HELENA – There have been no threats in Montana since the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, but citizens should be vigilant against the possibility, the administrator of the state Disaster and Emergency Services Division said Monday.
Federal officials warned that the threat of retaliation against the United States is real, even as celebrations stretched into the early morning Monday in reaction to the news of bin Laden’s death. From New York to Los Angeles, authorities were stepping up intelligence monitoring and patrols of airports, subways and bridges.
Security has been heightened at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls and the Montana National Guard’s Fort William Henry Harrison outside Helena, said DES administrator Ed Tinsley.
No additional security has been assigned to the state’s dams or other infrastructure, he said.
The U.S. Northern Command has raised the force-protection level for all National Guard installations and personnel one level from Alpha to Bravo, said Maj. Bruce Coccoli, the Montana National Guard’s anti-terrorism force protection officer.
Such an increase in the terrorist threat level is relatively rare and it means there is an increased threat of terrorist activity, Coccoli said.
The change means closer security checks and increased awareness at Fort William Henry Harrison and other Guard facilities, but no change in personnel, he said.
Additional troops would be called to the facilities if the force-protection level rises to Charlie, which means a threat is imminent, or the highest level, Delta, which means an attack is under way or has happened.
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