WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday that it was a mistake for Hawaii to post a confidential report on its website, but that the department will continue to communicate openly with state and local authorities about potential terrorist threats.
Hawaii officials published a draft copy of a confidential Homeland Security report that catalogues ways terrorists might strike in the United States. The report, requested by a presidential directive in December 2003, marks Homeland Security efforts to spur state and local authorities into thinking about preventing attacks.
''My understanding is this was an error," Chertoff said in an interview with reporters. ''It's not going to deter us from working closely with our state and local partners in fashioning these plans."
The report was deleted from Hawaii's site late Tuesday night. Homeland Security initially believed that other states also may have linked to the report on their websites, but a further review yesterday showed that not to be the case, said spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.
Chertoff's comments followed a Washington-area anthrax alert this week that appears to have been a false alarm.
The two-day alert was marked by conflicting information from local, state, and federal officials that led to some broadcast media to inaccurately report anthrax contamination.