- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Many Alexandria residents are not looking forward to the upheaval the upcoming trials of two terrorism suspects will cause in their neighborhood.
"I wish they would move the trials elsewhere. I feel like I'm a sitting duck," said Laura Ryan, who lives in the Carlyle Towers condominium that is across the street from the 10-story Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse, where the trials will begin in late summer.
Fearing a terrorist attack aimed at disrupting the trials, officials have set up security measures around the courthouse that are extensive and expensive. But they haven't assuaged everyone's fears.
"We are looking at moving elsewhere," said Mrs. Ryan, who moved to the area from Houston three years ago with her husband, Richard. Their apartment is on the opposite side of the courthouse and faces the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
"The residents have generally accepted the fact that the first two trials are going to occur here, but we're actively trying to change the location for future trials," said David Buckley, president of the Towers Homeowners Association, which oversees the three buildings' 449 units.
"In the climate that exists in our world today, it will be impossible to guarantee that terrorists will not try to disrupt the trials or harm the civilians who live next door," wrote Rep. James P. Moran in an appeal to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The trials of John Walker Lindh and Zacarias Moussaoui are scheduled to begin in August and September, respectively.
The two are being held in the Alexandria jail with 150 other federal prisoners, a short drive from the courthouse. Extra security there already includes an 8-foot fence topped with barbed wire and the hiring of nine more sheriff's deputies.
Security being worked out among residents, Alexandria officials, Sheriff James H. Dunning and acting U.S. Marshal John F. Clark already calls for occasionally closing some adjacent streets at least temporarily.
Vice Mayor Bill Cleveland, who lives in the Carlyle Towers and has been a U.S. Capitol Police officer for 28 years, thinks enough security has been planned but worries that some of the street closures may become permanent.
"Once the federal government takes control of the streets, they do not give them back," Mr. Cleveland said, pointing out that streets around the White House, the Capitol, and Senate and House office buildings have been closed since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The security problems are magnified because the new Patent and Trademark Office complex is being built next to the courthouse. It is estimated that 50,000 truck trips could occur daily. That's a rate of one truck every five seconds during the work day.
Currently, 17,000 vehicles travel Eisenhower Avenue near the courthouse each day, and 3,500 proceed along Jamieson Avenue.
Alexandria has already spent $2.3 million for fencing, gates, barriers, road and parking modifications, electrical work, security equipment, landscaping, demolition and a security-access center. Hiring nine more deputies is costing $535,829.
Mr. Moran said he understands that the U.S. Marshals Service will reimburse the city.
"There's a lot of work going on," said Barbara Gordon, public information officer for Alexandria, emphasizing that Marshal Clark and others involved have been most cooperative.
More than 250 journalists have applied for media credentials, Mrs. Gordon said.
Trailers, telephones and electrical connections probably will be installed on 1.25 acres across from the courthouse for the news media, some of whom have indicated they will be there 24 hours a day once the trials begin.
"We will do the best we can to accommodate the Marshal's Service, the federal government and the media," said Mayor Kerry J. Donley. "Hopefully, the trials will go on without incident."
"I've got my marching orders," said Marshal Clark, and those are to provide security while cooperating with local authorities and Carlyle residents.
"There are only so many steps you can take for security," said City Council member Joyce Woodson, who opposed holding the trials in Alexandria from the moment she learned about them.
"I have not wavered from my original position. My original statement was that this is not a proper location. It's not an issue of patriotism. It's a matter of security," Mrs. Woodson said.
For the future, Mr. Buckley and Mr. Moran are asking federal authorities to hold 15 more terrorism trials at a military base or federal facility that already has security in the D.C. area, rather than in Alexandria.
"I would like to strongly suggest that an alternative site be found for future proceedings of this nature, where the government would not have to be so responsible for the safety of so many civilians," Mr. Moran wrote to Mr. Ashcroft.


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