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Post date: September 17 2001

Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding The Status Of The Department Of Law's New York City Office

The terrorist attacks that claimed so many lives and stunned the nation also had a significant impact on the New York State Department of Law.

The collapse of the World Trade Center showered our main offices at 120 Broadway with debris and forced the emergency evacuation and closure of the building. Communications were severed and overall operations throughout the agency were disrupted.

Immediately after the disaster, our first step - and our highest priority - was to check on the condition of 900 department employees who worked in the building. Because of communications breakdowns, we could not immediately contact many employees, and we feared the worst. It took several days, but we were eventually able to confirm that our staff, seemingly by a miracle, had avoided serious injury.

The next step - which was undertaken concurrently with the first - was to restore a makeshift headquarters operation. Senior staff relocated to the Harlem regional office, and working around the clock, restored critical functions.

During this time, we also asked for and received the full cooperation of the Office of Court Administration and the Executive in ensuring that state government met all of its legal responsibilities.

In this regard, our staff was determined not to let the terrorist attack compromise the Department of Law. Our operations were slowed by the catastrophe, but never halted.

We are now executing a third step toward recovery. We are planning for the reopening of 120 Broadway, which we expect to occur soon.

I will never forget the way the staff of the Department of Law responded during the last week. Many individuals were nearly overcome by the trauma of events - by the fact that many friends and colleagues in state service were lost in front of their eyes and by the even more chilling realization that their lives might have been lost, too - but they kept working with purpose and resolve.

We know we still face major challenges in restoring full operations, but we are determined not to allow the terrorist acts to further disrupt our important role in state government.