Home > Uncategorized > Dying Jersey Guy Recalls Whitman’s 9-11 Remarks – “She’s a Liar”

Dying Jersey Guy Recalls Whitman’s 9-11 Remarks – “She’s a Liar”

Whitman Never Clearly Admitted Error or Lies, Or Apologized

Failure To Hold Whitman Accountable Has Enabled Government Officials To Lie With Impunity

This is a repost of my September 11, 2009 post. 

I need to add a few thoughts today, upon reflection.

Since then, Whitman offered up an excuse for her lies and expressed regrets – but not an apology and not regrets for the huge loss of life and suffering she caused. Of course, the NJ hometown media mischaracterized it as an admission of error and an apology.

Whitman’s so called “apology” – where she actually doubled down on her lies – also was published internationally – here’s the Guardian of 9/10/16: note the big “IF”:

Speaking to the Guardian for a report on the growing health crisis to be published on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the attacks, Whitman made an unprecedented apology to those affected but denied she had ever lied about the air quality or known at the time it was dangerous.

“Whatever we got wrong, we should acknowledge and people should be helped,” she said, adding that she still “feels awful” about the tragedy and its aftermath.

“I’m very sorry that people are sick,” she said. “I’m very sorry that people are dying and if the EPA and I in any way contributed to that, I’m sorry. We did the very best we could at the time with the knowledge we had.”

“Whatever we got wrong”? IF? IF? IF? “Contributed in any way“?

“Did the best” “with the knowledge we had” is a another lie.

Since then, Whitman has shilled for the nuclear industry and taken steps to rehabilitate and distance herself from her role in 9/11. Of course, the corrupt corporate media has supported that effort.

I write this post for accountability. There can be no redemption without truth.

Very few recall the fact that a federal Judge found that Whitman’s knowing lies about the toxic risks of the post 9/11 air were so false and damaging to first responders and the public that they “shocked the conscience”. That is the legal phrase a federal Judge used. 

Here’s the text (boldface) of that judicial finding in the District Court decision (which was reversed on appeal on narrow technical legal grounds, not whether Whitman’s statements were knowingly and intentionally false):

In Benzman v. Whitman, No. 04 Civ. 1888, 2006 WL 250527 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 2, 2006), the district court considered substantive due process claims arising from the same press releases at issue in this case.   Citing Briscoe, Benzman held that if the reassuring statements made by EPA officials were made with knowledge of their falsehood, they were unquestionably conscience-shocking based on the nature of the EPA’s mandate:

The EPA is designated as the agency in our country to protect human health and the environment, and is mandated to work for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.   The agency enforces regulations regarding pollution in our environment and the presence of toxic and hazardous substances, and has endorsed and promulgated regulations for hazardous and toxic materials, such as asbestos and lead.   As head of the EPA, Whitman knew of this mandate and took part in and directed the regulatory activities of the agency.   Given this responsibility, the allegations in this case of Whitman’s reassuring and misleading statements of safety after the September 11, 2001 attacks are without question conscience-shocking.

As a matter of fact, the Appellate Court decision that reversed the District Court’s findings that Whitman’s behavior “without question” “shocked the conscience”, actually validated the finding that Whitman knowingly lied. The Appellate Court ruled:

Accepting as we must the allegation that the defendants made the wrong decision by disclosing information they knew to be inaccurate, and that this had tragic consequences for the plaintiffs, we conclude that a poor choice made by an executive official between or among the harms risked by the available options is not conscience-shocking merely because for some persons it resulted in grave consequences that a correct decision could have avoided.

Whitman should have been shamed and run out of public life.

Instead, the media gave her a pass.

Instead of sending a message of deterrence to government officials that lies about science that kill people will not be tolerated and will destroy your career, the pass gave a green light to allow public officials to lie with impunity.

And here we are. Bush WMD lies stacked on Climate lies stacked on COVID lies stacked on “Stop the Steal” lies. (CounterPunch)

In an October 17, 2004 New York Times Magazine article, Ron Suskind interviewed a Bush administration official who, with imperialistic hubris, referred to journalists as members of the “reality-based community” and declared, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too.” In 2005, Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness.” And now, we live in a world where Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes’ blithe declaration that “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, as facts” is less hollow than one might wish and where former Trump administration spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway referred on numerous occasions to “alternative facts.”

YEARS BEFORE WHITMAN’S 9/11 EPA lies, the media also gave Whitman a pass for the lies she told about the risks of eating toxic mercury laden fish in 1994 when she was Governor of NJ.

In that case, Whitman lied, distorted, and suppressed science that put people’s lives at risk and she did so knowingly and to protect her own personal political interests.

I blew the whistle on these abuses, and as a result, Whitman’s henchmen retaliated and  threatened me with criminal prosecution and ultimately forced me out of DEP.

Let me now name names:

These henchmen were DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn; Shinn’s Chief of Staff Mark Smith; (since deceased), Shinn’s legal Counselor  Mike Hogan (the notorious Judge in the corrupt Exxon billion dollar sellout); and Florio administration holdover, “liberal” Democrat DEP Assistant Commissioner Richard Sinding.

I have a transcript of Mr. Sinding’s sworn testimony during my administrative hearings where he admitted knowingly lying about the science, at the direction of Commissioner Shinn, in writing a corrupt strategy memo to Gov. Whitman. I have that memo as well.

I have press clips that have Whitman’s hand written notes directing Shinn to brief her on the issue, a request that the Sinding memo responded to.

Instead of being held accountable for those lies in 1994, Whitman evaded accountability and instead of being dismissed from public life she was rewarded and promoted.

I’ll be writing about this in detail in future posts.

Had the media taken my whistleblowing seriously back in 1994, Whitman would have been exposed as a liar in 1994 and would have been discredited, and perhaps never confirmed by the US Senate as George Bush’s EPA Administrator.

I alerted the US Senate Environment Committee and submitted written testimony, which was ignored (hard to make any headway when NJ’s Democratic Senators Torricelli and Corzine introduced Whitman to the Committee and supported Whitman’s nomination).

And that is a deeply disturbing counter-factual that troubles me to this day.

Dying Jersey Guy Recalls Whitman 9-11 Remarks – “She’s a Liar”

September 11th, 2009

Post 9/11 Lies About Public Health Risks Were Not Whitman’s First

Whitman Has No Regrets For Her Lies That People Died Following

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend  her post 9/11 EPA actionsremarks

As all the 9-11 memorial remembrances go down, I want to be sure that there is one story that is not forgotten. Thousands of workers who responded to Ground Zero are dying.

Here are the words of one hero, a Jersey Guy named Joe Picurro, from Toms River. Joe  worked on the pile and as a result has a fatal lung disease and not long to live:

I mean, we were there for them when they needed us. And, you know, they told us – Christine Whitman stood there, and I don’t care what she says about it. She said the pile was different. She’s a liar. I was standing there. She did not say that the air was different on the pile. She stood on the pile with her mask below her neck and talked to us and told us we were heroes and said the air was fine, and she put the mask back on, and she got back in her car, and she left, you know, and went back to New Jersey where it was safe. So she’s a liar, and that’s all she is.[full transcript of interview here]

Today’s “Democracy Now! covered the story:

AMY GOODMAN: Joe Picurro was one of thousands of men and women who showed up at Ground Zero on September 11th to help with the rescue and recovery efforts. He was thirty-four years old at the time.

Now Joe is dying. His doctor has told him he has the lungs of a ninety-five-year-old. His lungs are so inflamed from all the tiny particles of glass and even human bone fragments lodged in them that every breath produces excruciating pain. He’s been unable to work for the last five years and takes thirty-seven different medicines.

Christie Whitman was called before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her remarks post 9-11. I was at that hearing and spoke with several emergency responders. Here’s an excerpt of today’s interview with Joe that recall that hearing:

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I want to play a short excerpt from a 2007 congressional hearing when the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Todd Whitman, denied misleading the public over environmental dangers after 9/11. Whitman and John Henshaw, the former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, were questioned by Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: In a series of EPA press releases beginning on September 13th, the following words were used to describe the air conditions: “good news,” “causes no concern”, “not detectable,” “no significant health risk”, and “safe to breathe”. Ms. Whitman, do these words and phrases convey a sense of danger or even of caution? Or do they, in fact, convey a sense of safety and security?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: Mr. Chairman, those words, to the best of my recollection, in every effort that I made at the time, were also added with the phrase, however, on the pile it is different.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, we’ll get to that.

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: And that – but there’s a significant difference. The readings we were getting of air quality at the time, general”

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Excuse me. We will get to that. Please. We only have a few minutes. Answer my questions. Do they convey a sense of safety and security or a sense of caution?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: They should – they convey exactly what they were meant to convey.


CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: Those were the readings we were getting from the scientists.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Do you regret your repeated assurances the air was safe to breathe?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: I do not regret repeating what the scientists said was appropriate.

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