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US Steps Up Security Measures to Meet Increased Terror Threat - 2003-03-21

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, says authorities across the country have stepped up security since the government raised the terrorist threat level earlier this week. He testified Thursday before a House of Representatives committee.

Mr. Ridge said there have been no reports of incidents since U.S.-led military action in Iraq began.

He added there is an additional layer of security since the threat level was increased to "orange" indicating a high risk of a terrorist attack.

"There are more random patrols at our ports, there is additional security at our airports, we are doing more random searches and deploying more resources at the border," he pointed out.

The Bush administration says it will ask for more money for homeland security as part of a new budget request to pay for the war in Iraq.

"There will indeed be money for homeland security in the supplemental appropriation bill that will be sent up to the Congress," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Homeland security has been a hot political issue, with Democrats charging that the Republican administration has not budgeted enough money for cities and state governments.