After New York Blast, Multinational Firms Boost Security

Article excerpt

TENANTS are starting to move back into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. But, as might be expected considering last month's terrorist bombing in the underground garage for the building, security measures have been sharply strengthened.

Throughout the Big Apple, heightened security is evident at both public and private facilities, such as financial institutions, government buildings, airports, train stations, and bus depots. At the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's huge bus depot on Manhattan's West Side, officials only this week reopened public parking. It was closed following the Trade Center blast.

Nor is New York alone in its concern with security.

Many large multinational corporations are tightening security, although those contacted for this article did not wish to be identified. In addition to the blast this is happening because of rising threats against Americans in many parts of the world, says Michael Harvey, a professor of international business policy at the University of Oklahoma College of Business Administration. Professor Harvey has studied the impact of terrorism on US corporations for over a decade.

Harvey reckons that in the 1980s between 3,600 and 5,000 American citizens were killed abroad in terrorist acts, many of them directed against United States companies. Harvey estimates that US companies spend at least $20 billion annually on security systems and practices - an amount that he concedes is guesswork at best, since many large companies refuse to publicly identify their security programs. Some multinational companies will eventually have security teams that equal "small armies," he says. At many firms, little change

Unlike some large multinational companies, most US companies have not substantially increased security programs despite the Trade Center bombing, says John Horn, managing director of Kroll Associates, a corporate security agency.

That's not necessarily inappropriate, says Mr. Horn, since within the domestic US, most security measures are meant to deal with actions taken by disgruntled employees, or to the theft of corporate "information," than to the threat of bomb-throwers from abroad. …