Thursday, November 1, 2007

Debunking the Saint of 9/11

It looks like Saint Rudy may have to face the music as to why the firefighters on 9/11 had the same old radios that hadn't worked during the 1993 attacks:

In the midst of his presidential candidacy, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani now faces a looming government investigation into his handling of the radios used by firefighters on 9/11.

The investigation, which will examine how the FDNY ended up using faulty equipment during the terrorist attacks and why Giuliani gave a no-bid contract to Motorola for that equipment, has been endorsed by New York City Councilman Eric Gioia, chair of the city's oversight and investigations committee.

"I will do everything in my power to get answers, to get the truth," said Gioia, a Democrat. "These families deserve answers and really the entire city and our country deserve answers."

Calls for an investigation were first proposed by filmmaker Robert Greenwald who has documented Giuliani's handling of 9/11 in a series of shorts for Brave New Films. In The Real Rudy: Radios, Greenwald documents how radios used by the FDNY on 9/11 were the same ones that malfunctioned during the 1993 attack on the Twin Towers. When - eight years later - Giuliani finally purchased new communications equipment for $14 million from Motorola, it was never field-tested. A week later, the equipment was recalled after a firefighter's mayday went un-heard. Giuliani reissued the old batch of radios. And on 9/11 when a police helicopter warned that the North Tower could collapse, more than 120 firefighters remained inside.

"To know that we had failing radios in 1993 and did virtually nothing until September 11 is shocking to say the least," said Gioia. "To watch this documentary and see the important questions that were asked and seemingly unanswered and ignored for so many years, it's disturbing."

More than 20,000 people signed a petition demanding an investigation into Giuliani's handling of the FDNY radios. In an interview posted on YouTube, Gioia confirmed that he will take the steps to initiate public hearings, including sending out letters to fellow council members and requesting pertinent documents. Greenwald praised the initial steps forward.

Since Ghouliani has decided to run an entire presidential campaign on the backs of the corpses of those who died that day, and has claimed that only he had been obsessed with terrorism during the Clinton years (despite his testimony before the 9/11 commission that he wasn't thinking about terrorism at all before then), it's only appropriate that questions about his leadership and about his actual record in considering terrorism be asked.

I'm under no illusions that this investigation will ever actually go forward. Those who question Republicans and dig too deeply have a habit of either disappearing or suddenly backing off. But we can hope, and while they might be able to touch Eric Gioia, Robert Greenwald has already put the truth out there.

(cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast)