NYTimes.com – Color-Coded Terror Alerts to Be Dropped by Homeland Security

The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity is plan­ning to get rid of the color-coded ter­ror­ism alert sys­tem. Known offi­cially as the Home­land Secu­rity Advi­sory Sys­tem, the five-color scheme was intro­duced by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion in March 2002.

Red, the high­est level, meant “severe risk of ter­ror­ist attacks.” The low­est level, green, meant “low risk of ter­ror­ist attacks.” Between those were blue (guarded risk), yel­low (sig­nif­i­cant) and orange (high).

The nation has gen­er­ally lived in the yel­low and orange range. The threat level has never been green, or even blue.

In an inter­view on “The Daily Show” last year, the home­land secu­rity chief, Janet Napoli­tano, said the depart­ment was “revis­it­ing the whole issue of color codes and schemes as to whether, you know, these things really com­mu­ni­cate any­thing to the Amer­i­can peo­ple any more.”

The answer, appar­ently, is no.

The color-coded threat lev­els were doomed to fail because “they don’t tell peo­ple what they can do — they just make peo­ple afraid,” said Bruce Schneier, an author on secu­rity issues. He said the sys­tem was “a relic of our panic after 9÷11” that “never served any secu­rity purpose.”

via NYTimes.com – Color-Coded Ter­ror Alerts to Be Dropped by Home­land Secu­rity. It only took the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity 8 years to real­ize what a stu­pid and use­less met­ric this was. Mainly because it never went down to where it should gen­er­ally remain (blue and green).

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