Was 7 WTC Rudy’s Love Shack?

Glenn Reynolds comments, with his usual accuracy, civility and self-restraint. See update below

A correspondent whose mind is even filthier than mine points to a little-noted paragraph from Wayne Barrett’s devastating takedown of Rudy Giuliani’s 9/11 lies.

The context is Barrett’s demolition of Giuliani’s attempt to blame someone else for the deadly, dimwitted decision to put the city’s emergency command center inside the World Trade Center itself, a decision that meant the city didn’t have a working command center on 9/11. Once Giuliani had laid down the law that the command center had to be within walking distance of City Hall, 7 WTC (which, conveniently, was owned by a big GOP donor) was the only feasible site, even though it was obviously imprudent to put the command center in a location which had been attacked before and was still a prime target.

But just why was it so essential that the command center be within walking distance of City Hall? Here’s Barrett:

The mayor was so personally focused on the siting and construction of the bunker that the city administrator who oversaw it testified in a subsequent lawsuit that “very senior officials,” specifically including Giuliani, “were involved,” which he said was a major difference between this and other projects. Giuliani’s office had a humidor for cigars and mementos from City Hall, including a fire horn, police hats and fire hats, as well as monogrammed towels in his bathroom. His suite was bulletproofed and he visited it often, even on weekends, bringing his girlfriend Judi Nathan there long before the relationship surfaced.

Giuliani so far has displayed an astonishing amount of Teflon. But if it comes out that he did his emergency planning with his little head instead of his big head, even Republican primary voters might get a little bit upset.

Footnote Of course Barrett’s story preceded Giuliani’s idiotic claim, quickly retracted, that his occasional photo ops at Ground Zero somehow mean that he “was at the site as often, if not more, than most of the workers” — that is, the people who spent months digging it out, and who are now getting sick from it.

Update Ummm … Glenn? Hate to break into your fantasy life, but note that the “tabloid speculation” (i.e., actual reporting of actual events) about Giuliani’s love life comes from Wayne Barrett, whose account so far hasn’t been challenged, as far as I know.

My reader merely wondered whether the facts reported by Barrett — that Giuliani used the command center as a love nest for his long-running adultery with wife #3 while still married to wife #2, and that Giuliani insisted on having a command center within walking distance of City Hall, even though that meant a location in the middle of what was known to be a high-probability target — might be connected: whether, that is, he made that boneheaded decision for pubic rather than public reasons.

Second update Jane Galt, unlike Reynolds and several of her commenters, manages to criticize this post reasonably and civilly. She makes two points:

1. Traffic near City Hall was tied up on 9/11, vindicating the decision to place the command center should be within walking distance.

2. Giuliani and Nathan had other places to canoodle, including “her apartment and the City’s many fine luxury hotels.”

As to point #2, as long as Rudy and Judi were engaging in discreet adultery rather than flagrant adultery, having the Mayor visit her apartment, or taking a room in a luxury hotel, would have created certain … security risks. Much better to have the city supply the love nest. As noted above, Barrett’s flat assertion that the couple repeatedly visited the command center has gone uncontradicted, so far as I know. What do you think they were doing there: fire drills?

As to point #1, I don’t pretend to be an expert on emergency management, but as far as I can tell no one but Giuliani supported the decision to place the command center at WTC7, or the “walking distance” criterion that justified that decision. That ought to raise red flags. This is not a case where “common sense” deserves serious consideration when it conflicts with expert opinion.

Yes, traffic near City Hall was tied up. But traffic near any disaster site was likely to be tied up. If the disaster wasn’t near City Hall, the Mayor and his staff could have been easily transported to whatever command center had been chosen. (Apparently the favored location was actually in Brooklyn.) In a pinch, NYPD has helicopters.

If the disaster or attack was near City Hall, then a location near City Hall was exactly the wrong place to have a command center, since no one not in walking distance, including lots of the people who were supposed to staff the center in case of an emergency, would be easily able to get to it or away from it. And of course a location in a high-likelihood target was obviously crazy.

In the absence of a good reason for the blunder, Barrett has offered us a quite persuasive bad reason. Unlike the use of City property for illicit sex, the linkage is not established fact. But it seems to be the least hypothesis that covers the phenomena as reported.