THE BLOG

CLAIM vs. FACT: White House on 9/11 Illnesses

In writing my new book Hostile Takeover, I spent a lot of time researching the real-world effects of the industry-government revolving door that is spinning like a fan in Washington, D.C. And today's USA Today provides a great example of how that revolving door plays a role even in public health issues. The newspaper reports that "nearly five years after the 9/11 terrorist attack, thousands of workers who toiled at the World Trade Center site continue to experience health problems, according to doctors at Mount Sinai Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine in New York." Sadly, our government has resorted to lying about the whole thing - and those lies were originally shaped by someone who went through the revolving door.

The lies are brazen:

CLAIM:

"Concern over ongoing ailments plaguing World Trade Center workers is also leading to accusations that federal safety oversight at Ground Zero was lax -- a charge that federal officials vigorously deny. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials said in a statement issued to USA TODAY in May that they responded immediately as events unfolded, with the highest priority being to protect the environment and health of the people of New York." - USA Today, 6/25/06

FACT:

"In the days after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, White House officials persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency to minimize its assessment of the dangers posed by airborne dust and debris from the skyscrapers' collapse, according to an internal agency report. The White House Council on Environmental Quality 'convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones' from news releases, said the report by the EPA's inspector general office." - Los Angeles Times, 8/23/03

Who would doctor such critical information? A man named James Connaughton, who President Bush appointed to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Just before Connaughton was appointed to that critical position, the New York Daily News reports he "was an industry lawyer who represented major asbestos and toxic polluters."

Yes, you read that correctly - Bush appointed a shill for industrial polluters to head the White House office on environmental quality, who immediately used his power to doctor critical public health information about the effects of massive pollution immediately after 9/11. This is the revolving door at work - a culture of corruption that is now so pervasive it affects the most basic and critical information the government is supposed to provide in order to protect the public.