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Iowa Press #2909
November 2 and 4, 2001

Borg: THE NATION CONTINUES IN A STATE OF HIGH ALERT AS FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS SCRAMBLE TO IDENTIFY AND PROTECT POSSIBLE TERRORIST TARGETS. WE'LL DISCUSS IOWA'S STATUS WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE'S DEPARTMENT ON EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, ELLEN GORDON, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

Narrator: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION IS CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF "IOWA PRESS," NOW SERVING THE STATE AS IOWA'S LONGEST RUNNING PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAM. WITH THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY, AMERICANS HOPE AND DOUBT THAT TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE HOMELAND WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN. THERE'S UNPRECEDENTED ACTION TO ASSESS ALL POSSIBLE ECO- AND BIOTERRORISM POSSIBILITIES AND, IF POSSIBLE, SHIELD THEM. THE NATION'S FOOD SUPPLY IS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN, AS IS PROTECTING AIR AND WATER SUPPLIES. THE PUBLIC SAFETY ROLES OF FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS HAVE TAKEN ON DRAMATICALLY NEW DIMENSIONS. WHAT'S BEING DONE? AND PERHAPS A BETTER QUESTION IS: WHAT'S NEEDED BUT YET UNDONE? WELL, JOINING US TODAY IS ELLEN GORDON. SHE'S THE DIRECTOR AT THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND NEWLY APPOINTED COORDINATOR OF HOMELAND SECURITY. AND SHE'LL ASSIST US IN UNDERSTANDING THE STATE'S ACTIONS IN THE CURRENT CRISIS. WELCOME TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AND "IOWA PRESS."

Gordon: THANK YOU.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE: REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER" AND MIKE GLOVER OF "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS."

Glover: MS. GORDON, WE'RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE THREAT THAT'S BEEN SEEN AROUND THE COUNTRY: HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE. GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT OF HOW THE THREAT -- HOW SERIOUS THE THREAT IS HERE IN IOWA.

Gordon: WELL, I THINK THE THREAT HERE IN IOWA IS,BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT WE'RE RECEIVING FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THE ACTUAL WHAT WE CONSIDER -- WE'VE BEEN HEARING THE WORD "CREDIBLE THREAT," AND WE'RE TRYING TO DETERMINE REALLY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN. WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, THE FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, ALONG WITH THE STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE CREDIBLE THREAT, BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT THEY HAVE GATHERED, AGAINST CERTAIN TARGETS. IN THE LAST COUPLE -- WELL, YESTERDAY, FOR EXAMPLE, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE BRIDGES IN CALIFORNIA. THEY HAVE A CREDIBLE THREAT THAT THERE'S A PROBLEM WITH THE BRIDGES. WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY INFORMATION TO DATE THAT THERE'S ANY CREDIBLE THREATS IN IOWA TO IOWA FACILITIES OR PLACES IN IOWA AT THIS POINT AND TIME. HOWEVER, WITH THE HEIGHTENED ALERT THAT THE NATION'S BEEN PLACED ON, THAT MEANS ALL STATES, ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENTS NEED TO BE ON A HIGH-ALERT AWARENESS LEVEL: KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN; PAY ATTENTION TO ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS; ENSURE THAT YOUR CRITICAL ASSETS AND IMPORTANT FACILITIES ARE -- HAVE AMPLE PROTECTION AND SECURITY. SO TO SAY THAT WE HAVE AN EXACT THREAT ON ANY GIVEN DAY OR HOUR IN IOWA, WE DON'T HAVE THAT INFORMATION.

Glover: ARE YOU CONFIDENT, WITH THE LEVEL OF COMMUNICATION THAT YOU'VE ESTABLISHED WITH THAT INTELLIGENCEOMMUNICATE THAT SHOULD A THREAT EXIST, YOU'D KNOW ABOUT IT PRETTY QUICKLY?

Gordon: BASED ON THE LAST TWO TO THREE WEEKS, INFORMATION COMING FROM DIRECTOR RIDGE'S OFFICE, THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, YES, I THINK SO, BUT IT'S IMPROVING. EACH WEEK GOES BY AND WE'RE SEEING A HIGHER LEVEL OF IMPROVEMENT ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS COMING OUT OF THE FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE STATES AND LETTING US KNOW WHEN THREATS ARE CURRENT.

Glover: AND HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO COMMUNICATE THAT TO PEOPLE SHOULD IT HAPPEN? DO YOU HAVE A CONTINGENCY PLAN IN PLACE?

Gordon: WE'RE DEVELOPING AND IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIONS PLANS ON HOW TO COMMUNICATE TO THE PUBLIC. AND WE FEEL THAT, OBVIOUSLY, WE WOULD USE THE MEDIA AS AN IMMEDIATE MEANS TO COMMUNICATE TO THE PUBLIC. WE ALSO HAVE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS ESTABLISHED WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN SOME OF OUR FACILITIES ACROSS THE STATE FOR IMMEDIATE NOTIFICATION TO CERTAIN FACILITIES.

Borg: I'M CURIOUS AS TO THE COMMUNICATION. IS THERE ANY PLAN THAT YOU HAVE TO NOT ASK BROADCAST MEDIA -- I ASSUME THAT'S THE WAY THAT YOU'D COMMUNICATE -- BUT TO ACTUALLY TAKE CONTROL AND DO STATEWIDE ALERTS?

Gordon: THERE IS A SYSTEM IN PLACE ACROSS THE NATION. IT'S CALLED THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM. AND "WHO" RADIO IS THE HUB OF THAT SYSTEM FOR THE STATE OF IOWA. AND THAT IS A MEANS THAT WE HAVE WORKED OUT IN ADVANCE, THAT THE STATE, THE GOVERNOR, COULD GO ON AND DO A PUBLIC BROADCAST MESSAGE THAT WILL IMMEDIATELY THEN BE FANNED OUT TO OTHER MODES OF COMMUNICATION ACROSS THE STATE. SO THAT SYSTEM IS IN PLACE, YES.

Yepsen: MS. GORDON, I'M CURIOUS HOW WE'RE TO DO THE BALANCING ACT. WE'RE TOLD, ON THE ONE HAND, TO BE ALERT, GUARD YOUR ASSETS, AND THEN, ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU'RE ALSO -- OFFICIALDOM IS TELLING US, "GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE." HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?

Gordon: IT'S A DIFFICULT BALANCE. IN MY JOB -- AS A MATTER OF FACT, I'VE BEEN ASKED THAT QUESTION MANY TIMES BY CITIZENS, LIKE, "WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING? ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE AFRAID, OR ARE WE SUPPOSED TO JUST PRETEND LIKE NOTHING IS GOING ON?" I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO KEEP OUR ECONOMY STRONG, NOT ONLY IN OUR STATE BUT IN OUR NATION, THAT WE DO GO TO WORK, THAT WE DO GO TO SCHOOL, THAT WE DO THE BEST JOB THAT WE CAN DO. BUT ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME, WE DO HAVE A WAR GOING ON THAT WE -- IT'S AN UNKNOWN WHERE AN ATTACK MAY OR MAY NOT OCCUR. IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE WATCHFUL.

Yepsen: IS THERE A DANGER IN YOU CRYING WOLF TOO OFTEN?

Gordon: I'M NOT THE ONE THAT -- LET ME BACK UP A LITTLE ON THE ANSWER. THE STATE ISN'T THE ONE THAT CRIES WOLF. WE TAKE ALL OF OUR GUIDANCE AT THIS POINT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHEN THEY -- "THEY" BEING "THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" -- PUTS OUT THE INFORMATION ON CREDIBLE THREATS. SOMEONE ASKED ME THE OTHER DAY THAT VERY QUESTION: "HOW MANY MORE TIMES ARE WE GOING TO BE PLACED ON HEIGHTENED ALERT AND NOTHING HAPPENS"? I THINK THE KEY THERE IS THAT THIS NATION IS PLACED ON HIGH ALERT BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, INVESTIGATIONS ARE CONTINUING AND THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY IS CONTINUING TO TRY TO CAPTURE THOSE THAT THEY THINK ARE GOING CREATE HARM.

Yepsen: LET ME FLIP THAT QUESTION AROUND. IS THERE A DANGER IN THOSE OF US ON THIS SIDE OF THE TABLE, IN THE MEDIA, OVER-HYPING THIS STORY? I MEAN, FAR MORE IOWANS, FAR MORE AMERICANS ARE GOING TO DIE FROM THE FLU THIS YEAR THAN FROM ANTHRAX. FAR MORE PEOPLE DIE IN CAR ACCIDENTS THAN WILL DIE FROM ANTHRAX, YET YOU WOULDN'T GUESS THAT BY LOOKING AT THE EVENING NEWS OR THE FRONT PAGES OF AMERICA'S NEWSPAPERS. SO ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE MEDIA'S PERFORMANCE? ARE WE OVERDOING IT?

Gordon: I DON'T KNOW THAT YOU'RE OVERDOING IT. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THE MEDIA FINDS THE BALANCE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION AND EDUCATION VERSUS -- YOU USED THE WORD "HYPING" -- AND CONTINUALLY SAYING -- TELLING THE SAME STORY OVER AND OVER. I THINK THE PUBLIC -- THE SMALL AMOUNT OF EXPOSURE I'VE HAD IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC, WHAT I'M HEARING FROM THEM, "WE JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, WHAT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO AT THIS GIVEN POINT AND TIME." I THINK THAT'S INFORMATION AND EDUCATION, EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ON WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE A SUSPECTED PACKAGE WITH ANTHRAX.

Borg: I SUPPOSE THIS HARKENS BACK TO MY OTHER QUESTION ON YOU TAKING CONTROL OF BROADCAST MEDIUM AND SO ON, BUT I'M WONDERING, TO BROADEN THAT, WHAT'S THE EXTENT, AS YOU UNDERSTAND IT, OF YOUR AUTHORITY? THAT IS, IN AN EMERGENCY, WOULD YOU CONTROL THE NATIONAL GUARD, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, AND SO ON, OR WOULD YOU SIMPLY ADVISE THE GOVERNOR?

Gordon: MY ROLE IS SIMPLY AN ADVISORY CAPACITY TO THE GOVERNOR. AS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE STATE OF IOWA, WE'VE COORDINATED FOR YEARS WITH ALL THE VARIOUS STATE ASSETS AND RESOURCES TO RESPOND TO DISASTERS. IF WE WERE TO HAVE A TERRORIST ATTACK, THAT WOULDN'T BE ANY DIFFERENT IN AN ACTUAL RESPONDING TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN ATTACK, SO WE WOULD COORDINATE WITH THE STATE AGENCIES, RECOMMEND TO THE GOVERNOR THAT CERTAIN STATE AGENCIES NEED TO BE BROUGHT TO BEAR TO HELP LOCAL GOVERNMENT WITH THE DISASTER. IF WE ARE GOING TO BE USING STATE RESOURCES TO PROTECT AND PREVENT AGAINST A TERRORIST ATTACK FROM OCCURRING, AGAIN, I WOULD MAKE A RECOMMENDATION ADVISED TO THE GOVERNOR THAT WE BELIEVE -- "WE" COLLECTIVELY BEING THE STATE AGENCIES -- WE COME TOGETHER, WE GO THROUGH THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS TO PROVIDE HIM THE BEST ADVICE THAT WE CAN. SO IT'S AN ADVISORY ROLE.

Glover: WE HAVE A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION COMING UP IN LESS THAN A WEEK AND A REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION COMING IN JANUARY. YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS JOB FOR A COUPLE WEEKS NOW. HAVE YOU GIVEN ANY MORE THOUGHT TO WHAT YOU WANT THIS LEGISLATURE TO DO TO REWRITE STATE LAW TO DEAL WITH THIS?

Gordon: WE'RE WORKING THROUGH THAT PROCESS AS FAR AS -- LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SPECIAL SESSION AND ANY POTENTIAL LEGISLATIVE PACKAGES THAT MIGHT BE -- HOMELAND SECURITY PACKAGES. WE WILL BE PUTTING TOGETHER SOME IDEAS AND JUST VERY BASIC INFORMATION THAT WE ARE RECOMMENDING TO THE GOVERNOR THAT HE CAN WORK WITH THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ON, AND THEN THEY'LL DECIDE TOGETHER WHETHER THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO DO OR NOT NEED TO DO.

Glover: IN THE SPECIAL SESSION?

Gordon: IN SPECIAL SESSION.

Glover: WHAT ARE THOSE IDEAS?

Gordon: IT'S JUST BASICALLY DEFINITIONS. WE DON'T FIND THE WORDS "HOMELAND SECURITY" ANYWHERE IN OUR STATE STATUTES, SO JUST GIVING SOME -- RECOMMENDING SOME STATUTORY CHANGE -- NOT EVEN REALLY CHANGE, ADDITIONS, PUTTING THE WORDS "HOMELAND SECURITY" TO GIVE THE AUTHORITY THERE SO WE HAVE THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO DO THE THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT NEED TO BE DONE IN THE SHORT TERM.

Glover: OKAY, I ASSUME THAT THERE IS A STATE PLAN IF THERE'S A FLOOD, IF THERE'S A DROUGHT, IF THERE'S A TORNADO, A STATE PLAN TO DEAL WITH THAT. ARE YOU GOING TO PUT A STATE PLAN TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH A POTENTIAL TERRORIST ATTACK, AND IS THIS PART OF THIS?

Gordon: YES, WE WILL BE -- AS A MATTER OF FACT, AS WE SPEAK WE'RE PUTTING TOGETHER -- WE HAVE ALL THE STATE AGENCIES PULLED TOGETHER AND PLANNING TEAMS, AND WE'RE PUTTING TOGETHER A STATE -- IT'S JUST AN ADDENDUM TO OUR CURRENT STATE PLAN ON HOW DO WE BEST RESPOND AND RECOVER FROM A TERRORIST ATTACK. WE'RE WORKING THROUGH THOSE ISSUES AS WE SPEAK.

Yepsen: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME SPECIFIC THREATS. WHAT IS THE SPECIFIC THREAT TO IOWA'S WATER SUPPLY?

Gordon: THE WATER SUPPLY -- THE WATER HOLDERS AND THE WATER SYSTEM MANAGERS HAVE REALLY BEEN VERY PROACTIVE OVER THE LAST 30, 45 DAYS, ON PROTECTING THAT CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN OUR STATE. THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, ALONG WITH OUR DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAVE -- WE HAD CONTINUOUSLY PROVIDING INFORMATION TO WATER MANAGERS ON HOW TO BEST PROTECT THEIR FACILITIES AND Q AND A'S, JUST GOOD GENERAL INFORMATION. I THINK WE'RE DOING A GOOD JOB IN THE STATE OF IOWA IN THAT ASPECT.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT OUR FOOD SUPPLIES? WE'RE A STATE THAT PRODUCES FOOD. ISN'T THAT OUR MOST VULNERABLE POINT TO BIOTERRORISM?

Gordon: IT IS A VULNERABLE POINT.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU PROTECT AGAINST SOMETHING YOU DO IN THE OPEN LIKE GROW FOOD?

Gordon: IT'S DIFFICULT AND WE'VE MET -- "WE" BEING PATTI JUDGE AND I, SECRETARY JUDGE AND I HAVE MET WITH THE AGRICULTURAL STAKEHOLDERS FROM AROUND THE STATE, AND WE'RE WORKING THROUGH THOSE ISSUES RIGHT NOW, TRYING TO IDENTIFY THE PRIORITIES, TRYING TO KEEP IT REALISTIC: CAN WE ACTUALLY PROTECT THE ENTIRE FOOD INDUSTRY THAT WE GROW IN THIS STATE, OR WHERE DO WE NEED TO FOCUS OUR ENERGIES IN THE INSPECTION PROCESS.

Yepsen: AND SPECIFICALLY THE CATTLE INDUSTRY, HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE. WE HEAR THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN: IF YOU WANTED TO RUIN AMERICA'S FOOD SUPPLY, YOU KNOW, INJECTING HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE INTO AMERICA. IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN PROTECT IOWA'S LIVESTOCK FROM THAT THREAT?

Gordon: WELL, IF YOU REMEMBER LAST SPRING WHEN THE FOOT-AND-MOUTH-DISEASE OUTBREAK WAS IN GREAT BRITAIN, WE INITIATED A PLANNING PROCESS. WE PULLED TOGETHER THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY, ALONG WITH DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BUILT AND WROTE A PLAN AND EXERCISED THAT PLAN. AND THAT PLAN, WE'RE CONTINUING TO WORK THROUGH THE ISSUES. A PART OF THAT WAS TO TRY TO BUILD A GOOD STRONG SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM, WORKING WITH THE VETERINARY COMMUNITY IN THE STATE SO WE KNEW HOW TO RECOGNIZE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, AND THE LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS THEMSELVES, AND THEN IF IT IS DETECTED, HOW CAN WE QUICKLY IRRADICATE IT AND QUICKLY PREVENT IT FROM SPREADING? SO THAT'S THE BASIS OF OUR PLAN THAT WE HAVE THAT WE BUILT THIS YEAR, AND WE RECOGNIZE THAT FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IS A POTENTIAL BIOHAZARD AS A RESULT FROM A TERRORIST ATTACK.

Glover: IF YOU GET A REPORT OF HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE AT A FARM IN NORTHERN STORY COUNTY, ARE YOU CONFIDENT THE AUTHORITY EXISTS ON THE FOLKS RIGHT NOW TO SEAL THAT FARM OFF, OR IS THAT PART OF WHAT YOU WANT THE LEGISLATURE TO DO?

Gordon: NO. I THINK THROUGH THE EXERCISE THAT WE CONDUCTED LAST YEAR, WE FELT THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE EXISTING AUTHORITIES IN THE BOOKS FOR QUARANTINE OF LIVESTOCK THAT HAVE DISEASES THAT WOULD SPREAD RAPIDLY, AS WELL AS WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO QUARANTINE THE FARM ITSELF UNTIL IT'S DECONTAMINATED AND CLEANED UP.

Glover: YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME AT THE STATEHOUSE THESE DAYS, AND YOU CAN'T WALK AROUND THE STATEHOUSE VERY FAR WITHOUT BUMPING INTO A STATE TROOPER. WHAT IS THE REAL THREAT TO THE STATEHOUSE? OBVIOUSLY, IT'S A SYMBOLIC SEAT OF GOVERNMENT.

Gordon: IT IS THE SYMBOLIC SEAT OF OUR STATE GOVERNMENT AND A PLACE THAT WE'RE ALL VERY, VERY PROUD OF TO HAVE IN THE STATE OF IOWA. FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO VOICE WHAT THE ACTUAL THREAT IS TO THE CAPITOL, I DON'T KNOW THAT INFORMATION. I DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S ANY GREATER THAN ANY OTHER CAPITOL IN THE NATION OR ANY OTHER CRITICAL FACILITY IN THE STATE. BUT IT IS ONE OF THE FACILITIES THAT WE WILL -- WE ARE FOCUSING ON AS IT RELATES TO ENSURING THE PEOPLE THAT WORK THERE ARE SAFE AND FEEL SAFE, THE PEOPLE THAT GO THERE TO VISIT THERE FEEL SAFE WHEN THEY DO VISIT. SO IT'S ONE OF THE FACILITIES ON OUR LIST THAT WE'LL BE WORKING THROUGH THAT KIND OF A PROCESS.

Glover: WHAT ABOUT THE STATE'S POWER GRID, PARTICULARLY THE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS? DO YOU HAVE A ROLE IN THAT, OR IS THAT FEDERAL ISSUES?

Gordon: WE HAVE A ROLE IN COORDINATING, TAKE THE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, FOR EXAMPLE. WE'VE HISTORICALLY WORKED WITH, SINCE THE EARLY '80S, THE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS THAT HAVE -- ESPECIALLY THERE'S ONE IN IOWA AND THERE'S THREE THAT BORDER IOWA THAT WE WORK CLOSELY WITH. WE'VE DONE A LOT OF PLANNING, TRAINING, AND EXERCISING. WE HAVE VERY, VERY GOOD PLANS IN THE EVENT THAT IF SOMETHING WERE TO OCCUR THAT WAS NATURALLY CAUSING, WHICH THE LIKELIHOOD IS VERY, VERY SLIM, THE SECURITY MEASURES THAT -- THE SECURITY REQUIREMENTS, I GUESS I SHOULD SAY, THAT THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HAS FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IS ONE OF THE MOST STRINGENT SECURITY MEASURES FOR ANY KIND OF -- ANY FACILITY, I BELIEVE, THAT EXISTS. ALL OF OUR POWER PLANTS, OF COURSE, HAVE TO FOLLOW THOSE SECURITY MEASURES, AND SOME OF THEM HAVE GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION REQUIRES.

Yepsen: HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT IOWA'S HOSPITAL SYSTEM COULD DEAL WITH MASS CASUALTIES? YOU KNOW, WE'VE REDUCED HOSPITAL CAPACITY IN THIS STATE IN RECENT YEARS, ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FOR THAT MATTER. WOULD WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A LACK OF CAPACITY IN OUR -- SPECIFICALLY OUR HOSPITALS BUT, MORE GENERALLY, IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY?

Gordon: WE HAVE A LOT OF ENERGY IN THE HOSPITAL COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW IN WANTING TO ENHANCE OUR CAPACITY. I -- MOST STATES ARE IN THE SAME POSITION, THAT WE DO NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY, WHAT WE CALL SURGE CAPACITY, THE CAPABILITY TO TAKE ON THOUSANDS OF CASUALTIES AT ONE TIME. AND WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO THAT. IT'S A NATIONAL ISSUE. IT'S A NATIONAL PROBLEM BUT WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE. WE'RE STARTING HERE AT HOME AND WORKING WITH THE HOSPITAL GROUPS. WE BROUGHT THEM IN FROM ALL AROUND THE STATE. DR. GLEASON IS WORKING WITH THEM TO TRY TO FIND SOME SOLUTIONS TO THAT.

Yepsen: DEAN ASKED YOU ABOUT YOUR AUTHORITY AND WHETHER THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO DEAL WITH AUTHORITY FOR YOUR OFFICE. WHAT ABOUT THE NATIONAL GUARD AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES? DO YOU SEE A NEED HERE FOR THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR TO ACT TO EXPAND THEIR AUTHORITY AND THEIR POWER TO DEAL WITH THESE THREATS?

Gordon: I DON'T KNOW AT THIS TIME. I DON'T THINK SO, BUT THAT DOESN'T -- WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IS GO THROUGH A VERY METHODICAL, THOROUGH LOOK AT ALL OF THE AUTHORITIES AND THE LAWS THAT ARE IN OUR CURRENT STATUTE. I'M NOT ONE TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT THE LAWS NEED TO BE CHANGED TO INCREASE AUTHORITIES, UNLESS IT'S JUST ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. MY LITMUS TEST TO IT IS PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY: DO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LAW TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE THE BEST LAWS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY? SO THAT'S KIND OF WHERE I WOULD DRAW THE LINE, SO WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT IT VERY CLOSELY. WE WON'T BE JUST CHANGING THEM JUST TO BE CHANGING THEM.

Glover: YOU'VE SUGGESTED THAT THE STATE'S OPEN RECORDS LAW MAY NEED TO BE REEXAMINED IN LIGHT OF THIS SECURITY THREAT. THERE HAS BEEN SOME REACTION TO THAT. THE GOVERNOR HAS STEPPED AWAY FROM THAT PROPOSAL, SAYING HE NEEDS TO BE CONVINCED.

Gordon: THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: ARE YOU STILL SUGGESTING THAT IT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED? HAVE YOU RETHOUGHT THAT? TELL US WHY.

Gordon: I HAVE NOT MADE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE GOVERNOR PERSONALLY AT THIS POINT. WE'RE STILL IN THE RESEARCH MODE OF THAT. THE PIECE THAT -- OUR CURRENT STATE LAW -- WE'VE ALWAYS HISTORICALLY, AND RIGHTFULLY SO, PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING IS OPEN, AND IT SHOULD BE. THE DOCUMENTS THAT WE'RE DEVELOPING RIGHT NOW TO PROVIDE -- ENHANCE THE PROTECTION OF THE CRITICAL FACILITIES YOU MENTIONED, POWER PLANTS, THE CAPITOL, DIFFERENT CRITICAL ASSETS THAT KEEP THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY THE UTMOST OF CONCERN, AS WELL AS OUR ECONOMY. WE'RE DEVELOPING A PROTECTION PLAN ON THOSE KEY ASSETS. WE WOULD NOT WANT -- I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WOULD BE PRUDENT TO ALLOW THOSE PLANS TO GET IN THE WRONG HANDS. IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE INFORMATION IN THERE -- THE AVERAGE CITIZEN IS NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING WITH THE INFORMATION. IT'S JUST INFORMATION. BUT COLLECTIVELY, AS WE PULL ALL OF THIS INFORMATION TOGETHER, IF IT WENT INTO THE WRONG HANDS AND IT WENT INTO THE HANDS OF A TERRORIST, THEN THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE WHERE OUR VULNERABILITIES ARE AND WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO WEAKEN THE SECURITY OF OUR STATE. THAT'S WHERE IT'S VERY, VERY NARROW. THAT'S WHAT I'M LOOKING AT, AND I HAVE NOT FINISHED PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNOR.

Glover: AND IT'S YOUR VIEW THAT DOCUMENT, WHEN YOU PREPARE IT, IS NOT COVERED BY OUR CURRENT OPEN MEETINGS OR OPEN RECORDS LAW?

Gordon: YES, THAT'S THE ADVICE THAT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN, YES.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER THREATS THAT CONFRONT IOWA? YOU KNOW, THERE'S PROBABLY A GREATER THREAT OF FLOOD, TORNADOS. DO WE NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING MORE TO DEAL WITH THOSE THREATS, OR IS THAT ALL OLD HAT TO YOU? I GUESS I'M WONDERING IF, IN FOCUSING SO MUCH ATTENTION ON TERRORISM NOW, THAT WE'RE IGNORING OTHER THREATS THAT REALLY ARE PROBABLY MUCH MORE LIKELY TO HAPPEN.

Gordon: DAVID, THAT'S A VERY GOOD QUESTION. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I HAD THAT SAME DISCUSSION WITH MY STAFF A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE SIGHT OF SPRING WILL BE HERE, WINTER IS COMING, WE'VE GOT SEVERE WINTER WEATHER MOVING IN ON US AND SPRING WILL BE HERE. AND MOST LIKELY WE WILL HAVE TORNADOS; WE WILL HAVE FLOODS AND HAZARDOUS MATERIAL INCIDENTS. THOSE THINGS AREN'T GOING TO GO AWAY. SO HOW ARE WE GOING TO BALANCE OUR PREPARATIONS FOR A TERRORIST ATTACK AS WELL AS MAKING SURE THAT WE DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WE WANT TO MAINTAIN OUR CAPABILITY AND THE ABILITY TO RESPOND TO NATURAL DISASTERS AND OTHER KINDS OF DISASTERS THAT WE HISTORICALLY HAVE HAD. SO WE RECOGNIZE THAT AND I WON'T LET THAT HAPPEN, BECAUSE A DISASTER IS A DISASTER NO MATTER THE CAUSE OF IT. WE STILL HAVE THE CONSEQUENCES THAT WE HAVE TO RESPOND TO.

Glover: ON A VERY PRAGMATIC BASIS, YOU'RE TAKING ON NEW RESPONSIBILITIES FOR TERRORIST ATTACKS WHILE MAINTAINING RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROTECTING AGAINST FLOODS, SNOWSTORMS, WHATEVER. HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST IOWANS?

Gordon: I DON'T KNOW AT THIS POINT.

Glover: BUT IT WILL COST SOMETHING, RIGHT?

Gordon: WELL, WE'RE HOPING THAT -- OUR GOAL IS THIS: THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE VERY AGGRESSIVE OF MAKING SURE THAT SOME OF THE FEDERAL GRANT DOLLARS THAT WE'RE WATCHING MOVE THROUGH THE FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS RIGHT NOW DO COME BACK TO IOWA AND TO HELP US IN THE TERRORISM PREPAREDNESS. THAT'S ONE OF MY KEY THINGS THAT I'M GOING TO WATCH VERY CLOSELY AND BE VERY AGGRESSIVE ON SO WE DO NOT END UP HAVING TO ASK FOR A STATE APPROPRIATION AND HAVE TO GO FORWARD AND REQUEST A LOT OF STATE DOLLARS TO DO THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES.

Glover: WELL, HOW MUCH ARE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GETTING HIT?

Gordon: A LOT.

Glover: I MEAN, YOU'VE GOT POLICE OVERTIME, YOU'VE GOT FIRE OVERTIME, YOU'VE GOT LOCAL OFFICIALS WORKING OVERTIME TO DO ALL THIS KIND OF STUFF. HOW BADLY ARE THEY GETTING HIT?

Gordon: THEY'RE GETTING HIT VERY, VERY HARD. AND PART OF THE GRANT -- THE WAY I UNDERSTAND IT IS THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESSES ARE MOVING, THE GRANT PROGRAMS ARE BEING BUILT WITHIN CONGRESS. THAT MONEY IS FOR STATE AND LOCAL. WE HAVE GOT TO MOVE THAT MONEY TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT. YOU'RE EXACTLY RIGHT. OUR FIRST RESPONDERS RIGHT NOW ARE REALLY BEING CHALLENGED FINANCIALLY AND TIME WISE RESPONDING TO THE THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON IN THE REQUEST TO COME OUT AND LOOK AT SOMETHING AND OVERTIME. THEY'RE STRAPPED A GREAT DEAL.

Yepsen: MS. GORDON, I WANT YOU TO THINK PRESCRIPTIVELY FOR INDIVIDUALS. WHAT SHOULD INDIVIDUAL IOWANS BE DOING RIGHT NOW, AND WHAT SHOULD BUSINESSES BE DOING RIGHT NOW? WE TALK A LOT ABOUT GOVERNMENT. BUT WHAT CAN WE DO OURSELVES TO PROTECT OURSELVES TO REGAIN SOME SENSE OF SECURITY? AND MAYBE, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT CAN IOWA'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY BE DOING THAT PERHAPS THEY'RE NOT DOING?

Gordon: LET ME TALK ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS FIRST. I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT INDIVIDUALS -- IF YOU'RE NOT ALREADY INVOLVED WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY, BECOME INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY. YES, GOVERNMENT HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY, BUT IT ALSO IS AN INDIVIDUAL THING TOO. GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY AND HELP THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN DEVELOPING THEIR PLANS AND MAYBE -- THEY'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS, ESPECIALLY DURING THESE TIGHT BUDGET TIMES. VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE STATE ARE REALLY STRUGGLING WITH ENOUGH VOLUNTEERS, AND JUST IN THE VOLUNTEER FIRE AND EMT COMMUNITY. BECOME INVOLVED. HAVE A FAMILY PLAN. KNOW WHAT YOU'D DO AS A FAMILY IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU, WHETHER IT'S CAUSED BY A NATURAL DISASTER OR BY A TERRORIST ATTACK. KNOW WHAT -- HAVE A FAMILY PLAN AND BECOME INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY. BUSINESSES IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE LAST, OH, COUPLE OR THREE WEEKS, WORKING WITH A GROUP HERE IN DES MOINES THAT'S GOING TO BE HOSTING A LARGE ONE-DAY CONFERENCE HERE IN DES MOINES, FOR BUSINESSES, ON PLANNING, CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS PLANNING, HOW TO WORK THROUGH SOME OF THE THREAT ISSUES, HOW TO BETTER PROTECT YOURSELF. EDUCATION, I THINK, IS IMPORTANT. IF BUSINESSES HAVEN'T ALREADY STARTED LOOKING AT THEIR SECURITY PLANS AND THEIR CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS PLANS, THEY CERTAINLY SHOULD.

Glover: NEXT THURSDAY YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A SPECIAL SESSION OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE 150 ELECTED LEGISLATORS, A GOVERNOR AND THE STATE'S EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, ALL IN THE SAME BUILDING. NOW, I'M NOT ASKING YOU TO TELL ME WHERE ALL THE GUARDS ARE GOING TO BE, BUT HOW SERIOUS IS SECURITY WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THE STATE'S POLITICAL LEADERS IN THE SAME BUILDING?

Gordon: WELL, I THINK IT NEEDS TO BE VERY SERIOUS. TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, MIKE, IT'S VERY, VERY SERIOUS -- IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN VERY, VERY SERIOUS. AND YOU'RE RIGHT, I CAN'T SHARE THE SECURITY ISSUES SPECIFICALLY WITH YOU, BUT WE'VE BEEN IN DISCUSSIONS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY ON THE ISSUE AND ARE WORKING THROUGH THE ISSUES.

Borg: GO AHEAD, MIKE.

Glover: NO, GO AHEAD, DEAN.

Borg: FOR THAT SAME REASON, NOT DIVULGING WHERE WE'RE MOST VULNERABLE, BUT WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE? WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT SAYING, "HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THIS DONE?"

Gordon: THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION, DEAN. THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS -- I GUESS IT'S NOT REALLY A CHALLENGE, BUT THE BIGGEST PART OF WHAT WE'RE DOING IS COORDINATING, MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE ALL -- WHEN I SAY "WE ALL," WITHIN STATE GOVERNMENT, FOR STARTERS -- WE'RE ALL WORKING TOWARD THE SAME GOAL, AND IT'S ALL GOING TO FIT TOGETHER KIND OF LIKE A PUZZLE, COME TOGETHER, THAT WE'RE ALL PROVIDING THE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE. THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS MAKING SURE THAT THE INFORMATION THAT WE ARE GIVING OUT, THAT WE'RE PUTTING ON OUR WEB PAGES, THAT WE'RE TALKING TO THE MEDIA, FORUMS LIKE THIS, THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE. WE GET INFORMATION FROM RIGHT NOW TODAY, IT'S -- I'LL USE THE WORD "STOVEPIPED" -- FROM EACH OF THE FEDERAL AGENCIES. SO EPA, CDC, EACH OF THE FEDERAL AGENCIES ARE GIVING US INFORMATION. SO THEN WE HAVE TO PULL IT ALL TOGETHER AND TRY TO DECIDE, "WELL, WHAT IS THIS TELLING US? WHAT IS THE RIGHT MESSAGE ON ANTHRAX? WHAT IS THE RIGHT MESSAGE ON WATER SYSTEMS?" BECAUSE WE'RE GETTING DIFFERENT PIECES OF INFORMATION FROM -- SO THAT'S THE CURRENT TODAY'S CHALLENGE IS MAKE SURE THAT INFORMATION IS CORRECT.

Yepsen: I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT A SENSITIVE POLITICAL ISSUE. YOU MAY WANT TO DUCK THIS QUESTION.

Gordon: OKAY.

Yepsen: THAT STATED, THE DEATH PENALTY. SOME LEGISLATORS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT IOWA SHOULD REINSTATE THE DEATH PENALTY AS A WAY TO COMBAT TERRORISM MUCH THE WAY NEW YORK DID. OTHERS ARE SAYING, "NO, IT'S NOT NECESSARY, THAT'S A HOT ISSUE, THAT'S A DIVISIVE ISSUE." ANY THOUGHTS FROM YOU ON WHETHER WE NEED TO DO THAT?

Gordon: WITHIN IOWA -- THE DEATH PENALTY WITHIN IOWA, I HAD NEVER GIVEN IT ANY THOUGHT, FRANKLY. TYPICALLY -- AND IT CERTAINLY ISN'T A TOPIC THAT I'VE DISCUSSED WITH THE GOVERNOR AT ALL, BUT TYPICALLY WHAT I HEAR SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES TALKING ABOUT IS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES THE PROSECUTION. IT FALLS UNDER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S TERRORISM STATUTES, SO THE STATES DON'T SEEM TO BE --

Yepsen: IT MAY NOT BE NECESSARY.

Gordon: -- NECESSARY, AND THEY'RE NOT REALLY TALKING ABOUT IT.

Glover: DAVE ASKED YOU WHAT BUSINESSES OUGHT TO DO. DAVE ASKED YOU WHAT INDIVIDUALS OUGHT TO DO. WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY?

Gordon: WHAT AM I DOING? I'M WORKING MORE HOURS. [ LAUGHTER ] MY STAFF IS WORKING MORE HOURS. I'M TRYING DIFFERENTLY THAN -- IT WASN'T ON MY RADAR SCREEN REALLY SO MUCH IS DEVELOPING A HOMELAND SECURITY STRATEGY ON WHAT ARE ALL THE ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE DEVELOPED AND WORKED THROUGH AND IMPLEMENTED FOR HOMELAND SECURITY ITSELF, PUTTING TOGETHER A PROPOSED STRATEGY, AND THEN WE'LL ULTIMATELY BE SITTING DOWN WITH THE GOVERNOR AND WORKING THROUGH WITH HIM ON WHAT HIS VISION IS, TOO, AS TO WHERE HE SEES THIS NEEDING TO GO. WE'RE ALSO WORKING A LOT WITH DIRECTOR RIDGE'S OFFICE, BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE FIT INTO THE NATIONAL STRATEGY AND WHERE THE NATION IS GOING.

Borg: THANKFULLY ON THIS PROGRAM, WE DON'T HAVE OVERTIME.

Gordon: THAT'S RIGHT.

Borg: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Gordon: YOU'RE WELCOME.

Borg: YOU'VE PROBABLY NOTICED THAT "IOWA PRESS" NOW AIRS TWICE WEEKLY ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION: FRIDAY AT 6:30; NOON ON SUNDAY. AND ANOTHER PROGRAM REMINDER: THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8 AT 6:30, IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION DEBUTS A NEW LOCALLY-PRODUCED PROGRAM. IT'S CALLED "INSIGHT IOWA," WITH HOST LORENZO SANDOVAL. THE FOCUS IS CURRENT EVENTS, THE NEWS BEHIND THE NEWS. THIS THURSDAY'S TOPIC IS ANTHRAX, AND JOINING LORENZO WILL BE THE DIRECTOR OF THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, DR. STEVEN GLEASON, ALONG WITH TODAY'S "IOWA PRESS" GUEST, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR ELLEN GORDON. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. THAT'S THURSDAY AT 6:30 FOR "INSIGHT IOWA." AND AS WE CONTINUE THE "IOWA PRESS" 30TH ANNIVERSARY, WE CLOSE WITH A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF A PROGRAM FROM OUR ARCHIVES. IN FEBRUARY 1983, TEN DAYS AFTER ANNOUNCING HIS CANDIDACY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, THEN-COLORADO SENATOR GARY HART JOINED US AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE. SENATOR HART NOTED THAT THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE, IN HIS OPINION, HAD BECOME CYNICAL, SAYING VOTERS HAD LOST FAITH, DOUBTING ELECTED OFFICIALS' ABILITY TO LEAD. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

Hart: ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WE'VE HAD WITH GOVERNMENTS IN THIS COUNTRY AND GOVERNING THIS COUNTRY IS THAT POST-NIXON, POST-WATERGATE, THE LEVERAGE OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE MARGIN UPON WHICH PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO GIVE THAT PRESIDENT SOME LATITUDE TO MAKE DECISIONS, HAS NARROWED DOWN TO A VERY NARROW PLACE. AND IT'S PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE DISTRUST OF POLITICIANS AND THE POLITICAL PROCESS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK OUR WAY OUT OF THAT. I HOPE SOMEDAY WE WILL. I SAID AFTER WATERGATE THAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD TAKE THIS COUNTRY TWENTY YEARS TO GET OVER IT, AND THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I MEANT, THAT BACK TO A POINT WHERE PEOPLE WERE WILLING TO SAY, "WELL, HE'S DOING HIS BEST AND WE'RE GOING TO LET HIM WORK THIS OUT." NOW, IN REAGAN'S CASE -- AND I THINK HE MAY HAVE COMPOUNDED THE PROBLEM BECAUSE HE CAME WITH SOME VERY SIMPLE ECONOMICS, PROMISED THE MOON. SOME OF US KNEW IT WASN'T GOING TO WORK AND SAID SO, AND WE'RE NOW LIVING WITH IT.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.