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Offices Evacuated, Planes Grounded, Trading Delayed


Compiled from Staff and Wire Alerts
Tuesday, September 11, 2001; 11:42 AM

In response to an apparent terrorist attack Tuesday on New York and Washington seats of finance and government defense, offices are being evacuated, airplanes are being grounded and financial markets are being closed.

The Office of Personnel Management confirmed that all federal government offices in Washington are closed today on the threat of terrorist attacks including evacuations at the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Old Executive Office Building and the Supreme Court.

Also the Federal Aviation Administration has shut down all aircraft takeoffs nationwide. The FAA has directed all transatlantic flights to the U.S. to head to Canada, domestic flights to continue to their final destinations or land at the nearest airport. Canada has closed all airports but will allow diverted U.S. flights and humanitarian aid flights to land.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport spokeswoman April Thompson said the airport is taking arrivals not departing flights. Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport will be closed for at least the next 24 hours.

The SEC says there will be no trading on any securities exchanges today including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market. Federal regulators of the U.S. financial markets, the CFTC, have decided not to declare an emergency in response to an apparent terrorist attack Tuesday on landmark buildings in New York and Washington, because most U.S. stock and futures exchanges are already closed. The CFTC will recommend that any U.S. futures exchanges that are still trading temporarily shut down their operations. The dollar continues to trade on FOREX as well as gold and some U.S. shares on foreign exchanges.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was out of the country attending a banking conference in Switzerland at the time of Tuesday’s attacks, a Fed official said.

In the aftermath of the blasts, investors reacted on the markets open for trading; debt and commodities markets. Crude oil in London surged to an eight-month high rising as much as $3.60, or 13.1 percent, to $31.05 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange, its biggest one-day gain since March 23, 1998. Oil last fetched more than $31 a barrel last Dec. 1. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries rose in a "knee-jerk panic," according to Banc One Capital Markets Inc. economist Anthony Karydakis. The 30-year bond rose 1 1/2, or $15 per $1,000 security, to 99 18/32, lowering yields 10 basis points to 5.34 percent.

Meanwhile in the region, Fort Detrick, home to the Army’s main germ warfare laboratory, spokesman Charles Dasey said police at the gates were stopping cars without identification stickers and may even search those with stickers.

Authorities at Aberdeen Proving Grounds said the military ordnance testing facility is on heightened alert. Gates to the base have been closed but civilians have not been sent home and two military airfields at the proving grounds still are operating, spokesman George Mercer said.

No incidents were reported at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, but officials have instituted “increased force protection,” which means extra security measures have been instituted, said Bobby Jones, a base spokesman.

The state Department of General Services police are on a “heightened security status,” spokesman Dave Humphrey said.

State government buildings have been restricted to employees only and only one entrance per building is open, he said.

Governor Jim Gilmore placed the Virginia National Guard and State Police on full alert and ordered police across the state to watch for any crimes that involve hostage taking, bombs or firearms.

Governor Gilmore has also activated the 192nd Virginia Air National Guard 192nd fighter squadron, an attack unit of fully armed F-16 fighter jets that will patrol the nation’s East Coast.

A Gilmore administration official says the fighters have orders to down any unauthorized aircraft.

In Annapolis, part of State Circle, which rings the State House, has been closed.

Gov. Parris Glendening said public safety officials are on a “heightened state of alert.”

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani ordered an evacuation of the lower part of Manhattan, stating “I would like to take this opportunity to tell everyone to remain calm and to the extent that they can, evacuate Lower Manhattan." Giuliani said there has been an enormous loss of life and added that there was no threat or warning of the attack. New York City also cancelled today’s primary elections to select the Democratic and Republican candidates for mayor and other offices.

In Chicago the Sears Tower has also been evacuated.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company