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Dead on Arrival The NIST 9/11 Report On The World Trade Center Collapse
By Mark H. Gaffney 12-15-6 http://rense.com/general74/nist.htm
Note to the reader: The following is a critique of the National
Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) report on the World Trade
Center (WTC) collapse. The 43-volume NIST report was the result of a
3-year investigation, and was released in September 2005. It remains
the official US government explanation for why the WTC collapsed on
9/11. As you are about to discover, the report itself collapses under
scrutiny. There is no doubt that the NIST investigation was politically
controlled by limiting its scope. This is one way to kill an
* * *
Fires raged at ground zero for many weeks after 9/11. In fact, it was
not until December 19, 2001 that the NYC fire marshall declared the
The fires burned long into the cleanup. The removal of steel beams and
debris from the top of the pile allowed oxygen to reach the fires
smoldering below. As a result, the flames often flared up, hampering
worker on site. Joel Meyerowitz, a photographer, made note of this in
his 2006 retrospective book, AFTERMATH. Armed with his trusty camera
Meyerowitz roamed ground zero for months following the attack. Police
repeatedly ejected him, but he kept returning in order to document what
had happened. Eventually Meyerowitz amassed an impressive photographic
record. In his fine book he remarks that the ground in places was so
hot it melted the workmen's rubber boots.
But Meyerowitz was hardly the first to comment on the pile's incredible
residual heat. The first accounts of molten steel came just hours after
the attack: from the search and rescue teams who were among the first
on the scene. Sarah Atlas, a member of New Jersey Task Force One Search
and Rescue, was one of these emergency responders. Sarah reported
seeing molten steel in the pile even as she searched in vain for
Many have denied the existence of molten steel at ground zero. But
there are too many eyewitness accounts to dismiss, including the
testimony of engineers, city officials and other competent
professionals who toured the ruin. One of these, Dr Keith Eaton, Chief
Executive of the London-based Institution of Structural Engineers,
later wrote in The Structural Engineer about what he had seen, namely:
"molten metal which was still red-hot weeks after the event," as well
as "four-inch thick steel plates sheered and bent in the disaster."
A similar account came from Leslie E. Robertson, an engineer who helped
design the WTC. He is currently a partner at Leslie E. Robertson
Associates, a structural consulting firm that was under contract to the
WTC at the time of the tragedy. In a keynote address Robertson
reportedly told the Structural Engineers Association of Utah that:
"...as of 21 days after the attack the fires were still burning and
molten steel still running." Public health officials/experts also
toured the scene of destruction. Alison Geyh Ph.D., an Assistant
Professor of Environmental Health at Johns Hopkins, was with one of
these teams. She wrote that "In some pockets now being uncovered they
are finding molten steel." The fact was even reported to the 9/11
Commission by Kenneth Holden, Commissioner of the city of New York. He
told the panel about seeing "molten metal" during a walkthrough.
The evidence accumulated even as the cleanup progressed. Work crews
removing the mountain of debris, piece by piece, discovered pools of
molten steel beneath the pile, where the towers had stood. One pool was
found at the bottom of the elevator shafts. Some of the pools were not
found until 3, 4, even 5 weeks after 9/11.
Contractors working on site confirmed these discoveries. Such as Peter
Tully, president of Tully Construction of Flushing New York, who was
one of four contractors engaged by New York City to handle the cleanup.
During an August 2002 interview Tully told the American Free Press that
indeed workmen had seen the molten pools. The same interview
included a statement by Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled
Demolition, Inc., who, years before, ramrodded the cleanup of the
bombed Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Loizeaux was called in by
Tully to draft the cleanup plan for the WTC site. Loizeaux said, "Yes,
hot spots of molten steel were seen in the basements." Molten steel was
also found under WTC 7.
These pools of molten metal have never been explained. Loizeaux told
the American Free Press that the continuing fires were fueled by
"paper, carpet and other combustibles packed down the elevator shafts
by the tower floors as they 'pancaked' into the basement." Manuel
Garcia, a physicist, has suggested that cars left in parking garages
under the WTC contained gasoline that may have fueled the fires.
Both are probably correct. But none of these fires were hot enough to
melt steel. Indeed, none of the combustibles in the wreckage burned
anywhere near the melting point of construction grade steel beams (2800
°F). As noted, the smoldering fires for the most part were
The persistence of molten steel under the WTC for many weeks is
extraordinaryand anomalous. Evidently, the hot spots
under the wreckage were not in the least fazed by heavy rain on
September 12, nor by the millions of gallons of water that firemen and
cleanup crews sprayed on the smoking ruins. Five days after the attack
the US Geological Survey (USGS) found dozens of "hot spots" in the
wreckage via remote sensing, i.e., an infrared spectrometer (AVIRIS).
The two hottest spots were under WTC 2 and WTC 7. The USGS recorded
surface temperatures as high as 1020°K (1376°F)). The molten
pools below the pile were at least twice that hot
hot enough to evaporate the rain and water sprayed on the pile long
before it ever reached the bottom.
The Official Reports
In its official report the 9/11 Commission never once mentions the
molten pools despite the testimony of the New York city
In its 43-volume report about the WTC collapse released in September
2005, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does
indeed mention the molten pools, but only in passing, to dismiss them.
The NIST report not only fails to identify the energy source that
melted steel beams and piers under the WTC, it states categorically
that NIST inspectors found no evidence of any molten steel at ground
zeroa dismissal that is directly contradicted by the
eyewitness accounts of the emergency responders, engineers, officials,
and health experts already cited, not to mention the lead contractors
who accomplished the cleanup. After brushing aside the issue as
irrelevant to the WTC collapse, the NIST report then suggests that:
Under certain circumstances it is conceivable for some of the steel in
the wreckage to have melted after the buildings collapsed. Any molten
steel in the wreckage was more likely due to the high temperature
resulting from long exposure to combustion within the pile than to
short exposure to fires or explosions while the buildings were
standing. [my emphasis] 
The NIST never clarifies what the "certain circumstances" might be that
produced molten steel after the collapse. Its statement about "long
exposure to combustion" is absurd on its face, given that there was no
energy source in the pile of wreckage remotely capable of melting
steel. In fact, the NIST's above statement is an affront to our
intelligence, since the hot spots identified by the US Geological
Survey immediately after 9/11 and the molten pools were surely one and
the same. There is no way to avoid the conclusion that the molten
materials under the wreckage, as well as the smoldering fires, were a
residual product of whatever caused the collapse of the WTC. Something
on September 11, 2001 burned hot enough to melt steel in the basement
of both towers. But such a deduction is too simple, evidently, or too
provocative for the NIST, which made a decision not to go there.
When asked about what caused the molten pools Peter Tully suggested
that perhaps jet fuel was responsible. But on this point, at least, the
NIST report is surely correct. It's easy to show that jet fuel was not
the causative agent. There were reports that burning jet fuel leaked
into the WTC elevators moments after the first impact. A descending
fireball possibly caused explosions many floors below. Witnesses saw
critically burned people emerging from elevators. Something ripped
through the WTC 1 concourse lobby at about the time of the impact,
blowing out windows and crumpling steel doors like they were paper. The
same blast knocked marble slabs off the walls in the lobby. Custodians
also heard explosions in the WTC 1 basement. A machine shop was
wrecked, as well as a car garage.
But as serious as these explosions and fires were, jet fuel simply does
not burn with sufficient energy to melt steelnot even
close. Many of the early reports by the US and world press erred in
this respect. Indeed, in the emotional aftermath of the 9/11 attack the
press often mangled the science as badly as the twisted steel beams of
the WTC. One report posted by the BBC on September 13, 2001 quoted
experts who stated matter-of-factly that the burning jet fuel actually
melted the central columns, leading to the collapse. Another report
on The History Channel, The Anatomy of September 11th, claimed that the
inferno turned the steel piers in in the WTC to "licorice." A 2002 PBS
NOVA special "Why the Towers Fell" showcased a similar theory, and
suggested that the fires reached 2000°F, which caused the steel
columns to lose 80% of their strength.
Even trained professionals jumped on the bandwagonand
got it wrong. The day after the attack the Sunday Times interviewed
Hyman Brown, a civil engineering professor at the University of
Colorado: "Steel melts," Brown said, "90,850 liters of aviation fluid
melted the steel. Nothing is designed....to withstand that fire." Years
before, Brown had been involved in the construction of the WTC as a
project engineer. (He was later shown to be wrong about the amount
of jet fuel. The NIST determined that the planes actually carried no
more than 10,000 gallonsabout 40,000 liters).
The same day NewScientist.com asserted that "raging fires melted the
supporting steel struts." On September 13, 2001 BBC radio
interviewed Chris Wise, an engineer who explained that...
"It was the fire that killed the buildings. There's nothing on earth
that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning.
The columns would have melted, the floors would have melted, and
eventually they would have collapsed one on top of the other."
Elmer Obermeyer, the president of an Ohio engineering firm, also
endorsed the meltdown theory in a story in the Cincinnati Business
Courier. The paper noted that Obermeyer was a "guru in his field."
In October 2001 Scientific American.com posted an article summarizing
the results of a 9/11 panel of MIT experts, one of whom, Eduardo
Kausel, stated "that the intense heat softened or melted the structural
elements-floor trusses and columns-so that they became like
chewing gum, and that was enough to trigger the collapse.
This is but a small sampling of many such reports that appeared in
those first days. All of them were wrong. As Frank Gayle, one of the
NIST's lead scientists, later pointed out: "Your gut reaction would be
[that] the jet fuel is what made the [WTC] fire so very intense. A lot
of people figured that's what melted the steel. Indeed, it did not, the
steel did not melt." Gayle was seconded by Thomas Eagar, a
professor of materials engineering at MIT:
"The Fire is the most misunderstood part of the WTC collapse. Even
today the media report (and many scientists believe) that the steel
melted. It is argued that the jet fuel burns very hot, especially with
so much fuel present. This is not true....The temperatures of the fire
at the WTC were not unusual, and it was most definitely not capable of
When trained professionals get it wrong we should not be surprised by
the mistakes of journalists, few of whom are trained in physics. The
fact is that jet fuel, which is essentially kerosene, will not burn in
air in excess of about 1,000°C (1,832°F)nowhere
near the 2,800°F melting point of steel. Even this 1,000°C
upper limit is very difficult to achieve, since, as Thomas Eagar
pointed out, it requires the optimal mixing of fuel with oxygen during
combustion, which can only be achieved in a laboratory. In fact, the
clouds of black smoke that poured out of the twin towers on 9/11 were
an obvious sign that the WTC fire burned at much lower temperatures,
probably around 650°C (1,202°F) range, or even lower. This was
due to the inefficient mixing of oxygen. It's why most building fires
burn no hotter than around 500-650°C. (932 -1,202°F)
To date, no one, including the NIST, has identified an energy source in
the WTCor in the Boeing 767scapable of
The NIST Report
Since the primary stated objective of the NIST 9/11 investigation was
to determine the cause of the WTC collapse, the NIST should have
conducted a forensic examination of the full spectrum of evidence.
Ground zero was a crime scene, was it not? Yes, and because many
credible eyewitnesses, including firemen who were on duty that fateful
day, reported that they heard and/or saw explosions, the NIST should
have investigated this without bias. It should have viewed this
testimony as hard evidence: a starting point in its investigation.
Instead, the NIST did a gloss. It posted a statement on its web site
asserting that it had considered a number of hypotheses, including a
planned demolition, but had found no corroborating evidence. This
disclaimer was no more than a last-minute attempt to deflect criticism,
since a close reading of the NIST report shows that the agency never
entertained other alternatives. It certainly never investigated the
eyewitness accounts of explosions.
The NIST report assumes, start to finish, that the Boeing 767s were
responsible for the collapse of the twin towers. The agency took it for
granted that the impacts set in motion a chain of events leading to
catastrophic structural failure. The assumption is even stated
explicitly in the Executive Summary:
The tragic consequences of the September 11, 2001 attacks were directly
attributable to the fact that terrorists flew large jet-fuel laden
commercial airliners into the WTC towers. Buildings for use by the
general population are not designed to withstand attacks of such
severity; building codes do not require building designs to consider
The 43 volume NIST report confines itself to the sequence of events
from the first plane impacts to the onset of collapse; and is governed
throughout by ipso facto reasoning. Because the agency never
entertained the possibility of a planned demolition, it never bothered
to look for evidence of same. For example, it never tested steel
samples recovered from ground zero for telltale traces of explosives.
These omissions were irresponsible and smack of political interference,
since in addition to the eyewitness accounts two scientific papers, one
published in 2001, and another by FEMA in May 2002, had already
detected sulfur residues on samples of WTC steel. As Dr. Steven
Jones, a physics professor at BYU, has pointed out, sulfidation of
steel can be an indicator of the use of thermate (or other closely
related compounds) developed by the military and commonly used to cut
steel in demolitions work. The possibility needed to be checked, if
only to rule it out; but the agency, again, chose not to go there.
Let us now examine the NIST report in detail.
Why the WTC Survived the 767 Impacts
Everyone, including the NIST, agrees that the twin towers survived the
initial Boeing 767 impacts on September 11, 2001 despite
serious damage. The buildings survived because the WTC was hugely
overbuilt: redundant by design. The towers simply transferred the load
from the severed/damaged members to other undamaged columns.
Upon its completion in 1970 the World Trade Center was not only the
world's tallest twin-skyscraper (1,368 feet), it was also a
state-of-the-art achievement of modern construction. Although the
WTC's soaring lines gave the impression of a relatively light frame, in
fact, the towers were extremely rugged, engineered to withstand
hurricane-force winds and to survive a direct hit by a Boeing 707, the
largest commercial jetliner of the day. In a 1993 interview the WTC's
principal structural engineer, John Skilling, stated that prior to
construction he performed an impact analysis of a 600 mph Boeing 707
impact, and concluded "that the building structure would still be
there." The architectural firm that worked with Skilling described
his 1,200 page structural analysis as "the most complete and detailed
ever made for any building structure." Frank A. Demartini, onsite
manager during the construction of the WTC, seconded this view during a
January 25, 2001 interview, in which he noted that the study involved
"a fully loaded 707." Demartini even declared that "the building
probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this
structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door, this
intense grid, and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen
netting." Demartini kept an office in the North Tower and was last
seen on 9/11 assisting evacuees on the 78th floor.
The original WTC design, the work of architect Minoru Yamasaki, was one
of the first architectural plans to call for open space within a
steel-frame building. This meant doing away with the forest of columns
so typical of the steel high-rise buildings of former years. Chief
engineer Skilling achieved the objective with a double support system:
a dense array of 236 columns around the perimeter, and a network of 47
massive piers at the core. The creation of large expanses of
unobstructed floor space within the WTC was a novel idea in the 1960s,
but is commonplace today.
The weight of each building was distributed about equally between the
two sets of columns. The outer wall shielded the building from high
winds, and was reinforced with broad steel plates known as "spandrels,"
which girdled the building, like ribs, at every floor. The core
contained the elevators, stairwells, and utility shafts. Both sets of
columns were joined together by an innovative system of lightweight
steel trusses. Each story was supported by a truss assembly covered
with a corrugated steel deckthe bed for a poured slab of
lightweight concrete. Probably Skilling's greatest innovation was to
extend the truss diagonals up into the concrete floor, which added
stiffness and strength. Each truss assembly/concrete floor behaved as a
Prefabrication and the overall modular design were other innovations
that allowed for speedy constructionand kept costs down.
The advent of new high-strength steels made it all possible. In fact,
the WTC had tremendous reserve capacity. An early article about the
project in the Engineering News-Record declared that "live loads on
these [perimeter] columns can be increased more than 2,000 percent
before failure occurs."
After a three-year investigation the NIST concluded that the World
Trade Center would have survived on 9/11 if the impacts had not
dislodged the buildings' protective
fireproofinginstalled at the time of construction to
protect the steel columns from fire-generated heat. Construction-grade
steel begins to lose its tensile strength at 425°C (~800°F),
and is only about half as strong at 650°C (1,202°F). The
lightweight truss assemblies were especially vulnerable, since they
consisted of rather thin steel members. During construction they were
coated with spray-applied insulation. The much larger steel piers and
columns had a fire-barrier of gypsum wallboard.
NIST's Official Explanation
The NIST concluded that the impact of the jetliners damaged or
dislodged 100% of the protective insulation within the impact zone,
while also spilling many thousands of gallons of jet fuel over multiple
floors. The resulting 800-1,000°C (1,440-1,800°F ) blaze
seriously weakened the now-exposed steel trusses. The trusses and
floors saggedthey arguedwhich pulled the
perimeter columns inward, causing them to buckle. The fires also
weakened the central piers. The combination of these effects
destabilized the structures and at a critical point the towers simply
collapsed. The NIST concluded that the WTC would have survived the
fires if the Boeing 767 impacts had not dislodged/damaged the
fireproofing material, which, therefore, according to the NIST, was the
critical factor on 9/11.
There are a number of serious problems, however, with this official
narrative. In the first place, it is sharply at odds with the video
record, which plainly shows that during each collapse perimeter columns
and other structural members didn't simply fall to the ground. In many
cases they were ejected up and out of the disintegrating structure at
nearly a 45 degree angle: a cascade that hurled steel beams weighing 20
tons or more as much as 600 feet from the base of the buildings. One
remarkable photo of ground zero taken from above shows that entire
sections of WTC 1's western perimeter wall were thrown 500+ feet toward
the Winter Garden. Could a gravitational collapse do this?
Photos of the mountain of wreckage taken by Joel Meyerowitz and others
also show very few, if any, large chunks of concrete. The rubble pile
almost exclusively consisted of twisted steel beams, pipes, aluminum,
etc. Concrete was conspicuous in its absence. This is remarkable when
you consider that the 500,000 ton towers were made up largely of
concrete. Each floor of the 110-story WTC, roughly one acre in size,
consisted of a 4-inch thick slab of poured concrete on a deck of
22-gauge steel. During the collapse somethingsome
forcepulverized nearly all of this concrete into fine
dust. Many have attributed this to the brute hammer of gravity, but the
videos clearly dispute this. The buildings weren't pulverized as they
hit the ground, but rather, in midair as the buildings disintegrated.
Much of the dust settled a foot or more deep on the 16-acre WTC site.
The rest was deposited across lower Manhattan. Nor was this
pulverization limited to concrete. Many other materials also
disappeared without a trace on 9/11; such as office furniture and
thousands of computers, not to mention the many victims who died in the
collapse. It's a fact that less than 300 corpses were recovered in the
wreckage. Yet, strangely, many months later, during the demolition of
the Deutsch Bankbadly damaged in the 9/11
attackworkers found more than 700 body parts, e.g.,
slivers of bone, on the roof and within the doomed structure. The
question is: why? This bizarre report remains a mystery.
The videos of the collapse also reveal another anomaly, one that I find
personally disturbing. The towers did not pancake in the usual fashion
of concrete buildings. When large buildings drop during powerful
earthquakes each story tends to fall more or less intact upon the
floors beneath. The building itself serves to brake the fall from
above. Photographs taken after earthquakes typically show a succession
of concrete slabs piled one on top of another, each plainly discernible
in the rubble. But nothing like this happened on 9/11. The collapse of
WTC 1 and WTC 2 were nearly a free-fall. If the towers had pancaked
from above the inertial mass of the lower floors would have resisted
and slowed the fall considerablyeven arrested it. But
this didn't happen. The towers plummeted as if there were no resistance
whatsoever. From start to finish they fell in only about 12 seconds,
just 2 seconds longer than the time for a billiard ball to drop from
the WTC roof to the plaza below. The question is why?
The NIST report failed to address any of these anomalies. In fact, it
didn't even try. The NIST sidestepped the ejection of material, the
vast pulverization of concrete, the many testimonials and other
evidence of explosions, and the near-free fall by limiting its
investigation to the sequence of events from the Boeing 767 impacts to
the onset of the collapse. Incredibly, the NIST chose not to examine
the collapse itself. The report makes reference to the "global
collapse" of the WTC, but we never learn what this means because the
NIST report never tells us. Once again, the agency decided not to go
there. Evidently we are supposed to assume that gravity alone was
responsible. But could gravity transform enormous slabs of concrete,
hundreds of thousands of tons of material, into fine dust, in midair?
Extremely doubtful. The NIST's decision not to investigate these
important questions add up to more grave omissions.
But we haven't yet examined the NIST report itself. Let's do that, now.
The Special Projects
The NIST investigation incorporated eight separate projects, all of
which, together, produced 42 volumes of supporting documentation; all
told, some 10,000 pages. The projects included an impact analysis,
metallurgical studies, a reconstruction of the fires, and a computer
model of the probable sequence of events leading up to collapse of each
tower. Some of the agency's investigative work was of excellent
qualitysome wasn'tbut very little of it
lends credence to the NIST's final, and official, explanation of the
cause of the WTC collapse.
One of the most serious and persistent problems NIST investigators
faced was the admitted lack of information about conditions at the core
of the towers. To be sure, thousands of photographs and hundreds of
hours of videotape made it possible to study in detail the damage to
the WTC exterior, and to gain a reasonable understanding about
conditions in the outer offices. Fires were often visible through the
windows, despite dense smoke, and sagging floors and other structural
damage was discernible through gaping holes in the damaged exterior.
However, as the NIST report states, "Fires deeper than a few meters
inside the building could not be seen because of the smoke obscuration
[sic] and the steep viewing angle of nearly all the photographs."
Thus, except for steel samples gathered after the fact the NIST had
almost no other information about the dynamic conditions at the core of
the WTC on 9/11.
The agency sought to overcome this shortfall of information with
computer simulations. This was problematic from the outset, since
computer models are no better than the quality of input and the
accuracy of the programmer's assumptions. As architect and critic Eric
Douglas points out in his 2006 analysis of the NIST report: "a
fundamental problem with....computer simulation is the overwhelming
temptation to manipulate the input data until one achieves the desired
results." Did the NIST investigators fall prey to this insidious
tendency? And did this lead them to overestimate the impact damage to
the WTC interior? Let us now consider this question.
NIST's Global Impact/Collapse Analyses
In one of its most important projects (NCSTAR 1-2), NIST scientists
developed a global impact analysis: to estimate the structural damage
to the WTC caused by the Boeing 767s. In this study the NIST considered
three different scenarios. These ranged from less damage to extreme
damage, with a moderate alternative (described as "the base") in the
middle. As it happened, all three scenarios accurately predicted the
impact damage to the WTC exterior at the point of entry; although with
regard to WTC 1 the moderate case was a slightly better match. The
three differed greatly, however, in predicting the number of severed
columns at the WTC core, a datum obviously of great importance. In the
case of WTC 1 the lesser alternative predicted only one severed core
column, the moderate alternative predicted three, while the extreme
alternative predicted five to six. In the case of WTC 2 the disparity
was even greater: The lesser alternative predicted three severed
columns, the moderate five, and the extreme case no less than ten.
Although the NIST never satisfactorily resolved these differences, it
immediately threw out the less severe alternatives, citing two reasons
in the Executive Summary report: first, because they failed to predict
observable damage to the far exterior walls; and second, because they
did not lead to a global collapse.
On 9/11 the first tower sustained visible damage to its opposite. i.e.,
south wall, caused by an errant landing gear and by a piece of the
fuselage, which were later recovered from below. Also, at the time of
the second impact a jet engine was seen exiting WTC 2's opposite wall
at high speed, after passing through the building. It was later found
on Murray Street, several blocks northeast of the WTC. In its summary
report the NIST leads us to believe that it used the observable damage
to the far walls caused by these ejected jet plane parts to validate
its simulations. Yet, in one of its supplementary documents the NIST
admits that "because of [computer] model size constraints, the panels
on the south side of WTC 1 were modeled with a coarse resolution...[and
for this reason] The model....underestimates the damage to the tower on
this face." Butnoticethis means that
none of the alternatives accurately predicted the exit damage.
This admission, deeply buried in the 43 volume report, is fatal to the
NIST's first rationale for rejecting the lesser alternative, since it
was no less accurate than the moderate and extreme cases. (Or, put
differently: It was no more inaccurate.) Which, of course, means that
the NIST rejected the lesser alternative for only one reason: because
it failed to predict a global collapse. The simulations for WTC 2
suffered from the same modeling defect. As the supplementary
documentation states, "None of the three WTC 2 global impact
simulations resulted in a large engine fragment exiting the tower."
Yet, here again, the NIST rejected the lesser alternative. We can thank
researcher Eric Douglas for digging deeper than the summary report.
Otherwise, this flaw, tantamount to the devil lurking in the fine
print, might never have come to light.
But biased reasoning did not deter the NIST. Later, it also tossed out
the moderate (base) alternatives, ultimately adopting the most extreme
scenarios in its subsequent global collapse analysiseven
though, as noted, the moderate alternatives were no less accurate, from
a predictive standpoint, than the extreme cases. In fact, with regard
to predicting the entry damage to WTC 1, as noted, the moderate
alternative was actually a better match.
The NIST report offers no scientific rationale for this decision, only
the pithy comment that the moderate alternatives "were discarded after
the structural response analysis of major subsystems were compared with
observed events." And what, pray tell, were these "observed
events"? The report explains that "structural models....indicated
that....the buildings would have continued to stand indefinitely."
Here, at least, the NIST is more forthright than in the case of the
Things only get worse.
As it happened, even the extreme alternatives required further
tinkering to be acceptable. The report informs us that "Complete sets
of simulations were then performed for cases B and D [the extreme
alternatives]. To the extent that the simulations deviated from the
photographic evidence or eyewitness reports, the investigators adjusted
the input, but only within the range of physical reality."[my
emphasis] In other words, NIST scientists worked backwards from the
collapse, tweaking the extreme alternatives until their computer model
finally spat out the desired result consistent with their assumption,
which never wavered, that the 767 impacts ultimately were at the root
of everything on 9/11. Of course, the NIST report never tells us what
the "additional inputs" were.
That the NIST's impact study and subsequent global collapse analysis
were biased, hence, unscientific, ought to be obvious. But I will go
even further: The impact simulations were very nearly a waste of time,
since by its own admission the NIST had almost no information about
actual conditions at the WTC core. The NIST had no sound basis for
rejecting the lesser and moderate impact alternatives; both were at
least as plausible as the extreme alternative. Why were they not given
equal weight? The reason is obvious: That would have compelled NIST
investigators to entertain the unthinkable, i.e., the possibility that
some other causative agent was responsible for the WTC collapse. Still,
one has to admire, in a perverse sort of way, the NIST's triumph of
The Metallurgical Studies
The NIST's metallurgical and fire studies were among the most important
projects, and involved testing 236 samples of steel columns, panels,
trusses, and other smaller parts recovered from ground zero. Thanks to
the original labeling system used during the construction of the WTC,
the NIST was able in many cases to identify individual steel members,
and thus to determine their exact locations in the WTC. As it happened,
some of the samples were from the impact zones and fire-damaged
areas. The collection represented only 0.25 - 0.5 % of the 200,000
total tons of structural steel used the two towers. But the NIST
believed it had enough samples to determine the quality of the steel
and evaluate its performance on 9/11.
The NIST's findings decisively refuted the pancake theory of collapse
that had been widely reported in the media. According to this theory
the WTC collapse on 9/11 was due to failure of the WTC truss
assemblies. A number of vocal experts had claimed that the weak link
was the point of attachment: where the trusses connected with the inner
and outer columns. These junctions, often referred to as angle-clips,
were made of relatively lightweight steel and were secured by steel
bolts. During a 2002 NOVA specialbefore the NIST ran its
metallurgical/fire testsThomas Eagar, the MIT engineer
already cited, summed up the view of many about how and why the trusses
failed on 9/11:
"...the steel had plenty of strength, until it reached temperatures of
1,100º to 1,300ºF. In this range, the steel started losing a
lot of strength, and the bending became greater. Eventually the steel
lost 80 percent of its strength, because of this fire that consumed the
whole floor....then you got this domino effect. Once you started to get
angle-clips to fail in one area, it put extra load on other
angle-clips, and then it unzipped around the building on that floor in
a matter of seconds. If you look at the whole structure, they are the
smallest piece of steel. As everything begins to distort, the smallest
piece is going to become the weak link in the chain. They were plenty
strong for holding up one truss, but when you lost several trusses, the
trusses adjacent to those had to hold two or three times what they were
expected to hold."
Eagar's collapse model sounded plausible enough, but the NIST investigation didn't bear it out.
Because the NIST did not have the necessary facilities, it contracted
Underwriter Laboratories to conduct a series of fire endurance tests on
trusses like those in the WTC. (The recovered truss samples were too
badly deformed during the collapse to test them directly, so NIST
fabricated new trusses identical in design.) The purpose of the tests
was to establish a baseline, and the results were surprising. Not one
of the truss assemblies failed during a series of four tests, not even
the truss sprayed with the minimum amount of fireproofing. "The floors
continued to support the full design load without collapse for over two
hours." The investigative team cautiously noted that the exposure
of the floor systems to fire on 9/11 was "substantially different" than
the conditions in the test furnaces, which was true enough. Yet, the
team noted that "this type of assembly was capable of sustaining a
large gravity load without collapsing for a substantial period of time
relative to the duration of the fires in any given location on
September 11." The UL tests not only laid to rest the theory that
the trusses were the cause of the collapse on 9/11, if anything, the
tests demonstrated the fundamental soundness of the WTC truss design.
Another finding: The WTC steel turned out to be significantly stronger
than expected. Tests showed that the yield strengths of 87% of the
perimeter/core columns, and all of the floor trusses samples, exceeded
the original specifications by as much as 20%. "The yield strengths of
many of the steels in the floor trusses were above 50 ksi, even when
specifications required 36 ksi." (1 ksi = 1,000 lb/per square inch)
The NIST performed similar tests on a number of recovered bolts, and
found that these too were "much stronger than expected, based on
reports from the contemporaneous literature."
Noticenone of these findings support the NIST's official
explanation for the WTC collapse. On the contrary.
The Fire Tests: Core Weakening?
Another series of tests sought to address the alleged weakening of the
WTC support columns. During a first-run investigators placed an
uninsulated steel column in a 2,012ºF (1,100ºC) furnace and
measured the rise in its surface temperature. Notice, this laboratory
furnace was significantly hotter than the fires on 9/11 caused by jet
fuel or any other combustible in the WTC. The column reached 600ºC
in just 13 minutesthe temperature range where
significant loss of strength occurs. When the test was repeated again
with an insulated column, the steel did not reach 600ºC even after
ten hours. The NIST concluded that "the fires in WTC 1 and WTC 2 would
not be able to significantly weaken the insulated....columns within the
102 minutes and 56 minutes, respectively, after impact and prior to
The NIST interpreted these results as validating its favored hypothesis
that the critical factor on 9/11 leading to the global failure of the
WTC's support columns was the damage to the fireproofing insulation
caused by the Boeing 767 impacts. But was this an unwarranted leap? It
certainly was not supported by the NIST's metallurgical analyses, which
showed that not even one of the 236 steel samples, including those from
the impact areas and fire-damaged floors, showed evidence of exposure
to temperatures in excess of 1,110ºF (600ºC) for as long as
15 minutes. In fact, out of more than 170 areas examined on 16
recovered perimeter columns, only 3 reached temperatures in excess of
250ºC (450ºF) during the fires. And why ? Well, perhaps,
in part, because, as Shyam Sunder, the lead NIST investigator,
admitted, "the jet fuel....burned out in less than ten minutes."
Also, NIST scientists made another surprising discovery: The actual
amount of combustibles on a typical floor of the WTC turned out to be
less than expected, only about 4 lbs./sq. foot. Furthermore, "the fuel
loading in the core areas....was negligible." The shocking fact is
that the World Trade Center was fuel-poor, compared with most other
buildings. The NIST estimated that a fire in a typical area of the
building would have burned through the available combustibles at
maximum temperatures (1,000ºC) in about 15-20 minutes. Not
nearly long enough even at that temperature to cause exposed steel to
lose 80% of its strength.
Nor is this all. I searched the NIST report in vain for any
acknowledgment that here, as in the case of the truss assembly test,
the actual fire conditions on 9/11 were substantially different from
the UL laboratory furnace. In fact, with respect to the columns the
differences were at least as significant as with the truss assembly
test, and call into sharp question the NIST's conclusion that damaged
insulation was the critical factor. Although the NIST took the position
that "temperatures and stresses were high in the core area," as
I've noted the investigation suffered from a persistent lack of
information about real conditions at the core. The NIST had no hard
evidence about the actual amount of protective insulation
damaged/dislodged during the impacts. The NIST report acknowledges
this, then goes on to assume that all structural members in the
debris path at the time of impact suffered 100% loss of insulation.
Surely, we are safe to conclude that the Boeing 767 impacts did cause
damage to, or strip away, a substantial portion of the fireproofing
material. Exactly how much is not knowable. But even if the NIST
estimate of total loss of fireproofing is correct, there is virtually
no chance that the fires on 9/11 weakened the WTC's core piers within
the allotted span of time: 56/103 minutes.
A Vast Heat Sink
The reason for this, nowhere acknowledged in the NIST report, ought to
be obvious: The WTC's support columns did not exist in isolation. This
was no laboratory furnace. The columns in each tower were part of an
interconnected steel framework that weighed at least 100,000 tons; and
because steel is known to be an excellent conductor of heat this
massive steel superstructure functioned on 9/11 as an enormous energy
sink. The total volume of the steel framework was vast compared with
the relatively small area of exposed steel, and would have wicked away
the fire-caused heat almost as quickly as it was generated. Anyone who
has repaired a copper water pipe with a propane torch is familiar with
the principle. One must sit and wait patiently for the pipe temperature
to rise to the point where the copper finally sucks the solder into the
fitting. While it is true that copper is more conductive than steel,
the analogy holds, regardless. The fact that only three recovered steel
samples showed exposure to temperatures above 250ºC indicates that
the steel superstructure was indeed behaving as a heat sink. The fires
on 9/11 would have taken many hours, in any event, much longer than the
brief allotted span of 56/103 minutes respectively, to slowly raise the
temperature of the steel framework as a whole to the point of weakening
the exposed members.
And there are other problems. Since in a global collapse all of the
columns by definition must fail at once, this implies a more or less
constant blaze across a wide area. But this was not the case on 9/11.
As already noted, the NIST's lead investigator, Shyam Sunder, admitted
that the jet fuel was consumed within minutes. Also, the NIST found
that the unexpectedly light combustibles in any given area of the WTC
were mostly consumed in about 15-20 minutes. At no point on 9/11 did
the fires rage through an entire floor of the WTC at the same
timeas Thomas Eagar implied in his interview. The fires
in WTC 1 were transient. They flared up in a given area, reached a
maximum intensity within about 10 minutes, then gradually died down as
the fire front moved on to consume combustibles in other areas. But
notice what this means: As the fires moved away from the impact zone to
areas with little or no damage to the fireproofing, the heating of the
steel columns and trusses in those areas would have been negligible.
The NIST's own data showed that, overall, the fires on floor
96where the collapse beganreached a peak
30-45 minutes after the impact and waned thereafter. Temperatures were
actually cooling across most of floor 96, including the core, at the
moment of the collapse. But if this is true, the central piers were not
losing strength at that point but regaining it. How, then, did they
collapse? Finally, the NIST's insistence that "temperatures and
stresses were high in the core area" is not consistent with their
finding that the fuel load of combustibles in the core was
negligible. On this point the NIST contradicts itself.
In short, the NIST report fails to explain how transient fires weakened
WTC 1's enormous central piers in the allotted span of 103 minutes and
triggered a global collapse.
The Fires in the Second Tower
The NIST concluded that in WTC 2 the fire behavior was substantially
different: more continuous (rather than transient), especially on the
east side of the building where the impacting Flight 175 allegedly
piled up combustibles. Thiswe are
informedin addition to more extensive impact damage of
the core columns, helps to explain why WTC 2 fell first, even though it
was impacted after WTC 1. Videos filmed on 9/11 do show inward bowing
of WTC 2's eastern wall, although its actual extent and significance
remain disputed. But perhaps the most serious challenge to the official
view that fires were gravely weakening WTC 2 comes from an audiotape
released in August 2002 by the Port Authority of New York. The tape,
which was lost or neglected for more than a year, is the only known
recording of firefighters inside the towers. When city fire officials
belatedly listened to it they were surprised to discover that firemen
actually reached the impact/fire zone of WTC 2 about 14 minutes before
the building collapsed. On climbing to the 78th floor sky lobby
Battalion Chief Orlo J. Palmer and Fire Marshall Ronald P. Bucca found
many dead or seriously injured people, but no raging inferno. The audio
transmission between Palmer and another fireman shows no hint of panic
or fear, as the following transcript shows:
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion Seven ... Ladder 15, we've got two
isolated pockets of fire. We should be able to knock it down with two
lines. Radio that, 78th floor numerous 10-45 Code Ones.
Ladder 15: "Chief, what stair you in?"
Battalion Seven Chief: "South stairway Adam, South Tower."
Ladder 15: "Floor 78?"
Battalion Seven Chief: "Ten-four, numerous civilians, we gonna need two engines up here."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Tower one. Battalion Seven to Ladder 15."
Battalion Seven Chief: "I'm going to need two of your firefighters Adam
stairway to knock down two fires. We have a house line stretched we
could use some water on it, knock it down, okay."
Ladder 15: "Alright ten-four, we're coming up the stairs. We're on 77 now in the B stair, I'll be right to you."
Battalion Seven Operations Tower One: "Battalion Seven Operations Tower
One to Battalion Nine, need you on floor above 79. We have access
stairs going up to 79, kay."
Battalion Nine: "Alright, I'm on my way up, Orio."
Here, Battalion Chief Orlo Palmer calls for hoses to be brought up to
put out the fires. His expression "10-45 Code Ones" is a reference to
dead bodies, of which, evidently, there were many. The tape shows that
the firemen were not turned back by heat, smoke, or a wall of flames.
They were able to function within the impact zone and were prepared to
help the injured and combat the small fires they found. Palmer even
mentions that the stairwell up to the next floor, i.e., 79, was
passable. Minutes later the building came down on their heads.
Inexplicably, the NIST never considered this important evidence. The
question is why? Their omission is especially damning, since, as I've
stressed, the NIST investigation suffered from a persistent lack of
information about actual conditions at the core. Here was real-time
testimony from firefighters who were on the scene, and the NIST simply
Of course, it's possible that more intense fires were raging several
floors above the two brave firemenfires that did cause
fatal weakening of columns. This is possible, but the available
evidence does not support it. Among the steel samples recovered by NIST
investigators were two core columns (C-88a and C-88b) from higher up in
the impact zone. Actually, these were two different pieces from the
same column (801). The NIST pinpointed their location on floors 80 and
81, several floors above the firemenvery near but just
outside the path of Flight 175. Both samples were physically damaged,
but the NIST reported no evidence of the kinds of distortion, i.e.,
bowing, slumping, or sagging that are typical of heat-weakened steel.
Nor was the NIST able to glean any evidence of high temperatures from
the columns. On what, then, do they base their conclusion that
"Dire structural changes were occurring in the building interior"?
If anything, the paucity of evidence calls into question the NIST's
declaration that their sampling effort was adequate.
Moreover, as we've already noted, the NIST's computer simulation
predicting extreme damage to the core of WTC 2 is dubious, since it is
also unsupported by hard evidence. In fact, the NIST's preferred
extreme alternative was, from a predictive standpoint, no better than
the lesser alternatives, which the NIST rejected. Even the extreme
alternative failed to predict a global collapse, without "additional
inputs." As for the inputs, it would be interesting to know more about
them. Unfortunately, the NIST's global collapse analysis is so highly
technical as to be almost incomprehensible to a non programmer. I was
struck by the number of assumptions it makes, one piled on another.
The Issue of Reserve Capacity
In order to show just how weak the official 9/11 narrative is, let us
assume, for the sake of argument, that local fires did burn long and
hot enough to weaken exposed columns in the impact zone of WTC 2. As I
will now show, even if this did occur it still fails to account for the
global collapse of the second tower. As the NIST report states,
both towers had considerable reserve capacity. This was confirmed by
analysis of the post-impact vibration of WTC 2, the more severely
damaged building, where the damaged tower oscillated at a period nearly
equal to the first mode period calculated for the undamaged
The data showed that WTC 2, the more seriously damaged tower, gave no
hint of instability after the initial impact. Unfortunately, although
the NIST summary report provides a wealth of information it fails to
clarify this important matter of the WTC's "considerable reserve
capacity." I scoured the full summary report, as well as the
preliminary 2004 reportin vainfor any
discussion of the issue. I then called the NIST for assistance and was
guided to several of the project reports and supplementary documents. I
also consulted with experts at the International Code Council (ICC) and
with a leading structural engineer. I learned that estimating the
overall reserve capacity of a steel structure is no simple task.
Numerous factors are involved. Moreover, there are different ways to
approach the problem.
Perhaps the simplest measure of reserve capacity are the standards for
the material components of a building. In the late 1960s when the WTC
was constructed the applicable standard was the New York City Building
Code, which required a builder to execute computations for the various
structural members to show that they met the specified requirements.
However, the code also allowed for actual testing of members, in the
event that computations were impractical. The testing standards
applicable in 1968 give a good idea of the required level of reserve
strength in the steel columns and other materials used in the WTC. For
example, in the most stringent test a steel member had to withstand
250% of the design load, plus half again its own weight, for a period
of a week, without collapse.
Factor of Safety
Another widely used measure of reserve capacity is the so called
"factor of safety." This varies for different structural elements, but
for steel columns and beams typically ranges from 1.75-2.0. The
NIST report actually breaks this more general figure down into two
separate and slightly different measurements for stress: yielding
strength (1.67) and buckling (1.92). For our purposes, however, the
more general figure is adequate. So, for example, a steel column with a
factor of safety of 1.75 must support 1.75 times the anticipated design
load before it begins to incur damage. While this value is typical of
steel beams in general, the actual reserve strength of the steel
columns in the WTC was higher. When the NIST crunched the numbers for
the 47 core columns of WTC 1 (between the 93rd and 98th floors) it
found that the factor of safety ranged from 1.6 to 2.8, the average
value being 2.1. This means that the average core column in WTC 1
could support more than twice its design load before reaching the yield
strength, i.e., the point where damage may begin to occur.
Notice, the factor of safety is not a threshold for collapse, but a
value beyond which permanent damage may occur. As the NIST report
states, even "after reaching the yield strength, structural steel
components continue to possess considerable reserve capacity." This
is why steel beams and columns do not typically fail in sudden fashion.
The loss of strength is gradual. No doubt, this helps to explain why,
although fires have ravaged many steel frame buildings over history,
not a one had ever collapseduntil 9/11nor
has any since. So we seeit should be
obviousthat even in the highly improbable worst case, in
which many of the WTC columns lost half of their strength, there was
still plenty of reserve capacity to support the building.
The Perimeter Wall
With regard to the WTC's perimeter columns, the factor of safety varied
from day to day and even from hour to hour, because, in addition to
supporting about half of the WTC's gravity load, the perimeter wall had
to withstand the force of wind which is highly variable
given the whims of Mother Nature. A single face of the WTC presented an
enormous "sail" to the elements, which is why John Shilling vastly
overbuilt this part of the structure. According to the NIST report, the
wall's factor of safety against wind shear on 9/11 was extremely high,
i.e., 10-11. Why so high? The reason is simple: On the day of the
attack there was almost no wind. As a result, nearly all of the
perimeter wall's design capacity was available to help support the
gravity load. As the NIST report states, "On September 11, 2001 the
wind loads were minimal, thus providing significantly more reserve for
the exterior walls." Of course, because wind is mostly a lateral
force the additional capacity that was available to help support the
gravity load was less than one-to-one. When the NIST crunched the
numbers for a representative perimeter column in WTC 1 (column 151 --
between the 93rd and 98th floors), they arrived at a factor of safety
of 5.7. If we take this average figure as a typical value we arrive
at an accurate estimate of the perimeter wall's amazing reserve
strength. Even if we subtract the columns severed/damaged by the impact
of Flight 175, and the lost capacity due to buckling along one
perimeter wall, there was still a wide margin of
safetymore than enough by several times over to support
half of the structure's gravity load, which overall did not change. Of
course, the wrecked jetliner added substantial mass. On the other hand,
due to the successful evacuation of people the live load, i.e., the
total body mass of the occupants, was reduced by 75%.
I have just shown that the NIST's own data casts grave doubt on its
conclusions about the cause of the global collapse of WTC 2. The
official theory requires the fatal weakening of both sets of columns:
at the core and along the perimeter walland falls short
on both counts, due to insufficient evidence. Indeed, I would go
further and call the evidence woefully insufficient.
Some Fire History: For Sake of Comparison
As mentioned, fires have ravaged many steel frame structures in the
pastand in some cases these fires were much more severe
than on 9/11. Even so, not a one of them produced a global collapse.
Let us briefly consider one example. In February 2005, the 32-story
Edificio Windsor in Madrid was destroyed by a disastrous fire that
burned out of control for 18-20
hoursnoticemuch longer than the WTC fire
on 9/11. The Edificio Windsor was a ferro-concrete structure, thus, was
different in design, but it had a perimeter of steel columns and floors
supported by steel beams. The blaze started on the 21st floor, spread
to the entire building, and left the superstructure gutted. The Windsor
was in compliance with the Spanish building code when constructed in
the 1970s, but the code in those days did not require fireproofing. In
fact, at the time of the disaster the building's steel beams and
columns were being retrofitted with fireproofing insulation. However,
only the bottom 17 floors had been completed. At the time of the blaze
the upper 15 floors had no fire protection whatsoever. According to
Javier Sanz, the Madrid fire chief, the fire reached temperatures of
800°C (1,472°F)sufficient to collapse the upper
concrete floors. Numerous steel beams also sagged and columns
buckled. But the overall superstructure, which was largely
unprotected, never collapsed. The steel framework withstood the
disaster, though gravely weakened. By contrast, most of the WTC's
massive central piers and perimeter columns were never even touched by
the fires of 9/11, which were confined to a few upper floors.
The Cardington Fire Tests
There are good reasons why fire-ravaged steel buildings typically do
not collapse. In a series of fire tests completed in 1996 at the
Cardington Lab in the UK the Building Research Establishment (BRE)
showed that even unprotected steel frame buildings have large reserves
of stability during extreme fire events. In physical tests lasting 2-4
hoursconsiderably longer than the fires of
9/11lab scientists subjected steel beams, columns and
composite steel/concrete floors to fires that at times exceeded
1,000°C. In test after test the unprotected steel beams or columns
bowed, buckled and sagged, but not a one of them collapsed. The tests
demonstrated that steel buildings are more than the sum of their parts.
The lab found that fire resistance is not only a property of individual
members, but of the interconnected structure as a whole: For most of
the duration of exposure thermal expansion and
warpingand not material
degradationgoverned the steel's response to heat. The
Cardington fire tests had relevance to the WTC collapse. The results
were readily available and might have informed the NIST investigation.
But to the best of my knowledge NIST scientists never considered the
Cardington lab test data.
Conclusion: Back to the Future
The Cardington fire tests help to explain why no steel frame structures
had collapsed, before 9/11 nor since. Yet, we are
expected to believe such a scenario unfolded three times on a single
day. I say "three times" because, notice, I have not even discussed the
case of WTC 7, which was not hit by a plane, hence, had no spillage of
jet fuel, and suffered only some exterior damage and minor fires. Yet,
at 5:20 PM on the afternoon of 9/11 the building suddenly collapsed in
the manner of a controlled demolition. The video of this, captured on
film for the world to see, clearly shows that the 47-story steel-frame
structure dropped from the bottom up, into its own footprint. The
collapse has never been explained, certainly not by the NIST, which has
yet to release a final report about WTC 7.
In conclusion, my reading of the NIST report left me slightly agog, in
a state of mild shock at the disparity between the NIST's research and
its conclusions. I agree with whistleblower Kevin Ryan that the report
simply does not add up. Notice, this brings us back to the
beginninghopefully a little wiser. I hereby join with
Kevin Ryan, Dr. Steven Jones, and others who have called for a NEW and
truly independent 9/11 investigation, one empowered with the necessary
resources and with subpoena authority. It's the only way we will ever
finally answer the important question: Why did the WTC collapse? Only
the truth about 9/11 can free us from the current tyranny of secrecy,
lies and deceit which today is a far greater threat to our liberty than
any foreign enemy.
Mark H. Gaffney's first book, Dimona the Third Temple (1989), was a
pioneering study of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.
http://www.gnosticsecrets.com/pages/dimona.htm Mark's latest is Gnostic
Secrets of the Naassenes (2004) Mark can be reached for comment at
[email protected] Or: visit his web site at
1. Penn Arts and Sciences, Summer 2002.
2. Dr Keith Eaton, The Structural Engineer 3, September 2002, #6.
3. James Williams, "WTC a Structural Success," SEAU NEWS, The
Newsletter of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah, October
4. Magazine of Johns Hopkins Public Health, late fall, 2001. When I
contacted Dr Geyh she confirmed the report. She stated that people
involved in the clean up effort told her they had seen molten steel in
5. Commissioner Holden's testimony before the 911 Commission is posted
6. Christopher Bollyn, "Seismic Evidence Points to Underground
Explosions Causing WTC Collapse" American Free Press, August 28, 2002.
7. Manuel Garcia, "The Thermodynamics of 9/11," November 28, 2006.
posted at http://www.counterpunch.org/thermo11282006.html
8. The results are posted at
9. NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the Department of Commerce. The
NIST investigation/report of the WTC collapse was conducted under the
authority of the National Construction Safety Team Act, which was
signed into law on October 1, 2002.
10. See question 13, Frequently Aasked Questions, posted at
11."We Will Not Forget, A Day of Terror", The Chief Engineer, October
26, 2006. http://www.chiefengineer.org/article.cfm?seqnum1=1029
12. Sheila Barter, "How the World Trade Center Fell", BBC news,
September 13, 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1540044.stm
13. A summary of the points presented in the NOVA special are still
posted at PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/wtc/dyk.html
14 Kamikaze attackers may have known twin sisters' weak spot,"
Sundaytimes.com posted at
15. Kamikaze attackers may have known twin sisters' weak spot,"
Sundaytimes.com posted at
17. "Carew Tower couldn't tolerate similar strike", Business Courier,
September 14, 2001.
18. Steven Ashley, "When the Twin Towers Fell", October 09, 2001,
originally posted at www.Scientific American.com. See the annotated
version posted at
19. Andy Field, "A Look Inside a Radical New Theory of the WTC
Collapse," Fire/Rescue News, February 7, 2004.
20. T.W. Eagar and C. Musso, "Why Did the WTC Collapse? Science,
Engineering and Speculation," Journal of the Minerals, Metals and
Materials Society, 53/12 (2001): 8-11. This paper is also posted at
21. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, Preface, xxxi.
22. After a FOIA request advanced by the New York Times the City of New
York had to release the FDNY testimonials, which are posted as pdf
20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html For a convenient
look at some of them go to
23. See the NIST response to question two at
24. NIST NCSTAR, Executive Summary, p. xlvii.
25. J.R., Barnett, R.R. Biederman, and R.D. Sisson Jr., "An Initial
Microstructural Analysis of A36 Steel from WTC Building 7," Journal of
the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, 53/12 (2001): 18; also see
FEMA, "World Trade Center Building Performance Study," May 2002,
26. Steven E. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?", in
911 and American Empire, edited by David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale
Scott, Olive Branch Press, Northhampton, Mass., 2006.
27. In July 1971 the WRC won a national award when the Amercan Society
of Civil Engineers (ASCE) named it "the engineering project that
demonstrates the greatest engineering skills and represents the
greatest contribution to engineering progress and mankind." in Angus K.
Gillespie, Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center,
New Brunswick, Rutger's University Press, 1999, p. 117.
28. James Glanz and Eric Lipton, City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of
the World Trade Center, New York, Times Books, 2003, p. 138.
29. City in the Sky, p. 134-136.
30. cited at http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/design.html
31. Richard Korman and Debra Rubin, "Painful Losses Mount in the
Construction 'Family'", posted at
32. The WTC was not the first of its kind. A similar design had been
used in 43-story DeWitt-Chestnut and the 38-story Brunswick buildings,
both in Chicagoboth completed in 1965.
33. "How Columnss Will be Designed for 110-Story Buildings,"
Engineering News-Record, April 2, 1964, p. 48-49.
34. The photo is posted at
35. This strange development came to light in July 2006, long after the
cleanup of the Deutsche Bank had supposedly been completed. The
announcement prompted a sharp letter of protest from the attorney
representing the families of the victims. For more details go to
36. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 118; also see NIST NCSTAR 1-2,
WTC Investigation, Executive Summary, p. xli.
37. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 124.
38. The NIST recovered 12 core columns from the WTC, but only one (in
two separate pieces) from WTC 2 turned out to be from the area affected
by the impacts/fires. A number of flanges from the core were also
recovered. See Table 5-2 in NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation, p. 35.
39. Eric Douglas, R.A., "The NIST WTC Investigation -- How Real Was The
Simulation?", A review of NIST NCSTAR 1, October 2006, p. 8. Posted at
40. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, Executive Sumary, p. lxxxvii.
The NIST also admitted this in its global impact study., which states
"in terms of structural damage condition in exterior columns, Case Ai
and Case Bi and similarly Case Ci and Case Di damage sets were
identical." NIST NCSTAR 1-6D, WTC Investigation, p. 10.
41. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, Executive Summary, p. lxxv.
42. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. lxxv.
43. NIST NCSTAR 1-2B, WTC Investigation, p. 344.
44. NIST NCSTAR 1-2B , WTC Investigation, p. 345.
45. NIST NCSTAR 1-2B, WTC Investigation, p. 353.
46. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 142.
47. NIST NCSTAR 1-6D, WTC Investigation.
48. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 142
49. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation, p. 39.
50. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation p. 39.
51. The NOVA special "Why the Towers Fell" aired in 2002. The text of
the NOVA interview with Thomas Eagar is posted at
52. NIST NCSTAR 1, Executive Summary, p. xlvi.
53. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 141.
54. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 67.
55. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 67.
56. NIST NCSTAR 1, WRC Investigation p. 130.
57. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 88.
58. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 176.
59. Andy Field, "A Look Inside a Radical new Theory of the WTC
Collapse," Fire/Rescue News, February 7, 2004. Sunder made a similar
statement during an October 19, 2004 presentation. See "World Trade
Center Investigation Status," S. Shyam Sunder, lead investigator,
Building and Fire Research Laboratory, NIST. This paper can be
downloaded as a pdf file at
60. The NIST makes this important point in two seperate places in the
text. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, pp. 49 and 51.
61. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 127.
62. NIST NCSTAR 1-6, WTC Investigation, p. lxvix.
63. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, Executive Summary, p. xli.
64. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, p. xliv.
65. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 126-127.
66. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, p. 121.
67. NIST NCSTAR 1-6, WTC Investigation, p. lxvix; also see NIST NCSTAR
1-5, WTC Investigation, p. 51.
68. Jim Dwyer and Ksvin Flynn, 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the
Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, Times Books, 2005, p. 206;
also see Jim Dwyer and Ford fessenden, "Lost Voices of Firefighters,
Some on 78th Floor," New York Times, August 4, 2002; Christopher
Bollyn, "Feds Withhold Crucial WTC Evidence," American Free Press,
August 8, 2002.
69. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 5.
70. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation, p. 95.
71. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 43.
72. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 144.
73. In the code his was sub-article 1002.0, adequacy of the structural
design. See NIST NCSTAR 1-1A, WTC Investigation, p. 32.
74. Conversation with Ron Hamburger, structural engineer, Dec 7, 2006.
75. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
76. My thanks to the NIST WTC Investigative Team for helping me to
understand the numbers. Although the calculations are expressed as
demand/capacity ratios in the NIST report, this easily translates into
a value, i.e., factor of safety, which is more comprehensible to the
average lay person, which is why I'm stayed with factor of safety.
Personal communication, December 14, 2006. See NIST NCSTAR WTC
Investigation 1-6, Figure 8-9, p. 233.
77. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
78. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. cxii; also see NIST NCSTAR
1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 84.
79. The NIST report states: "on the day of the attack the towers were
subjected to in-service live loads (a fraction of the design live
loads) and minimal wind loads." NIST NCSTAR 1-2 WTC Investigation, p.
80. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
81. I received clarification about this from the NIST WTC Investigation
Team. Personal communication, December 14, 2006. The number 5.7 is
derived from values presented in Figure 4-35, NIST NCSTAR 1-6, WTC
Investigation, p. 101.
82. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
83. Al Goodman, "The Windsor Tower Fire, Madrid," posted at
84. Kevin Ryan, a site manager for Underwriter Labs, was terminated
after publicly questioning the conclusions of the NIST report.