FBI unveils crisis management center

FBI unveils crisis management center


The FBI Friday opened a new high-tech, $20 million operations center in an effort to expand its crisis management capabilities.

The new Strategic Information and Operations Center, (SIOC, pronounced "sigh-ock"), is about the size of a football field and has 35 separate rooms that can seat up to 450 people. The center covers 40,000 square feet on the fifth floor of FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and can handle up to five crises at once. The old SIOC was only one-tenth the size and could handle only two crises simultaneously.

FBI officials realized the need for a new SIOC when they tried to manage investigations of the Olympic bombing in Atlanta, the explosion of TWA flight 800 and the Khobar Towers truck-bombing in Saudi Arabia at the same time during the summer of 1996.

"There weren't enough rooms or enough telephones," FBI Director Louis J. Freeh told the Associated Press. "We had people working at desks in the hallway outside and reading top secret material in the vending area across the hall."

The top-secret facility, with no windows to the street or outside walls, was dedicated Friday in a private ceremony attended by former President George Bush.

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