BY JIM FLINK AND SAM JOSEPH
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Say good bye to threat level orange! The confusing color-coded homeland security system will be scrapped and replaced with a new, simpler one. Fox News explains how it works.
“The new, two tiered terrorist advisory system will be much more specific to audiences and events, relies on the American public as a key partner and even involved Facebook and Twitter."
"Now there will be just two levels. Elevated and Imminent. Elevated warns of a credible threat. Imminent means it's specific and pending.”
Just how simple is the new system? It can be contained to a one page flyer -- seen here. And rather than the government telling you when things seem suspicious, it’s asking you to be the eyes and ears of a nation.
And, before you go thinking, “they’ll just keep it at elevated,” the government says, think again. If no fresh intelligence comes in about possible threats, after 30 days, the alerts will be automatically dropped. And according to Bloomberg, that’s not the only tweaking being done.
“Alerts may be sent to law enforcement, distributed to areas of the private sector that may be affected, or issued more broadly to the public through the department’s website...”
Of course, the U.S. has been at orange alert -- or elevated -- for the last five years. On NBC’s Today Show, Meredith Viera asks Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, how’s this gonna work?
“Sure, we always know we need to be alert, to be situationally aware. What this is about is specific or imminent threats that people need to know about so that they can prepare themselves or their families, their communities. If we’re asking them to look for something, they can help with that.”
“And we want this to be a shared responsibility with the citizenry of our country. To make sure that they’re aware, that they’re helping. And they know what to do to help themselves.”
But a blogger for Internet Evolution says, not all the government’s plans to streamline national security, seem sound. Like the idea of informing people via Twitter and Facebook, of an impending threat.
“The rapid spread of this 'information' could cause mass chaos before the government or the social sites themselves even catch on. … [T]he potential to misinform here is huge. This is not to say that the government is wrong for looking to the Web's most populated hangouts in order to constructively frighten people. Rather, it just points to a flaw inherent in the Internet."
And security analyst and former airline pilot Kevin McCarthy tells NPR, the fact is -- nothing is bullet-proof when it comes to securing a nation as large as the United States.
"Broadcasting a vague warning that doesn't have specifics on how to react only raises the anxiety level of the general public. People have to accept that on the whole, yes, we're going to take some hits [from terrorists]. "There's no way around that."
The new rules are set to go into effect April 26th.
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Transcript by Newsy.