- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Heightened security measures — from closed roads to armed guards — will be common sights for the next few days as Washington tries to return to a sense of normalcy after Tuesday's terrorist assaults on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York.
Additional security guards and police officers yesterday patrolled and conducted identification checks at public and private buildings housing government workers around the District.
The Coast Guard closed the Potomac River to water traffic north of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and guards at military buildings and bases carried out full identification checks of personnel and vehicles entering those areas.
Metropolitan Police Department headquarters was closed to the public, and even marked police cars were not allowed in its basement garage without being inspected.
Members of the FBI's uniformed division blocked Fourth and F streets NW near the bureau's Washington field office and prevented traffic near the front and south sides of the building.
Barricades that were erected around the White House and the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday were dismantled yesterday, but streets around the Capitol remained closed. A heavy police presence was apparent at both buildings, and visitors were not allowed inside yesterday.
"It was part of our emergency plan," Secret Service Special Agent Tony Ball said of the White House precautions.
"There is still a heightened state of security. There are numerous officers out there," said U.S. Park Police Sgt. Dennis Maroney. "We are asking people to have continued diligence and to pay attention to things around them and to notify the police if they see something suspicious."
Law enforcement officials said the security precautions will be in place for an indefinite period.
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said the city's agencies need to ensure proper and adequate security measures that will allow public employees to work safely while giving people access to public buildings.
The state of emergency Mr. Williams declared on Tuesday is still in effect, but all city agencies will resume regular business hours today and all public and charter schools will be open, a mayoral spokesman said.
Neither the Secret Service nor the U.S. Capitol Police knew when visitors would be allowed back inside the White House or the Capitol. A Capitol Police spokeswoman said they have no idea how long the streets around the Capitol will remain closed.
But the National Park Service yesterday reopened all memorials, except the Washington Monument.
Kim Roberson, spokeswoman for Arlington County police, said police are providing security on the outer perimeter of the Pentagon, mainly to prevent people from entering the area where emergency personnel are fighting the fire and looking for any survivors. She said the drivers on Interstate 395, who are slowing down to look at the damaged building and tying up traffic, are posing the biggest problem.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are dealing with a swirl of rumors and unverified reports in the aftermath of Tuesday's suicide airplane attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center towers in New York.
"There are all kinds of reports of arrests and other things," said FBI Special Agent Pete Gulotta, spokesman for the bureau's field office in Baltimore.
"There's an awful lot of rumors going around here," he said. "I'm watching the television, and I'm finding it quite amusing."
Asked about reports of an FBI arrest in Baltimore of two Middle Eastern men trying to rent a Lear Jet on Tuesday, Mr. Gulotta said, "if I did know about it, I couldn't talk about it."
Guy Taylor contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide