I'm not a freak out person either but after hearing about the second case of anthrax reported and reading the article below I am afraid. I too am suspicious of things that would be "normal" any other time. I'm cognizant of the increased air traffic I see (live near one military and one national guard base) and although I may not dwell on it at the time, it is in the back of my mind to resurface now and again. After some time went by after 9/11 I would think that maybe we would be fortunate and this would be it. Then the anthrax. I thought, well it could just be a real freaky coincidence. Then the next report of anthrax. Then I read this. I don't know. I think I'm trying to assimilate each occurrence one at a time but everytime I look at it all together I can't rationalize it anymore. Then I think, "Oh my God, this is really happening". And it's just so weird to be going to work and doing everyday things while all this is going on. I just pray for all of us.
AS THE UNITED STATES began military action against targets in Afghanistan, the State Department warned of the possibility of "strong anti-American sentiment and retaliatory actions against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world."
These actions may be taken "by terrorists and those who are sympathetic to or otherwise support terrorism," the department said in issuing a "worldwide caution."
Americans in Afghanistan should leave the country, the government said and Americans elsewhere were urged to monitor the local news, stay in touch with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and limit their movement.
The latest travel information can be obtained from the State Department's Web site, at travel.state.gov, as well as the Web sites of U.S. embassies and consulates.
Congressional leaders also urged caution.
"I don't know when or where or how, but you can just about believe that there are going to be more attacks," said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Intelligence Committee. "To lull the American people to sleep ... would be a terrible thing to do."
As with most such warnings since the Sept. 11 attacks on America, no detailed threats were mentioned.
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Intelligence Committee, predicted on ABC's "This Week" that terrorists would use means other than the airline hijackings of Sept. 11 to create a "pervasive sense of fear."
In response, the FBI on Sunday urged law enforcement agencies nationwide to move to their highest level of alert and to evaluate whether additional local security measures are warranted.
At airports and sports stadiums, at state capitols and downtown office buildings, and on the streets from Utah to New York, the nation stepped up already-heightened patrols:
U.S. aircraft flew combat air patrol missions over National Football League games. In San Francisco and at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, there were armed National Guard troops.
The Emmy Awards, honoring television excellence, were indefinitely postponed, said CBS, the network set to broadcast the event. No decision has been made on whether to hold the show at a future time or cancel it altogether, organizers told a news conference.
Cheney was taken to an undisclosed "secure location" so he and President Bush would not be in the same place in the event of a new terrorist attack. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer described Cheney's move as a "precautionary measure" similar to that taken after the Sept. 11 attacks when the White House was believed to be a target.
Some major U.S. structures that have been mentioned as possible targets closed Sunday, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Empire State Building in New York. But the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Space Needle in Seattle remained open.
In New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said armed police and National Guard members were being put at "sensitive areas."
U.S. diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia said Sunday they were closing until further notice to review security.
NATO officials said that at Washington's request, the alliance would soon deploy AWACS surveillance planes for anti-terrorist operations.
The heightened alert came after several high-level officials-including Attorney General John Ashcroft-warned recently of another attack.
Members of the Intelligence Committee were given classified information last week on the likelihood of another attack on the United States. The members were briefed by counterterrorism officials from the FBI, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The members would not discuss specifics of the briefing last Tuesday. But sources familiar with what congressional intelligence committees have heard told The Washington Post that the concern of another attack was based on intelligence from sources in England, Germany, Afghanistan and Pakistan. A source told the Post that Egyptian, Somali and Pakistani elements of Osama bin Laden's network were thought to be involved.
At the briefing, an intelligence official said there is a "100 percent" chance of an attack should the United States attack Afghanistan, the Post reported.
U.S. OFFICIALS HUDDLE TO PLAN DEFENSE
U.S. officials were taking the threat very seriously, and officials at the White House, the Justice Department and the State Department met recently to discuss the best way to relay their concern to the public, the Post reported. U.S. officials have taken several steps to tighten nationwide security.
At both borders, all vehicles are subject to searches-creating long backups.
On the waterways like New York Harbor, every incoming commercial vessel is searched, and cruise lines report passenger lists four days before docking.
For the first time, police ride on Amtrak trains. More guards patrol oil and gas pipeline facilities. Security zones surround high-profile buildings. Security at every nuclear power plant is now at the highest level.
Monday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge will take charge of the new Office of Homeland Security. His job is to coordinate activities of the 40 federal agencies now responsible for protecting Americans by preventing terrorism.
In the absence of specific threats, however, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott said on "Fox News Sunday," people cannot do much to protect themselves.
"You don't take stupid risks, and you put it in God's hands, and you go on with your life doing the best you can," said Lott, R-Miss.
NBC's Virginia Cha, MSNBC's Bobbi Nodell and The Associated Press contributed to this report