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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

Official Investigations

The Various (Non)Investigations

Knowledgeable officials who were paying attention to the news on September 11th would have known by the end of the day that the events of that day included the following:

  • The largest failure in airport security, and first quadruple hijacking (with primitive weapons) in history.
  • Multiple and unprecedented failures to follow standard operating procedures in the interception of off-course aircraft.
  • The largest failure of the military to defend civilian life and property in the country's history.
  • The failure to defend two of the most recognized terrorist targets despite adequate warning times.
  • The three largest structural failures in recorded history: the total collapses of 1, 2, and 7 World Trade Center.
  • The only collapses of high-rise buildings in United States history. 1  

Clearly, failures of this magnitude warrant the most honest, painstaking, and well-resourced investigation. As of January, 2007, when most of the evidence has been destroyed, such an investigation has yet to be conducted. Instead there have been concerted efforts to stop any real investigation.

Air Defense Failures: Promotions and No Reprimands

Despite the enormity and inexplicable nature of the failures of NORAD, the Air National Guard, and the Air Force to protect New York City and Washington D.C., no public investigation has been conducted, and no officials have been reprimanded. To the contrary, General Richard Myers, Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 11th, was confirmed as Chairman just two days later, despite his inability to answer basic questions about the failures. Ralph Eberhart, commander of NORAD at the time of the attack, was later chosen to head the newly created Northern Command (NORTHCOM) 2  

WTC Disaster: "No Clear Authority" Stymied Collapse Investigation

Within 48 to 72 hours of the attack, representatives of the following agencies were on the scene of the World Trade Center attack, allegedly collecting data.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

FEMA and its contractor, Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc., created the Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT), whose work would culminate in the World Trade Center Building Performance Assessment Study . The BPAT investigators were, except for a walk-through described as a "tourist trip", denied access to the evidence at Ground Zero. They did not have subpoena power.

It is widely recognized (but not widely admitted) that the "investigations" carried out by these agencies were mismanaged and "muddled". 3   The people who were supposed to investigate the building failures were barred from examining the crucial evidence. A charter for a March 6, 2002 committee hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives listed the following problems with these efforts.

  • No clear authority and the absence of an effective protocol for how the building performance investigators should conduct and coordinate their investigation with the concurrent search and rescue efforts, as well as any criminal investigation
  • Difficulty obtaining documents essential to the investigation, including blueprints, design drawings, and maintenance records
  • Uncertainty as a result of the confidential nature of the BPAT study
  • Uncertainty as to the strategy for completing the investigation and applying the lessons learned

Ongoing Obstruction to Serious Investigation

On January 29, 2002, President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, according to congressional sources. 4  

On May 23, 2002, Bush said that he was opposed to establishing a special, independent commission to probe how the government dealt with terror warnings before 9/11. 5   6   This statement was just two days after Minnesota FBI agent Coleen Rowley wrote to FBI Director Mueller, "I have deep concerns that a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring." 7  

On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times lamented:

One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic. 8  

On November 27, 2002, George W. Bush named Henry Kissinger chairman of an "independent investigation" of the 9/11 attack, later dubbed the 9/11 Commission. 9   Kissinger, famous for his obsession with secrecy, is widely considered a war criminal outside of the U.S. On December 13, 2002, Kissinger resigned from the commission rather than comply with the requirement to disclose his business clients. 10   On December 16, 2002, Bush named Thomas Kean to replace Kissinger as chairman of the commission. The Bush administration hamstrung the already highly conflicted Commission by limiting the testimony of its officials. 11   Kean, who will remain president of Drew University, said he would devote one day a week to the commission. 12   The Commission closed its doors in August of 2004 without addressing any of the charges made by skeptics of the official story.


2. Eberhart To Head NORTHCOM, afa.org, 8/02 [cached]
3. Mismanagement Muddled WTC Collapse Inquiry, New York Times, 3/7/02 [cached]
4. Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes, CNN, 1/29/02 [cached]
5. Bush Opposes 9/11 Query Panel, CBSNEWS.com, 5/23/02 [cached]
6. Bush, GOP blast calls for 9/11 inquiry, CNN.com, 5/17/02 [cached]
7. Coleen Rowley's Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Time, 5/21/02 [cached]
8. Investigating 9/11: An Unimaginable Calamity, Still Largely Unexamined, New York Times, 9/11/02 [cached]
9. Kissinger to Lead 9/11 Inquiry, New York Times, 11/28/02 [cached]
10. Kissinger quits as 9/11 inquiry chief, BBC, 12/14/02 [cached]
11. Bush to Limit Testimony Before 9/11 Panel, 2/26/04 [cached]
12. 9/11 Panel Gets New Chairman .., Washington Post, 12/17/02 [cached]

page last modified: 2015-04-29