Today on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos pushed former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on why the radios for the 9/11 firefighters didn’t work. Giuliani dodged the question, claiming that it would have been “impossible” to have given them working radios:
STEPHANOPOULOS: They make two main charges. Number one, that those firefighters in the north tower, many of them lost their lives because their radios didn’t work. They also say you ended the recovery efforts too soon.
GIULIANI: Well, the radios that you’re talking about weren’t put online for three, four, five years after. So, it would have been impossible for me to have those radios ready. It took the city two or three more years…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they had malfunctioned in 1993.
GIULIANI: But even with the new equipment, it took another two or three years for those radios to be put online. So it would have been impossible for us to have gotten them online before that, given the fact that it took so long afterwards.
As Stephanopoulos pointed out, the firefighters on 9/11 were forced to use old equipment that had malfunctioned eight years earlier, during the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center.
But it wasn’t “impossible” to get new radios to these firefighters, as Giuliani tried to claim. After the 1993 incident, Giuliani gave Motorola a $14-million no-bid contract. Despite this exorbitant sum, the radios were faulty and had to be taken out of service in March 2001, after a “distress call from a firefighter trapped in a burning house” went unheard. A New York City Council report on the fire department’s radio procurement process concluded:
Thus, despite its acknowledgment two years earlier that several manufacturers were developing technology that might meet FDNY’s CAI specifications, and in apparent disregard of its pledge to evaluate new technologies and products, the FDNY appears to have elected to accept a radio representing an entirely new communications technology from Motorola rather than conduct a competitive review of products and prices.
Brave New Films has put together a video on Giuliani’s record on the 9/11 radios HERE.
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