In Chapter 5, moreover, we saw that NIST ignored still more evidence, including:
- Testimonial evidence of explosions going off before and during the collapse;
- Testimonial evidence from two city officials---Michael Hess (in 2001) and Barry Jennings---of a huge explosion in WTC 7 after the South Tower was struck but before it collapsed;
- Testimonial evidence from Michael Hess (in 2001), Matthys Levy, and Barry Jennings that fires started burning in WTC 7 about 9:30 AM;
- Testimonial evidence from Barry Jennings that people had been killed in WTC 7 before he was rescued;
- Testimonial evidence of people reporting foreknowledge of WTC 7’s collapse.
This is an enormous amount of relevant evidence. And that NIST’s ignoring was deliberate, not inadvertent, is shown by the fact that each ignored item has a common characteristic: It provides evidence that explosives were used to bring down WTC 7.
Fabricating and Falsifying Evidence
As mentioned in Chapter 2, it is difficult in relation to NIST’s WTC 7 report to draw a clear line between fabrication and falsification. In reports that are based on physical experiments, by contrast, a clear distinction can be made. As Richard Lewontin was quoted there as saying:
Fabrication is the creation of claimed observations and facts out of whole cloth. . . . Falsification is the trimming and adjustment of the results of genuine experiments so that they come to be in agreement with a desired conclusion.
As we have seen, however, NIST did not do any physical experiments (eschewing any study of the WTC dust, for example, and also denying that it had any recovered steel to work with--in spite of the pieces reported by Professor Astaneh-Asl and the WPI professors). Insofar as it performed “experiments,” these were carried out on its computers.
For this reason, combined with the fact that NIST has not made its data available to other researchers, making a clear distinction between falsification and outright fabrication is difficult. Also, the distinction is not really important, as these two kinds of fraud, insofar as they can be distinguished, are equally serious. They are, therefore, treated together here.
The previous chapters provided reasons to believe that many of the claims made in NIST’s WTC 7 report involve the fabrication or falsification of evidence, including:
- The claim that all of the fires in WTC 7 began at 10:28, when the North Tower fell (as distinct from starting either earlier or later);
- The claim that fires on several floors lasted for seven hours;
- The claim that fires began to appear “shortly after” the North Tower collapsed (even though the first visual evidence for fire appeared over an hour and a half later);
- The claim that a WTC security officer spotted a fire on the 7th floor at 10:30 AM;
- The claim that eyewitnesses reported an 8th floor fire sometime between 12:15 and 2:30 PM;
- The claim that Floors 11, 12, and 13 had far more combustibles than other floors;
- The claim that Floor 12 had a raging fire in its northeast corner at 5:00 PM (even though its 2004 Interim Report on WTC 7 showed that fire had left that corner by 3:00 and had completely burned out on the entire floor by 4:45);
- The claim that NIST could reasonably model the 13th floor fire on that of the 12th floor, because NIST had little information about the layout of the 13th floor (even though a schematic of Floor 13 provided by NIST itself shows that it had information indicating that the floor would have had relatively few combustibles);
- The claim that it was justifiable for NIST to use the Case B variables for its simulations, rather than the variables that, according to its own simulator, were the most accurate;
- The claim that fires caused the air temperatures on some floors to reach 1,000 to 1,100°C (1,832 to 2012°F);
- The claim that some of the steel beams reached 600 to 675°C (1,100 to 1,250°F);
- The claim, made at least implicitly, that structural steel’s thermal conductivity is zero;
- The claim that, although each cubicle or office would have provided only enough fuel for 20-30 minutes of burning, the steel in some areas would have been subjected to four hours of heating;
- The claim that the girders in WTC 7 were not connected to the floors by shear studs (even though NIST’s 2004 Interim Report on WTC 7 said otherwise);
- The claim that some steel beams, when heated to temperatures approaching 400°C (752°F), expanded (elongated) enough to cause their 28 shear studs to fail and also to force a girder off of its support;
- The claim that “differential thermal heating” would have caused the shear studs anchoring the floor beams to the floor slabs to fail (even though this happened in the computer simulation only because NIST did not heat the simulated floor slab);
- The claim that the top portion of Column 79 would have begun a rapid descent 0.2 seconds after it buckled at a lower floor (even though it would have still had its lateral supports from the upper floors);
- The claim that NIST’s simulation-based graphic of WTC 7’s collapse matches the video images of the collapse “reasonably well” (even though the contorted roofline in the graphic looks nothing like the essentially horizontal roofline seen in the videos);
- The claim that the collapse of WTC 7 began 5.4 seconds before the roofline reached the level of the 29th floor (even though the roofline was immobile during the first 1.5 seconds of this period);
- The claim in NIST’s Draft Report, and hence at its August 2008 press briefing, that WTC 7 did not enter into freefall (even though simple measurements, using the video evidence, showed that it did);
- The implicit claim of NIST’s Final Report that the now-acknowledged 2.25 seconds of free fall does not contradict its theory of a “fire-induced progressive collapse” (even though Shyam Sunder had explained in his August technical briefing why this theory would not allow for free fall);
- The implicit claim that the collapse of WTC 7 almost entirely into its own footprint, with no several-hundred-feet-long columns falling on other buildings and into the streets, is consistent with NIST’s non-demolition theory of the collapse, according to which explosives did not cut the columns into short segments.
Whether we classify these claims as fabrications or falsifications, they add up to an enormous amount of fraud, assuming that they did not simply reflect incompetence. And the incompetence hypothesis can be ruled out by the fact that all of these claims share one obvious characteristic: They all support NIST’s attempt to provide a non-demolition explanation of WTC 7’s collapse.
Other Violations of Scientific Principles
The starting point of NIST’s investigation, in which it refused to begin with the most likely hypothesis, was also the starting point for all of its other violations. Although there were many reasons to assume that WTC 7 was brought down by controlled demolition, NIST’s lead investigator, Shyam Sunder, claimed that this hypothesis was “not credible enough to justify a careful investigation.”
Instead, NIST declared: “The challenge was to determine if a fire-induced floor system failure could occur in WTC 7 under an ordinary building contents fire.”
So although every collapse of steel-framed high-rise buildings that had occurred before or after September 11, 2001, had been brought about by explosives, which means that none of them had been induced by fire, NIST determined that, in this case, the fire hypothesis was the most credible one.
The claim that this is what NIST really determined is, of course, simply not believable. The only plausible explanation for NIST’s behavior was that, as an agency of the Bush-Cheney administration’s Commerce Department, it had to exclude, and even try to discredit, the view that WTC 7 was brought down by explosives. This means that NIST, in restricting itself to the fire hypothesis, was violating the most general formal principle of scientific work: Extra-scientific considerations should not be allowed to determine its conclusions.
By rejecting the controlled demolition hypothesis, NIST was also violating Occam’s razor, according to which, if there are two explanations that are equally adequate, the simplest one should be chosen. In this case, of course, the two competing hypotheses were not even equally adequate, because NIST, to advocate its fire hypothesis, had to ignore much of the relevant evidence. But even if NIST had come up with explanations for all of the ignored evidence, it would have needed one explanation for the melted steel, another for the inextinguishable fires, another for the unusual particles in the air, another for the particles in the dust that appear to have required extremely high temperatures, another for the apparent nanothermite residue in the dust, and still others for the testimonial evidence about explosions. The result would have been an extremely complex hypothesis. But all of these phenomena can be explained by one and the same hypothesis, namely, that explosives, including nanothermite, were used to demolish WTC 7.
By rejecting and seeking to discredit this hypothesis, NIST was also led to violate the prohibition against straw-man arguments. The most obvious example is NIST’s argument that, if explosive material had been used, it would have been RDX. But NIST also created a straw-man version of the argument that the sulfidized steel found at the site provides evidence of a sulfur-containing incendiary or explosive.
NIST’s report also, especially in its claims about fire and steel temperatures, violates the principle that prima facie implausible claims should not be made without good reason. Part of offering a good reason, we saw in Chapter 2, would be providing extraordinarily good evidence to back up such claims. The evidence presented by NIST for its prima facie implausible claims, however, is extraordinarily weak.
NIST’s refusal of the demolition explanation also led it to an even more serious problem: its violation of the principle that scientists should not affirm an unprecedented cause for a familiar occurrence without a good reason. Sunder’s vague claim that NIST did not find the demolition hypothesis credible does not constitute a “good reason.”
NIST’s refusal to begin with the most likely hypothesis led it, still more seriously, down a path that forced it, at the end, to make a claim implying that fundamental laws of physics have been violated. This is the claim that, although WTC 7’s columns had not been simultaneously removed by explosives, the building came down vertically in freefall for over two seconds. After over 600 pages of explanations, simulations, and graphics, NIST resorted to saying, in effect, that a miracle had occurred.
Chapter 2 articulated one more principle: “Scientific Work Should Be Reviewed by Peers Before It is Published.” Because this principle is different in kind from the others---it concerns not the content of a report but the process of preparing one for publication---it is here discussed separately.
NIST’s WTC team did not, before publishing its report, submit it report to peers in the scientific community to be reviewed before publishing it. It did not do this even though this step was recommended by Dr. James Quintiere, someone NIST should have taken seriously. A professor of Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland, Quintiere was a member of the advisory committee for NIST’s WTC project. This was a natural assignment, as he had previously been employed in NIST’s fire program for 19 years, the final years of which he served as Chief of the Fire Science Division.
In a lecture on the WTC investigations at the 2007 World Fire Safety Conference, Quintiere said:
I wish that there would be a peer review of this. . . . I think all the records that NIST has assembled should be archived. I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they’ve done; both structurally and from a fire point of view.
In an interview later that same year, Quintiere repeated his call, saying:
I think there should be a full airing of the NIST analyses and results with questions raised by the public before an impartial panel judging the completeness and accuracy of their results. In other words, peer review with accountability to a national body. That should determine whether further investigation is needed.
But NIST did not take the advice of the former head of its Fire Science Division, and so there was no peer-review process. And NIST certainly did not submit its results to an impartial panel empowered to judge their “completeness and accuracy” and to decide, on the basis of that judgment, whether “further investigation [was] needed.”
The authors of the NIST report on WTC 7 were evidently not responsible to anyone---except to the agencies mentioned by the former NIST employee quoted above in Chapter 1: the Department of Commerce, the National Security Agency, and President Bush’s Office of Management and Budget.
NIST did, to be sure, meet from time to time with an advisory committee. But it evidently did not take any advice from its members or even answer their questions. Speaking directly to a NIST representative, Quintiere said:
I found that throughout your whole investigation it was very difficult to get a clear answer. And when anyone went to your advisory panel meetings or hearings, where they were given five minutes to make a statement; they could never ask any questions. And with all the commentary that I put in, and I spent many hours writing things . . . , I never received one formal reply.
There was, finally, one other way in which NIST, without having a formal review process, might have had a process that could have prevented the publication of a report replete with scientific fraud. As we have seen, NIST first published a Draft for Public Comment, inviting anyone from the general public---thereby any scientists---who wished to send in comments to do so.
There were three signs, however, that NIST did not take this process seriously as an opportunity to improve its report. First, after spending several years to compile an over 700-page report, plus a briefer version, it gave people only three weeks to send in their comments.
Second, NIST evidently did not reply to any of the people who sent in comments.
The third and most important sign that NIST did not take this process seriously is that it simply ignored most of the comments, even if they pointed out contradictions---such as the observation by James Gourley that NIST’s graphic showing a raging fire on Floor 12 at 5:00 PM is contradicted by the statement, made in NIST’s 2004 Interim Report on WTC 7, that the fire on this floor had burned out by 4:45 PM. As far as I know, the only major change made by NIST in response to a comment was its acceptance of David Chandler’s insistence that WTC 7 did enter into freefall, and this was a special case: Chandler had put a very effective video presentation on the Internet and he also made an impressive statement at NIST’s technical briefing, which was broadcast live.
In short, besides not having a formal peer-review process, NIST showed contempt for those who offered advice (with the exception of David Chandler), including people such as James Quintiere and Frank Greening, who, not believing that NIST was engaged in a cover-up operation, really wanted to help it produce a better report.
2. NIST’s WTC 7 Report As False
This book’s subtitle makes two claims: NIST’s WTC 7 report is unscientific, and it is false. Although the focus of the book has been on the former claim, the latter one is more important.
To explain this point, it is first necessary to make clear that the two claims really are distinct. Some readers might think that to show a report to be unscientific is ipso facto to prove it to be false. But a report might be based on a very unscientific approach and yet just happen to reach conclusions that are close to the truth of the matter. Likewise, a report might be based on excellent scientific work and nevertheless reach a false conclusion, perhaps because of information unknowable to the researchers at the time. Answering the question of whether a report is scientific or unscientific does not, therefore, necessarily settle the question of whether its conclusions are basically true or false.
Although in some cases the former question is more important, with regard to NIST’s report about WTC 7, the question of its truth is far more important. If the report were terribly unscientific and yet basically true---if WTC 7 did, in fact, come down because of a fire-induced collapse---not much would follow, except that NIST should hire better scientists. But if NIST’s conclusion is false, because WTC 7 was demolished with explosives of some sort, this fact is of overwhelming importance, regardless of how good or bad NIST’s scientific work was.
Why NIST’s Conclusion about WTC7 Can Be Called False
Postponing for a moment the question of why it would be so important, let us ask whether the conclusion of NIST’s WTC 7 report----that WTC 7 was brought down by fire---might conceivably be true even though NIST’s report is, from a scientific point of view, a travesty. The answer is that this is not conceivable, because much of the evidence used to demonstrate the unscientific nature of NIST’s report serves equally well to show the falsity of any fire-theory of WTC 7’s collapse.
This is the case, for example, with Chapter 4’s evidence of things in the air, the rubble, and the dust that cannot be explained apart from the use of explosives. It was because NIST’s scientists knew this that they had to ignore all of this evidence.
The same is true of Chapter 5’s testimonial evidence about explosions in WTC 7, especially the explosions in the morning reported by Barry Jennings. There is simply no conceivable explanation of those explosions that would be consistent with the official line, according to which WTC 7 came down as a result of the North Tower’s collapse at 10:28. This would explain why NIST and then the BBC went to such lengths to distort the timeline of Jennings’ testimony.
A complete list of further reasons to call NIST’s WTC 7 report false (as well as unscientific) would include:
- Evidence that, instead of all starting at 10:28, some fires in WTC 7 started before, and others started after, that time;
- Evidence that neither fires nor steel beams became nearly as hot as NIST claims;
- Evidence that both of NIST’s claims about shear stud failure---that the shear studs connecting beams to the floor slabs failed because of differential thermal heating, and that the girder shear studs simply failed to exist---are false;
- The fact that a fire-based collapse, which if even possible would necessarily be a “progressive collapse,” could not possibly mimic the collapse of WTC 7 as seen on videos, in which the building comes straight down with its roofline remaining essentially horizontal;
- The fact that, even if otherwise possible, the collapse of a steel-framed building that was not produced by using explosives to remove the columns could not possibly enter free fall, even for a second or two;
- The fact that, even if otherwise possible, the collapse of a steel-framed high-rise building, assuming that it did not result from the use of explosives to cut the steel columns into relatively short segments, could not possibly result in a short, compact debris pile essentially within the building’s footprint;
- The fact that the demolition theory of WTC 7’s collapse, which NIST rejects, can explain all of the phenomena that NIST either ignored or inadequately explained.
In the case of NIST’s WTC 7 report, in other words, showing it to be unscientific is also to show it to be false. I turn next to the question of why this conclusion is of great importance.
Why the Falsity of NIST’s WTC 7 Report Is Important
The fact that NIST’s report on WTC 7 is false implies, in the first place, that Muslim terrorists were not responsible for the collapse of this building (by flying an airliner into the North Tower, which then, while collapsing, started fires in WTC 7). Instead, WTC 7 must have been brought down by domestic terrorists with the ability to plant explosives in it and then to orchestrate a cover-up.
If WTC 7 was demolished by such well-connected domestic terrorists, moreover, then the Twin Towers, which---after the initial explosions at the top---also came straight down in virtual free fall, must also have been brought down by explosives planted by these same terrorists. Indeed, the evidence in the dust and rubble that WTC 7 was demolished by explosives is equally evidence that the same is true of the Twin Towers.
Furthermore, once we see that the Twin Towers came down because of explosives, not because of the airplane impacts and the resulting fires, we can also see that the whole story about the airliners is irrelevant to the destruction of the World Trade Center: This destruction could have been carried out equally well without the airplane impacts. The only difference would be that it would have been more obvious that the buildings were victims of controlled demolition.
Finally, once people see that Muslim hijackers played no essential role in the destruction of the World Trade Center, they are likely to become open to evidence that the entire official account of 9/11, according to which America was attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists, is false. And once people become open to examining such evidence, they will find that it shows every part of the official story to be false.
To support this claim, I am here reprinting most of a little article of mine entitled “21 Reasons to Question the Official Story about 9/11” (I have included only 15 of them, because the final 6 deal with points already made in the present book). Although the points are stated very briefly, they include the pages in my previous 9/11 book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited (NPHR),
where the issues are discussed more extensively.
(1) Although the official account of 9/11 claims that Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks, the FBI does not list 9/11 as one of the terrorist acts for which he is wanted and has admitted that it "has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11" (NPHR 206-11).
(2) Although the official story holds that the four airliners were hijacked by devout Muslims ready to die as martyrs to earn a heavenly reward, Mohamed Atta and the other alleged hijackers regularly drank heavily, went to strip clubs, and paid for sex (NPHR 153-55).
(3) Many people reported having received cell phone calls from loved ones or flight attendants on the airliners, during which they were told that Middle Eastern hijackers had taken over the planes. One recipient, Deena Burnett, was certain that her husband had called her several times on his cell phone because she had recognized his number on her Caller ID. But the calls to Burnett and most of the other reported calls were made when the planes were above 30,000 feet, and evidence presented by the 9/11 truth movement showed that, given the technology of the time, cell phone calls from high-altitude airliners had been impossible. By the time the FBI presented a report on phone calls from the planes at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006, it had changed its story, saying that there were only two cell phone calls from the flights, both from United 93 after it had descended to 5,000 feet (NPHR 111-17).
(4) US Solicitor General Ted Olson's claim that his wife, Barbara Olson, phoned him twice from AA 77, reporting that hijackers had taken it over, was also contradicted by this FBI report, which says that the only call attempted by her was "unconnected" and hence lasted "0 seconds" (NPRH 60-62).
(5) Although decisive evidence that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks was reportedly found in Mohamed Atta's luggage---which allegedly failed to get loaded onto Flight 11 from a commuter flight that Atta took to Boston from Portland, Maine, that morning---this story was made up after the FBI's previous story had collapsed. According to that story, the evidence had been found in a Mitsubishi that Atta had left in [Boston’s] Logan Airport parking lot and the trip to Portland was taken by Adnan and Ameer Bukhari. After the FBI learned that neither of the Bukharis had died on September 11, it simply declared that the trip to Portland was made by Atta and another al-Qaeda operative (NPHR 155-62).
(6) The other types of reputed evidence for Muslim hijackers---such as videos of al-Qaeda operatives at airports, passports discovered at the crash sites, and a headband discovered at the crash site of United 93---also show clear signs of having been fabricated (NPHR 170-73).
(7) In addition to the absence of evidence for hijackers on the planes, there is also evidence of their absence: If hijackers had broken into the cockpits, the pilots would have "squawked" the universal hijack code, an act that takes only a couple of seconds. But not one of the eight pilots on the four airliners did this (NPHR 175-79).
(8) Given standard operating procedures between the FAA and the military, according to which planes showing signs of an in-flight emergency are normally intercepted within about 10 minutes, the military's failure to intercept any of the flights implies that something, such as a stand-down order, prevented standard procedures from being carried out (NPHR 1-10, 81-84).
(9) Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta reported an episode in which Vice President Cheney, while in the bunker under the White House, apparently confirmed a stand-down order at about 9:25 AM, which was prior to the strike on the Pentagon. Another man has reported hearing members of LAX Security learn that a stand-down order had come from the "highest level of the White House" (NPHR 94-96).
(10) The 9/11 Commission did not mention Mineta's report, removed it from the Commission's video record of its hearings, and claimed that Cheney did not enter the shelter conference room until almost 10:00, which was at least 40 minutes later than he was really there, according to Mineta and several other witnesses, including Cheney's photographer (NPHR 91-94).
(11) The 9/11 Commission's timeline for Cheney that morning even contradicted what Cheney himself had told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" September 16, just five days after 9/11 (NPHR 93).
(12) Hani Hanjour, known as a terrible pilot who could not safely fly even a single-engine airplane, could not possibly have executed the amazing trajectory reportedly taken by American Flight 77 in order to hit Wedge 1 of the Pentagon (NPHR 78-80).
(13) Wedge 1 would have been the least likely part of the Pentagon to be targeted by foreign terrorists, for several reasons: It was as far as possible from the offices of Rumsfeld and the top brass, whom Muslim terrorists presumably would have wanted to kill; it was the only part of the Pentagon that had been reinforced; the reconstruction was not finished, so there were relatively few people there; and it was the only part of the Pentagon that would have presented obstacles to a plane's flight path (NPHR 76-78).
(14) Contrary to the claim of Pentagon officials that they did not have the Pentagon evacuated because they had no way of knowing that an aircraft was approaching, a military E-4B---the Air Force's most advanced communications, command, and control airplane---was flying over the White House at the time. Also, although there can be no doubt about the identity of the plane, which was captured on video by CNN and others, the military has denied that it belonged to them (NPHR 96-98).
(15) The Secret Service, after learning that a second World Trade Center building had been attacked---which would have meant that terrorists were going after high-value targets---and that still other planes had apparently been hijacked, allowed President Bush to remain at the school in Sarasota, Florida, for another 30 minutes. It thereby revealed its foreknowledge that Bush would not be a target: If these had really been surprise attacks, the agents, fearing that a hijacked airliner was bearing down on the school, would have hustled Bush away. On the first anniversary of 9/11, the White House started telling a new story, according to which Bush, rather than remaining in the classroom several minutes after Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second WTC building had been hit, immediately got up and left the room. This lie was told in major newspapers and on MSNBC and ABC television (NPHR 129-31).
If the truth about WTC 7 opens large numbers of people up to such evidence about 9/11, the whole “war on terror” will come to be widely seen as a sham. The Obama administration has dropped this language, but as this book was being readied for publication, it was still arguing that we had to continue the war in Afghanistan “to make sure that al-Qaeda cannot attack us again.” The implication of the truth about WTC 7, however, is that al-Qaeda never attacked us in the first place. If we want to find those who did attack us on 9/11, we will need to look much closer to home.
If the truth about WTC 7, made evident by the many flaws in NIST’s report, does lead to a much more widespread realization of the complete falsity of the official account of 9/11, then the 9/11 truth movement’s prediction about WTC 7’s collapse---that it would prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the official account---will be borne out.
This widespread realization, however, will not produce changes in policy unless it leads to political action. An organization called Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth has been formed precisely for the purpose of trying to bring about such action. It has a petition that “ask[s] President Barack Obama to authorize a new, truly independent, investigation to determine what happened on 9/11.”
The emergence of this organization represents a further evolution of the 9/11 truth movement.
At one time, this movement was ridiculed for having few scientists and other professionals in the fields. In recent years, however, many organizations of such professionals have emerged, including Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, Scientific Panel Investigating Nine-Eleven, Veterans for 9/11 Truth, and Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (the membership of which no includes over 700 licensed architects and engineers).
These organizations have been formed to spread the truth about 9/11, with “the truth” understood primarily as simply the fact that the official account of 9/11 is false.
More recently, however, professional organizations have emerged that, persuaded that this truth has now been established beyond any reasonable doubt (among people who have studied the evidence), are seeking to bring about public policy changes. These organizations include, in addition to Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth, also Lawyers for 9/11 Truth, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth, and Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth.
The obvious falsity of the official account of WTC 7 has already played a major role in the growth of this worldwide movement. It is my hope that the present book, by demonstrating beyond any doubt that the official account could not possibly be true, will help strengthen this movement to the point where it can bring about a new, truly independent, investigation, which will publicly reveal the big lie that is the official account of 9/11, and thereby bring about a change of all the policies that have been based on this lie.