Rudy Giuliani on Homeland Security
Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)
Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said, "in this particular case, we are reaching out to give terrorists a legal benefit that is unnecessary."
"Well, I'm not sure it is either. It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."
--Rudy Giuliani, on waterboarding not being torture, Oct. 24, 2007
"It is not like putting burning coals on people's bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman, after voting against a bill prohibiting waterboarding, Feb.14, 2008
A: I believe that I’ve been tested in a way that others haven’t. I’ve had to deal with crisis in many different ways as mayor of New York City and have proven that I can and that I’m ready to do that.
Q: But John McCain has been a leading voice on national security for more than a decade now.
A: There’s a difference between being one voice of 100, and then actually being the decision-maker that day in and day out is actually on the line for making those decisions, so you can see the consequences of those decisions. The executive experience that I have is more similar to the kind of background that most of the selections for president have been like.
Actually, most of the cutting to which Giuliani refers occurred during the administration of George H.W. Bush. At the end of 1993, the Army had 572,423 active-duty soldiers--a far cry from 725,000. In fact, to get to that number, one has to go back to 1990, during the first Gulf War. Moreover, Clinton’s cuts in the military, while large, were nowhere close to 25% to 30%. Between 1993 and 2001, the Army declined 16%, and the entire military by 19%. Compare that with the far larger cuts made during the first Bush administration: Between 1989 and 1993, the Army declined 20%, and the entire military by 26%.
Q: The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The Qatar contract offers a window into potential political complications. While Qatar is a US ally, it has drawn scrutiny for its [limited] involvement in the US effort to combat terrorism.” Are you aware that the Qatari interior minister has been identified as a protector of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks?
A: I’m aware of it now.
Q: Why would you do business with people who helped Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?
A: The reality is that Qatar is an ally of the US. There are a significant number of American troops that are stationed in Qatar.
Q: But the emir of Qatar praised Hezbollah for their victory ove Israel in Lebanon.
A: The emir of Qatar also supports the US, is one of our friends in the Middle East, is taking the grave risk of having American soldiers there. [My consulting there] gave my company a great deal of expertise in Islamic terrorism.
A: I don’t. Now, the reality is I made a mistake in not vetting him carefully enough. And it’s my responsibility; I should have. On the other side, Bernard Kerik’s public performance as police commissioner was excellent.
Q: But you recommended in 2004 that Kerik be the secretary of homeland security, after Kerik’s associates had been indicted & pleaded guilty. You knew none of that?
A: Was it available? Sure, it was available. I didn’t find it. I should’ve checked that, you’re absolutely right.
Q: Did you place personal loyalty over integrity?
A: No, I did not. I would never do that.
A: The most important thing to do is to make certain we remain on offense against Islamic terrorism. Then make it clear that what that means is this is a small group of people, Islamic terrorists, who have defiled a great religion
A: Well, this reminds me of a period of time in New York when judges would release criminals into the street, or threaten to do it. We can’t close Guantanamo because nobody will take the people there. The president is attempting to move those people to other countries, and those countries are intelligent enough to say, “We don’t want people as dangerous as this in our country.” So what are you proposing? That we release them in New York or in Boston or in Los Angeles? So there’s a reality to this that the liberal media and some of the Democratic politicians seem to try to avoid.
Giuliani is correct that in four debates the Democratic candidates have not uttered the words “Islamic terrorism” together, and have generally avoided making critical comments about Muslims. But Giuliani is wrong to imply that the Democrats have failed to address terrorism. Here is a sampling of what leading Democratic candidates said in one debate on June 3:
A: If we know there’s going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. It shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of.
Q: Would you support enhanced interrogation techniques like water-boarding?
A: Well, I’d say every method they could think of, and I would support them in doing that. I’ve seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this, and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or any place else.
A: Going on defense on Iraq & going on defense about terrorism is not just about Iraq. It’s about the opposition to extending the Patriot Act, the opposition to electronic surveillance, the opposition to interrogation. Both those things, interrogation & electronic surveillance, have to be done legally, but they have to be done aggressively. I detect in the Democrats a kind of attempt to go back to a pre-Sept. 11 mentality in which we’re not anticipating.
GIULIANI: Ron’s analysis is really seriously flawed. The idea that the attack took place because of American foreign policy is precisely the reason I handed back a $10 million check to a Saudi prince who gave me the money at ground zero for the twin towers fund and then put out a press release saying America should change its foreign policy. There’s an Islamic, terrorism threat against us. It’s an existential threat. It has nothing to do with our foreign policy. It has to do with their ideas, their theories, the things that they have done and the way they’ve perverted their religion into a hatred of us. Our foreign policy is irrelevant--totally irrelevant. If you read what they write, if you bother to listen to what they say, this comes out of their own perverted thinking.
”It is simply false to claim, as some of its critics do, that this bill does not respond to concerns about civil liberties. The four-year extension of the Patriot Act, as passed by the House, would not only reauthorize the expiring provisions, it would also make a number of common-sense clarifications and add dozens of additional civil liberties safeguards. Given these improvements, there is simply no compelling argument for going backward in the fight against terrorism.“
On 9/11, NYC was viciously attacked in an unprovoked act of war. This was an attack on the very idea of a free, inclusive, & civil society.
Because of our principles--particularly our religious, political, & economic freedoms--we find ourselves under attack by terrorists. Our freedom threatens them, because they know that if our ideas of freedom gain a foothold among their people it will destroy their power.
There is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism You’re either with civilization or with terrorists. On one side is democracy, the rule of law, & respect for human life; on the other is tyranny, arbitrary executions, & mass murder. We’re right & they’re wrong--it’s as simple as that.
Ronald Reagan exemplifie the best way to approach such situations. Reagan forced the Soviets to make concessions up front before the US made any in return.
In politics--in any organization--you must apply to institutional decisions the wisdom acquired from individual relationships, because institutions are largely just reflections of individual behavior. Sometimes in negotiations you want a particular result so badly that you become soft-headed about the likelihood of the other side living up to its end of the deal.
A: I wasn’t very aware of it before 9/11. I knew about it in general.
Q: But al-Qaeda had been participants in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
A: Right. I knew that.
Q: In 1998, al-Qaeda declared war on the US.
A: I knew that.
Q: But if you knew that, why weren’t you briefing your people?
A: Well, because I didn’t see the enormity of it. I understood that it was a problem. I never envisioned the kind of attack that they did.
A: Well, that isn’t exactly why I did it. I was a possible presidential candidate. I realized that this would be a terrible conflict; that this report was going to get written right about the time that I might be announcing running for president. It would become very politicized. I was also trying to clean up a lot of commitments. But if it hadn’t been for that conflict, I probably would have put aside those commitments and done it.
NARRATOR: At 9:32 am on Sept. 11th, Chief Callan ordered all FDNY members in the North Tower to the lobby. He repeated the command, but not a single company answered. At 9:59 the South Tower collapsed. FDNY’s Chief Pfeifer then repeated the order for all units to evacuate the North Tower. Firefighters had 56 minutes after the first call and 29 minutes after the second order to get out. While all police officers left the building, 121 firefighters never made it out.
FDNY DEPUTY CHIEF JIM RICHES: That day my son was working, and they didn’t hear the call, 121 guys didn’t hear the call in the North Tower to get out, and they, and the police officers heard it, ‘cause their radios worked, and ours didn’t.
[The IAFF video logged more than 173,000 viewings on YouTube and was the subject of wide news coverage. It has been compared to ads run by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.]
We agree that Giuliani bears some responsibility for the widely documented failings of the fire department’s radio communications on 9/11. It is true that the effective functioning of the fire department is a major responsibility of any mayor, and Giuliani had been in office since 1994. However, the video goes too far when it implies that bad radio communication was the ONLY reason that 121 firefighters failed to clear the North Tower of the Trade Center after the first tower collapsed. To the contrary, the 9/11 Commission stated in its final report that the technical failure of fire department radios “was not the primary cause of the many firefighter fatalities in the North Tower.”
A:My director of emergency management recommended 7 WTC.
Q: I have got a copy right here of Jerry Hauer’s directive to you, in which he said that it’s a bad idea. And the police chief, Howard Safir, said it was a bad idea.
A: Jerry Hauer recommended that as the prime site & the site that would make the most sense, and he recommended it. And the reason that that site made sense was it was also the location of the customs service, the Secret Service & a number of other federal agencies that we had to be in contact with And we also had backup centers at the police department, and in Brooklyn we had a virtual command center. So when that command center was inoperable, within a half hour of September 11 we were able to move immediately to another command center.
Giuliani, a politician from the command and control school, decided to take personal and visible charge of all emergencies. The city’s existing emergency center at police headquarters lacked a backup phon system; it did not maintain its power generators; it was vulnerable to hurricane force winds and was in a flood zone.
Giuliani established new criteria for establishing his new control center: good security; unobstructed views; and within walking distance of City Hall. Building No.7 at the World Trade Center was occupied by the CIA, Secret Service, and Federal Home Loan Bank, among others. The Secret Service had analyzed the building; it found that nothing but a huge truck bomb could damage it.
Yet it has become clear from technical studies of that traumatic day that the city’s rescue operation could have been far better organized. Tragically, the death toll among those who tried to save the lives of innocents trapped at the weakened & burning World Trade Center was larger than it should have been. There are several reasons for that, including:
Ah, and that became the rub. A giant, 6,000-gallon diesel fuel tank would supply back-up electricity to the bunker in the event of a power failure. After 9/11, a preliminary assessment raised the possibility that the diesel fuel was responsible for the fire which melted steel and undermined the building’s transfer truss structure. An hour before it fell at 5:28 p.m., heavy black smoke indicative of a fuel fire poured from the area where the tanks were stored. No. 7 World Trade Center fell straight down, suggesting an internal collapse. Although the Secret Service study indicated that nothing but a truck bomb could bring No. 7 World Trade center down, it was destroyed by fire.
Giuliani’s actions that morning at Ground Zero not only brought some measure of assurance to his grief-stricken, traumatized constituents in the immediate aftermath of that defining tragedy, but in demonstrating his great personal courage, dedication, and leadership, he succeeded in shedding both the baggage of his long career and more recent negative image to emerge to most people as a superhero to his city, the nation, and the world.
One political opponent said, “I’m not a big fan of Giuliani’s mayoral leadership, but that day he performed superbly.” Another political opponent said, “Where Giuliani surprised people is not the ”take charge“ part of it, but the emotional part of it and the way he very effectively brought hope to the people of the city and kept their spirits up.”
When Giuliani builds the Emergency Command Center, he puts it in the wrong place. What was expected was a chemical and biological attack. Some people said, “This is a really bad idea. They hit this target once and they’re going to come back; we should but it in Brooklyn.”
This was supposed to be a bunker. A bunker is normally underground. It is a place where you dig in. In your command center, you should be safe from enemy attack, so you do not put a bunker on the 23rd floor of an office building.
ROMNEY: Is it such a mystery as to why they attack America? We’re the strongest nation in the world.
GIULIANI: Ron, it’s simply not true. Islamic terrorists killed over 500 Americans before September 11, going back to the late 1960s. They have also killed people recently in Bali, in London. They have launched attacks in Germany. I could go on and on. The attack on Leon Klinghoffer.
PAUL: You paint all Islamics the same way, and this is a dangerous thing. What you’re doing is damaging our relationship by destroying our relationship with all Muslims. That’s what you’re doing.
GIULIANI: I do not accept that criticism.
I told him, “If you catch this guy, Bin Laden, I would like to be the one to execute him.” I am sure he thought I was just speaking rhetorically, but I was serious. Bin Laden had attacked my city and as its mayor I had the strong feeling that I was the most appropriate person to do it.
While mayor, I made it my policy to see with my own eyes the scene of every crisis so I could evaluate it firsthand. As shocking as this crash was, we had actually planned for just such a catastrophe. My administration had built a state-of-the-art command center on the 23rd floor of 7 WTC, just north of the twin towers. So that’s where we headed.
My first assumption was that it was some nut flying a small plane. Then the 2nd plane hit. All I saw was a big flash of fire. This convinced us it was terrorism.
I immediately devised two priorities. We had to set up a new command center [further from the twin towers]. And we had to find a way to communicate with people in the city. [We spent the day accomplishing those two priorities, which continued 24/7 for several days.]
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Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)