Category Archives: 9/11

Just Folks

Right-wingers have called for the fainting couches because President Obama used the word “folks” when discussing post-9/11 torture. Specifically, he said,

“We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.”

It apepars Obama’s use of the word “folks” has right-wingers more upset than the actual torture. Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher the Token Conservative™ derided Obama’s use of the word as “glib,” while Dan Froomkin Tweeted that it was a “malapropism” and inappropriate:

That’s just a sampling of the outrage, you can ask the Great Gazoogle for more.

Meanwhile, let’s take a trip into the Memory Hole and go back to Sept. 11, 2001 and President Bush’s very first comments about the tragedy while he was still at Booker Elementary School reading My Pet Goat:

I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and — and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.

This was just minutes after the attacks. But the attackers were “folks.” I wonder if Dan Froomkin and the rest called for the fainting couches back then?

But by all means, let’s continue to attack Obama for using the word “folks,” not the Bush Administration for their actual torture policy. Our discourse in this country is so stupid.


Filed under 9/11, conservatives, President Barack Obama, President Bush, torture

Memorial Day & Place

Sorry I’ve been out of pocket, Mr. Beale and I spent the past four days in New York City for our pre-Tony’s theater trip. It was unbelievably hot and muggy in the city for this time of year; it felt more like July than May. That’s true for Nashville as well, and while we were gone Nashville broke a record with 95-degree temps.

We’re in New York City at least twice a year for theater and other cultural stuff. This year we also visited the 9/11 Memorial. It was a rainy, gray morning when we visited, which seemed very appropriate. We both found the site very dramatic and emotional, and the two massive waterfalls cascading into the void make a powerful statement that hits you on a lot levels:

It was also really moving to see all of the names engraved around each pool. Some names were familiar — Todd Beamer, for example — but most were unknown.

What is really striking is the diversity of ethnicities represented in these names. It shows what a truly multicultural event 9/11 was, and still is. There were a lot of foreign visitors there, also a lot of foreign sailors since we were there during Fleet Week. Large boards surrounded the site where visitors could write thanks to the recovery workers who spent so many months on the site, most suffering debilitating lung disease as a result. These messages, too, were international in scope.

The 9/11 Memorial site is surrounded by intense security: you need to go through airport-style scanners to get in, there are at least three security checks plus chain-link fencing and security cameras. And this, too, seems appropriate, for 9/11 was ground zero for our modern security state.

With all of these powerful emotions and thoughts running through my head I was unprepared for the major buzzkill that was the memorial’s Visitor Center, which is really … a gift shop? Seriously? On hallowed ground we have a freaking gift shop? With 9/11 T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, keychains, and tote bags? Tacky, tacky, tacky. (You can see the stuff on sale here.) It seemed really crass to me, but I guess exploitation of 9/11 is another legacy of the event, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Everyone seems to be jumping on the 9/11 memorial bandwagon. I just read that the Kingston Fossil Plant, site of Tennessee’s disastrous coal ash spill, will dedicate a 9/11 memorial using steel from the World Trade Center today. I find that very odd. But hey, whatever.


More on my trip here.


Filed under 9/11, New York City, travel

As Seen On TV

Truly the tackiest, most tasteless piece of commemorative War On Terror porn I’ve seen yet. When I saw the ad my jaw literally dropped to the floor. Seriously: what the hell is wrong with you people?

This is just begging for an SNL parody.


Filed under 9/11, advertising

9/11 Porn

I don’t have any heavy-duty, heartfelt 9/11 remembrance post planned. I’m just gonna wing it here.

I’m really sort of annoyed by all of the 9/11 porn out there, frankly; it borders on the exploitive in my opinion. But whatever, everyone responds to tragedy in their own way. I’m just staying, trying to make money from it or exploit it for your own personal gain is just tacky. And speaking of tacky … ’nuff said.

I don’t understand the Glenn Beck types who act like Sept. 12 was Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. These folks will tell you they are responding to how the country was united in the aftermath of the attacks, but I really don’t remember it that way. I remember everyone being shell-shocked, stunned, scared, and hurt. More to the point: this crowd has done everything they can to divide the country, treating any person with an opposing view as if they were one of the 19 hijackers in the flesh. So don’t tell me it’s about how the nation was united on Sept. 12 because I don’t buy it.

About two years before 9/11 I had business with a company at the top of 2 World Trade Center. It was a crystal-clear, blue-sky June day, almost the mirror image of that September day so many months later.

Security was incredibly tight to get inside those buildings. You needed to have your name on a list, you needed to show I.D., you needed to be wanded and walk through an airport security machine. The people I was going to see didn’t know I’d have someone with me so only my name was on the list; I asked Mr. Beale, who back then was just my boyfriend, if he wanted me to make a call so he could join me upstairs, as I had been told the view was incredible. He said, “Nah. Don’t worry about it. I’ll go to the TKTS booth and see what matinees are available.”

I will always regret that. I should have pressed the issue but we didn’t know, how could we? Because the view was beyond incredible, it was the stuff of movies and dreams. I remember a floor to ceiling window overlooking New York harbor, the water an incandescent blue dotted with sailboats. In my memory — and this is impossible, we were over 100 stories high — Lady Liberty stood there at just about eye level, while seagulls arced above her head. I have, literally, had dreams of that view. I’m sorry Mr. Beale never saw it.

The man I went to see that day survived 9/11 because he was late for work and stepped off the subway just as the first plane hit. He walked all the way home to Brooklyn where his wife waited, terrified. Many of his co-workers perished.

I have a visceral reaction to all of the “have you forgotten” jingoism that we’ve come to associate with the anniversary. It’s just so presumptuous, as if the person asking the question is claiming some ownership of what was a national tragedy. “I haven’t forgotten, have YOU?” As if anyone could. I can’t even muster the irony to mock Charlie Daniels, who is hosting a “Have You Forgotten” benefit at The Palm restaurant on Sept. 20. Something about cutting into a pricy slab of beef nine days after the fact while chiding the rest of us for our lack of gravitas just turns my stomach.

Sept. 11 was an awful day, a day of individual heroics and national shame. We’ve used it as an excuse to wage wars, torture prisoners and shred the Constitution. We’ve used it to justify intolerance of different religions and political persuasions. We’ve used the first responders as political props but denied them health coverage for the cancers they got performing their heroic duties.

Since 9/11 our national discourse has sunk to a shameful place. Fear does that. So no, don’t ask me if I’ve forgotten. I wish I could.


Filed under 9/11

>Mosque Ado About Nothing

>Much is being discussed on the internets about the Anti-Defamation League’s stance on the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque. I always thought of the ADL as a rather mainstream group; heck, I remember my Dad was a member, even though our family wasn’t Jewish and he was a DFH, Amnesty International/ACLU loving beatnik. So the ADL’s fence-sitting statement that the issue is

“not a question of rights, but a question of what is right”

strikes many of us as the kind of contorted rhetoric worthy of a Kundalini master. Sorry, ADL, but there’s no middle ground on this one. You’re either on the side of religious tolerance, or you’re not. There’s no way of still being the nice guys and siding with the bigots and it’s kinda pathetic that you’d try.

I think the whole thing was best lampooned by a commenter over at Balloon Juice who noted:

Heh. That ought to get a few panties in a twist.

What I don’t understand is why nobody save a few foul-mouthed bloggers on the internets have noticed that there is already a mosque near Ground Zero, has been since before 9/11, and it’s a mere city block from the site of the proposed mosque. In fact, according to its website the group says they have operated in Manhattan’s financial district since 1970.

Religious intolerance always pisses me off but no one has really said much lately about how this is another example of the right-wing claiming its ownership of 9/11, just as they have tried to own everything else: the flag, patriotism, Christianity, and even American history. And I’m sorry folks but you don’t “own” 9/11. This has been going on since Darryl Worley first warbled “Have You Forgotten,” turning the tragedy of 9/11 into conservatives’ personal crucifixion event; it continues today with the idiots in Glenn Beckistan and their “9/12 movement.” You think the world was so great on Sept. 12? Holy crap, I remember being shell shocked, depressed, scared. You say we’re the ones who have forgotten? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Here’s a news flash for you guys: 9/11 was probably the most multi-cultural tragedy in American history. 9/11 didn’t just happen to white Republican Christian Midwesterners. Citizens of more than 50 countries perished, of every religion and no religion. What part of World Trade Center don’t you people get?

Collectively the conservative movement is dominated by a striving, “greedy grabber” sensibility. Maybe it’s because they’ve convinced themselves that they are oppressed and everything is so unfair and the world is really, really mean to them. I guess it must be really hard out there for a middle aged Christian white guy, yeah you have my sympathies. But 9/11 isn’t your event; it didn’t just happen to you in your strip malls in Iowa. It happened to everyone, all around the world. Get a fucking clue.

There’s already a mosque near Ground Zero, folks. You’re arguing against something that already exists. If anything shows conservatives as a bunch of clueless sheeple eager to get foamy-mouthed at whatever manufactured controversy the folks at FOX News pull out of their asses on any given day, this is it. You folks need to wake up and figure out who is pulling your strings and then ask why. Who benefits by keeping 20% of the voting public in a constant state of high dudgeon? This is a question I’d like to see addressed.


Filed under 9/11, rants, religion

>Ground Zero Air Quality Memory Hole

>Remembering how it was back then:

Yesterday, amid boos and hisses from the audience, Whitman tried to defend herself from allegations that she bowed to pressure from the White House regarding New York’s post-9/11 air quality:

WASHINGTON — Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman angrily denied Monday that she misled New Yorkers about the safety of the air in lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Towers.

Appearing for the first time before a Congressional committee investigating the federal government’s response to the attack’s health consequences, Whitman disputed that she soft-pedaled those concerns because of political pressure.

While acknowledging she had received a call from a White House economic adviser about the importance of reopening the New York Stock Exchange, she said her response was that it would stay closed until it “was cleaned and safe.

“Was it wrong to try to get the city back on its feet as quickly and as safely as possible?” she asked. “Absolutely not. We weren’t going to let the terrorists win.”

Ah yes. We can’t let the terrorists win and get in the way of our ability to make gobs of money. Fast forward a decade and the country is up to its eyeballs in debt thanks to the two wars we’ve started in response to 9/11. Ground Zero first responders are still suffering debilitating illnesses from breathing the foul air Christie Todd Whitman promised was safe so the terrorists wouldn’t win. And New York Congressman Anthony Weiner takes the GOP to task for blocking an amendment to the Public Health Services Act that would offer relief to everyone still sick from breathing that foul air:

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) literally lost it on the House floor Thursday over his Republican colleagues’ procedural objection to an amendment to the Public Health Services Act. The amendment would extend and improve health care benefits for 9/11 victims suffering from lasting health complications.

So this is the Republican health care plan: tell everyone it’s okay to breathe polluted air, drink polluted water, eat contaminated food, etc. etc. Then when you get really, really sick they say tough luck. But we sure beat those terriss, yessirree!

See folks, this is why you should never listen to the Republicans. It’s all about making as much money as they can and if you happen to be the poor sap who stands in the way, well that’s just the free hand of the market driving the steamroller.

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Filed under 9/11, Christie Todd Whitman, GOP, healthcare, Rep. Anthony Weiner

Dance, Dickie Boy, Dance

Follow the changing storyline. If you can!

Dick Cheney, September 14, 1992:

The bottom line question for me was: How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? The answer: not very damn many.

Dick Cheney, Sept. 16, 2001:

MR. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?


Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002:

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors — confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.

Dick Cheney, September 14, 2003:

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

Dick Cheney, January 9, 2004:

We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo [ED’s NOTE: THAT MEANS TORTURE] that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it. A lot of it has been declassified. More, I’m sure, will be declassified in the future, and my expectation would be as we get the time. We haven’t really had the time yet to pore through all those records in Baghdad. We’ll find ample evidence confirming the link, that is the connection if you will between al Qaida and the Iraqi intelligence services. They have worked together on a number of occasions.

Dick Cheney, Jan. 21, 2004:

“I continue to believe — I think there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I’m very confident that there was an established relationship there.”

Dick Cheney, June 2004:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were “irresponsible.”

Dick Cheney, Sept. 10, 2006:

MR. RUSSERT: Then why, in the lead-up to the war, was there the constant linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: That’s a different issue. Now, there’s a question of whether or not al-Qaeda, or whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11. There’s a separate—apart from that’s the issue of whether or not there was a historic relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The basis for that is probably best captured in George Tenet’s testimony before the Senate Intel Commission, an open session, where he said specifically that there was a pattern of relationship that went back at least a decade between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

MR. RUSSERT: But the president said they were working in concert, giving the strong suggestion to the American people that they were involved in September 11th.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. There are, there are two totally different propositions here, and people have consistently tried to confuse them. And it’s important, I think—there’s a third proposition, as well, too, and that is Iraq’s traditional position as a strong sponsor of terror.

Dick Cheney, April 6, 2007:

Cheney contended that al-Qaeda was operating in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion led by U.S. forces and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. Others in al-Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June,” Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. “As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.”

Dick Cheney, March 2008:

“This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home,” said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

“So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace,” Cheney said. “Understanding all the dangers of this new era, we have no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 square miles to become a staging area for further attacks against Americans.”

Dick Cheney, May 2009:

We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.

Dick Cheney, June 2, 2009:

“On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” Cheney said during an interview Monday night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.

I’m so glad we got that cleared up.

Look, I don’t know why liberal blogs are feeling like Cheney has been caught in some kind of “gotcha” moment here.

The problem is that Cheney has always said that Iraq was a state sponsor of terror, so whether Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 or not didn’t matter because he was still dangerous. But what the national conversation has always been about is whether Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. When the country readied for war in Iraq, when we invaded Iraq, when we lost our blood and treasure in Iraq, it was always understood that this was in retaliation for 9/11.

Cheney has repeatedly said that Saddam as a “state sponsor of terror” and “Saddam as involved in 9/11 attacks” are two totally separate issues and that “people have consistently tried to confuse them.” Gee, I wonder why that is. Maybe because the Bush Administration wanted the two to be confused, perhaps? I mean, come on, already.

I have no doubt that Cheney, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest were purposely being ambiguous on this point, and the media was too gah-gah over the swell of manhood stuffed into flightsuits that they played along. Now that it looks like some indictments might be in order and an Administration’s legacy is at stake, Cheney and co. want to have it both ways, to say look, we never said there was a definitive connection between Saddam and 9/11. That may be technically true but you sure as hell implied it, and you did so on purpose so you could take out your oil rival in the Middle East. And the media played right along.

The Iraq War has always been about the money and Republican power hoarding. Hell, most if not all wars are always about the money and power hoarding. But this one has been brazenly, openly, shamefully about the money and maintaining a Republican majority. You can see the loudest rhetoric linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 came before the 2004 and 2006 elections. If you read the transcripts carefully, especially Cheney’s Sept. 10, 2006 appearance on Meet The Press, it becomes patently obvious. Cheney is dancing on the head of a pin in this MTP appearance, (and I always thought Tim Russert did superb job of grilling Cheney in this particular interview), and even he seems to be having trouble balancing his arguments.

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Filed under 9/11, Iraq War, Vice President Dick Cheney

>Have They Forgotten?

>This Wall Street Journal headline just stuns. There are no words:

‘At Least Bush Kept Us Safe’

Bush kept us safe? Really? Like on 9/11, when 3,000 people died?

Or on August 28, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit and over 1,300 people died?

Bush kept us safe?

The column, from Peggy Noonan, is subtitled “The Two Words Democrats Don’t Want Tacked On To That Sentence.” You know, “At least Bush kept us safe … Unlike Obama!

Here are some words I could tack on to that sentence:

“At least Bush Kept Us Safe” * † ** ††

* Except for 9/11 …
† And forgetting that whole anthrax thing, which everyone always forgets, even though a couple people died and stuff…
** And let’s say Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster and leave it at that, forgetting the botched government response …
†† And of course there’s that whole War in Iraq thing which totally didn’t need to happen, and which now Karl Rove is saying we wouldn’t have done if we’d known Saddam didn’t have WMD, which we all knew anyway, but who’s counting, really …

Right. Peggy Noonan, I want some of what you’re drinking. That Potomac Kool-Aid must extra strong these days.

(h/t, Attaturk.)

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Filed under 9/11, Wall Street Journal

>Blunders of Biblical Proportions

>Roger Cohen’s New York Times column today is a must read. So go read it, now.

Surely after seven years we can take the time to contemplate the wages of our sin and the truth in our folly. Surely after seven years the nation can take a sober look at what divides and unites us, our standing in the world, and our fragile economy.

Oh, wait. Obama said something about putting lipstick on a pig yesterday.

Never mind.

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Filed under 9/11

>Is Christie Todd Whitman A Liar Or Am I Just Crazy?

>I blogged about this last September when former EPA head Christie Todd Whitman blamed the city of New York for the thousands debilitated by chronic respiratory diseases and rare cancers in the wake of 9/11. Certainly the EPA’s assurances on Sept. 13 that the New York air was safe to breathe had nothing to do with it. Surely pressure from the White House to reopen the New York Stock Exchange “or the terrorists win” had nothing to do with it.


One of the best things about the Democratic majority is watching these folks try to squirm their way out of the tight spots they put themselves in. They have only themselves to blame, and yet the “party of accountability” seems to have precious little when it comes to their own fuck-ups, doesn’t it? Yesterday, amid boos and hisses from the audience, Whitman tried to defend herself from allegations that she bowed to pressure from the White House regarding New York’s post-9/11 air quality:

WASHINGTON — Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman angrily denied Monday that she misled New Yorkers about the safety of the air in lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Towers.

Appearing for the first time before a Congressional committee investigating the federal government’s response to the attack’s health consequences, Whitman disputed that she soft-pedaled those concerns because of political pressure.

While acknowledging she had received a call from a White House economic adviser about the importance of reopening the New York Stock Exchange, she said her response was that it would stay closed until it “was cleaned and safe.

“Was it wrong to try to get the city back on its feet as quickly and as safely as possible?” she asked. “Absolutely not. We weren’t going to let the terrorists win.

(It’s worth noting that Whitman is named in a class-action lawsuit filed by residents and office workers over air quality which might play into her vociferous denials).

First of all, can someone explain to me why it’s been SIX years and we’re only now getting an investigation into the government’s response? Manhattan Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler called for a Justice Department investigation back in August 2003. What took so long? Oh, right, Republicans are allergic to looking at their own dirty laundry pile. I forgot.

But this “we weren’t going to let the terrorists win” BS really ticks me off. You simply cannot trot out that empty canard every time someone asks you to be accountable for your fuck-up. Protecting American citizens from disease caused by a terror attack is not “letting the terrorists win” it’s called responsible government, something this “government is the problem, not the solution” crowd wouldn’t know if it bit them on the ass.

Let’s take a look at the EPA’s September 13, 2001 Press Release, shall we:

At the request of the New York City Department of Health, EPA and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have been on the scene at the World Trade Center monitoring exposure to potentially contaminated dust and debris. Monitoring and sampling conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday have been very reassuring about potential exposure of rescue crews and the public to environmental contaminants.

EPA’s primary concern is to ensure that rescue workers and the public are not exposed to elevated levels of asbestos, acidic gases or other contaminants from the debris. Sampling of ambient air quality found either no asbestos or very low levels of asbestos. Sampling of bulk materials and dust found generally low levels of asbestos.

The levels of lead, asbestos and volatile organic compounds in air samples taken on Tuesday in Brooklyn, downwind from the World Trade Center site, were not detectable or not of concern.

Additional sampling of both ambient air quality and dust particles was conducted Wednesday night in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and results were uniformly acceptable.

“EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City,” said Administrator Whitman. “We are working closely with rescue crews to ensure that all appropriate precautions are taken. We will continue to monitor closely.”

The release said they tested “on the scene at the World Trade Center,” as well as Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Notice use of words like “acceptable,” “no concern,” and “greatly relieved.” This was two days after 9/11. Talk about rainbow fairytales and lollipop dreams! This wasn’t a press release, it was a pep talk.

But in August 2003, the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA released a report (.pdf available here) saying the EPA did not have scientific evidence to support those air quality claims, not the cheery “no concern” reassurances in the Sept. 13 press release nor those made in a Sept. 18 news conference.

It’s also completely at odds with this Oct. 5, 2001 internal memo from then-NYC Health Dept. Associate Commissioner Kelly McKinney, who wrote:

“The EPA has been very slow to make [air test] data results available and to date has not sufficiently informed … the public of air quality issues arising from this disaster.”

The following week, as a news conference outside Mount Sinai Medical Center after a keynote speech she gave at an asthma summit, then-EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said, “The good news continues to be that the air samples have all been at levels that cause us no concern.”

Yesterday Whitman claimed that these “reports” did not refer to the actual WTC site (though the 9/13 release refutes that), but to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. This must be good news to the thousands sickened in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, many of who have filed suit. Ms. Whitman just made their case.

The EPA Inspector General’s report also noted that “the White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced . . . the information that EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.” An example was given at yesterday’s hearing:

Nadler and others also pointed to the vetting of EPA press releases through the White House. They cited one Sept. 13 draft that said preliminary EPA sampling indicated “no or very low levels of asbestos. However, even at low levels, EPA considers asbestos hazardous in this situation.”

They noted the tone of the final release was reassuring rather than cautionary, saying, “EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City.”

This is the stuff that makes me mad enough to hit the streets with a protest sign. You should be mad, too. Every piece of this story should be front page news: we didn’t have a hearing until six years later, after the Democrats took control? Whitman’s blatant lies and CYA-ing now that she’s named in a major lawsuit? Using banalities like “we can’t let terrorists win” to excuse negligence and stifle calls for accountability?

The corporate media has seen fit to cover this story, although CNN did break away from its report to cover the “breaking news” that Paris Hilton was out of jail.

Wake up, people. You’re being shafted by your own government. Quit making excuses for them.

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Filed under 9/11, air quality, Christie Todd Whitman, EPA