U.S. officials have announced a series of steps designed to thwart terrorist attacks in the event of war with Iraq.

With the United States now on "high" alert for possible terrorist attacks. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge has ordered increased security at U.S. borders, airports and seaports as a possible war with Iraq draws closer:

"It is our responsibility, whether we are the federal government, state government or local government, to be prepared for any attempted attack against our interests and that is exactly what this coordinated national effort is designed to do," he said.

Security is being increased at chemical and nuclear plants and state governors are being asked to deploy National Guard troops as needed to help local police.

In addition, asylum-seekers from Iraq and 33 other countries are being held for background checks as the FBI steps up efforts to track suspected terrorists.