Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Feds send
extra agents
for ADB meet

Security for the event
will be strengthened

ACLU sues over security rules

By Rod Antone

Several law enforcement officials have confirmed that the federal government plans to bring in field agents from the mainland to assist with security for the Asian Development Bank conference next month.

Among the agencies that are supposed to be receiving "imported" backup are U.S. marshals, the Secret Service and the FBI.

"We are assessing our needs, and the FBI will have additional agents available as the situation dictates," said FBI agent Max Marker yesterday. "We can draw from any of the 55 other field offices across the country."

Marker said the FBI has fewer than 100 agents in Honolulu. No one from the Secret Service or U.S. marshals could be reached for comment yesterday.

Those who attend joint law enforcement meetings with city, state and federal agencies said that what happened in Quebec over the weekend "made people more nervous." Riot police used tear gas against demonstrators protesting at the Summit of the Americas over the weekend.

One concern in particular for Honolulu involves the glass panes at the entrance of the Hawai'i Convention Center.

"We are majorly concerned about the glass in the convention center," Assistant Police Chief Boisse Correa said earlier this month. Federal officials said they also have concerns that protesters may use some sort of projectile to break the glass.

Convention Center General Manager Joe Davis said that the last pane of glass that was replaced cost $12,000. However, Davis said that his concerns center around the actual event itself and not the security surrounding it.

"Let's not lose sight of what this is about," said Davis. "We're getting ready to host a major international financial event that will have great benefits for the state."

Approximately 3,500 people will attend the ADB conference May 7-11, said Davis. He said that includes about 600 delegates representing bank officials from roughly 60 different countries.

Davis also said there is a 50 percent chance that President George W. Bush will also attend the conference. "It wouldn't be unusual to have him here.:

Whether Bush will being coming for sure is unknown. Federal officials did not say if the preparations they are making include security plans for the president.

"We are paying attention to what our needs are going to be, and we will have the appropriate people to meet those needs," said Marker.

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