A reminder to those who say the conspiracy theories have been debunked: You can debunk theories, but you cannot debunk questions. You can ignore them, but you cannot debunk them, and the "The 9/11 Commission Report" seems to ignore more questions than it answers.
For purposes of this article, I will point out only a few anomalies and unanswered questions. Sadly, there are many, many others.
But first, ask yourself these questions:
Do you know that the commission's Chairman and Vice-Chairman are convinced that they were "set up to fail"; or that the commissioners believed they were lied to by the Pentagon, NORAD, the CIA, and the Whitehouse?
Does it matter to you that "The 9/11 Commission Report" does not mention any physical evidence or eye-witness testimony regarding the crash sites; or that it does not mention the collapse of WTC 7, which housed New York City's Emergency Command Center? What kind of official report is that?
Does it matter to you that the official report ignores eye-witness testimony of two New York City government officials who were in WTC 7 the morning of 9/11 and reported explosions inside the building? Or that it also ignores the statement to the FBI by a woman in Shanksville, Pennsylvania who reported seeing, only a few feet away, what may have been be a missile at the time Flight 93 was there?
Can you swallow then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's story that he did not learn of the plane crashes in New York until more than twenty minutes after the second plane had hit?
Can you swallow the tale told by then-acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers that he did not learn of the plane crashes in New York until about thirty-five minutes after the second plane had hit?
Does it matter to you that the official report by FEMA of the collapse of WTC 7, the third building to come down on 9/11, suggests that fires brought the building down, but then admits that "[t]he specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. The best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence"? Is that answer acceptable? Is it even an answer to blame the collapse on fires, then say you don't know how the fires caused the collapse and that your hypothesis "has only a low probability of occurrence"?
Does it matter to you that the official report of the collapse of WTC 7 by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) admits that the building fell at free-fall speed for more than two seconds? Does that mean anything to you? Do you know that only controlled demolition could have caused this?
Is it acceptable that the official report fails to mention the presence of molten steel and fires estimated at 1,500 °F under the debris at the World Trade Center nearly six weeks after 9/11? What could account for that? Do you think a comprehensive investigation should mention it?
Official report pathetically deficient
Two critical aspects to any investigation are physical evidence and eye-witness testimony, and "The 9/11 Commission Report" is pathetically deficient in both areas. In fact, one can make a strong case for a new investigation by considering only the deficiencies of the official report.
The body of "The 9/11 Commission Report" consists of 428 pages.
Here's how many pages are devoted to what happened on board the planes that morning: about 20.
Number of pages devoted to eye-witness testimony of people at the crash sites: 0.
Number of pages devoted to the collapse of Building 7 of the World Trade Center: 0.
Number of pages devoted to an examination of the physical evidence of the wreckage of the planes: 0.
Number of pages devoted to an examination of the physical evidence of the wreckage of the buildings: 0.
The government's official report of perhaps the worst crime in the nation's history devotes twenty pages to the crime, eye-witness testimony, and physical evidence.
I've written term papers longer than that, the night before they were due.
If that doesn't convince you a new investigation is warranted, there's this: Thomas Kean (Commission Chairman) and Lee Hamilton (Commission Vice-Chairman) have both said they believe the commission was "set up to fail."
Then there's this: According to The Washington Post, the commissioners so strongly believed that they had been lied to by the Pentagon that they met in secret and "debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation." The commissioners ultimately compromised and turned the matter over to inspectors within the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation (as if that would go anywhere).
Or how about this . . . The Washington Post quoted Kean as saying, "We to this day don't know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us. It was just so far from the truth. . . . It's one of those loose ends that never got tied."
Then there's the final sentence of "The 9/11 Commission Report": "We look forward to a national debate on the merits of what we have recommended, and we will participate vigorously in that debate."
So if the commissioners are no longer comfortable with their report, and they encourage a "national debate," is it really crazy to ask for a second opinion?
Bush did nothing, Rumsfeld and Myers knew nothing
One thing an independent investigation might do is explain the failure of our national defense. Some very key players did a whole lot of nothing that morning.
George W. Bush, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief
This guy sat — infamously, tragically and stupidly— in a first-grade classroom for several minutes after learning that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center, because he "didn't want to rattle the kids" and "wanted to project a sense of calm." Hey, W, you could have calmly excused yourself, left the room, and assessed whether more attacks were coming. And, W, in case you haven't heard yet, more attacks were coming. But you chose to hang out at the school for a while, deliver a speech (that likely rattled the children), then drive away without taking any action. And a few minutes after you left the school, the Pentagon was hit.
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld was in a meeting at the Pentagon that morning. He says he didn't learn that the World Trade Center had been hit until fifteen minutes before the Pentagon was hit. Simple math tells us that Rummy somehow was oblivious to the attacks in New York until about 9:25. I was in an '89 Volvo with a radio that only halfway worked, and I knew about it a few minutes after it happened, probably some time between 9:06 and 9:08. To think that I and most of the country learned about the crashes in New York several minutes before the Defense Secretary did is preposterous. But, believe it or not, Rumsfeld was way ahead of Richard Myers, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Richard Myers, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Poor General Myers was probably the last person in the United States between ages 11 and 111 to learn of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. According to his own account, he didn't hear about it until at least thirty minutes after I did in my '89 Volvo. I know what you're thinking: "Give the guy a break. He must have been hunting moose in the Yukon or something." Uh, no. He was at the U.S. Capitol, where the cell-phone service is pretty good and they have landlines.
So we have the Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the absolute top of the military command structure, utterly clueless that the Pentagon was in danger. That's absurd, especially given the testimony of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who said that he and others in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center received status updates every few minutes about a plane that was heading toward the Pentagon. I can be gullible and stupid, but I'm not that gullible and stupid. Someone's got some splainin' to do.
Official report does not mention the collapse of WTC 7
Building 7 of the World Trade Center, a 47-story giant that took up an entire city block, was the third building to come down on September 11. It was not hit by a plane, of course, yet at 5:20 p.m., it fell at nearly free-fall speed into its own footprint (and for much of its fall it did indeed fall at free-fall speed; see below). But even though WTC 7 was where New York City's Emergency Command Center was located (on the 23rd floor), and even though a significant portion of the official report was devoted to the city's response to the emergency, the commissioners did not even mention the collapse of WTC 7.
FEMA report on WTC 7 blames fires but can't explain why
Knowing it had to come up with an explanation for the mysterious collapse of WTC 7, FEMA pinned the blame on fires, but then undid their own work with this admission: "The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. The best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence." Presumably, the authors did not mean for this to be a joke.
NIST admits WTC 7 fell at free-fall speed (controlled demolition only explanation)
The commission's failure to mention the fall of WTC 7 is nowhere near as damning as the final report published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). For years, people who understand this sort of thing much better than I do pointed out to NIST that WTC 7 fell at free-fall speed, without resistance, for a significant portion of its collapse. And for several years, NIST's response was that WTC 7 could not possibly have fallen at free-fall speed. After all, the only way a building can fall at free-fall speed is if all of its support fails simultaneously, which requires a controlled demolition. And in the case of WTC 7, we know that didn't happen.
There was one teensy, weensy problem for NIST. WTC 7 did indeed fall at free-fall speed for much of its fall, and even NIST finally had to admit it. From NIST's final report:
"This free-fall drop continued for approximately 8 stories, or 32.0 meters (105 ft)," and lasted for 2.25 seconds.
Not surprisingly, NIST did not explain how WTC 7 could have fallen at free-fall speed for 2.25 seconds. As I mentioned before, I don't know much about these things, but even I know that a building can come down at free-fall speed only if all resistance has been eliminated simultaneously, which can be achieved only through controlled demolition.
As of this writing, 1,548 architects and engineers have signed a petition demanding "a truly independent investigation with subpoena power."
Zero independent architects and engineers have signed onto the notion that fires can cause a building to collapse at free-fall speed for 2.25 seconds.
Molten steel present at WTC site weeks after 9/11
I don't know much about the temperature at which steel weakens or melts, but when a New York firefighter says , "You'd get down below [the debris at the WTC site] and see molten steel running down the channel rails, like you're in a foundry, like lava," then not investigating further is foolish.
Here's what John Gross, one of NIST's lead investigators, had to say about molten steel under the rubble at the WTC: "I know of absolutely nobody, and no eyewitness who has said [there is molten steel], and nobody who has produced it. Now, I was on the site. I was on the steel yards. So, I can't, I don't know that that's so. Steel melts at about 2,600 °F. I think it's probably pretty difficult to get that kind of temperature in a fire."
Now, when a firefighter talks about "molten steel running down the channel rails, like you're in a foundry," and one of NIST's lead investigators says, “Steel melts at about 2,600 °F. I think it's probably pretty difficult to get that kind of temperature in a fire," then failure to investigate the fireman's claim is unacceptable. Yet NIST turned a blind eye, and so did the 9/11 Commission.
Eye-witnesses contradict the official story
Several eye-witnesses have made astounding statements, and until these are investigated by some sort of independent body, why should any of us trust our own opinions more than we trust theirs? Following are partial accounts of three eye witnesses.
Susan McIlwain claims that on the morning of 9/11, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, she saw a small, white, low-flying thing (but not a plane), "no wider than [her] van" pass directly above her van below treetop level, then rise, bank, and crash at the time we have been told that United Airlines Flight 93 crashed there.
Barry Jennings, Deputy Director of the Emergency Services Department in New York City, was called to the Emergency Command Center at the 23rd floor of WTC 7 after the North Tower was hit by "a small Cessna." When he arrived on the 23rd floor, he "noticed that everybody was gone" and had left behind hot coffee and "half-eaten sandwiches." He then "called several individuals, [and] one individual told me . . . to leave and leave right away."
Jennings and Michael Hess, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York (see his account, below), realized they were the only people there and needed to get out immediately. They "went to the stairwell and were going down the stairs, and when [they] reached . . . the 6th floor . . . there was an explosion, and the landing gave way."
Jennings and Hess made their way back up to the 8th floor, where they were stranded until firefighters rescued them later that morning. Jennings stated, "All this time, I'm hearing explosions." When Jennings got back to the lobby, he did not recognize where he was because "the lobby was totally destroyed." He and Hess were led out of the building through a "makeshift hole," and Jennings said a police officer told them, "We got reports of more explosions, so you have to run."
Some might suggest that what Jennings thought were explosions were actually the towers falling. However, Jennings is clear on that point, saying, “When we made it back to the 8th floor (after hearing the explosion at the 6th floor) . . . both buildings were still standing.”
Jennings told his account to the 9/11 Commission, who, of course, left if out of the official report.
Michael Hess, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, was with Jennings in WTC 7 the morning of 9/11. Here is what he told a television reporter on the afternoon of 9/11: “I was up in the Emergency Management Center on the 23rd floor, and when all the power went out in the building, another gentleman and I walked down to the 8th floor, where there was an explosion, and we were trapped on the 8th floor with smoke, thick smoke, for about an hour and a half.”
Does anyone who has actually read the official report still support it?
Call me crazy, but when the commissioners producing the official report no longer trust their own work; when eye witnesses report explosions and other anomalies that contradict the official version; when a building inexplicably collapses into its own footprint, and especially when part of the collapse is at free-fall speed; when many architects, engineers, physicists, pilots, and firefighters see the need for an independent investigation . . .
Yes, call me crazy, but given all that, the controversial position is to be satisfied with the official conspiracy theory.