If it happens, if this Holocaust-denying terrorist filthbag is allowed to use the remains of the Trade Center for a photo op, the rage on the right will burn so white hot that even the anti-amnesty activism this summer will pale by comparison. It’s not clear from the Sun’s article whose responsibility it is for approving the visit, although the NYPD and Secret Service would both be involved in the security detail. As I recall, the last time he visited New York his visa only allowed him to travel within a radius of a few blocks between the UN and his hotel. And of course the U.S. could deny him a visa to enter the country at all if it so chose. So in some sense, at least, it’s up to State to okay this.
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has requested to visit ground zero during his visit to New York next week, police commissioner Raymond Kelly said today.
The Iranian mission to the U.N. made the request to the New York City police department and the Secret Service, who will jointly oversee security during the president’s two-day visit. Mr. Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive September 24 to speak to the U.N. General Assembly as the Security Council decides whether to increase sanctions against Iran for its uranium enrichment program.
Mr. Kelly said the NYPD and Secret Service were in discussions with the Iranian mission about the logistics for the possible visit, and whether it will take place at all. He said Mr. Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to descend into the pit for safety reasons related to ongoing construction there.
Not to go all nutrootsy here, but there are one or two influential people who allegedly read this site so let me issue a formal warning to them on behalf of myself and, I suspect, most of our readers: if Bush and Rice let him go down there, especially in the wake of Petraeus and Crocker reporting the threat Iran poses to American soldiers in Iraq, you have no idea how grave the political fallout will be. Consider this an alert from the grassroots early warning system. You ignored the warning we gave you this summer about the amnesty bill. For your sake, don’t ignore this one.
Update: Here’s Bloomberg’s contact information:
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
And here’s State’s:
Update: Mitt is the first to pounce.
“Ahmadinejad’s shockingly audacious request should be met with a vehement no. It’s inconceivable that any consideration would be given to the idea of entertaining the leader of a state sponsor of terror at Ground Zero. This would deeply offend the sensibilities of Americans from all corners of our nation. Instead of entertaining Ahmadinejad, we should be indicting him.”
Update: Says the Times, “It was unclear whether the police, the Secret Service or another agency would have final authority on the request. Mr. Kelly said the issue raised by the Iranian Mission had more to do with the logistics of dealing with a large security detail that would be expected to accompany Mr. Ahmadinejad than with his right, like any foreign visitor, to travel freely in the city.” Except that he’s not just “any foreign visitor,” is he? If they can’t restrict his movement then the solution is simple: cancel his visa. Case closed.
Update: Looks like police commissioner Ray Kelly had himself a change of heart. Standby for details.
Update: They’re dancing away from the cliff:
An advance team for the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asked earlier this month that he be allowed to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly next week, but the request was denied, New York City police officials said today.
The request, which was made at a meeting that included the Secret Service and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was denied for reasons of security and safety, police officials said, adding that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s aides had asked that he be allowed into the pit, where construction is taking place.
Earlier today, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly had said that Iranian officials had made a “formal request” that Mr. Ahmadinejad be permitted to visit ground zero and that the department, in coordination with the Secret Service, was discussing the matter with officials of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations…
A short while later, around 4:15 p.m., the Police Department’s spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said that Mr. Kelly had misspoke and that police commanders had already decided that a visit to ground zero by Mr. Ahmadinejad was not feasible.
Update: Way to show leadership, George.
President Bush, moving quickly to respond to news that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has asked to visit ground zero, had a spokesman issue a statement aimed at Mayor Bloomberg that said – in so many words — deal with it.
“This is a matter for the City of New York resolve,” a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, Gordon Johndroe, said. He added pointedly: “It seems odd that the president of a country that is a state sponsor of terror would visit ground zero.”
Here’s the inevitable condemnation from Giuliani. If this thing does happen, expect Rudy to milk it even more fervently than he did the “Betray Us” incident. He’ll be down there with an army — almost literally — of protesters.
Update: The university that houses the most notorious Middle Eastern Studies department in the country, which gave Iran’s ambassador to the UN a platform last year to dismiss accusations of Iranian terrorism as Fox News propaganda, which capitulated to fear for Walid Shoebat’s safety by closing his appearance on campus to the public, and which counts among its former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, who famously visited Nazi concentration camps himself so that he could personally bear witness to what happened there, is now set to host the world’s most famous Holocaust denier on Monday. Perfect.
Incidentally, will the public be barred from Ahmadinejad’s speech like they were barred from Shoebat’s? If not, why not?
Update: MM says this travesty may happen yet, as the Secret Service will provide security even if the NYPD doesn’t. Fine. That puts the ball back in the feds’ court, and they’re much more pressurable than NYC is. See how the RNC does next year in fundraising, boys. I’ll run the photo of Ahmadinejad at Ground Zero every time I write about the election. And again, I won’t be the only one.