, sometime, in the USA, as they have hit the Ireland, UK, Germany, Spain, France... I refuse to change my lifestyle and trade my freedoms for enhanced, but false, sense of heightened security. I may practice a bit of risk management, as I do when I travel - but we must learn that there is always some risk, and life must go on. Perhaps we need some WWII Blitz survivors on a tour here in the USA.
JosÚ Kirchner, Sacramento, California, USA

I am not worried about terror. My Senator Rick Santorum is more worried about banning gay marriages than extending the ban on assault weapons. If he is not worried I'm sure George Bush is just blowing smoke.
Gary Abramowicz, Allentown, USA

Ultimately, I am powerless. I cannot prevent my nation from enacting polices that make my life less safe. I cannot prevent the terrorist attacks from coming. I cannot prevent the causes of Muslim militancy any more than I can stop the causes of gang crime on LA streets. I just focus on my friends and family and hope for the best.
Mike, Los Angeles, USA

How are we to worry when we do not know what action we should take? Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue.... who knows The only thing I know is that it being close to an election the alert will not go down, that means it can only go up.
Mark, Mansfield, Texas, USA

Let's get real: we know for sure that the political campaign teams include numerous political strategists. It's a sure bet that these guys would not ignore a key election issue such as the 'war on terror'. Of course, the timing of news release is critical. the danger of a terrorist attack is real but, in my opinion, is blown out of proportion and used for the exclusive benefit of G W Bush. Also, I guess that al-Qaeda would like to see Bush re-elected. that would fuel the hatred against arrogant America in the Arab world. a peaceful and friendly America would not be that much fun for them.
Mihai, Ottawa, Canada

Politics aside and the 'dammed if they don't, dammed if they do' scenario, my question is this. If this information is a couple of years old, maybe pre 2001, why was it not shared with the public then? Homeland Security is saying that the information was more updated/specific' now which is why they released the information at this time. They should have alerted the public of the threat when they first knew about it. Told the people that certain factions were out to cause terrorist atrocities on the mainland and told us to be vigilante. The threat remains the same, be it now or originally when the information first surfaced. The timing is what I question, not the threat.
M B French, San Francisco, US

I cannot let a few cowardly thugs with masked faces dictate my life
Stuart Galloway, Long Beach, US
I work in a highly visible tower block on Long Beach's main drag....with a clear view of the ports of LA and LB less than two miles away. We are a target, undoubtedly, but I expect the Bush administration to issue more and greater "threats" on less and less provable evidence as we get closer to the election. We also have a wager on that Bin Laden will be found about a month before November 7th, so that Bush can portray himself as the conquering hero. Any takers? It is very sad, but in the administration's desperate grab to retain power, all sorts of ideas and freedoms are being undermined by the phrase "That's un-American". The threats are real, but having grown up in London with the IRA bombs, I cannot let a few cowardly thugs with masked faces dictate my life.
Stuart Galloway, Long Beach, US

If Britain had been the target on 9/11 and not the US, we would be watching you overreact now. It's that simple. Britain has not yet experienced a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 and is unable to comprehend it. That being said, I'm not too worried about the threat. There is a threat warning every time Bush is suffering in the polls.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

No, in a word. I am not worried. This is exactly as Michael Moore predicted in his award winning documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. The US will continue to raise and lower the terror alert more so in the run up to elections. This is the present Government's way of controlling the masses. We should not change our routine in the slightest.
Janet Furly, London, England

To allow the media to report and publicise is to allow the terrorists to win
P S Rule, Calne, UK
Not really. What annoys me is the medias over indulgence in the supposed threat - real or not. It alarms my family and particularly my children to no purpose. The bottom line is that if a terror group want to cause chaos and mayhem there is realistically no defence -as was shown by the success that the IRA had over many years and also the attacks against Israel. If the security services and the government have good evidence or suspicions of an impending attack, they should keep quiet about it and deal with it. Ignore the "we should be told everything brigade", - it doesn't do any good. In that the terrorist want to disrupt everyday life, to allow the media to report and publicise is to allow the terrorists to win.
P S Rule, Calne, UK

Pure propaganda. Bush knows he stands a good chance of losing this election and the only way to hold on to power is to post pone the elections; something that has never occurred even during the Civil War.
CK, Los Angeles, CA

I live in Washington, and work for a government agency. I went to work today, like any other; suspicious only as to why the metro can be so crowded and so broke. Threats do not scare anyone who realizes them for what they are!
D Baker, Washington DC

No I am not worried. The terror alert system is absurd, and does more to the nation to harm it than save it. It is just a system made to cover the government, and has no thought or merit to it.
Drew, Saratoga Springs

If the Bush administration's foreign policy on the Middle East wouldn't be as rigid and as harsh as it is, then the terrorists wouldn't be motivated
Nathan Graf, Flagstaff, Arizona

The terror alerts are our own government's fault. If the Bush administration's foreign policy on the Middle East wouldn't be as rigid and as harsh as it is, then the terrorists wouldn't be motivated to threaten our workplaces, homes, and cities. I'm afraid that George Bush just adds more fuel to the fire with his war mongering and average Joe in America may have to pay with their life because of terrorism.
Nathan Graf, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

As a survivor of the direct attack of 9/11, I would like to state two things:
1) My city and her people are not pawns. Our government is supposed to protect having learned its lesson on 9/11 and that is: Prevention, knowledge and action.
2) No one can possible fathom what it was like to have to run away from the dying, the smells, the noise and the silence.
You had to be here. So I suppose I am addressing the cynics voicing their opinions in this forum today. Weary, jaded remarks are for those who have the luxury of innocence. I can't be judgmental, so I will merely add this: Be thankful to whatever God you pray to that civilisation has yet to fall victim to terrorism.
Gina, NYC, USA

I hope the terrorist threats against the US are false for two reasons;
1) No one wants to see thousands of innocent people die at the hands of terrorists and,
2) such an attack will only stir up the hornets that run the US government and cause them to kill thousands of innocents in other countries (possibly my own if the US attacks North Korea).
Marcus, Inje, South Korea (38th Parallel)

While the news is concentrating on the US terror alerts, it seems to me this is what the terrorists want us to think, when I think it's only a matter of time before London gets targeted from terrorism. They have had they're revenge on US in 9/11 and London is next on the agenda.
Chris, Wales, UK

All the red light, orange light stuff does is generate a rapidly fading illusion of security
Barry Scott, Washington DC, USA
All the red light, orange light stuff does is generate a rapidly fading illusion of security. We simply need to be made of the same stuff as the Londoners of the blitz; make sure these terrorists cannot do their jobs, get our heads down and get on with our work!
Barry Scott, Washington DC, USA

I live in downtown NYC, so hell, yes, I'm scared! But it's like my wife said: "Yes, they hate, yes, they want to kill us, but you know what? I'm Jewish, and to a Jew that's nothing new. I'm not leaving!"
David, NY, USA

I'm a Texan that lives in California. No, I don't like President Bush. But not for the reasons that everyone assumes. The man just never did anything to earn his position in life. We don't have a tradition of royalty in the US, so why does he get to be president just because his dad was? Yes, I agree that the release of this warning is probably politically motivated. But I also agree with the Republican complaints that they will be criticized either way. The only thing the scares me is this collection of ill-considered opinions. These are the people that get to vote? I guess I'm a New Yorker at heart. I most agree with what they've been saying: Live your life and don't worry about things outside your control.
Stan, Los Angeles, USA

Why do people worry? They are following the principle of US democracy. They have to do something to make people voting their party. When they find it's useless they might shoot Bush as someone did in Taiwan.
Ta-peng Chai, Taipei, ROC

The security "measures" and "terror threat" are no more than smoke curtains to hide a terrible reality: the US economy is in the way to crash. One example: the US national debt stands already at $7.3 trillion.
Gabriel Rivas-Ducca, San JosÚ, Costa Rica

You can tell when it's nearing election time: Bush has found a new gimmick to scare the citizens so they will not want to change in the midst of new "threats"?
Rasheed Siddiqqi, Los Angeles, CA, USA

I remember a speech where Clinton said, "you don't get points for saves┐" Unfortunately, this quote is a dilemma for the US government.
Matthew Bic, Austin, Texas

I am physically sickened at the sheer number of these transparent attempts to detract attention from the real issues at stake in this country
Kim Wilber, Lebanon

As an American living in one of the most economically depressed parts of the nation (Oregon is always in the top three on unemployment statistics), there are simply no words powerful enough to convey my supreme outrage at what Bush has done to my country. Beginning with having stolen the presidency itself, he has brought nothing but ruin to our economy, while conveniently blaming it on the terrorist attacks. He has fabricated an unnecessary war merely to detract attention from his own incompetence. He has flouted the authority of the United Nations and ignored the sage counsel of our closest allies, claiming that he is only responding to the terrorist attacks. He has used the attacks of September 2001 as an excuse to obliterate the rights of all Americans. Now Tom Ridge announces that there are "credible" terrorist threats, supposedly with highly detailed reports to substantiate these. I am physically sickened at the sheer number of these transparent attempts to detract attention from the real issues at stake in this country, and always blamed on the terrorist attacks. We need to get Bush out of office and we need to do it now!
Kim Wilber, Lebanon, Oregon, USA

I don't feel physically endangered, but the US may go broke winning the War on Terror. We need a different policy in the Middle East - less dependence on oil, less partiality in Israel-Palestine, less military presence.
Nigel Searle, Florida, USA

I am glad we have an administration that acts. There some that sit on the sidelines and say what they would do, but I would be scared to place my safety in their hands. This administration has done a great job.
Walter Moore, Michigan, USA

After 10 years of living in London, I now live in Seattle. America has a right to be worried and concerned by current threats and events, but personally I learned during my time in London that there is not a lot that you can do about it... so you may as well just get on with life.
Oliver, Seattle, WA

Bush just wants the US people to go and vote in fear. The more fearful the situation is portrayed the more he will be seen as a guardian protector of America. Also more Americans would vote for him. In short this is nothing more than a political ploy to get the people worried and vote for him so that he could get another four years hunting down terrorists.
Azlan Roni, Malaysia

The most concerning thing is that there seems to have been inside surveillance in these buildings and meticulous investigations and yet no one knew? The problem is that they may strike at will at any time and the US have to be alert 24/7.
Nabeel Hamarain, Abu Dhabi, UAE

It seems every time Kerry has a slight lead in the polls there is a new terror threat. How come every time Bush's ratings go down a new terror alert is issued? This American is tired of living in fear. The SWAT team was all over at the Democratic convention. American freedom as I was knew it seems to be gone. As presidential candidate Wesley Clark said: "We cannot give up the very freedoms we have been fighting all these years to protect". I no longer believe our government at all or their terror threats.
Vicki Thomas, Buckeye Lake, Ohio

If they know the threats against specific buildings are so certain, why don't they shut down those particular buildings? Once their intelligence is good enough to actually start acting on and saving people's lives, I'll be glued to the radio. Until then, I'll keep going to work.
Jerah, Brooklyn, NY

Kudos to Pakistan for mopping up the blowback remnants of the Afghan Jihad. For those who point fingers at Pakistan why don't they look up at their own skeletons in the cupboard?
Altaf, Nagpur, India

Quit pointing fingers - love your family and friends and be grateful every day for what you have
Kat, NYC

I worked at the Word Trade Center Feb 26, 1993 when a bomb exploded in the basement garage. Six were killed and over 1,000 were injured. I witnessed the earth and sky burn for weeks beginning on 9/11. Nov 12, 2001 American Airlines flight 587 crashed in Queens, NY - 260 passengers died. September and October 2001 - Anthrax attacks. October 16, 2003 - Staten Island Ferry Disaster - at least 10 died and many injured. How many times does it take sink in, no politician could prevent these massacres? Do you believe yours could? Let's hope. Why not blame politicians for the last 20 years? Very few made these matters priorities. Quit pointing fingers - love your family and friends and be grateful every day for what you have.
C Witt, Staten Island, NY

I wish the current administration hadn't squandered all of their credibility. If I have to be scared, I'd at least prefer to be scared with conviction. This lukewarm nervousness doesn't help anything. And it will probably drive us all to drink as much as the English. Ha!
Kat, NYC

I'm astonished that so many people have fallen for the "politically motivated" analysis generated by the anti-Bush camp. These are the same people who would criticize the administration for "doing nothing" if warnings and raised threat levels were not given. The real issue is that the nation (and civilized world) is as war with a fanatical and murderous enemy - and civilized people need to start behaving accordingly.
Mark, Arizona, USA

I work in Afghanistan and I feel very worried by what is happening. Unfortunately the US led coalition is failing dismally to secure this region. This is because they failed to secure this area prior to them deciding to go after Saddam. People are dying here on a daily basis, but because of the Iraq situation very little is reported in the media about this country. I think America needs to learn that terrorists do not need a reason to strike, they just need an opportunity. The Brits learned this lesson in Northern Ireland. America you reap what you sow, suck it up, and learn to live with like the rest of the world is!
Peter, Southport, UK

I don't believe this threat. I think this is a stunt cooked up by the Bush admin to influence the election. Has anyone else noticed that Pakistan held this terrorist for two weeks before they announced his capture during the Democratic convention? The fact that the threat was not discussed until after Kerry had made his speech? Bush is manipulating us and our fear of another 9/11 to stay in power.
Lisa Starrfield, Gregory, USA

Not worried, but definitely angry. The Administration is painting a picture that no matter what, makes them look good. If there's no attack, they look like they did their job and that Homeland Security works. If there is an attack, they can say they gave us prior warning and that Homeland Security works. If there's an attack that we "somehow" prevent or reduce casualties, they look good and shows that Homeland Security works! Either way, Bush is going to stay in office elected by the drones that follow the fake terrorism threat.
Lars Weimar, San Diego, CA

Better to be on guard then to be caught unaware again
Michelle, NY, US

If the terrorists' plan is to ultimately influence the presidential election, an attack might backfire on them. I'd bet many Americans would vote for Bush in defiance of the attackers, to say to them, we won't vote the way you want us to vote, as seemed to happen in Spain and the train bombing. As for the warnings, better to be on guard then to be caught unaware again.
Michelle, NY, USA

It's about time Americans realized that they can never secure themselves against terrorism and that if Bush truly wanted peace, he'd stop making enemies.
Glenn Barker, Victoria, Canada

We hear negative comments all the time on how the government is handling the terror issue. I think they have done a good job, if they weren't we would have been hit already. They have done and continue to do a great job protecting America and sharing valuable information with our allies.
Jerry Moore, Taylor Mi. USA

While people might argue either way as to the credibility of the warnings, I just don't see what good they do whether they are real or not. Since they are usually vague and the attack could be biological, chemical, by air or bus bomb, what exactly are we citizens supposed to be looking out for? I don't think the warnings will stop terrorists but I do think that they create more paranoia, mistrust and divisions between human beings. Such results actually increase the likelihood of more violence and terror between us.
Melinda Gelder, Japan (US citizen)

Car bombs are not preventable, no matter how much security you have. These 'Terror Alerts' are not much more than a method to control people through fear. It's a very effective mechanism used to the maximum potential by the Bush Administration.
Clay, San Diego, USA

Bush and the Dept of Homeland security are damned if they do and damned if they don't. When they release these terror warnings and nothing happens people accuse them of using scare tactics. If they didn't give the warning and there was an attack they would be accused of incompetence. It is better to give warning and for nothing to happen in my opinion.
Michael, Texas

They must prove that they can stand between the terrorists and freedom
Sharon, Grove City, USA

Homeland Security, CIA, and FBI will not allow the debacle of the past to occur again. They have something to prove to the world now. They must prove that they can stand between the terrorists and freedom. Afraid, no, not at all. We're safer now than we've ever been. We are, however, more vigilant as well.
Sharon, Grove City, USA

I no longer believe one word the US or UK government says on any subject.
Bob, Taos, USA

Whatever the Government does they can't win. If they put out warnings they are accused of election year scaremongering. If they don't put out warnings and a disaster happens they get blamed for not warning. Given this paradox then they are doing the right thing by erring on the side of caution and putting the warning out.
Mark, New York, USA

It disgusts me that so many people think this terror warning is politically motivated. Did the government make up all of the meticulous details of the intelligence? How would you feel if you knew that terrorists had been sitting outside your building, counting the number of pedestrians on the street, monitoring your security guards all day, and even sneaking inside to look around? This stuff is real.
Jen, Washington DC, USA

Honestly, I don't know what to believe anymore.
Marc, Los Angeles, USA

Like the other NYers here, I'm not too fazed. My only concern is that instead of fishing any cell out that may have been working on this plan, by outing it the terrorists (if they are in the US) may go underground and start work on a different plan. These terror alerts do absolutely nothing for those of us living and working here. Instead, it seems as if the Dept of Homeland Security is using them as a reminder to middle America there is a war on terror going on.
Tim, NY, USA

I'll continue to party on Bleecker Street and around the village and I know the rest of you will too
Dave, NYC, USA

I live in Bleeker Street and work in the financial district. Scared? No. Concerned? Slightly. However, I've lived like this most of my adult life, having been in London during the worst of the IRA campaigns. It becomes a way of life, another one of those one-in-a-million things, like traffic accidents, that can end your days abruptly. I'll continue to party on Bleecker Street and around the village and I know the rest of you will too.
Dave, NYC, USA

I am not bothered at all. First because I serve a mighty God who does not let me live in fear. Second I will not let these terrorists get the better of the USA. Are we mighty or mouse? For every American they kill a thousand will stand against them and for every dollar they cause us to lose we will make a million. They want us to suffer but I will not. Americans are mostly sissies and need to pull their socks up. Thirdly have nothing to lose if I am blown up, either I go to heaven or I enjoy life on earth - it is that easy!
Anon, USA

More scaremongering! What's next on the list of freedoms we have to sacrifice? Just hand us the dog collars and leads already.
Adria B, South Haven, Michigan

It's difficult to know how serious to take the terror alert following the debacle of both US and UK Intelligence Services in recent months.
Kevin Price, Norwich, England

I took the subway twice past Wall St and back today and of course nothing seemed out of the ordinary. New Yorkers tend to have a pretty fatalistic attitude towards most things, including terror threats and politics. To live a happy life here, you have to be able to shrug stuff like this off. I think it's great that the stock market has barely registered a reaction to the whole thing, even though the NYSE and the world's largest bank are apparent targets.
Raun, NYC, US

With Bush's "the end justifies the means" administration I don't know if this is a real threat or something they created to get more votes or to reach some other ulterior motive.
Bob Belbeck, MN, USA

Looks like everyone who thinks the terror warning is part of some right-wing conspiracy has been watching a little too much propaganda from the BBC's favourite film maker - Michael Moore. I work in NY and we're used to this drill by now. I'd rather be in a defensive stance if something does happen rather than being caught off guard.
Jose, NY, USA

We, the allies on the war on terrorism must understand that Pakistan has become the nodal point generating terrorists
Arjun Malakar, New York

Yet again, the international terror trail has been traced back not to Iraq or Iran but the likeliest of all countries - Washington's frontline ally in the war in terrorism, Pakistan. We, the allies on the war on terrorism must understand that Pakistan has become the nodal point generating terrorists and terrorism around the globe. Something serious needs to be done about this. Nobody seems to have an answer to this, neither Mr Blair nor our President Mr Bush.
Arjun Malakar, New York

Yes, I'm worried this admin is going to put fear into the hearts and minds of the nation if not the world. If they have in fact credible threats why don't they arrest someone? The truth is that since 9/11 they have not had one conviction of any so called terrorist. If they were really concerned with terrorism they would've stayed going after them in the mountains of Afghanistan. Instead they went into a war of conquest in Iraq and now looking at Iran. When will it stop? Moreover, if they really had credible evidence of a real threat, why announce it? Would it not be far better to trap the terrorists in their attempt to do whatever it is that Homeland Security knows? How crazy is it? The so called terrorists will have to find a new target I guess, now that it's been established that the authorities know the plan... it's ugly and boring! We need new leaders to get us out of this!
Gary, NYC

I work for the World Bank and yes, I do believe the threats are real they are too specific this time. Obviously I am concerned and I am trying to be more vigilant. Some of my staff are on the verge of tears as they are concerned for their children should anything happen to them. However, we cannot cower every time some nutter threatens us. It was the same with the IRA in London. We get on with it.
Anon, Washington DC (Brit)

For those who are sceptical about the motives behind this alert, i.e. politics, let me ask you this: With such specific information made available from multiple sources, would any president not act? Mr Kerry just blamed President Bush for not doing enough. He needs to make up his mind... should we act or not. I guess we should just wait for him to come and save us.
Manoj, Orlando, USA

To all you cynical Brits who think that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, I suggest that you take a stroll around Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park any weekend to get a sampling of some of the brilliant ideas being proposed to deal with the evil West (the UK included).
Boris, Austin, TX, USA

I appreciate the heads up from the government, and don't believe this is politically motivated at all. If the President says nothing, and something happens, he gets blamed. Yet when he says something, it's called political. The White House knows they are taking a political risk by putting this warning out there and facing criticism. However, they're willing to do this because they know the threat is legitimate and the public has to be made aware.
Al L, New York, USA

To those who believe this threat is for political benefit I don't think even GW would stoop so low
Sarah, Washington DC

I work in the US Capitol and while it was not directly targeted in this threat warning, we are always aware of our high visibility. The raised terror threat on DC financial institutions also increases the security around the Capitol grounds. Walking in today was like any other, despite seeing more uniformed guards and police walking with machine guns in their hands. There is something unsettling in seeing police with large weapons patrolling our road ways when you are working in the United States. Unfortunately, however this is our reality in 2004 and it very well may remain this way.

As Americans we have had the benefit of living in a truly free society free of terrorism, but that is no longer. To those who believe this threat is for political benefit I don't think even GW would stoop so low. The reality is that terrorists exist and these threats are out there. I simply applaud the administration for choosing to share this information with the public so that we might be more aware. The problem is, that in this day and age I think we always have to be aware that as Americans we are hated in many parts of the world and to that end we are always an open target regardless of where we work or reside.
Sarah, Washington DC

It again shows that Pakistan is full on al-Qaeda terrorists. US and the whole world should intensify its search for terrorists in Pakistan. This rogue nation is not being paid enough attention, we are afraid. All of us should remember that only this country has the dubious proven record of selling nuclear bomb technology to other similar rogue states.
Gautam De, New York, USA

Not at all with any alerts the US issues. They go up and down like traffic lights from orange to red etc and usually when Bush's polls go down or someone like Kerry takes the limelight. If there was any credence in information specific to this warning, don't you think the US authorities would be a little more clear about the targets and dates etc?
Kevin West, Abu Dhabi, UAE

If information indicating a potential terrorist attack, it must be acted upon. The same people who see some type of Bush/Republican agenda behind the US government's terrorist warnings are the same folks who, if an attack were to take place, would be screaming that Bush should have prevented it. No matter what the US government does; no matter what our president does, there are some who will criticize. There is no rational argument for those who see some right-wing conspiracy in anything the US government does.
Bob Garza, Joliet, IL

We're here. We're open for business
Susan Shwartz, New York

I work at Citigroup Headquarters. I came in through a tight security cordon. I will come in tomorrow. I have a lot of work to do. Whether or not this is politically motivated, I feel safer seeing the NYPD cars outside, the security inside, and the helicopters overhead. Whatever else can be said, I cannot believe that the government in the City of New York would risk us or would be using us as a ploy. We're here. We're open for business.
Susan Shwartz, New York, USA

I work in the heart of Wall Street financial district. We are all here, we are all at work, life goes on no matter what. Is there fear? Of course. Fear is a natural part of human existence. But it is how we behave under the circumstances that make us who we are. The cowards who want to terrorise this planet with bombs and beheadings will never win. We may be feeling fear, but we are not cowards. Terrorist may claim they don't fear anything, but they are cowards. It is up to the world community to rid this planet of this toxic waste of human kind.
Yana, New York, NY (Russia)

It makes no sense to me why the US administration is letting the terrorists know that the US know about their plans I thought that intelligence should be kept secret. Unless scaring the public is their policy.
David Roberts, Mansfield, England

To David Roberts, England: I agree with you. Why are we alerting the terrorists that we know their plans? Diluting the strength of our intelligence by making it public seems an awful price to pay for politics.
Todd Kephart, Chicago, USA

As an American who moved to Germany two weeks after 9/11 for a student exchange program of one year, I find myself in a unique position to make a statement on this topic. I travelled all over Europe feeling quite secure. However, upon returning home, I have never felt so insecure and unsafe in my life. I feel the same threat from our government stealing my civil liberties, as I do a terrorist attack. In all actuality, I think I fear this administration more than any terrorist I may have encountered in my travels.
Travis, Milwaukee, WI, USA

To Travis: Isn't it amazing how many people jump to the conclusion that threats are tricks by governments for some mysterious reason. Al-Qaeda must love all of this! At least they are getting something for little effort on their part. Next thing I expect to see on this board are statements that 9/11 was really a Hollywood spectacular movie and never really happened; just like the wackos who say men never landed on the moon. The alert level and revelation of minimum details prevents a Monday morning surprise, for the public, with guards all over the place, and jammed telephone communications lines as people try to find out, "What's going on?" It is also a deterrent without revealing exactly what is known. You can be certain that investigations are going on, right now, all over the USA with the possibility of arrests. Guards stand a wait while investigators pursue. We are not afraid, we are anxious for the evil-doers to show their hand so we can bring them to justice.
Jim Martin, Jamestown, USA

How timely! Just before the Republican convention.
Barbara, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Every new security threat is making us lose a little bit more freedom
Samantha, Champlain, NY

We who live on the border of the US and Canada suffer every holiday and every Republican political event. We get stopped on the highway going north (of course), stopped in the middle of a highway when we are going south to our capital, and stopped on our city streets under the guise of checking to see if our automobiles' security belts are fastened. We even get pulled off the public transportation buses every once in a while and our ferry rides include our trunks opened. Every new security threat is making us lose a little bit more freedom.

I guess that is the Bush administration's objective; to squeeze the life out of us. It's working, and feels a lot like the old East Germany's Checkpoint Charlie. Without an enemy of the decade, our government would not be able to control us like it does. We are no longer free thinkers, but cowards and under the military control. We get put in cages if we oppose the status quo's ideas.
Samantha, Champlain, NY

To Samantha, Champlain: Sure. We had lot more freedom and much less security and alert before 9/11. And guess what happened? 9/11.
Ian C, New York City, USA

I work very close to the Citigroup building in midtown and the closing off and police squads between Lex and Park this morning are more than just a Republican gimmick. The entire East side was at a traffic standstill while police investigated a suspicious looking device on 57 Street. Whoever thinks this is a Republican gimmick is clearly out of their minds! There is no way that the amount of resources spent and potential market losses would be disregarded by the entire Republican Party just because they want to win an election by scaring the public.
Aileen, New York, NY, USA

I think the key thing is to keep some perspective about this. Let's not get so panicked about the terrorists that we get run over by the Third Avenue bus while crossing the street. Consistently do we fixate on these sorts of unusual dangers only to forget about the mundane everyday things (such as the 300 people who died in the Paraguayan shopping mall). I think the media does do some disservice by sensationalizing, which opens up the whole terror alert process to manipulation by terrorists seeking to create a sense of fear and panic.
Andrew, New York, USA

We're Americans; we're not going to cower in fear
Brian, Kansas City

This type of thing has become second nature to us now. We are in a war with people willing to kill indiscriminately inside and outside our borders. But we're Americans; we're not going to cower in fear. We go on with our lives. If they hit us again, we'll deal with it, and continue on.
Brian, Kansas City, USA

I live four blocks from Citibank Centre. Do I believe the warning? Yes. Am I scared? No. Is the neighbourhood trembling in fear? No. And I suggest that those who suggest this to be a Republican plot might well examine their own ways of acting.
Pleasance, New York

While we are concerned and worried about these warnings, I wonder the US authorities will double check the Pakistani intelligence reports as they are very unreliable at times. Given the fact that the administration has made some attempts to politicize events out of Pakistani before the election, one, despite all the fears, become little hesitant to believe the ability of Pakistani intelligence sources. I only hope they are verified and scrutinized unlike the 16 words in the State of Union Speech. We should not allow Pakistani intelligence reports to decide the US elections!
Ismail Saadiq, Male, Maldives

Has George Bush read 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf'?
Jim, SJ, USA

You've got to be kidding me. Our cities are facing grave and real threats and still 80% of the people on this board feel it is all a ruse by the government for purely political purposes.
Ted, Seattle, USA

What if nothing was said and something did happen? All the people whining about this being a political ploy would be the first in line to cry about the government's lack of action.
Kristy, Charleston, USA

Our lives shouldn't stop because of their threat
Elizabeth Edwards, Cardiff
I think it's brilliant that people are being urged to carry on as normal. They want us to be afraid and I think it's so important that we carry on and show them that we will not be forced into living in fear! The less we are disrupted the less they can affect us. They will not stop, I realise that, but our lives shouldn't stop because of their threat, we should live and enjoy our lives!
Elizabeth Edwards, Cardiff

The modern world is a frightening place. On one side we have fanatical terrorists with no respect for the innocent and on the other, lying and manipulative politicians who are more interested in the accumulation of wealth and power than in serving their people.
P M Jackson, UK

I find it very suspicious that this announcement comes at a time when Bush's challenger for the presidency, Kerry is running high in public opinion following the Democratic convention held last week. I believe Bush wants to pass the message to the Americans: terrorism is still a threat, and you need me to remain your president. However, I hope the American people will not be taken in by this.
Brian Decelis, Naxxar, Malta

The world must understand that the threat of terrorism is very real, threatening peace, freedom and promoting a culture of fear and death to everyone. The authorities in America did right to put up anti-terrorist measures and keep the terrorists on the run. The Americans can be sure that if the terrorists and al-Qaeda in particular picks an opportunity to embarrass them, to kill them, to antagonise them... especially towards the election, they would be more than happy therefore the authorities must take no chances. And to the rest of the world we must never continue dreaming that terrorism is an American problem, let us unite to promote the culture of life and genuine freedom.
Mary Carlo, Kinshasa, Congo

Fear is a great political weapon
James McGhie, Glasgow Scotland
I can't help but feel that the warnings being given by the US government might be a political stunt to ensure George W Bush remains in office next term. Fear is a great political weapon, perhaps the greatest. Those who are voting might decide not to rock the boat or change commander during a time of conflict.
James McGhie, Glasgow Scotland

I think they are right to go to work, because as the name implies the main weapon of a terrorist is terror and the more normality continues the less impact they have on society.
Tomas Lynn, Cambridge, United Kingdom

I think we should expect a number of warnings like this from the US government in the lead up to the next election in an attempt to scare the American public into believing they are still engaged in a war. This is Bush's only realistic hope of winning votes.
James, Frimley

There is this information coming from? The same place that told us Iraq had WMDs? Bush has already looked into ways of postponing the election if America is threatened. Or should that be if opinion polls suggest he might not win?
David, Hong Kong

The increased threat to the United States appears a farce especially when thousands are dying everyday in Iraq. The perpetual fright that is strangling the American society is a pity. Moreover the entire Muslim world is tormented because of the fear psychosis of the Americans.
Jyotsna, Chennai, India

Given the facts on WMD and doubts on who was actually behind 9/11, it seems like another American government ruse to spend more public money. If there ever is another terrorist act, my guess is that it will be just another government plot to keep the public afraid of the unknown.
A Smith, London, UK

Keep the people living in fear so that the fool Bush will get re-elected. Don't fall for it!
Ben Pitts, Feltham, UK

These are smoke and mirror tactics to divert attention from the economy and Iraq.
Anon, UK

There is one sad, but very true fact that underpins all the recent terror reports from the U.S. An attack by a terrorist organisation is coming to U.S. soil...and the authorities are nearly powerless to prevent it.
Paul Ashton, Okayama, Japan

It's a very frightening development, but if everyone stays at home, they've won, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Having said that, it's easy to say when you don't work in the target areas yourself. We have to hope that security is good enough.
Malcolm Newbigging, Southampton, England

To be honest I take it all with a pinch of salt. It's timing suggests to me a tactical move by George W Bush to keep the terror phenomenon fresh in people's minds around the time of the presidential election. Anyone who has seen the film Fahrenheit 9/11 will find these statements extremely difficult to believe. I wish I was being cynical, but I'm probably just being correct. What a coincidence that we have just seen the Democrats on the box all last week. I don't know enough about American politics but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the buildings named were all in swing states?
Danny, Newcastle, England

I believe the report to be credible as it matches the same tactics utilized in past attacks on innocent civilians. The War on Terror must continue until such alerts are no longer necessary.
John Mundt, Connecticut, USA

These terrorist have shown remarkable guile and intelligence which, I regret, is not being shown by those charged with defeating them
G Gordon, Emsworth, UK
It appears that the terrorists are playing their trump card.. Whether the physical threat is real or not the psychological impact is affecting the international community's most venerable flank ...the sense of financial security. And in turn this will strengthen this incumbent president's election campaign .. and could well give rise the re-instatement of an administration that shoots at the wrong targets for the wrong reasons and alienates its friends. In doing so it weakens the international community's resolve in defeating the evil threat of global terror. Evil they may be, these terrorist have shown remarkable guile and intelligence which, I regret, is not being shown by those charged with defeating them.
G Gordon, Emsworth, UK

Its been nearly 3 years since the tragedy of 9/11 took place and I don't think we've come anywhere close to stopping terrorism. Its not just the US that must be worried, The UK is at a risk ourselves!! Bush, Blair and all the other leading powers must pull together and try and find some way of counteracting against these sick people. We got Saddam, now we must get Bin Laden, however be under no illusion even if we get him, as in Iraq the fight will never end! Its our children and their children I feel for!
James, Bristol, UK

The American authorities are trying to prevent further devastating attacks like 9/11. They are to be congratulated and supported in their aim.
Jon Lewis, Cardiff, Wales, UK

I'm sick of these terror alerts, especially that 'terror level ladder' or whatever it's called. I have a feeling it will be kept elevated right up to the elections. Bush is trying to scare everyone into voting for him again.
Sarah, Brussels, Belgium (USA)

Call me a cynic but is this a genuine threat OR does it have something to do with what a certain Mr Kerry was up to a couple of days ago?
Sam, London, UK

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