A decade after the attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the Conspiracy Files looks at why some people still question what really happened on 9/11.
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We all remember where we were the day the world changed,
but do we know what really happened?
Look closer through the smoke and horror, say conspiracy theories,
-and you'll find that not everything was as it first appeared.
'We don't know the full story.'
We know the official story is completely disproven and a fairytale.
There are a multitude of different conspiracy theories about 9/11
and the internet has given them a reach and a life as never before.
We're people who have questions.
10 years on, the questions keep coming.
If a large passenger jet crashed into the Pentagon, why was the hole in the exterior wall so small?
There's no debris. I'd expect Tiger to show up to practise his putting.
Could a controlled demolition have caused this building to collapse at the World Trade Center?
There's something wrong here.
If you have seen Building Seven, there is no way back.
Without a photograph, where's the proof that the US military killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan?
The intel we're getting now is that it was one of many Bin Laden doubles in the house.
The whole thing is an elaborate hoax.
I served at CIA for 24 years.
We're smart, we're good.
To believe that we could orchestrate a 10-year conspiracy... Forget that it would be immoral, unethical
and simply unbelievable except in the movies.
So why do so many people doubt what the American government tells them about 9/11?
As Sherlock Holmes was fond of observing,
"When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
'Hi. We have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft heading towards New York
'And we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there.
-'Is this real world or exercise?
-No, it's not an exercise or a test.
'It's not an exercise or a test. It's not an exercise or a test...'
This is all that remains of America's biggest crime scene.
The World Trade Center, consigned to a hangar in a New York suburb.
Could the secrets of 9/11 lie here?
The official account of what happened on that day is unequivocal.
After two years of planning, Osama Bin Laden's 19 young martyrs,
armed with knives and box cutters, casually walked through airport security and hijacked four planes.
Then, within the space of 77 minutes, they destroyed the iconic symbols of America's power,
taking nearly 3,000 lives with them into the flames,
67 British people among them.
Two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York.
Another ploughed into the Pentagon, HQ of the military in Washington.
'The second tower has exploded!'
The final plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania on its way to the capital,
its likely target either Congress or the White House.
WOMAN'S VOICE: 'I just wanted to let you know I love you. I'm stuck in this building'
'A plane hit the building or a bomb went off. We don't know. I just want you to know I love you.'
The official inquiry admitted that America was caught off guard and the response was chaotic,
but found no conspiracy involving the government in Washington.
-Oh, my God! The next building...!
-There's another one!
-Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
-Another plane just flew into...
But many simply don't accept the official conclusion.
'Big Brother. Mainstream media. Government cover-ups.
'You want answers? Well, so does he.
'He's Alex Jones on the GCN Radio Network.
-'And now, live from Austin Texas, Alex Jones.'
-Let's go! Yeah!
The loudest voice in the self-styled 9/11 truth movement broadcasts a three-hour show every day.
He said, "Yes, we're secret. Yes, we're authoritarian. Yes, it's good.
"And you bet we're militarising. This world is ours and we're coming for it. You'll lay down and take it!"
Ha ha! They love it! Well, I got news for you!
Some of us are still red-blooded!
He's expanding his business and he says he knows the real culprits of 9/11.
Private corporate rogue networks working in US, British and Israeli intelligence - all three groups -
were found to have fingerprints, but the main driver was rogue networks at the top of the US government.
Here's the thing. The government admits they've staged events before.
The official story doesn't add up. I'm saying that it needs to be investigated.
So what did happen on that day?
The questions start as dawn broke on Tuesday, 11th September, 2001.
American Airlines Flight 11 pushed back from the gate at 7.40am.
The first report of a possible hijack came at 8.19,
but why did the world's most powerful air force fail to intercept this or any of the four planes?
'We have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York.'
That morning, Colin Scoggins arrived at work in the Federal Aviation Administration,
or FAA's Boston centre for air traffic control.
As soon as I walked in the door, someone told me there was a hijack going on.
But this hijack was different.
There were multiple hijacks, four hijacks.
They'd turned off the transponder and it also sounded like there was some violence on the aircraft.
Now the military were looking for one plane among thousands on radar
and it was being taken off course.
What's more, a routine military training exercise was taking place at the US Air Defense Command.
So it was another 27 minutes before the interceptors were scrambled.
'We have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed for New York and we need to get...
'We need someone to scramble some F-16s to help us out.
-'Is this real world or exercise?
-No, this is not an exercise or test.'
Even as the interceptors took off,
the pilots were still unclear about where they were supposed to go.
'I need a direction, a destination...'
It's claimed this was the start of a carefully-planned conspiracy
involving four hijacked passenger planes.
It's alleged the then Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the US military not to intercept the planes.
Cheney ordered the stand down.
The aircraft were scrambled and, in some cases, had over 45 minutes to get where they were going
and were told to fly around at stalling speed.
Colin Scoggins was in constant contact with US Air Defense Command.
I never saw any lack of responses.
Everything I saw from the military that day, there was no stand down.
I was probably in communication with the military more than anybody else.
He saw plenty of confusion, but no conspiracy.
I think the biggest part was the lack of communication between the FAA and the military
and the other part was the equipment the military had. It was designed to look out over the ocean.
It wasn't designed to look inside the United States.
-A WOMAN SCREAMS
And that's also why the interceptor jets flew the wrong way.
It was assumed any air threat would come from overseas, so, following standard procedure,
the fighters took off to the east.
They didn't reach Long Island until 22 minutes after the second tower had been hit.
'Gimme the location!'
Upstate New York, home to the most successful conspiracy film ever.
9.38. Arlington, Virginia.
Hani Hanjour allegedly executes a 330-degree turn at 530 miles per hour
to crash American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The first edition of Loose Change cost just 2,000.
The latest had had a budget of a million.
Flight 77 manages to hit the only section that was reinforced to withstand a terrorist attack.
And Dylan Avery is the prodigy behind the film.
Luke. Foot soldier. One of the best people in New York for truth.
Jay Mandresh. Cook/dishwasher.
-Just kidding, man.
-No, it's true.
This is our office. No one's in yet. That's our secretary's desk.
That's really about it for this room.
And that leads us to my room.
-This is it.
-So this is where you work?
-This is where the magic happens. Yes, sir.
Loose Change has become an internet phenomenon, viewed by tens of millions of people.
To reach a global audience this big in the past, you'd have needed the backing of a Hollywood studio.
Now all you need is a modicum of technical knowledge and a bargain basement computer.
This is the laptop that started it all.
In February, 2003, after saving up for about two months or so,
I went to a Radio Shack and bought this. I had it the next morning
and started editing what would become Loose Change, the documentary.
His film sets out the central conspiracy theory that the World Trade Center Twin Towers
collapsed not because of fire, but because they were rigged with explosives.
'Do you still think that jet fuel brought down the Twin Towers?
'In almost all the videos of the collapses, violent ejections appear
'20-60 storeys below the demolition wave. Here.
Reports of loud bangs and the sudden collapse of the buildings are taken as proof of explosives.
The person who should know why the buildings came down is the original structural engineer.
Leslie Robertson's office still overlooks Ground Zero. He worked on the buildings from the 1960s.
I guess I was involved from the very first breath of the project.
It's a very romantic thought,
all these ideas, but they're not real. They're not real at all.
The official report into the collapse concluded that when the planes slammed into the towers,
they severed and damaged support columns and dislodged fireproofing.
Purdue University modelled how 10,000 gallons of jet fuel
was spewed over many floors, starting widespread fires.
Temperatures reaching up to 1,000 degrees Celsius weakened the floors and columns.
The fires don't have to melt the steel in order to bring it down.
just raise it high enough so that the strength of the steel is reduced to the point where failure takes place.
Steel melts at around 1,500 degrees Celsius,
but at 600 degrees it loses half its strength.
Eventually, the floors sagged and the perimeter columns bent,
starting the collapse and creating the sounds of explosions.
The massive weight of the floors above dropped, creating a load far beyond what they were designed for.
There was plenty of weight to bring it down.
The floors below caved in, causing those puffs of smoke.
There's air inside and as the building comes down, it creates very high pressures.
It tries to break the glass out and, sure, you're going to get...
..gas emitted from the building.
Modern conspiracy theories
are casting a long shadow.
One leading structural engineer thinks they are distracting attention from a critical debate
about the safety of the Twin Towers and he, too, has been caught up in the conspiracy theories.
It doesn't make any sense whatsoever! They are so zealous.
After all the discussion you make and you show there is no way it's correct,
they go, "How about this...?" It's a complete circular discussion, continuously.
Professor Astaneh has studied the full structural drawings of the Twin Towers.
He points to 11 areas where the design departed from tried and tested methods
approved by building codes,
such as lightweight concrete floors or gypsum walls,
and especially the use of thin bearing walls around the perimeter
instead of the conventional structure of columns and beams.
The reason it collapsed
was because of that...bearing wall system.
At the level that aeroplane hit, the thickness of the steel wall was only 6 millimetres.
It doesn't say that we should blame Mr Robertson or the designers for this tragedy.
This tragedy happened because those murderers came and killed our innocent people.
I always say that. But we have to learn lessons from these kind of tragedies
to make sure we don't make the same mistake and the lesson in this case is that you follow the code.
This building was not according to the code.
Professor Astaneh claims that many of the hundreds trapped above the impact zone could have escaped
if there had been substantial walls around the emergency staircases.
The allegations are totally refuted by the Twin Towers' structural engineer Leslie Robertson.
Those walls were stronger and more airtight than walls used in the past.
I know of no case in the World Trade Center where the structural design
did not exceed the requirements of the building code of New York.
There's a lot of misinformation out there and, not only that, these are extremely complex issues.
10 years on, memories of that day remain tragic and disturbing.
It was the people inside that then and now are still in my... in my mind, in my sleep.
But if there was a government conspiracy, what could possibly be the motive?
You're asking how could government get in a mindset to kill 3,000 Americans.
It's rogue criminal groups within it that make trillions off war, trillions off oil they're seizing.
They want to control that key Central Asian/Middle East area
that strategists say is absolutely essential to dominate the world.
It's claimed 9/11 was part of an elaborate plot by President Bush to provoke war in Iraq
and Afghanistan to secure long-term oil supplies, but also to remake America.
It was a violent and aggressive seizure of power and transformation of both foreign and domestic policy.
It was an American coup.
# We saw the towers fall... #
Look at all the things they've done - spy on their own citizens, torture civilians as enemy combatants.
Would we be where we are right now without 9/11?
The internet has provided the place to search for clues
and also the place to meet and speculate.
One of the first net-based conspiracy groups was set up by the man who lives here.
This is my favourite part of the house. I have an office here where I conduct my radio shows
and my vanity library of my own authored and edited books.
Here I have about 10% of what I was able to retrieve when I retired.
The history of science, philosophy of science, a lot of books on JFK and his assassination
which is another area of research.
Jim Fetzer set up Scholars for 9/11 Truth,
an organisation for other like-minded academics. He's a retired Professor of Philosophy
and former Marine Corps officer.
We all took an oath
to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
It is a devastating realisation to me as a former Marine Corps officer
that some of our enemies have indeed been domestic, rather than foreign.
And he thinks his former masters at the US Department of Defense in the Pentagon were involved.
The official story says five hijackers arrived at Washington's Dulles Airport.
They checked in for American Airlines Flight 77, bound for California.
Not long into the flight, the hijackers overpowered the crew
and turned the plane back towards the capital.
Minutes later, a huge explosion rocked the Pentagon
killing all 64 people in the aircraft along with 125 military and civilians on the ground.
Loose Change claims there is little evidence of a commercial passenger plane.
A Boeing 757 is 155 feet long,
44 feet high,
has a 124-foot wingspan and weighs almost 100 tonnes.
And it disappeared into this hole without leaving any substantial wreckage on the outside.
Some argue it was something much smaller, like this pilotless drone or a missile.
That also explains, they say, the difficult manoeuvre approaching the Pentagon.
The first photographs taken just minutes after the crash show a hole about 18-20 feet across
at its narrowest point.
Minutes later, the facade of the building collapsed.
The plane's fuselage was 12 feet wide.
The evidence that is very clear is that no Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.
There's no debris, no damage to the lawn.
I expect Tiger to show up and practise his putting.
The FBI has released some video of the attack on the Pentagon.
It comes from two low-quality security cameras.
Slowed down, something can be seen entering on the far right of this frame
just before the explosion, but it's not conclusive.
The second camera, analysed in detail by computer animators,
appears to show a plane and smoke in slightly more detail here,
but again it's not definitive.
There are calls for the FBI to release more video.
Critics have focused instead on pictures that don't show wreckage.
We have photographs of the hit point. You do not have a massive pile of debris,
you don't find the wings, you don't find the bodies, seats or the tail, all of which should be present.
But we don't have to rely on poor-quality video.
There are eye witnesses.
Allyn Kilsheimer is a leading structural engineer who saw the damage and later was
-one of the first to see inside the Pentagon.
-I walked around the corner
and all hell was breaking loose. Fire, smoke and water everyplace.
When I got to what I call the impact area,
it was pretty obvious that that was where the plane had entered.
Purdue University has built a computer model to show how the damage inside the Pentagon
is likely to have happened. And it matches what this structural engineer saw
when he went into the building.
It blew out a bunch of columns.
And then as it went through, the fuel exploded more and more.
There were all these explosions that went out from where the plane was.
That's why there's a big, round hole, because the explosive forces made the round hole.
This is where what was left of the plane broke out of the building,
but it was the explosive force of the jet fuel, not a bomb, that did the damage.
I walked through the building and saw dead bodies. OK?
Where were those people, the conspiracy...? They weren't there.
And he saw plenty of evidence inside of a passenger plane.
What I saw at the time was pieces of metal, green colour mainly, some aluminium colour,
a lot of which were melted.
We later found portions of uniformed people
that had, um, airline uniforms on.
Then much time later the black box was found and I saw the black box.
A simple memorial now marks the route the aircraft took
and commemorates the 184 murder victims.
A key eye witness has now come forward.
She arrived within an hour of the crash and took charge
as every piece of evidence was collected and catalogued by the FBI's Evidence Response Team.
We set up line searches and cleared the area
surrounding the outside of the Pentagon. There were definitely pieces of metal from the aeroplane,
some with the red and white lettering of American Airlines' colouring.
We actually had...
..these large, wooden crates built specifically to hold the aeroplane parts.
The FBI retains this section of the plane in its distinctive American Airlines livery.
I personally collected the remains of victims that came from the plane.
And DNA and fingerprint evidence was conducted by a lab
that absolutely confirms that they were victims from American Airlines 77.
Every year, she visits the memorial and she's concerned about the effect the conspiracy theories are having.
I would hope that people would see what actually happened.
And remember the victims from that day. They are the true people that should be remembered.
..unfair to their families and their friends to have these theories continuing on.
I mean, it basically belittles
these people's lives.
It makes them...appear that they didn't ever exist.
As Flight AA77 descended in a wide turn over the capital and lined up on its target,
there was a military C-130 plane like this one
flying above Washington.
It's suggested the C-130 was a control vehicle and part of the conspiracy.
It's very strange this debris, which was not present after the crash - you had this clear, clean lawn -
starts showing up later. You can't have enlisted men rushing out to plant the debris.
If it's trickling down from the air, however, it might seem like a natural phenomenon.
I believe it was actually, in all probability, put out from the C-130. I believe that was its role.
Whether the officer in charge was aware that that's what he was doing is another question.
This is that aircraft.
Here's the chart of the Washington, DC, area...
And this is the pilot.
We departed out of Andrews and climbed to 3,000 feet, which took us by the south side.
Lt Colonel O'Brien was on a routine flight, but as he flew over central Washington,
air traffic control reported an unidentified jet fast approaching on his left-hand side.
'Six miles south-east of the White House.
'Six miles south-east of the White House?'
It had that distinctive silver finish. In our minds it was definitely American Airlines.
And as he moved
to our 11 o'clock position, he started his turn.
By the time he got to our 12 o'clock position, right out at the front,
he was rolled up into about, I would estimate, 30-40 degrees of bank, which is considerable.
And then all of a sudden we saw this big explosion.
I keyed the mic again and said, "Washington, that aeroplane has hit the west side of the Pentagon."
Later, when Steve O'Brien was back home in Minnesota, he found himself
-at the centre of a conspiracy theory.
-Not having ever been part of a major event like this before,
you're somewhat detached, but when you're a witness to it, it's a lot more personal.
And concerning to me that people would think that I would have the ability to do something
or want to do something like this.
So it's a little bit disconcerting, but, at the same time,
it gives you another insight into how wrong a lot of these conspiracies are,
but yet they continue and take on a life of their own, so to speak.
Now a new theory has evolved about a third huge skyscraper that was destroyed on 9/11,
but this one was not hit by a plane.
World Trade Center 7 has become the focus for conspiracy theories.
The New York City Command Centre for Civil Emergencies was based here.
The Secret Service, Pentagon and the CIA all had offices in the building.
Some argue that's just too suspicious.
The official explanation is that it collapsed because of uncontrolled fires that burned for 7 hours.
But if that is the case,
this is the first time a steel-framed skyscraper has collapsed because of fire.
Now a retired Danish chemistry professor thinks he has discovered
the smoking gun that will unlock the biggest conspiracy ever perpetrated.
Three high-rises, only two airliners.
You don't have to have a PhD in physics to count to three, OK?
So what happened to Building 7,
which was roughly a little less than half the height of the Twin Towers?
It collapsed on its own, seven hours after the North Tower.
And the way it came down indicates that it was a controlled explosion.
There is no way a steel-framed high-riser
can come down due to fire.
The official investigators said the building had collapsed at near freefall for about two seconds.
It's argued only explosives could make it collapse so quickly.
These buildings were definitely brought down by demolition charges.
The collapse of Building 7 here looks similar.
Building 7 is coming down in freefall. Obviously a controlled demolition.
He worked alongside Professor Steven Jones in the USA, analysing dust found in downtown Manhattan.
They focused on a number of tiny red and grey chips.
They're red on one side and grey on the other side.
The red side is interesting because it shows all the signs
of being a thermitic material.
Thermite burns at 2,000 degrees Celsius and melts metal.
The military use it to disable artillery. It's not known to have ever been used to destroy buildings.
Professor Harrit thinks there's evidence that tons of thermite were planted in the WTC buildings
and that both incendiaries and explosives were used.
When you heat the chips up, they take off, they react.
I will not call it an explosion, but they react violently and show
all the characteristics of a thermite reaction.
-What's been the reaction of scientists to your conclusions?
It is beyond doubt the best peer paper ever in my career.
I would like to know how many times it has been downloaded, how many people have actually read it.
Nobody has challenged the conclusions.
Steel City. Pittsburgh, USA.
Home to world-leading research on iron and steel.
We asked two experts at Carnegie Mellon University to look at Prof Harrit's published theory.
If you showed me
a pile of dust, I could find almost anything in there, but not in a large quantity.
1.2 million tonnes of building materials were pulverised.
The US Geological Survey took 38 dust samples. Later, the research group RJ Lee
took about 100,000 samples and analysed them all thoroughly.
Professor Harrit and his colleagues rely on four samples.
They selected the particles they wanted to examine and then made the most dramatic verdict.
They concluded that it was a highly energetic material.
And on a kilogram basis,
it gives off less energy than burning paper.
His colleague, Professor Pistorius, thinks there may be a simpler explanation.
-They found bits of paint, I think.
It is not unusual to use as a primer
or an intermediate coat of paint
pigments of things like micaceous iron oxide, which is a flaky kind of iron oxide,
and aluminium, which is what they found.
The Danish chemist, Niels Harrit, and his colleagues have looked at one primer paint from the WTC.
They say it doesn't match their mysterious red/grey chips.
Any large structure like what the World Trade Center was would have lots of coatings on it.
The interior coatings, these red and grey layers,
they are typical for paint from structural steelwork.
This type of primer is painted all over the Manhattan Bridge to protect the steel cables.
And the temperature at which the red/grey chips start to react
is exactly what you would expect from this type of paint.
So why has Professor Harrit's theory gone unchallenged?
This is how science works.
A hypothesis is correct until proven wrong.
So nobody has bothered to take the time to do this.
It doesn't mean it's right. It just hasn't been proven wrong.
There are lots of reasons why nobody would take the time.
It's frankly, I think, irrelevant.
It...it would be fairly easy to rebut,
but everybody's got more interesting things to do, I think.
There's something wrong here. If you have seen Building 7, there's no way back.
So you can try to cheat on yourself or you can speak up and live with dignity.
For the 9/11 truth movement, the fate of the fourth hijacked plane
is clear evidence of a government cover-up. There were 44 people on United Flight 93.
According to the official account, the passengers tried to seize back control of the aircraft,
but as they fought their way into the cockpit, the hijackers crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
-'United 93. Have you got information on that yet?
-Yeah, he's down.
-Where did he land because we have confirmation...
-'He did not land.
-Oh, he's down?'
That crater they show me looks like no aircraft crash I've ever seen in my life.
We know F-16s are in the area. My government sources, high level,
have even identified the squadron that was involved
in the shoot down of Flight 93.
And then you say, "Wait. I thought there was a stand down."
Don't edit this. The point is the generals did not follow orders and ordered the shoot down Flight 93.
It's argued the Boeing started to disintegrate in mid-air
after being hit by a missile,
so only part of the plane crashed in this crater.
There have been reports of debris being found miles from this site.
Ten years on, a new memorial is being built to commemorate the people who lost their lives
when United 93 crashed.
And this is where it was reported that wreckage was found.
There was talk of parts of a wing and an engine.
If debris had been recovered here, it would provide strong evidence
to support the conspiracy theory because, it's claimed,
Indian Lake is nearly 7 miles from the crash site.
Journalists and 9/11 investigators came up with the distance by typing the two locations in search engines
and used the result in their articles -
It does seem to check out.
But the road goes the long way round. In a straight line, it's just over a mile from the crash site
and the wind was blowing in that direction on September 11th.
OK. Don't go too fast and we won't get too cold.
Local residents heard the crash and soon after watched debris come down on the lake.
Debris was floating through the air. This was on the ground.
Pieces similar to this. Nothing of any size. Just small pieces.
-And no large parts of an engine or wings?
-Not at all. We had nothing of that.
It was just scraps of paper and insulation that had blown here on the wind.
On the internet and in the media, the story that it was actually much more than this,
that it was heavy debris, circulated unchecked for years.
I'm not so sure that we'll ever be able to totally dispel
all of the opinions and rumours that have come from this.
You think it will go on being talked about and speculated over for years, decades?
I think there are people that will never change their minds on it
because there's no way to really truly prove it
because 92% or 93% of the remains of the aircraft
and the people are still in that hole.
So how could a passenger plane disappear into such a small crater?
This whole thing is stage-managed.
There's no evidence, no massive debris, no tail, no wings.
Not even luggage or bodies there.
The internet carries quotes from the local coroner that appear to support this conspiracy theory.
I said I stopped being a coroner after about 20 minutes
because it was perfectly clear what the cause and manner of death was. It was a plane crash, but a homicide,
because the terrorists hijacked the plane and killed the people! And the terrorists committed suicide.
-That was a misquote.
-Yes, it was a misquote because the point I was trying to make was
after that it more or less became a large funeral service.
Wally Miller can say whatever he wants,
but look at the crater in Shanksville. Physical evidence.
We've talked to the people who were there, to Wally Miller, the local coroner...
-Who went public four times and said he didn't see any drops of bodies.
-He said that.
-He said it seemed as if the plane let its passengers off beforehand.
-Exactly. And that was a simile.
He was talking that it looked as if that had happened, as if someone had taken a scrap truck, dug a ditch
and dumped trash in it, but he didn't mean that literally.
-He was saying it as a simile.
-The fact is if a 757 had crashed there, loaded with fuel and passengers,
we'd have a lot more than a 20-foot crater.
If there's a fringe of people out there that want to try to make something out of it that isn't,
I don't have any control over that. That's what makes our country great. You do whatever you want to do.
You sound very phlegmatic about it.
I don't know that there's a lot you can do. I'm not going to get coronary artery disease over it.
Photographs taken at the crash site tell their own story.
But in the face of this, some still question the official account.
They believe that United 93 could have landed somewhere else entirely
and the passengers abducted.
The whole business with the people is very strange.
It looks as though this was some kind of elaborate charade.
You have another story about 93 that it landed at Cleveland
and went to a distant airport and over 200 passengers were offloaded from this plane.
Even the Mayor came out and was interviewed by ABC.
It's true that a passenger jet was diverted to Cleveland, Ohio, that morning
after reports that it might have been hijacked, but it wasn't United 93.
It was a Delta Airlines flight and this woman was on it.
Delta 1989 took off from Boston, the same airport where two other jets were hijacked.
It was also bound for the West Coast on the same air corridor as United 93.
When that plane was hijacked and deviated from its flight path,
air traffic controllers mistakenly thought they were dealing with a Delta plane.
The air traffic controller Colin Scoggins was at Boston centre through all the confusion.
There was no Delta 89.
A Delta 1989 was not hijacked,
I was incorrect when I made that call, but at that time anything that looked like a hijack
we were treating as a hijack. If you missed a frequency transfer you were considered hijacked.
That happened with Delta 1989.
-'Delta 1989 is a hijack...'
-Thinking it had been hijacked,
air traffic control ordered the Delta to land immediately.
Suddenly, the captain came on and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen,
"I regret to tell you we're going to have to make an emergency landing in Cleveland."
And then the Mayor of Cleveland
was holding a press conference to say we were hijacked and they might blow up our plane.
'At this moment we have a Boeing 767 in a secure area of Hopkins International Airport.
'The initial reports were that this plane was hijacked
'and there was a bomb on it.'
It was soon realised that the Delta plane was in the clear.
Local TV rapidly corrected their earlier misleading reports.
We do now know that plane was not hijacked. It was diverted here.
But the original inaccurate news reports have continued to echo around conspiracy chat rooms
and websites ever since.
It's very clear what the facts were. I know - I was on that flight.
This is my very boarding pass. It's hard for people to accept a simple or more elaborate explanation.
There has to be something more than that. It's hard for people to believe
that something this well done, frankly, could be just the product
of a few al-Qaeda members.
I think they just find that they have to have some other explanation
and then it becomes whispered down the alley. That's what we say.
One person will say one thing, then it gets repeated and distorted and the distortion gets repeated
and it just goes on and on and on.
There's one place where conspiracy theories are eagerly embraced.
As a storyteller, I've thought a lot about conspiracies. I love them in fiction.
They're very powerful and appealing.
Creating myths is one of the oldest activities of man.
You can see them on the caves of early man.
Depictions of myths that were important to them. We need them to make sense of the world.
Frank Spotnitz became the subject of a conspiracy theory himself
because of a film he made six months before 9/11.
It tells the story of a government conspiracy to hijack a plane from Boston and fly it into the WTC
as a pretext for a war in the Middle East.
They could crash the plane into the World Trade Center.
-Only, this being Hollywood, disaster is averted at the very last moment.
-We've got manual override.
There was some theory that we had done this to prepare the ground
so people would be ready when this happened. It doesn't quite make much sense to me.
We live in the age of anxiety and this is one of the prime components - we don't know who to trust.
It's very appealing and powerful because it's like having the magic key
that fits all these pieces together and opens the door. "Oh, that's what's going on! What a relief
"to know this is what's going on." It relieves your anxiety in a strange way.
No matter how, um...disturbing the conspiracy theory may be,
it's still an answer in a world that doesn't offer many answers.
If the government tells you the world is flat and you don't agree, you're a conspiracy theorist.
Today conspiracy theory is the heresy, but they've used that so much, it doesn't work any more.
Alex Jones is tapping into a rich vein of cynicism about America's leaders.
His listeners have little trust in government because they've been misled before.
I love my country, I fear my government.
So I'm one of those guys that follows what the Founding Fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, said
and I think I'm in good company not trusting government,
especially with the long history of governments lying.
There can be no whitewash... at the White House.
I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
The danger to our country is growing.
The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.
When you can't trust your leaders, that creates anxiety and fear.
People want to know what to believe, understandably.
And if you can't trust the official leaders of your government, where do you turn?
Nearly ten years on, the US military wrote what they hoped would be the final chapter of 9/11.
An audacious helicopter mission carried US Navy Seals into the heart of Pakistan.
They'd finally tracked the man responsible.
Osama Bin Laden was shot dead and his body buried at sea,
but in the absence of photographs, critics have questioned whether he was really killed there and then.
It's utterly astonishing that we should be able to kill a man
who actually died nine years earlier than this fantasy event in Pakistan.
I guess I should have looked in my freezer because I participated in the CIA activities
to hunt for Bin Laden, so we must have had thousands of people
in a conspiracy not only to hunt for the guy when he was dead,
but to keep it secret for nine years. I did not see one secret
when I was at CIA that hasn't found the light of day. Not one.
But is there a story where the evidence stacks up against the government?
The FBI and CIA insist they had no specific warnings of the hijackings on 9/11,
but it seems they did have important intelligence about al-Qaeda before the attacks.
Two terrorists arrive in California from the Far East.
Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar were known to be active members of an al-Qaeda cell.
But it didn't arouse any suspicions when the smartly-dressed young men
presented their passports at Immigration. Their names had not been added to the watch list
for terrorist suspects. al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were allowed on their way unchallenged.
Welcome to Los Angeles International Airport. Please keep your personal belongings with you at all times.
They soon moved into a San Diego suburb and lived openly
under their real names.
They had come on a mission.
And this is where they learnt to fly.
At about the same time, a CIA cable confirmed that one of them was in the country,
but this lead wasn't passed on to the FBI.
So, at the time, the local FBI didn't know they were here.
We're just coming up here on the apartments where the two hijackers lived,
over here on my left.
Not fancy apartments by US standards.
This is where they lived. Later, they moved on to the doorstep of the Feds. Literally.
They rented rooms from an FBI informant, but he suspected nothing.
What's more, one of the terrorists was actually listed in the San Diego phone book.
I think we could have identified some of these potential hijackers before September 11th.
It's very frustrating to me personally,
It's very frustrating to everybody
that worked on it so hard here in the FBI in San Diego.
I think everybody has to ask themselves, "Was there something that could have saved 3,000 lives?"
That's in the forefront of everybody's mind. It still hurts.
Whilst the two terrorists were learning to fly, intelligence was streaming in to the FBI
that al-Qaeda could be planning an attack.
By the spring of 2001, the system was blinking red, according to intelligence chiefs.
But there was nothing specific for the FBI to go on.
When I was in the White House, there were lots of conspiracy theories. We investigated every theory.
The former Chief Counter-Terrorism Adviser questions
whether there was a conspiracy not to make 9/11 happen, but which might have allowed 9/11 to happen.
I still don't have an adequate explanation as to why the CIA,
so many people, 60 people,
knew that Mihdhar and Hazmi were in the United States and didn't tell me or the FBI. That's an open book.
At last, 19 days before 9/11, the FBI was finally told.
Had the two terrorists in San Diego been arrested,
there was a chance that the whole plot could have been prised open,
but they had long moved on and disappeared.
CIA insiders say prior to 9/11 the focus wasn't on al-Qaeda and they were under-resourced.
These aren't 60 people responsible for two guys in San Diego.
They are 60 people responsible for a global counter-terrorism campaign,
so to say that those two individuals coming into this country indicates a massive intelligence failure
to me is entirely misleading.
The evidence points to intelligence mistakes before 9/11.
The 9/11 conspiracy theories are just that - theories.
The evidence doesn't support them.
But their authors insist they will fight on against what they see
as a dangerous and ruthless government conspiracy.
If they kill me, they'll turn me into a martyr, so the system attempts to assassinate my character
and to edit and misrepresent what I've said and done
as an attempt to assassinate the ideas that I put out,
but that doesn't work because ideas are bullet-proof.
I have no way back. If you fight, you might lose.
But if you don't fight, you have lost.
There is no way that our civilisation can continue
without facing these unsolved questions of 9/11.
Conspiracy theories, by and large,
are, um, they're just that. They're theories with very little substance behind them.
It's very upsetting to the people who cling to these beliefs. You're taking away from then a comfort.
It's like attacking someone's faith and offering nothing in exchange except for uncertainty.
The 9/11 conspiracy file seems certain to remain open for a long time to come,
however distressing and painful that will be for the families of those who died that day.
'United 93, do you still hear Cleveland?
'United 93, United Niner-Three, do you hear Cleveland?
'United 93, United 93...
'United 93, United 93, do you hear Cleveland Centre?
'United 93, United Niner-Three...'
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011
Email [email protected]
A decade after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the Conspiracy Files looks at why some people still question what really happened on 9/11. Conspiracy theories continue to evolve and now question every aspect of the official account. Why, they ask, was the hole in the Pentagon so small? Why did the World Trade Centre buildings collapse as if being demolished by explosives? Why did one skyscraper fall when it was never hit by a plane? And why was the world's greatest military power so unprepared and so slow to react when warnings had been received?
The death of Osama Bin Laden might have been expected to put an end to the conspiracy theories, but the failure to release any pictures of Bin Laden's death and the hasty disposal of his body in the Arabian Sea, has instead given these theories a new burst of life.
Featuring key witnesses, CIA and FBI interviewees and leading sceptics, the programme analyses the evidence and looks at what makes conspiracy theories so persistent and so powerful.