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Pentagon security fortified since 9/11: report
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08:26, September 10, 2007

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Security changes wrought by the 9/11 terror attacks have transformed the Pentagon building into a "fortress," the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a burgeoning police force has been given state-of- the-art capabilities to protect against a chemical, biological or radiological attack, according to the report.

Stricter access is being imposed, with fewer vehicles able to drive or park close to the building.

Structural improvements allow the building to better withstand blast and fire.

"This is a wartime headquarters," said Michael B. Donley, who oversees the Pentagon's security upgrading.

"It's certainly in the background that this place has been a target and could be a target again in the future. There are no illusions about that," he said.

The Pentagon police force -- now known as the Pentagon Force Protection Agency -- has nearly doubled in size from pre-9/11 days and numbers about 1,000.

From command centers, police monitor the area for traces of chemical, biological or radiological contaminants.

Wind and humidity are measured, and the information is gauged to direct escaping employees in the event of an attack.

Closed-circuit television cameras scan the parking lots, swiveling in all directions and zooming in on any suspicious activity.

Shuttle buses, which until recently dropped off passengers at the Pentagon's south entrance, now must use the Metrobus terminal several hundred meters from the building because of concerns that terrorists might plant a bomb on a military bus.

Defense Department officials said the changes have left the Pentagon a far safer building than it was before the attack.

Source: Xinhua

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