State IT agencies act fast in crisis

State IT agencies act fast in crisis

How major news outlets described it

Los Angeles Times headline: 'America Attacked'

New York Daily News headline: 'It's War'

New York Post headline: 'Act of War'

New York Times headline: 'U.S. Attacked'

Newsday: 'The World Trade Center was destroyed just days after a heightened security alert was lifted at the landmark 110-story towers, security personnel said yesterday. The security detail had been working 12-hour shifts for the past two weeks because of numerous phone threats. But on Thursday, bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed.'

Newsweek Web site: 'Who's the mastermind?'

Time Web site: 'The day that will live in infamy'

USA Today: 'Aftermath of 'Evil' '

Wall Street Journal: 'Government agencies have long warned about lax U.S. airport security screening, something that frequent fliers see on a regular basis. That crucial system failed in the most tragic and spectacular way.'

Washington Times headline: 'INFAMY!'

State information technology agencies in the mid-Atlantic states responded to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by securing data centers, providing emergency communications to governors and reducing working staff. State officials as far away from the attacks as California prepared for any additional attacks.

New York officials heightened security at the three state data centers, stationing state police at all sites, officials said. IT specialists monitoring activity on the state data network and at data centers reported that it seemed normal, said Tom Duffy, spokesman for the state technology office.

New York's technology office assisted emergency workers by using a geographic information system to pinpoint all the emergency shelters and hospitals in a 15-mile radius of the World Trade Center. Officials activated a toll-free call center to deal with inquiries. Gov. George E. Pataki declared a state of emergency in the morning and ordered all nonessential state employees to go home.

In Virginia, the state IT Department activated an emergency operations center that had been built for the year 2000 rollover.

Governor has the red line

'We have secured our data center and the parking lots around it,' Virginia chief information officer Donald Upson said. 'We are making sure the governor has access to all emergency communications. It's a hell of a tragedy.'

Virginia Gov. James Gilmore declared a state of emergency in the early afternoon and scheduled meetings with Upson and other senior officials every two hours after the attacks. The Pentagon, site of one of the plane crashes, is in northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington.

The governors of Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey declared states of emergency, as did the mayor of the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania activated its disaster plan and closed all state offices.

Ready for anything

California Gov. Gray Davis ordered nonessential employees to go home and tightened security measures. California's Emergency Council, a state and local government committee, met to prepare for any problems.

In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush asked state employees to use the Internet for official purposes only, but the state did not step up its IT system security, according to Courtney Griffith, spokeswoman for the state technology office.

In Connecticut, Gov. John Rowland activated the state's emergency operations center and sent nonessential employees home. Connecticut CIO Rock Regan said Rowland had gone to Stamford, Conn., and was using a state police mobile communications center to help coordinate the rail travel of up to 40,000 New York City commuters who left for Connecticut early in the day.

'We have about 20 essential employees in the emergency operations center in Hartford,' Regan said. He met with Rowland early in the day along with other state officials. 'It was horrendous, everyone's in shock,' Regan said. 'It's beyond words right now.'


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