- (Note - The term 'shadow government' here is not related
to the term as used to describe the Illuminati/NWO Globalists who pull
the strings of much of the world's geopolitics. - ed)
- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Activating
a Cold War-era plan, President Bush has put in place a "shadow government"
working in secret bunkers outside Washington in case of a catastrophic
attack, administration officials said on Friday.
- The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
the precautionary operation to ensure the government would continue to
operate was put into effect on Sept. 11 in the first hours after hijackers
slammed commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center in New York and
the Pentagon near Washington.
- "Of course we're taking steps to ensure the continuity
of government," one U.S. official said. "Anything else would
be irresponsible. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure the job of
government can continue in any circumstances."
- Originally designed to withstand Cold War nuclear threats
and dating back to the 1953 to 1961 presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, the
shadow government plan, first reported by The Washington Post, has been
implemented out of fear that the al Qaeda network -- blamed for the Sept.
11 attacks -- might obtain a portable nuclear weapon.
- The administration officials stressed that U.S. intelligence
had no specific knowledge of any such weapon and that implementation of
the government-in-waiting plan was a prudent precautionary measure.
- Under the classified "Continuity of Operations Plan"
reported in The Washington Post on Friday, Bush has deployed a "shadow
government" of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work
in fortified locations outside Washington.
- The newspaper said high-ranking government officials
representing various departments had begun rotating in and out of the assignment
at one of two fortified locations along the East Coast.
- A senior official involved in managing the program and
quoted by the Post said the civilian force in the underground bunkers usually
numbered 70 to 150, and "fluctuates based on intelligence" about
- "BUNKER DUTY"
- In the event of a disabling blow to Washington, the underground
government's first mission would be to prevent the collapse of essential
functions, such as containing disruptions of the nation's food and water
supplies, transportation links, energy and telecommunications networks,
public health and civil order. Later, it would begin to reconstitute the
- Drawn from every Cabinet department and several independent
agencies, those activated for what some call "bunker duty" live
and work underground 24 hours a day, away from their families, the newspaper
- Citing security concerns, the administration officials
declined to confirm the details of the Post report. The newspaper said
it had agreed to a White House request not to identify any of those deployed
or identify the two principal locations of the shadow government.
- During the Cold War era, a top-secret bunker was built
under a wing of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia for use by members
of Congress and their families in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington.
It was declassified in 1992 and is now open for tours.
- The shadow government is one of several steps the Bush
administration has taken to ensure continuity in the event of a catastrophic
- Vice President Dick Cheney's activities and whereabouts
have been strictly shielded. He frequently works at a "secure, undisclosed
location" and rarely appears in the same place as Bush. In a worst-case
scenario, Cheney is next in line for the presidency and would need help
to run the government.
- Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, top leaders of
Congress were spirited away, but they came back together on the steps of
the Capitol that night in a show of unity.
- Bush has also ordered his Cabinet heads to complete explicit
succession plans for their departments.
- The Post said that within hours of the synchronized attacks
on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, military helicopters lifted off
with the first wave of evacuated officials. Initially a temporary precaution,
the program has been extended indefinitely.