The NIST 9/11 Report on the WTC
By Mark H. Gaffney
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, thereby
making the truth unobtainable. This is one way to neuter
Clearing Hous" -- -- 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 fires extinguished.
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 workers 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
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 survivors.
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
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
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 oxygen-starved.
The persistence of molten steel under the WTC for many
weeks is extraordinary–––and anomalous. Evidently, the
hot spots under the wreckage were not in the least fazed
by heavy rain on September 14-15, 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 747°C (1376°F)). The molten pools below
the pile must have been at least twice as hot––––hot
enough to evaporate rain and the water sprayed on the
pile, long before it 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 commissioner.
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 zero–––a 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 even 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
steel–––not 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 bandwagon–––and
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 gallons–––about 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 melting steel."
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 WTC–––or in the Boeing
767s–––capable of melting steel.
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 their
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 aircraft impact.”
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
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 deck–––the 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 single unit.
Prefabrication and the overall modular design were other
innovations that allowed for speedy construction–––and
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
fireproofing–––installed 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 sagged–––they argued–––which 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 something–––some
force–––pulverized 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
Bank–––badly damaged in the 9/11 attack–––workers 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
considerably–––even 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 investigation 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 quality–––some
wasn’t–––but 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
Although the NIST never satisfactorily resolved these
differences, it immediately threw out the less severe
alternatives, citing two reasons in the 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 straight 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.” But–––notice–––this 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 the NIST was not deterred by its own biased
reasoning. Later, it also tossed out the moderate (base)
alternatives, ultimately adopting the most extreme
scenarios in its subsequent global collapse
analysis–––even 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.” Here, of course, “observed events”
refers to the ultimate collapse of the tower. The NIST,
though oblique, is at least more forthright than in the
case of the lesser alternatives. Things 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 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 the NIST had almost no information about the
actual conditions at the WTC core. Had the computer
model been robust enough to properly characterize the
far walls, things might have been very different. In
that case investigators could have used the observable
damage to the exterior of those walls to discriminate
between the three alternatives, hence to select the best
choice, validating the model. As it was, 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 special–––before the NIST ran its
metallurgical/fire tests–––Thomas 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.” Notice, none of these
findings support the NIST’s official explanation for the
WTC collapse. On the contrary.
The Fire Tests:
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 minutes, the 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 collapse.”
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 much the fire-caused
heat. 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 draws 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 time–––as 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
96–––where the collapse began–––reached 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
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. This–––we are informed–––in 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
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
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
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,
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” refers 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 ignored it.
Of course, it’s possible that more intense fires were
raging several floors above the two brave
firemen–––fires 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 firemen–––very 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 report–––in vain–––for 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
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 collapsed, until 9/11, nor has any since.
So we see–––it should be obvious–––that 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 little
wind. As a result, most 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 safety–––more
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 wall–––and 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 past–––and 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
hours–––notice–––much 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
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 hours–––considerably longer than the
fires of 9/11–––lab 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 warping–––and
not material degradation–––governed the steel’s response
to heat. The Cardington lab 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 test data.
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 relatively 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
beginning–––hopefully 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 and lies 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
latest is Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes (2004). Mark
can be reached for comment at email@example.com
Or: visit his web site at <www.gnosticsecrets.com>
1. Penn Arts and Sciences, Summer 2002. <www.sas.upenn.edu/sasalum/newsltr/summer2002/k911.html>
2. Dr Keith Eaton, The Structural Engineer 3, September
3. James Williams, “WTC a Structural Success,” SEAU
NEWS, The Newsletter of the Structural Engineers
Association of Utah, October 2001, #3.
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 the debris.
5. Commissioner Holden’s testimony before the 911
Commission is posted at http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/congress/9-11_commission/030401-holden.htm
6. Christopher Bollyn, “Seismic Evidence Points to
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 http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2001/ofr-01-0429/thermal.r09.html
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
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.
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 files at
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, Appendix C.
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
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 Chicago–––both
completed in 1965.
33. “How Columnss Will be Designed for 110-Story
Buildings,” Engineering News-Record, April 2, 1964, p.
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,
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 www.nistreview.org
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; also see
NIST NCSTAR 1-6D, WTC Investigation, pp. 131, 174, 150
47. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 142
48. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation, p. 39.
49. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation p. 39.
50. The NOVA special “Why the Towers Fell” aired in
2002. The text of the NOVA interview with Thomas Eagar
is posted at
51. NIST NCSTAR 1, Executive Summary, p. xlvi.
52. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 141.
53. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 67.
54. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 67.
55. NIST NCSTAR 1, WRC Investigation p. 130.
56. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 88.
57. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 176.
58. 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
59. The NIST makes this important point in two seperate
places in the text. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation,
pp. 49 and 51.
60. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 127.
61. NIST NCSTAR 1-6, WTC Investigation, p. lxvix.
62. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, Executive
Summary, p. xli.
63. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, p. xliv.
64. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 126-127.
65. NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, p. 121.
66. NIST NCSTAR 1-6, WTC Investigation, p. lxvix; also
see NIST NCSTAR 1-5, WTC Investigation, p. 51.
67. 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.
68. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 5.
69. NIST NCSTAR 1-3, WTC Investigation, p. 95.
70. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation, p. 43.
71. NIST NCSTAR 1, WTC Investigation p. 144.
72. In the code his was sub-article 1002.0, adequacy of
the structural design. See NIST NCSTAR 1-1A, WTC
Investigation, p. 32.
73. Conversation with Ron Hamburger, structural
engineer, Dec 7, 2006.
74. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
75. 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,
76. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
77. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. cxii; also
see NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 84.
78. 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. liv.
79. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
80. 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.
81. NIST NCSTAR 1-2, WTC Investigation, p. 66.
82. Al Goodman, “The Windsor Tower Fire, Madrid,” posted
83. For more about the Cardington lab tests go to:
http://guardian.150m.com/fire/SCI.htm Also see
84. Kevin Ryan, a site manager for Underwriter Labs, was
terminated after publicly questioning the conclusions of
the NIST report.