By Craig McKee
Truth and perception can be polar opposites.
Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York City in 2001, was hailed by many as a 9/11 hero who guided the city and the nation through its most horrifying day. But, instead of being hailed as a hero for his actions on and after 9/11, he could have been seen as untruthful and suspiciously evasive. He was certainly unconcerned about the dangers to residents and employees who spent time at Ground Zero in the weeks that followed.
Giuliani said in 2001 that he had been told the twin towers would collapse on the morning of 9/11. If that’s true, why didn’t he warn the firefighters who were climbing the two towers to get people out? And why did he change his story six years later?
According to an interview he did with Peter Jennings of ABC News at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Giuliani said he had been told by officials in his own Office of Emergency Management that the twin towers of the World Trade Center were in danger of imminent collapse.
But how could he or anyone from the OEM know this? There was no precedent for a steel-framed building collapsing due to fire. And the impact of airliners, by the government’s own admission, did not bring the towers down.
Giuliani told Jennings:
“We were operating out of there (75 Barclay Street, where they had set up temporary headquarters) when we heard that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse. And it did collapse before we were able to get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out.”
This comment left Giuliani with a problem. How could he explain where this information came from? Incredibly the 9/11 Commission didn’t address this critical issue, and no journalist followed up by asking him about it in the years that followed. It took two 9/11 Truth activists with a video camera to get him to clarify his statement in 2007.
Giuliani’s new version:
“I didn’t realize the towers would collapse….Our understanding was that over a long period of time, the way other buildings collapsed, the towers could collapse, meaning over a 7, 8, 9, 10-hour period. No one that I knew of had any idea they would implode. That was a complete surprise.”
Nice try. These two statements are completely incompatible. The second is less a clarification than it is a retreat from his earlier position, and it doesn’t hold up for several reasons. One, no high-rise building had ever collapsed due to fire over a 7, 8, 9, 10-hour period – or any other period. It had simply never happened. There are many examples of massive infernos that burned for a dozen or more hours with no collapse.
In chapter 22 of his book 9/11 Contradictions, David Ray Griffin chronicles a number of major fires that were much worse than the ones that occurred in the WTC that day that did not lead to collapse. He also quotes a number of key officials on the scene on 9/11 who stated that they had no idea there was any chance of the buildings collapsing.
This was even confirmed by the 9/11 Commission, which stated in its report that none of the fire chiefs present that day believed the complete collapse of either tower was possible. Even the report on the collapses by the National Institute of Standards and Technology – which supports the official story – states that the collapse was completely unexpected.
Nevertheless, Giuliani wasn’t the only person who apparently got this advance warning from someone with the OEM that the buildings were in danger of collapse. In his book, Griffin shows how the word of the potential collapse had originated with Richard Rotanz, the deputy director of the OEM. Accounts to this effect were confirmed by Emergency Management Services (EMS) division chief John Peruggia, who said he spoke to Rotanz and a representative from the Department of Buildings. Peruggia said:
“The information that we got at that time was that they felt both buildings had been severely damaged, but they felt that the North Tower, which was the first one to be struck, was going to be in imminent danger of collapse.”
So how was this determined considering that no one else on the ground had any idea it would happen? And if they knew something this important, why didn’t that information get relayed to the Fire Department? Firefighters were still climbing in the building when the South Tower “imploded” as Giuliani said. A total of 343 firefighters died that day, along with 23 police officers. Isn’t the use of the word “imploded” interesting as well?
The OEM had a command centre on the 23rd floor of WTC Building 7, although it was never used to co-ordinate the response to the events of that day. This was odd since the multi-million dollar command centre had been built just for such an occasion. It had bomb-resistant glass as well as its own power and air supply. Instead, the building was evacuated shortly after the first tower was hit at 8:46 a.m.
The first director of the OEM, Jerome Hauer, had recommended originally that the command centre be built in Brooklyn, but it was Giuliani who insisted it be built at the World Trade Center. The centre was destroyed when Building 7 inexplicably collapsed into its own footprint in just 6.5 seconds at 5:20 p.m. There is no credible evidence to show that something other than explosives could have brought down the building – which was not hit by a plane.
It’s not clear why Giuliani felt that Building 7 was in danger when the Barclay Street location wasn’t. The two were just a few hundred feet apart.
These aren’t the only questions about Giuliani from that day. He has come under considerable – and justifiable – criticism for not doing anything to ensure that first responders had the right radio equipment to communicate effectively. The same problem had surfaced after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and nothing had been done in the eight intervening years.
And, unforgivably, Giuliani assured rescue and clean-up workers that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe. It wasn’t, and there’s plenty of evidence now that he and the EPA knew it wasn’t. Where was his leadership as hundreds of volunteers and rescue workers were breathing in toxic air in the weeks after the disaster? He also made claims that he spent as much time at the site as the workers themselves, infuriating workers and their families. Many have since died as a result of their exposure.
For many in New York City, in America, and around the world, Rudy Giuliani was the quintessential leader on 9/11. He took command and led people through the most traumatic day in American history since Pearl Harbor. At least that’s the way he’d like it to be worded. Others believe he got a free ride, and that he was not looking out for anyone’s safety that day – except maybe his own.
The former mayor has self-servingly cited 9/11 hundreds of times since 2001 in speeches and interviews, seemingly to anyone who would listen. Yes, his name and 9/11 are stuck together like paper and glue.
And I think they should be.