This being 21st Century America, practically nobody in a position of power lost his job for 9/11 happening on his watch. This now being 2021 America, the New York Times runs an article lamenting the accountability campaign against one of the very few public officials to lose her job over the fall of the World Trade Center: the
Democratic Republican hack [thanks to commenters who caught this] who got put in charge of the Boston airport (despite no experience whatsoever) from which the two planes that attacked New York City took off:
Terrorists boarded two planes in Boston and flew them into the World Trade Center. Massachusetts zeroed in on its top airport official, who has never quite recovered.
By Ellen Barry
Sept. 12, 2021
BOSTON — Virginia Buckingham remembers the moment when she realized that she had been singled out. She had stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on her way into Logan International Airport, which she oversaw as the top official at the Massachusetts Port Authority. As she stood in line, a man behind her whispered to his friend, “That’s her.”
The week before, terrorists had boarded two jets at Logan, hijacked them, and flew them into the Twin Towers. The city’s newspapers had plunged into reporting on the airport’s security record, and into her, a political appointee. But no one had been fired yet, and the columnists were getting antsy.
“When do the heads start to roll at Massport?” wrote Howie Carr at The Boston Herald. “It’s been over a week now, and Ginny Buckingham still isn’t a stay-at-home mom.”
Over at The Boston Globe, Joan Vennochi chided the governor for dragging her feet. “Somewhere in Afghanistan,” she wrote, “Osama bin Laden is laughing at what passes for leadership in Massachusetts.”
While New York and Washington were focused on disaster sites, Boston was struggling with a horrible truth: Its airport had served as the launching pad for the two planes that destroyed the World Trade Center.
… The fact that the planes came from Boston was a source of shame. Shreds of guilt clung to many airport workers — to the ticket agent who checked in Mohamed Atta, to the flight attendant who called in sick. …
In Boston — unlike New York, Washington and Portland, Maine, the other communities where terrorists boarded planes — it was seen as an airport problem. And here, there was an expectation that officials would be sacked.
No evidence ever emerged that failures by airport officials contributed to the attacks: At the time, box cutters, the weapons the terrorists used, were legal to carry on planes, and airlines, not airports, handled security checkpoints. But in the intensity of that moment, that did not matter. Joseph Lawless, the airport’s director of security, who had formerly worked as a driver to a Massachusetts governor, was transferred two and a half weeks after the attacks. A month after that, Ms. Buckingham resigned under pressure.
Eventually, journalists moved on. But Ms. Buckingham could not. Twenty years later, she remains pained by her treatment those six weeks, something she described in a new memoir, “On My Watch.” At 36, her career in politics was finished.
… That thought led directly to Ms. Buckingham, who had been appointed two years earlier, by Mr. Cellucci. The Port Authority, as Ms. Swift put it, had an “earned reputation as being run by political appointees, not airport expertise.”
Ms. Buckingham fell into that category. She was an old hand at State House politics; she had served as chief of staff to two governors, and press secretary to one. But she had no background in transportation or security. …
And the papers took up the cause. The Herald, Boston’s scrappy tabloid, ran a poll asking voters whether she should resign or be fired. The Globe, Boston’s crusading broadsheet, dug into a fertile topic, the history of patronage hiring at the Port Authority, publishing about 90 articles touching on that topic over the next three months.
It’s almost as if Boston back then had two competing, crusading newspapers, unlike the great majority of American cities today.
The article keeps it obscure that this was a Democratic vendetta against a Republican pol. It’s point, though, is that somebody who’d climbed the greasy pole of politics to get a well-paid job without having any particular skills at the job lost her job just because 2700 people died, and we can’t have pour le encourage les autres-type treatment of elites anymore.
… As time passed, it became less plausible to blame anyone in particular for the carnage of Sept. 11.
The NYT sums up the tragedy of her subsequent life:
… Her husband, David Lowy, urged her to resign, rather than wait to be fired. “I just wanted the barrage to stop,” said Mr. Lowy, now an associate judge on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. …
Life went on: She had a second child. She found a therapist who specialized in trauma. She got a new job, writing editorials at The Herald, then left for a corporate job at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company. She took early retirement. She dropped her youngest off at college.