Point MC-10: The Activities of NYC Mayor Giuliani on September 11, 2001

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Introduction

One of the most surprising events of 9/11 was that New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told ABC’s Peter Jennings in the morning that while he and his Emergency Management team – who were in a building at 75 Barclay Street where they had set up temporary headquarters after the Twin Towers were struck – had been warned that the World Trade Center was going to collapse, so they had decided to [escape from] leave the Barclay Street building.

He later gave the 9/11 Commission a quite different account about which building was expected to collapse.

The 9/11 Commission did not ask him about the apparent contradictions, so the account he gave the Commission must be considered the official story.

The Official Account

On 19 May 2004, Mayor Giuliani testified before the 9/11 Commission. Volunteering to tell what he had done on the morning of September 11, 2001, Giuliani said that, after finishing breakfast at a hotel some distance away from the World Trade Center, he was told that a twin-engine plane had crashed into the North Tower. While in a van trying to get to the World Trade Center, Giuliani and his breakfast companions learned that the World Trade Center’s South Tower had been struck by a second plane, making it clear to him that a terrorist attack was underway.

Giuliani and his companions then found that the van could get no farther than Barclay Street, at which point the Police Commissioner notified him that 7 World Trade (which housed Giuliani’s Office of Emergency Management) had been evacuated, so they would instead set up a command post at 75 Barclay Street. Giuliani told the Commission that, after going inside 75 Barclay Street and while waiting to talk to Vice President Dick Cheney on the phone:

“I heard a click, the desk started to shake, and I heard next Chief Esposito, who was the uniformed head of the police department … say, ‘The [South] tower is down, the tower has come down.’ And my first thought was that one of the radio towers from the top of the World Trade Center had come down. I did not conceive of the entire tower coming down, but as he was saying that, I could see the desk shaking and … then all of a sudden I could see outside a tremendous amount of debris and it first felt like an earthquake, and then it looked like a nuclear cloud. So we realized very shortly that we were in danger in the [Barclay Street] building, that the building could come down. … So the police commissioner and I, and the deputy police commissioner, we jointly decided that we had to try to get everyone out of the building.” [1]

So Giuliani and his team left the Barclay Street building, because “if something happened and the building crashed, you’d virtually have all of city government gone.” [1]

The Best Evidence

Giuliani’s account to the 9/11 Commission contains two serious contradictions with what Giuliani had told Peter Jennings:

  1. He did not tell the Commission that he had been warned that the World Trade Center was going to collapse.
  2. He told the Commission that he and his people left the Barclay Street building for fear that this building might collapse.

The Peter Jennings Interview

While being interviewed during the morning of 9/11 via telephone by Peter Jennings, then the anchor at ABC News, Giuliani said that after he learned about the attack on the World Trade Center,

“I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the Police Commissioner, the Fire Commissioner, the Head of Emergency Management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it [the South Tower] did collapse before we could actually get out of the [Barclay Street] building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out.” [2]

Giuliani’s statement to Jennings agreed in part with the account he later gave the 9/11 Commission, but he did not tell the Commission about being “told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse.” Also, whereas he had told Jennings that he was concerned that the Twin Towers were going to collapse, he told the Commission that he instead was worried that he and his people were “in danger in the [Barclay Street] building, that the building could come down.”

Although the 9/11 Commission failed to ask Giuliani about these contradictions – no mention of concern that the World Trade Center would collapse; new concern that the Barclay Street building might collapse – WNBC reported that in May 2007, he was asked about the Jennings interview by a small group of people with a video camera. [3] A young woman, after reminding Giuliani of his statement to Jennings that “no steel structure in history has ever collapsed due to a fire,” asked: “How come people in the buildings weren’t notified? And who else knew about this? And how do you sleep at night?”
Giuliani replied: “I didn’t know the towers were going to collapse.” A male member of the group then reminded Giuliani that he had indeed told Jennings that he had been notified in advance that the towers were going to collapse, adding, “Who told you the towers were going to collapse in advance, sir?”
Giuliani replied: “I didn’t realize the towers would collapse. … Our understanding was that over a long period of time, the way other buildings collapsed, the towers could collapse, meaning over a 7, 8, 9, 10-hour period. No one that I know of had any idea they would implode. That was a complete surprise.” [4]

But this explanation contradicts Giuliani’s statement to Jennings—“we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building.” According to that statement, he had clearly expected an imminent collapse of at least one of the Twin Towers.

Giuliani’s Claim about Other Building Collapses

Giuliani’s alternative explanation also contradicted factual evidence.

In the first place, in speaking about “the way other buildings collapsed,” he implied that steel-framed high-rise buildings had previously collapsed. (Otherwise, the mention of collapsed buildings would have been irrelevant.) In fact, the young woman’s statement, that “no steel structure in history has ever collapsed due to a fire,” is not controversial. Two months after 9/11, for example, New York Timesreporter James Glanz wrote that “experts said no … modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.” [5]

Also, although Giuliani claimed that he expected a tower to collapse over a 7-10 hour period, steel-framed buildings had burned, some of them longer than 10 hours, without collapsing:

  • In 1988, the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles burned for 3½ hours, with 64 fire companies battling the blaze. The fire gutted offices from the 12th to the 16th floor, with “no damage to the main structural members.” [6]
  • In 1991, a huge fire in Philadelphia’s One Meridian Plaza lasted for 18 hours and gutted 8 of the building’s 38 floors. “Beams and girders sagged and twisted … under severe fire exposures,” said the FEMA report, but “the columns continued to support their loads without obvious damage.” [7]
  • During the 1990s, a series of experiments were run in Great Britain to see what kind of damage could be done to steel-framed buildings by subjecting them to extremely hot, all-consuming fires that lasted for many hours. After reviewing those experiments, FEMA said: “Despite the temperature of the steel beams reaching 800-900°C (1,500-1,700°F) in three of the tests … no collapse was observed in any of the six experiments.” [8]
  • Finally, illustrating that the laws of nature had not changed in 2001, a 50-story building fire in Caracas in 2004 raged for 17 hours, completely gutting the building’s top 20 floors, and yet this building did not collapse. [9]

However, although the implicit claim that steel-framed buildings had collapsed after burning for several hours was false, his statement was: “Our understanding was that over a long period of time, the way other buildings collapsed, the towers could collapse” (emphasis added). However, even that is false, because Robert F. Shea, the acting administrator of FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, said: “No one who viewed it that day, including myself, believed that those towers would fall,” [10] and this view was confirmed by multiple firefighters and other experts. [11]

Accordingly, there is no basis for a revisionist account, according to which Giuliani did not tell ABC’s Peter Jennings that he had been warned that “the World Trade Center was going to collapse.” Given the fact that Giuliani did say this, the next question is: Who gave Giuliani this information?

Who Told Giuliani that the World Trade Center Was Going to Collapse?

A partial answer may be found in the oral histories recorded by the Fire Department of New York.

  • Deputy Assistant Chief Albert Turi reported that, at a time when they had no indication of any structural instability, “Steve Mosiello, Chief Ganci’s executive assistant, came over to the command post and he said we’re getting reports from OEM that the buildings are not structurally sound … and Pete [Ganci] said, well, who are we getting these reports from? … Steve [Mosiello] brought an EMT person over to the command post … and Chief Ganci questioned him, where are we getting these reports? And his answer was … we’re not sure, OEM is just reporting this.” [12]
  • Steven Mosiello’s statement shows that this “EMT person” was Emergency Medical Technician Richard Zarrillo, who said: “John [Perrugia] came to me and said you need to go find Chief Ganci and relay the following message: that the buildings have been compromised, we need to evacuate, they’re going to collapse. I said okay.” After he and Steve Mosiello told Ganci that the buildings were going to collapse, Ganci said “who the fuck told you that?” Mosiello told Ganci and others: “I was just at OEM. The message I was given was that the buildings are going to collapse; we need to get our people out.” [13]
  • John Peruggia said: “They [people in the fire operations center] advised me that the Office of Emergency Management had been activated.” Later, Peruggia reported that “I was in a discussion with Mr. Rotanz [the deputy director of planning and research of the OEM [14]] … [and some] engineer type person, and several of us were huddled talking in the lobby and it was brought to my attention, it was believed that the structural damage that was suffered to the towers wasquite significant and they were very confident that the building’s stability was compromised and they felt that the North Tower was in danger of a near imminent collapse. I grabbed EMT Zarrillo, I advised him of that information. I told him he was to proceed immediately to the command post where Chief Ganci was located. … Provide him with the information that the building integrity is severely compromised and they believe the building is in danger of imminent collapse.” [15]
  • Peruggia was asked whether they were talking about “just the one building or both of them,” to which he said: “The information we got at that time was that they felt both buildings were significantly damaged.” [16]

As these testimonies show, the message that the towers were going to collapse came from the OEM. Accordingly, if Giuliani, as he told Peter Jennings, was informed that the towers were going to collapse, the warning must have originated from the OEM.

However, the OEM was under Giuliani’s control. [17] So although Giuliani said that he and others at 75 Barclay Street “were told” that the towers were going to collapse, it was his own people in his own office who were providing this warning.

The only remaining question is: How could people in the OEM have known – given the virtually universal belief that a total collapse of the towers would have been impossible – that the towers were going to collapse?

The Fire Chief Who Expected the Towers to Fall

Chief Ray Downey was reportedly an exception to the 9/11 Commission’s stated belief that “none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible.” [18] And this was an important exception, because, as 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said, Downey was a “very respected expert on building collapse.” In fact, said a FDNY battalion chief, Downey was “the premiere collapse expert in the country.” [19]

FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen had told the 9/11 Commission that Downey had said to him, “Boss, I think these buildings could collapse.” [20] As to why, according to Downey’s nephew Tom Downey, his uncle had been “worried about secondary devices in the towers, explosive devices that could hurt the firemen.” [21]

During his Oral History interview, FDNY chaplain Father John Delendick said that after the top of the South Tower appeared to explode, he asked Downey whether jet fuel had blown up. Downey replied “at that point he thought there were bombs up there because it was too even” – meaning that it had been too even to have been produced by exploding jet fuel. [22]

Conclusion

The account Mayor Giuliani gave to the 9/11 Commission in May 2004, according to which he got out of the building at 75 Barclay Street for fear that it would come down, is contradicted by the account he had given on the morning of 9/11 to ABC’s Peter Jennings.

When Giuliani was challenged to explain why he had not told people in the towers that they were going to collapse, he claimed that he “didn’t realize the towers would collapse” and that “No one that [he knew] of had any idea they would implode.” This is in stark contrast to Giuliani’s statement to Peter Jennings that he was told that the Twin Towers were going to come down.

How Giuliani knew that WTC Buildings I and II were going to come down is a question that has not been asked publicly of Giuliani by the mainstream media or any government body. This is a question that must be asked of Giuliani, while he is under oath.

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References for Point MC-10
This statement, made on 9/11 to Peter Jennings of ABC News, can be read and heard at “Who Told Giuliani the WTC Was Going to Collapse on 9/11?” What Really Happened (Updated), August 27, 2010.
A televised video of this encounter, entitled “Activists Confront Giuliani over 9/11,” was formerly available at wnbc.com (as documented by web.archive … //video.wnbc.com/player/?id=112179), and may now be viewed on YouTube, titled “WeAreChange Confronts Giuliani on 9/11 Collapse Lies.”
James Glanz, “Engineers are baffled over the collapse of 7 WTC,” New York Times, November 29, 2001.
United States Fire Administration, “Interstate Bank Building Fire Los Angeles, California May 1988.”
FEMA, World Trade Center Building Performance Study, May 2002, “Appendix A: Overview of Fire Protection in Buildings,” A-9.
Robin Nieto, “Fire Practically Destroys Venezuela’s Tallest Building,” October 18, 2004.
Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center,” Hearing before the Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 6 March 2002. Of course, WTC 7 was different: Many people became convinced that it would come down, but this was after the Twin Towers had come down and after they had been told that it was going to come down. See: 9/11 Consensus Panel, Point WTC7-7: “Foreknowledge of the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7”.
To give a few examples:

  • John Skilling, the architect primarily responsible for the structural design of the Twin Towers, when asked in 1993 what would happen if one of the towers were to suffer a strike by an airliner loaded with jet-fuel, replied that “there would be a horrendous fire” and “a lot of people would be killed,” but “the building structure would still be there.” (Eric Nalder, “Twin Towers Engineered to Withstand Jet Collision,” Seattle Times, 27 February 1993.
  • An investigator with the Bureau of Investigations and Trials said that “no one ever expected it to collapse like that.” (Oral History: Lieutenant Murray Murad, 20).
  • A firefighter battalion chief said that after “everything blew out on … one floor,” he thought that the top of the South Tower was going to come off and fall down, but “there was never a thought that this whole thing is coming down” (Oral History: Battalion Chief Brian Dixon, 15).
  • Another firefighter said: “You just couldn’t believe that those buildings could come down. … [T]here’s no history of these buildings falling down” (Oral History: Lieutenant Warren Smith, 14-15, 30-31, 32).
  • Even the 9/11 Commission said that, to its knowledge, “none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible” (The 9/11 Commission Report, 302). One apparent exception was Chief Ray Downey, who was a collapse expert, but he had become convinced that explosives had been placed in the buildings Tom Downey, The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge of Rescue 2 Firehouse, [New York, Henry Holt, 2004]).
  • Likewise, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) wrote: “No one interviewed indicated that they thought that the buildings would completely collapse” (NIST NCSTAR 1-8, “The Emergency Response Operations,” 72). One apparent exception was Chief Ray Downey, who was a collapse expert, but he had become convinced that explosives had been placed in the buildings; see Tom Downey, “The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge of Rescue 2 Firehouse,” New York, Henry Holt, 2004).
“Rotanz was assigned to the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management in 2000,” Urban Hazards Forum, FEMA, 2002.
A document titled a “Brief History of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management” said: “1996: By executive order, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management is created. The Director reports directly to the Mayor.” (also in OEM, “About OEM: History of NYC OEM”).
Roemer’s statement was made during the 9/11 Commission Hearing, 18 May 2004.
9/11 Commission Hearing, 18 May 2004. Von Essen had already told this story in his book, Strong of Heart: Life and Death in the Fire Department of New York, New York, William Morrow, 2002, 22.
Tom Downey, The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse (New York: Henry Holt, 2004).
Oral History: Father John Delendick, 5. Father Delendick added: “As we’ve since learned, it was the jet fuel that was dropping down that caused all this.” But what is important is what he reported that Downey, the expert, had said. (Oral History: Father John Delendick, 5.)

 

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