‘This is really frightening’: 9/11 survivor condemns Marjorie Taylor Greene’s appointment to homeland security committee

Exclusive: Woman who escaped from 80th floor of North Tower of World Trade Centre says congresswoman ‘knows nothing about’ Al-Qaeda attacks

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 19 January 2023 12:16 EST
Marjorie Taylor Greene backs away from QAnon history

A 9/11 survivor has condemned the appointment of Majorie Taylor Greene to a key House security committee – pointing out the Republican congresswoman long denied the attacks happened and instead peddled wild conspiracy theories.

Republicans said the Georgia congresswoman, who two years ago was stripped of committee assignments by Democrats after she spread QAnon conspiracies and falsely questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, would join the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee.

The committee has typically played a key role in acting as a safeguard on matters of national security, and the appointment of Ms Greene was widely seen as her reward for supporting Kevin McCarthy in his bid to be Speaker.

Yet the appointment of the 48-year-old hardliner, who represents Georgia’s 14th congressional district, was widely condemned by critics, who questioned her qualification to sit on the committee.

Among those with doubts was Sharon Premoli, a survivor of the 9/11 attacks, who has been among those pushing for justice for the almost 3,000 people killed that day and their families.

“Ms Greene, a 9/11 denialist, knows nothing about 9/11 because she doesn’t believe in legitimate investigative journalism or books, believing only the most outrageous conspiracy theories that deny the horror of what happened to 3,000 souls and to the injured survivors on 9/11,” Ms Premoli told The Independent.

9/11 survivors remember

In an account of her survival that day from the 80th floor of the North Tower, published on the 20th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, Ms Premoli recalled people singing hymns and firefighters struggling to make their way up to try and help. Then the tower collapsed.

“When I regained consciousness, I was aware, but in total blackness, the kind of complete black that one might imagine being buried alive, and I was,” she wrote.

The account ended with her somehow making her way onto the streets of Lower Manhattan, battered, and dazed and her ankle badly hurt, but – remarkably – alive. A “good samaritan” who lived nearby and his partner went to her help, and later took her to hospital

She has been among those who joined a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, home of 15 of the 19 hijackers. The Saudi government has long rejected any involvement.

Ms Premoli, who now lives in Vermont, has also become an expert no the attacks, something she says Ms Greene is not.

Marjorie Taylor Greene walked back her claims about 9/11 once she had been elected

“Now she, who has likely never read any of the mountain of historical truth about 9/11, will be on the Homeland Security Committee to espouse her conspiracies that will affect our safety,” she said.

She added: “This is a frightening development.”

In 2018, before her election, Ms Greene posted a 40-minute video including several conspiracy theories. Among them, she questioned whether a plane had really flown into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

She later walked back her comments, declaring on the floor of the House in 2021 that 9/11 “absolutely happened”.

Ms Premoli was not the only person to question the apointment of Ms Greene, who will also sit on the Oversight Committee, after the House GOP Steering Committee announced its choices on Tuesday.

Democratic congressman Ritchie Torres tweeted: “As the former Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, I’m HORRIFIED that it was just announced that Marjorie Taylor Greene will serve on the committee. A QAnon conspiracy theorist + Jan 6 insurrectionist doesn’t belong on a committee that exists to fight extremism.”

His colleague Ted Lieu wrote: “Here is exhibit 9,387 as to why House Republicans are extreme: they put Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Homeland Security Committee. She questions whether a “so called plane” on 9/11 really struck the Pentagon, and spews many other crazy conspiracy theories.”

Ms Greene’s support for Mr McCarthy was widely seen as being critical to securing the Speakership, which required an unprecedented 15 rounds of voting.

He is not the only controversial section made by the GOP leadership.

Another Congress member, accused of spreading conspiracies and appearing at an event hosted by a notorious antisemite, is getting a committee assignment.

Paul Gosar, of Arizona, was the subject of a November 2021 censure vote, and was stripped of his committee assignments after he posted an edited anime video on Twitter that depicted him swinging swords at Joe Biden and killing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

He also appeared at events with white supremacist Nick Fuentes,as has Ms Greene.

Mr Gosar, 64, will now sit on the House Committee on Natural Resources, a position he previously held.

Mr Gosar later said on the House floor that he does not “espouse violence towards anyone,” and voluntarily took the video down “out of compassion for those who genuinely felt offense”.

During the recent vote for Speaker, he was seen chatting with Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

The security committee has long played a role in matters relating to the nation’s borders, there are reports that its members may seek the impeachment Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

In a statement about her appointment to the committees, Ms Greene claimed the southern border is being invaded by millions of illegal aliens, criminals, and potential terrorists”.

She added: “Our People are being murdered by Chinese fentanyl flooding in from the cartels. Our Border Patrol and ICE agents have their hands tied and have been turned into a welcoming committee by the Biden administration. Cyber attacks continue on our nation’s people and businesses along with many more threats to our homeland.”

She said Republicans would “investigate the Biden administration’s violations of our laws and fund (and defund) programmes to defend our border and American sovereignty”.

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