Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How did NYC's Emergency Center Get Sited?

More controversy on the decision back in the late 1990s to locate NYC's Emergency Management Center in the World Trade Center (Building 7), despite the fact that the WTC had been a previous terrorist target (in 1993).

Today's Times has a long piece on Jerome Hauer, a former Giuliani confidante who has left the inner circle and recently been interviered for a book about Rudy's emergency preparedness. (The title of the book speaks as the authors' perspective: "Grand Illusions.")

From the NYT article:
One of Mr. Hauer’s first tasks was to find a home for an emergency command center to replace the inadequate facilities at police headquarters. Mr. Hauer suggested an office complex in downtown Brooklyn as a “good alternative” in a memorandum.

But Mr. Hauer said the mayor insisted instead on a site within walking distance of City Hall. Given that concern and others, Mr. Hauer said he decided that offices on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center, next to the twin towers and just a few blocks from City Hall, seemed the best choice.

The site was immediately controversial because it was part of the trade center, which had already been the location of a truck bomb attack in 1993. City officials, though, including Mr. Hauer, have long defended their decision, even after the command center had to be evacuated during the 2001 terror attack.

Last week, in an interview with Fox News, Mr. Giuliani again faced questions about the site. He put responsibility for selecting it on Mr. Hauer.

“Jerry Hauer recommended that as the prime site and the site that would make the most sense,” Mr. Giuliani said. “It was largely on his recommendation that that site was selected.”

Mr. Hauer took immediate exception to that account in interviews. “That’s Rudy’s own reality that he lives in,” he said. “It is not, in fact, the truth.”
With the GOP campaign heating up (witness McCain's sharp comments on Romney yesterday), it seems likely that Rudy's opponents will be returning to the preparations for 9/11 before too long.

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