State Department Prepares Y2K Evacuation Teams : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

State Department prepares Y2K evacuation teams 03:44 p.m Dec 20, 1999 Eastern By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The State Department said on Monday it was boosting security at U.S. diplomatic installations at home and abroad, and setting up evacuation teams to deal with any terrorism or other emergencies at the start of the year 2000.

``Global terrorism concerns have required all of our overseas posts to maintain a high state of alert and readiness,'' said David Carpenter, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.

``This posture will continue and be further heightened during the rollover period,'' he told a briefing on State Department preparations for the Year 2000 technology challenge known as Y2K.

The United States has been buttoning up security along its borders since the arrest on Tuesday of a 32-year-old Algerian man accused of trying to cross over from Canada with the ingredients for a powerful bomb.

Carpenter said Y2K-related ``emergency response teams'' made up of diplomatic security agents, security engineers and technicians would go on standby status in Washington and at regional hubs overseas to support any necessary ``embassy security evacuation and technical security problems.''

An interagency foreign emergency support team ``is similarly on standby to respond as necessary to overseas emergencies,'' Carpenter said.

In addition to concerns about possible guerrilla strikes, ``the potential for violence by radical millennium cults and civil disorders resulting from Y2K disruptions to critical infrastructures also exist,'' he said.

``Both our posts overseas and the department are prepared to respond to these potential security emergencies,'' he said.

The State Department warned on Dec. 11 that it had ``credible information'' that guerrillas were planning attacks on U.S. citizens overseas, notably at New Year's gatherings.

U.S. overseas missions will be staffed by ``appropriate essential personnel,'' Carpenter said. He added that ``emergency action committees'' had assessed potential local threats and updated emergency plans.

All posts will have emergency communication capabilities, generators, and emergency fuel supplies to cope with any infrastructure breakdowns caused by Y2K.

In addition, the State Department is working closely with host government security services and U.S. military regional commands, Carpenter said.

In the United States, the State Department has developed contingency plans to make sure that its 105 domestic facilities, including training facilities and satellite offices, are ``adequately protected'' and can perform essential business functions during the date change.

``Additional guards will be posted at all facilities until it's determined that no life, safety, access or security concerns were created by the Y2K event,'' he said.

Carpenter said extensive preparations had also been made to ensure that the department was prepared for possible ``cyber incidents'' tied to the Y2K rollover -- a reference to fears that confusion surrounding the glitch could pave the way for computer attacks.

The department has made ``significant enhancements in the areas of computer security training and awareness, password controls, firewalls and other forms of risk mitigation,'' Carpenter said.

The Y2K bug could prevent some computers from distinguishing 2000 from 1900 or another year because of old shortcuts that recorded the year with only two digits in key date ``fields.'' Unless fixed, this could disrupt the whole gamut of automated systems, including communications, electricity and the ability to manage health care.

Thomas Pickering, undersecretary of state for political affairs, said the United States may have to make tough choices on how it responds to any Y2K-related emergencies, possibly as a lender of last resort.

``Unfortunately, we don't have a special appropriation to deal with this question, so there are financial limitations in what we can do,'' he said.

``We would expect and hope that others would be able to fill in wherever they could, and we would hold our resources in reserve,'' Pickering added.

``Don't forget, too, that this is a question that could affect both the United States domestically as well as internationally, and we have to prepare for both sets of responsibilities on the part of the United States,'' he said.

-- LOON (, December 21, 1999


Sounds like there is no reason to prepare, right pollies? Think for a moment all the people you've convinced not to prepare and the discouragement you've caused to those who are trying to do the right thing and warn others. You had better be a prophet to be so damn sure nothing will happen.

-- Larry (, December 21, 1999.


Before the last presidential election, I could not find one single person saying he/she was going to vote for Clinton. After the election, no one I talked to would admit they voted for Clinton.

Similarly with y2k, everyone I talk to is making some degree of preparation for the rollover. Larry, are you encountering people who are not preparing. From your post it sounds like you believe many are not. Just like my reference to the presidential election, either I'm out of circulation with the mainstream, or people are simply lying. What gives. Am I all wet?



-- John Galt (, December 21, 1999.


I've had to endure ridicule these past 2 years (although I've known about y2k for nearly 25 years). Think of the lives at risk because pollies discourge any kind of talk about prepartion. I had one that was even threatening me. He told me to "Go to hell you doom and gloomer." He classified me with Jim Jones and David Koresh and other doomsday cults. I really resent this. I got another polly here at work that I really don't want to be around. He still snickers!! So this has really discouraged me from telling others due to this unpleasent experience. Now, we've just heard on TV, (I live in Detroit area), that we should fill our bath tubs on the 31st. And to top it off terrorist threats are a real risk. I'm glad I'm prepared, but I feel sorry for those people out there that have listened to people like I've discribed.

For the record, I do not believe that this will be the end of the world. However, I do believe we are entering a very serious time, so serious that our way of life could be altered. The world will keep spinning, but the conditions in which we live may change dramatically.

-- Larry (, December 21, 1999.

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