by Steve Watson
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007
Lawyers representing lower Manhattan residents
told an appeals court Monday that the former head of the Environmental
Protection Agency, Christie Whitman, knowingly lied about air quality after
the 9/11 attacks and should be personally responsible for medical monitoring
and a cleanup.
The plaintiffs' lawyer
Sherrie Savett said Whitman,
"made false statements to
the public, inducing them, seducing them to go back to their homes and to
send their kids back to school."
Five days after the attacks, Whitman told reporters,
"The good news
continues to be that air samples we have taken have all been at levels that
cause no concern."
This, The EPA's own Office of the Inspector General later revealed, was an
New York Daily News reports:
In their class-action suit, residents, workers and students living around
Ground Zero say they relied on Whitman's comments in deciding whether to
return to an area coated with dust from the twin towers' collapse.
"If she had not said this, they probably would have made their own
decision," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said after the hearing. "She
was telling people it was safe when she knew damn well it wasn't."
The government's lawyer responded by arguing that if Whitman is held
responsible then it would set a "dangerous" precedent that would open up
public officials to liability.
Yes, that's right, God forbid that public officials should be liable for the
decisions they make and the actions they take, they should be above the law
and be able to lie whenever they want to, even when people's lives are at
Whitman had originally refused to testify for the hearing, so it was left to
District judges to subpoena Whitman at the request of New York Congressman
Jerry Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes the World Trade Center
site. In doing so one judge referred to Whitman's actions as
In August 2003 it was revealed that
the Government ordered the EPA to give
the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers on September 12 it
was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not
available and Asbestos levels were known to be three times higher than
Further documents were obtained by CBS news last September, revealing that
Lower Manhattan was reopened a few weeks following the attack even though
the air was not safe.
The two devastating memos, written by the U.S. and local governments, show
they knew. They knew the toxic soup created at Ground Zero was a deadly
health hazard. Yet they sent workers into the pit and people back into their
"Not only did they know it was unsafe, they didn't heed the words of more
experienced people that worked for the city and E.P.A.," said Joel Kupferman,
with the group Environmental Justice Project.
An EPA whistleblower, Dr. Cate Jenkins then wrote a letter to Senator
Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and other members of the New York congressional
delegation blasting the EPA for hiding dangerous toxins from Ground Zero
workers in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Letter claimed that EPA-funded research on the toxicity of breathable
alkaline dust at the site “falsified pH results” to make the substance
appear benign, when it was, in reality, corrosive enough to cause first
responders and other workers in lower Manhattan to later lose pulmonary
functions and, in some cases, to die.
In an even more shocking development it was revealed that Whitman apparently
had financial interests in reassuring the public that all was well and that
lower Manhattan could safely be reoccupied.
Former head of the
Environmental Protection Agency
In a New York Post piece which has since been memory holed, but that was
Infowars.net, these facts became clearly evident:
Meanwhile, Whitman's newly released financial-disclosure forms show that she
said seven months before 9/11 that she would not get involved in any issue
related to the finances of the Port Authority - which owns the WTC site -
because she or her family owned PA bonds. Its finances could be impacted by
lawsuits growing of the cleanup.
"I understand the following interests that belong to me, my spouse or my
children present a conflict of interest," Whitman wrote at the time.
then listed various investments, including the bistate agency.
But Whitman was involved at Ground Zero despite that refusal, although she
or her family also owned shares of Citigroup, whose insurance-company
subsidiary, The Travelers, paid out hundred of millions of dollars in claims
to downtown residents displaced by the attacks.
Not surprising then that Whitman did not want to testify. She is
compromised and clearly in very deep trouble. Congressman Nadler himself
blasted Whitman when this was revealed stating:
"She conspired [with the White House] to convince people to go into an
unsafe environment... For that, she ought to be prosecuted," Nadler said.
"People are dead because of her."
However, it must be remembered that Whitman and the
EPA are accountable to
the White House and act under the direct authority of the Bush
It was the 2003 EPA Inspector General's investigation that revealed that it
was the White House that had pressured EPA into changing its press releases
to add more "reassuring" language.
The further memos revealed that Whitman conspired with the White House to
falsely reassure New Yorkers that the air was safe.
The New York Post also reported on the fact that the internal documents show
it was Condoleezza Rice's office that gave final approval to the infamous
Environmental Protection Agency press releases days after 9/11 claiming the
air around Ground Zero was "safe to breathe".
Now Secretary of State, Rice was then head of the National Security Council, "the final decision maker" on EPA statements about lower Manhattan air
quality, the documents say.
And it cannot be forgotten that
Rudolph Guiliani, who was mayor at the time,
also said repeatedly that the air was safe. Giuliani has gone on to make
millions from speaking on 9/11 and has made it the cornerstone of his
presidential campaign, much to the disgust of many first responders and
firefighters who continue to campaign to expose Giuliani's culpability on
Furthermore it has been the Bush Administration that has
blocked millions in health compensation programs for ground zero workers and
continuously attempted to stonewall the issue because to do otherwise would
be an admission of responsibility for exposure to harmful substances after
the government had already given the all clear. It has been the Bush
administration that has allowed 9/11 heroes to die while at the same time
disgracefully using the event as a cart blanche excuse for their own
criminal actions at home and abroad.
It seems Whitman knew immediately that she was being fingered as the
ultimate scapegoat. When the new information broke in September 2006, she
was quick to
blame the city for not forcing Ground Zero workers to wear
In a "60 Minutes" interview, Whitman maintained that the nation's leading
environmental agency did not have authority to enforce rules at the site,
though the agency did warn the city about dangers in the air at Ground Zero.
"We didn't have the authority to do that enforcement, but we communicated to
the people who did," Whitman stressed.
Whitman stuck to this story
her testimony last June.
2004 report by the Sierra Club detailed gross malfeasance by
FEMA, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and then
suggested a cover-up of the public health hazards of Ground Zero ensued.
The report found that the EPA and FEMA, in concert with New York City's own
health department, told families that they could clean up the contaminated
dust themselves with wet rags. In fact, they actually discouraged area
residents from wearing safety masks.
Some preliminary scientific studies have indicated that as many as 400,000
people were exposed to toxic ground zero dust. Hundreds and perhaps
thousands of people have fallen ill, and several have died from lung
ailments blamed on inhaled Trade Center ash.
Former head of the
Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Whitman
with President Bush
Any probe into this issue that cannot establish these basic conclusions and
pinpoint those at fault AT ALL LEVELS WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT will be highly
suspicious. It is blatantly clear that not only Whitman and her EPA
counterparts were complicit in a conspiracy and cover up the environmental
hazards at ground zero, but also that high ranking officials with the Bush
administration are also complicit.
It is also apparent from reports that Whitman had significant financial
interests in the ground zero site, which should also be investigated in
addition to the financial interests other officials complicit in this
diabolical case also had before and after 9/11.
We have postulated that the left arm of the Washington power elite will be
unlikely to fully expose the reality of
the monumental criminal culpability
of the Bush Administration on this particular issue, but will instead seek
to once again close off the issue. Indeed it seems that Whitman is in the
frame to take the fall and once cover the behinds of the ever increasingly
unaccountable Neocon crime syndicate in the White House.
The hearing continues.