Sheet: Operation Liberty Shield
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2003
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 includes:
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
SECURITY AT BORDERS
- Security has been increased at major U.S.ports and waterways
with more Coast Guard patrols by aircraft, ships and boats.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
RailBridgeSecurity – State governors have been asked to
provide additional police or National Guard forces at selected
Railroad Infrastructure Security - Railroad companies will be
asked to increase security at major facilities and key rail hubs.
Measures - AMTRAK will implement security measures consistent
with private rail companies.
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.
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.
MEASURES TO DISRUPT THREATS AGAINST OUR NATION
- The FBI will continue to closely monitor individuals suspected
of links to terrorism.
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.
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.
PROTECTIONS FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND KEY ASSETS
Key Economic Centers and Ports
Facilities - The Coast Guard will provide maritime protection
for petroleum centers located in close proximity to major coastal
Nuclear Regulatory Safeguards
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requiring all licensed
users of radioactive material to take additional security measures.
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.
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.
PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS
Disease Surveillance and Food Security
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
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
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 pathogens.
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.
RESPONSE RESOURCES POSITIONED AND READY
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
- 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.
Ready - EPA decontamination teams are on alert and ready to deploy.
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.
– 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: www.ed.gov/emergencyplan.
– The READY.GOV
website and 1-800-Be-Ready line provide citizens with informative
preparedness suggestions and advice for families.