When Underwriters Laboratories fired me for challenging the World Trade Center (WTC) report that it helped create with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it said “there is no evidence” that any firm performed the required fire resistance testing of the materials used to build the Twin Towers. Of course, that was a lie.
The “no evidence” claim was reminiscent of comments made by President Ford to his press secretary, Ron Nessen, about Ford’s work on the Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Ford told Nessen that he and his colleagues on the Warren Commission – “were very, very careful when we wrote our final report not to say flatly that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and was not part of a conspiracy.” Ford clarified that the Warren Commission was “very careful to say we ‘found’ no evidence of a conspiracy.”
With this in mind, I checked to see how many times the 9/11 Commission Report used the phrase “no evidence,” and noted in particular the times the Commission claimed to have “found no evidence” or that “no evidence was uncovered.” I discovered that the phrase “no evidence” appears an amazing 63 times. An example is the dubious statement — “There is no evidence to indicate that the FAA recognized Flight 77 as a hijacking until it crashed into the Pentagon (p 455).”
Of these 63 instances, some variation of “we found no evidence” appears three dozen times. This seems to be an unusually high number of disclaimers begging ignorance, given that the Commission claims to have done “exacting research” in the production of a report that was the “fullest possible accounting of the events of September 11, 2001.”
The number of times these “no evidence” disclaimers appear in the report is doubly amazing considering how infrequently some of the most critical witnesses and evidence are referenced. For example, the FAA’s national operations manager, Benedict Sliney, who was coordinating the FAA’s response that day, appears only once in the narrative (and twice in the notes). And the FAA’s hijack coordinator, Michael Canavan, appears only twice in the narrative, with neither of those citations having anything to do with Canavan’s assigned role as the key link between the military and the FAA, a role whose failure the Commission says caused the attacks to succeed. Similarly, the testimony of FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who says Bin Laden worked with the U.S. government up until the day of the attacks, is mentioned only once in the notes. William Rodriguez, the WTC janitor who has publicly testified to basement level explosions, is not mentioned at all despite having given testimony to the Commission.
It seems a good idea to look more closely at the instances in which the attorneys, myth experts, and military intelligence operatives who wrote the 9/11 Commission Report said that they did not find evidence. Here are a few of the most interesting examples.
- “We found no evidence, however, that American Airlines sent any cockpit warnings to its aircraft on 9/11.” p11
- Concerning the hypothesis that one of the alleged hijackers was sitting in the cockpit jump seat since takeoff on Flight 93: “We have found no evidence indicating that one of the hijackers, or anyone else, sat there on this flight.” p12
- Within minutes of the second WTC impact, Boston Center asked the FAA Command Center (Benedict Sliney’s team) to advise aircraft to heighten cockpit security, but the Commission said: “We have found no evidence to suggest that the Command Center acted on this request or issued any type of cockpit security alert.” p23
- With respect to requests to warn aircraft to heighten cockpit security — “While Boston Center sent out such warnings to the commercial flights in its sector, we could find no evidence that a nationwide warning was issued by the ATC system.” p455
These first four examples highlight the little discussed fact that the 9/11 Commission did not explain how any of the alleged hijackers entered the cockpits of any of the four hijacked planes.
With regard to Flight 11 the Commission states — “We do not know exactly how the hijackers gained access to the cockpit (p 5)” and — “FAA rules required that the doors remained closed and locked during the flight.” Based on a recording attributed to flight attendant Betty Ong, the report speculates that they might have “jammed their way in.” One problem with this hypothesis is that the act of breaking down the locked cockpit door would certainly have given the professional flight crew plenty of time to enter the four-digit hijack “squawk code” into the transponder. This is a simple, standard operating procedure which the crew was trained to follow but none of them accomplished.
Yet another problem is that, according to the story, Atta and his co-conspirators disagreed with the “jamming” hypothesis. The report states that Atta “had no firm contingency plan in case the cockpit door was locked” and …”he was confident the cockpit doors would be opened and did not consider breaking them down to be a viable idea (p 245).” These were, apparently, very bold and optimistic hijackers who walked onto the plane assuming that normal operating procedures would not be followed and who did not have any kind of back-up plan in case they were wrong. In any case, these claims certainly seem to contradict the words of Acting Director of the FBI, Thomas Pickard, who testified that – “these 19 and their superiors operated flawlessly in their planning, communications and execution of this event. They successfully exploited every weakness from our borders to cockpit doors.”
For Flight 175, the Commission report does not describe how the alleged hijackers got into the cockpit nor does it even mention that this first critical step in a hijacking was omitted from the explanation. Similarly, for Flight 77 and Flight 93, the alleged hijackers just appear in the cockpit and in control of the aircraft. As with Flight 11, all three crews failed to follow the simple procedure to squawk the hijack code.
What makes this even less believable is that the Commission admits that Flight 93 received and acknowledged a warning (although not from the FAA Command Center) to secure the cockpit four minutes before the hijacking began. This means that 37-minutes after the third plane was hijacked, and 25-minutes after the second plane crashed into the WTC, the crew of the fourth plane could not secure it’s cockpit or enter the hijack squawk code despite having four minutes warning that hijackers might try to break in.
- “Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” p171
- Concerning the origins of the funding for the attacks, the report says — “Ultimately the question is of little practical significance.” But it clarifies that – Similarly, we have seen no evidence that any foreign government – or foreign official – supplied any funding.” p172
- “We have found no evidence that Saudi Princess Haifa al Faisal provided any funds to the conspiracy, either directly or indirectly.” p498
Recently, the world’s leading insurance provider, Lloyd’s of London, filed a lawsuit alleging the exact opposite of these claims made by the 9/11 Commission. Although Lloyd’s dropped the lawsuit just days later without explanation, one would think that at least some small amount evidence must have been available for the company to have gone to all the trouble of putting together a case and filing it against the Saudis. If there was no such evidence, Lloyd’s could be sued for false or frivolous litigation.
Lloyd’s was not the first to contradict the Commission on this topic, however, as the many of the 9/11 victims’ relatives had joined together not long after the attacks to file a 15-count, $116 trillion lawsuit against Saudi royals, including some who were among top government leaders in Saudi Arabia. That lawsuit was thrown out on a technicality related to the ability to sue a foreign government and, later, the Obama Administration backed the Saudis during the appeal. What’s important to realize, however, is that it was only the 9/11 Commission that claimed no evidence for Saudi financing could be found. Obviously, such evidence could be found, it just could not be used to prosecute the Saudi government in the United States.
- “Exhaustive investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, and other agencies have uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions.” p172
The “exhaustive investigations” conducted by the FBI, on which the 9/11 Commission report was based, were clearly bogus. The FBI did not interview the suspects and did not appear to compare notes with the 9/11 Commission to help make a determination if any of the people being investigated might have had ties to al Qaeda. The Commission’s memorandum summary suggests that the FBI simply made decisions on its own regarding the possible connections of the suspects and the alleged terrorist organizations. Those unilateral decisions were not appropriate, as at least three of the suspected informed trades involved reasonably suspicious links to Osama bin Laden or his family. Another suspect was a soon-to-be convicted criminal who had direct links to FBI employees who were later arrested for securities-related crimes.
The FBI also claimed in August 2003 that it had no knowledge of hard drives recovered from the WTC, which were publicly reported in 2001. According to the people who retrieved the associated data, the hard drives gave evidence for “dirty doomsday dealings.”
The evidence for informed trading on 9/11 includes many financial vehicles, from stock options to Treasury bonds to credit card transactions made at the WTC just before it was destroyed. Today we know that financial experts from around the world have provided strong evidence, through established and reliable statistical techniques, that the early expert suspicions were correct, and that 9/11 informed trading did occur.
- “First, we found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of September 13, 2001.” p329
- “Second, we found no evidence of political intervention [with regard to the Saudi flights which did not occur before national airspace was reopened].” p329
- “We found no evidence that anyone at the White House above Richard Clarke participated in a decision about the departure of the Saudi nationals.” [Clarke claimed — “I asked the FBI, Dale Watson, to handle that…” and “I have no recollection of clearing it with anybody at the White House.”] p329
- “Third, we believe the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United States on chartered flights….They have concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion.” and “Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on those flights.” p329
For the 9/11 Commission to have made four separate “no evidence” claims related to the widely-reported flight of Saudi nationals out of the U.S. just after 9/11, there must have been a strong reason for this failure of “exacting research.”
Months before the Commission report was published, it was well known that numerous members of the Bin Laden family were among those flown out of the U.S. at a time when no other commercial or private flying was allowed. “Counter-terrorism Czar” Richard Clarke was the one to make this decision, although he did not coordinate it with Dale Watson of the FBI. Clarke’s FBI coordinator for these flights was Michael Rolince, the assistant director of the International Terrorism Operations Section (ITOS).
It was reported that Rolince decided the Saudis could leave the country and required only the most superficial examination of their passports and checking for their names on terrorist watch lists. The fact that many of them were the relatives of the man accused of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks did not lead to any concern or even to basic interviews of the passengers by the FBI.
Rolince, who now works for Booz Allen Hamilton, appears to have been behind several of the inexplicable failures of the FBI to track down the alleged 9/11 conspirators before the attacks. In 1999, the FBI failed to follow-up on information provided to Rolince about fundraising done in the U.S. by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the alleged “number 2” of al Qaeda. In April 2001, Rolince also failed to follow-up on a memo sent to him by Dale Watson that warned of a terrorist operation that might have been the plan for the 9/11 attacks. Dave Frasca, one of Rolince’s direct reports, was the one who disrupted the Minneapolis FBI’s attempt to search the belongings of Zacharias Mousaoui, and Rolince is apparently the one who failed to let the FBI directors know of the arrest of Mousaoui.
- “Although Whitman told us she spoke with White House senior economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay regarding the need to get the markets open quickly” – “We found no evidence of pressure on EPA to say the air was safe in order to permit the markets to open.” P555
Like some of the other carefully worded claims in the Commission report, this might be technically true, but the premise is probably false. Christine Whitman, who was director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just after 9/11, did claim that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe when it was known that was not the case. This was probably not done for the purpose of re-opening the stock market, however. It is far more likely that these false claims were made in order to expedite the removal of evidence at the WTC site.
In any case, interested citizens should examine the many “we found no evidence” disclaimers from the 9/11 Commission Report more closely. Doing so leads one to a better understanding of how false that report really is, and the Commission’s feigned ignorance of evidence might help lead us to the truth about what happened that day.
 Ron Nessen, It Sure Looks Different From the Inside, Playboy Press, 1978, p 59