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Christie Whitman’s Toxic Legacy of Lies | Blogcritics
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Culture and Society » Health and Fitness » Christie Whitman’s Toxic Legacy of Lies

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class="post-46538 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-health-and-fitness category-scitech tag-health-fitness tag-media tag-sci-tech tag-society tag-u-s- tag-war-and-terrorism post-listing">
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Christie Whitman’s Toxic Legacy of Lies


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Ocean County, N.J., resident James Zadroga has twice earned a place in history.

First, the police detective distinguished himself as one of the selfless people who toiled in the ruins of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11 attacks, sifting through the wreckage for hundreds of hours.

Zadroga’s second service to the public came last week when his relatives released the autopsy results showing that he, like at least two dozen other Ground Zero workers, suffered crippling and eventually fatal damage to his body while Christie Whitman, then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, cheerily said the toxin-laden air of Lower Manhattan was perfectly safe to breathe, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

Whitman has been named in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the Ground Zero workers and residents of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who were exposed to the witch’s brew of toxins unleashed by the incineration of the Twin Towers. A few months ago, Whitman tried to get her name dropped from the suit, prompting this response from U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts:

No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws.

Whitman’s book It’s My Party Too is now out in paperback, so we’ll be seeing more of her as she makes the rounds promoting her vision of a GOP ruled once again by middle of the road Republicans. I guess “moderation” means tempering rapacity with smoothness — in Whitman’s case, it certainly means being moderate with the truth.

I encourage anyone who sees her to ask about James Zadroga, who died after years of using an oxygen tank to keep himself functioning, and how assisting in the Bush administration’s betrayal of some of the bravest Americans we’ll ever see qualifies her even to show her face in public, much less give speeches on “moderate” politics.


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About
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Steven Hart
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  • RedTard

    Tragedies are tragedies, only scum of the earth vermin use them as a basis for political attacks.

    Seventy thousand people worked at the site, it’s not surprising that a few of them get sick. What is disgusting is our litigious class action happy society and the patronizing political ideology that supports and encourages victimhood.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Mr Hart presents here a fairly despicable display of political demagoguery, milking the tragedy of 9/11 for a ridiculous bankshot of moral grandstanding. Islamist schmucks take down the trade center, and the American left looks for every opportunity to blame the people having to clean up behind them.

    Shame on you.

  • gonzo marx

    Red in comment #1 sez…
    *Tragedies are tragedies, only scum of the earth vermin use them as a basis for political attacks.*

    so any of the Administrations attacks on their opponents beginning with or flouting the tragedy of 9/11 count as well…yes? how about those campaign ads used by W during the ’04 campaign that splashed the Towers all over them?

    big Al sez…
    *Islamist schmucks take down the trade center, and the American left looks for every opportunity to blame the people having to clean up behind them.*

    oh my…reading comprehension for the win plz…

    what the Article seems to be doing is pointing out that the Administration person in charge of such things stated the air was safe…

    that is an indisputable Fact, was recorded by all media, there if tape of her making that statement…

    there is currently a lawsuit by folks who think that such a statement was deliberately incorrect, and want to utilize due process to discern the facts and hold those responsible accountable

    is there a problem with that? here i had thought that was how oursystem works…

    as for the fallacious contention that anyone is/was using those who suffered AFTER the Towers fell for political purposes…can you point out in the Article the politician here (besides Whitman, who is current inactive)?

    i don’t see one

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    “Some of you will die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”
    — Lord Farquaad, “Shrek”

    Well, GM, this story presses all the buttons for the Little Lord Farquaads of wingerdom. First, it’s a class action lawsuit, which wingers all know are automatically bad. Second, it reminds them that the Bush administration’s bahavior following the 9/11 attacks has run the gamut from incompetence to mendacity. Third, it involves a Republican authority figure, which means all wingers must bend the knee and pledge eternal fealty to her. Hence the hysteria, especially on Al Barger’s part.

  • RedTard

    “as for the fallacious contention that anyone is/was using those who suffered AFTER the Towers fell for political purposes.”

    I think Steven just opened his mouth and proved my point. The sad thing is he doesn’t even realize how low he has sunk with this one.

  • Nancy

    Go for the throat, Gonzo & Steve. I do like the Lord Farquhart quote. Very appropriate.

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    Uh, RedTard? That remark came from Gonzo, not me. When you’re going for the lordly tone, it helps to direct it at the right person.

    Always ready to help a benighted soul…

  • Nancy

    Who, me? Thanks. I always need all the help I can get.

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    No, Nancy, I meant RedTard. Poor thing’s thrashing around and screaming, stamnping his feet. I just felt sorry for the lil’ nipper, that’s all.

  • RedTard

    Steven,

    Sorry for the miscommunication, my fault. Let me give it another shot to make it more clear.

    “as for the fallacious contention that anyone is/was using those who suffered AFTER the Towers fell for political purposes.”

    I think Steven in comment #4 just opened his mouth and proved my point. The sad thing is he doesn’t even realize how low he has sunk with this one.

    “Poor thing’s thrashing around and screaming, stamnping his feet. I just felt sorry for the lil’ nipper, that’s all.” – Steven

    Did, I mention the patronizing attitude of the people of your politcal stripe? Oh, that’s right I did in comment #1. Thanks for proving my point, again.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    No Mr Hart, there’s nothing “hysterical” about not appreciating this kind of dishonest political hackery. Any idiots can file a lawsuit to try to grasp at a few bucks, and they do. What, someone died? Yes, happens everyday. Was that because of air at Ground Zero? Who knows?

    Was the air at Ground Zero contaminated because of Christine Whitman? Obviously not, but she’s a member of the Bush administration, so you jump immediately to a headline of “Christine Whitman’s Toxic Legacy of Lies” with absolutely ZERO basis in fact.

    That is dishonest and disreputable. This kind of hysterical dishonesty on the part of the left is a big part of the reason why Republicans still have control of the government after years of incompetence and mismanagement. Some of these crazed hateful lefties start to make even Tom Delay look good.

    Brother Gonzo, I would certainly take a more generous outlook on administration foreign policy than you, but that’s irrelevant to this point either way. Mr Hart is making a baseless, scurrilous attack on Ms Whitman no matter what you think of George Bush or Dick Cheney.

  • gonzo marx

    big Al..you miss the boat entirely…

    she is not named in the lawsuit because she caused the toxins…she is being named because it is alleged she knew better, than publicly, in her cqapacities as an Administration official, lied about it

    simple enough? and for the Court to decide…eh?

    so..the point of this article is neither baseless, nor scurrilous…no matter the admitted slant of the wirter himself…the factual information contained in the Article is accurate

    so what’s the problem here?

    Excelsior!

  • Dave Nalle

    And here comes a far-lefter to do the religious right’s dirty work for them by trying to torpedo Whitman with inuendo and pathetic accusations which do nothing but harm to one of the more reasonable people in our political world today.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    now there i can agree…Whitman is one of the most reaosnable GOP types out there, along with Snowe and Hagel

    too bad none of them have a chance in hell inside the GOP

    Excelsior!

  • Dave Nalle

    Was the air at Ground Zero contaminated because of Christine Whitman? Obviously not, but she’s a member of the Bush administration, so you jump immediately to a headline of “Christine Whitman’s Toxic Legacy of Lies” with absolutely ZERO basis in fact.

    What’s more, Al, she made her statement days after the 9/11 attack and said that there was no evidence of toxicity. At that point what she was saying was certainly the truth. Different opinions emerged later, but it was her job to state the truth and not spread rumors which would lead to hysteria. The suit against her is ridiculous and this kind of political attack is offensive.

    Dave

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    Dave, maybe for you it’s just another matter of “interpretation” — is the morgue half empty or half full? — but it’s been demonstrated that Whitman’s statements were in direct contradiction to evidence and simple common sense. The Bushies wanted Wall Street up and running quickly, and Whitman was a player on their team. You can even argue that the need to minimize the impact on the national economy outweighed the health of the Ground Zero workers, but Lord Farquaad has already spoken on that matter.

    As for Whitman being one of the more reaaonable Republicans out there, go tell it to Tom Kean Jr. She won’t help his Senate campaign in New Jersey even though he’s clearly one of the “moderate” Republicans she wants to cultivate. Not only that, he has a far-right challenger who could do him some damage in the primary. What an opportunity to stick it to the Far Right while cultivating the moderate center. But when it comes down to taking a real stand, Whitman takes a powder. She let pro-choice Republicans be muzzled when she co-chaired the national convention and she’s so concerned with playing good soldier that she helped run Dubya’s New Jersey campaign after he sawed her off at the knees over the Kyoto treaty. This “moderate” also runs a lobbying group that numbers one of the country’s biggest polluters among its clients. Moderate Repuboican — yer cracking me up, dude.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Dave, maybe for you it’s just another matter of “interpretation” — is the morgue half empty or half full? — but it’s been demonstrated that Whitman’s statements were in direct contradiction to evidence and simple common sense.

    At the time there was no definitive evidence one way or another and no studies had been done. Alarmist cries of toxicity would have been much worse than what she did. And how does common sense suggest that a collapsing building automatically causes toxic clouds? Give me a break. I’ve seen your blog. You’re only making an issue of this because you hate the GOP and Whitman is one of those who’s trying to make it a viable party. What we’ve got here is a partisan attack, pure and simple.

    Dave

  • troll

    *At the time there was no definitive evidence one way or another and no studies had been done. Alarmist cries of toxicity would have been much worse than what she did.*

    wouldn’t a simple statement that the data was not in and aggressive action to protect the responders’ lungs have been more appropriate – ?

    troll

  • Bliffle

    RedTard: “Tragedies are tragedies, only scum of the earth vermin use them as a basis for political attacks.”

    But that’s exactly what this administration has done relentlessly.

    “Seventy thousand people worked at the site, it’s not surprising that a few of them get sick.”

    Just a little sick? Or dead?

    ” What is disgusting is our litigious class action happy society and the patronizing political ideology that supports and encourages victimhood.”

    Actually, the opportunity to sue and recover damages from wrongs committed against one is a necessary and essential right of any society that exists for the benefit of it’s citizens and not just for its rulers.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Bliffle, you’re dead right that the tort system is a desirable element of the process by which people are compensated and others are punished. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t also a lot of maggot lawyers out there fabricating bogus afflictions and then hoping to get lucky with a paid-off expert witness and an uncritical but highly emotional jury.

    To date there has been a single death connected to the 9/11 dust and that was of a police officer who spent an extraordinary amount of time exposed to it while wearing nothing but a paper mask – 470 hours of exposure. The dust in your house would be toxic if you managed to breath as much of it in as this guy did. Ironically, his family are NOT suing the city and Whitman and everyone else on earth.

    I think there is certainly liability here in some cases – but the fault lies with the employers of these emergency workers who ought to have known that any situation with that much dust is potentially dangerous, just like a fire or a coal mine or even a grain silo.

    Dave

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    Yo, Dave!

    And how does common sense suggest that a collapsing building automatically causes toxic clouds?

    Hmmmm … let’s see now. Vaporized steel, metallic ash and heavy metals. Smoke from burning plastic compounds used to make carpeting and furniture. Asbestos. Every floor of those very tall buildings was loaded with computer gear — lots of nasty stuff there, as computer recyclers can tell you. Plus vaporized organic material — i.e., people. All of it combined at high temperatures.

    Or maybe you thought the World Trade Center was built out of candy and dental floss?

    To date there has been a single death connected to the 9/11 dust and that was of a police officer who spent an extraordinary amount of time exposed to it while wearing nothing but a paper mask – 470 hours of exposure. The dust in your house would be toxic if you managed to breath as much of it in as this guy did.

    Oh, Dave. Sigh.

    Here’s the Jan. 14
    Daily
    News
    :

    “… the Daily News has learned that an additional 22 men, mostly in their 30s and 40s, have died from causes their families say were accelerated by the toxic mix of chemicals that lodged in their bodies as they searched for survivors or participated in the cleanup after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

    “Among them are private employees, a sanitation worker, a correction officer, a Con Ed worker, transit workers, firefighters and cops. They died from black lung and cancers of the esophagus and pancreas.

    “David Knecht, a Lucent Technologies employee, worked for two months to reestablish communications at businesses near Ground Zero. He died in March, leaving behind two girls, now ages 3 and 4.

    “‘My husband was only 35 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer,’ said Cathleen Knecht, 38, of Berkeley Heights, N.J. ‘He was a nonsmoker and a swimmer.’

    “Thousands more are sick, suffering from respiratory illnesses. Nearly 400 firefighters and paramedics have left the job because of career-ending illnesses that followed their work at Ground Zero.”

    Oh, wait a minute, I forgot — in your world, these firefighters, paramedics, cops, transit workers and corporate employees are all bloodsucking frauds looking to lawyer up and cash in through the courts.

    Gotta say, Dave, I love — just LOVE — that remark about the dust in a house being as toxic as the World Trade Center. That’s right up there with Ronald Reagan’s tree pollution stories.

  • RedTard

    “Actually, the opportunity to sue and recover damages from wrongs committed against one is a necessary and essential right of any society that exists for the benefit of it’s citizens and not just for its rulers.”

    The big money lawyers and judges who take these cases are essentially the rulers. Class-action lawsuits are mostly used to combine cases so lawyers can get more money with less work. They also made it possible to sue on your behalf without you taking any action. Sometimes this is helpful, other times it is abused. If you’re not wronged enough to take the time to at least fill out a form then you probably shouldn’t be taking part in a jury trial.

    Big government/businesses wins because they don’t have to fight individual suits and trial lawyers win because they can score $billions in one case. The average person who ends up paying for the mess is the one who gets screwed, as usual.

  • Dave Nalle

    Oh, wait a minute, I forgot — in your world, these firefighters, paramedics, cops, transit workers and corporate employees are all bloodsucking frauds looking to lawyer up and cash in through the courts.

    Look, The Daily News and these peoples lawyers can say anything they like. The fact remains that only the one case I cited has an associated autopsy report which blames the death on the WTC dust. The others have a claim, but not the same level of supporting medical evidence.

    Gotta say, Dave, I love — just LOVE — that remark about the dust in a house being as toxic as the World Trade Center. That’s right up there with Ronald Reagan’s tree pollution stories.

    You think that things as nasty as the dust of the WTC are not in the dust in your house, not to mention other strange substances? In the same concentration any dust would be just as dangerous. You’re sadly deluded here. I’m not minimizing the danger of the WTC dust, but the key is the concentration and prolonged exposure, not the actual content of the dust. It’s the circumstances which are at fault, not anything Whitman did or the people who built the building did.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Comes a point where you have to wonder where people’s OWN brains are. As pointed out, vaporized steel, ash, heavy metals, burnt-out chemical-impregnated stuff like carpeting & insulation, ad infinitem, and people had to be TOLD it wasn’t safe there? WTF is wrong with their sense of reality or common sense – altho I tend to forget that the generality of humans don’t seem to have any. But really, how stupid can you get? Some GOP troll tells you it’s OK to go back into the burning building, and you’re gonna say “OK” – and go? Mind you, this does not apply to the police, firefighters, etc. because they didn’t have a choice: they MUST go. They should certainly be covered, and there should be no arguments about that. I’m wondering why none of the media called Whitman about the safety at the time? It never occurred to any of them to ask her what about…?

  • troll

    what Nancy said

    troll

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Yes, you do have to wonder where peoples brains or more precisely their consciences are, when they think that suing Whitman is a proper response when they should be going after the people who actually sent them into that situation without following up with adequate healthcare protection.

    It’s purely a case of going after the big pockets and the prominent figure, instead of seeking redress from those actually responsible.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    A lot of the time, it’s almost impossible to find out who’s responsible, tho, it’s such a game of passing the buck – especially when any kind of government services or business liabilities are involved. Hence, Names automatically become sitting ducks as targets. However, I’m not sympathetic to her; if she doesn’t deserve it for this, there’s something else she’s undoubtedly done she does deserve it for, as my parents used to rationalize when paddling me (and it was true!).

  • Bliffle

    I thought everyone knew that Whitman was a pale green sop for the few remaining eco-politicians in the Repub party, and could be expected to lie on the admins behalf. I thought everyone knew that high-temp combustion filled the air with poisons, of the sort already described.

    One could claim that anyone who didn’t flee the area for a long time was self-destructive and deserved a bad fate.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, to you Whitman deserves it just because she’s a Republican, even though the rest of her own party pretty much hates her.

    And Bliffle, the point is that the agencies which sent those men in there under those conditions have the responsibility, not Whitman. She was not in a decision making position by any stretch of the imagination.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “maybe you thought the World Trade Center was built out of candy and dental floss?”

    Steve, you didn’t know the truth? The World Trade Center WAS made of candy, but not dental floss. When I worked as an import clerk across the street and the buildings were still new 30 years ago, every single time I passed to go into them, I would help myself to some of the chocolate candy that formed the “steel skeleton” of the building. I would have had the walnut interiors too, but I’m allergic to walnuts and cough terribly from ingesting them. Why do you think the buildings collapsed anyway – because airplanes crashed into them? I had eaten away at the skeleton of the buildings when I was an import clerk!! They were doomed to fall sooner or later.

    I thought all New Yorkers who worked in the area knew this!

    Yeah, right!

    Dave, you sound just like this Haredi lady I know. She spends hours on the computer watching video reports on the sicko crimes reported on Fox News in the States and rails about America being an “empty country” spiritually. And she is not far off the mark, in my opinion. But anytime I say anything about shenanigans (or worse) done by Haredím here, like when a Haredi man killed his child, confessed to the crime, and the hredim in Jerusalem rioted when he was arrested, calling the police Nazis, she says I’m supposed to see only the best in people.

  • ss

    I can’t really blame Whitman for sticking with the ‘we have to reassure the public’ tach that anyone in a position of leadership would be expected to take after an event like 9/11.
    I would assume, though, in her role as director of the EPA, she could have spurred initiatives to fund research on the best possible safety equipment for the people who will have to clean up the next mess. If she actually did this and I didn’t hear about it, I take back the criticism.
    If she didn’t I’d have to agree with Nancy, Whitman may getting spanked for the wrong thing, but at least she’s getting spanked.

  • Nancy

    Dave, Republican has nothing to do with it; the comment was facecious. My point was/is, grown people needed to be told it was still dangerous there?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, the people she told to go back to Manhattan were the everyday workers who were not undergoing constant on-site exposure to the dust. They were not at risk and aren’t going to be able to make a claim for damages against anyone. They’re not dead. The people who have gotten sick and/or died were all emergency responders on the spot, and they were NOT the ones Whitman’s advisory was directed at. They worked for weeks in the rubble itself. The one fellow who died and has been assigned dust inhalation as his cause of death spent 470 hours on the site immiately after the attack, right in the heart of the dust cloud.

    Whitman’s advisory was addressed to people working in air-conditioned buildings blocks or even miles away with no direct contact with the site or more than trace amounts of dust.

    As for ‘getting spanked for the wrong thing’ being just as good as getting spanked for the right thing, that’s not the way justice should work. If someone commits a crime but there’s no evidence is it okay to lynch him? Give me a break with your vigelante justice which is basically just unfocused revenge.

    Dave

  • ss

    Well, getting sued’s a bitch, and I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I doubt it’s as bad as getting lynched. Kinda hard to even make that leap, really.
    But the best thing would be, considering there is at least one confirmed death in all this, to work on improving the safety equipment of the people who have to clean up this type of mess.
    Unfortunately, law suits are a horrible way to go about this. The negative press MIGHT actually provide an incintive, though.
    I don’t personally have much against Whitman.
    She stood up to her party and called it out for pandering to the religious right. That scored her big points in my book.
    But if she dropped the ball on providing worker safety in the aftermath of 9/11 she still has to get called on it.

  • MCH

    “Gotta say, Dave, I love — just LOVE — that remark about the dust in a house being as toxic as the World Trade Center.”

    But remember Steven, Nalle may be referring to his own home, and glass houses ARE known to be more toxic than regular domiciles…

  • Nancy

    Dave, you are obviously having a bad hair day.

    And yes, I know you’re bald.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    But if she dropped the ball on providing worker safety in the aftermath of 9/11 she still has to get called on it.

    That’s just it, SS. Despite what it says in the article, she didn’t do this. She was addressing the safety of the general working public in Manhattan, not those actually working on the site. For the group she was talking about she was correct. Trying to pretend that her remarks applied to those working on the disaster site is pure fraud and just another smear campaign from a left which sees the triumvirate of McCain-Whitman-Giuliani as their doom if they can assume leadership in the GOP.

    As for glass houses, I know someone who lives in one. She lives there because she’s afflicted with severe allergies and a hermetically sealed glass house is her best defense.

    Dave

  • troll

    re #30 – dang Ruvy – ! I just knew that Jews brought down those buildings

    let’s start some more rumors

    troll

  • ss

    Shit I’d take McCain-Whitman-Rudy over the current crop in a heartbeat. That might be one of the very few things you and me actually agree on, Dave.
    Though I do wish McCain hadn’t shored up his right by going to Falwell before he even got out of the gate…
    As far as at least 1 and as many as 22 people dying cleaning up the WTC site, it sounds to me like all three levels of government failed, individually and together, to provide for the safety of their citizens in the aftermath.. Appears to be kind of a habit for a government that still manages to spend money like the New Deal never ended.
    And Whitman was the head of the EPA. I don’t think she bears sole responsibilty, but I don’t see how you can say she bears no responsibility.
    Incidently, as gratifying as it may be to sue individual pols when the drop the ball, it’s an instant gratification kind of thing that will just end up restricting who can serve. On that basis, after she takes her hits in the press, I hope she gets dropped from the suit.

  • ss

    And I wouldn’t worry to much about her drubbing over this actually ruining her chances in any races. Every emotional hot button there is to press is pre-numbed in this electorate at the moment.
    There’s only one left that has a chance.
    ‘It’s a new day in America’
    Whoever figures out how to sell that one while we’re still bogged down in Iraq wins the next couple of races.

  • Bliffle

    Dave: “…the point is that the agencies which sent those men in there under those conditions have the responsibility, not Whitman.”

    It seems to me that the responsible adult thing to do would have been to say “we don’t know if it’s safe until we complete some measurements, but a prudent person would be well advised to avoid the area”. Instead, she strongly implied that she and the EPA DID know that the air was safe. To me that seems like utter irresponsibility, at the least, and outright cynical manipulation at the worst (which could have sent people to their deaths). How can there be any honor there?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Bliff, you’re still missing the point. She did NOT say it was safe for emergency workers to go on to the site and remove debris and work 12 hour days with no gas masks. She said it was safe for people to go to other parts of manhattan and work in air conditioned offices, and that was a reasonable thing to say at the time and we have no reason to believe she was not entirely correct.

    There are two groups of people at issue here. One group is those who worked clearing the site and were seriously exposed to potentially toxic dust and have a legitimate cause of action against the agencies which sent them there without adequate equipment and warning. The other group are those people who worked in Manhattan at normal jobs and were told perfectly reasonably by Whitman it was safe to go back to those jobs, and are now suing because they got a cough or a cold and some lawyer told them they could join a class action lawsuit regardless of the fact that there’s no evidence connecting any illness they have to the 9/11 crash site.

    Dave