While federal officials are not raising the terror threat level in response to the newly released Osama bin Laden videotaped message -- the first such message in nearly three years -- they are considering new regulations for private planes from Europe and small boats.
"We're very focused now on private planes coming from Europe and Asia. We're on the verge of putting out some new regulations to secure us against threats from that arena," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. "We're looking at small boats, which would be another way of threatening our ports, aside from the container ships that we've talked about so much."
But the security effort has more to do with a potentially stronger al Qaeda than the latest bin Laden message.
"I think that these tapes are always propaganda," Chertoff said. "They're designed to affect how Americans feel and to influence us and to, frankly, terrorize us."
Chertoff said the government is taking no chances with the tape and is checking to see, "Is there a message in it? Is it a hidden message or an overt message?"
Without more specifics about a threat from al Qaeda, Chertoff said he did not plan to raise the threat level. Instead, he reiterated his warning that in recent months the nation has faced a heightened threat from a resurgent al Qaeda.
"They have done more recruiting of Western Europeans for terrorism. We saw some of the evidence of that in the German and the Danish plot. They have, at least until recently, had a pretty safe environment in certain parts of the frontier area of Pakistan in which they could train," Chertoff said. "They have reconstituted some of their leadership at a midlevel. So they've had opportunities to rebuild some of the capabilities that we've been degrading over the last few years."
Today the CIA issued a similar warning as Director Michael Hayden said, "Our analysts assess with high confidence that al Qaeda's central leadership is planning high impact plots against the U.S. homeland."
As a result, the government has taken a number of steps to beef up security, including high-profile patrols at airports and train stations.
Six Years Later, Any Safer?
There are people within the U.S. government who would agree with one of Osama Bin Laden's statements -- that America is still vulnerable.
Six years after 9/11, the new report from the Government Accountability Office about the Department of Homeland Security finds that commercial airliners are not as safe as they could be and intelligence agencies are still not doing a good job sharing information.
The Department of Homeland Security's own internal review found huge holes in the government's ability to keep bombs out of commercial airplane cargo holds. The report warned of too few inspectors and called screening regulations "vague."
And the Justice Department investigation found on 20 occasions, information about suspected terrorists was never passed along to border patrol and other law enforcement agencies.
When asked about the poor performance, Chertoff told ABC News, "We're always examining gaps, and I'm the first person to say the job is not done … many of the criticisms in those reports have been addressed and have been resolved."
Federal officials maintain dramatic security improvements have been made across the board since 9/11, but with the re-emergence of bin Laden and worry about new threats from al Qaeda, the question now is: Have there been enough?
Chertoff said he is committed to doing more all of the time. "I'm focused -- looking not only straight ahead, but around the corners against the next threat."