Fact Check

James McCaffrey Letter

New York fireman writes angry letter asking President Clinton to stay away from FDNY events.

Published Mar 18, 2002

Item:   New York fireman writes letter asking President Clinton to stay away from September 11-related FDNY events.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]


Author: Lt. James McCaffrey, FDNYC


As someone involved in and affected by the events of September 11th, I have a request for you, former President Bill


Please do not attend any event that involves the members of the New York City Fire Department. Do not attend any memorial service, concert or other gathering. And, most importantly, do not set foot on that hallowed site known as Ground Zero.

In my opinion (and it is one shared by most of my FDNY brethren), you are the single individual in this country most responsible for the events of that infamous day. Your emasculation of the military and our intelligence agencies contributed significantly to the evil perpetrated on so many innocent Americans.

Please also forward this request to your spouse, and her treacherous coterie of blame-America-firsters, multiculturalists and anti-military elitists. Also, tell her that you have finally discovered your legacy: It sits as a smoldering ruin at Liberty and West Streets.

Lt. James McCaffrey, FDNY.

Origins:   This is another piece difficult to categorize with a simple "true" or "false," as it is an expression of opinion and not an assertion of facts:

  • This,

    is a "real" letter in the sense that it was published in the New York Daily News on 17 November 2001.

  • The FDNY did not respond to our inquiry about whether they have a Lt. James McCaffrey on their force or whether his letter represents the viewpoint of the FDNY as a whole, but there is a phone directory listing in Yonkers (the origin of the Daily News letter) for a James McCaffrey, and other letters from Lt. McCaffrey have appeared in New York newspapers, such as this item from the 7 February 2002 issue of Newsday:

    FDNY Looks for Minorities

    I am writing to express my outrage at Les Payne's column about black representation on the New York City Fire Department ["FDNY Puts Out No Welcome Mat for Blacks," Currents, Jan. 27 ]. His caustic racism is equaled only by his ignorance of the facts. Over the past 20-plus years, the FDNY has bent over backwards in its attempt to recruit minority candidates.

    It has had black firefighters detailed specifically for the purpose of recruitment in minority neighborhoods, spending millions of dollars in the effort. The FDNY rewards candidates who reside within the city extra consideration on entrance examinations, in an effort to increase minority representation. It also has eliminated the entrance fee for those examinations for minority applicants.

    The fact remains: For whatever reason, minorities do not join the FDNY in large numbers. If Payne were more of a journalist and less of a racial flame-thrower spewing worn-out incitable rhetoric, perhaps he could find out why.

    James McCaffrey Editor's Note: The writer is a lieutenant with the

  • We don't know of any poll taken to determine whether or not most of the FDNY holds the opinion that "Mr. Clinton is the single individual in this country most responsible for the events of that infamous day," but Senator Hillary Clinton was reportedly widely booed by fireman and police in attendance at the Concert for New York on 20 October 2001.

Last updated:   21 April 2008

  Sources Sources:

    [New York] Daily News.   "News and Views - Opinion."

    17 November 2001.

    [New York] Newsday.   "Viewpoint."

    7 February 2002   (p. A39).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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