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September 3, 2002


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced that former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency R. James Woolsey will serve as Chief Advisor to the newly created FDNY Terrorism Preparedness Taskforce. The Taskforce will examine and evaluate the FDNY's terrorism preparedness capabilities and will comprise a panel of leading nationally and internationally renowned experts on terrorism, including: Gregory H. Canavan, a nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Margaret Hamburg, a former New York City Health Commissioner; Dr. Joshua Lederberg, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology; Daniel Nigro, Chief of Department for the FDNY; and Shabtai Shavit, a former Director of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad. Following the announcement, Mr. Woolsey and Commissioner Scoppetta joined FDNY chief officers and personnel in a visit to the quarters of Hazardous Materials Unit 1 and Squad Company 288 in Queens, for a presentation on the units' responsibilities, capabilities, and needs.

"The events of September 11th clearly demonstrated the critical role of our firefighters and emergency medical service personnel in responding to terrorist attacks," Mayor Bloomberg said. "R. James Woolsey and his fellow members of the Terrorism Preparedness Taskforce possess a unique understanding of and a broad experience in counter-terrorism that will help the FDNY to identify and implement measures to enhance its ability to respond to potential strikes against our City."

"I can't think of anyone better qualified to help drive our thinking on these issues than Jim Woolsey," Commissioner Scoppetta said. "He has worked on both terrorism and defense-related issues under four U. S. Presidents, and possesses a depth and scope of knowledge that is truly unparalleled. Joining him on this task force are several extraordinary individuals each of whom have achieved great success in their respective careers, and bring to the table some of the best minds we could hope to have for this extremely important purpose."

"The Committee will bring together experts from the military, leading academic and research institutions, the fire service and medicine," Mr. Woolsey said. "Our mission will be to evaluate and assess risk, and to look at the infrastructure and core competencies of the Department in the light of that risk. Then we will help develop strategies for ensuring that the FDNY is as equipped as possible to protect its members and the citizens of New York against whatever may arise."

R. James Woolsey is Vice President at Booz Allen & Hamilton in the Global Strategic Security division of the firm, which is providing his service on a pro bono basis. Mr. Woolsey previously was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Clinton, arms control negotiator under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and Under Secretary of the Navy for President Jimmy Carter. He has also served as General Counsel to the Senate Arms Services Committee, and worked on the National Commission on Terrorism and the National Academies' Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism.

Gregory H. Canavan is a nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Mr. Canavan has participated in the Defense Science Board Study of "Transnational Terrorism" and has served on various committees, including the Army Science Board, the Air Force Space Command Independent Strategic Assessment Group, the NASA Earth Systems Science and Applications Advisory Committee, and the White House Science Council Military Committee. He is also a former Director of the Office of Inertial Fusion at the U.S. Department Of Energy and a former Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.

Margaret Hamburg, M.D., is Vice President for Biological Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which works to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and reduce the risks associated with these weapons. Dr. Hamburg, whose areas of expertise include public health and bio-terrorism, is a former Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a former New York City Health Commissioner, and a former Assistant Director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health

Dr. Joshua Lederberg is President-emeritus and Sackler Foundation Scholar at the Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Ledenberg received the Nobel Prize in Physiology at the age of 33 for his work and research on microbial genetics and evolution. He has also received the National Medal of Science with a special citation for providing scientific insight to public interest, government, and international organizations, and has been actively involved in assessing the threats of biological warfare and the ways to mitigate these threats.

Daniel A. Nigro became the FDNY's 29th Chief of Department in September 2001, following the World Trade Center attack that claimed the life of 343 members of the Fire Department and was responsible for leading the 14,500 Fire and EMS personnel in the world's largest Fire Department. During his career, Chief Nigro has earned some of the Department's most prestigious awards, including the Fire Commissioner's Award for Outstanding Service and the Leon Lowenstein Award. He was the first Bureau Chief to oversee the merger of the FDNY with EMS, and has also served as Chief of Personnel, Chief of Health Services, Chief of Operations, and Citywide Tour Commander, overseeing all major emergencies throughout the City. Chief Nigro will retire from the FDNY on September 9th, having served 33 years in the Department.

Shabtai Shavit is the Chairman of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziya, Israel. From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Shavit served as Director of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency responsible for intelligence collection, covert action, and counter-terrorism. He served in a variety of posts within the Mossad for over 30 years and also served in the Israeli Defense Force's elite Sayeret Matkal unit. Mr. Shavit has obtained degrees from the Hebrew University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Contact: Edward Skyler / Jerry Russo
(212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY)
(718) 999-2056