Thursday, June 21, 2007


Pass the popcorn:

Former Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman said Thursday that the Giuliani administration appeared to be more concerned with its image than the safety and speedy response of EPA employees in the wake of the 2001 anthrax scare....

Her criticism of the Giuliani administration centered on the EPA's inspection of 30 Rockefeller Center after a letter containing anthrax arrived at the NBC building nearly six years ago.

While Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik were taking command of the scene, Whitman said the city would not allow the EPA inspectors to be seen entering 30 Rock in their hazmat suits. Instead, the city wanted a tent to be set up where they first could change into the gear hidden from public view.

"There was concern by the city that EPA workers not be seen in their hazmat suits going in because [the city was] still recovering from 9/11. They didn't want this image of a city falling apart. I said, 'Well, that's not acceptable, and this is the way we're going to have to do it.'" ...

If that's true, then Giuliani thinks image is paramount, because of the deep emotional reactions uniforms are supposed to trigger in the primitive parts of people's brains. It's Bush-like flightsuit propaganda in reverse.

I actually walked by Rockefeller Center that evening around 7:30 and was shocked at the utter lack of any sign that something potential hazardous had been discovered there. I guess we're lucky no one there was hurt.

(And yeah, I know -- Christie Whitman has her own credibility problems.)

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