How to Spy the 9/11 Lie

Spy-the-Lie-2785550A recent book written by veteran CIA officers describes how deception can be identified by simple observational techniques. In Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception, authors Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero, and Don Tennant outline a number of verbal and visual behavioral clues that are demonstrated by people who lie in response to questioning. These proven techniques for recognizing deception can be easily applied to see that U.S. leaders have lied repeatedly about the attacks of 9/11.

The authors make clear that there are two important guidelines to employ when analyzing these verbal and visual clues. First, timing is important. Due to the fact that people think ten times faster than they speak, the behaviors are more important when the first one occurs within five seconds of the question. Secondly, when the behavioral clues occur in groups of two or more, called clusters, they are more indicative of deception on the part of the person being questioned. The more clues exhibited, the more clear the deception becomes.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

In a December 15, 2001 press conference, President George W. Bush was asked an unexpected question about 9/11. In a remarkably delayed response, Bush exhibited both a verbal clue for deception, the failure to answer, and a visual clue called an anchor-point movement. The latter is when the anxiety raised by the question causes the person questioned to shift his body to relieve physical instability. As Bush replied, he shook his head, moved his hands, and seemed to be shuffling his feet uncomfortably.

Reporter: Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that [a question of your advanced knowledge of 9/11] borders on political hate speech?

Bush: Uh, yeah, there’s time for politics and, uh, you know… time for politics and, uh… I, uh, it’s an absurd insinuation.”

If the reporter had been a CIA interrogator, like any of the three authors of the book, this response would have raised an immediate red flag that the issue needed further examination.

In April 2004, Bush was asked a question about why he could only meet with the 9/11 Commission if Vice President Cheney was with him. He responded in a stuttering, repetitive fashion that demonstrated the “failure to answer” clue as well as something called non-specific denial, in which the question is refuted with unrelated verbiage. As Bush repeated his diversionary answer, he also smiled—another indication of deception when dealing with any serious subject matter.

Reporter: “Why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 Commission?”

Bush: “Because the 9/11 Commission wants to ask us questions. That’s why we’re meeting and I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.”

Reporter: “My question was why are you appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request?”

Bush: “Because it’s a good chance for both of us to answer questions, that the 9/11 Commission is, uh, looking forward to asking us, and I’m looking forward to answering them.”

Not long after Bush and Cheney finally agreed to their unrecorded, secretive interview with 9/11 Commission members, Bush’s national security advisor Condoleezza Rice gave testimony under oath. In that testimony, she demonstrated at least six of the CIA’s verbal clues to deception including isolated denial, selective memory, an overly specific answer, and a process or procedural response. Rice was also seen going into attack mode, responding to Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste with, “I believe you had access,” and using inconsistent statements. She said that a presidential brief was titled “Bin Laden determined to strike inside U.S.” and yet also that no warnings of strikes inside the U.S. were received.

In addition to these highly deceptive behaviors, Rice gave a huge hint in her testimony that exemplifies something the book calls the “truth in the lie.” When Ben-Veniste asked her about Al Qaeda cells in the United States. She said,

Rice: “I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don’t remember the Al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.”

This extended answer suggested that the White House knew about Al Qaeda cells operating in the United States but that Rice and others were expected to do nothing about them. Ben-Veniste did not pursue the question further. This is not surprising given other lines of questioning in which Ben-Veniste engaged. Here’s an example with General Michael Canavan, who was supposed to be the “hijack coordinator” on 9/11—the one person most responsible for preventing, and initially responding to, the hijackings.

Ben-Vensite: What is your understanding of the first time FAA notified NORAD of the fact that this was a possible hijack or that it had deviated from course, or that there was some anomaly about Flight 77 in the context of everything else that was going on that day?

Canavan: Here’s my answer—and it’s not to duck the question. Number one, I was visiting the airport in San Juan that day when this happened. That was a CADEX airport, and I was down there also to remove someone down there that was in a key position. So when 9/11 happened, that’s where I was. I was able to get back to Washington that evening on a special flight from the Army back from San Juan, back to Washington. So everything that transpired that day in terms of times, I have to—and I have no information on that now, because when I got back we weren’t—that wasn’t the issue at the time. We were— when I got back it was, What are we going to do over the next 48 hours to strengthen what just happened?

Although video is not available for Canavan’s testimony, it’s clear that he was using deceptive verbal behaviors. He failed to answer the actual question, he engaged in perception qualifiers and an overly specific response, and he gave non-answer statements. Because Ben-Veniste immediately dropped the question it is unknown, to this day, who was serving in the critical role of hijack coordinator on 9/11.

There are many more examples of deceptive answers from U.S. leaders regarding 9/11. When asked why an outline was created for the 9/11 Commission Report before the investigation began, Chairman Thomas Kean immediately ran away and went into attack mode. When asked about the CIA’s tracking of two of the alleged hijackers, CIA director George Tenet, who was undoubtedly trained in detecting deception, demonstrated many of the CIA’s clues that he was being deceptive.

One more example is instructive. This involves John Gross, who was the author of both the most critical FEMA World Trade Center (WTC) report and the most critical WTC report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. When asked a question during a presentation he was giving, Gross responded with multiple behaviors that the CIA would find deceptive.

Questioner: “I’m curious about the pools of molten steel that were found in the bottom of the towers.”

Gross (Anchor-point movements, non-answer statement, going into attack mode): “I am, I am too…. tell me about it. Have you seen it?

Questioner: “Well, not personally but eyewitnesses there found huge pools of molten steel beneath the towers and, uh, scientists, some scientists, think that the collapse of the buildings could [sic] have melted all that steel. And a physics professor, Steven Jones, found evidence of a thermite residue, which would explain how the buildings collapsed by means of pre-planted explosives. So have you analyzed the steel for any of those residues?

Gross (Reluctance to answer, Anchor-point movements): “First of all, let’s go back to your basic premise that there was, uh, a pool of molten steel. Um, I know of absolutely nobody, no eyewitnesses, who have said so, nobody has produced it. I was on the site, I was on the steelyards, so I can’t, I don’t know that that’s so.”

When further questioned about the collapse of WTC Building 7, Gross made inconsistent statements and engaged in hand-to-face activity, another two of the deceptive behaviors noted by the CIA. This is not surprising to people who have studied events at the WTC, however, because Gross would have needed to be grossly negligent in his observance of evidence to have not known about the molten metal at the WTC site.

As seen above, the 9/11 Commission hearings and other statements by 9/11 investigation leaders provide a treasure trove of opportunities for people to practice detecting deception. Of course, the 9/11 Commission Report demonstrates many of the same clues for deception that CIA officers would highlight. Its lies of omission are many and its reliance on deceptive language like “we found no evidence” is another clue.

Interestingly, the authors of Spy the Lie introduce their book by recalling the 9/11 attacks in a way that suggests that their deception-identifying skills are needed to avoid such tragedies. Yet these three experts on deception don’t question the official narrative of 9/11 at all and apparently have never seen any evidence for deception in that narrative or its origins. This fact may be the result of extreme bias—with the CIA officers unable to question their own agency. Or maybe it exemplifies a high level of self-deception, perhaps suggesting a sequel to the book.

In any case, the official account of 9/11 continues to provide a most powerful way to see just how much people deceive each other and themselves. When it comes to 9/11, experts on scientific fraud can’t see the most glaring example, journalists can’t see the most obvious examples of negligent reporting, and the CIA’s most skilled detectors of deception can’t see when they are deceived. Since many of us can see these things, we should work harder to reveal the truth because deception is at the root of many of the world’s problems.

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10 Responses to How to Spy the 9/11 Lie

  1. Marv Sannes says:

    For me the most disturbing thing about 9/11 is the lack of dialogue about the most seminal event in our history. 1,000 yrs. from now this event will be discussed, but we don’t talk about it, now. A 2nd very distressing thing: We all expect each other to lie, in every relationship we expect to cope with deception. 9/11 has changed us in so many ways. Propaganda is now perfectly legal, in other words, we now accept fraud and deceit as our way of life. Is this OK?

    • mikecorbeil says:

      Marv Sannes,

      We’re thousands of years later than ancient times and courses continue to be offered about this at colleges and universities, plus earlier school years, documentaries, etc. Of course 9/11 will be talked about after we’re long past away. But, I don’t expect each of us to lie. I’ll lie if it’s to prevent injustice or to try to prevent that from happening, but I don’t go around living to make lying a passtime. It definitely isn’t a passtime for me. I don’t like lying. Being truthful, honest, straightfoward, etc, is much easier. Lying, for me, is only useful if it’s when trying to avoid injustices, for I definitely never want to support those.

      So I think you’re exaggerating, a little. You think we all expect each other to lie. You need to slow down a little. I don’t expect Kevin Ryan or Richard Gage, people of, James Corbett, James Evan Pilato, etc, etc, to lie. No, I expect them to say what they truthfully believe. If they make errors but do it in honesty, then it isn’t lying.

      I do expect the government, etc, to lie, but that’s “normal”. 🙂

      Lying is an intentional act. Making mistakes, errors normally isn’t intentional and “to err is human”, but one thing I don’t often err about is the fact that our govts are corrupt and led by liars; I kid you not.

      I don’t think 9/11 has really changed us, either. It hasn’t changed me, except for just making me pissed off again and I mean the part about our govts lying to us about 9/11. I was very pissed off about seeing fellow citizens or humans jumping from the WTC towers out of desparation. That made me very pissed off and I wasn’t looking for some false boogeyman named Usuamah bin Ladin, for I was pissed off at Washington. I enlisted in the USN at age 18 in 1975 and Washington now had me more pissed off than before; although, 1999 was a very bad year for me, with corrupt Washington warring on Kosovo, etc.

      9/11 didn’t change me. It made me more pissed off because of DC but didn’t really change me. Damn bs govt. I quickly saw in the USN that the govt is bs, though already knew this and just got to realize it even more. I was a little astounded by how hypocritical senior-ranked officers were in the USN. It “rocked” me, for I wasn’t expecting that much hypocrisy. Our PO, Petty Officer, was a fair enough man, but senior officers really “rocked” me and they thought they’d be able to rule, but they provided two options, I chose the better for me, they weren’t happy about this, but I said that they had to accept, because it’s they who offered the two options for me to choose from. That shut them up right away. After all, it’s they who offered the two options. It wasn’t me giving them options. They did! Jack-asses is the most polite thing they can be called.

      They thought that I was just some dumb idiot but got to learn otherwise.

      We, The People, should be the Govt, but we’re not. Etc.

      Furthermore, we don’t have real solidarity between ourselves. We have left, right, nut, etc, wings, too few being rational, reasonable. Trying to form a real People’s govt with all of these “clown” actors is, well, I’ll leave it up to you. Trying to work with these people can possibly be successful when they’re just misinformed or misled and not thinking objectively enough; but, when trying to work with those who’re liars, cons, heartless, etc, then forget it. I don’t want to try to make any effort with the latter people. With the others, I’d be willing to try to talk with them in order to try to get them to consider other points of view so that these people cease being fanatical, whatever. That’s worth trying to do, but differentiating between the two categories of these people isn’t easy. It can sometimes be easy enough, but it also can often be very difficult. It’s going to be time-consuming even in the best cases.

      It’s tiring, exhausting.

      Yes, I’m disappointed; and no, I have no power to change the way things are. I’m very disappointed, for after thousands of years, we still haven’t really learned much, after all. I took half of a course on Greek Civilization this fall and while the teacher or professor is a good historian, the course isn’t sufficiently developed. It’s not his fault. He gave all he could. He told us at the start of the course that it really needs to be or should be three times longer, but while that’s true, it isn’t in his power to make the course this much longer. I only had to attend the first class to be able to see that we weren’t going to get enough time. It should take a few semesters and even then there’d still be more to learn that’s related.

      9/11 isn’t a fully new event. False flags began far long ago.

      • I had an instant rage for the government. And I wonder how so many people can be so worthless, how do they remain in these positions of control and how there are so many stupid people on this planet.

  2. DRK says:

    Excellent article. This was a great idea!

  3. mikecorbeil says:

    Nah, ya gotta be kidding! Well, I think not! You’re most certainly right and there’re plenty of other examples than the ones you used, You’re right about the examples you used. It’s just that if anyone disagrees with you, then there’re other examples that illustrate that you’re right.

    Bush, however, struck me only or mostly as a puppet and I still think that it’s all he really was. This’d help explain his “deceptive” ways, which I think were controlled by other parties. Imo, Bush was a nit-wit who was easily manipulated. He might’ve had a little knowledge about what he was doing, but my guess is that he was mostly nit-wit.

    I also don’t believe that Obama is a real President and wonder when the USA last had a full President; and I do mean a full one.

    I was against both Gore and Bush, but Gore did win the 2000 election. I detest both candidates, but if we wish to be statistical, then Gore did win. Yuck, muck! Either way, it was a lousy “bet”.

    Anyway, short, but good article. You got “straight to the point” very quickly, succinctly, and I can only agree with you. More can be said in the same vein of your article, but you got to the essential point very quickly.

  4. mikecorbeil says:

    I don’t have a link for this, but from what I recall, Bush Jr had a group of White House-approved journalists at the WH in January 2003 and I guess Bush was speaking of war on Iraq supposedly being justified, for one journalist asked a question about the US constitutionality of this, a question sort of like, “But, what about the US Constitution?”, as if recognizing that recourse to war on Iraq was unconstitutional for the US to commit. Bush delayed, as he seemed to often do when questioned, and then said that the Constitution was “just a piece of paper”. Iow, the US Constitution was unimportant.

    I commented about this many times over the past decade or more online and some other people agreed, only varying in what they cited from Bush’s words. The meaning was the same either way, but the phrasing cited varied a little.

    Bush didn’t promptly reply, but it also didn’t take 10 minutes for the reply. I was astounded by the reply, for I enlisted in the USN in 1975 and know what the first military oath of all US service members is. Bush was being a complete quack! According to the first US military oath, we had to object to what Bush said. Unfortunately, most people in the US military don’t understand the oath. When I first learned it, around 3rd week of bootcamp, I (silently) cheered, for I never enlisted to war on anyone and wanted to “serve” honourably. I quickly learned, however, that we couldn’t, shouldn’t trust senior officers. We had a fair PO, Petty Officer, a good guy of the rank of like Sergeant in the Army, MC, etc, just that sgt isn’t a title in the USN. He tried to help me out several times, evidently being concerned for my safety; but, higher-ups were jack-asses, if we want to be PC about describing them. I can say much more than just jack-asses but will keep this post PC, i.e., politically “correct”.

    There was also another time, maybe in 2003 or 2004, who knows, perhaps even 2005; but my guess right now would be 2003 or 2004. Bush was speaking in front of an audience of I guess citizens and was asked something like if the war on Iraq was bad for humanity. Bush replied that it was of course bad for humanity and that it’d be better to end this war but that the USA had to continue this war, for some unstated reason. That nearly knocked me on my butt, except that I already knew the war was totally criminal, that Bush is an idiot, and etc.

    That response really “rocked” me. Yeah, of course it’d be better to stop this war, implying for the victims and ourselves, but we need to continue this war. What the hell kind of nonsense is that?

    That’s incredible! We have to be awfully stupid to accept it as fair reasoning. What the heck kind of idiots are we!

    When 9/11 happened, I knew the second that Bush et al blamed Usamah bin Ladin that there was something very wrong with this. I didn’t know whether bin Laden was at all guilty, or not, but it was clear that Washington was full of bs. Regarding bin Ladin, I only reasoned that if he was at all responsible, then there was a reason and this would be reply, reaction, rather than first-strike sort of action, so that immediately brought my attention to Washington. With time, bin Laden just became a ghost or boogeyman, no one importantly responsible for 9/11. Instead, focus strongly switched to Washington and whoever the heck runs it.

    I had a little experience of observation 4 or 5 mornings before 9/11 and it was definitely related, but I won’t describe it here. I did many years ago online and plenty of people expressed thanks while some other people stupidly expressed threats. I just told the latter people to get to their work; if they wanted to carry out their threats, then they better bet busy with trying to find me. This was over 10 years ago and I’m still alive, so ha!

    I can provide the description again, but it’d be better to do it graphically. That requires software of 3-D, maybe even 4-D sort, if 4-D exists. Graphically is how I saw the event and it’s very impressive; but what many people thanked me for was textual description. I was careful about the text to try to be as exact as I could; but graphical imagery might make it easier.

    There is no way that the wars on Iran, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, (cocvert) on Congo, etc, etc, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, etc, have ever been justifiable; and we can of course add the wars on Haiti, Venezuela, plus other South American countries. Nope, Washington is completely roguish.

    Not in my name!

  5. mikecorbeil says:

    I didn’t join the USN to war on anyone! I was willing to “serve” in defense, but Washington has never been about defense, so I must stand with my oath, and you know what that is.

  6. P. Xhosa says:

    911 has its roots in the end of the cold war. George H W Bush took 240 billion dollars to buy Russian infrastructure. The illegal security he was given had a maturity of 10 years. He was given this security on September 11 1991. The explosions that caused the towers to come down was a distraction for the fed reserve to launder the security so that he would not get caught.

  7. CarolynBailey says:

    About spying the lie — remember that there are many people whose social behavior and body language are not like the rest of us due to disabilities like autism. A person with high-functioning Asperger’s will not seem disabled at all unless you know what to look for, such as darting their eyes away if someone looks at them, not making eye contact during a conversation, seeming nervous after only a few minutes of conversation, hanging their heads down when issues personal to them are mentioned, smiling when discussing disturbing topics like a terrorist raid, and so on. Someone using the guidelines in the book could easily conclude that an Aspie was a blatant liar when most are unusually honest and direct people. There may be several other possible causes of such quirks, such as cultural differences, that could also lead the observer into false assumptions.

    Sharper observation skills are great and should help reveal what the other guy may be thinking and feeling, but it isn’t so simple and clear cut as A always means B. The top-notch interpreter of behavior knows the exceptions as well as the rules and keeps them in mind: his goal is not simply to catch a liar, but to understand everything that the other guy is communicating.

  8. Greg says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your blog. It has been very informative and helpful over the years. I was browsing your posts and found this one. re: “When it comes to 9/11, experts on scientific fraud can’t see the most glaring example, journalists can’t see the most obvious examples of negligent reporting, and the CIA’s most skilled detectors of deception can’t see when they are deceived. Since many of us can see these things, we should work harder to reveal the truth because deception is at the root of many of the world’s problems.” I had a similar experience with Eviatar Zarubavel. He is a professor of Sociology at Rutgers and wrote a book called “The Elephant in the Room – Silence & Denial in Everyday Life.” On the front cover of the edition I have are an Elephant, and the 3 Monkeys not seeing, hearing or speaking evil. The book “helps us understand why we ignore truths that are known to all of us” and talks about them as conspiracies of silence. The book reveals “why we ignore obvious and alarming realities.” Its a great book. Of course I related it to the biggest Elephant in the Room (and its growing) our country’s ongoing denial of 9/11. I wrote him about this, noting 9/11 seems the perfect example of how these “conspiracies of silence” work. No response. At all.

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