One day after it was revealed that they were temporarily closing several embassies due to possible terrorist threats, the State Department has issued a "worldwide travel alert" for Americans traveling the globe this month. The warning urges U.S. citizens to be aware of "the continued potential for terrorist attacks," especially in the Middle East, and especially in the month of August. Beyond that, there is not much else being offered in the way of information.
The warning says that "current information suggests that al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks," which is not exactly news. Terrorists make threats against America all the time, and most of them remain just threats. However, it's now clear that U.S. intelligence agencies must have heard something new to make them believe that a major plot is actively in the works. To close all the embassies in the Middle East for day is a pretty serious action, and goes beyond the usual reminders to just keep your eyes open.
Here is the State Department's worldwide travel alert. pic.twitter.com/sjQR4i51nQ— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) August 2, 2013
However, warning the entire planet to be on the lookout isn't that helpful either. Even just "the Middle East and North Africa" are pretty big places, where being aware of your surroundings and taking safety measures is always good advice. So long story short: Terrorism still exists, Americans are still targets, and you should probably just stay on your couch the rest of this month.
A worldwide alert is pretty darn worthless— Jon Walker (@JonWalkerDC) August 2, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.