Was 9/11 a carefully orchestrated disaster planned by the United States government to justify the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions? Well, according to an August 2007 Zogby poll, one in three Americans believe that “certain elements in the U.S. government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military and economic reasons.” A number of 9/11 conspiracy theorists likewise think so, and they’ve built their case on several facts, which indeed raise some very interesting questions about what really happened in the United States on September 11, 2001.
The following 10 facts do not provide any hard evidence that the U.S. government was aware of the attacks before they happened. They merely raise questions and complicate an already unbelievably complicated situation, one that is both tragic and shocking in the impact it has had on the United States since it occurred. Whether anything useful can come from these facts is not for us to decide, but there remain people out there who insist that certain information about the September 11 attacks remains hidden, and we may simply never know the whole story.
10. During the 9/11 attacks, President Bush and the Secret Service seemed to act like there was no imminent threat to the President’s life.
At 8:55 AM on 9/11, President George W. Bush arrived in Sarasota, Florida for a reading engagement with grade school students. According to the Associated Press, the President, upon his arrival, was immediately told that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, but he decided that he would “do the reading thing anyway.” In fact, at around 9:05 AM, the President’s chief of staff whispered in his ear, “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack,” and the President still remained in the classroom for at least five minutes. Afterwards, he delivered a statement to the nation from the Sarasota school, and only after that did President and his staff leave the school at 9:35 AM.
The series of events have resulted in observations that the actions of the President and his security team were very unusual given that the urgent concern at the time would’ve been to immediately move the President to a secure location. The fact that the visit had been highly publicized made an attack against him at the venue even more plausible, something that the Marine carrying the President’s phone seemed to have recognized. At around the time the second plane hit the Twin Towers, the Marine told the Sarasota County Sherriff, “We’re out of here. Can you get everybody ready?” However, even after those words were uttered, the President remained at the school 30 more minutes and still made his previously scheduled address to the nation.
The unusual disregard for the President’s safety as 9/11 was taking place have caused several conspiracy theorists to wonder: Did the President and the Secret Service, at any level, know that the President wasn’t in any real danger?
9. Suspicious stock market trading movements occurred just before 9/11.
Several stock market movements made just before 9/11 give rise to suspicions that particular traders knew the attacks were going to happen. Among these movements, the most dubious involved an unusually large number of put options, a type of insurance for sudden crashes in a stock, placed on the stocks of American Airlines and United Airlines. These were the two airlines whose planes were hijacked on 9/11, and none of the other airlines saw similar unusual movements. Other stocks adversely affected by 9/11, like those of Travelers Insurance and Morgan Stanley, likewise saw unusual volumes on options that resulted in considerable profits for takers when the values of these stocks plummeted after the attacks.
8. Many witnesses claimed to have heard unexplained explosions in the Twin Towers.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s final report on 9/11 was written as if there were no reports of explosions in the Twin Towers. In contrast, a substantial number of people claimed they had heard several explosions coming from these buildings. In fact, more than 100 of the 500 or so members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) present on the site of the attacks that day talked of hearing such blasts. Moreover, other witnesses, including several prominent members of the press, reported the same. For example, the Los Angeles Times, in reference to the South Tower, noted, “There were reports of an explosion right before the tower fell.” Such accounts raise questions on whether or not controlled explosives had been used to bring down the twin towers — a possibility staunchly denied by relevant U.S. government agencies.
7. Government agencies’ claims about the collapse of WTC 7 are filled with inconsistencies.
Despite not being hit by a plane as the Twin Towers were, World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7) went down on 9/11 supposedly because fires ignited by the nearby North Tower caused it to collapse. That would’ve made the building the first one in the world to have collapsed primarily because of uncontrolled fires, thus igniting speculation that WTC 7 actually fell due to a previously planned controlled demolition. Furthermore, the NIST itself has been inconsistent in its findings on WTC 7’s collapse, a first claim suggesting that a combination of structural damage and a diesel-fed fire had brought down the structure, then a final report stating that fire alone had brought down the building. In addition, WTC 7’s straight-down, symmetrically balanced collapse further raised speculation that a controlled demolition had actually caused its fall.
6. The military seemed utterly defenseless against even seemingly defensible attacks.
It’s quite difficult to believe that the U.S. Air Force, one of the most advanced air forces in the world, could not have done anything more to defend the Pentagon even if the attack on it by AA 77 came more than 51 minutes after AA 11 had crashed into the North Tower. In fact, the head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), General Larry Arnold, told the 9/11 Commission that the military had been notified about AA 11 being hijacked at 9:24 AM, which is around 13 minutes before AA 77 flew into the Pentagon. Furthermore, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) memo released on May 21, 2003 stated that military officials were in constant communication with air traffic control and law enforcement officials “during the hour or so that AA 77 was under the control of hijackers,” thus implying that the military knew of the troubles of AA 77 soon after they began. However, the 9/11 Commission reported that intercepting AA 77 was impossible because the military had never been informed that the plane had been hijacked. Why the factual inconsistencies?
5. Several calls from passengers on the hijacked planes could not have possibly been made.
Doubts have been raised on many phone calls that were supposedly made from the hijacked planes on 9/11, two calls in particular identified as being the most questionable. The first was the one received by Deena Burnet, the wife of UA 93 passenger Tom Burnett. Deena told FBI interviewers that she had received several calls from her husband’s cell phone, a fact that she said was confirmed by the caller ID on her phone. In fact, Deena herself wondered how her husband could have been calling her on his cell phone while he was above 35,000 feet in the air as cell phones at the time were not capable of making such calls. Later, the FBI concluded that Tom’s calls were made using a plane phone, but the agency never explained why Deena would lie about seeing her husband’s cell phone number on her caller ID.
The second case, one involving television commentator Barbara Olsen’s calls from AA 77, raises even more questions because the use of both a cell phone and a plane phone seem to be ruled out by prevailing facts. At the time of the calls, AA 77 was at too high an altitude for cell phone calls to be made (plus the FBI had concluded that all calls made from AA 77 were made using the plane phone). However, a page in the Boeing 757 AMM manual, the type of plane Olsen was on, mentioned that the passenger telephone system had been previously deactivated. So how could Barbara have used a plane phone for her calls?
4. Oddities have been observed in several calls made from the hijacked planes.
Perhaps the most puzzling such call was supposedly made by Todd Beamer, who is often credited as being the passenger most responsible for preventing the hijackers on UA 93 from hitting their Washington D.C. target. According to government data, Todd’s call remained connected for “3,295 seconds”, or close to 55 minutes — meaning the call seems to have remained connected about 45 minutes after UA 93 had crashed. Lisa Jefferson, the GTE supervisor whom Beamer had spoken to, herself described,
I was still on the line and the plane took a dive, and by then, it just went silent. I held on until after the plane crashed — probably about 15 minutes longer, and I never heard a crash — it just went silent because — I can’t explain it. We didn’t lose a connection because there’s a different sound that you use. It’s a squealing sound when you lose a connection. I never lost connection, but it just went silent.
Furthermore, Jefferson noted, “he [Beamer] sounded so tranquil it made me begin to doubt the authenticity and urgency of his call.”
The same unbelievable calmness was observed in numerous other calls from those aboard hijacked planes on 9/11. For example, this recorded call from AA 11 flight attendant Betty Ong shows her unusual composure as she spoke of mace having been used and not having been able to breathe:
3. Experts say that alleged terrorist Hani Hanjour could not have maneuvered AA 77 the way that it was.
The 9/11 Commission reported that Hani Hanjour, an al Qaeda pilot, flew AA 77 into the Pentagon by disengaging the plane’s autopilot, executing a three-minute, 7000-foot, 330-degree downward spiral, then flying at 530 mph in between the first and second floors of the Pentagon’s Wedge 1. These maneuvers, several former airliner pilots have observed, could not have possibly been performed by Hanjour, an amateur pilot. In fact, Ralph Omholt, an accomplished former 757 pilot, remarked, “The idea that an unskilled pilot could have flown this trajectory is simply too ridiculous to consider.”
2. There are inconsistencies in the accounts regarding the hijacked planes’ black boxes.
Flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs), popularly known as “black boxes”, are instrumental investigating tools in a flight where the circumstances behind a crash are unclear. This was, of course, the case in the planes hijacked during 9/11. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the black boxes from the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers (Flights AA 11 and UA 175) were never recovered. However, Nicholas DeMasi and Michael Bellone, who both extensively worked in the WTC wreckage, both claimed to have helped federal agents recover three of the four black boxes from the rubble. Furthermore, on September 18, 2001, Governor George Pataki received a memorandum from the New York State Emergency Management Office stating that Investigators had identified the signal from one of the black boxes in the WTC debris.
1. The video supposedly proving bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11 raises several doubts.
The authenticity of the Jalalabad tape, supposedly of Osama bin Laden displaying that he had possessed prior knowledge of the events on 9/11, has been doubted by many, especially in the Muslim world. In fact, the translation by the White House was found by German TV show Monitor to have been done so inaccurately and manipulatively. In the said program, it was stated, “At the most important places where it [the tape] is held to prove the guilt of bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic.” Furthermore, the program showed that the words that supposedly indicated prior knowledge could not be heard at all in the original recording. Even more suspiciously, differences between bin Laden’s and the man in the video’s body weight, facial features, and dominant hand have been noted. In fact, the man in the video is even said to be wearing a gold ring, an act forbidden by Muslim law.
Poteshman, Allen M. (2006). “Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001”. The Journal of Business 79 (4): 1703. doi:10.1086/503645.
BLOOMBERG NEWS, Sept. 20, 2001 SEC asks Goldman, Lehman for data
Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2001
Lisa Jefferson and Felicia Middlebrooks, Called. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2006, p. 33.