Homeland security chief says Meigs not a threat

September 4, 2003

The headline in today's Chicago Sun-Times said it best: Daley's Meigs alibi crumbles. The article continues, "Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge blew Mayor Daley's cover story on Meigs Field on Tuesday. Around the same time, in Chicago, the mayor confessed he bulldozed the airport to make it a park and not because of security.

"Ridge said his agency was never consulted over whether the lakefront airport presented a security threat to the city and was personally 'disappointed' to see Meigs closed," the Sun-Times reported.

The destruction of Meigs continues to be major news in Chicago. Previous days' stories have reported AOPA's filing of a federal lawsuit against the city and the association's call for a boycott of Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reported today that "Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Tuesday took issue with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's decision to close Meigs Field, saying he regretted the move and suggesting that the mayor's action stemmed from concerns that predated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S."

Both papers reported that Ridge was asked repeatedly if Chicago was "safer" with Meigs closed, and when he finally answered, he only said, "From the mayor's point of view, they are." Ridge also said, "That decision to close the field, that impetus was prior to 9/11, at least to my recollection, they were planning on closing that thing even before Sept. 11," according to the Tribune report.

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