Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rice Vetted EPA Press Releases That Falsely Claimed Downtown Manhattan Air was Safe To Breathe After 9/11

And the reason Rice had the EPA lie about the safety of the air in and around Ground Zero after 9/11? She wanted Wall Street to reopen!!! The NY Post (via Atrios) has the story:

September 24, 2006 -- 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.

The notes come from a 2003 probe into public assurances made on Sept. 16, five days after the 9/11 attacks. They tell how a White House staffer "worked with Dr. Condoleezza Rice's press secretary" on reviewing the press releases for weeks.

Whitman said through a spokeswoman Friday that she never discussed her press releases directly with Rice. She also defended her collaboration with the White House.

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."

Calls and e-mails to Rice were not returned.

Wow - so the competing priorities for the Bush administration were the health of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers vs. the interests of the investor class.

It's no surprise to see which side the administration came down on.

By changing the language in the EPA press releases to make it sound like the air around Ground Zero had been tested and deemed safe, Condi Rice deliberately, callously, and directly affected the health and lives of thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers who were subsequently exposed to toxins and noxious materials in the area.

Of all the members of the Bush administration, Rice is the one figure who is still given the "kid glove" treatment by the news media and the public.

Given her culpability in the EPA press release debacle, it's time for that kid glove treatment of Dr. Rice to end.

She ought to have her murderous ass hauled up before House and Senate committees under subpoena and be forced to honestly address these allegations until the American people hear the truth out of her.

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