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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America's bloodiest day
State security forces on high alert

By Kevin Dayton and Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writers

Honolulu police and other emergency workers were on high alert yesterday to prepare for any fallout from the East Coast terrorist attacks.

Mayor Jeremy Harris said residents and tourists should be assured that "there is no need for panic or alarm." Harris said he believes the day will be recorded as "as great a day of infamy as Pearl Harbor."

Gov. Ben Cayetano partially mobilized the Hawai'i National Guard yesterday to protect state airports, guard facilities and government buildings in accordance with a state terrorist management plan.

"It's very difficult to defend against people who are willing to sacrifice their lives," he said. "The most modern technology is unable to cope with that, and I think Americans are shocked because this is not a mindset that is common among our people."

The governor held off on signing an emergency declaration as some other governors have, but said he is still weighing the possibility.

So far, intelligence provided to state officials "does not indicate that Hawai'i is likely to experience what happened in New York. But you never know," Cayetano said.

At the moment, he said, state and federal authorities seemed to have the situation under control.

Cayetano said he will not leave for China and Japan on Friday as he had planned, and said he may cancel his Asia trip entirely.

"It may not be appropriate for me to leave the state if we still have problems," he said.

Harris made a rare appearance before the City Council yesterday to brief the nine members on what had been done.

"We have all of our police, fire, ambulance, emergency services, hazmat (hazardous materials) teams on full alert," Harris said.

At City Hall, access was restricted to two of four public entrances, and police were very visible. Harris said he planned to keep twice as many police officers on duty until there is greater assurance that a second wave of attacks will not occur. "We are providing increased security for all public facilities, any possible target of opportunity such as a utility, power plant, sewer operations, water operations. Those are all being protected as well as a higher presence in Waikiki."

The mayor said he has been working with the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration, state civil defense, and with Adm. Dennis Blair, commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Harris said Blair told him that the greatest risk to Hawai'i "lay in a potential hijacked plane that was coming into our island that could be diverted and used to attack Pearl Harbor or Waikiki or some other point of high visibility."

Harris urged Hawai'i residents to try to help victims of the attack. "We are in a state of war, a war against cowardly terrorists who won't even identify themselves," he said.

Advertiser staff writer Brandon Masuoka contributed to this report.