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Ridge: Don’t live in fear over Brussels attacks

Former governor talks about next steps as probe continues

Be vigilant, but not fearful.

That’s the message to Americans from former Gov. Tom Ridge in the wake of Tuesday’s terror attacks in Belgium, which left more than 30 people dead and injured at least 200 more.

“If you see something, say something,” Ridge said in a statement released to media outlets. “Otherwise, we need to go about our lives. Terrorists want us to live in fear and we’re not going to do that.”

Ridge, 70, served as the nation’s first Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He later returned to the private sector and founded his own security consulting firm, Ridge Global LLC.

Calling the bombings at Brussels’ airport and in a subway station “another horrific attack targeting our democratic values,” Ridge said Americans are likely to hear calls for action and awareness from various agencies.

“It will take some time until we know the details of what led to this attack, but Americans already are rightly asking what does this mean to us,” Ridge said.

“We don’t secure the homeland from Washington. So, over the next several days, DHS, the FBI and others are likely to share with state and local communities information they develop through intelligence and the investigation in Brussels,” he added.

“You can expect federal law enforcement and DHS to send out advisories to state and local communities about potential counter-measures and how to be prepared.”

Latest news

Here’s what we have learned overnight:

• CNN says one person has been taken into custody in Belgium – it’s not clear if he is the alleged third bomber – while investigators have learned that two of the bombers were brothers who are believed to have died in the blasts.

• The Guardian says suspect Najim Laachraoui is still being hunted.

• CBS News has more information about injured Americans, including a military family and a group of Mormon missionaries.

• USA Today asks whether such an attack could happen here.

• Reuters reports that the bombings led to heightened security at many U.S. airports, with Denver International Airport briefly evacuating part of its main terminal in a false alarm yesterday.

Federal officials said larger cities were a particular focus of stepped-up security.

While Harrisburg International Airport officials said they could not speak to security measures, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia International Airport did say customers there will encounter some changes.

“We have advised passengers that they will see an increased visible presence by uniformed law enforcement agents in and around the airport,” spokeswoman Mary Flannery said.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com.

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