Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11

On the stump, Rudy can't help spreading smoke and ashes about his lousy record

The 7 WTC site was the brainchild of Bill Diamond, a prominent Manhattan Republican that Giuliani had installed at the city agency handling rentals. When Diamond held a similar post in the Reagan administration a few years earlier, his office had selected the same building to house nine federal agencies. Diamond's GOP-wired broker steered Hauer to the building, which was owned by a major Giuliani donor and fundraiser. When Hauer signed onto it, he was locked in by the limitations Giuliani had imposed on the search and the sites Diamond offered him. The mayor was so personally focused on the siting and construction of the bunker that the city administrator who oversaw it testified in a subsequent lawsuit that "very senior officials," specifically including Giuliani, "were involved," which he said was a major difference between this and other projects. Giuliani's office had a humidor for cigars and mementos from City Hall, including a fire horn, police hats and fire hats, as well as monogrammed towels in his bathroom. His suite was bulletproofed and he visited it often, even on weekends, bringing his girlfriend Judi Nathan there long before the relationship surfaced. He had his own elevator. Great concern was expressed in writing that the platform in the press room had to be high enough to make sure his head was above the cameras. It's inconceivable that the hands-on mayor's fantasy command center was shaped—or sited—by anyone other than him.

Of course, the consequences of putting the center there were predictable. The terrorist who engineered the 1993 bombing told the FBI they were coming back to the trade center. Opposing the site at a meeting with the mayor, Police Commissioner Howard Safir called it "Ground Zero" because of the earlier attack. Lou Anemone, the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the NYPD, wrote memos slamming the site. "I've never seen in my life 'walking distance' as some kind of a standard for crisis management," Anemone said later. "But you don't want to confuse Giuliani with the facts." Anemone had done a detailed vulnerability study of the city for Giuliani, pinpointing terrorist targets. "In terms of targets, the WTC was number one," he says. "I guess you had to be there in 1993 to know how strongly we felt it was the wrong place."

Bizarrely, Giuliani even tried in the Wallace interview to deny that the early evacuation of the bunker left him searching for a new site, contrary to the account of that frantic morning he's given hundreds of times, often for honoraria reaching six figures. "The way you're interpreting it," he told Wallace, "it was as if that was the one fixed command center. It was not. There were backup command centers." To minimize the effect of the loss of the bunker, Giuliani said that, "within a half hour" of the shutdown of the bunker, "we were able to move immediately to another command center."

Illustration by John Kascht


Additional research assistance by Benjamin Bright, Ben Greenberg, Jan Ransom, Ethan Strauss, and Tom Wiedeman.

In fact, as Giuliani himself has told the dramatic tale, he and his entourage were briefly trapped in a Merrill Lynch office, "jimmied the lock" of a firehouse, and took over a deluxe hotel until they realized it was "sheathed in windows." They considered going to City Hall, but learned it was covered in debris. The only backup center that existed was the small one at police headquarters that had been put out of business when the WTC bunker opened; but Giuliani said its phones weren't working. "We're going to have to find someplace," Giuliani said, according to his Time account, which described it as a "long and harrowing" search. "Our government no longer had a place to work," he wrote in Leadership.

They wound up at the police academy uptown and, according to the account Giuliani and company gave Time, "we are up and operating by 4 p.m."—seven hours, not a half-hour, after the attack. But Giuliani told the 9/11 Commission that they quickly decided the academy "was too small" and "were able to establish a command center" at Pier 92 "within three days," virtually building it from scratch. Hauer said he'd asked for a backup command center years before 9/11, "but they told me there was no money for it." After Hauer left, and shortly before 9/11, the city announced plans to build a backup center near police headquarters—a site quickly jettisoned by the Bloomberg administration. Police officials told reporters that they were looking for space outside Manhattan and underground, citing the lessons of 9/11.


4. 'Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.' Giuliani blames what he calls Bill Clinton's "decade of denial" for the mess we're in, and uses it to tarnish the rest of Clinton's party. "Don't react, kind of let things go, kind of act the way Clinton did in the '90s" is his favorite way of characterizing the Democratic response to the threat of terrorism. "We were attacked at Khobar Towers, Kenya, Tanzania, 17 of our sailors were killed on the USS Cole, and the United States government, under then-president Clinton, did not respond," Giuliani told the rabidly anti-Clinton audience at Pat Robertson's Regent University. "It was a big mistake to not recognize that the 1993 bombing was a terrorist act and an act of war," he added. "Bin Laden declared war on us. We didn't hear it. I thought it was pretty clear at the time, but a lot of people didn't see it, couldn't see it."

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