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Asa Hutchinson - Well, Secretary Ridge would have to speak for himself, but from my experience, you had someone who's got a history in law enforcement just looking at it from the standpoint, 'My goodness, we got intelligence here, we've got to raise the threat level.' But the Homeland Security has to consider, first of all, 'How does the public react to this? Does it measure up to the standards of credibility? Is it something that we can act upon with an appropriate response?' And, quite frankly, sometimes we realized the public couldn't do anything or law enforcement couldn't do anything. There was a push back saying, 'I don't know that we need to create the fear in the American public.' And, in fact, as you can see, as we got more experienced, the number of times we increased the threat level decreased in '04 as compared to '03. I believe it was four times or three times in '03. We reduced that by half in '04. And I think that's just experience getting better at it.

Well, Secretary Ridge would have to speak for himself, but from my experience, you had someone who's got a history in law enforcement just looking at it from the standpoint, 'My goodness, we got intelligence here, we've got to raise the threat level.' But the Homeland Security has to consider, first of all, 'How does the public react to this? Does it measure up to the standards of credibility? Is it something that we can act upon with an appropriate response?' And, quite frankly, sometimes we realized the public couldn't do anything or law enforcement couldn't do anything. There was a push back saying, 'I don't know that we need to create the fear in the American public.' And, in fact, as you can see, as we got more experienced, the number of times we increased the threat level decreased in '04 as compared to '03. I believe it was four times or three times in '03. We reduced that by half in '04. And I think that's just experience getting better at it.

Asa Hutchinson
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