- Last month, an internal report by Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General Nikki Tinsley said the White House pressured the agency to make premature statements that the air was safe to breathe.
The EPA issued an air quality statement on Sept. 18, 2001, even though it "did not have sufficient data and analyzes to make the statement," the report said.
The White House "convinced the EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones," Tinsley said. Among the information withheld was the potential health hazards of breathing asbestos, lead, concrete and pulverized glass, the report said.
I opined in Atrios' comments that the GOP Convention in New York next year could turn very ugly:
- There are going to be a bunch of pissed-off New Yorkers with serious health problems by the time Bush arrives.
And this is a guy who doesn't even have the balls to deal with a bunch of pissed-off latte-lapping Seattleites. New Yorkers are in another universe.
This morning, Eric Boehlert more or less confirms this in Salon:
- Ground zero, 2004: Next year's Republican Convention will convene blocks from the WTC site, just days before the anniversary of 9/11. The reception from New Yorkers, though, might not be what the White House has in mind.
Boehlert details reasons for this well beyond the lying and coverup about the risk citizens faced by breathing that air -- particularly, the Bush administration's abysmal failures to come through with the levels of aid the city needs to recover. Like most American cities, New York is hurting economically anyway -- but 9/11 has just devastated it, and the Republicans, knowing Bush will do no better than 20 percent in the city again, are making a Rovean political calculation with serious human costs.
Of course, 9/11 has been nothing but an exploitative political springboard for Bush's agenda anyway. The man's manifest unfitness for the office could not be more self-evident than in this instance.
Boehlert's concluding paragraph sums it up:
- For Bill Harvey, a 9/11 widower whose wife of one month died on the 93rd floor of 1 World Trade Center, it's the potential spectacle he fears. "I'm going to be really upset if they try to politicize this thing," he says. But the Bush administration's use of 9/11 as justification for a war with Iraq has left him preparing for the worst. "Some events I think should transcend politics. And 9/11 is one of them. I'm skeptical of this administration, though, because it has shown that nothing is out of bounds for them."
I can't help but wonder how Team Rove will spin their way out of this one.