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Painful Questions

Painful Questions

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Published by Waqas Ahmed
By: Eric Hufschmid
By: Eric Hufschmid

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Published by: Waqas Ahmed on Nov 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Science Committee of the House of Representatives held ameeting March 6, 2002 to discuss the investigation of the World TradeCenter collapse. Their report concluded that the investigation was“hampered.” One problem was that clean-up crews arrived the sameday and immediately began disposing of the rubble. The result was:
When investigators finally arrived at the site they discovered theywere subservient to the clean-up crews:
Why was the investigation given such a low priority? Or should that question be phrased: Why was the
disposal of rubble
priority?Were New York residents simply too shocked by the attack and tooconcerned about finding survivors to care about saving the rubble forscientists? According to an article on December 25, 2001, the
New YorkTimes
asked city officials about the destruction of the rubble:
Officialsinthemayor’sofficedeclinedtoreplytowrittenandoralrequestsforcommentoverathree-dayperiod aboutwhodecidedtorecyclethesteelandtheconcernthatthedecisionmightbehandicappingtheinvestigation.
Their silence provides support for one of Congressman Boehlert’saccusations:
 Imustsaythatthecurrentinvestigation...seemstobe shroudedinexcessivesecrecy.
With thousands of missing people, and with statistics showing that many would die within 24 hours, rescuers were under a lot of pressureon September 11th to find survivors quickly. Neither the emotionallycharged rescuers nor the families of the missing people had time tocarefully document the rubble. Rather, rescuers tore through therubble as soon as the dust had settled, and they worked throughout thenight. There were so many rescuers and they worked so fast that by thenext morning Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that they had disposedof 120 dump trucks of rubble.
Imagineclean-upcrewsarrivingimmediatelyafteramurder.Whendetectivesarrivethemostimportant bulletshavebeensoldtorecyclers;thedeadbodyhasbeenburied;andmostofthebloodhasbeenwashedaway. Alsoimaginethatthecleanupcrewshavemoreauthoritythanthedetectives,sothedetectivesmustaskpermissiontotakephotosandretainevidence.
“IwishIhadmoretimeto inspectsteelstructureand savemorepiecesbefore thesteelwasrecycled.” 
Professor Astaneh-Asl of Berkeley,attheCommitteeonSciencehearing,March6,2002
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Destroying rubble was understandable during the first few days of the rescue. However, some portions of the rubble were smoking because of the high temperatures, and those piles of hot rubble shouldhave been left alone. The only sensible place to look for survivors wasin the cool areas. Consequently, all of the hot piles of rubble shouldhave been untouched when the investigators arrived.By the seventh day it was extremely unlikely that people were stillalive in the rubble. After one month looking for survivors wasridiculous. However, the frantic destruction of rubble continued monthafter month, regardless of the possibility of finding survivors.Furthermore, Building 7 had been evacuated many hours before it collapsed, so there was no reason to look in
pile of rubble.By April of 2002 virtually all of the rubble had been removed. It appears as if these cleanup crews were so incapable of thinking that after having received orders to search for survivors, they continued todo so even when it made no sense. They also searched areas wherenobody could possibly be found. Who was supervising this situation?Perhaps the words of Congressman Boehlert in the report of theCommittee on Science are more accurate than we want to believe:
...therearenoclearlinesofauthority.... Nooneisincharge...
Was the New York City government simply incapable of dealing with such an unusual and extreme disaster?On January 25, 2002 vice-president Cheney called SenatorDaschle on the phone and asked him to “limit the scope and theoverall review of what happened.” Cheney did not bother to explainhis intentions to the American people, but we have Daschle’s remarkto CNN reporters:
Thevicepresidentexpressedtheconcernthatareviewof  whathappenedonSeptember11wouldtakeresourcesandpersonnelawayfromtheeffortinthewaronterrorism,
Daschle was not convinced that there was a shortage of resourcesor personnel, so four days later President Bush had a private meeting with him and asked him again to limit the investigation.Was the Bush administration correct that investigating theSeptember 11th attack would hamper the war on terrorism? Considerthat the investigation of the September 11th attack is actually two,separate studies:1) Thetechnicalinvestigation. Ananalysisoftherubblebyscientiststodeterminethecauseofthecollapseswould
“...therearenoclearlinesof authority....Nooneisin charge...” “Imustsaythatthecurrent investigation—somewould arguethat‘review’isthe moreappropriateword— seemstobeshroudedin excessivesecrecy.” “...valuableevidencehas beenlostirretrievably,and blueprintswereunavailable formonths.” 
Congressman Boehlert,Chairman,CommitteeonScience,fromthehearingonMarch6,2002
“...wearestaffingthe [investigation]withpart-time engineersandscientistsonashoestringbudget.” “Thebuildingperformance assessmentcurrentlybeing conductedoftheWorldTrade Centercollapseisjustthat:an assessment,notan investigation.” “Inaddition,the[groupof investigators]studyingthe collapsehasapparentlybeen hamperedinaccessing buildingconstruction documents.” 
Professor Corbett,JohnJayCollegeofCriminalJustice,at theCommitteeonSciencehearing,March6,2002
2) Theanalysisoftheterrorists.Thiswouldbeananalysisofwheretheterroristslived,howtheyfinancedtheiroperation,wheretheylearnedtofly,andhowtheytookfourairplanesoffcoursewithouttheFAAormilitarydoinganythingaboutit.TheFBIandCIAwouldbeinvolvedinthisanalysis.SincetheFBIandCIAalsoinvestigateterrorism,Bushcouldclaimthattherewerenotenoughagentstocarryonregularbusiness
investigatetheSeptember11thattack. An FBI agent sent a memo about suspicious foreigners to both FBIheadquarters and to a New York FBI unit that was looking for Osamabin Laden. As the
New York Times
explained it:
 AnF.B.I.agentinPhoenixtold counterterrorism officialsatthebureau’sheadquarterslastJulythathehad detectedanalarmingpatternofArabmenwithpossibletiestoterrorismtakingaviation-relatedtraining,and urgedanationwidereviewofthetrend.
No action was taken by the FBI. Were Bush and Cheney trying toprotect the FBI, FAA, CIA, military, and/or the Bush administration fromaccusations of incompetence?On September 20th the
Los Angeles Times
reported that Israel hadwarned the FBI and CIA a month before the attack that terrorists wereslipping into America to conduct “a major assault.” The next day the
printed a brief correction that claimed the accusation was false.The “proof” that the original report was false was explained as:
...theCIAflatlydeniedthestory,andFBIofficialssaid theyknewofnosuchadvisory.
This situation is as silly as a court dismissing charges against aperson on the grounds that he “flatly denied” the accusations.The
also offered this statement as proof that the originalreport was false:
TheTimeshassincelearnedthatthe[accusation]wasbasedonaBritishnewspaperreport,notonindependent information.
 Apparently British newspapers cannot be trusted. Does that meanwe can trust American newspapers? If so, an American newspaperreported that a flight instructor in Minneapolis phoned the FBI tocomplain that a possible terrorist wanted to learn how to fly acommercial jet. I suppose the FBI would flatly deny that report, but perhaps the FBI and CIA are simply trying to suppress the evidencethey dislike.Perhaps US government officials wanted to stop the investigationbecause they feared investigators would conclude that there were somany warnings and clues that even a troop of Girl Scouts would havebeen able to stop the terrorists.
“Doyourealizehowserious thisis?Thismanwantstraining ona747.A747fullyloaded withfuelcouldbeusedasaweapon!” 
 AMinneapolisflightinstructorcomplainingtotheFBIaboutthesuspiciousrequestof ZacariasMoussaoui.
Correction,Sept12,2001. ASeptember11tharticlereportedthat Osama binLadenwasresponsibleforthe9/11attack.However, Osama
hassincelearnedthat theaccusationwasbasedonaBritishnewspaperreport,not reputablesources.The
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