Measuring The Threat

WASHINGTON WANTS AMERICANS TO BE ALERT ABOUT POTENTIAL DANGER. BUT HOW MUCH DO OUR SPIES REALLY KNOW?

They were, in some small way, supposed to make us feel more secure and informed, perhaps even confident in our leaders. But by the time officials had ringed nuclear power plants with armed roadblocks and West Coast commuters had begun detouring around some bridges, the latest round of terrorist-attack warnings--from Washington's vague bulletin to California's detailed advisory--left many people feeling quite the opposite: confused, afraid and in some cases downright angry. "We're drinking all the coffee we can," Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said with a large dose of black humor. "How alert can we...

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