Newly released documents from the National Archives detail how President George W. Bush authorized the shootdown of hijacked airplanes at 10:00 a.m. EDT on 9/11 after Bush had learned that two had already crashed into the World Trade Center towers.
But these orders were too late to save the people who died in the Twin Towers or 183 people who died when the western side of the Pentagon was struck by American Airlines Flight 77 at 9:37 a.m. (the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, crashed southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m. after passengers reportedly took over the plane).
The sixty-four thousand dollar question is why Bush did not order the shootdown of the planes earlier—when it could have saved people’s lives.
Bush had been alerted just minutes after a hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., while he was on a visit to schoolchildren in Sarasota, Florida.
After an aide whispered news of the second attack on the Twin Towers, President Bush continued reading a children’s book, The Pet Goat, and then at 9:30 a.m. addressed Americans at a press conference in which he said that “terrorism against our nation will not stand,” before being whisked away and stopped at about seven locations that were reported, including Barksdale Air Force Base.
Bush’s orders authorizing the shooting down of hijacked aircraft were revealed in a meeting that he held on April 29, 2004, with members of the 9/11 Commission, which was established to investigate the 9/11 attacks. 
In the meeting, President Bush claimed that he wanted to convey an aura of calm in the face of the attacks and so continued with the reading to the schoolchildren in Florida.
Bush said that it was when he got aboard Air Force One and began speaking to Dick Cheney that he gave Cheney authorization to shoot down any hijacked aircraft.
Bush said that he told Cheney that, as a veteran of the Texas National Guard (during the Vietnam War), he had been trained to shoot down planes and understood how this worked—one plane would identify the target and another would lock onto it.
But why hadn’t Bush ordered the hijacked planes to be shot down an hour earlier, when he was first informed about the World Trade Center attacks and lives could have been spared?
Failings of 9/11 Commission
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Ray McGinnis published an important book, Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored (Vancouver, Canada: NorthernStar Publications, 2021), which spotlights the efforts of 9/11 families to uncover the truth about the 9/11 attacks and to demand a new government inquiry.
A Canadian who wrote a previous book on the psalms, McGinnis emphasizes the failure of the 9/11 commission, which was staffed by Bush administration insiders and yes men, and spent only $14 million investigating the 9/11 attacks when $80 million had been spent in the 1990s investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in assorted scandals.
A group of 9/11 families gave the commission a D-grade, stating that it “did not carry out the necessary hard-hitting questioning, cross-examination and crucial follow-up questioning all of which are critical in unearthing the truth.”
The credibility of the Commission was undercut by the fact that it published the names and photos of hijackers, eight who according to media reports were found to be alive after September 11—and so not all of these could actually have been the hijackers. 
Chairman Thomas Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, a former congressman from Indiana (1965-1999), admitted that the commission had been “set up to fail.”
Fitting the precedent of the Warren Commission investigating the JFK assassination, and Roberts Commission investigating Pearl Harbor, Max Cleland said that the 9/11 Commission [which Cleland served on] had been “compromised.”
Lee Hamilton tellingly was a firm believer in “executive privilege” who was not considered much of an investigator in Congress. He admitted that he did not “go for the jugular” and had been “gullible” in accepting official government claims during the Iran-Contra investigation.
When others wanted to issue subpoenas to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) officers, Hamilton characteristically voted no, stating: “I’ve known Don Rumsfeld [Defense Secretary] for twenty, thirty years. When he said ‘I’m going to get that information for you,’ I took him at his word.” 
Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission had been on President Bush’s foreign intelligence advisory board and on the Council of Foreign Relations, and was a key contributor to a policy paper advocating preemptive war, which laid the intellectual groundwork for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 
Zelikow’s bias was apparent when the 9/11 Commission solicited the testimony of Dr. Laurie Mylroie, author of the book, Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America, who claimed that Iraq had attacked the U.S. on 9/11.
Lorie Van Auken, whose husband was killed on 9/11, told New York Times reporter Philip Shenon that “it took a lot of nerve putting someone like that on the panel. Laurie Mylroie? This is supposed to be an investigation for September 11. This is not supposed to be a sales pitch for the Iraq War!” Van Auken continued: “He knew exactly what he was doing. He was selling the war.”
McGinnis summarizes some of the main question marks about 9/11 that families of the survivors had which the 9/11 Commission never addressed:
These questions include:
- How did the FBI amass complete biographies of the alleged terrorists and their accomplices in such a short time after the attacks? Did the intelligence agencies have open files on these men? Were they already under investigation and, if so, could the attacks have been prevented?
- How come Osama bin Laden appeared to be healthy and with a brown beard in a November 9, 2001, “confession” video, when he appeared to be frail, gaunt and pale with a white beard in other videos purportedly taken on November 3 and November 16?
- How come the doors to the roofs of the World Trade Center North and South Towers were locked, preventing people in the buildings from being rescued by helicopter—as they had been after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing?
- Why did George Tabeek of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey give orders for an announcement after the first tower was struck that people should return to their offices in World Trade Center building 2, which cost many people their lives? 
- Why did the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), American Airlines and NORAD each report different times for orders to send out fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes and why were the planes never intercepted?
- Why was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld not informed about the 9/11 attacks when they occurred? And why was the Pentagon undefended when it oversaw a trillion dollar budget for national defense?
- How was it possible that the passports of alleged hijackers Mohamed Atta and Satam al-Suqami were found at street level in the rubble of the World Trade Center, unsinged?
- Why did FBI headquarters block agent Coleen Rowley in Minneapolis, agent Robert Wright in Chicago, and the FBI offices in New York City from properly reporting evidence of terrorist plotting?
- Why did the FBI, who had Mohamed Atta under surveillance, do nothing to prevent him from re-entering the U.S. three times in 2001, despite his expired visa?
- Why were members of the bin Laden family flown from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia right after the 9/11 attacks when all commercial and private flights were officially grounded?
- Why did the CIA withhold information from the FBI about two of the alleged hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar?
- Where Were the Eyes and Ears of North American Skies?
- One of the biggest unanswered questions that the 9/11 Commission failed to address was why NORAD jets were unable to intercept the hijacked planes if they were airborne within eight minutes of notification?
Founded in 1957 as a joint command military organization between the U.S. and Canada, NORAD was the “multimillion dollar, 24-hour eyes and ears of North American skies.”
Holding an impeccable record in aviation safety, it had successfully intercepted 129 off-course flights in 2000 over U.S. air space, and carried out anti-hijack training exercises every six days.
After a 1956 mid-air crash over the Grand Canyon, the FAA had made it mandatory for all planes to have approved flight paths tracked by radar and to have their cruising altitude approved before take-off.
An Air Traffic Control Center binder from August 1998 counseled controllers that, when a plane strayed from its approved flight path or altitude assignment, it will “likely find two [jet fighters] on their tail within 10 minutes or so.” 
On 9/11 these jet fighters could have been able to perform aerial maneuvers around the hijacked flights to force them off course. However, inexplicably, neither the FAA and NORAD followed its normal protocol on 9/11, and its top commanders went AWOL during the attacks.
NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart was himself unreachable for 45 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. while driving his car. Eberhart claimed in an interview on March 1, 2004, that he chose to be absent from the command post for 45 minutes while the attacks were unfolding because things had “quieted down,” which is ridiculous. 
The 9/11 Commission Report conceded that the response by NORAD was “one failure after another,” though it failed to investigate these failures in any depth or to uncover their root cause.
Lorie Van Auken, a member of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, said that she was stunned that the 9/11 Commission Report omitted the fact that there were two fighter jets from the Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona, New Jersey, carrying out mock bombing sorties only eight minutes away from ground zero that were never called.
Paul Thompson, author of The Terror Timeline, commented that the 9/11 Commission considered a criminal investigation of NORAD and Pentagon officials who gave the inquiry seven different, and contradictory, stories regarding the military response to the hijackings.
Strangely, while two of the flight attendants from the hijacked planes contacted the airline to alert them that a hijacking was in progress and it was protocol to notify NORAD of any hijacking in progress, under NORAD’s timeline no one was in touch with them until much later.
The FAA also only received word of the hijackings at 9:34 a.m., over an hour after air traffic controllers at Boston Center began notifying the FAA that a hijacking had taken place.
Significance of War Games Exercises
Further suspicious was the unprecedented number of war games exercises that just happened to be held on September 11, which appears to have contributed to the confusion and slower response times by the FAA and NORAD—though this was never explored by the 9/11 Commission.
The scenario for one of the war games, Amalgam Virgo One, involved a suicide pilot attacking a military building, while Fertile Rice featured Osama bin Laden directing a drone filled with explosives to target Washington, D.C.
Two other games, Vigilant Guardian and Global Guardian, had a photo of bin Laden on the cover of their documents and featured a script where terrorists hijacked a plane in order to attack Manhattan. 
When questioned by the 9/11 Commission, NORAD Commander General Ralph Eberhart falsely claimed that the war games “cost us 30 seconds,” when it was likely far more.
How Did the World Trade Center Buildings Collapse?
9/11 families and members of the 9/11 Truth Movement have raised further questions as to why the steel from the World Trade Center was removed so quickly and sold to scrap dealers without being examined.
NYPD firefighters had entered the smoldering World Trade Center towers on 9/11 based on their collective experience that steel-framed buildings did not collapse when they were on fire.
The 9/11 Commission confirmed that none of the fire chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible.
The 9/11 Commission, however, did not follow up on the matter or raise questions as to what caused the building’s steel beams to drip molten metal down their sides, which was observed.
It also ignored the conclusion of a study carried out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which determined that collision with a large jet airliner (Boeing 707) would result in only local damage and could “not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building.”
An editorial in Fire and Engineering revealed that “numbers of members of the New York Fire Department who were first responders on 9/11 reported explosions from within both of the Twin Towers before and after the planes hit the top of the towers.” 
Three television networks, four cable news channels, and four local TV channels in New York City reported explosions at the World Trade Center, with Cynthia McFadden referring to Ground Zero as the “blast site” on ABC. 
Survivors said that, when they went down to the lobby of Building 2, they saw a woman with her face blown off, and that the lobby had been destroyed—as if by a bomb.
The first casualty to arrive at Bellevue Hospital in New York, Marlene Cruz stated that she was in an elevator that blew up from an explosion. Cruz had worked at the World Trade Center when it was bombed in 1993 and thought to herself: “Here we go again, another bomb.” 
FDNY firefighter John Coyle, who was in the South Tower when it collapsed, told the New York Times that, when he called his father to tell him he was alive, his father asked him whether he was there when the planes hit, to which Coyle replied: “No I was there when it exploded, the building exploded.” When his father interjected: “You mean when it fell down,” Coyle said: “No, when it exploded.” 
Why Did World Trade Center Building 7 Collapse?
A related mystery is why World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed when it was not hit by any hijacked planes. The official explanation was that a diesel fuel oil tank caused a fire that led the building to collapse, though numerous survivors heard explosions go off that sounded like bombs or incendiaries. 
On March 25, 2020, the University of Alaska Fairbanks issued a four-year computer modeling study on the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 which concluded that “fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11.” The collapse, rather, was caused by “near simultaneous failure of every column in the building,” which could be achieved only by a controlled demolition.
“He Could Not Fly at All”
Another important question is how alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour performed such a complex maneuver in reportedly steering Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The New York Times reported, in an article entitled “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” that Hanjour had failed a number of piloting courses in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Pan Am International Flight Academy and JetTech Flight School.
A JetTech employee said: “I am still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all.”
Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush’s Lies
The 9/11 Commission never probed the strange behavior of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 9/11 and the lies that they told.
- George W. Bush: President Bush was informed by the Director of the White House Situation Room, Rear Admiral Deborah Loewer, that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower at 8:50 a.m. EDT, though he strangely decided to continue with his visit to a second grade classroom in Sarasota. When he was told that the second plane had crashed, Bush, against protocol, kept reading The Pet Goat to the second graders, while Press Secretary Ari Fleischer held up a paper with the words: “DON’T SAY ANYTHING YET.”
On December 4, 2001, Bush claimed that, while he was waiting to enter the classroom in Sarasota, he saw an airplane hit the tower—on TV. However, The Washington Timesreported that President Bush did not have access to a television until fifteen minutes later, while the Boston Herald noted that video of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center did not surface until the next day.
- Dick Cheney: According to numerous reports, Cheney was taken to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center beneath the White House the moment the South Tower was struck at 9:03 a.m. However, the 9/11 Commission reported that Cheney did not arrive at the bunker until 9:58 a.m.—though Cheney was seen by a Secret Service agent at 9:30 a.m. Cheney told the 9/11 Commission that he was carried away from his office by the Secret Service at 9:35 a.m. However, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta arrived at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center at 9:20 a.m. and observed that Cheney was clearly in command.
Mineta said he saw an unidentified young officer come in and report to Cheney that a plane was approaching the Pentagon, and then he asked: “Do the orders still stand,” and Cheney said “yes.” Mineta told Lee Hamilton he thought the order was a shootdown order; however, the order may have actually been not to shoot down American Airlines Flight 77. 
- Donald Rumsfeld: Rumsfeld was working in the east side of the Pentagon on the morning of September 11. He claimed that he was not told that a plane was headed for the Pentagon even 15 minutes before and that he was unaware at the time that jets had crashed into the World Trade Center. After Rumsfeld felt the building shake, he claimed to have gone outside and started helping the injured into stretchers. After aiding the victims he said he then went into the war room.
Rumsfeld’s story is contradicted by testimony of Victoria Clarke, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, who says that she told Rumsfeld after 8:46 a.m. that the first tower had been hit 51 minutes before American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.
Rumsfeld’s claim about going outside to help the victims is also implausible because each side of the Pentagon is the length of three football fields and Rumsfeld’s office was a brisk ten-minute walk to the Pentagon lawn. Rumsfeld could thus only have been at the crash site for an extremely brief period; he did not have half an hour to spend before returning to his office at the time he claimed—10:00 a.m. (American Airlines Flight 77 was reported to have hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.).
Missing $2.3 Trillion
The day before 9/11, Rumsfeld admitted that $2.3 trillion of Pentagon money was missing. Auditors had audited the 1999 fiscal year of the Department of Defense and found that $2.3 trillion was missing paperwork. There was a further $1.8 trillion that the auditors were unable to review due to lack of time and proper staffing due to budgetary cuts to the audit department.
On September 11, American Airlines Flight 77 blew concentric holes through six walls and slammed into the newly renovated U.S. Army financial management and audit area, resulting in the deaths of 34 of its 65 employees.
Most of those killed were civilian accountants, bookkeepers and budget analysts. This raises the question as to whether the attack on September 11 was used as an opportunity to target the auditors investigating the missing $2.3 trillion.
Did an Airplane Actually Hit the Pentagon?
An eyewitness to the crash, reporter Jamie McIntyre, stated that there was no evidence of an airplane having actually crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. There were no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon and then caused the side to collapse. The only debris appeared to be small pieces of an airplane, with the biggest piece being only three feet long. 
Speculative Bets in Money Markets
After the 9/11 attacks, there were people who made speculative bets in money markets that the price of airline stock—the same ones that were hijacked on 9/11—would fall.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on September 29, 2001 “there is evidence that a number of the transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” 
The firm that managed the suspicious transactions was Bankers Trust, a major U.S. investment bank with ties to CIA Executive Director Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard. He used to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Bankers Trust and had been involved in specialized banking operations identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as having been closely connected with the laundering of drug money.
The CIA routinely monitored evidence of irregular trading activity through its PROMIS software system that would have alerted it to the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
On the eve of 9/11, there had been insider trading and suspicious sales of shares in airlines, insurance companies and gold and oil markets that suggest they were conducted with insider knowledge. Some of these were traced to the Marsh & McLennan data center on the 95th floor of the North Tower, which was hit on 9/11.
Marsh & McLennan’s chief of risk management was Paul Bremer, who was subsequently appointed by President Bush as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq.
When the North Tower was hit, a conference call was proceeding where Marsh & McLennan employees were raising concerns about mysterious transactions in the data center. But they all died when the building collapsed—though Bremer survived as he was flying back to New York. 
Some of the unusual stock trades involved Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch—two of the biggest occupants of the World Trade Center—in investments that originated in Germany’s Deutsche Bank, which had acquired Bankers Trust. 
The FBI also identified suspicious trades between September 6 and September 10, 2001, involving Stratesec Incorporated, which provided security to airports.
These traced back to Wirt Walker III, a board member of the Carlyle Group, a leading military contractor and relative of George W. Bush and business partner of one of Bush’s brothers, Marvin.
This discovery should have prompted further investigation by the 9/11 Commission, which failed to do so. 
Among the Truthers
During an address to the United Nations on November 10, 2001, President George W. Bush warned that he would not tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories” about 9/11.
However, it is apparent that Bush is the one who was promoting an outrageous conspiracy theory that was contradicted by massive evidence that has come to light.
In his book, Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground, Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay told his readers that “people who believe in alternative views about what happened on 9/11 are among a large group of people who are afraid of vaccines and fluoride, deny the Holocaust, doubt the NASA moon landing ever took place, and don’t believe President Obama was born in America.”
Kay added that “damaged survivors are particularly effective as recruiters for conspiracist movements because the spectacle of their grief short circuits our intellectual faculties.”
But it is Kay who lacks the intellectual curiosity and faculty to process the copious evidence that contradicts the official narrative about 9/11. And it is Kay who is the one who is psychologically damaged—as he disparages a noble group of people who have worked tirelessly to expose what may be the greatest criminal conspiracy in U.S. history.
Why, after so many years, are there still so many unanswered questions about 9/11?
The answer is as obvious as it is frightening. The only barrier to full knowledge about what really happened on 9/11 has always been—our government. By which I mean every administration and every elected official—Republican or Democrat—working in collusion with the powerful network of corporate interests and private billionaires who elect them.
The popular belief is that Democrats and Republicans are always at each other’s throats, incapable of bipartisanship or cooperation, but that is a myth. On the “big” issues—like approving huge military budgets, overthrowing legally elected governments of other countries, funding imperialist wars, giving banks and corporations huge windfalls at taxpayer expense, militarizing the police, and erecting an increasingly intrusive and oppressive surveillance state—they endorse identical self-serving policies.
Nowhere has this been clearer than in the sham investigations and cover-ups, endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats, into some of the great crimes of our era, such as:
- the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Robert F Kennedy and Malcolm X;
- Israel’s 1967 “false flag” sneak attack on the U.S.S. Liberty that killed 34 American sailors;
- the fabricated “Tonkin Gulf incident” of 1964 that embroiled America in the Vietnam War;
- the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City;
- the bizarre official verdict that investigative reporter Gary Webb, who was exposing illegal CIA drug-running, had “committed suicide” [with two bullets to the head!];
- the convenient death of left wing Senator Paul Wellstone in a mysterious plane crash [on the eve of his predicted re-election to a narrowly divided Senate];
- the verdict that Seth Rich was murdered in a “robbery gone wrong” [right after he was accused of having leaked DNC emails that exposed the Democratic party’s illicit undermining of Bernie Sanders’s election campaign];
- the death of MK-Ultra researcher Frank Olsen who “fell out of a window” after the CIA feared he might expose its illicit LSD and mind-control experiments on unwitting American soldiers and germ warfare operations in the Korean War.
The list is as long as it is shameful. Our (bipartisan) government has created countless investigative commissions that are set up to fail—because critical documents are withheld from them; because crucial eye witnesses are never interviewed, or mysteriously die; because legitimate citizen inquiries are stonewalled or derailed by insurmountable procedural roadblocks. And when the above fail, there always remain “No comment” or outright lying by government officials.
The status of 9/11 investigations has followed the same pattern. Clearly the need to classify or otherwise hide information is intended to obscure government sanctioned connections to these crimes and to protect high-ranking persons and organizations—in or out of government—from being brought to account. What other possible reason can there be?
Surely it is time—in fact, long past time—to conduct thorough and uncompromising investigations into all of the crimes named above, including that of 9/11, which was not only tragic in itself, but has also served as a pretext to launch tragic military conflicts around the globe, and justify the ominous aggrandizement of executive power that has so devastatingly eroded democratic norms and smothered civil liberties.
The author wishes to thank Steve Brown and Bill Montross.
- Bush attended the meeting along with Vice President Dick Cheney, 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, and two other Bush administration officials (Tom Monheim and Bryan Cunningham).
- Ray McGinnis, Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored (Vancouver, B.C.: Northern Star Publications, 2021), 284, 285. Information that the 9/11 commission obtained about the hijackers came from statements made by Guantanamo Bay detainees under torture, and should thus be suspect.
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 44.
- Zelikow had written a book with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on German reunification and another on the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was called out in The Atlantic magazine for its shoddy scholarship.
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 157. The announcement was made by Philip T. Hayes, WTC Fire Safety Director for the South Tower (and retired New York City firefighter) based on instructions from Tabeek. Hayes strangely appealed to people’s sense of patriotism, saying “this tower has been secured. You are in America. Return to your offices.”
- In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2002, NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart explained that, once FAA suspects something is wrong with a flight over domestic airspace, “it takes about one minute” for them to notify NORAD, which could in turn scramble jets within 2.5 minutes up to an altitude of 29,000 feet “to anywhere in the U.S.”
- In 2002, Eberhart was promoted to head the U.S. Northern Command.
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 113, 114.
- Firefighters’ radio communications indicated that they were tracking numerous explosions in the Twin Towers and issued warnings about explosive devices. On July 31, 2019, ZeroHedge ran a story with the headline “NY Fire Commissioners Demand New 9/11 Probe, Citing ‘Overwhelming Evidence of Pre-Planted Explosives.’” The blog stated that the “overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries—not just airplanes and the ensuing fires—caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings, killing the vast majority of the victims who perished that day.”
- NBC’s Anne Thompson reported that she had tried to leave the World Trade Center building but, “as I got outside, I heard a second explosion, and another rumble and more smoke and more dust. I ran inside the building. The chandelier shook and again black smoke filled the air. Within another five minutes, we were covered with more soot and dust. And then a fire marshal came in and said “we had to leave,” because if there was a third explosion this building might not last.” On CNBC, Wall Street Journal reporter John Bussey told network anchors: “I looked up at the south building, the second World Trade Center to be hit, and explosions were coming down the building. It looked as if the charges had been set on each floor and they were in succession going off. When I saw the floor-by-floor explosions happening, I dove out of the office where I was because the windows looked directly over the World Trade Center.” Mika Brzezinski, then of CBS, also reported on explosions at 10:05 a.m. which brought down the towers. Marcia Kramer told viewers of WCBS that CNN was “reporting a third explosion at the WTC, probably an explosion from the ground, that caused WTC 1 to collapse on top of itself. Again, there was a third explosion. It is unclear what caused it, whether it was a bomb or whether the first plane that crashed into the tower had somehow been booby trapped with a bomb that was timed to explode later after the crash had occurred.” Stephen Evans of BBC also reported on a series of explosions.
- Bob McIlvaine insisted his son Bobby died from an explosion. A doctor who examined his son’s body said that Bobby had lacerations all over his chest from flying glass and that he did not have burns on him, only slight postmortem burns, meaning that a detonation killed him, and then the heat coming afterwards put some burns on him. It is believed that Bobby was killed by the force of the explosion while walking into the World Trade Center lobby and that he was taken to the morgue before the towers came down. Bob was told that he had been killed on the 106th floor, which was not consistent with the autopsy report. Doctors who were on the scene told McIlvaine that they found people who were “blown into hundreds of pieces.” He exclaimed: “How can that happen with fire and a building falling straight down. These buildings came down from explosions.”
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 242. Captain Karin DeShore said she saw a series of orange and red flashes coming from the North Tower. She said that concussive blasts followed immediately after these flashes. She recalled, “Initially, it was just one flash. Then this flash kept popping all the way around the building and that building started to explode…These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building.” DeShore said further that the explosion had “sucked all the oxygen out of the air. You couldn’t breathe and the feeling of suffocation…These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger and louder…here was another explosion…and this wave of force.”
- For some unknown reason, the building’s alarm system was put into test mode and deactivated at 6:47 a.m. on September 11.
- Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission was omitted from its report. The other suspicious aspect is that Cheney showed extraordinary self-containment in the face of shocking live coverage. A witness with security clearance in the bunker with Cheney told the Washington Post, there was a groan in the room when the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.—with the exception of Cheney who made no sound. Said the witness, “I remember turning my head and looking at the vice president, and his expression never changed,” suggesting foreknowledge. Another witness wrote “While others assessed casualties and the work of ‘first responders,’ Cheney began planning for a conflict that would call upon lawyers as often as soldiers and spies.
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 179. McIntyre later contradicted his original statement by telling CNN viewers that he saw parts of the damaged plane inside the Pentagon.
- McGinnis, Unanswered Questions, 126.
- On September 11, a fire raged in World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7), floors 11 to 13, which housed Securities and Exchange Commission records relating to multi-billion dollar investigations. The Los Angeles Times reported that an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 cases were destroyed, including SEC’s major inquiry into the manner in which investment banks divided up hot shares of initial public offerings during the high tech boom. The destruction of these files resulted in huge savings for the CEOs and corporations being investigated.
- A German computer firm, Convar, was able to retrieve data from the computer disk drives in the rubble at Ground Zero, which suggested that some people had advance knowledge of the approximate time of the plane crashes in order to move out amounts exceeding $100 million. Convar’s data retrieval expert Richard Wagner said that “they thought the records of their transactions could not be traced after the main frames were destroyed.” McGinnis, Unanswered Questions; Erik Kirschbaum, “German Firm Probes last-minute World Trade Center Transactions,” Reuters, December 19, 2001.
- Further investigation was also warranted of Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties who owned World Trade Center Building 7 and was awarded $4.55 billion in insurance claims while avoiding the cost of having to remove asbestos from the building.