Friday, July 13, 2007

U.S. Treasury Holds Disaster Drill in Tampa Bay

Lee Rogers and Mike Swenson
Truth Or Lies
Friday, July 13, 2007

The Department of the Treasury today held a post-disaster exercise in conjunction with the local community in Tampa Bay. The post-disaster exercise received very little media coverage but has now been confirmed to have taken place, according to the newsroom at Tampa Bay NBC affiliate WFLA-TV. WFLA-TV was issued a press release by the Department of the Treasury and the local county regarding the drill. For whatever reason, WFLA decided that this post-disaster exercise did not deserve much attention and was not covered on their TV news broadcast.

The lack of media coverage is surprising considering the fact that the U.S. Dollar is registering all-time lows against other currencies, there are fears of a U.S. Dollar collapse and institutions like the Bank for International Settlements are warning of a possible global depression. The Department of the Treasury holding a post-disaster exercise of any sort is in fact extremely significant, considering the current problems with the U.S. Dollar. The language of the press release states that the purpose of the exercise was to test the ability of financial institutions, federal and state regulators, state and local government officials and state and local first responders to quickly get to their feet after any disaster. This is opened ended and indicates that this could have been a drill to prepare for any number of disasters from terrorism to a natural disaster or an economic collapse but the main focus clearly revolves around the financial community. The question is why the focus around the financial community? Are they preparing for something that we don’t know about?

Mike Swenson, host of the talk radio program "Revolution Radio and webmaster of the anti-NWO web site Truth or Lies, called the WFLA-TV newsroom during the first hour of his program Thursday night regarding this exercise after being tipped off about the drill by a caller.

The caller to Swenson's radio program described hearing a broadcast news report on Fox NewsRadio 970-WFLA in Tampa, in which they described a "terror drill" being conducted in downtown Tampa. Further investigation into the matter by the caller revealed little information from other mainstream outlets across the Tampa area.

Further, the caller went on to state that a friend of his, who works in the Verizon building in downtown Tampa, told him that the high-rise building had been shut down for "terror drills". Again, the media failed to report this.

Click Here to Listen to the Broadcast (Download)

The WFLA news room confirmed the news of a drill that was conducted by the Department of the Treasury in Tampa Bay. Following Mike’s phone call with WFLA, we followed up with the news room, asking them to send a copy of the press release to us.

Below is the full press release issued by the Department of the Treasury and the local County that was sent to us by WFLA.

Exercise Announcement Contacts:

Willie Puz, Hillsborough County Communications, (813) 307-8379
Jennifer Zuccarelli, Office of Public Affairs, Department of the Treasury, (202) 622-8657

Hillsborough County’s Financial Community Readies for Disaster Response

How fast can the Bay area’s financial community rebound after a disaster? Whether it’s providing recovery goods and services, continued investment trading, or getting back to day-to-day business, the financial infrastructure needs to be in place to make it happen. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, FloridaFIRST Tampa Bay regional financial coalition and Hillsborough County are conducting this post-disaster exercise on Thursday, July 12 at the Hillsborough Emergency Operations Center, 2711 E. Hanna Avenue, Tampa at 10 a.m.

The test will bring together area financial institutions, federal and state financial regulators, state and local government officials, and state and local first responders to test their ability to quickly get back on their feet after any disaster. Studies have shown that the longer it takes to return to normalcy, the more devastating the economic consequences are for that community.

FloridaFIRST Tampa Bay plays an important role in our strategy as the Sector Specific Agency for the Banking and Finance Sector to protect the critical infrastructure. This exercise will help the public and private sectors work together to refine our plans, procedures, and response to potential crises, said U.S. Treasury Director Valerie Abend.

A portion of the resilience exercise is open to the media. U.S. Department of Treasury, FloridaFIRST and Hillsborough County Emergency Management officials will be available for interviews during a scheduled press conference at 10 a.m. to discuss the exercise.

It is interesting to note that the institution mentioned in the press release called FloridaFIRST is specifically dedicated to protecting financial institutions. There is also another institution called ChicagoFIRST that was recently formed as well, which indicates this is part of a larger program. Below is the text from a press release from the Department of the Treasury announcing the formation of FloridaFIRST.

Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Randal Quarles and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy Scott Parsons will be in Miami, Florida on Thursday to join in the unveiling of the FloridaFIRST Regional Coalition.

FloridaFIRST is a regional coalition formed by a group of financial institutions based in Miami with the goal of enhancing the resilience of the financial sector in South Florida to handle threats from terrorism and natural disasters. FloridaFIRST is a collective effort to protect the homeland through public and private partnerships.

This regional coalition will help officials at all levels of government coordinate with the financial sector in South Florida to share information, promote policies and programs that increase preparedness and to speed the recovery of financial institutions should there be an incident of disruption.

FloridaFIRST is the second regional coalition established in the U.S. ChicagoFIRST was created in 2003 and served as a model for private sector coalitions dedicated to working to protect financial institutions.

The goals of these coalitions are to speed the recovery of financial institutions should there be an incident of disruption. A currency collapse or a run on the banks would undoubtedly qualify as an incident of disruption as would a terror attack or natural disaster.

We plan on following up with the press contacts listed in the press release tomorrow to find out exactly what the real purpose of this drill was. Considering the drill’s focus around financial institutions and the poor health of the U.S. Dollar and the timing of this drill are incredibly strange. We may never know what the true purpose of this was, but it does raise a number of questions.

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