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U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks during a news conference in Washington on Thursday.
Thursday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff briefed the media about a suspected British terror plot, in which 21 suspects have been arrested in Great Britain. Some of the main points in Secretary Chertoff's remarks:
• The plot's operatives planned to bring liquid explosives and detonators, disguised as beverages, electronic devices or other common objects, on board flights to the United States.
• There is currently no indication of any plotting within the United States.
• The threat level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States is at red, or severe, the highest level of alert.
• The threat level for all other domestic and international flights in the United States is raised to orange, or high alert.
• Any liquids or gels have to be checked as part of baggage to go into the hold. There will be exceptions for baby formula and medicines
• Travelers are asked to pack as lightly as possible and minimize clutter to help speed the security screening process.
• Federal air marshals are being sent to the United Kingdom to provide expanded mission coverage for flights to the United States.
• In international arrival areas, U.S. customs officials will increase the use of advanced targeting tools, as well as baggage and aircraft search teams using K-9 units and detection technology.
• Travelers should expect delays, but they do not need to change their travel plans.
• Homeland Security asks Americans to be aware and vigilant, and to report any activity they think is suspicious to law-enforcement authorities.