- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Stock Exchange made plans to have the mayor ring the opening bell today, and Citigroup Inc. told workers at its landmark skyscraper that extra steps were taken to try to protect them from any terrorist attack.

Each of the workplaces identified as terrorist targets yesterday said they planned to conduct business as usual today despite a heightened alert.

Federal officials said the newest terror threats involve three New York-area organizations and two in Washington: Citigroup, the New York Stock Exchange, Prudential Financial Inc., the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Citigroup sent employees an e-mail telling them its security department is taking new, unspecified measures and is making “every effort to ensure your safety at all times and particularly in light of recent reports of possible threats and the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York City.” The threat was posted for Citigroup properties in the New York area.

The New York Stock Exchange, one of the cited targets, said today would bring a regular trading session, with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ringing the opening bell “as symbol of his ongoing support,” exchange CEO John Thain said.

“The safety of our employees, members, and everyone who works in the NYSE facilities is our number one priority and is of the utmost importance to us,” said Mr. Thain, adding that he said Mr. Thain, adding that he had spoken with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Mr. Bloomberg. “Please be reassured that we remain vigilant and will keep you updated.”

Wall Street and a second street facing the exchange have been closed to vehicle traffic since the 2001 terror attacks. The NYSE has said it can operate without its famous trading floor, thanks to a contingency floor in the city and a network of backup computer systems that could handle trades.

Prudential also expected employees of its Newark, N.J., headquarters to report for work as usual today, spokesman Robert DeFillippo said.

Mr. Bloomberg echoed that sentiment, outlining a new counterterror police squad that was posted at the Citigroup Center and other sites around the city.

“You should go about your business,” the mayor said.

Mr. DeFillippo said the company has been working closely with law enforcement and had increased its security before the threat.

“We had already put into place additional safety precautions. We’ve now increased that so that we can help ensure the safety of our customers and our employees based on this new information,” Mr. DeFillippo said.

He declined to offer any specific security details.

Citigroup told workers to call its security department for further questions. But answers were hard to come by yesterday.

“Everything’s up in the air,” said Kyle Sciulli, a Citigroup security officer.

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