NY PostTrespassers at 1 WTC are a wakeup call
By Andrea Peyser
April 4, 2014 | 4:46am
We didn’t know how vulnerable this city had become.
Sleepy, half-blind and brainless numbskulls were the only humans protecting us from disaster. The pinheads in charge of security at the still-under-construction 1 World Trade Center tower were too incompetent or clueless to prevent a pack of thrill-seekers from transforming the scene of the worst terror attack this country has ever known into a kind of Disneyland for daredevils.
There was 16-year-old Justin Casquejo of New Jersey. The scrawny kid allegedly slipped through a 1-foot-by-1-foot hole in a fence around the Trade Center at 4:10 a.m. March 16, as The Post first reported. Dressed as a construction worker, he conned an elevator operator into giving him a lift to the tower’s 88th floor, according to court papers. He climbed up stairs to the 104th floor, walked past a sleeping security guard, and clambered up to the roof, where he spent more than an hour taking pictures like a demented tourist.
He was caught after a construction supervisor called cops.
There also are the three men who parachuted off the top of the tower at 3 a.m. last Sept. 30, as a fourth man stood lookout. These jumping jokers climbed 104 floors to the top of a tower, which rises 1,776 feet, including its spire. There, they binged on colossal rushes of adrenaline, fortified by the knowledge that there was no one to stop them. They were caught after a friend squealed, a source insisted.
I think these guys should be applauded. We owe them, big time, for saving our skins.
On Wednesday, officials of The Durst Organization woke up from their slumber. The company, which in January took charge of protecting most of the interior of the world’s No. 1 terror target, announced that it was hiring a firm run by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Freeh Group International Solutions, to help secure its buildings, including the massive 1 World Trade Center.
What the hell took so long?
I asked Anthony Hayes, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that owns the building and is responsible for its external security, if we can rest assured that the tower is now safe from intruders. He answered, “Yes,’’ but declined to elaborate.
He did say safety measures are being reviewed by the federal Department of Homeland Security. So we’ll just have to trust in our government.
As a New Yorker who watched from the roof of my Brooklyn apartment building as airplanes piloted by Islamic savages brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, I’m appalled. As a reporter who saw the hole left behind in the North Tower after a truck bombing carried out by Middle Eastern militants in 1993, and as a human being who’s spent years comforting relatives of those who perished in the monstrous attacks, I cannot understand how the scene of unspeakable carnage could be so shamefully neglected.
A photo published in The Post last month showed guard Abdul Basher, 65, stationed alone in the in the tower’s south lobby, reclining in a chair, apparently asleep. Basher is unable to open his left eye and has vision he described as “hazy’’ in his right eye, due to a nerve condition. Hired by The Durst Organization, Basher was fired.
So was the guard who snoozed as Casquejo passed his station on the tower’s roof. (The union-protected elevator operator who took the lad up to the 88th floor was reassigned.) Durst’s assistant security director, David Velazquez, quit.
Casquejo, who initially laughed off his arrest, arrived, unsmiling, at Midtown Community Court Wednesday, and was hit with a charge of BASE jumping, even though he didn’t jump off anything. If he’s convicted, it could land him in jail for a year. BASE is an acronym for the kinds of fixed objects that morons leap from — building, antenna, span (or bridge) and earth (cliff). He’s also charged with misdemeanor trespassing and simple trespassing, a violation.
Prosecutors ordered a mental-health evaluation before deciding what to do with him.
The skydivers, who include ironworker James Brady, 32, who helped build 1 World Trade Center, are charged with burglary, a felony, plus two misdemeanors — reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure. If convicted of all charges, the men face up to seven years in prison.
But they may get help from surprising places. After they face indictment by a grand jury, likely this month, lawyer Timothy Parlatore, who represents jumper Andrew Rossig, 33, intends to deliver to the judge a motion to dismiss the case containing letters of support from family members of firefighters killed on 9/11, a source told me.
“It’s very fortunate that these guys and the kid showed us there’s no security,’’ Parlatore told me.
They did us a favor.Read more ...