Terror-Alert Level Drops, But Not for 'Certain Locales'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - We are still concerned about homeland security, but we've made the decision to come down to yellow -- in many places -- said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge late Friday morning.

He said the nation's terror alert level will return to the "elevated," yellow level, down from high/orange. But he said certain "critical resources and locales" within the private sector would remain on a high security alert. Ridge refused to specify exactly what he was talking about, but he said people "in those locales" have been informed.

He joked that reporters would probably find out, too, in the next few days -- "but I'm not going to tell you."

He did say he remains concerned that terrorists want to use commercial aircraft as weapons.

Pressed to clarify, Ridge said, "We're just asking certain locales in the private sector at certain sites to add security." He described it as working on a more "selective basis" to maintain security.

He said it would be wrong to say that these areas would be at an "orange" level.

"I don't want to get caught up in a discussion of colors," Ridge said.

"I just want to reiterate again, that there are specific locales, and within those locales, there are specific things that we still have some concern about, and we're going to work with the security professionals in those areas to make sure that we maintain some form of added security."

Although the nation has returned to the yellow, "elevated" terror-alert level, we're not letting our guard down, Ridge said at a press conference.

He noted with satisfaction that the holidays - and the large gatherings that accompany them - came and went without incident.

"We believe this is a testament to the incredible level of awareness, information-sharing and communication that stretched around the country and the world," Ridge said.