What Went Wrong: Giuliani and Bloomberg Before the 9/11 Commission
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SPENCER MICHELS: At today’s session in New York, 9/11 commission members heard testimony from city officials disputing the allegations made yesterday that rivalries between the police and fire departments caused problems that cost lives. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was the lead-off witness.
FORMER MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI: There was not a problem with coordination on Sept. 11, 2001, because it was bigger than everybody involved in it. So nobody was asserting ego. “The fire department should take over,” “the police department,” “the mayor…” everybody sublimated their ego to how big it was.
SPENCER MICHELS: The former mayor was asked what he would have done if he’d had more intelligence about the terrorists threat.
FORMER MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI: I can’t honestly tell you we would have done anything differently. We were doing, at the time, all that we could think of, that was consistent with the city being able to move and to protect the city.
SPENCER MICHELS: Toward the end of Giuliani’s testimony, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center began the first of several outbursts. They claimed the hearing was one-sided; one demanded to question Giuliani.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: Two minutes to ask a couple of real questions!
SPOKESMAN: You’re simply wasting time.
SPENCER MICHELS: After order was restored, Jerome Hauer, Giuliani’s first emergency management director, testified that the city spent more than $10 million on defense against chemical and biological agents, but never thought about an attack like the one that happened.
JEROME HAUER: We looked at every conceivable threat that anyone on the staff could think of, be it natural or intentional, but not the use of aircraft as missiles. We never received any intelligence telling us that was a threat.
SPENCER MICHELS: Next up was current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who told the commission that much has been improved since 9/11, but that the city is still a terrorist target.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: We are indeed in the crosshairs. To people around the world, New York City embodies what makes this nation great. And that makes us an inevitable target for those who hate our nation and what we stand for.
SPENCER MICHELS: Bloomberg also complained to the commission that federal homeland security funds for New York City were being cut in half, affecting the state as well.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: New York state ranks 49th among 50 states in per capita homeland security funding. During fiscal year 2004, New York State received $5.47 per capita in homeland security grants. Nebraska got $14.33 per capita. North Dakota, $30.42; Wyoming: $38.30. This is pork barrel politics at its worst.
SPENCER MICHELS: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who also it also has the effect of aiding and… Secretary Tom Ridge, who also testified today, said it was important to include even unlikely targets in the planning and spending.
TOM RIDGE: We have advocated for two years that the funding formula be changed with one caveat. I do think within the world which we now live, in a post- 9/11 world that has changed considerably, there ought to be some dollars going to each state as they build up over a period of time, a capacity to support each other in these communities. So I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I think we ought to just simply send it to the urban communities. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.
THOMAS KEAN: Thank you very much.
SPENCER MICHELS: Today concluded the 11th public hearing of the commission. The 12th and final one is scheduled next month in Washington. The deadline for the release of the commission’s report is July 26.