David Shuster, substituting for Keith Olbermann as host of Countdown, reported on Thursday that Rudy Giuliani’s description of himself as the only candidate who foresaw the danger posed by al Qaeda before 9/11 has now been refuted by a leaked document.
Typical of Giuliani’s claims on the campaign trail is a speech he gave last summer in which he said of the pre-9/11 period, “Bin Laden declared war on us. We didn’t hear it. … I thought it was pretty clear at the time — but a lot of people didn’t see it, couldn’t see it.”
Wayne Barrett, a reporter for New York’s Village Voice and author of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, has now obtained leaked memos describing Giuliani’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission which directly contradict that claim.
Barrett told Shuster that taken as a whole, Giuliani’s testimony “was a confession of ignorance. He basically said, ‘I knew nothing about al Qaeda.'”
For example, Giuliani acknowledged that even though he had received information on threats between 1998 and 2001, “At the time I had no idea it was al Qaeda.” He further told the commission that after 9/11, “we brought in people to brief us on al Qaeda. … We had nothing like this pre 9/11, which was a mistake.”
Giuliani’s testimony, like that of other witnesses describing New York City’s response on 9/11, was supposed to remain secret until after the 2008 presidential election.
Barrett also emphasized Giuliani’s continuing ignorance of technological systems involved in the fight against terrorism. As late as April 2004, when he testified before the commission, Giuliani admitted that he didn’t know much about a New York Police Department system called ComStat — which he’s now saying he’d like to see extended nationwide. He was also unable to answer questions about the malfunctioning radios which caused many deaths among firefighters or about a repeater installed in the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing to amplify radio communications.
“He still wasn’t studying the response issues,” Barrett said.
The following video is from MSNBC’s COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann, broadcast on October 25, 2007