September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Remarks By Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam ; September 12, 2001

Remarks By Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam
Diplomatic Reception Room U.S. Department Of The Treasury

Secretary O'Neill has canceled the remainder of his Asia trip. He is en route back to the United States, and is expected later today. I have been in constant communication with him, and he has been fully briefed on the situation. The Secretary expressed his sincere sympathy to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

As for my trip to Asia, that has been postponed.

I want to reiterate what the Secretary said last night in Tokyo: our nation's financial markets are strong and resilient. In the face of yesterday's tragedy, the financial system functioned extraordinarily well, and we have every confidence that it will continue to do so in the days ahead.

While we don't generally comment on specific meetings or phone calls, I do want to say that we have received many expressions of sympathy and solidarity from our friends and colleagues around the world in response to yesterday's tragic events.

With Treasury employing 25 percent of the federal law enforcement officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms, I will now address the role Treasury's enforcement bureaus are playing in the government-wide effort.

All of the Secret Service's resources and protective measures have been implemented and appropriate steps and protocols are being followed. The Service has activated their emergency plan and remains on high alert today. I am sorry that I am not in a position to elaborate on any of these procedures.

The Customs Service is at the highest level of alert. All U.S. Customs air and marine assets have been put on alert. All U.S. Customs investigators have been put on alert to support the FBI [Federal Bureau of investigations] in its efforts. U.S. Customs air assets have been brought in to assist other government agencies in the movement and deployment of personnel across the country. Customs is also coordinating with INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] with respect to monitoring the borders.

For the record, Customs never closed the U.S. borders. Rather, the highest level of security has had the effect of slowing border crossings. Commercial cargo continues to flow into the U.S.

ATF [Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] is actively participating in investigative efforts within the Joint Terrorist Task Forces across the country. ATF has established command posts around the country in furtherance of these investigative efforts. The ATF National Response team has been requested to assist in the investigation surrounding the incident at the Pentagon.

The Treasury Department's enforcement bureaus I just mentioned -- the USSS [U.S. Secret Service], the Customs Service, and the ATF, as well as the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] Criminal Division -- had offices and employees in the World Trade Center complex.

Based on the information we have available, we have not yet been able to account for every enforcement bureau person in New York. A full accounting will be forthcoming.

We are in the process of verifying the location of all our law enforcement personnel and related staff in New Yolk. The total number of personnel in New York is approximately 1,200 individuals.

Treasury is conducting the nation's business. We are processing Social Security checks, we are printing cash, we are minting coins, and the rebate checks will continue to be mailed on schedule.

On the matter of the World Bank/IMF [International Monetary Fund] Meetings, it is premature to address that question.

Let me finish with this.

With some exceptions, finance, commerce and banking systems have worked effectively and continuous acts of evil will not cripple the markets. Our financial system is, and remains, strong. The American economy is open for business.

As the President said earlier this morning: "We will not allow this enemy to change our way of life or restrict our freedoms."

Thank you.

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