Terror Threat: White House

Bush administration says intelligence behind alert "chilling", not old

The White House says the intelligence behind the latest terror alert is "chilling" -- and not old, as critics have suggested. Press Secretary Scott McClellan says it's "wrong and quite irresponsible" to call the information outdated. He says it was updated as recently as this year. And he says al-Qaida has a history of planning attacks well in advance, then updating plans just before striking. McClellan spoke to reporters on Air Force One as President Bush flew to Texas. Officials have acknowledged that some of the documents found in Pakistan that prompted the alert are undated, and may be pre-Nine-Eleven.

The documents reflected surveillance of financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has suggested the alert -- right after the Democratic convention -- was timed for political effect. But Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge denies that, saying, "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security."