Critical infrastructure takes concerted hits

Critical infrastructure takes concerted hits

Within three hours this morning, a concentrated attack on the nation's critical infrastructure crippled cities, communications, airports and highways, shutting down federal agencies in Washington.

Two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, toppling both towers. Another plane crashed near the Pentagon.

An eyewitness of the Pentagon attack from his Arlington, Va., office saw fire and smoke exploding from the west side windows along with debris.

Lothar Harris, deputy director for policy automation in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said he called his boss, all webmasters and information specialists in the basement on the east side.

'I called the opposite side of the Pentagon,' he said. 'I said, you guys get out of there. The Pentagon has been bombed.'

He phoned his boss two minutes after the explosion. His boss had heard nothing.

'I saw this huge ball of flame rise up from the area by the heliport in a matter of minutes'smoke, debris like aluminum foil, insulation raining down,' Harris said. 'I can smell an acrid odor.'

Harris said such attacks are almost impossible to prevent. 'The United States because of our democratic society is wide open to these kinds of attacks,' he said. 'We have no defenses against this sort of terrorist activity. We don't have a police state.'

Harris said he heard by word of mouth that the FBI is working at top speed to track down the perpetrators. 'Everyone is looking over their shoulder,' he said.

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