|Ehrlich Praises Coordinated
Terrorism Response, Discusses Future Alerts|
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005
WASHINGTON - Gov. Robert Ehrlich said there was "excellent execution on
the ground" last month to protect Baltimore from an alleged
terror threat to its transportation tunnels as he left a Wednesday meeting
with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.
Local and national leaders, he said, are continuing to work together to
keep the state and the region safe.
"What is always brought home to me," Ehrlich said, "is how interdependent
The closed meeting, which also included Washington Mayor Anthony
Williams, was organized "to discuss homeland security issues relevant to the
National Capital Region, including the coordination of information and
analysis coming from federal sources," said a Tuesday statement from the
Coordination was tested Oct. 18 when the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel was
closed and traffic through the Fort McHenry Tunnel was reduced to one lane
each way after authorities learned of a threat to detonate vehicles filled
with explosives inside a Baltimore tunnel.
Local, state and federal officials praised the efforts taken, but some
expressed dissatisfaction with communication between agencies during the
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley told The Associated Press the day of the
closings that he learned of the incident, not from officials, but from the
Ehrlich met with Williams and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner Oct. 26 to
discuss the incident and other issues facing the region.
Following that meeting, Ehrlich told reporters he was frustrated by
reports of an unnamed federal official questioning the credibility of the
threat as it was being investigated. When the federal government does not
speak with one voice, he said, it puts leaders in a difficult position.
Wednesday, Ehrlich was more positive and said he is proud of interagency
cooperation that helped make the tunnel closings happen quickly and
The lesson from the tunnel incident, he said, is that "we can execute
when we need to."
"We continue to get better on a regular basis," he said.
After the meeting, Ehrlich also addressed Tuesday's off-year elections.
Ehrlich said he was not terribly surprised by the loss of fellow
Republican Jerry Kilgore in Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial election and
restated his desire to seek a second term in next year's elections.
"I'd like to run again quite frankly," he said.
Ehrlich dismissed suggestions that in the future he and other Republican
candidates would have to distance themselves from President Bush, whose
approval ratings have plunged recently.
Ehrlich said that he has developed his own policies and positions
independent from the president, sometimes agreeing with him and sometimes
"I love this phrase in American politics: distancing," Ehrlich said. "I
don't know what that means."
University of Maryland
Philip Merrill College of
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