Condi and the Dust of 9/11

In the days after 9/11, thousands of New Yorkers breathed the cloudy air with trepidation, allayed only by reassuring EPA pronouncements concerning air quality. Recently, Christie Todd Whitman has been somewhat of a punching bag on the issue of those "safe to breath" findings, since hundreds of first responders have been getting sick. It turns out that the contents of the buildings they inhaled are still there, irritating their lungs with a highly alkaline mixture - effectively giving them an internal chemical burn. These men and women are losing lung capacity at a shocking rate, and indeed, the first air-related fatalities are now being reported.

As I said, Christie Todd Whitman has been getting plastered over her involvement, so perhaps she's looking to spread the burden around a little. Any guesses who leaked these internal documents?
Condoleezza Rice's office 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," internal documents show.

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.

Scientists and lawmakers have since deemed the air rife with toxins.

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.
Whoever leaked this stuff, the upshot is the same. Shame on you, Condi. You failed your countrymen again - this time for political expediency. The August PDB bungle was just incompetence, whereas this is an active decision to put Wall Street's needs above the lives of our 9/11 heros.

Incidentally, at the end of the piece there's a quick allusion to the consequences of the Unitary Executive theory of Presidential power:
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."
That's not some journalist that couldn't get answers - that's the IG.

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