Records of 9/11 Response Not for Public, City Says

The Bloomberg administration has concluded that many of the audio and written records of the Fire Department's actions on Sept. 11 should never be released to the general public.

The administration, in response to a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by The New York Times seeking numerous records concerning the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, has cited a variety of reasons for keeping the records secret. In court papers and interviews, administration officials and city lawyers have argued that a federal court order in Virginia has barred them from releasing much of the material, citing its value in the government's case against Zacarias Moussaoui, who is accused of being the "20th hijacker."

But lawyers for the administration argued that even if the order, issued by the judge overseeing the prosecution of Mr. Moussaoui, were amended or lifted, they would still have no intention of releasing audiotapes of the Fire Department dispatchers, hundreds of individual accounts of firefighters or transcripts of radio communications from that day.

The administration has argued that releasing these materials would be an invasion of privacy for the families of those who died at the trade center, and for the firefighters who responded to the disaster scene. The administration has said that that because the requested information involves "interagency" communication, it is exempt under the state Freedom of Information Law.

"The records requested by The Times were compiled for law enforcement purposes," according to legal documents filed by Michael A. Cardozo, the city's corporation counsel. He added: "Second, both the **** histories and the radio transmissions, especially the 911 calls, contain highly personal and emotionally charged material. Victims were recorded as they were experiencing life-threatening circumstances, in some instances as they were dying."

Shortly after he was appointed, Mr. Cardozo said that the administration planned to be much more responsive to media requests for documents and records than former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's had been.

In its suit, which was filed in May, The Times rejects each of the city's claims, arguing that much of the material