With the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks upon us, while we remember the deaths of so many good Americans, it is time to take a look at an issue much of the media seems afraid to tackle.
If you perform a search on Yahoo on the words 9/11 conspiracy you will get no less than approximately thirty million hits. A search on Google results in over four million hits. Pages that discuss 9/11 conspiracies outnumber JFK assassination discussion pages by over ten to one on Yahoo and by more than two to one on google.
Polling reflects the idea that Americans are taking more than a casual glance at ideas that challenge the Bush administration's account of the attacks. A CNN Poll conducted in August-September 2006 showed that over 50% of Americans assign at least a moderate amount of blame for 9/11 to the Bush administration. An October 2006 NY Times/CBS poll shows that over 80% of Americans regard the official story regarding 9/11 coming from the Bush Administration as omitting information or outright lies.
Chances are if you are reading this there is at least some part of the official 9/11 account about which you are not sure you believe. You may not even have known until now how widespread those thoughts are. I've discussed and argued about the various 9/11 conspiracy theories on various sites. I will get to what I believe later, but first I think it is helpful to categorize the different conspiracy theories into three distinct categories and provide some limited commentary. Some of the theories have components in all three categories, but I think this method makes the most sense. The three categories are "Advanced Knowledge", "Carrying out or Participation in the Carrying out of the attacks" and "Use of the Attacks to Pursue and Unrelated War and Inappropriately Restrict Civil Liberties"
1. Advanced KnowledgeAdvanced knowledge is the idea that the Bush administration had at least an idea that something was going to happen. Some people believe that knowledge is much deeper.
A. One of the mildest conspiracy theories out there is that the administration had a mild inkling about the coming attacks but did nothing to stop them. This conspiracy theory stands on its own or in some people's beliefs is combined with those in the other categories. The main facts used to support this belief are that Condoleezza Rice, the then National Security Advisor, was warned by George Tenet and the CIA no less than three times before 9/11 that bin Laden and Al Qaeda were determined to strike in the US and nothing was done about it.
Think about that. The National Security Advisor's only job is to ensure the security of the United States against foreign and domestic threats. You have been warned three times by the intelligence service in your country about an organization and take no action against them. Who out there did Condi think was a greater threat? Moreover, were they such a threat that she could take no action to protect us against Al Qaeda at the same time? To anyone reading this, As National Security Advisor, wouldn't your first act upon hearing a terrorist group was determined to do something in the US be to immediately increase security in airports so that planes could not be hijacked? Isn't that something terrorists frequently do? Another fact is that by September of 2001, Bush's poll numbers had seen five straight months of decline and were approaching 50% and the theory goes that the attacks were good for the Bush administration, its popularity and its ability to carry out its agenda.
B. Some people not only believe the Bush administration had an inkling, but that they were specifically told by bin Laden and Al Qaeda about the attacks before they happened. People who believe this point to the ease with which the attacks were carried out as evidence the attackers had help from inside the US government. The theory and others also suggest that Bin Laden had contacts in the CIA dating back to his Mujahideen days when he was in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets.
2. Actual Carrying out of the Attacks
Some believe the Bush administration not only knew the attacks were going to occur, but that they took an active part in the attacks. There are many theories out there regarding this but I will discuss some of the more popular ones.
A. The administration coordinated the attacks with Al Qaeda and pre-positioned a material called "Thermite" in the towers to ensure the towers collapsed. People who believe this say that the forces present when the planes hit the tower and afterwards with the fires were not sufficient to weaken the towers' infrastructure so as to cause their collapse. The material Thermite, used in various commercial and military applications burns extraordinarily hot and would have achieved the necessary temperatures. Even if the plane collisions and resulting fires somehow did achieve the collapse of the towers, the theory goes; the collapse would not have resembled a controlled demolition as no building collapse as the result of an impact has ever done so. This theory also raises the issue of the blazing collapse of World Trade Center Building #7 (WTC #7) a building that was not hit by any planes. To this day, six years later, the collapse of WTC #7 is not well explained and very hard to understand.
The official account as written by the NIST scientists that is supposed to explain the towers' collapse does seem to contain some notable holes in regards to the temperatures/ability to cause collapse, the way the towers collapsed and WTC #7. I have tried my best to read the hundreds of pages in the NIST report and it does not seem like these issues were addressed directly enough. People who believe this part of the conspiracy theories have been calling for a reopening of the 9/11 investigation into what brought down the towers and they have requested an independent body conduct the new investigation. One problem with this theory is that both of the towers' collapses seem to have originated at the point of impact of the planes. To accept this theory, one has to believe that the Thermite was pre-positioned so well, and the pilots flying the planes had so much skill, that the planes impacted only a few feet over where the pre-positioned Thermite was to ignite and cause the collapse. This makes this theory difficult but perhaps not impossible. However, this problem leads nicely into the second theory in this category.