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Is it Science or Honesty that NIST Lacks?

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President Obama’s promise to restore science to its rightful place raises a question regarding the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Is forensic science already well in hand, but just not the honesty to apply it? Soon, the nominee for the Secretary of Commerce, Gov. Gary Locke, goes before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for confirmation. This position provides management oversight of NIST, among other things. Once confirmed, this person will select the new Director of NIST. The Senate should question Gov. Locke on his assessment of NIST’s past practices and intentions going forward.

Case in point is the NIST final report on World Trade Center 7, the 47-story high-rise that collapsed on September 11, 2001. The report’s authors explained in precise technical terms, the North side of the building (the side they were measuring) underwent a 2.25-second free-fall drop, extending approximately 8 stories. This agreed very closely with observations made during the opportunity for public comments. The whole process of requesting public comments to the draft final report, receiving them, and updating the final report where warranted was very commendable.

The problem comes with the NIST interpretation of the significance of this updated information. The NIST authors did need to make a comment, in that they stated in their draft report that the visible part of the collapse had accelerated downward at 40% of free fall. Their comment was in essence, when they looked at a longer period of time (5.4 sec.) encompassing this intermediary 2.25-sec. stage, then the three stages of collapse progression are consistent with the results of their global collapse analyses, i.e., their analytical model.

Their analytical model did not contain the mechanism for free fall.  Yet, they called the overall results consistent with their model. NIST has not faced up to the significance of free fall. Is declaring the overall results consistent with their model the NIST way of sweeping the dirty implications of free fall under the proverbial carpet?

A free-fall drop of 8 stories raises the obvious question, what was going on with 8 stories of structure that allowed the upper visible section of the building to fall through it unrestricted? The NIST analytical model produces an answer that columns were buckling. In fact, it might be said, the theme of the NIST WTC7 Final Report [1] was fire and buckling. A search on the word, “buckling,” comes up with 42 times the word is used. Whereas, “free fall” only produces 6 matches, and all but one of those are in reference to the overall collapse being 40% slower than free fall, or the definition of free fall, itself.

The degree to which NIST has apparently tried to hide the 8 stories of free fall drop can be seen in the care taken to hide it on the NIST WTC webpage [2]. On that webpage, among items pertaining to WTC7, the link to the press release for the final report is listed first. This press release [3] lists a number of changes between the final report, and the draft final report issued earlier for public comments. Surprisingly, or maybe dishonestly would be a better choice of word, free fall is not even mentioned. In the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, there is one question on free fall. The answer given is essentially the same as given in the Final Report, but for one exception. In explaining Stage 2, which was the period during which free-fall occurred, the answer states, “During Stage 2, the north face descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below. This is consistent with the structural analysis model which showed the exterior columns buckling and losing their capacity to support the loads from the structure above.”  This makes it clear, and incorrect in doing so, that the consistency between the measurements and the model was during Stage 2. Whereas, the Final Report only claims consistency between measurements and model when the entire collapse time is considered.

The reason NIST is making such an effort to hide free fall is it strongly suggests explosives were involved. NIST did a superficial explosives study, referred to in the Final Report as “Hypothetical Blast Scenarios.” The study should be viewed with skepticism, in that it made the unreasonable assumption that any explosives would have to have been planted after the attacks on the Twin Towers, but before the collapse of WTC7. A very limited time frame, indeed. NIST just did not make an honest effort to consider an explosives scenario.

Whether at the Confirmation Hearings of Gov. Locke for Secretary of Commerce, or the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings of Sen. Patrick Leahy, these matters of questionable science and matters of dishonesty at NIST need to come out into the light of day. The public needs to know once and for all, what caused the destruction of WTC7.

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[3] click here

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Retired NASA flight research engineer. Listed on Patriots Question 9/11. Panel member, 9/11 Consensus. Member, Scientific Panel Investigating Nine Eleven (S.P.I.N.E.). Editor-in-chief, Secular Nation magazine (2006-2008).

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Mr. Roberts,What is most obvious in your comments ... by Dwain Deets on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 10:50:00 AM
hasn't pointed out a single error in this Deet... by Better World Order on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 4:35:17 PM
It is hard not to notice that Mark Roberts co... by Tony Szamboti on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 12:17:44 PM
9-11 "Truthers" used to say that WTC-7 w... by Patrick Curley on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 1:23:05 PM
Mr. Curley, the term I have heard used to des... by Tony Szamboti on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 2:54:14 PM
Here's a clue. "We" do actual critic... by Liam Dewey on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:07:55 AM
Both sides have been busy commenting on the WTC7&n... by Richard Carpenter on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 7:14:39 PM
Mr. Deets, thank you for confirming that you have ... by Mark Roberts on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:02:56 AM
If you even knew how to correctly interpret and un... by Liam Dewey on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:19:17 AM
Mr. Szamboti, you once again fail to understand th... by Mark Roberts on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:20:21 AM
I'm just guessing based on what you say about ... by Liam Dewey on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:32:27 AM
Mark, it is obvious that you can't discuss Dwa... by Tony Szamboti on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 8:16:16 AM
The seismology clearly indicates no explosives use... by Perry Logan on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 5:11:49 AM
Believing anything those people say about 9/11 is ... by Liam Dewey on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 5:59:27 AM
Let's concede your point: that seismic evidenc... by Richard Carpenter on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 8:57:20 AM
Kevin Ryan on NoLiesRadio this morning - March 3, ... by Edward Rynearson on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 9:17:14 AM
Good article Dwain Deets, well said.  I just ... by Les Orr on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 10:17:59 AM
"Any detonation of explosives within WTC 7 would h... by Arktig Silver on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 10:52:54 AM
are relatively small with explosive force directed... by richard on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 1:15:55 PM
The 9/11 Truth movement is not going to go away be... by Davol on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 3:04:40 PM
Richard, please read the results of NIST's sim... by Mark Roberts on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 3:07:53 PM
There certainly is evidence for incendiary use in ... by Tony Szamboti on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 8:27:43 PM
seismic disturbance in my earlier comment. But eve... by richard on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:19:25 AM
Let's start from the beginning: 9/11 was a HOA... by eric dynamic on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 5:17:21 PM
I can only be bothered to repond to part of Robert... by Gregg Roberts on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:30:51 PM
Mr. Roberts Your game, and it is a game, is t... by Chris Sarns on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 9:11:27 PM
Mr. Roberts just seems to think that if we don'... by Dan Koch on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 7:25:30 AM
@ richard: Please point out exactly when the deton... by Mark Roberts on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 11:04:28 PM
Of this rather limited sample, 17 people submitted... by Dwain Deets on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 11:08:32 AM
I forgot that Ryan Mackey had included replies to ... by Mark Roberts on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 12:27:35 AM
The only thing I ever learned from reading the man... by Tony Szamboti on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 9:52:58 PM