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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS SPEAKS OF RAISED TERROR THREAT

Aired August 1, 2004 - 17:03   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WHITFIELD: Let's talk about the potential vulnerabilities that some of these other landmarks or other financial institutions, particularly in the New York City area may be facing, since there have been named locations where the stepped-up security will be. Is it your view that some places will be--hold on a thought for that, Ken Robinson. We're going to go down the street you from in Washington and listen in to DC Mayor Anthony Williams.
MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, DC: ..federal government. Those discussion are ongoing, we're going to have consultations and briefings as well, and the chief can detail this with the business community as well as with the array of security forces for the various institutions in our city as we step this up. A couple of notes, first, as I've said from September 11th through the anthrax crisis, day in and day out, our priority is to, number one, ensure, that we have the proper balance between a safe city and an open city. A safe city in two ways, in the ways that the chief would describe to ensure that our major institutions, our workers, our visitors are safe and protected and secure, and that's obvious. But safety as well to ensure that as we get into this, we're not only allowing for the security of these major institution, but we're also learning some important lessons from September 11th and maintaining our presence and maintaining the public security force and the community policing out in our neighborhoods. Because we found and other cities have found that post-September 11th, with some of the deployments you lost some of the coverage in the neighborhoods and we lost some yardage and lost some ground in our fight against crime. The second thing is to say in terms of an open city and the chief mentioned this on our way down here, this is something we're in to for the long haul, certainly until the election as we know it and understand it, and I would really urge our citizens to really make that extra--chief, come on up and join us.

This is Chief Adrian Thompson, our fire and EMS chief. It looks like he's the director of the Hawaiian resort as well. Put your mai- tai down, chief. But really urge our citizens to really be vigilant and be and on the alert for anything unusual. To really help us help you by taking to account all of the lesson, all the conversation we've had about family preparedness, certainly take that into account as we go forward. But having said all of that, go about your daily business. If you're going to work at a certain place at a certain time, continue to do that, if you're going to shop, you're going to entertain friends, whatever you are going to do, continue to do that, because what we're protecting here is our way of life. And we want that way of life to continue because that is, indeed, our strength. So that's the overall message that I want to convey, I'm available to answer questions later. But right now I want to ask Chief Ramsey, and then Chief Thompson, is certainly going to be having something to say, and Barbara (inaudible), but right now Chief Ramsey the head of our Metropolitan Police Department.

CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, DC METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. The Metropolitan Police Department has moved to code orange in our operations. What this means simply is enhanced coverage in certain areas. Obviously, the IMF and World Bank, Federal Reserve, Bureau of Engraving, there are a lot of financial institution here in the District of Columbia that we'll be paying close attention to. Coordinating our efforts with private security. I've had numerous conversations with the Department of Homeland Security, yesterday and today. I've had face to face meetings with the FBI, Mike Mason, who is the assistant director in charge of the Washington field office. We've met face to face on a couple of occasions about the information that you now have available to you. These threats are credible, but we do not know exactly when, where and how something like this would be carried out. So we have to be very vigilant. We'll be working with private security directors, meeting with them to talk about ways in which they can help protect facilities. We will be adding increased patrols around those areas. Again, as the mayor mentioned, we're not pulling away from neighborhood patrols, but we will be enhancing coverage through overtime details and various ways in which we can increase our coverage. We will be making numerous traffic stops. Truck stops and the like around these particular facilities as well.

We have no plans at this time to totally shut down the area around the IMF and World Bank, but we will be greatly enhancing our presence along with the private security that's already there. We're make arrangements now to meet with various business groups that are affected by this, our board of trade, chamber of commerce, our business improvement districts and others that are concerned and rightfully so about the information that's been given out. So that we can work together to maintain as much normalcy as possible in the District of Columbia during this period of time. We would encourage all of our residents, visitors, anyone who sees anything unusual at all to give us a call. Do not hesitate. We'll send people out right away to check it out. But we're really going to need the help of the public in order to maintain the safety and security of the District of Columbia. And with that, I'll ask Adrian Thompson, the chief of the fire and EMS services to come forward.

CHIEF ADRIAN THOMSPON, CHIEF FIRE OF FIRE AND EMS, DC: Very briefly, I want to reemphasize what Chief Ramsey said about being vigilant and aware what's going on around you. DC Fire and EMS has put additional units in service, staffed up some special operation units in case of any eventuality that may come along. But other than that we're pretty much ready to go. Thank you.

BARBARA: I think again to echo what the mayor and the chief said ensuring that information is flowing. That's what we're committed to right now, ensuring that all the information that comes in get to the appropriate people it needs to go to. Again, the information came in yesterday, and we have been constantly, constantly talking, conference calling and ensuring we meet with our business partners and talk with the business partners to ensure that the safety measures that the chief is talking about are put into place quickly. That's about it, thank you. Again, the level for the city has been raised to orange, which basically means additional protective actions.

The chief talked a little about those again asking the public, the citizens to be on alert, to be very vigilant. If you see, again, anything suspicious, please contact the police department. Anything we're asking enhancing measures include really checking IDs, employees, when they come into the building. Making calls to the police department if you see anything suspicious.

If you see suspicious persons around that are strangers with cameras, those kinds of things. Again, the chief will put out a long list of those kind of activities that he wants to ensure the public continues to communicate to the police department. But those are the kinds of protective actions we're talking about when we raise the level to orange. It means putting in additional security measures and being much, much more vigilant.

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