Ridge Salutes Financial-Services Industry

The Homeland Security secretary lauded the industry for its cooperation in standing up to the latest terrorist threat.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Tuesday praised financial-services companies for their cooperation with the government and with each other in responding to the latest elevated terrorist alert.

In a briefing Tuesday at the Citigroup Center in midtown Manhattan, flanked by New York Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and city police commissioner Ray Kelly, Ridge said security measures have been in effect since Sept. 11, 2001, to ensure that disruptions to the nation's financial system won't occur as the result of a terrorist attack. Such measures include tight communications between law-enforcement authorities and financial institutions, a heightened awareness of the need for business-continuity planning, and "numerous drills and exercises to test backup systems."

After meeting with executives from financial institutions in the New York area, Ridge credited them with fostering greater communications among themselves and a willingness to share their data facilities and other assets in the event one of them is attacked. Ridge said that one executive told him, "As soon as we get information, we're going to get on a conference call within hours and begin to figure out ways to support one another based on the kind of information you give us."

As rifle-toting officers of the city's Hercules antiterrorism squad patrolled outside, Ridge praised Citigroup employees watching from a balcony for coming to work Monday despite the terrorist threat. "Terrorists wish to make Americans who live in freedom live in fear. Just by showing up for work, you have made a powerful statement that they will not succeed."

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