Former antiterrorism aide: Giuliani would be 'terrible' president
Sunday Aug 5, 2007
The former top antiterrorism aide to Rudolph Giuliani has launched a stinging critique of the former New York mayor over the September 11 atrocity, attacking a key pillar of his challenge for the White House.
Jerome Hauer, New York's emergency management director from 1996 to 2000, blamed Mr Giuliani for locating the city's crisis control room in the World Trade Centre complex, even though it was a known terrorist target after the 1993 truck bomb attack which killed six people at the site.
The location proved disastrous in 2001 as the building was set ablaze in the collapse of the adjoining twin towers.
The condemnation by Mr Hauer, a leading US expert on biological and chemical terrorism, provides fresh ammunition to Mr Giuliani's foes, who want to undermine the widespread acclaim for his actions in the aftermath of al-Qaeda's attack on the towers. It follows similar criticism from the main firemen's union.
Mr Hauer's comments signal the sort of scrutiny that Mr Giuliani will face from his political rivals' research teams if he remains the Republican frontrunner for next year's election.
Mr Hauer, who now runs a consultancy firm, said that the former mayor vetoed his proposal to site the emergency command centre in Brooklyn as he wanted it to be within walking distance of his City Hall offices in Manhattan.
"Rudy would make a terrible president and that is why I am speaking now," Mr Hauer told The Sunday Telegraph. "He's a control freak who micro-manages decision, he has a confrontational character trait and picks fights just to score points. He is the last thing this country needs as president right now."
Mr Hauer is a registered Democrat voter but his expertise was so highly rated by the Republican Bush administration that he was chosen in 2002 to co-ordinate America's public health preparation for future emergencies, including attacks with weapons of mass destruction.
He has gone public with his criticisms after Mr Giuliani blamed him for the location of the New York command centre during a television interview.
"That is Rudy re-inventing history," he said. "We had found a good facility in Brooklyn but Rudy's people and then the mayor himself made clear that the site had to be walking distance from City Hall."
Mr Hauer also accused Mr Giuliani of failing to sort out turf battles between the city's police and fire departments, and of appointing inexperienced cronies to key positions.
And he was dismissive of Mr Giuliani's assertion that Judith Nathan - a former nurse who was then Mr Giuliani's girlfriend and is now his third wife - had co-ordinated the Family Assistance Centre relief operation after September 11.
"Rudy told me to find a role for Judy. She came along to some meetings and her heart was in the right place, but it's baloney to suggest she ran the centre. And now he says he would take her advice on chemical and biological terrorism? Give me a break."
Mr Giuliani's advisers reject the criticisms as the inaccurate recollections of a bitter man who puts politics over principle, and maintain the command centre was sited at the World Trade Centre on Mr Hauer's recommendation.
Mr Hauer's assessment has put the focus back on the former mayor's handling of the aftermath of the outrage. Pro-Democrat firemen's unions and the relatives of some victims of the atrocity blame Mr Giuliani for failing to introduce an integrated emergency control system.
They also say he failed to ensure co-ordination between the police and fire brigade, despite the 1993 truck bombing. In addition, they claim city authorities knew that firemen's radios did not function properly - seen as a key reason why 343 of them died when the towers collapsed, since many would not have heard the order to evacuate.
Mr Giuliani's White House campaign owes much to the reputation he gained as "America's mayor" for his role in the 2001 events and his hawkish national security credentials.
He holds a comfortable lead in polls of prospective Republican nominees, followed by former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson, who has yet officially to declare his candidacy.