US boosts airport security after UK bomb scares

The White House on Saturday announced reinforced security at US airports after two car bombs were found in London and a blazing vehicle crashed into a terminal at Glasgow’s airport.

US boosts airport security after UK bomb scares
The White House on Saturday announced reinforced security at US airports after two car bombs were found in London and a blazing vehicle crashed into a terminal at Glasgow’s airport.

Security was heightened at airports, train and mass transit stations but US officials did not raise the alert level nationwide.

“There is no indication of any specific or credible threat to the United States, no change in the overall security level,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

“However at airports there are some alertness-raising measures that the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has invoked,” he said.

“You are likely to see those in the increased presence of some TSA agents outside terminals, there will be some inconvenience to passengers in terms of longer wait times.”

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said top US government security officials were in “close contact” with their British counterparts and that US officials met Friday and Saturday to discuss the events in Britain.

“At this point, I have seen no specific, credible information suggesting that this latest incident is connected to a threat to the homeland,” Chertoff said in a statement.

“We have no plans at this time to change the national threat level, although we remind everyone that the aviation threat level has been raised to orange since last fall,” he said, referring to the “high” threat level designated by the colour orange.

The rest of the United States remains at the yellow or ”elevated” level.

But he added that Homeland Security would strengthen security measures at airports especially in view of the July 4th Independence Day holiday coming up.

The US announcement came after Britain raised its security alert to “critical,” the highest level, meaning an attack is expected imminently.

On Saturday British police arrested two people following the crash of a blazing car into a passenger terminal building at Glasgow Airport in Scotland, one day after the discovery and defusing of the two large car bombs in London.

Snow said President George W. Bush, who will meet Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin at his family’s summer vacation home here on the Maine coast, had been briefed about the ongoing developments in London.

Bush took a mountain bike ride on Saturday but was kept informed of the situation at all times, sometimes through a military aide, the spokesman said. Bush was briefed “before, during and after the bike ride,” Snow said.

Airport security was elevated to “create an up-front presence that in and of itself is a deterrent” to attacks, he said.

“It’s important to know that we remain committed to being vigilant throughout the country, including at airports,” he added.

Bush had not spoken to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown directly but there had been “cabinet-level contacts” between the two governments, he said.

Asked about whether the timing of the attack was to coincide with Brown taking over as prime minister only days earlier, Snow said: “It’s really impossible to say at this point.”

He added: “I would warn against trying to draw over-broad conclusions.”

Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2007, 10:44
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