Missouri Governor First to Name Anti-terrorism Adviser

 
Missouri Gov. Bob Holden became the first state leader in the country Wednesday to follow President Bush's lead in creating a Cabinet-level advisory position on anti-terrorism.

Holden appointed retired Army Col. Timothy M. Daniel to the job of Special Advisor for Homeland Security.

Daniel, a 30-year veteran of the military with an expertise in strategic planning and chemical warfare defense, will review the state's existing emergency response plans and recommend changes if needed.

"Tim will report directly to me on his assessments. And if he finds the need for any refinements in our current system , we will take action immediately," Holden said. The governor said he hopes the new post will help reassure Missouri citizens that state government is doing everything it can "to protect their lives and property" in the event of another terrorist action or other emergency.

Holden noted that Daniel, 51, will be his chief liaison to the new White House Office of Homeland Security, which will be headed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Ridge plans to resign as chief executive on October 5.

A spokesperson for the National Governors Association said Holden's action was the first time a governor had elevated an emergency management position to a Cabinet-level post. She said, however, that a number of governors have established advisory task forces to study the potential for terrorist activities and make recommendations on how to deal with them.

Holden did not comment directly on whether Missouri might be a target for a terrorist attack. But his press secretary, Jim Nachtigal, suggested that two U.S. military installations in the state -- a Stealth bomber base and an Army chemical defense training facility -- might be potential targets.

"Given the recent events of September 11, the governor decided, why not go the extra step and create this position," Nachtigal said.

In other developments:

Arizona, California and Florida took steps to strengthen their anti-terrorism efforts. In Arizona, state and local law enforcement agencies opened an around-the-clock operations center designed to track terrorist cells that might be hiding in the state. California began setting up a counter-terrorism database to help police share information about potential threats to the state. And Florida legislative leaders began making preparations for a new 12-member Select Committee on Security to meet in secrecy.

A number of airports came under fire this week for lax security. In Massachusetts, Boston's Logan Airport was cited in a report in the Boston Globe for having one of the worst security records in the nation. Two planes originating out of Logan on September 11 were hijacked and used by the terrorists in their attacks on the World Trade Center. Airports in Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Vermont also were cited for security violations.

And state pension funds began to suffer from the economic fallout caused by the terrorist attacks. Kansas officials said it was unlikely now because of market losses that the state retirement system would provide a cost-of-living increase next year for recipients. Tennessee officials said they were facing the same problem because of a 5 percent decline in the state's retirement fund value. They said the state college tuition fund had also fallen in value by at least 2 percent.

 
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