Early 9/11 Reportage Reveals Surprises

Facts Not Fairies
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recently, while searching my “hard copy” archives, I came across some issues of the New York Times and New York Post published within days of the events of September 11, 2001.

It is interesting to observe that what are often referred to by defenders of the government’s 9-11 storyline as “conspiracy theories” were first articulated by mainstream commentators and experts.

What follows are a few snippets of 9-11 related material gleaned from these early accounts.

Interestingly, columnist Robert Novak was among the first to use the phrase “inside job” in connection with the events of 9-11.

New York Post, Sept. 13, page 59
“Beyond Pearl Harbor”
by Robert D. Novak

Novak’s first sentence:

Security experts and airline officials agree privately that the simultaneous hijacking of four jetliners was an “inside job,” probably indicating complicity beyond malfeasance.

He continues further down:

In the rage and mourning following Tuesday’s disaster, few officials wanted to dwell on how a 10-year hiatus of airline hijackings in this country could be followed by four in one hour. At a minimum, the blame can be put on ill-trained, incompetent personnel performing the screening of passengers. At the worst, security experts fear collusion with terrorists, possibly even extending to the cockpit. This is a subject that the airlines are loathe to discuss.

In the last paragraph, Novak reports:

Stratfor.com, the private intelligence company, reported Tuesday, “The big winner today, intentionally or not, is the state of Israel.”


The following article indicates there was time to spare to intercept a plane headed toward the Pentagon.

The New York Times, Sept. 13, 2001, p. A5
“Controllers Say Flow of Information on Hijacked Planes’ Course Was Slow and Uneven”
by Matthew L. Wald

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 – The controllers assigned to United Airlines Flight 175 on Tuesday suspected that it had been hijacked as it flew off its assigned route, But they did not learn that another plane had been hijacked and had hit the World Trade Center until a minute or two before Flight 175 struck the center, people involved in the air traffic systems said.

In contrast, controllers at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center had much more warning that something was wrong. Those controllers, who handled American Airlines Flight 77, which dived into the Pentagon, knew about the hijacking of the first plane to crash, even before it hit the World Trade Center, those involved said. That was more than an hour before they watched another hijacked plane, United Flight 93, cross their radar screen on its way to the Pentagon.

Advance knowledge made no apparent difference in the response; nobody intercepted the plane.

“We issue control instructions,” one controller said. “Any procedures beyond that point don’t lie with us.”

Those procedures would, in fact, lie with the Air Force….[etc].

So-called “debunkers” who make their living or idle away their time hounding critics of the government’s 9-11 storyline, often disparage comparisons between the collapses of the World Trade Center towers and controlled demolitions. Here’s an interesting citation that addresses the issue only days after 9-11:

The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2001, pgs. B1, B8
Engineers Say Buildings Near Trade Center Held Up Well
by Eric Lipton and James Glanz

…the twin towers had collapsed almost straight downward, a circumstance that the engineers said might have reduced the death toll from the terrorist attack.

“It’s like controlled demolition,” said Matthys Levy, a founding partner at Weidlinger Associates, a structural engineering firm in New York. Mr. Levy, the co-author of “Why Buildings Fall Down” (Norton, 1992), said the collapse of the towers was “an uncontrolled demolition project but it acted like a controlled demolition project.”

The following interesting passage is related to ability of the World Trade Center towers to withstand the impact of an airliner:

New York Post, Sept. 13, 2001, p. 18
“Shocked experts ask: Who dropped the ball?”
by Bob Drogin

One unanswered question is whether the attackers read trial transcripts and studies of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. “One of the things we learned was the engineers who built it designed it to withstand the crash from a Boeing 707,” said John Parachini, executive director of the Washington office of the Monterey Institute of International Studies. “The crash today was a [757], which is a bigger plane.”

Here’s another passage that some might find of interest regarding the same topic:

The New York Times, Sept. 18, 2001, F1, 7
“Defending Skyscrapers Against Terror”
by Kenneth Chang

No one designs a skyscraper to withstand the direct hit of a fully fueled 767, and construction engineers agree that such an attack would have doomed almost any high-rise.

An article describing how easy it is to fly a commercial jet into the World Trade Center towers from distant points:

New York Post, Sept. 13, 2001, pgs. 34-35
“AIMING’ A JET IS ‘VERY VERY EASY” (this was a banner headline over two pages)
“757s and 767’s perfect picks for ‘weapons”
[taken from Reuters]

Taking control of a big airliner and flying it into as precise a target as the World Trade Center is easier than most people would imagine, aviation experts said today.

“It’s very, very easy to aim the plane,” said a senior captain with a U.S. carrier. “It’s not very difficult to get the experience you need. In three months, you can get a pilot’s license.”

Here’s a few passages regarding the health effects of 9-11 and warnings about the same:

The New York Times, Sept. 18, page F2
“Dust is a Problem, but the Risk Seems Small”
by Andrew C. Revkin

“We haven’t found anything that is alarming to us,” said Mary Mears, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency.

…Overall, though, officials said the only significant health risk remained near the destruction. Workers there should wear masks and protective gear and clean their shoes before heading home, they said.

Some officials expressed frustration because many of the workers–most of them hard-bitten construction workers–were ignoring their recommendations.

And from the same article:

Many officials and experts added that decomposing bodies of victims of the attacks posed no danger.


Agency officials and independent experts tried to quell rumors about other hazards, including the possibility that the fires might have turned freon from air-conditioners into a poisonous gas called phosgene.

The chemical reaction that generates phosgene is possible in extremely hot flames, but not in fires like those still burning, agency officials said. Any gas generated by the initial inferno has dissipated, they said.

Back to the The New York Times. “Truthers,” as critics of the U.S. government’s 9-11 storyline are sometimes referred to, often speak of the total collapse of a third major office tower at the World Trade Center complex, Building 7. But there was another, later, collapse, that of the remainder of the the south tower, in the late afternoon of Sept. 12

The New York Times, Sept. 13, 2008, p. A12
“As Remnants Collapse, Workers Run For Cover,”
by Jennifer Steinhauer:

The stalagmite remnants of the fallen World Trade Center towers collapsed even further yesterday, sending rumbling debris and clouds of smoke billowing again through lower Manhattan and prompting rescue workers to flee from the site of the destruction.

Further down:

The seeming aftershocks began about about (sic) 5 p.m. yesterday, while workers ploddingly cut through twisted steel and heavy forklifts moved rubble across the plaza in front of the fallen towers….First came a rumble, then one firefighter yelled: “:That part will go! We are waiting for it to collapse.” Moments later, the remaining floors of the south tower of the World Trade Center fell to the ground in a heap of rubble.

Rescue workers and medical personnel bolted up Broadway and Church street, away from flying debris, concrete and smoke as ambulances began to scream from all directions, responding to the new collapse.

“Everyone started running,” said a red Cross worker from Rockland County, who stopped at last at Canal and Broadway. “We were told there was more danger of another building falling. Everyone ran and ran–kept going and didn’t look back.”

“I started running, and I didn’t look back,” Mr. Schwartz said. “And I’m not going back. I’m going home because it’s too dangerous here.”


Frantic calls to the police and Fire Department workers came from all directions, with reports of swaying buildings at John Street and the intersection of Greenwich and liberty Streets.

Over at the West Side Highway, hundreds of people, frightened of falling debris, raced south away from what the believed to be a collapsing building. They pushed past police barricades and dodged rescue equipment that were hastily being thrown into reverse. many searched for a car to dive behind.

Firefighters and police officers led the stampede, struggling to race along streets thick with dust, empty water bottles, bits of metal and wire. Firefighters in heavy bunker gear yelled at colleagues, who stood looking toward a rolling pillar of smoke to move. “Get out of here!” screamed one investigator. “Run! Run!”

The the fashioning of an archetypal 9-11 villain and the storyline of the passenger revolt on Flight 93 were already taking shape the day after the “attacks.” The New York Post, reporting on Sept. 13 (about the events of Sept. 12, of course), devotes its entire back page to a portrait of Mohamed Atta. The caption describes Atta’s expression as “The face of utter hatred,” and tells us that his name “was listed on a passenger manifest for one of the four death planes.”

“In Phone Calls From Airplane, Passengers Said They Were Trying to Thwart Hijackers” (The New York Times, Sept. 13, A21) by Jodi Wilgoren and Edward Wong identifies at least one source for the saga of Flight 93 that would later form the basis for a movie.

“I would conclude there was a struggle, and a heroic individual decided they were going to die anyway and, ‘Let’s bring the plane down here,’” Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., was quoted as saying in the above-cited article, only a day after 9-11.

The same article identifies Lyzbeth Glick and Deena Burnett and Alice Hogland as three individuals who said they received phone calls from passengers on Flight 93. Another passenger, Lauren Grandcolas, left a message on an answering machine, while still another placed a call to an emergency switchboard, the article quotes sources as saying.

Turning to graphics, we have some of the earliest photos of the damaged Pentagon building in Arlington, Va. appearing in the next day’s press. Government sources alleged that a “terrorist” caused the damage by flying a commercial airliner into the building. However, the photos are not what one might expect for a crash site. The absence of aircraft debris is striking. The most plausible explanation is that the Pentagon was not hit by an airliner.

On the bright side, we have Rep, Peter DeFazio, D.-Ore., questioning so-called “anti-terrorist” legislation already in the works by the time the anthrax scare hit the country in October of 2001. “This could be the Gulf of Tonkin resolution for civil liberties, instead of a measure meant to fight terrorism,” DeFazio was quoted as saying in an article in the New York Post for October 13, 2001, page 7. One sane voice in a sea of predatory spin and political opportunism.


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