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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA recently issued an information bulletin (03-002) providing credit unions guidance for developing protective measures in the heightened terrorist threat condition. On Friday, Feb. 7, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security ratcheted up the threat level from `elevated’ (yellow) to `high’ (orange). Aside from posting Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee bulletin on its Web site, NCUA has created a FBIIC link on the left hand side of its home page for easy access. The agency has also been contacting federal credit unions, corporates, and state regulators directly on the issue of heightened terrorism precautions via e-mail, according to NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs Cliff Northup. He added that these precautions also apply to NCUA and its regional offices, but no additional security personnel have been posted at NCUA’s Alexandria, Va. headquarters. In addition to the precautions associated with the yellow threat level, critical infrastructure entities should coordinate security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement; take additional precautions at public events; review contingency plans; and review plans to restrict access to facilities, according to the guidance. The guidance emphasized that it “is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely illustrative.” Credit unions and others should also consider: * activation of emergency operations centers; * conduct periodic inspections of facilities; * enhance security at critical facilities; * begin or increase security patrols; * implement random security guard shift changes; * start stringent identification procedures; * remind personnel to display badges and enforce visibility; * rearrange vehicle barriers to alter traffic patterns; * approach illegally parked vehicles around facilities, question drivers and direct them to move immediately and, if the owner cannot be identified, have law enforcement tow vehicle; * x-ray or inspect packages, handbags, briefcases, etc.; and * encourage personnel to avoid routines, among many other measures. Additionally, the guidance provides situations possibly indicative of weapons of mass destruction, such as unusual or suspicious packages; unusual powders, liquids, droplets, mists or clouds; dead animals, birds or insects; unexplained or unusual odors; unusual or unscheduled spraying. The National Infrastructure Protection Center, which sent out the Homeland Security Information Update, encouraged individuals to report suspicious activity to their local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force office, the NIPC Watch and Warning Unit ((202) 323-3205, toll free at 1-888-585-9078, http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm, or other authorities.

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