Bush Official on G-8 Security - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/09/04

Bush Official on G-8 Security

Security issues aren't just on the forefront for local and state officials during the G-8 summit. The federal government is very much involved in that process as well.

Yesterday, the assistant to the president for homeland security, Fran Townsend, took a tour of the area, and sat down with WTOC talk about how it's all running. She's thrilled with how things have gone so far. She told us she met with Georgia state officials and asked what more needed to be done, and they couldn't think of much that wasn't already taken care of.

Coordinating a group that's made up of literally dozens of different agencies is not a seamless process. "You know, it's an overwhelming task to coordinate all those officials, on the intelligence preparation side, and God forbid you have to get into response and consequence management," said Townsend.

Townsend got a chance to check it out herself, and tells WTOC she's happy with how smoothly the security measures are running.

And that's not even because there's been a light protest turnout. "Protest in free society is something we cherish," she said. "It's not something you can do in every part of the world, so having it away from the protests wasn't the point. What we wanted to do was have the venue safe and secure and free of distractions so the leaders can do their business."

Some of the people not represented at the summit are leaders from Saudi Arabia, who declined an invitation because they're wary of the president's Middle East peace plans. But Townsend says they're still working closely with the Saudi government.

"We enjoy a good relationship," Townsend told us. "They have many issues at home to be dealing with, and they are very much committed to dealing with terrorism."

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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