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Celebrate Fourth of July, but Beware, U.S. Leaders Advise

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2002 – Americans should remain vigilant, but go ahead with their plans to celebrate Independence Day, the Fourth of July, according to top U.S. government officials.

Speaking on CBS TV's "Face the Nation," Secretary of State Colin Powell said he didn't want to "over-hype" the fact that U.S. intelligence officials put out a "prudent alert" to law enforcement agencies regarding the holiday period. He said there have been some al Qaeda and other reports and that it's a time for heightened awareness.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials are carefully examining all intelligence information and will be meeting regularly during the next couple of days to assess any additional threats that may come in, Powell said.

"But," he stressed, "I hope most Americans will go about their business and enjoy the 4th of July. I intend to."

Speaking on NBC TV's "Meet the Press," National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice echoed Powell's message, noting that July 4 is "symbolically an important day." She said the president would ask the American people "to be vigilant, to work hard to look around them and see if anything looks unusual."

"A lot of preparations are being made to try and make certain that the Fourth of July is safe for everyone. But yes, it is a time of enhanced vigilance, and we would ask for help of the American people in that way," she said.

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