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9-11 Research Glossary

This glossary of common terms found on the 9-11 Research site also serves the function of an index.

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9-11: shorthand for 9-11 Attack. Also written 9/11 and 911, this label was immediately embraced by the mainstream media, reinforcing the psychological assault that the attack was designed to achieve.

9-11 Attack: a coordinated military assault on the morning of 9/11/01 killing nearly 3000 people within the United States. The victims were the crews and passengers of four commandeered jetliners, occupants of and bystanders around the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The US government and media blamed Osama bin Laden and sleeper cells of Islamic terrorists, despite the lack of any evidence.

9-11 Attacks: synonym for 9-11 Attack, more common in general usage. 9-11 Research uses '9-11 Attack' in preference to 9-11 Attacks to emphasize the coordinated nature of the various assaults.

9/11 Commission: one of several aliases for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. See also, Kean Commission, Kean-Zekilow Commission, and Omission Commission.

9/11 Eyewitness: a film, reviewed here, that promotes numerous specious and unscientific claims about the destruction of the Twin Towers, including that it was accomplished with helicopters and nuclear devices, and that numerous large ground-level explosions preceded the fall of each Tower.

9/11 Guilt: The Proof is in Your Hands: video by Don Paul, Jim Hoffman, and Celestine Star.

9-11 skeptic: one who questions the official explanation of the 9/11/01 attack. Sometimes the term is used with the opposite meaning to describe someone who doesn't accept alternatives to the official explanation.

9-11 Research: Name of this website and the organization behind it. Some uses of this name by others appear designed to discredit it.

911truth.org: activist-oriented website with a paid staff, regularly updated with articles from the mainstream media. The site avoids the most obvious disinformation but generally adheres to the big tent philosophy.

9/11 Truth Movement: a social justice movement seeking to expose the truth about the 9/11/01 attack.


Active Thermitic Material Discovered ...: part of the title Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe -- a 2009 paper published in The Open Chemical Physics Journal describing the identification of a nanothermite composite in small red-gray chips found in the dust.

Afghanistan: central Asian nation invaded by the United States in late 2001 in alleged retaliation for the 9/11/01 attack.

Air Force One: the designation given to the aircraft carrying the US President at any given time. Normally the president flies on one of the two specially equipped Boeing 747s in the Air Force One fleet. On 9/11/01 George W Bush took Air Force One on a three-legged tour, returning to White House at 6:44 PM.

al Qaeda: purported global terror organization led by Osama bin Laden and blamed by the US Government and media for the 9/11/01 attack. The literal meaning of 'al Qaeda' in Arabic is "the Base". Prior to 9/11/01, al Qaeda had only been blamed for relatively small attacks against US military targets overseas. Al Qaeda has its roots in the Mujahedeen movement that fought Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s with the support of the US, Saudis, and the ISI.

Al Suqami, Satam: alleged suicide hijacker of Flight 11, whose unsinged passport was discovered in the debris of the destroyed World Trade Center, according to the FBI.

aluminothermic: a class of exothermic chemical reactions in which powdered aluminum reduces an oxide. An example of an aluminothermic reaction is thermite, in which aluminum reacts with iron oxide.

American Airlines: one of two airlines used in the 9/11/01 attack. Flights 11 and 77 belonged to American Airlines.

America Rebuilds: name of PBS documentary in which Larry Silverstein apparently admitted that Building 7 was destroyed through controlled demolition.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): An association of civil engineers, select members of which have participated in government-sponsored engineering studies of terrorist events.

Andrews Air Force base: US Air Force base about 10 miles from the Pentagon, and home to Air Force One and Air Force and Air National Guard combat units.

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth: organization founded and led by Richard Gage, AIA, and having the website AE911Truth.org.

Armitage, Richard: deputy to Colin Powell under the Bush I administration, and member of the PNAC. Armitage was reported to be a CIA asset since the 1970s.

asbestos: mineral used in insulation of the structural steel of the Twin Towers. Asbestos is toxic when inhaled, but has a long latency period. Vast quantities of asbestos were released by the dust clouds that issued from the Towers' collapses.

Atta, Mohammed: alleged pilot of Flight 11 and ringleader of the suicide hijackers.


Bazant, Zdenek: co-author of Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis, the first scientific article purporting to explain the Tower collapses.

Beamer, Todd: hero of United Flight 93. A phone call from Beamer ended with "Let's roll!," signaling the beginning of a passenger revolt.

Bement, Arden: Director at Battelle and the Lord Corporation, former deputy Secretary of Defense, former director of DARPA’s office of materials science, and former executive at TRW, Bement is a metallurgist who was nominated as director of NIST by President George W. Bush in October 2001.

big tent: strategy of favoring inclusiveness over discernment in deciding what people and ideas to welcome into the 9/11 Truth Movement.

bin Laden: alleged mastermind of the 9/11/01 attack. Osama bin Laden is the supposed leader of the al Queda. The only evidence adduced by government and corporate media of bin Laden's involvement in the attack was a video supposedly showing him confessing, but the actor in the video doesn't even look like bin Laden.

black boxes: highly-survivable devices installed in jetliners to record information for analysis in the event of a crash. Jetliners such as those commandeered on 9/11/01 are equipped with two kinds of black boxes: flight data recorders, and cockpit voice recorders. Although these devices are designed to survive even the most violent crashes and fires, government sources claimed that they were never recovered from the two jetliners that crashed into the Twin Towers.

Blackstone Group: one of the mortgage-holders of WTC 7.

Blast Mitigation for Structures Program: US Department of Defense program funded by $10 million annually, that has employed Gene Corley and Mete Sozen, two participants in the ASCEOklahoma City Bombing and World Trade Center engineering studies.

blueprints, Twin Towers': missing documents which would provide detailed information about the design and engineering of the Twin Towers. Normally, engineering drawings of public buildings are filed with the city and available for public inspection, but the drawings of the Twin Towers have remained secret and unavailable even to official investigators.

Brown, Hyman: construction manager for the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Brown told the BBC that jet fuel melted structural steel.

brisance: the shattering power of an explosive. Contrary to many debunker arguments, pyrotechnics that employ the thermite reaction can be designed to have have high brisance, as a cursory survey of nano-energetics will show.

Buffett, Warren: multi-billionaire who hosted a breakfast meeting of CEOs, some from the World Trade Center, at Offutt Air Force Base.

Building 7: the third skyscraper to totally collapse on 9/11/01, AKA WTC 7. Although the government blamed fires for the collapse, it had all the features of a controlled demolition.

Building Performance Study: title shared by the World Trade Center Building Performance Study and the Pentagon Building Performance Study. These reports, created by ASCE volunteers selected by FEMA to support the official story of what happened at the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11/01.

Burlingame, Chic: pilot of Flight 77, supposedly taken over by five suicide hijackers. Burlingame was an honor graduate of the Naval Academy and flew F-4 Phantoms for the Navy in the Vietnam War era. According to Ted Olson his wife, Barbara Olson, indicated in a call from Flight 77 that the pilots were seated with her at the back of the plane as the hijackers flew it toward the Pentagon.

Bush, George H W: President of the United States from 1988 to 1992, and father of George W. Bush.

Bush, George W: President of the United States, first selected by the Supreme Court in 2000. George W. Bush sat in a classroom as the attack unfolded.

Bush, Marvin: a less-known brother of President George W. Bush, Marvin Bush was a principal of Securacom.


Carlyle Group: an investment firm that has profited from the War on Terror

Cheney, Dick: Vice President of the United States of America starting in 2000. Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton a company that reaped huge profits from the 9/11-predicated invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center: headquarters for NORAD, consisting of a secure fortified installation deep under Cheyenne Mountain designed to provide continuous real-time monitoring of airspace throughout North America and beyond. The facility consists of six operations centers each staffed around the clock.

CIA: Central Intelligence Agency, a Federal agency established by President Harry Truman. The CIA's mission is ostensibly to gather information pertinent to national security, but it has become notorious for its attacks on the sovereignty of foreign nations through secret and illegal means. The CIA's role in engineering the 9/11/01 attack remains unclear, though Michael Ruppert has linked its former executive director to the insider trading targeting American Airlines and United Airlines prior to the attack. The New York City headquarters of the CIA was in Building 7 a fact unknown to the public until after the attack.

COINTELPRO: the FBI's 1960's era COunter INTELligence PROgram, an operation to disrupt and vitiate social justice organizations. COINTELPRO was officially ended after being exposed in 1971. However, COINTELPRO methods continued to be used against organizations working for social and environmental justice and against militarism and corporate globalization. There is evidently a multi-faceted COINTELPRO-type operation targeting the 9/11 truth movement in which real people and internet personas pretending to be 9/11 skeptics promote nonsensical ideas in order to discredit questioning of the official story.

collapse: description assigned to the total destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7, that implicitly endorses the official explanation that the buildings spontaneously crushed themselves because of structural and fire damage, and not from explosive demolition.

column failure theory: theory that fire-induced failures of columns in the Twin Towers led to chain reactions of failures resulting in total building collapses.

compartmentalization: the restriction of information flow between different parts of an organization. Compartmentalization is widely employed in the military in order to make operations, especially secret ones, more resistant to penetration and exposure. See also, need-to-know basis.

conspiracy theorist: derisive term used to label pejoratively and exploit prejudice against any person not accepting the official explanation of an event, such as the lone-gunman theory of the JFK assassination or the 19 suicide pilots theory of 9/11.

conspiracy theory: an account of the collusion of two or more people in the commission of a crime. The official account that the 9/11/01 attack was perpetrated by teams of Islamic hijackers is an example of a conspiracy theory. However, the term conspiracy theory is usually used to derisively characterize any theories that contradict the official theory.

controlled demolition: the engineered total destruction of structures, especially large buildings. Controlled demolition is often implied by the less precise term demolition. Usually, controlled demolitions are designed to implode buildings, in order to avoid damage to nearby structures. However, controlled demolitions can be engineered to achieve different results, such as the top-to-bottom smooth-wave explosions of the Twin Towers.

Controlled Demolition Incorporated: company subcontracted by Tully Construction to remove the rubble from Ground Zero. Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI) was also contracted to dispose of the remains of the Oklahoma City bombing.

core columns: steel box-column constituents of the Twin Towers' core structures.

core structure: central structural support system running the height of each Twin Tower. Core columns and other members such as steel I-beams comprised the core structures.

Corley, Gene: senior structural engineer who led FEMA's investigation of the "collapse" of the World Trade Center buildings, Corley was also involved in the Weidlinger study, which promoted the column failure theory contradicting the truss failure theory endorsed by FEMA.

crypto-fascist state: a state whose fascist nature is carefully hidden from most people.


debunker: in the context of discussions of the 9/11 attack, one who attempts to discredit challenges to the official story. Much as the term conspiracy theory is reserved for such challenges, the term debunking is seldom used to describe rebuttals to claims of official story defenders.

Deception Dollar: a flyer that resembles a US dollar bill and lists a collection of websites that challenge the official explanation of 9/11/01. The Deception Dollar has been printed in several different versions and editions, and over three million copies are in circulation. Versions 6 and 7 list wtc7.net and Version 8 lists 911review.com.

Demartini, Frank A.: on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center, who gave a January 2001 interview describing the Twin Towers' expected response to a jetliner crash. Demartini has been missing since the attack.

demolition: the destruction of structures. Demolition is usually used synonymously with controlled demolition.

disinformation: specious ideas used to pollute discourse and conceal the truth. Disinformation is sometimes used synonymously with misinformation, but disinformation carries a stronger implication of intent.

domino theory: theory popularized by Thomas Eagar to explain how the Twin Towers could rapidly self-destruct.

Drexel Burnham Lambert: a subsidiary of Halliburton.

dust clouds: phenomena seen in the destruction of each of the Twin Towers and 7, and normally seen only with controlled demolitions.


Eagar, Thomas: MIT materials science professor who helped to legitimize the truss failure theory with articles and interviews, such as NOVA's The Collapse: An Engineer's Perspective.

Eberhart, Ralph: Commander of NORAD in 2001. Eberhart was later promoted to head the newly created Northern Command.

Edmonds, Sibel: former translator for the FBI, hired after the attack and fired in March 2002 after she informed her managers of possible pre-9/11/01 espionage involving a fellow translator with connections to Turkey.

energetic materials: materials that react to release large quantities of energy, such as nano-thermites, which may be engineered to have specific properties, such as the ability to be applied in thin coatings.

EPA: the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal agency whose mission is to protect the environment and public health. The EPA bowed to pressure from the Bush administration to issue false assurances that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe in the days and months after the attack.

Emergency Management, Office of: a department created by a 1996 executive order of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose director answers directly to the mayor. A bunker was created on the 23rd floor of Building 7 to house the OEM.

evidence, destruction of: a pattern by officials seen throughout the response to the attack.

explosion: a rapid expansion of material, often generating a blast wave and concussion. The falls of the Twin Towers were characterized by the bursting out of thick clouds of material at rates of 50 feet per second, the hurling of projectiles 400 feet in all directions, and a blast wave that shattered windows in buildings 350 feet away. Thus their collapses are accurately described as explosions rather than as implosions, which are typically engineered by controlled demolitions.


F-15: supersonic two-engine jet fighter used as an interceptor in domestic air space by the US Air Force and Air National Guard.

F-16: supersonic one-engine jet fighter used as an interceptor in domestic air space by the US Air Force and Air National Guard.

FAA: Federal Aviation Administration, whose mission is to provide "a safe, secure, and efficient U.S. national airspace system." The 9/11 Commission adjusted the timeline of the response to the attack to pin the blame for the failures to intercept the commandeered jetliners away from the military and onto the FAA.

false flag operation: a covert operation in which perpetrators stage actions which they make appear to be the work of their enemies. The actions can be anything from terrorist attacks to COINTELPRO-type sabotage of dissident groups.

FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for much of the investigation of the 9/11/01 attack. The FBI permitted the systematic destruction of evidence at Ground Zero and other crime scenes, and suppressed other evidence such as the commandeered jetliners' black boxes and Pentagon crash footage.

FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) played a major role in responding to the attack and preventing any genuine investigation of the crime scenes.

Fetzer, James: Fetzer's centerpiece essay on the attack is the subject of the essay A Critical Review of James Fetzer's Thinking about "Conspiracy Theories": 9/11 and JFK.

fire proofing: application of thermal insulation to the structural members of buildings to provide resistance to the heat of fires. The fire proofing in the Twin Towers included hundreds of tons of asbestos.

First Interstate Bank Building: a Los Angeles skyscraper that was ravaged by an overnight fire that burned out of control for 3 1/2 hours. The building suffered no serious structural damage.

floor diaphragm: floor structure supported along its edges only, such as the floors in the tenant spaces of the Twin Towers.

free fall: falling without resistance, and thereby undergoing a downward acceleration of 32 feet per second per second. That is, with each passing second, the object will fall through a distance 32 feet greater than in the previous second. Building 7 entirely collapsed in under a second less than the free-fall speed of an object dropped from the height of its roof.


Gage, Richard: founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Gage is a professional architect of steel-framed buildings and member of the AIA.

garage bombing: the February 26, 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

Garvey, Jane: administrative head of FAA during 9/11/01.

Giuliani, Rudolph: Mayor of New York City at the time of the attack. Giuliani had built an emergency command center on the 23rd floor of Building 7, but had apparently re-located to a makeshift command center on Barkley street prior to the attack.

gold: precious metal, $200 million worth of which was recovered from vaults below WTC 4 in late 2001.

Ground Zero: name given the World Trade Center site after the attack.

Griffin, David: theologian who has written several books exposing fatal flaws in the official account of the attack, his first two being: The New Pearl Harbor summarized work by independent researchers, and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions exposes the many omissions, lies, and contradictions in the report by the 9/11 Commission.

Guantanamo Bay: US military base in Cuba, and site of gulag used to detain accused terrorists without due process.


Halliburton: company formerly headed by Dick Cheney, and awarded large no-bid contracts in the occupation of Iraq.

Hanjour, Hani: alleged suicide pilot of Flight 77. Hanjour supposedly piloted the jetliner through a phenomenal acrobatic maneuver even though his flight school instructors considered him utterly incompetent as a pilot.

Niels Harrit: a chemistry professor with the University of Copenhagen for over 30 years and widely published author of scientific papers, Harrit is the first-named author on the landmark paper Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.

hat truss: steel structures within the upper floors of the Twin Towers blamed by the NIST investigation for the Towers' collapse.

high explosive: an energetic material that, because of its high reaction rate, produces an explosion with high brisance.

hijackers: sole operational perpetrators of the 9/11/01 attack, according to the official story. The FBI named 19 Islamic hijackers within three days of the attack, shortly after which six of the alleged hijackers reported themselves alive and innocent.

Hoffman, Jim: creator of wtc7.net and this website, of which he is the senior editor. Hoffman, who co-authored Waking Up From Our Nightmare and 911 Guilt: The Proof is in Your Hands, brings his scientific background to bear in analysis of the attack.

Homeland Security Act: the second large piece of legislation predicated on the 9/11/01 attack.

Homeland Security, Department of: department created by the Homeland Security Act whose primary mission is "to prevent, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism" according to www.whitehouse.gov/homeland/. The diversion of resources from the FEMA to the Homeland Security Department is one factor blamed for the pathetic response to the Katrina emergency.

homerun: designation of hijack recovery system conjectured to be installed in Boeing 757 and 767 jetliners allowing remote takeover of the aircraft's control.

Hufschmid, Eric: researcher who created the first illustrated book exposing the inadequacy of the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings, Painful Deceptions.


implosion: the use of controlled demolition of buildings to induce the structure to fall inward, toward the building's central vertical axis.

Industrial Risk Insurers: one of the underwriters of the insurance on WTC 7 who paid a court-ordered award of $386 million to the building's insurance beneficiaries.

In Plane Site: video which presents a series of mostly false claims about the attack as scandalous revelations that disprove the official story. In Plane Site, one of several 9/11 videos filled with dubious claims, is reviewed by Dr. Green.

interception: the use of high-speed fighter aircraft to approach, inspect, and signal off-course and/or unresponsive aircraft. Interception should not be confused with shoot-down which is used as a last-resort measure.

ISI: Pakistani intelligence service. The ISI supported the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the US invasion in 2001.

Israeli spy scandal: name given to incident in which a group of Israelis were arrested after being observed documenting and celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers from across the Hudson.


Jimeno, William: Port Authority police officer who was trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center for 13 hours before being rescued. The struggles of Jimeno and his co-worker John McLoughlin are the subject of the 2006 Oliver Stone film World Trade Center.

Jones, Steven: physics professor at Brigham Young University who has written scientific papers supporting the hypothesis that the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Building 7 were destroyed by controlled demolition. Jones' work received favorable early publicity in the mainstream media, and gave the idea of demolition of the WTC buildings currency that it lacked before late 2005.


Kean Commission: nickname of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission.

Kean-Zelikow Commission: nickname for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States dubbed by scholar David Ray Griffin to reflect the fact that the actual control of the commission resided in executive director Philip Zelikow.

Kellogg, Brown & Root: a subsidiary of the Halliburton Company. KBR has the largest contract for services to U.S. forces.

Kerrey, Senator Bob: Senator who served on the 9/11 Commission despite evidence that he committed war crimes during his tour of duty as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam.

Knoblauch, Loring: CEO of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) until his resignation August of 2004. Knoblauch told UL's staff shortly after the attack that UL had certified the steel used in the WTC.


Leidig, Captain Charles: deputy director of operations of the NMCC, who replaced Brigadier General Montague Winfield as on-duty commander of the center starting at 8:30 on 9/11/01. It was Leidig's first day on that job.

Loizeaux, Mark: President of Controlled Demolition Incorporated, claiming on a number of documentaries that controlled demolition of the WTC skyscrapers could only have been done the way he does demolitions -- with noisy prep work, hundreds of cutter charges, and miles of detonation cord -- and hence was impossible.

Loose Change: popular documentary promoting the premise that the attack was an inside job. The first and second editions advance a mixture of true, false, and dubious claims, and are the subject of the critique Sifting Through Loose Change and the essay "Loose Change" An analysis.


McLoughlin, John: Port Authority police Sergeant who became trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center, and the second last survivor to be rescued. The struggles of McLoughlin and his co-worker William Jimeno are the subject of the 2006 Oliver Stone film World Trade Center.

Mineta, Norman: Secretary of Transportation at the time of the attack, who described to the 9/11 Commission an incident in which Vice President Dick Cheney was repeatedly questioned by a young man if the "orders still stand" as an unidentified plane sped toward the Pentagon. The meaning of the testimony is the subject of Dr. Green's essay How They Get Away With It.

Manhattan, Lower: location of the World Trade Center, the southern tip of the island of Manhattan, one of five boroughs comprising New York City.

meme: an idea that is capable of replicating itself. Memes are often likened to viruses, since they propagate themselves in much the same way as viruses do. The success of the official story of the 9/11/01 attack in spite of glaring red flags can be understood by viewing it as a carefully-constructed meme, appealing to people's prejudices and subconscious desires. Memetic engineering is utilized to spread disinformation.

Meyssan, Thierry: French author who created the website Hunt the Boeing and the books 'The Horrifying Fraud' (published in English as '9/11 The Big Lie') and 'Pentagate'. These productions employed partial and misleading presentation of evidence to advance the idea that the Pentagon was not hit by a jetliner, but damaged by a truck bomb or missile.

misinformation: invalid or specious ideas that impede understanding the truth. Misinformation has a less accusatory connotation than the similar term disinformation.

Mlakar, Paul: one of the leaders of the ASCE team that investigated the World Trade Center "collapses" along with Gene Corley, Mete Sozen, and Charles Thornton. Also a member of the Oklahoma City engineering investigation team along with the same individuals.

Murrah Federal Building: building damaged in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Myers, Richard: Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11/01. He apparently did nothing to respond to the attack until it was over.


National Reconnaissance Office: a US military intelligence agency that controls American spy satellite systems. On 9/11/01 the NRO was conducting an exercise simulating a plane crashing into its headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia. The exercise resulted in most of the employees evacuating the building, where they were unable to monitor satellite imagery as the attack unfolded.

New Pearl Harbor, The: first book authored by theologian and scholar David Ray Griffin on the topic of the 9/11/01 attack. The New Pearl Harbor exposes absurdities in the official story by citing the research of numerous independent investigators.

New York City: the city serving as the primary target of the 9/11/01 attack, Ground Zero was in the southern end of Manhattan, one of five boroughs comprising New York City. The toxic fallout from the attack affected many square miles around the World Trade Center site, mostly in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

nano-energetics: the art and science of designing energetic materials using nano-technology. Because the rates of many reactions scale inversely with the sizes of particles in composite materials, the nano-engineening of composites enables the creation of much more powerful pyrotechnics using energy-dense thermitic materials.

nano-thermites: types of energetic materials in which an aluminothermic reaction similar to conventional thermite is engineered to have a much higher reaction rate by dividing the aluminum into extremely fine powder.

Naval Intelligence, Office of: military intelligence branch of the Navy. The Office of Naval Intelligence had offices in the Naval Command Center, on the Pentagon's first floor, a facility targeted by the Pentagon plane crash.

NEADS: the NorthEast Air Defense Sector, the one of the several sectors of NORAD.

need-to-know basis: method of operation common in the military and intelligence agencies where operatives are given only the information they need to perform their tasks. This practice, like compartmentalization, allows conspirators to execute complex psychological operations like the 9/11/01 attack with minimal risk of exposure. See Attack Scenario 404.

NIST: the National Institute for Standards and Technology. NIST was charged with investigating the World Trade Center building collapses long after nearly all of the evidence had been destroyed.

NIST investigation: formally called the 'Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation', the effort endorsed the official explanation that the Twin Towers and Building 7 collapsed due to plane crashes and fires. NIST developed a new theory for initiation of the collapse of the Twin Towers, explained in its Final Report on the Twin Towers. That theory, and the failings of NIST's investigation, are examined in the essay Building a Better Mirage. The investigation is headed by Shyam Sunder.

NMCC: the National Military Command Center, located in the Pentagon. This facility, which was normally under the command of Brigadier General Montague Winfield, was commanded by rookie Captain Charles Leidig on the morning of the attack.

no-planes theories: ideas that one or more of the four jetliners commandeered on 9/11/01 did not crash where reported, or did not even exist, and that the damage to the buildings and the Pennsylvania crash site were produced by some other means. They have served to discredit and divert attention from evidence-based challenges to the official story. These ideas range from the patently absurd -- such as that holograms or media overlays were used to fake the crashes of jetliners into the Twin Towers, to the not easily falsifiable -- such as that a Boeing 737 rather than a 757 crashed into the Pentagon. Many ideas of this type are more correctly called no-jetliner theories since they suppose the crashes of planes other than jetliners.

NORAD: the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the entity responsible for air defense of the United States and Canada at the time of the attack.

Northwoods, Operation: code name for a 1962 set of proposals by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to stage a terrorist attacks in the United States and blame them on Cuba, in order to create a pretext for a war to oust Fidel Castro. The Operation Northwoods scenarios included assassinations, plane hijackings, and attacks on naval vessels.

NORTHCOM: a military command established in October 2002 that combines the US Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines into a command structure that will be expected to implement martial law in the event that the Homeland Security alert system goes to "code red". NORTHCOM is commanded by General Ralph Eberhart, who commanded NORAD on 9/11/01.


Odigo: instant messaging service company, based in Manhattan, two of whose employees received warnings hours before the attack.

official explanation: the explanation, promoted by the US government and almost all broadcast media that the 9/11/01 attack was perpetrated exclusively by al Queda led by Osama bin Laden.

Offutt Air Force Base: US Air Force base near Omaha, Nebraska. Offutt was the site of two significant events on 9/11/01: Warren Buffett hosted a meeting of CEOs, some from the World Trade Center, in the morning; and George W. Bush visited the base later that day, as part of his whirlwind tour on Air Force One.

Oklahoma City bombing: the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, blamed by the government on Timothy McVeigh.

Olson, Ted: Solicitor General for the US. Olson claimed a day after the attack that his wife, Barbara Olson, a passenger on Flight 77, had called from the hijacked plane and asked Ted, "What can I tell the pilot?"

Omission Commission: nickname given to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Also referred to as the Kean Commission

O'Neill, John: former FBI official who was killed in the 9/11/01 attack, on his first day on the job as director of security for the World Trade Center. Responsible for investigating al Queda in his FBI position, O'Neill was ousted shortly after Bush II took office. O'Neill was highly critical of the Bush administration's obstructions to his investigations.

One Meridian Plaza: a Philadelphia skyscraper that was ravaged by an 18-hour fire in February 1991. The building did not collapse.


Palmer, Chief Orio J.: battalion chief in the New York Fire Department who reached the 78th floor sky lobby of the South Tower, and began to implement a plan to suppress "two pockets of fire" before the building exploded. Access to the contents of an audiotape containing his last radio communications was the subject of a legal battle.

Paul, Don: researcher of the attack and author of one of the first books documenting evidence that the attack was an inside job, Facing our Fascist State. Paul has organized educational events in the San Francisco bay area focusing on physical evidence of government and corporate complicity, and co-authored Waking Up from Our Nightmare, the 9/11/01 Crimes in New York City with Jim Hoffman.

Patriot Act: See USA PATRIOT Act.

patsy: a dupe or scapegoat Lee Harvey Oswald said in a press conference after his arrest: "They've taken me in because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union, I'm just a patsy".

PentaCon: a video and website promoting the hoax that Flight 77 or a look-alike plane merely appeared to crash into the Pentagon but actually flew over it.

Pentagon: Headquarters of Department of Defense, attacked on 9/11/01.

Pentagon attack theories: speculative theories about what hit the Pentagon on 9/11/01, some of which may be part of a psychological operation to confuse the issue of what really happened.

Pentagon Building Performance Study: final report of the team of volunteer ASCE investigators assembled by FEMA to investigate the attack of the Pentagon on 9/11/01.

Pentagon crash: the crash and explosion of a jetliner at the Pentagon's west wall at around 9:40 AM on 9/11/01.

Pentagon crash footage: footage from security cameras from businesses near the Pentagon seized by the FBI within minutes of the Pentagon crash.

perimeter columns: vertical elements of the Twin Towers' perimeter walls.

perimeter walls: one of two main structural systems that supported the Twin Towers. The perimeter walls complemented the core structures to stiffen the Towers against lateral wind loading. The perimeter walls were composed of perimeter columns and spandrel plates.

Peterson, Peter: former head of the Blackstone Group, one of the beneficiaries of payouts for the destruction WTC 7.

PNAC: the Project for a New American Century. This organization, which promotes a neoconservative agenda of world domination, includes Richard Armitage, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom participated in the creation of Rebuilding America's Defenses.

progressive collapse: name given to alleged phenomenon blamed for the total collapses of the Twin Towers and Building 7.

psychological operation: a secret operation, usually planned and executed by an intelligence agency such as the CIA, designed to achieve objectives primarily through the psychological manipulation of a target population, rather than through conventional military means. Psychological operations are also known as psyops. Disinformation campaigns are examples of psyops, as are attacks like '9/11' themselves.

pull it: phrase from a comment by Larry Silverstein, principal owner of Building 7, frequently cited as an admission that the building was deliberately demolished.

Purdue Study: study by Purdue University exploring the Pentagon crash.

pyroclastic flow: a suspension of solid particles in gases, whose density pulls it downward and keeps it somewhat distinct from surrounding air. This term has been applied to describe the vast dust clouds that issued from the collapses of the Twin Towers.

pyrotechnic: an energetic material, typically composed of finely divided metallic fuels and oxidizer powders held in a binder, that undergoes a self-contained reaction producing and engineered mix of light, heat, and pressure. Although most often used to describe fireworks and propellants, pyrotechnics have broad military applications ranging from incendiaries to high-explosives.


QuestionsQuestions.net: website containing critical analysis of disinformation that permeates the 9/11 Truth Movement.


Rebuilding America's Defenses: a position paper of the PNAC published in 2000 calling for A New Pearl Harbor to catalyze the "transformation of America's defenses."

red-gray chips: description of particles found in multiple samples of World Trade Center dust which, on close examination, were found to have the Physical structure, chemical composition, and thermal behavior of a nano-engineered, energy-dense, pyrotechnic -- the likely remains of a high explosive components.

Resource Services Washington: An army office of civilian accountants, bookkeepers, and budget analysts, 34 of whom were killed in the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

Reynolds, Morgan: former chief economist for the US Labor Department during 2001-2002, and proponent of the no-planes theories, frequently wrapped in the advocacy of the controlled demolition theory, such as in his essay Why Did the Trade Center Skyscrapers Collapse? reviewed here.

Romero, Van: New Mexico demolitions expert who wrote on the day of the attack that the collapses of the Twin Towers were caused by "explosive devices inside the buildings", but retracted this conclusion in another article ten days later.

Rumsfeld, Donald: Secretary of Defense during the attack, Rumsfeld claimed to have been unaware of the attack until over an hour after it started.

Ruppert, Michael: researcher who founded FromTheWilderness, a website with original analysis about 9/11/01 and the anticipated peak oil crisis. Ruppert was the first researcher to make that case that the short-selling of stocks in companies whose assets were exploited in the attack indicated insider involvement.

Rushdie, Salman: author of The Satanic Verses. Salman Rushdie was prevented from flying on 9/11/01.

Ryan, Kevin: former Site Manager of the Underwriters Laboratories' Environmental Health Laboratories in South Bend, Indiana, who was fired after writing a letter to Frank Gayle, who was working for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's investigation of the World Trade Center collapse. Ryan's letter defended Underwriters Laboratories' certification of the steel used in the Towers, and challenged the official story of the collapses.


Scholars For 911 Truth: group founded by James Fetzer and Steven Jones, and represented to the public by ScholarsFor911Truth.org. Jones and more than 160 others left the group to join Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice due largely to Fetzer's promotion of pseudo-scientific claims.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice (STJ911): group identified by the website STJ911.org representing a serious scholarly approach to the investigation of the 9/11/2001 crimes. Originally formed in late 2006 by scores of individuals disenchanted with James Fetzer's control of Scholars For 911 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice has among its more than 600 members Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan, Richard Gage, and Niels Harrit.

scholarsfor911truth.org: website providing the public face of Scholars For 911 Truth and controlled by James Fetzer. The website is the subject of the essay ScholarsFor911Truth.org: Muddling the Evidence

Science Applications International: contractor for the DOD and Homeland Security Department, and provider of the largest contingent of non-governmental investigators to NIST's WTC investigation, SAIC develops energetic materials for the military. SAIC was contracted to investigate the Oklahoma City bombing, and evaluated the World Trade Center for terrorism risks in 1986.

scramble: the rapid launching of fighters. Scrambling is the first step in interception, and usually takes well under five minutes.

secret government: a plan to supposedly assure continuity of government in emergencies, revealed after the attack.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): the federal agency charged with investigating securities fraud. The SEC supposedly lost thousands of documents of ongoing investigations when WTC Building 7 collapsed.

Securacom: former name of Stratesec, the company responsible for security of several of the 9/11/01 targets.

seismic records: data from earthquake recording stations, such as records from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY, which recorded earth-shaking events in Manhattan on 9/11/01. These records are frequently misinterpreted by skeptics of the official story as evidence that shocks preceded the collapses, but analysis does not support this.

shoot-down: the destruction of a derelict airborne object by firing a missile at it. Shoot-down should not be confused with interception, which is a routine procedure triggered by aircraft becoming unresponsive or flying off-course.

Sifting Through Loose Change: detailed point-by-point critique of the Second Edition of Loose Change found here.

Silverstein, Larry: real estate mogul, whose company, Silverstein Properties, acquired control of the World Trade Center complex just six weeks before the attack.

Silverstein Properties: company controlled by Larry Silverstein.

Skilling, John: chief design engineer of the World Trade Center. That Skilling and is team contemplated jetliner crashes is documented by a 1964 white paper and a public statement by Skilling following the 1993 garage bombing.

sleeper cell: a small unit that works for a larger political movement by hiding itself among a population until it emerges to carry out an operation. This term is an essential part of the official account of the 9/11/01 attack, since it purports to explain how bands of Islamic terrorist could rise from obscurity to carry out such a devastating, coordinated military assault.

Sozen, Mete: one of the leaders of the ASCE team that investigated the World Trade Center "collapses" along with Gene Corley, Paul Mlakar, and Charles Thornton. Also a member of the Oklahoma City engineering investigation team along with the same individuals.

spandrel plates: horizontal steel plates that connected the perimeter columns to complete the structures of the Twin Towers' perimeter walls.

stand-down: ending a state of readiness or alert. There was an apparent stand-down of the air defense network on 9/11/01.

steel, structural: construction material used for 100 percent of the structural framing of the World Trade Center buildings. Structural steel has a melting point of about 1535º Celsius, and loses about 50% of its strength at 600º Celsius.

STJ911.org: website of the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice.

Stratesec: company that provided security to the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport (from which Flight 77 took off), and United Airlines (the operator of Flights 175 and 93) from 1995 through 2001. Formerly named Securacom, the company had ties to Marvin Bush.

Stone, Oliver: Acclaimed filmmaker who directed the 2006 film World Trade Center, a dramatization of the rescues of two of the last survivors trapped in the rubble of the Towers, John McLoughlin and William Jimeno.

Sunder, Shyam: lead investigator for NIST's investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center skyscrapers.


Taliban: Islamic group that controlled Afghanistan until the US invasion in 2001.

thermate: An aluminothermic reaction, similar to thermite but with sulfur added as an accelerant.

thermite: a highly exothermic reaction in which powdered aluminum is oxidized by the oxide of another metal, most commonly iron oxide. Professor Steven Jones has focused on evidence that thermite was used to destroy the World Trade Center skyscrapers. Thermite is an example of the class of reactions known as aluminothermics.

thermitic: generally synonymous with aluminothermic, the term appears in the 2009 paper Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.

thermobaric: a kind of explosive that uses an initial charge to disperse a fuel or explosive aerosol, followed by a second charge that ignites or detonates the aerosol.

Thornton, Charles: one of the leaders of the ASCE team that investigated the World Trade Center "collapses" along with Gene Corley, Mete Sozen, and Paul Mlaker. Also a member of the Oklahoma City engineering investigation team along with the same individuals.

total building collapse: process resulting in the complete destruction of a building, leaving no significant portions standing. The total collapse of steel frame buildings is extremely rare, outside of controlled demolition. On 9/11/01, the Twin Towers and Building 7 experienced total collapse, leaving no large assemblies intact. This contrasts with the most severe cases of total collapse of steel buildings not induced by demolition, which were caused by earthquakes rather than fires, and which leave large sections of the buildings intact.

Tripod II: name of biowarfare exercise that was to be conducted in Lower Manhattan on September 12, 2001. This exercise resulted in the deployment of FEMA to the city on September 10, with the establishment of a command post at Pier 29.

truss failure theory: theory that fire-induced failures of the lightweight open trusses undergirding the Twin Towers' floors led to chain reactions of failures resulting in total building collapses.

Tully Construction Company: one of four companies contracted to dispose of the rubble at Ground Zero.

Tully, Steve: CEO of Tully Construction Co.

Twin Towers: Buildings 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The Twin Towers were 110-story 100% steel-frame skyscrapers which briefly held the record for the tallest buildings in the world.


Underwriters Laboratories: non-profit company that performed contract work for NIST's collapse investigation, and fired Kevin Ryan for questioning the official explanation for the collapses. Underwriters Laboratories, whose business is to certify products for compliance with safety standards, had certified that the steel used in the World Trade Center met guidelines for fire resistance. Ryan went on to investigate the investigation of the "collapses" of the Twin Towers and Building 7, providing detailed research on its conflicts of interest.

United Airlines: One of two airlines used in the 9/11/01 attack. Flights 175 and 93 belonged to United Airlines.

USA PATRIOT Act: legislation passed in the wake of the attack curbing civil liberties and government accountability.


V For Vendetta: a 2005 film with strong parallels to the Orwellian context of 9/11.

viscoelastic damper: devices that connected the bottom chords of the web trusses that undergirded the floor diaphragms to the spandrel plates in the Twin Towers. The viscoelastic dampers served to absorb vibrations and thereby prevent the buildup of oscillations due to wind loading.


Waking Up from Our Nightmare, the 9/11/01 Crimes in New York City: an illustrated book by Don Paul and Jim Hoffman, which proves that the World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2, and 7 were destroyed through controlled demolitions, and shows who planned and benefited from the attack.

Walker, Wirt III: cousin of George W Bush who was a principal in Stratesec.

war games: military exercises, which may have been used as one of the primary methods of assuring the success of the 9/11/01 attack. There is evidence of five distinct war game exercises being conducted on the day of the attack.

War on Terror: the 9/11/01-predicated Orwellian war without end. The 'War on Terror' was used to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the illegal indefinite detentions of men and boys in Guantanamo Bay. The Orwellian 'War on Terror', promised by one of its architects Dick Cheney not to end in our lifetime, may be used to justify the invasion of other oil-rich nations such as Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

web truss: structural member typically used as floor or roof joists consisting of two separated two parallel bars (chords) connected by zig-zagging rods (webs). Most of the floor diaphragms in the Twin Towers were supported by interlocking single and double web trusses.

Weidlinger Associates: group who produced the Weidlinger Study.

Weidlinger Study: a study commissioned by Silverstein Properties for its insurance claim for the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation: article by Thomas Eagar and Christopher Musso published in the Member Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society in 2001, which mixes information and disinformation to push the official explanation of a domino-effect collapse.

Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?: paper by Steven Jones examining problems with the official explanation for the collapse of the World Trade Center skyscrapers evidence for their controlled demolition. The paper's original version is archived here, and its current version is here.

Why the Towers Fell: documentary aired on PBS and the Discovery Channel that explains the collapses of the Twin Towers using the truss failure theory. NOVA's companion website to the documentary contains an interview The Collapse: An Engineer's Perspective.

Forman Williams: Lead engineer on NIST's advisory committee and expert on the ignition and deflagration of energetic materials Williams was the most prominent engineering expert cited by Popular Mechanics.

Winfield, Brigadier General Montague: normally director of the NMCC. General Winfield asked rookie Captain Charles Leidig to take over duty on the morning of 9/11/01.

Wolfowitz, Paul: member of the PNAC.

World Trade Center: a cluster of seven buildings, including the famous Twin Towers, serving as the principal physical target of the 9/11/01 attack. Also, the name of a film by Oliver Stone recounting the true story of the rescue of survivors William Jimeno and John McLoughlin.

World Trade Center dust: The extremely voluminous dust produced by the total destruction of the World Trade Center.

World Trade Center collapse: phrase that implicitly endorses the idea that the leveling of the Twin Towers and Building 7 were natural, gravity-driven events, rather than demolitions.

World Trade Center Building Performance Study: final report of the team of volunteer ASCE investigators assembled by FEMA to investigate the collapses of the World Trade Center buildings during the 9/11/01 attack. This investigation went on concurrently with the removal and destruction of evidence at Ground Zero. It was inconclusive about the causes of the collapses.


xenophobia: fear of foreign cultures, such as that exploited by the official myth of 9/11.


yellow journalism: cowardly or dishonest journalism, exemplified by this 2005 Popular Mechanics article.


Zelikow, Philip: executive director of the 9/11 Commission. Philip Zelikow is a Bush administration insider.

Zhou, Young: co-author, with Zdenek Bazant, of Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis, the first scientific article purporting to explain the Tower collapses.

zipper theory: theory proposed by Thomas Eagar to explain how all of the trusses on a floor of the Twin Towers could fail in rapid succession.

page last modified: 2011-10-10