9/11, Debate
Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from World Trade Center (9/11 Photos - CC BY 2.0) and profile (Gage Skidmore / Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0)

This September 11 will mark the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington. These were events unlike any other in history, and they changed America and our world in profound ways — some of which have yet to become apparent.

WhoWhatWhy believes it is the mandate of journalism to not only report news as it happens, but to dig deep, and to stay on important stories for the long haul.

We also believe the public should hear all sides of critical issues, including those considered highly controversial, and, at least by traditional media, too “ludicrous” or too “hot” to address.

One such issue is the ongoing debate on whether airplanes alone could bring down the twin towers.

Even more hotly debated is whether it was possible that Building Seven — which was not hit by a plane — could collapse symmetrically into its own footprint as a result of burning down from a fire started by debris that fell from another building.

Without taking sides, WWW invites nominations for the best qualified persons on each side of this matter to participate in a debate — which we will host online.

To be clear: While many individuals are considered technically knowledgeable enough to argue one side or the other, we believe it advisable to invite only those with a long history of work in large building construction or demolition, ideally as an architect or engineer with clearly documented expertise, or closely related professional investigative work. Please respect these guidelines.

You may nominate more than one individual you feel is qualified to represent each side in this debate. Send nominations to 911debate@whowhatwhy.org. Please refrain from suggesting anyone who does NOT meet the above criteria. And please keep your email brief. Include the name, relevant professional qualifications, and (if available) contact information for nominees.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from South Tower after collapse (FEMA / Wikimedia)

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First off, I’m very much looking forward to this debate. I’m sure you’re aware of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth so I would think Richard Gage would be a good person to contact.

I also have a question about something that was written in this article: “…Building Seven…could collapse into its own footprint as a result of falling debris from other buildings, damaging it.”.

According to the NIST report, “Even without the structural damage, WTC 7 would have collapsed from the fires that the debris initiated”. So I feel like the wording used (“as a result of falling debris from other buildings, damaging it”) seems incorrect.


7 Facts about Building 7: WTC 7 was a 47-story skyscraper and was part of the WTC complex. Built in 1984, it would have been the tallest
high-rise in 33 states in the United States. It collapsed at 5:20 pm on
September 11, 2001. It was not hit by an airplane and suffered minimal


Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter have just published a paper in the European Physical Journal, “The Physics of High Rise Building Collapses” that demonstrates their knowledge of this subject. Not sure any of them have exactly the CV you are looking for, but their dedicated research into this question over a very long time, should make them candidates for this debate.


There are an estimated 275,000 civil engineers and 112,000 architects in this country. Who among them have the most direct experience with tall building construction? Please do a little research!


A truly effect debate will depend on debaters who are thoroughly prepared, not just on their CVs. The people I suggested above have been working down in the details of the building collapse question for many years. I have done my research on these people. I know that over many years they have effectively taken on the various defenses and debunking efforts of the official story time and again with patience, research, and ingenuity. Further, I know that they have learned from speaking publicly about this issue before lots of people how to put their arguments on the best footing possible. They are not just architects and engineers, they are experts in the debate on the causes of the building collapse events of 9/11. The standard for WhoWhatWhy should be, “Who could be better than these folks?”

Larry Payne

The problem with limiting the debate to architects and engineers is that those professions depend largely on government contracts for their livelihood.
Those who have signed up on ae9/11truth have integrity. The rest are suspect.


AE911Truth is currently mailing out to 35,000 of the most prominent and influential US engineers they could locate (including engineers on the NIST investigation team) a 14 page technical report “WORLD TRADE CENTER PHYSICS – Why Constant Acceleration Disproves Progressive Collapse” along the same lines as the article “On the Physics of High-rise Building Collapses” you referenced in your post above which was recently published in EurophysicsNews (available as a PDF on their web site). However, this new report gets more into the engineering formulas and equations and working out the mathematics involved within their document making it even more suitable as a presentation for engineering professionals (although the EurophysicsNews article is footnoted so that for anyone wanting to get more of this type of information it is still made available).

The AE911 Truth mailout to engineering professionals is also available for purchases at cost from the AE911Truth web site in hard copy. However, it has been made available PDF format as well.



R. Merriman

20 trillion $ in tax cuts. Quite a coincidence, eh?

William Jacoby

Good luck finding an engineer or architect who would debate Richard Gage. Invite the eminent authorities at Popular Mechanics! Perhaps the news story you are looking for would be: there are NO qualified architects who would debate Richard Gage.

A. Smith

What is there to debate? There IS no debate. None of the three buildings could have fallen as the official government story says they did, not even close to possible. It’s like trying to “debate” if water is wet, or if the sun rises in the east, or if donkeys can fly.

At the same time, there is ample evidence that WTC 1, 2, and 7 were controlled demolitions. Instead of disingenuous attempts to constantly rehash the physics of this, you should make efforts to get it into a court of law to hold the culprits criminally responsible.


Well said, friend!


I couldn’t have said it any better.

Larry Payne

Correct. Watching the videos of the towers coming down is concrete evidence that they were pulverized to dust by explosives. Why debate what you can see clearly with your own eyes? If readers want to see what a skyscraper looks like when it is suffering collapse from fire, Google “Windsor Tower collapse video.” The partial collapse of the Windsor happened over a period of hours during which the tower was totally consumed in flames.
When parts of the framework fell, fire and sparks were clearly visible–not clouds of explosive debris.

A more useful debate would be directed toward determining how to force the lying mainstream media to stop lying and covering up for the mass murderers of 9/11.


Kevin Ryan: Dig Within

Ken Doc II

I dare any expert that supports the Official story to debate the 2500+ Professional Architects and Engineers on the physics of the Three Towers Collapses. I nominate Richard Gage, David Chandler, Kevin Ryan, Niels Harrit, et al to participate in this debate.


I would second Richard Gage. I’ve tried to keep up with that group for years. There’s a similar group for pilots which would be worth looking into.


how about calling the dancing Isreale’s and the supposedly the dead Saudi.


he is in the bottom of the sea, check mate.


I have yet to see any proof the buildings were demolitions. I have yet to see any substantive evidence they were demolitions. There is certainly circumstantial evidence but the advocates of this theory are extremely offputting.

R. Merriman

How could you have seen any proof? The Bush administration made sure the proof (evidence from a crime scene) was carted away and destroyed under the guise of “national security.” Take a look at the recent viral videos where police have been involved in gunning down unarmed blacks, or the attacks by lone wolf domestic terrorists. How many police officers do you see in those videos of the aftermath that arrive on the scene to “investigate” and make sure the evidence from the scene is properly collected and identified? What happened to the evidence from the World Trade Center?


The way the evidence was treated is circumstantial to any demolition. Exactly as I have stated. Its people who claim that they have proven demolition that are making false statements.


The way they handled the evidence even broke the law

New York Penal Law Article 215 – § 215.40


The buildings disintegrated to several inches thick of fine dust that covered lower Manhattan or blew away in the breeze. There was very little steel left to cart off so that the story of it going to China is bogus. No bodies, only bone fragments.
Ground zero was literally that – flat as a pancake – but the basement floors were largely intact. What about building 6 that was hollowed out from top to bottom ?

A. Smith

Then you either haven’t been paying attention or are in denial.

Eric John

I think for most Americans, the idea that some faction of the US government was complicit or responsible for 9/11 is like saying that – in an act of arson – their fathers were responsible for secretly burning down the family house.

It. just. cannot. compute.

(And in a way, I understand that.)

Steven Smith

And that is precisely why they can get away with it, because people really don’t want to believe it. It is not pleasant to think about. Those who use the term ‘truthers’ are really the ones who prefer a comforting illusion, like “a priest would never molest a child” or “a policeman wouldn’t just kill someone in cold blood if they knew they could get away with it”. Those things are unthinkable, but we know otherwise, don’t we?


Here are some pointers:

1. Rapid onset of destruction,
2. Constant acceleration at or near free-fall through what should have been the path of greatest resistance,
2. Numerous eyewitness accounts of explosions including 118 FDNY personnel,
3. Lateral ejection of multi-ton steel framing members distances of 600 feet at more than 60 mph,
4. Mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete, and large volumes of expanding pyroclastic-like dust clouds,
5. Isolated explosive ejections 20 to 60 stories below the “crush zone,”
6. Total destruction and dismemberment of all three buildings, with 220 floors each an acre in size missing from the Twin Towers’ debris pile,
7. Several tons of molten steel/iron found in the debris piles,
8. Evidence of thermite incendiaries on steel beams,
9. Nanothermite composites and iron microspheres found in WTC dust samples.


Those are just talking points


Well of course since there has never been a scientific investigation yet. The first one is conducted right now on the University of Alaska.

A. Smith

Hand wave much?

No, those aren’t “talking points”. They’re real-world facts that directly contradict the official gov’t version. You have a choice: remain in your delusion or realize that you’ve been quite maliciously lied to.


Nobody has lied to me. What proof have you got anybody has lied?

A. Smith

The above nine facts that Kamraten listed are all you need that the gov’t lied. It would be more than enough to convict in any court of law. If that’s not sufficient, then nothing ever will be.


No it wouldnt. Thats the problem.


NIST lied during their investigation and they lied alot.

They lied about witnesses reporting explosives
They lied about witnesses reporting molten metal at ground zero
They lied about the free fall descent of WTC7
They have classified their data used in the WTC7 simulation, making it impossible for a third-party to objectively examine it.


Another list of talking points. But you dont have proof they found explosives or explosive residue.


NIST did not look for explosives nor did they investigate the coincidental evidence for explosives. So it’s pretty obvious they didn’t find any.

Independent researchers have found some though.

Eric John

James, you asked for evidence. Kamraten just gave nine examples (among many). But for some reason, they don’t meet your criteria.

So let’s turn it around: Why don’t /you/ choose a few listed points and give a rebuttal? Should be easy, since they’re just talking points, right?

Consider it a challenge…


It is very difficult as they are meaningless statements, not arguments, not evidence. They constitute opinion. Debate will ensue endlessly.

You do not have emails where people are discussing rigging the world trade centre. You do do not have physical evidence, leftover remains for example. What would you put before a court.

The thermite argument is fine. But it is just that, an opinion, an argument. People dispute even that they found thermite. That is the true fact here.

The reasons these issues are being discussed is precisely because they are not proven.

Nobody disputes, for example, that demolition and wrecking companies were hired almost immediately to clean up the site. And hence nobody brings it up for discussion. Im not aware of NIST denying that fact or lying about it.

A. Smith

None of Kam’s 10 points are “opinion”. Every one of them are known facts. If you can show how they are opinion instead of facts, then do so.

A. Smith

Steven Jones, among others, has evidence of nano-thermite in the WTC dust samples.


Yes, he does

A. Smith

And you just contradicted yourself.

Mike G

A large part of the problem of evidence in this case, is that 99% of the evidence was shipped to China before ANY investigation of any sort was allowed to take place. So you are not going to get forensic evidence, unfortunately. Of course, if you don’t find it at all suspicious that nearly all the evidence from the largest crime scene in American history was immediately cut up and shipped overseas without any sort of investigation, then there’s not much that can be done to convince you of the validity of the evidence that does exist.


I do find it suspicious


Those are the physical parameters of the collapse of these skyscrapers.
This is the information that gets used in order to determine the cause of the collapse. Sounds like controlled demolition to me.
What do you think caused the collapse of these three buildings?


I’d start with number 1 in your list here. “Rapid onset of destruction”. Building7 was on fire for 7 hours before it collapsed, and that collapse happened seven hours after the north tower had collapsed down onto building 7. Is this the kind of rapid onset of destruction you are talking about?


Well, if you watch the video footage of the “collapse” you can even see the fireballs and ejections of huge heavy parts of the outer steel columns.

But think about this: WTC 1 and 2 each had 48 core columns and 240 outer perimeter columns. All those columns were destroyed absolutely synchronously. Can you believe that a “fire induced gravitational collapse” can cause 288 columns to collapse synchronously—and that two times in a day?

You should also consider that any building has pyramid-like statics. Each floor is designed to hold all the floors above it. So the upper parts of a building are much lighter than the lower parts which are much much sturdier. So how on earth could the light upper part of a building “crush” the much sturdier parts of a building. Those lower parts also were not impacted at all by the airplanes and or fire.

There are so many reasons why there are no reasonable doubts that the buildings were destroyed by pre-placed explosives. But the points just mentioned should already make it quite clear.

B.t.w. there is no official explanation for the total “collapse” of WTC 1 and 2. The NIST report just “investigates” the event up to the point of “initiation of collapse”, which of course is ridiculous from a scientific or criminalistic standpoint.


You are speculating. I have asked for proof.


You are wrong. This is not speculation but very hard evidence. Those are factual findings that are not disputed.

Taken together with the well established laws of physics they prove beyond any reasonable doubt that an external force was involved in the destruction of those buildings.

You can deny those facts or the laws of physics all the way. But they remain, unless you have an alternative credible and physically possible explanation for the observed facts.


Well first of all wtc 1 and 2 structural steel was destroyed floor by floor, not synchronously.


Your statement is a contradiction in itself.

That the buildings were destroyed floor by floor (vertical direction) means that all columns were destroyed synchronously (horizontal direction).


And if a building collapses floor by floor, how is that not consistent with a collapse. It collapsed floor by floor at roughly the speed predicted by the physical law of gravity. So it’s in violation of nothing. Nothing you have cited.

Anyway, that the buildings were demolished is not a universally accepted fact, despite what people on here are saying. Your opinion on what happened isn’t the same thing and the rest of us don’t have to accept it.


OK, last try: It is an undisputed fact that the buildings “collapsed” floor by floor, as you say. That means that all vertically carrying columns must have been destroyed synchronously, i.e. at the same time. Otherwise a part of the building would have toppled or somehow shown an asymmetric damage.

That 288 columns are destroyed synchronously by fire or gravitational collapse is physically impossible.

That is no lie. That is no trick. That is just basic logic and physics.


There is no law of physics which discusses the number of columns that can be destroyed synchronously under which circumstances. You need to cite why it is impossible if you want to talk physics. Not that I am a physicist.

A. Smith

Yes there is, as I said above it is Momentum Conservation. Look it up and you’ll see why your belief in the official version is wrong.

Also this from a firefighter:

“From a reader:

I’m a retired career firefighter, having served over 20 years on a FD
in a medium size Midwest city. During those years, I was on many a fire
scene, and yes, even a few high-rise fires. Also saw some ‘pancake’
collapse structure fires and NONE of those looked like the WTC
collapses. A pancake collapse has the floors falling down on top of each
other, looking like a pile of pancakes on a plate, hence the term. A
pancake collapse building will fall down in a random, haphazard manner,
not free-fall and doesn’t emit a large cloud of pulverized contents
hundreds of feet high and blocks long, making it look like a volcano
exploded. Neither does a pancake collapse generate enough energy to
eject a 20 ton steel beam nearly 400 feet and still have enough energy
left over to impale the beam into another building. Nor does a pancake
collapse turn humans into tiny bits of nothing, leaving only bone
fragments no bigger than a fingernail. Nor does a pancake collapse
evaporate thousands of tons of steel and concrete. I’ve read some of the
NYFD radio transcripts from that day, from a crew working the fires in
one of the towers. They radioed Command that the main body of fire was
out, leaving only ‘mop-up’ duty. Mop-up is putting our small fires that
aren’t really dangerous, but could reignite the structure, so best
extinguish them. They also said they were going to start providing
medical care to the victims, which means they inspected the fire floor
and determined it was safe enough to provide medical care in place, if
the floor had been deemed unsafe, they would of begun moving the victims
to a lower level. Then, their world blew up, killing 343 NYFD
firefighters. Slowly, the real news behind whathappened on 9/11 is
coming out, I just pray that the truth is exposed soon, before all these
ME wars that are based on the 9/11 lies, turn into WW III. Thank you
for your brave reporting on this literally, life or death situation.”

Those transcripts are further proof that the building could not have collapsed from the fires (from Paul Craig Roberts’ site.)


Do you really find it reasonable to assume that 288 columns can be destroyed synchronously in that way? Think the collapse as a dynamic process. Then any variation of the initial conditions will lead to a completely different outcome. (“Chaos theory”)

If one column is weakened an instant earlier then it will give in earlier and the structure is weakend asymmetrically which will escalate into an asymmetric damage. Also, the structural damage by the plane impact had already (slightly) weakened the building asymmetrically. How then can two towers collapse not only completely symmetrically but also in the same fashion?

Additional to that there are also many, many other reasons why the buildings must have been destroyed with explosive charges. (Speed of the collapse, destruction of one tilting tower mid-air, squibs, lateral ejections of steel, pulverization of the interior, bone fragments, high temperatures melting and evaporating steel, etc. etc.) We have only touched a tiny part of the evidence.


What I find reasonable represents an opinion. Eventually you will grasp that.

A. Smith

Because that theory conveniently leaves out the principle of Conservation of Momentum, something that is highly relevant in this case and is discussed in the link I provided below.


“There are so many reasons why there are no reasonable doubts that the buildings were destroyed by pre placed explosives”. You said this!!! I’d say one reasonable doubt would be that preplaced explosives would not survive the impact of the planes, or the ensuing fires. Another one, and its big, but how does a 70 story spire from the north tower remain standing? This is inner core stuff, that ostensibly would be packed full of explosives, but how does this inner core spire withstand the initial collapse, and what you say was a building packed full of explosives? I mean, if little green men were placing charges all over the building, wouldn’t they be doing it in the inner core of the building? Think a little. The penthouse of building 7 and most of the roof line collapses into the building 6 or 7 seconds before the outer shell, and the whole of the building begins its collapse. Why does the roof of building 7 start collapsing before the first of the squibs start squibing?


“I have yet to see any proof the buildings were demolitions. I have yet to see any substantive evidence they were demolitions.”

I have yet to see any reasonable explanation of how these these three highrises came down as simple gravitational collapses.

Teace Snyder

The keystone hurdle of this topic isn’t one of empirical corroborated evidence worthy of a court of law–there’s an ocean of that–instead, it’s one of receptivity and closed-mindedness. The very fact that you’re just now beginning to look into this issue is a perfect example of this. Obviously Richard Gage is the go to. Most people have known that for years and have since branched out to more in-depth geopolitical analysis via James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds, Richard Grove, etc. This ‘debate’ is embarrassingly behind the times… and, yet, ironically, still ahead of the NYT…

Save yourself the trouble and go watch James Corbett. Seriously.

R. Merriman

Seems to me attempts to engage the public in any discussion of this issue are only part of an on-going smoke and mirrors campaign to distract the attention of those who continue to have any interest in it. Any reasonable person taking an honest, unbiased look at the events of that day in hindsight will come away with questions that can’t be reasonably answered by the official story lines. Those who perpetuate the official story line are either operating from an agenda that remains undisclosed to the Public; or they are those who willingly choose to remain hypnotized by the culture that is controlled by those who are in charge of maintaining that same undisclosed agenda. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what the “truth” of the events that took place on that day are. What is important and most significant about those events is disclosed in this “article” above in one short phrase: “… they changed America and our world in profound ways.” This was the goal of the “attacks,” the destruction, and the aftermath – to hoodwink the Public into thinking that something had happened that “changed” the world around us. The world did not change. It’s the same as it’s always been. The events were only the excuse that’s been used to shift the consensual reality most hypnotized individuals accept. It was those who were in power on that day that “changed” our world and turned it into place that is much less hospitable to decency and our common humanity.

Steven Smith

I couldn’t agree more with this. It’s not the explanations that really matter here. What matters is how 911 was, and is, used to instill in the American public both fear, and a willingness to accept a less free U.S.A.

Whatever actually occurred on that day is not the most disturbing aspect in the long term. We now have sayings like “see something, say something”, and the general belief that Muslims are inherently anti-American, no matter where they live or what they say or do. Now we’re seeing the general fear of brown/black people played out in the culture big time. Does anyone really think we’d care about illegal immigrants if they were from Canada?

I don’t think the powers that be are really racist, but they want us to be racist for a very specific reason. They also want the left/right blue/red divisions to stay strong as well. As long as we have our attention on these things, we won’t pay attention to what the rich and powerful people do (and get away with) in this country.

Foo Ken

There is no better way to expose that reality than to undermine its false basis and bringing to light the real perpetrators. What happened that day is therefor of the utmost importance, as many people cannot be convinced that Muslims aren’t “the issue” while they still believe that they were responsible for the biggest terrorist attack in history.

Larry Payne

Sorry, I can’t agree with you that it “doesn’t matter what the ‘truth’ of the events that took place on that day are.”

I think the truth about 9/11 being known to the entire world is the most important truth in the world today. If we want to return decency and humanity to the world, The truth must be known.

Palm Beach Bum

I know what I saw. The towers turned to dust from the top down.

Larry Payne

Lawrence Livermore National Labratories is a Federal research facility which develops many weapons of war. They have developed a nanothermite which can turn concrete into dust. Manuel Garcia, Jr., a physicist who works at LLNL, has been very active in debunking the idea of controlled demolition. Perhaps he has a motive to cover up the truth.


You are more than competent enough as an investigative journalist to figure out the truth about the World Trade Center destruction. There is of course much disinformation out there to poison the well of legitimate research but any mentally competent person can work their way through it. Kevin Ryan is a top notch researcher. James Corbett is doing good work. WTC Building 7 is worth seeking out. I’m not sure if we’re allowed to post links in this discussion thread, but there are many documentaries and research papers out there.


It seems clear that the beginning point for this debate is very personal and that is not surprising. Each person coming to see the official story of 9/11 as untrue sees 9/11 through the lens of their own experience. Each uses his background to find the holes in the story. So, Paul Craig Roberts described it as something that would be impossible to happen without executive control within the government, pilots see the problems with the way the official narrative handles the planes, and engineers and architects focus on the buildings’ collapses. In short, their independent thought is structured around their own personal experience and training, as independent thought must be.

In spite of all the evidence of problems with the official story generated in other areas of expertise, the opportunity to generally expose the truth of 9/11 lies in the question scheduled for debate here. This is so because the key facts are already largely in evidence. So, depending on one’s comfort dealing with physical laws and engineering discussions it can be a no-brainer or a complete mystery. If those among us who are not wired for physics and engineering have gotten to the point of asking this, the right question, a few days of intensive research and digging can bring them to a conclusion without having to be told what the answer is by someone in authority. Reading Bazant’s papers, the paper published by 9/11 researchers that pointed out the errors in his analysis, and NIST’s own description of what they have analysed (i.e. their analysis only goes up to the point of collapse initiation and no further) are key steps in this process. None of this is in Greek (with the exception of the occasional symbol) and can be–with just a little effort–readily understood.

There will be a point in this journey that the clearly understood holes in the official story become large enough so that all question about whether the 9/11 Commission got it right, or was it all just a big cover-up goes away. That discovery process may bring new insights to how this debate should be handled and perhaps less concern about finding someone less invested in the results to argue the 9/11 truth side.


Gordon Ross M.Eng spoke out…

Myth Busters would never show up because they should know that the science is not on their side. They do NOT have any relevant qualifications, but they might be persuasive.


1) name: Jonathan Cole
professional qualifications: P.E., Civil Engineer.

3) name: David Chandler
Qualifications: Physics teacher that made NIST finally admit Freefall.


See Gordon Ross MEng investigation into the collapse of the WTC on 9/11


IMHO it’s a mistake to invite only those with a long history of work in large building construction or demolition. A brilliant physicist and a member on the panel that investigated the Challenger disaster, Richard Feynman said it doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is. it doesn’t matter how smart you are. if it doesn’t agree with experiment it’s wrong:

Jonathan Cole would be a good person to contact because he is a compelling speaker, like Feynman. See his lectures and recent talk in St. Petersburg Florida. Cole’s experiments are also compelling:

1) name: Jonathan Cole
professional qualifications: P.E.
contact information: 911speakout org

2) name: Gordon Ross MEng
professional qualifications: MEng
See Gordon Ross MEng investigation into the collapse of the WTC on 9/11

3) name: David Chandler
Qualifications: Physics teacher that made NIST finally admit Freefall: see video by that name.
contact information: 911speakout org

Myth Busters would never show up because they should know that science (physics) is not on their side. They also do NOT have any relevant qualifications, but they might be persuasive. For a decade, they have refuse to look at the three WTC buildings. Cole embarrassed MythBuster thermite demonstrations.

19) Architect Richard Gage would NOT be a good person to contact. He’s had plenty of opportunities and failed – he’s not persuasive.


I agree that a physicist would be good too. Laying out in great detail the mechanics/mathematics of the mass and rate of fall of all three buildings would be good.


The following is from a draft chapter of my book. It’s not the whole chapter, but hope it sheds some light on how fireproofing gets removed and installed and the state of the industry in NYC leading up to 2001.

Later there was footage of the fire department on the scene. The thought of calling the building’s management and telling them not to assume that the fireproofing would last one or two hours popped into my head.

To explain why, I have to back up a bit. As I mentioned before, I worked with an environmental consulting firm. One of the abatement contractors we worked with had an office in the WTC and virtually all of the contractors in town had worked in that building because, being so large, there was more work than one company could handle.

There was one week in the 90s when we got several visits from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) at 1251. I wound up showing them to the floors on the third day that inspectors showed up. My co-worker explained that the rule was simple: don’t help them find faults but also don’t get involved with trying to argue out of any citations. Essentially, it was the contractor’s problem.

The contractor supervisor on site was an overly caffeinated and excitable fellow who I would wind up on occasion making very angry by asking him to fix things or correct them. It wasn’t personal, at least not to me.

The supervisor did argue with the two inspectors. I had trouble not smiling because I could see that he was mostly digging himself into a deeper hole. At one point, he tried to show them that something was easily repaired and utterly destroyed it due to his manic energy and lack of care. My co-worker remained completely poker-faced and merely took notes of the infractions.

However, once it was over, my co-worker had something else to do, perhaps to write up memos about what needed to be corrected or to see that the things noted from the inspectors got into the daily log that we kept. I was therefore saddled with showing the inspectors the way out. I asked them why they came to our building so frequently. They had come often and usually not found anything to write up.

“We use your building to show the new inspectors what a compliant project is supposed to look like.”

What he was saying, in other words, was that we had grown a reputation for being one of the most regulatory compliant buildings in the City when it came to asbestos removal. I asked around and found that that was true. In fact, contractors regularly had to calculate their inability to cut corners when bidding on our projects. While this likely did cost the owners a bit more money, their reputation was greatly improved over what had happened in the 80s when they got the news coverage for the opposite.

On these projects, the removal of asbestos is followed by the spraying or other methods of installing non-asbestos containing fireproofing. In our case, we used a spray-on variety.

There had been a time when there was a shortage of sprayers and even the material from the supplier in the City. There was more abatement going on in New York at the industry’s peak than anyone had anticipated.

On the projects that happened during this period, it became clear that the contractors (we actually had two working on different projects at the same time) were attempting to hide deficiencies because of the material and sprayer shortage. Naturally, we became even more vigilant after realizing this and made them do or correct what was contracted for.

This situation had lead to a few interesting situations. First, because there was a shortage, the contractor attempted to convince our team to accept a substitute assembly for the re-spraying of fireproofing. In other words, the original structural engineers had specified certain thicknesses of fireproofing on certain structural members (beams, columns, etc.) and now the contractor was looking how to appear to achieve the same fire protection utilizing less fireproofing.

They didn’t tell me that there was shortage. They submitted a request for substitution, which the specifications permitted them to do. I was assigned to look over their request and compare what they wanted to do with what was originally specified. In essence, they were trying to say that, for example, two inches of fireproofing was as good as four inches of fireproofing using a different assembly out of the United Laboratories (UL) book on fireproofing. I explained this to my boss and co-worker and they refused the request.

The contractor’s next step was to send a man from W.R. Grace to come visit my co-worker and I and to re-explain what the request had said. During this meeting, and I felt bad about it after–but have also at times laughed about it as well–I very nearly made this grown man cry. He got so choked up that he wasn’t able to speak. There was a step in his explanation that just didn’t make sense to me. The contractor re-submitted the request anyway.

UL had an office, I think somewhere on Long Island. I called and got a hold of an engineer. He said I was right, there was no way you could make that leap that the contractor and the W.R. Grace representative had said. Absolutely no way.

I informed the boss and co-worked again. The request was rejected again.

Here’s where it gets spooky. The same engineer I had spoken with called me back a few days later. This is an approximation of the conversation.

“I was wrong,” he said.

“Oh,” I grabbed the book again to discuss the subject. “So the formula we were looking at…”

“I was wrong.”

“Um. Ok. Just need to figure out how we can–”

“No. You don’t understand. I was wrong.”

“Ah. Ok. Thanks.”

He had clearly been told by a superior to call me back and explain that he was wrong. Since he was not wrong, he did what smarty-pants science types with ethics do and made it clear that this was case. I explained this to my boss, but I was still puzzled. The piece I wasn’t getting out of all of this, the tests themselves are paid for by the manufacturers. In other words, UL only has a job testing manufacturer materials because the manufacturers pay for it. Their clout had overcome the science, the engineering, based on a shortage of material, trained sprayers, and spray machines.

We still refused the request for substitution.

But what happened at the other buildings being worked on at the same time? It seemed possible that there would have been some deficiencies that would not have gotten the same scrutiny. We had that reputation and these were some of the same contractors. And we tended to only work with the better ones.

Of course there were other issues anyway. The jet fuel. The paper, the place being full of it. And the conspiracy theories surrounding some witness reports.

That same intern who said his deceased father had been CIA was the one who told me that (and I’m still not clear on where he got the information) CIA, NSA, and FBI had had offices down in the basement and they had all gotten out before the planes hit. He also said that the building contained the biggest listening post the US had, or because of the building’s height, it had served as an intel antenna to much of the world.

Among the witness reports is that there were explosions coming from below after the planes hit [3].

If it was true that there were intelligence agency offices down there, then it might follow that there were charges set as standard operating procedure to destroy any sensitive equipment or remaining data in the place. Those wouldn’t be the kind of things you’d want to leave lying around waiting to be discovered after such an attack.

But were they responsible for bringing the buildings down? I don’t know. Many people smarter than me, who understand engineering and have studied the subject have come up on both sides of that argument.


Russ, at ‘architects and engineers for 911 truth’ – 60 Structural Engineers who cite evidence for the controlled explosive demolition of the 3 WTC towers on 9/11. If structural engineers are the gold standard, then there you are.

I would personally nominate Ron Brookman or Dan Burton as high-rise architects if you prefer. Furthermore, a 25-point white paper has been published exposing fraud in the NIST report.


Of course you don’t need to be an expert to see the difference between a collapse and explosion. The twin towers exploded out and down — they didn’t collapse due to floors pancaking or structural failure. It was a violently explosive event reported on that day by news media and eyewitnesses.


Not a single member of that organization’s board is an engineer. Architects are not engineers; structural engineers take the architects’ visions and design the structures.

magchiel matthijsen

What a shame for this country that an estimated 275,000 civil engineers and 112,000 architects have not dared to come out of their closet for 15 years!. At long last prof Hulsey (Alaska) has proved thad NIST lied to the world. America come clean with yourself!


Today, the Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, a PhD in structural engineering and one of the nation’s top experts in the cause of building collapses (Leroy Hulsey) publicly announced that – contrary to the government’s explanation – fire did NOT bring down World Trade Center building 7 on 9/11:


Mackenzie, you misrepresent what the findings actually said, which is that fire alone could not have brought down building 7. The findings did not announce that explosive charges were set, or that ray guns were used, simply that fire alone could not cause the collapse. Maybe the question Mr. Halsey could answer is, would falling debris from the north tower, plus raging fires, plus the explosion of deisel generators be enough to cause the collapse ? There is very solid evidence that this is exactly what happened.


The unique difficulty is that WTC can not be compared to conventional steel frame building systems in that it was comprised of an exterior steel skeletal structure, and core. The exterior skeleton was made of interlocked formed steel structures with a SS facade which comprised the “240 columns”, while the core was comprised of conventional wide-flange columns. Each poured concrete floor was essentially an acre of unobstructed space, being supported by a truss system affixed to the exterior skeleton and the to the core creating a distributed loading along the vertical axis of the structural system. In the simplest of terms, when the structural failure occurred (and each building’s initial failure mode was different) the distributed load became a concentrated load, the mechanical system failed catastrophically which effectively radiated laterally through the structure at the speed of sound, followed by vertical collapse. Why did they fall vertically? Any lateral acceleration was many orders of magnitude smaller than the vertical component. Comparing WTC1 to WTC2, the collapse rates were very similar which is what you’d expect, but comparing WTC to a controlled demolition of a conventional steel framed structure is a disingenuous argument – IMHO.

A. Smith

The physics law of Momentum Conservation blows that ridiculous theory out of the water. “The distributed load became a concentrated load” and “the mechanical system failed catastrophically which effectively radiated laterally through the structure” is utter hogwash, and is not supported by any known physics that would apply to such a case.

No “mechanical system failure” is going to “radiate laterally” through a structure and then cause vertical collapse, floor after floor unless the beams were cut for the floors on the way down, which is exactly what happened to WTC 1, 2, and 7.

Failures don’t just magically “radiate”, and distributed loads do not suddenly, inexplicably become “concentrated”. Unless you stand physics on its head.

Anything even close to your Orwellian theory would be halted by Conservation of Momentum. If that were not the case, then demolition crews would not need to use explosives for any building they sought to take down.

You guys really are working overtime to conjure up wordy but delusional scenarios.


I’m not ignoring Momentum; I am expressing an opinion that the
instant that each building transitions from a highly stressed static system to a mass with a discernable velocity occurs in a very brief instant and escalates quickly. Arguably, the highly stressed
state of the building was also in flux, and I’ll concede that to say that the damaged structures were static is also gross simplification.

A. Smith

Your previous comment however does ignore Momentum. You cannot bypass that law with grandiose theories of “velocity” and “highly stressed
state of the building” being “in flux”. You’re simply inventing things from whole cloth that are not supported by known science.

Saying that “comparing WTC to a controlled demolition of a conventional steel framed structure is a disingenuous argument” is the opposite of what the rest of the world saw and video recorded, and as compared to nearly any actual demolition of similar structures.

You are asking people to believe your wild fabrication, not their own observations and well-established Newtonian physics.


One question? What about Building 7?


WTC7, though it is a part of the events that unfolded on
that day, it is not a part of this comparison of stick-framed steel buildings to the Twin Towers. The towers were
unique in contrast to adjacent buildings in the WTC complex.

A. Smith

Now you’re trying to assert that WTC 7 was “stick” framed? Did you just fly in from Jupiter or are you pushing for a raise at CIA/FBI/NSA?

Foo Ken

Of course it is a part of it. It is a building that wasn’t hit by a plane and fell into its own footprint, in free-fall, on that same day, while only encountering minimal and localised fires.
Let’s for the sake of the argument assume that this building was brought down with pre-planned explosives, what would that say about WTC1 & 2 then? Still not a part of the comparison?
In your best guess, what would a controlled demolition of WTC7 tell you about the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack as a whole? Still unrelated?


If building 7 was a controlled demolition, then why did the roof cave in before the squibs start shooting out the windows. It’s like the demolition occurs before the explosives are detonated. Please use some common sense.

Larry Payne

How much do you really know about the twin towers?
You claim each floor had an acre of unobstructed space. That’s totally false.
The twin tower floors measured 209’x209′. That is about an acre, but the elevator core occupied at least 1/4th of that space on each floor. So each floor was about 3/4ths an acre of open space.
You fail to mention the outer wall section was designed so the load on those walls could be increased 2000% before failure occurred. This calculation doesn’t include the load bearing strength of the center core of 47 vertical steel columns which were designed to hold up 3 times the weight they actually supported.


I understand what I’ve read, and only offer opinion that the
empirical comparison of controlled demolition of a framed steel structure to the collapse of the twin towers is not valid.
Essentially an acre, about an acre, not quite an acre… my mistake, I was using a visual metaphor to convey that the interior construct was not conventional where the interior floor space is interrupted with substantial walls and features to conceal the intersecting structural elements. As mentioned, in the towers that core structure is the interruption within the continuous space, but other features observed on the floors (in photographs) are only partitions and other “light” elements.

Factors of safety apply to an intact structural system(s), and
in that regard, each tower performed amazingly.
They each experienced a substantial impact (and resulting moment). Very roughly speaking, each impact being something
on the order of 2 x 10^9 Joules of kinetic energy – and neither building fell over (or down) from that event. Following that event, speculation, estimation, remote observation, forensics and opinion(s) are what remain to establish the distribution of the energy into each tower, the integrity of each tower’s remaining structural system, and the load distribution therein.

I see no problem in the fact that each tower collapsed at
some point in time following the impact of each aircraft.

If the debate occurs, it should be an interesting
conversation to follow.

A. Smith

Your continued distraction of “distribution of the energy into each tower” is dismissed by Conservation of Momentum, as has already been stated. That also renders your ridiculous notion of “load distribution” and the rest equally a canard. Your use of psuedo-math to attempt to impress or confuse is also transparent.

Repetition of a falsehood does not make it any less false.

Larry Payne

The comparison of the collapse of the WTC towers to controlled demolition is far from “empirical.” The collapses looked like controlled demolitions, sounded like controlled demolitions, fell into their own footprints like controlled demolitions and fell at the speed of controlled demolitions. To say they were not controlled demolitions defies all logic.

Ed Kendrick

The real perpetrators have “milked the cow” now for 15 years. Far more important at this point is a “debate” about who really did 9-11. Even better, now that we know the buildings were rigged in advance, let’s convene grand juries hear evidence (including this debate … possibly) and carry out indictments/interrogations/trials and seizure of assets.

Even some journalists who put themselves up as ethical have participated in the cover-up … accessories after the fact in the crimes.

Larry Payne

I’ve been an architectural illustrator for 20 years. During that time I’ve worked with some of the top architects in the world. I’ve attempted to discuss 9/11 with some of them and they refuse to even talk about it. The only reason I can think of for their silence is their fear of losing large contracts which may be connected to the government either directly or indirectly.

The debate may be better served by having physicists and scientists on the panel who do not work for the government or any weapons manufacturing corporations.

A. Smith

So many are captured now, from corporate funding of universities (with the ongoing financialization of higher education) that their tenure and academic freedom means virtually nothing anymore. At least that’s how so many are behaving.


Very interesting point. I think the same applies for climate scientists regarding global warming. (though I know that is not a popular opinion around here).


Where have experts discussed the need for accurate data on the distributions of steel and concrete in the towers?

The failure to analyse the physics of 9/11 is a serious problem in and of itself. Don’t 1,000 foot skyscrapers have to hold themselves up? Doesn’t that mean the lower portions must support more weight than the upper portions, and therefore have more steel? So where have “engineers” and “scientists” discussed the distributions of steel and concrete in the towers in relation to a straight down collapse? Ever heard of the Conservation of Momentum? The 10.000 page NCSTAR1 report does not even specify the total amount of concrete in the towers.

So the social failure to solve this problem for 15 years is as much an issue as the physics problem itself.


Just wondering if this debate is still something Who What Why is looking into holding. Yesterday there was a tragic fire in a high-rise building (Grenfell Tower) in London. It burned for over 12 hours but didn’t collapse. The events that happened on 9/11 once again are (at least seemingly) an exception to the rules of physics. Remember that NIST’s official story on “Building 7” (the 3rd tower that collapsed on 9/11 – and at near free-fall speed) is that it was caused by “regular office fires”. If so, why did the Grenfell Tower not collapse?