Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11

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Giuliani's war with the Port Authority left him unwilling or unable to see the WTC as a potential target for terrorism and took Port Authority resources that would otherwise have been used for security.

The fire department continued using radios that had been antiquated in and that were not interoperable with police department radios. As a result, firefighters had no chance to hear warnings from police helicopters that the South Tower appeared ready to collapse.

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Giuliani's insistence that the city's emergency command center be within walking distance of City Hall led to its location in WTC 7, right next to the city's major terrorist target. The building's lack of suitability for such purposes combined with Giuliani's willingness to violate safety standards led to the location of an oversized, insufficiently-protected fuel tank aboveground. In the name of getting back to normal, rescue and cleanup workers and the residents of lower Manhattan were not warned about air quality problems. Residents were encouraged to clean their own apartments despite evidence that the dust and debris coating them was toxic.

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Workers at Ground Zero were not made to wear safety equipment long after the urgent attempts to rescue survivors had ended. Giuliani's management of all these issues was marked by laziness, vain attention to pet projects the command center at WTC 7 had a private suite with monogrammed towels and a cigar humidor and wanton disregard for any project that did not satisfy his vanity. The levels of cronyism in his administration were such that while it was not corrupt in the sense of personally enriching Giuliani, it is difficult to think of another word for the process that surrounded him with the likes of Bernie Kerik.

Barrett and Collins devote their greatest energy to documenting all of these oversights, only rarely pausing to highlight the blatant untruths Giuliani has told in cementing his heroic myth.

But then, they can count on their readers knowing that myth intimately, while the gross negligence it hides is known by very few. The book is strongest in laying out this negligence in the period between and September , when Giuliani had every reason to be concerned about terrorism but gave it very little attention.

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The real mistakes had been made long before. This failing made them complicit in the Bush administration's drive to war with Iraq, and, as this book makes all too clear, it has also made them complicit in the elevation of Rudy Giuliani to top-tier presidential candidate.

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Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 by Wayne Barrett

Learn how your comment data is processed. Our own journalism — as well as our selections of the smartest stories available every day — reflects a clear and strong perspective, without the kind of propaganda, ultra-partisanship and overwrought ideology that burden so much of our political discourse.

Joe Conason April 19, We resist knowing anything more—about the eight-year history of error and indifference that preceded that moment, or the toxic disengagement that followed it… We rely on our leaders to behave well in such a moment, to set an example of calm and compassion.

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