Co-chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton were faced with lying and/or uncooperative witnesses, angry politicians, outspoken pro-Bush cohorts, White House obstruction and penury, contradictory testimony, and mountains of vital documents classified. Small wonder that they finally admitted being “set up to fail” in preventing both a White House whitewash and cover-up on accountability. 
When the report appeared, a firestorm of doubt and protests erupted from legions of professionals and lay experts—and the Jersey Girls. They found it significantly incomplete, biased, and deceitful. Accusations began that the Bush Administration used 9/11 as a pretext invading, occupying, and terrorizing Iraq out of its vast oil reserves and for shredding the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of civil liberties.
As for the Administration, after doubts had been raised about FEMA’s 2002, it tossed the credibility problem to NIST to establish legitimacy to their “official” story with an in-depth scientific and engineering study—on FEMA’s budget. Because its researchers and consultants apparently valued federal contracts and/or careers, they seemed to pick up on the Administration cues about preordained results about the collapse causes—and obeyed. Fire destroyed WTC 1 and 2. 
Its verdict about fire was to bring incredulity and even scorn from peers, but a lawsuit from a former professor of mechanical engineering at a major university. The Request for Correction by Judy Wood, Ph.D. charged NIST with “…fraud and deception, and shows clear evidence that the entire WTC [complex] was destroyed by directed energy weaponry (DEW).” After all, it was highly unusual that the Towers had left little rubble except cladding and had been largely reduced to curb-high dust. DEWs’ volcano-like energy forced molecules to burst apart and become dust when targeting steel, concrete, and combustibles. “Dustification” had occurred, she said. 
WTC 7 was a 47-story building, privately built in 1985 and owned by real-estate tycoon Larry Silverstein. He’d only been leaseholder for the rest of the WTC complex for less than two weeks on 9/11. It was not attacked, but like the 8-story WTC 6 directly across the street, had withstood a torrent of fiery debris on its roof from WTC 1. On the late afternoon of 9/11 both BBC and CNN reporters announced No. 7 had collapsed although it was visible over their shoulders. At 5:20 p.m., it collapsed in 6.5-seconds into its foundation. It left a five-story pile of rubble, including pools of molten metal that were to burn for weeks. 
Despite its spectacular visual demise, it suffered an immediate blackout from mainstream media. The 9/11 Commission report never mentioned it. Until 2006 when it “starred” in the video 9/11 Revisited: Scientific and Ethical Questions, most Americans were unaware that a third WTC skyscraper had been destroyed indicating just how successful the blackout was. 
That video perhaps was the most unsettling to 9/11 perpetrators and possibly still the greatest recruiting tool for the 9/11 movement. It was an illustrated lecture by a Utah physics professor, Steven E. Jones, Ph.D. In it, he said that particles of the high-tech explosive compound thermate had been found at the No. 7 site. This cutting-charge mixture (thermite, sulfur, barium nitrate), once ignited, quickly reaches 4500ºF and easily slices through steel. The powder comes in bags like bark dust and, now, in spray form. If it could be used to turn discarded railroad tracks into melted scrap, it could do the same on the WTC buildings’ 20-ton beams and 50-ton columns. Besides, thermate is easier to plant than dynamite or the high-yield explosive RDX and does its work silently, but leaves pools of molten iron. In weighing these factors, Jones concluded WTC 7 was brought down by a standard controlled demolition procedure—probably with thermate. 
Whether thermate or nuclear materials, missiles or DEW weapons were used on No. 7, it became obvious that unlocking the cause of that collapse might well reveal the mystery of what had happened to No. 1 and 2. After all, the Towers had collapsed into mostly dust also in astounding time: under 11 seconds at free-fall speed—and almost exactly in their own footprints, too.
An overwhelming din of questions arose about No. 7, along with statements from national and international demolition specialists that its collapse indeed was a controlled implosion. Those conclusions set off the distribution of thousands of postcards depicting the second-by-second drop. Jones and others soon were talking about WTC 7 on talk shows and the 9/11 speaker circuit. 
The Administration seems to have foreseen this backlash and had handed off explaining the collapse to NIST in 2005. Its team of in-house researchers and “private-sector technical experts” knew what was expected: WTC 7’s collapse was blamed on fire. The report was released without fanfare in August 2008 with the revealing caveat it wasn’t complete “due to the loss of records over time and due to the collapses.” They “firmly” declared:
WTC 7 collapsed due to uncontrolled fires with characteristics similar to previous fires in tall buildings….Had a water supply for the automatic sprinkler system been available and had the sprinkler system operated as designed, it is likely that fires in WTC 7 would have been controlled and the collapse prevented. 
They stunned outside peers by limiting explosives to RDX, quickly ruling it out. Rather than do field testing, they relied upon video soundtracks of the collapse and computer simulations to conclude:
The soundtracks…did not contain any sound as intense as would have accompanied such a blast. Therefore, the Investigation Team concluded that there was no demolition-type blast that would have been intense enough to lead to the collapse of WTC 7 on September 11, 2001.