Giuliani defends actions of city officials on September 11

By Andrew Buncombe

1.00pm - By ANDREW BUNCOMBE in Washington


Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who became the public face of the city in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, said yesterday that he and his officials were doing all they could to protect the city when the hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Centre towers.

Mr Giuliani said that even if he and others had been made aware of an August 2001 presidential intelligence briefing that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the United States and mentioned the Trade Centre three times, it is unlikely they would have done anything differently.

"If that information had been given to us, or more warnings had been given in the summer of 2001, I can't honestly tell you we'd do anything differently," Mr Giuliani told the independent commission investigating the circumstances of the attacks on New York and Washington.

"We were doing at the time everything we could think of ... to protect the city. I do think the interpretation would have been more in the direction of suicide bombings than aerial attacks."

Mr Giuliani's testimony in New York was interrupted by several outbursts from the relatives of those who died that day.

The panel, known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, had earlier heard how disruption, rivalry and equipment failure had hampered emergency workers' efforts.

One woman, Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son died that day, shouted: "My son was murdered."

Others yelled: "Talk about the radios!"

Mr Giuliani and his staff were praised for their efforts in trying to steady the city's nerves.

On Tuesday, the commission's opening day of testimony in New York, John Lehman, a panel member, said the failure of city agencies to communicate was a scandal "not worthy of the Boy Scouts, let alone this great city".

Yesterday Mr Giuliani said the commission's priority should be preventing a new attack, not assigning blame.

"Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us," he said, admitting that "terrible mistakes" were made but that this was the result of the unprecedented circumstances.

- INDEPENDENT

Herald Feature: September 11

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