The Washington Post

Federal workers share their post-9/11 realities

This week we asked federal workers to share their stories of how the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 changed their lives as government employees. Here are a few of those replies. Share your own thoughts in the comments section.

I know 9/11 changed how federal employees handle themselves, because everyone during the DC Earthquake’s first thought was “Is this an attack?”

No matter how fleeting, that was the initial response. So while my friends from California laughed, I knew they didn’t understand why we reacted the way we did to a “silly earthquake.” It’s because ever since then we have been a target, and we have to carry ourselves accordingly.

Neil Mihalich

Department of the Navy:

I was in the Department of Justice, INS on 9/11/2001. I made the comment this will change our country forever as I watched the second airliner slam into the second tower of the WTC.

Shortly thereafter my agency was swept into the new Department of Homeland Security and I found myself being supervised by former Customs supervisors who didn’t like our former department and resisted or ignored our contribution to the federal law enforcement community. They demoted former INS supervisors and placed their own people in those positions. As a result I was compelled to retire perhaps five years sooner then I would have, which is not necessarily a bad thing in retrospect, but it did change my life.

Cramming all of these federal agencies into one has not made us safer. Given the proper resources and congressional support each of the agencies could have done the job cheaper and more efficiently than adding a new tier of bureaucracy.

Tod Zaret


There is a lot more scrutinizing for access into federal buildings, especially for federal employees. PIV cards with a federal employees picture, personal information, etc., is digitally stored in these new ID cards for federal employees. There are much tighter security controls in place for accessing computers, laptops, offices, etc.

Are we any safer because of these methods? It is hard to say that the amount of money spent on physical security is really keeping us any safer. There is much waste and these security methods could be much more efficient.

Bob O’Brien

Office of Personnel Management

More memories in the Federal Diary

Full Coverage of the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001

On Faith: What have we learned about religion post -9/11?

Bill to honor federal workers killed in line of duty stalls

Homeland Security sends 9/11 thank you message to workers


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