Below is an excerpt of an opinion article published in today’s Washington Times. To read the article in full, visit the Times website. The article discusses the ongoing need to protect U.S. financial infrastructures as part of the overall homeland security strategy.

Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders have repeatedly implored terrorists to hit targets that will adversely impact the American economy. The decision to attack the World Trade Center was meant to send a message regarding our economic security in the same way the decision to hit the Pentagon was meant to send a message about our military security.

Consider this: While America was still in shock from the attacks on Sept. 11, the Federal Reserve was forced to spring into action to prevent the disaster from crippling our financial institutions.

Prior to September 2001, our financial system used commercial transportation to move cleared checks across the country from where they were redeemed to where the money was deposited. Immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, airplanes across the country were grounded, leaving passengers — as well as the shipments of checks representing billions — far from their destinations. While this was certainly a troubling experience for stranded passengers, it also created a liquidity crisis for banks — and for our economy.