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Government Keeps Threat-Alert Status at Orange

The government will keep its threat-alert status at its second-highest level at least through next week.

"We're hopeful that intelligence information will allow us to lower the threat level some time in the not-too-distant future," Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House Office of Homeland Security, said Thursday.

There was no fresh intelligence suggesting the threat has passed or increased, one Bush administration official said. The government is evaluating intelligence daily and decided to maintain the orange level alert status out caution, the official said.

On Tuesday, the administration raised the threat level from code yellow to code orange, closed nine U.S. embassies overseas and tightened security at federal buildings and landmarks in the United States. The steps came as new intelligence warned of car bombings, suicide attacks and other strikes linked to the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Yellow is an "elevated condition," meaning there is a significant risk of attack. This status calls for increased surveillance of critical locations and putting in place some emergency response plans. Orange signifies a high risk of attack, meaning the government should coordinate security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement agencies and take additional precautions at public events.

Several measures triggered by the orange alert remained in place Thursday. The Customs Service increased border security activities at ports of entry. Fighter jets patrolled over Washington.

Representatives of 28 government agencies were on notice at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters, ready to respond to a terrorist crisis.

Vice President Dick Cheney remained at a secure, undisclosed location to preserve the succession of government, his spokeswoman said.