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Kallstrom to Head NY Office of Public Security - 2001-10-10

Former FBI official James Kallstrom will head New York State's new Office of Public Security. Mr. Kallstrom has years of experience investigating terrorists.

As the chief of the New York FBI office, Mr. Kallstrom became a familiar face on local television during the 1996 investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island. The crash was eventually blamed on mechanical failures, not terrorism.

He retired in 1997 after 28 years with the FBI and took a lucrative corporate job. Now he is back, heading a new state office to coordinate anti-terrorism plans, including preparation for a possible biological attack. He says the public can play a key role in thwarting the plans of terrorists at home.

"I would encourage the people of the state of New York to go about their business, but have a little more peripheral vision than they have had, and think about things a little more and be prepared to tell the local cops, the FBI, whoever they want to call, if they think something is not right," he said. "In the final analysis, that is going to be what is going to carry the day."

Mr. Kallstrom says attending the funerals of so many friends who died in the September 11 attack on New York drew him back to pubic service.

Almost 5,000 people remain listed as missing, with more than 400 confirmed dead.

New York Governor George Pataki says he expects Mr. Kallstrom to put into place the most comprehensive anti-terrorism plan in the nation.

"Jim Kallstrom is too good a person, too experienced a person to be on the sidelines while the nation is at war with this horrible terrorist element," he said. "We are just very proud that we here in New York will have him directing our efforts to win that war here."

Mr. Kallstrom also worked on several high profile cases involving organized crime and the investigation of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Six people were eventually brought to trial and convicted of participating in the 1993 bombing.