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Rumors of a new terror color quashed

Published Aug. 31, 2005

The Homeland Security Department's color-coded threat system has been the butt of late-night comics and arm-chair critics, so it was probably inevitable the colors would come under fire.

Rumors swept through Washington Friday that the department was considering a new color, something between Orange and Red that would give it more latitude before resorting to the highest state of alert. A television news report prompted a flood of calls.

"I've heard it all: burnt orange, orange-plus, hard orange, even orange crush," said Dennis Murphy, a Homeland Security spokesman.

But, spokesman Gordon Johndroe added, the reports are false.

"While we know the system is not perfect, we're not creating another level. We like the five colors we have now."

"If the president has to use military action to disarm Saddam Hussein, we'll take the necessary measures to protect the homeland," Johndroe said. "But that does not include adding another color."