If you demolish two gigantic buildings full of hazardous materials like asbestos and acrid concrete products it isn’t a surprise you would produce a hazardous environment. So it was no surprise the air around the World Trade Center was dangerous to breathe after 9/11, although we were told otherwise while officials knew better. Officials like then EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman (see post here).
We now can document it wasn’t just Whitman who made the decision to “re-open” the Wall Street and financial districts adjacent to the WTC attacks after 9/11. The decision came all the way from Condolezza Rice’s office at the National Security Council, described in a New York Post article citing internal documents as “the final decision maker” on EPA statements about air quality:
Early tests known to the EPA at the time had already found high asbestos levels, the notes say. But those results were omitted from the press releases because of “competing priorities” such as national security and “opening Wall Street,” according to a report by the EPA’s inspector general.
The chief of staff for then-EPA head Christie Todd Whitman, Eileen McGinnis, told the inspector general of heated discussions, including “screaming telephone calls,” about what to put in the press releases.
The notes come from a 2003 probe into public assurances made on Sept. 16, five days after the 9/11 attacks. They tell how a White House staffer “worked with Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s press secretary” on reviewing the press releases for weeks.
Whitman said through a spokeswoman Friday that she never discussed her press releases directly with Rice. She also defended her collaboration with the White House.
Now-retired Inspector General Nikki Tinsley told The Post her auditors tried to question the head of President Bush’s Environmental Quality Council, but “he would not talk to us.” (New York Post)
They looked in Iraq for chemical weapons used by terrorists after 9/11, but couldn’t find them. They were looking in the wrong place. Wall Street was a better guess. Not even a guess. They had actually found the dangerous chemicals but didn’t warn the American citizens who were at risk.
The chemical weapons were literally on Wall Street. You parse the non-literal part.