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These are the stories I wrote Sept. 11, 2001, for that evenings edition or for the Sept.

12 morning edition. Copyright 2001 Omaha World-Herald September 11, 2001, Tuesday AFTERNOON EDITION SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A HEADLINE: Security stepped up in Midlands By Stephen Buttry WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Although Tuesday morning's attack struck more than a thousand miles away, the terror struck close to home in Nebraska and Iowa. Air travelers changed plans. Military forces and police scrambled to their highest alert levels. Schoolchildren stayed in from recess and asked if the country was at war. Office workers clustered around television sets, sickened at the sights of carnage. Families with loved ones back east waited anxiously for the telephone to beep. Worshipers gathered to pray for a world gone mad. About 11 a.m., Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society said it sent its 550 employees home for the day from the 28-story Woodmen Tower, Omaha's tallest active office building. Altogether, about 1,500 people work in the building. Tim Sautter, manager of the building, said the company decided to close for the day and released its employees to go home. Other businesses with offices in the building were informed, but each employer decided what to do, Sautter said. The building was not evacuated. "I think we're getting attacked big-time," said Jody Grosvenor of Council Bluffs, who works on the 24th floor of the Woodmen Tower. "And I don't think it's over yet." About 400 construction workers continued on the job Tuesday morning at the First National Tower, which will be Nebraska's tallest office building when it is completed next year. John Lehning, the First National executive in charge of the project, said the company was putting extra uniformed security guards at all of its buildings, including its 20 facilities in Omaha. The Douglas County Courthouse also closed late Tuesday morning, although the Civic Center stayed open. In a courtroom of lawyers and defendants, County Judge Jane Prochaska stepped behind her bench midmorning and announced: "The World Trade Center has completely collapsed. It's gone." Security at Offutt Air Force Base was at the most-restrictive level by

midmorning. Trucks were stopped at the Kenney Gate, the main gate onto the base. Guards in protective vests and helmets checked cars and made sure people had valid military identification before allowing them in. Forklifts set up concrete barricades in a serpentine path to slow traffic coming in from the gate. Offutt has five levels of security: Normal, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. By 9:40 a.m., Delta, the highest security level, was in place. A placard placed at the Kenney Gate read, "Delta means for an area where a terrorist attack has occurred or where intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is likely." Joe Gould, the general manager of Si-Nor Inc., the base's trash hauler, was waiting at 9:45 a.m. for bomb dogs to search the trucks so that he could go onto the base. He had been ordered to pull trash containers away from buildings on base. "This is the first time in eight years that we've done this," Gould said. "I've been through exercise situations. Nothing even close to this." Gould's three trucks were allowed onto the base about 10:15 a.m. without being checked by the bomb dogs. Tyree Varnado, assistant regional administrator for the General Services Administration in Kansas City, said federal facilities in Washington were evacuated but a decision had not been made whether to clear out all federal buildings across the nation. Varnado said security at all Midlands federal buildings was upgraded. "For obvious reasons, I am not able to share what those measures are," Varnado said. The Omaha Police Department was talking Tuesday morning with the FBI and Eppley Airfield officials to determine if they needed any assistance from police, Omaha Sgt. Dan Cisar said. Utilities increased security to protect water, gas, electrical and nuclear power systems. "We've asked all of our employees to be especially alert to anything different and taken certain, specific measures at each of our plants and facilities," said Jeff Hanson, spokesman for Omaha Public Power District, which owns the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant. Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning authorized heightened security around the

City-County Building. He said officers were checking cars parked around the buildings and bagged empty meters. In Bellevue, city government kept employees on staff in case of emergency, and police and firefighters were on alert. Omaha-based Union Pacific Corp. spokesman Mark Davis said the railroad heightened security across the company's 33,000-mile long rail system. Classes continued at area schools, though Millard Public Schools canceled outdoor recess. Many students watched news reports on television. Several of Nebraska's smaller airports outside Omaha and Lincoln were bracing to possibly take in large commercial aircraft after the FAA's order to ground all U.S. planes. "The directive said that even if they're in the air right now, they're supposed to land at the nearest airport," said Rick Meter, manager of Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff. "We're preparing for any large aircraft that may be landing." The Doubletree Hotel in downtown Omaha set up a dormitory for stranded travelers in its ballroom, using cots, rollaway beds, pillows and blankets. The hotel's 413 rooms were full, but marketing director Tami Cobb said officials were asking guests with unused beds if they would mind doubling up to accommodate stranded travelers. Students clustered around TV sets at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University, some of them worried about family or friends in New York and Washington. At a noon mass at Creighton's St. John Church, worshipers prayed for the victims of Tuesday's tragedy, university spokesman Steve Kline said. At 6:30 p.m., the university scheduled an all-faith prayer service as "a call for healing, a call for comfort for the victims." UNL students also were organizing a prayer vigil on their campus for Tuesday afternoon. Said Creighton spokesman John Glenn, "There's not a whole lot we can do but pray." Archbishop Elden Curtiss was scheduled to lead a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. at St. Cecilia Cathedral. The prayer service is open to the public.

Copyright 2001 Omaha World-Herald Reprinted with permission September 12, 2001, Wednesday SUNRISE EDITION SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 4A; HEADLINE: Critics have warned repeatedly of threats to air security By Stephen Buttry WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Federal investigators warned Congress last year that the nation's air travel system was vulnerable to a terrorist attack. "The threat of terrorism against the United States remains high," General Accounting Office executive Gerald Dillingham told a Senate subcommittee in April 2000. GAO and other critics of the airport security system warned repeatedly that it relies on people who receive too little pay and training for tedious but important work. Dillingham said the screeners protecting travelers from terrorists commonly earn lower wages than workers at airports' fast-food restaurants. "Screeners are not adequately detecting dangerous objects," he testified. After Tuesday's attacks involving hijacked jets, international security consultant Wayne Black said, "This is no surprise to anybody that's ever done anything with airplane security." Just Monday - the day before the attacks - the Department of Transportation's inspector general launched an investigation "to assess (the Federal Aviation Administration's) efforts for improving passenger and carry-on bagging screening at security checkpoints within the United States," according to an internal Department of Transportation memo. This came nearly two years after the inspector general warned the FAA of lax airport security, saying it "has been slow to take actions necessary to strengthen access control." Six weeks ago, the FAA announced that it was seeking $ 99,000 in fines for security violations by American Airlines, which lost two planes in Tuesday's hijackings. The violations included one at Boston Logan International Airport, the origin point of the American and United Airlines jets that crashed into the World Trade Center Tuesday morning. In an inspection on June 25, 2000, FAA agents found violations on six American flights, including failure to check passengers' identification, failure to ask security questions about checked bags and improperly transporting

unaccompanied bags. From 1997 through 2000, the FAA fined American Airlines $ 3,513,225 for security-related violations. For the same period, United had $ 2,030,750 in fines. Overall for that period, the FAA issued $ 18.5 million in fines for security-related violations. More than half of the FAA's 5,400 enforcement actions during that time were related to security. Sneaking a weapon onto an airplane "is not that difficult," said Black, owner of Wayne Black and Associates in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "We've been asleep at the wheel." The federal government sets standards for security but does not directly provide airport security. Airport authorities and local law enforcement agencies provide security around the airport, and airlines screen passengers and their baggage. The airlines generally hire private companies to operate the metal detectors and X-ray machines at airport checkpoints. Dillingham told the Senate that screeners at many of the nation's largest airports receive starting wages of $ 6 an hour or less. Some receive the minimum wage of $ 5.15. The employee turnover rate is frequently 100 percent a year or higher. "It's outrageous that we put that security in the hands of a minimum-wage person," said Charlie LeBlanc, managing director of Air Security International Inc., a consulting company based in Houston. In any field, LeBlanc said, higher pay helps retain and motivate workers. He noted that in addition to providing security, screeners must deal with angry passengers who are impatient about security delays. "Not only is it tedious work, but on top of that it is extremely difficult and stressful." The GAO studied screening practices in Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Those nations pay their screeners more and have lower turnover rates. Richard Auletta, a Denver businessman who was bound for a convention at a hotel near the Pentagon before his flight was diverted to Omaha on Tuesday, said the multiple hijackings certainly raised questions about the quality of airport security. "I've flown in and out of all the airports involved," he said. "I've always thought the security didn't look quite right."

Don Smithey, executive director of the Omaha Airport Authority, declined comment Tuesday. The local office of ITS Inc., the company that screens travelers for the airlines in Omaha, also would not comment. A local employee referred questions to a phone number at corporate headquarters, but no one answered that number. Copyright 2001 Omaha World-Herald September 12, 2001, Wednesday MIDLANDS EDITION SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 4A; HEADLINE: Ex-Husker with office in tower horrified By Stephen Buttry WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Dave Rimington watched in horror from his mother's home in Nebraska as the World Trade Center tower where he normally works collapsed after Tuesday morning's terrorist attack. "It's mind-numbing, this whole thing," said Rimington, a former Husker football star who played center. "The loss of life in this is just unbelievable." Rimington is president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which raises money for research and treatment of cystic fibrosis. The foundation's offices were on the 101st floor of the first tower hit by an airplane Tuesday and the second tower to collapse. Rimington was scheduled to speak Thursday at a banquet for his alma mater, Omaha South High School. Earlier Thursday, the city was planning to rename L Street from 24th Street to 20th Street in his honor. Rimington left New York on Friday so he could watch the Nebraska-Notre Dame football game while he was home. He said Tuesday that he was trying to return to New York, although the government had suspended air travel throughout the nation. From his mother's home in Plattsmouth, Neb., Rimington said all three of his co-workers at the foundation were accounted for. None was in the 110-story building when the plane crashed into it. He worried, though, about friends at Cantor Fitzgerald, a brokerage firm that occupied four floors of the building and provided office space for the charitable foundation.

"All those people I work with are there," Rimington said after the south tower collapsed but before the tower where he worked fell. Minutes later, the second tower collapsed. "The plane looked like it hit below where they were, and I just hoped they could clear the debris and get down." He remembered how he could feel the building sway in a strong wind. "I didn't have a lot of confidence that the building would stand." He knew the prospects for evacuation of his friends were slim. When a truck bomb damaged the World Trade Center in 1993, evacuation took two hours.