Calculating the Cost of Terror

It is not that difficult to seek a dollar value for the destruction in New York City and The Pentagon. Figures lurk in every article on the subject. We will certainly calculate the dollar cost of terror, but other costs come into play and these will be examined as well. The cost of rebuilding the Trade Center is $6.7 Billion. Repair work to surrounding structures in the area, another $5.3 Billion. The cost to restore or replace the information technology and communications infrastructure that was affected within the immediate area will exceed $15 Billion. New public roads and infrastructure will cost about $9.4 Billion, with $4 Billion spent on subways, $3 Billion on utilities and $2.4 Billion on Rail services. Loss of collateral personal property is estimated at $3.2 Billion. Staggering sums though they are, let’s not forget that the city has since signed contracts for $1 Billion so far to clear the 500,000 tons of concrete and steel. With 1.5 million more tons to go, that’s another $3 Billion.

Add in overtime for police, fire and sanitation officers, replacing vehicles owned by the city, the cost of new hire training, death benefits, funeral expenses and ceremonial costs and you have another $7 Billion. The value of lost economic activity could exceed $60 Billion. The New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq closed for 4 days, causing the loss of business estimated at $7.5 Billion. Tourism, theatres, restaurants, hotels and are believed to have lost $2 Billion. This attack will cost New York City and its residents over $105 Billion during the next 2 years. Postmaster General, John E. Potter, estimated costs to the post office at $50 million for improved physical security and irradiation equipment, not to mention the massive cleanup bills.

The damaged Pentagon wedge sections have to be torn down, cleared and rebuilt, and that will take about 18 months, said Walker Evey, Pentagon renovation project manager, further estimating it could cost around $1 Billion for repairs and renovations. Security costs have skyrocketed at every major firm. Governments are discussing spending areas that did not even have a category before. Items like identification and detection equipment, bulk Finance crisis countdownexplosives scanners and Passive wave millimeter imaging devices.

Richard Clarke, the nation’s computer security chief, told Congress that The White House wants to increase IT security spending from $2.7 Billion to $4.2 Billion. Total IT spending is budgeted at $52 Billion for next year. Even more frightening is the proposal of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D.-Conn.), to fund an “early-warning detection system” that would identify suspected terrorists if they tried to book flights. This system would actually include a secure computer database accessible to law enforcement agencies and wily computer hackers. It would feature the use of biometric smart cards to confirm identities and check fingerprints or facial differences on passport photos. All of this information would be compiled and made available via a national database of passport and visa holders. Computers of Immigration and Naturalization Service would be linked to all border patrol, immigration, offices, schools, universities and customs networks. The prospect of free, anonymous travel, is another postscript of history.

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