NEW YORK — On Monday, law enforcement officials began the arduous task of searching for clues to the bombing under the World Trade Center.
New York Federal Bureau of Investigation director Jim Fox says the agency will sift through every pound of rubble looking for computer chips or any evidence as to how the blast was detonated. And, although officials have not eliminated any kind of explosive, they appear convinced it was a relatively "low-tech" bomb involving either dynamite or fertilizer and diesel oil (a potentially explosive combination.)
While the investigation continues, the hundreds of businesses in the World Trade Center began trying to find alternative ways to work. Only four buildings out of 17 in the complex were set to open Monday. Authorities planned to shut the twin towers of the center for at least a week to get safety systems running. The towers are the workplace for about 55,000 people. The Vista Hotel is likely to be shut down longer because of structural damage underneath the hotel.
The damage to business has prompted New York Gov. Mario Cuomo to ask the federal government to declare the city an economic disaster area. This would allow businesses, including restaurants in the area, to receive a Small Business Administration guaranteed loan of up to $500,000.
The Commodities Exchanges situated in the center planned to reopen on Monday after tests over the weekend showed all the safety and communications equipment was working.
Businesses have begun tightening security. Over the weekend New York City police met with the heads of security for most of the city's major companies. "We encouraged them to put in place some of the arrangements they made during Desert Shield/Desert Storm until we sort this thing out," says New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Although the process of sifting through the debris could take months, law enforcement officials say they believe they have several clues to work with. They have the partial license plates of most vehicles that entered the garage the day of the blast. They have started to call in individuals for questioning. Mr. Fox indicated a possible motive was the opening of the Bosnian negotiations at the United Nations.