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Federal agency releases 'rebuttal' to 9/11 theories on the destruction of WTC towers

Ron Brynaert
Published: Friday September 1, 2006

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In the face of polls which suggest that many Americans are skeptical about the government's official version of what happened on September 11, 2001, a federal agency has released a "rebuttal" to some prevalent "conspiracy theories" about the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.

A few days ago, as the five-year anniversary of the attacks approaches, the National Institute of Standards and Technology posted a FAQ sheet on it's website entitled "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions", based upon its three-year building and fire safety investigation.

"We get a lot of calls from people who have heard these theories," NIST spokesman Michael Newman told Newsday. "But we conducted what was probably the most complex investigation of a building collapse in history."

"We based our conclusion on the talents of the world's best engineers and scientists, state of the art computer models and 236 pieces of steel recovered from the site," said Newman.

Earlier today, NIST sent out a press release about their FAQ sheet.

"When the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the final report in October 2005 from its technical investigation of the fires and collapses of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers on Sept. 11, 2001, many in the building design, construction, fire, rescue, safety and legislative communities praised the three-year effort as the authoritative accounting of the events that took place and began working with NIST to use the report's 30 recommendations to improve building codes, standards and practices," said the press release.

"However, there have been claims from 'alternative theory' groups that factors other than those described in the NIST report brought the towers down," the release said.

'Controlled demolition' theory

Much of the fact sheet deals with the "controlled demolition" theory, which the agency never actively investigated or pursued because they couldn't find any "corroborating evidence for alternative hypotheses."

Brigham Young University physics professor Dr. Steven E. Jones, a founding member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, "a non-partisan association of faculty, students, and scholars, in fields as diverse as history, science, military affairs, psychology, and philosophy, dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11," believes that NIST is wrong to dismiss other theories about why three WTC buildings "completely collapsed" on September 11.

"In this paper, I call for a serious investigation of the hypothesis that WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were brought down, not just by impact damage and fires, but through the use of pre-positioned cutter-charges," Jones writes in the abstract of his paper, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?"

"I consider the official FEMA, NIST, and 9-11 Commission reports that fires plus impact damage alone caused complete collapses of all three buildings," Jones writes. "And I present evidence for the controlled-demolition hypothesis, which is suggested by the available data, and can be tested scientifically, and yet has not been analyzed in any of the reports funded by the US government."

"In particular, the official theory lacks repeatability in that no actual models or buildings (before or since 9-11-01) have been observed to completely collapse due to the proposed fire-based mechanisms," Jones concludes in his paper. "On the other hand, hundreds of buildings have been completely and symmetrically demolished through the use of pre-positioned explosives."

"And high-temperature chemical reactions can account for the observed large pools of molten metal, under both Towers and WTC 7, and the sulfidation of structural steel," wrote Jones. "The controlled-demolition hypothesis cannot be dismissed as 'junk science' because it better satisfies tests of repeatability and parsimony."

One question from NIST's FAQ sheet asks "How could the WTC towers have collapsed without a controlled demolition since no steel-frame, high-rise buildings have ever before or since been brought down due to fires? Temperatures due to fire don't get hot enough for buildings to collapse."

"The collapse of the WTC towers was not caused either by a conventional building fire or even solely by the concurrent multi-floor fires that day," NIST's FAQ sheet says. "Instead, NIST concluded that the WTC towers collapsed because: (1) the impact of the planes severed and damaged support columns, dislodged fireproofing insulation coating the steel floor trusses and steel columns, and widely dispersed jet fuel over multiple floors; and (2) the subsequent unusually large, jet-fuel ignited multi-floor fires weakened the now susceptible structural steel."

"No building in the United States has ever been subjected to the massive structural damage and concurrent multi-floor fires that the towers experienced on Sept. 11, 2001," according to NIST.

However, at the conclusion of its FAQ sheet, the federal agency claims that it is "considering whether hypothetical blast events could have played a role in initiating the collapse" of the 47-story office building, WTC 7, which hadn't been struck by either of the hijacked airplanes that day.

"While NIST has found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event, NIST would like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more critical elements," the FAQ sheet says.

A point-by-point reply to the NIST FAQ sheet was written by Jim Hoffman, a software engineer with many published articles in scientific magazines and journals, who has been investigating the events of 9/11 since early 2003, questioning the "official story," as well as debunking some of the more "wild" theories about what may have happened.

"But steel-framed high-rise buildings have been felled by severe earthquakes, and in those cases, the buildings were not pulverized and shredded, as the World Trade Center was, but were toppled," Hoffman writes in response to the aforementioned question on "controlled demolition."

"The exact combination of impact-induced structural damage and fire damage was unprecedented, but in some of the examples of fires in steel-framed high-rise buildings the fires were much stronger and long-lasting than in the three WTC towers, and yet didn't even produce serious structural damage in the buildings," Hoffman continues. "Since NIST's theory of the demise of the Twin Towers is essentially a fire theory, the lack of a single example of fire-induced total collapse of a steel-framed building presents a problem for that theory."

Hoffman's full reply can be read at this link.