The following are remarks that Governor Napolitano delivered at a Governor's Office news conference
As you know, the President's update to the nation last night put our country on a heightened state of alert, and on a path that may lead to war very soon.
Our security alert was raised to Level Orange, and the President indicated that hostilities in Iraq could ensue as early as Wednesday.
I want Arizonans to know that we are as prepared as possible to handle any emergency that may arise as a result of heightened tensions in Iraq. I have been working with my Cabinet and my Homeland Security Director to ensure that we are as safe, prepared, and well-guarded as possible for the weeks and months ahead.
To those ends, the following precautions are being taken:
- I am sending National Guard troops to provide additional security to the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Generating Station, west of Phoenix.
- My staff is in close contact with Arizona's major airports, as well as the federal Transportation Safety Authority, to ensure that air travel remains as safe as possible into and out of Arizona.
- I have ordered all state agencies to be on a heightened state of alert, to reflect the elevation of the national security alert to Level Orange.
- The Department of Public Safety has activated its Domestic Preparedness Operations Center, which will remain open 24 hours a day until further notice. Anyone seeing activity that appears to be suspicious relative to homeland security threats are asked to call either their local police or this operations center, at (602) 223-2680.
- While it is not necessary at this time to activate the state's Emergency Operations Center at the Department of Emergency Management, staff there remains on alert and ready to activate it at any time.
- We have called directors at all of Arizona's international ports of entry for status checks. Moving forward, my staff will remain in close contact with them.
- I will also hold a similar status meeting via conference call with Arizona's border mayors today.
- Earlier this morning, I met with Legislative leadership to brief them on current circumstances.
- This afternoon, I will meet with the 14 members of my cabinet whose agency operations affect Arizona's homeland security efforts. I will ask them to determine quickly what is needed to protect Arizona in the event that war breaks out in the Middle East.
As events unfold internationally, I will remain in contact with federal officials, particularly the Department of Homeland Security. Just prior to the President's national address last night, I joined the nation's other governors in a teleconference with national Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, as well as officials from the FBI, CIA, and other federal authorities.
To Arizonans who may be worried about how events in Iraq may affect them here at home, let me say this:
We are taking all appropriate steps to secure Arizona's communities, its landmarks and its vital facilities against the unlikely possibility of a terrorist attack.
The best thing each of you can do as individuals is to simply go about your lives as you always have. Just maintain a heightened awareness of your surroundings, and report anything that looks unusual to your local authorities.
For background information on homeland security efforts, you can also visit my Web site at www.governor.state.az.us