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Homeland Security

19 March 2003

Fact Sheet: Operation LIBERTY SHIELD is Comprehensive National Plan

(Plan aims to bolster protection for U.S. citizens, infrastructure)
Following is Department of Homeland Security fact sheet that details
Operation LIBERTY SHIELD, a comprehensive national plan designed to
increase protection for U.S. citizens and the U.S. infrastructure:
(begin fact sheet)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.
March 18, 2003
Operation Liberty Shield
Operation LIBERTY SHIELD is a comprehensive national plan designed to
increase protections for America's citizens and infrastructure while
maintaining the free flow of goods and people across our border with
minimal disruption to our economy and way of life. Operation LIBERTY
SHIELD is a multi-department, multi-agency, national team effort. It
-- Increased security at borders. Stronger transportation protections
-- Ongoing measures to disrupt threats against our nation
-- Greater protections for critical infrastructure and key assets 
-- Increased public health preparedness
-- Federal response resources positioned and ready
More Patrols -- Security has been increased at major U.S. ports and
waterways with more Coast Guard patrols by aircraft, ships and boats.
More Escorts of Passenger Ships -- The Coast Guard has increased its
escorts of ferries and cruise ships.
More Sea Marshals -- Every high interest vessel arriving or departing
from American ports will have armed Coast Guard Sea Marshals onboard,
closely watching the ship's crew and ensuring that it makes its port
call safely. These merchant ships have cargoes, crewmember(s), or
other characteristics that warrant closer examination.
Selective Maritime Restrictions -- The Coast Guard will enforce
security zones in and around critical infrastructure sites in key
ports. This information will be published and announced for those
using U.S. waterways.
Land Borders
Increasing Border Surveillance -- Surveillance and monitoring of the
borders will be increased with more agents and patrol assets. These
forces will cover areas between major ports of entry.
Increased Border Screening -- Customs and Border Protection officers
will increase screenings of vehicles and cargo crossing our land
borders. Officers will conduct more interviews and detailed screenings
as people transit in and out of the U.S. The actions at land borders
are not expected to significantly impact the movement of people and
cargo across the border.
Asylum Modifications
Asylum Detainees -- Asylum applicants from nations where al-Qaeda,
al-Qaeda sympathizers, and other terrorist groups are known to have
operated will be detained for the duration of their processing period.
This reasonable and prudent temporary action allows authorities to
maintain contact with asylum seekers while we determine the validity
of their claim. DHS and the Department of State will coordinate
exceptions to this policy.
Increasing Airport Security -- The Transportation Security Agency will
implement airport security measures that are proactive, sustainable,
and focused, based on intelligence information. One of the most
visible changes will be increasing the presence of law enforcement
officers on patrol and in airport facilities.
Checking Airport IDs -- TSA has advised air carriers to review and
ensure the validity of all personnel ID's for those who have access to
the secure areas. In addition, TSA screeners will continue to remain
at a heightened state of alert.
Airspace Control
Controlling Vital Airspace -- New temporary flight restrictions have
been put into place over certain U.S. cities, including Washington
D.C. and New York City. The FAA will continue to closely monitor air
traffic in these and other key areas.
Enhancing Rail Security
Improving Rail Bridge Security -- State governors have been asked to
provide additional police or National Guard forces at selected
Increased Railroad Infrastructure Security -- Railroad companies will
be asked to increase security at major facilities and key rail hubs.
AMTRAK Security Measures -- AMTRAK will implement security measures
consistent with private rail companies.
Increasing Railroad Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Safety -- At the
request of the Department of Transportation private railroad companies
will monitor shipments of hazardous material and increase surveillance
of trains carrying this material.
Enhancing Road Security
Government and Industry Teamwork -- The Department of Transportation
will work closely with hazardous material shippers and carriers and
encourage them to follow transportation security checklists and
recommendations. Suggested measures include employee identification
checks, communications plans, and emphasis on operator awareness. U.S.
and Canadian authorities will also coordinate cross-border hazardous
material shipments.
Monitoring Terrorist Suspects
Tracking Suspects -- The FBI will continue to closely monitor
individuals suspected of links to terrorism.
Identifying Terrorist Supporters -- The FBI is working closely with
the Departments of Justice and DHS to identify those that would
facilitate terrorist activity through fundraising, logistical support
and recruitment.
Foreign National Information -- In order to advise members of the
Iraqi community of the FBI's responsibilities in protecting them from
hate crimes, and to elicit information that may be useful to the U.S.
Government in the event of hostilities in Iraq, the FBI, working with
the Department of State and immigration officials, has identified a
number of Iraqi-born individuals in the U.S. that may be invited to
participate in voluntary interviews.
Protecting Key Economic Centers and Ports
Vital Petro-chemical Facilities -- The Coast Guard will provide
maritime protection for petroleum centers located in close proximity
to major coastal population centers.
Strengthening Nuclear Regulatory Safeguards
Facility Security -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is
requiring all licensed users of radioactive material to take
additional security measures.
Protecting Key Infrastructure -- The Federal government, state and
local organizations and the private sector are increasing the security
presence at chemical facilities, nuclear power sites, key electrical
grids, bridges, subway systems, and other sites.
Monitoring and Vigilance -- The Department of Homeland Security,
together with other government agencies, continues to monitor the
Internet for signs of a potential terrorist attack, cyber-terrorism,
hacking, and state-sponsored information warfare. Industry and public
Internet users are reminded of the importance of employing sound
security practices and reporting unusual activity or intrusion
attempts to DHS or local law enforcement.
Increasing Disease Surveillance and Food Security
Alerting and Informing the Food Industry -- The Department of
Agriculture is alerting producer organizations of the increased threat
status and urging them to implement additional security measures such
as inspecting all vehicles and escorting all visitors to their
Department of Health and Human Services Outreach -- HHS is alerting
state and local health departments, hospitals, and medical care
providers to report any unusual diseases or disease patterns. HHS has
put the U. S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corp Readiness Force
of doctors, nurses, and other health care staff on alert status and
alerted emergency support and management teams to possible deployment.
Imported Food Monitoring -- HHS has taken aggressive steps to enhance
the inspection of imported food and is coordinating federal, state,
and local communications on imported food issues and potential food
USDA Monitoring of Food Chain -- The Department of Agriculture is
taking steps to assure that employees and representatives throughout
the food and agriculture community are alerted and aware of the need
for extra precautions during this time. USDA is encouraging state and
private authorities to monitor feedlots, stockyards, import and
storage areas.
National Emergency Response Teams -- DHS has pre-positioned National
Emergency Response Teams (ERT-N) with one team designated for the
National Capital Region. These teams are able to provide onsite
management of federal response efforts.
Incident Teams -- USDA Incident Management Teams (IRTs) from the U. S.
Forest Service are ready to deploy to an emergency site to manage an
incident with other DHS, federal, state, and local authorities.
DECON Teams Ready -- EPA decontamination teams are on alert and ready
to deploy.
In addition to the measures being taken in Operation LIBERTY SHIELD,
members of the public are encouraged to become more informed about the
emergency preparedness measures they can take to protect themselves
and family members.
School Preparedness -- On March 6, the Secretary of Education, Rod
Paige, and Secretary Ridge announced a new web site that provides
educators and school administrators with key emergency information to
include in their own preparedness plans. The website includes
information covering a variety of emergencies, including natural
disasters, violent incidents, and terrorist acts. The website is:
READY.GOV -- The READY.GOV website and 1-800-Be-Ready line provide
citizens with informative preparedness suggestions and advice for
(end fact sheet)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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