Hillary's New Hysteria: 9/11 Air

There she goes again.

Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is falsely claiming the White House “deliberately misled” New Yorkers about air quality immediately after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Even the New York Times doesn’t buy it.

In a September 8 editorial, the Times, while not naming Clinton, ridiculed the attacks on the White House-fueled by radical environmental groups and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)-as “retrospective nitpicking.” “The broader public faced little or no risk from breathing the outdoor air once the initial cloud settled,” the Times correctly reported.

Clinton’s propaganda blitz was inspired by a report by the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the White House intervened in the days following the attacks to change information in two press releases drafted by EPA. What she doesn’t say is the White House made the releases more accurate.

EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley, a Clinton holdover, concluded that, at the White House’s direction, “reassuring” statements about air quality were inserted into EPA’s press releases. “There seems to have been a deliberate effort at the direction of the White House to provide unwarranted reassurances to New Yorkers about whether their air was safe to breathe,” Hillary said. Nadler said: “President Bush may have killed more people on September 11 than the terrorists.”

This is not only false, but ludicrous. The IG report said: “In regard to the monitoring data, we found no evidence that EPA attempted to conceal data results from the public.” The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee looked into EPA IG investigation of the EPA press releases. Those releases, it turned out, particularly addressed asbestos contamination of the air. The only existing asbestos standard applicable to Ground Zero was an OSHA standard, which the White House ultimately used. OSHA officials told committee staff the White House’s changes to the press releases were more accurate than EPA drafts.

“When asked to compare the statements in the final press releases to those in the draft releases,” the report states, “the OSHA official questioned by EPW staff in every instance believed the changed or added language more clearly communicated the real risks of asbestos exposure than the draft.”