U.S. law enforcement agencies were on the highest state of alert Friday following an FBI warning of the possibility of additional terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is taking further steps to cut off financing for terrorist groups.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide moved to the high alert status after the FBI warned of what it called a "general threat" of more terrorist attacks.
In his news conference Thursday, President Bush sought to reassure Americans that his administration is doing all it can to keep the country safe and he urged citizens to go about their normal business. But he also said Americans should report any suspicious activity to local police.
Administration officials are saying little about what prompted this latest FBI warning. But former FBI counter-terrorism expert Christopher Whitcomb told NBC television that the information is probably based on a range of intelligence sources. "We are looking at what is called signals intelligence things that they are taking out of the air really communications, cell phones, video transfers, things like that," he said. "Human intelligence, anything we are getting from sources and assets around the world. Electronic images that are generating satellite photos, things like that," he said. "All of that coming from intelligence agencies, from the military, from the FBI all pooling into one great resource right now to try and figure out what is going on," he said.
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration continues to target people and groups that are providing financial assistance to terrorists. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill announced that the assets of an additional 39 individuals and organizations suspected of providing financial assistance to terrorist groups have been frozen.
"This list will continue to grow as we share information between nations and develop an increasingly clear understanding of the complex network of terrorist financing," Mr. O'Neill said. "We are determined to deny terrorists the resources to carry out their acts of evil."
So far, the administration says it has frozen a total of $24 million in assets since the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Even as the United States seeks to cut financial support for terrorism, members of Congress are looking to help businesses at home reeling from the impact of the terrorist attacks.
On Friday, representatives of the travel and tourist industry made a plea for help on Capitol Hill.
Among those states hardest hit by the travel and tourist slump is Hawaii. Senator Daniel Inouye, a Democrat from Hawaii, was among those urging his fellow lawmakers to find a way to help. "The retail industry of the United States is the number one industry of the United States, the number one employer of people," he said. "Second to that, and a close second, is the tourist industry. And if this industry goes down under, then the economy of the United States is gone."
But that help may not come quickly. The travel and tourism industry is just one of several looking for federal help in the aftermath of last month's terror attacks.