Posted: 6/16/2002 3:10:52 PM EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nine months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States finds itself in a jittery mood, as scandal and doubts envelop a growing number of major institutions.
The CIA, the FBI, the Roman Catholic Church, the stock market, major corporations, accountants and brokers are among the organizations and professions facing criticism either for their honesty or their ability to perform -- or both.
"The country is restive. There's all this worrisome stuff happening and there's deepening concern about whether the dangers are being properly addressed," said Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas.
"Sept. 11 has affected the way we feel. People are not changing their lifestyle but how they look at life has changed ... We all know that there is the potential for more bad things to happen to our country," said Ed Klimek, mayor of Manhattan, Kansas, a town of 44,000 in the American heartland.
A sense of anxiety about the reliability of company balance sheets has weighed down the stock market for weeks. Ordinary investors, who rode the boom of the 1990s, now seemed spooked as the value of their retirement funds erodes day by day, although the economy has resumed growth.
In one Wall Street Journal survey released this week, 57 percent of respondents expressed lack of confidence in corporations and brokers to give them honest information.
Additionally, 59 percent said they lacked confidence in the intelligence services; 68 percent said the Catholic Church was covering up the child-abuse scandal instead of releasing the facts, and 54 percent expressed negative views about drugs companies, suspecting them of manipulating prices.
"We have an extremely jittery nation. I do sense there is tremendous insecurity out there. It's almost like the reaction of children whose parents get divorced and start to question everything they once took for granted," said Jennifer Laszlo, a public opinion pollster.
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