Terrorism still a concern on New Year's Eve

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on December 30, 2009 at 11:31 PM

SEATTLE - A decade ago, the world was preparing to usher in the new millennium. But a couple weeks before New Years Eve 1999,  Ahmed Ressam, now known as the Millennium Bomber, was arrested by customs agents in Port Angeles with bomb-making equipment - and a reservation at a motel near the Seattle Center. It sent the city into a tail spin.

"At the time we weren't sure what the actual target would be," says Mike Chapman, a former U.S. Customs agent who was one of the agents who apprehended Ressam. "We weren't sure if there were other plans out there. Obviously the nation was on a state of alert."

At the Seattle Center, chainlink fencing went up, shutting the public out of what was suppose to be the heart of Seattle's New Year's celebration, after Mayor Paul Schell and the city council made a controversial decision to close the center.

"I think today after 911 people have a better understanding that there are risks out there and they need to trust those who have the job of making sure we're safe," says Schell. "I thought then it was the right decision I think so today."

Chapman is now a Clallam County Commissioner. He's still proud of the work he and his colleagues did that day ten years ago.

"We don't know the lives that have been saved," says Chapman. "We don't know the people who've moved on and have had a great 10 years since that time, who may not have had that opportunity if Ressam pulled off what he planned to pull off."

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