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The Politics of Homeland Security Alerts

Tom Ridge on Thursday again emphasized that his agency has credible evidence of al Qaeda activity in the United States, and that it may strike to upset U.S. elections. The warning, however, did not include an upgrade of the nation's color-coded alert level. Administration critics say the White House is trying to maintain a national sense of fear to provide a boost for President Bush this November. NPR's Tony Cox speaks with experts on the topic: James Bamford, author of Pretext for War, and Juliette Kayyem, who served on the National Commission on Terrorism and now lectures on counterterrorism at the Kennedy School of Government.

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