Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rudy Giuliani's colossal failure to protect NYC after 1993 attack

Front paged at ePluribus Media and My Left Wing

With all of the (rightful) outrage at the patently ridiculous comments made by George Bush wannabe Rudy Giuliani last week about how “the United States would be facing another terrorist attack if a Democrat was elected”, there has been some focus on the fact that he was Mayor of New York City on 9/11, so his statement is at least partially (if not more) hypocritical.

However, the full depth of his hypocrisy should be laid bare for all to see. In fact, it could easily be called gross negligence, or arrogant incompetence, or a lack of foresight, or a complete disregard for recommendations and warnings that were made to him after he took office. Now, despite what some think, he did not become Mayor until after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, and there were prosecutions for the attack, so he should “get a pass”. To that, I say he has done the bare minimum at best, and at worst, has proved that he is in no way qualified to make any statement regarding protecting Americans, let alone lead this country. And while this isn't exactly new, it merits pointing out again and again.

I lived in New York City from 1993 through last year, with the exception of a few years in the late 90s, when I was only working in NYC every day. I was here on 9/11, but was in midtown, not downtown. I know what Rudy’s two terms were all about. Some good, lots of bad, much embarrassment.

The Democratic Party has a fairly comprehensive write up regarding Giuliani and all of the reasons why he is “too arrogant” for America. What I want to focus on here is destroying the myth of Giuliani as being strong on defending Americans. Yes, he was good as a prosecutor. Yes, he did some good law enforcement with respect to “quality of life” issues, even if he was heavy handed. But the heavy handedness (see: William Bratton or NYC public schools) is another indicator of how Rudy “doesn’t play well in the sandbox”.

An excellent diary by davefromqueens a couple of months ago had some good information. Additionally, Cooperative Research has a detailed “9/11 timeline” that includes a number of events and issues in the 1994 – 2001 time period as it relates to New York City. While some point to other governmental failures (such as the admission by the CIA that it was partially responsible for the 1993 attacks since it trained and supported some of those very bombers years earlier), I want to focus on Rudy’s major failures.

A few significant excerpts are below:

After February 1993, threat assessments conclude a 2nd attack against the WTC is “probable”: Following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993), the New York Port Authority asks investigative and security consulting firm Kroll Associates to help design new security measures for the WTC. Kroll’s Deputy Chairman Brian Michael Jenkins leads the analysis of future terrorist threats and how they might be addressed. Assessments conclude that a second terrorist attack against the WTC is probable. Although it is considered unlikely, the possibility of terrorists deliberately flying a plane into the WTC towers is included in the range of possible threats. [Jenkins and Edwards-Winslow, 9/2003, pp. 11]

After February 1993, Security chief predicts planes will be used to hit WTC towers Rick Rescorla, a Vietnam veteran who also previously worked for British intelligence, is vice president for security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and has an office in the south WTC tower. Following the 1993 bombing, he believes terrorists will attack the WTC again, this time by flying a cargo plane, maybe loaded with biological or chemical weapons, into it. Fred McBee, a close friend of his, will later say, “He assumed that it would be the terrorists’ mission to bring the Trade Center down.”

Interestingly, Rescorla also reportedly made a similar prediction in 1990 about the WTC being targeted with a bomb. Ironically, he died in the 9/11 attacks.

We also have heard that Germany, Italy, France and an Iranian who was in custody in New York City all warned of a plot to attack the World Trade Center (bonus since this is a FoxNews link).

And to recap just how much “America’s Mayor” ignored all recommendations, I’ll give some more snippets. He failed to upgrade the radio system that was used by firefighters:

His administration's failure to provide the World Trade Center's first responders with adequate radios, a long-standing complaint from relatives of the firefighters killed when the twin towers collapsed. The Sept. 11 Commission noted the firefighters at the World Trade Center were using the same ineffective radios employed by the first responders to the 1993 terrorist attack on the trade center.

He was hated by many of the FDNY:
"We want America to know what this guy meant to New York City firefighters," said Peter Gorman, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "In our experiences with this man, he disrespected us in the most horrific way."

The 9/11 Commission ripped the city’s emergency phone system:
More details from a preliminary 9/11 panel report came out Wednesday, concluding that people inside the World Trade Center may have been deprived of life-saving information because of basic flaws in the city's emergency phone system.

The report says there was no way to relay information to 911 operators and dispatchers that fire chiefs had made decisions to evacuate the burning and fatally weakened twin towers.

Workers inside the buildings called 911 for help but were not told to evacuate.

An unknown number of victims in the south tower might have had a better chance of survival if emergency operators had told them not to flee upward, where some encountered locked roof doors and no hope of escape.

And of course, there was the mind boggling decision to put the city’s Emergency Command Center at 7 World Trade Center, a building that reportedly contained thousands of gallons of diesel fuel when it collapsed:
''When you are talking about emergency management, I don't think you want to be in an office building in the middle of Wall Street, where you have to worry about your lease and the tenants above and below you,'' said Edward Shaughnessy, a professor of sociology and law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an expert in emergency management.

''While it may provide you with the opportunity to survey the city,'' he said, putting the center on the 23d floor not only makes it hard to reach should the power in the rest of the building be cut, but also ''leaves you open to a missile attack.''

Professor Shaughnessy praised the work of Jerome M. Hauer, director of the city's Office of Emergency Management, but he added, ''I just think the place they are choosing has the potential for too many problems and they might need to re-examine it.''

While I am sure there is more, these major points should be shouted from the rooftops, and should continue to be used at every possible opportunity. Hell, there should be at least 4 more of these diaries over the next year – just to make sure that everyone gets to know just what New York City residents have known for years.

There will be lies. There will be whitewashing. There will be finger pointing. There will be excuses. But there will always be the truth. And the truth is that Rudy Giuliani had eight years to do something – ANYTHING substantive to help prevent or mitigate the disaster that occurred on 9/11, and he failed to take measures that were necessary and recommended. The only thing he did was to build an ill-advised command center in an ill-advised building that ultimately was destroyed by an attack.

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