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Three US East Coast States to Cooperate on Anti-Terrorism Measures - 2003-03-20

Three East Coast governors have joined together in an unprecedented security coalition to protect the region's transportation infrastructure. The elected leaders of Connecticut, and New Jersey will participate in New York Governor George Pataki's anti-terror "Operation NYShield".

The governors say an additional 700 National Guard troops from the three states will join uniformed and undercover police to deter potential terrorist activities on commuter trains and the New York City subway system. Governor John Rowland of Connecticut says it is essential for the states to pool resources to bolster area security.

"We face an unknown enemy willing to strike at an unknown time at an unknown location. That gives great challenges to all of us as governors," he said.

The police and troops will monitor train stations and platforms and ride on trains.

Officials are particularly concerned about the potential use of biological and chemical agents on mass transportation.

"We are in a dangerous time," said former FBI official James Kallstrom who serves as an anti-terrorism advisor for New York State. "There are people here who want to kill us. We have a class A operation to not let that happen, to not let another act of terrorism take place, and we are going to do everything humanly possible to make that happen."

Meanwhile, New York City has put its own full-scale anti-terror plan, "Operation Atlas," into action with police monitoring tunnels and bridges, river-to-river checkpoints throughout the city, and waterways under surveillance by police boats, the U.S. Coast Guard and overhead patrols.

Officials have given 3,000 police officers high-tech masks to protect them against biological and chemical agents. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says another 12,000 will receive masks and anti-terror kits over the next few days.

"It consists of a hood that will give protection against toxic materials. There is a first aid kit," he said. "There is a carrying case. There is a solution for cleansing of the eyes, rubber gloves. There is also a respirator for sustained operations."

A second mobile emergency management center, a bus that has been designed at a cost of $500,000 dollars, is ready to go into operation in case of an attack. But officials continue to insist that no specific threat has been made against New York.