U.S. REISSUES ‘WORLDWIDE CAUTION’
Byline: Joanna Ramey
WASHINGTON — While there are no U.S. government travel advisories for Paris or anywhere else in Europe, a “worldwide caution” for American citizens traveling abroad remains in place.
The State Department advisory, first issued the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was reissued on Friday.
“The U.S. government remains deeply concerned about the security of Americans overseas,” the alert reads in part. While the warning stresses particular concern that U.S. embassies and facilities abroad could be the target of further attacks from “extremists,” there’s a general word of caution for U.S. citizens and interests on foreign soil that are “at increased risk of terrorist actions from extremist groups.”
Such ominous statements stand in contrast to President Bush’s admonition for Americans to return to normalcy and start traveling again after four airplanes were hijacked and crashed as part of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In Paris, French Prime Minister M. Lionel Jospin, in a Sept. 24 speech before the annual session of the Institute of Higher national Defense Studies, said within France “everything is being done to prevent terrorist action.” He cited “major mobilization” of the French armed forces and police after the attacks and stepped-up cooperation with European Union-member forces as new anti-terrorism steps taken.
Specific to Paris but not relating to terrorism, the U.S. State Department continues to carry its longstanding pickpocket alerts at department stores and on the Number One subway line connecting tourist attractions like the Champs Elysees and Louvre. The advisory also warns against thieves on the rail link from the airport into downtown who prey on “jet-lagged, luggage-burdened tourists.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration has increased airport and airline security, but further measures — like whether baggage screeners should be federal employees — are still under debate in Congress. The FAA suggests travelers contact airlines about how much time to allow for check-in and security clearance at airports.