Opinion: Millions fail to notice Janet Napolitano’s end to terror alert color codes; No panic reported yet


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So, how are you getting along so far with no knowledge of what color terror alert you are living under? Does it affect your choice of activities or wardrobe?

As you may have heard, Janet ‘Man Caused Disaster’ Napolitano has announced the end to the color-coded terror alert system that many people did not know was still around, if they ever understood it in the first place.


Napolitano is secretary of Homeland Security and the former governor of Arizona who’s done such an impressive job in recent years of securing that state’s border with Mexico against illegal intruders.

Napolitano (see photo above) is also the Obama administration official who said the government’s airline security system worked according to plan back around Christmas 2009 when the....

... underwear bomber’s plot was thwarted by an alert Dutch tourist in a nearby seat who saw smoke seeping from the guy’s crotch. No one knew until that day how integral alert Dutch tourists had become in the workings of the U.S. airline security system. The old color-code system was hurriedly invented in those scary first few weeks after 9/11 to make everyone feel like somebody was really in charge. But in practice the colors were always meaningless to the average eye or ear.

Quick! Without looking, which is worse, blue alert or green alert?

Oh, you cheated.

Anyway, once the alerts got up into the red and orange zones, who in a government bureaucracy in this day and age would take the responsibility of giving an all-clear back down to blue or green?

As a result, whether you knew it or not, you’ve been living on the Orange level for almost five straight years.

In the middle of 2009 Napolitano ordered a 60-day review of the color code. Now, 566 days later she’s decided to phase out the colors and go with another system that’s already been given a nifty government name, the National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS (prounounced NTAS).


Because of the administration’s policy of opacity, Napolitano didn’t really provide too many specifics.

But she did say, ‘Under the new, two-tiered system, DHS will coordinate with other Federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts regarding information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an ‘Imminent Threat’ or ‘Elevated Threat.’’

However, because a government acronym for IT or ET can so very easily be confused with Information Technology and the ‘ET’ television show, it seems likely the two new threat levels will be called ‘OMG’ and ‘RFI’ (Run for It).

The old color system will be phased out over the next 90 to 566 days. Meanwhile, everyone should continue living Orange.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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