Advisement System Between February 7, 2003 and February 27, 2003, the U.S. advisory level was set to red. During this periods, Muslims across the world were celebrating Hajj which is commonly associated with making pilgrimage in Mecca and one of the five pillars of Islam. During Hajj, Muslim faithfuls in their thousands travel to Mecca from all over the world in show of their solidarity as a religious group and to demonstrate their submission to Allah.
The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to raise the advisory system level from yellow to orange on February 7, 2003 followed the gathering of intelligence reports that indicated that the leaders of Al Qaeda were emphasizing on the carrying out of attacks against different targets on U.S. soil (Department of Homeland Security par. 4). The Al Qaeda terrorist group which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Centre and pentagon, according to intelligence reports, were calling on extremist Muslim faithful to target places like hotels, secured targets, and apartment buildings within the U.S. to coincide with the celebration of Hajj (Department of Homeland Security par. 4). Fortunately, throughout the period, no major security issue that could have been associated with terrorism was reported.
The high level advisory was maintained for a period of about 20 days and was lowered from orange to yellow on February 27, 2003. The lowering of the advisory level followed a careful evaluation of the security situation in the country backed by intelligence reports as noted by the Department of Homeland Security (par.5).
Department of Homeland Security. Chronology of Changes to the Homeland Security Advisory System. 2014. Web. http://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-advisory-system