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Threat level: Hippopotamus

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Comic: War on terror

Threat level: Hippopotamus

Homeland Security ends color-coded threats

The color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System is due to be replaced in April by a new National Terror Advisory System that will use family-friendly animals to signal terror threat levels, said a Department of Homeland Security source who preferred to remain anonymous.

President George W. Bush established the Homeland Security Advisory System by presidential directive on March 11, 2002, just a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The five levels—green for low, blue for guarded, yellow for elevated, orange for high and red for severe—were intended to identify the risk of terrorist attack.

The color has not changed from orange, signifying "elevated" risk, since 2006.

Roberto De Vido is a communications consultant, writer, cartoonist and jack of many trades. The former chief of Tucson Sentinel’s East Asia Bureau, he now lives in California (make of that what you will).

“This new system is built on a clear and simple premise: when a credible threat develops that could impact the public, we will tell you ...”

— U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

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