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Amid terrorist threat at N.J. headquarters, prudential makes security highly visible.

As financial-services and insurance giant Prudential Financial opened its Newark, N.J., global headquarters Aug. 2, one day after a warning by the Department of Homeland Security said the site is a potential target for a terror attack, the mood was "business as usual," a company spokeswoman said. Employees reported to work under a heightened level of security.

"We have increased security since 9/11, but today, it's very visible," said Laurita Werner, a spokeswoman for Prudential Financial, referring to the police presence and the concrete barriers set up around Prudential's marble headquarters, the 374-foot, 24-story Prudential Plaza and surrounding areas.

Armor-clad police officers carrying assault rifles, including M-16 rifles and submachine guns, stood guard behind the newly installed fences surrounding the Prudential Plaza, according to national press reports. Prudential Financial's headquarters in Newark employs about 1,000 people.

"Some employees have remarked that extra security makes them feel a little anxious, but by the same token, they've said that ... it also makes them feel more secure," said Werner.

Prudential's global headquarters was one of five highly visible financial institutions listed as specific targets by al-Qaida on Aug. 1 at a news conference held by Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. The other sites identified by Ridge as targets were the New York City buildings of Citigroup, which includes Citigroup's headquarters, the 915-foot, 59-floor Citigroup Center in midtown Manhattan and the New York Stock Exchange; the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, D.C.Werner declined comment on when Prudential's own security personnel were alerted to the potential terrorist threat, but said that security measures were in place as of Aug. 1.

"We started communicating with our employees very early [Aug. 2] ," she said.

Terror Targets?

Prudential Fincancial and Citigroup headquarters were among the specified al-Qaida targets, according to a recent U.S. Homeland Security report

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Source: A.M. Best Executive Summary Reports, Citigroup
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Briefing; New Jersey
Author:Lysiak, Fran Matso
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:319
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