Former Bush EPA Chief: Giuliani ‘More Concerned With Image Than Safety’ During Anthrax Scare

In an interview last night with New York NBC affiliate WNBC, President Bush’s former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman revealed that mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration “appeared to be more concerned with its image than the safety and speedy response of EPA employees in the wake of the 2001 anthrax scare.”

Whitman disclosed for the first time that when anthrax letters were sent to NBC headquarters, Giuliani and then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik would not allow EPA inspectors to be seen entering the building in their hazmat suits. Instead, a tent had to be set up where they first could change into their gear, “hidden from public view.” Whitman said:

There was concern by the city that EPA workers not be seen in their hazmat suits going in because [the city was] still recovering from 9/11. They didn’t want this image of a city falling apart. I said, “Well, that’s not acceptable, and this is the way we’re going to have to do it.”

WNBC said Giuliani chose not to respond to the report. Watch it:



Whitman’s revelation puts another hole in the media caricature of Giuliani as a “commanding daddy” who “owns 9–11” and has a “claim to combat” experience from his actions during the terrorist attacks. New York firefighters have repeatedly criticized Giuliani’s handling of 9/11, and Jerome Hauer, New York City’s first emergency management director, has characterized Giuliani’s anti-terrorism record as “deeply flawed.”