U.S. Tightens Security, Adds Air Marshals to Flights

July 2, 2007
After London, marshals added to overseas flights

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush said yesterday he appreciates the new British government's "strong response" to terrorist threats in London and Glasgow, Scotland, that prompted the United States to tighten airport security and add air marshals to overseas flights.

"It just goes to show the war against these extremists goes on," Bush said as he waited for Russian President Vladimir Putin to arrive at the Bush family seaside home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

"You never know where they may try to strike, and I appreciate the very strong response that the Gordon Brown government's given to the attempts by these people," he added.

Bush made the remarks hours after his homeland security chief said the administration was satisfied with its current terrorism alert level following an attack at a Scottish airport and two foiled car bombs in London.

"I think given what we know now, we're comfortable that we're at the right posture," Michael Chertoff said during a round of talk show appearances.

U.S. airports and mass transit systems are tightening security ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and more air marshals will travel on overseas flights.

"We will be doing operations at various rail locations and other mass transit locations in cooperation with local authorities," Chertoff said.

"Again, not because of a specific piece of credible threat information, but because we are going into a holiday season. There will be a larger number of people traveling," Chertoff said.

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the investigations were continuing, said U.S. authorities are running the names of the suspects in Britain through their databases to look for links to the United States.

It was not immediately clear whether counterterrorism agencies had any hits or connections.

U.S. airports are at the second of five security threat levels - orange - indicating a high risk of terrorist attacks. The current national threat level is yellow, or the third highest, indicating an elevated threat.

Chertoff said he does not plan to change those levels. "At this moment we don't have a specific credible threat against the United States," he said.

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