While the digging into Chris Christie's "BridgeGate" is far from over, this much we do know. The Christie administration jeopardized the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of New Jersey residents by shutting access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, all in the service of a still to-be-determined political vendetta. But that's not all we know that threat to public safety. Of all days, Christie's hatchet men and women chose the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York City. And among the region's likely terror targets before and after the carnage of 9/11 was the George Washington Bridge.
Just ask Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who defended Governor Christie this week by brushing off September's traffic hellscape on the bridge as a "stupid political prank." But in an interview with Steve Forbes to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 slaughter, Giuliani told a different story:
New York City is not just the World Trade Center.
I didn't know, that morning, that there'd be only two planes. There could've been three, could've been four. Could've been seven. What could've happened were follow-up suicide attacks. We had plenty of intelligence that Islamic extremist terrorists, who would get arrested, would have plans for the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge, the subways, the PATH train.
New York City is also Times Square, which was the site of a failed 2010 bomb plot. And on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it was just one area on concern. As CBS New York reported on September 9, 2011:
Just two days before the 10th anniversary, New York City is on high alert.
Federal and local authorities have beefed up security after receiving intelligence about a credible threat. The alleged plot by al Qaeda involves detonating car bombs on bridges and in tunnels in New York and Washington D.C. to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11.
In response, police on both sides of the Hudson River erected security checkpoints at bridges, tunnels and other sensitive locations. But Christie's New York counterpart Andrew Cuomo urged residents not to panic while explaining, "All New Yorkers should be cautious and aware as we prepare to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary."
As it turns out, the targeting of the GWB began long before Al Qaeda's devastating attacks in Manhattan and Washington, DC. As CNN recalled, the busiest bridge in the world was also at risk during the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center carried out by Ramzi Youssef and Omar Abdul Rahman that killed six and wounded over 1,000 people:
June 1993: Rahman and others were charged in a plot to bomb New York landmarks including the Lincoln Tunnel, George Washington Bridge and the FBI's New York office.
In a nutshell, for two decades national, state and local authorities have worried that the George Washington Bridge and the tens of thousands of drivers who cross it daily could be in the crosshairs of terrorists hoping to unleash the maximum damage on the United States. Nevertheless, Team Christie apparently didn't think twice about converting it into a parking lot. For Chris Christie's minions, the anniversary of the September 11 bloodbath was "time for a traffic jam in Fort Lee."