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Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, September 11, 2002

## Pentagon Deploys Anti-aircraft Missiles Around Washington

As part of a nation-wide effort to step up security before the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pentagon on Tuesday deployed anti-aircraft missiles around Washington D.C.. 

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As part of a nation-wide effort to step up security before the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pentagon on Tuesday deployed anti-aircraft missiles around Washington D.C..   
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the move after upgrading a four-day air defense exercise beginning Tuesday to an active "Noble Eagle" deployment to protect the capital against potential attack from the air.   
Surface-to-air missile launchers were deployed around Washington on Monday as part of the exercise, in which officials said no functional missiles had been originally planned. A mobile missile launcher was parked several hundred meters from the Pentagon on Tuesday.   
Ordered by Rumsfeld, the military began move heat-seeking Stinger missiles with firing and guidance units known as "Avenger"systems to the launchers.   
The exercise, dubbed "Clear Skies II," involves about 300 people and augments the 24-hour air patrols over Washington with portable ground defenses.   
The Avenger is a portable short-range air defense system mounted on a Humvee vehicle that is capable of firing eight Stinger missiles in rapid succession.   
The exercise involves units from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Air force, the Navy, the Army, the Customs Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Secret Service. Jet interceptors and other aircraft also will take part.   
Pentagon officials said the exercise had been planned for several weeks and was not in response to any specific threat.   
The deployment of anti-aircraft missiles came after the Bush administration raised the nation's terror alert warning from code yellow to code orange, its second highest level signaling a "high risk" of attack.   
US Attorney General John Ashcroft said here Tuesday that "specific intelligence on specific attacks on US interests overseas" has prompted the country to raise the terror alert level.   
Security at the Pentagon and military bases worldwide already had been heightened because of the Sept. 11 anniversary. On Friday,the military resumed round-the-clock fighter jet patrols over New York and Washington.   
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