Giuliani: It was 'impossible' for the 9/11 firefighters to have working radios
Former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani talks to George Stephanopoulos about accusations that firefighters died on 9/11 due to radios that Giuliani himself knew weren't suitable for use.
Giuliani has been personally blamed for the deaths of firefighters on September 11, 2001, including by NYFD Deputy Fire Chief James Riches, whose son, also a firefighter, died at Ground Zero. Giuliani is not only accused of providing faulty equipment, but also of ending the search for survivors too early.
"I feel very bad about that," responds Giuliani. "I mean, I feel very bad about the whole situation."
"Myself," he continues, "and all the people that are involved in this have been very hurt by this, and it creates a lot of pain. It creates a lot of suffering. And, if they're angry at me, so be it. I did everything I could--I did everything I could think of doing in that situation to help.
"I think I made mostly the right decisions."
Says Giuliani about the radios in question: "Well, the radios that you're talking about weren't put online for three, four, five years after, so it would have been impossible for me to have those radios ready.
"It took the city two, three more years."
Responds Stephanopoulos, "But they had a malfunction in 1993."
As Think Progress points out, it wasn't impossible for firefighters to have working radios when entering the twin towers, had the no-bid contract with Motorola produced a product that worked properly after the 1993 malfunctions; the faulty replacements were decommissioned in March of 2001, leaving the firefighters using the same radios inside the World Trade Center in 2001 that they had in 1993.
One Think Progress commenter, identifying as "Comrade Rutherford," says that New York City might be continually equipping firefighters with radios that aren't suitable to begin with:
As a amatuer (sic) radio enthusiast I was flabbergasted to learn (back in the day) that the NYFD were on VHF, but the NYPD was on UHF. The higher frequenices (sic) of the police band at 460 MHz can get out of buildings better than VHF, making for more reliable communications from *inside buildings*.
The fire dept was on 154 MHz for many, many years (are they still?). This frequency range has larger dead areas inside buidlings (sic) meaning that you have to carefully move around to get your radio into a hot spot to be able to communicate reliably. If you move at all, you lose the signal. Now imagine having to do that while the building is burning around you and the message you need to send is of life or death.
Many other cities have long ago moved their emergency comm to 800 MHz, and digital radio is now here.
But wasnít it Giuliani that made a sweet-heart deal with Motorola for the Radios That Didnít Work?
Video of the exchange is available below, as broadcast on ABC's This Week on December 23, 2007.