David Ray Griffin
At 5:21 in the afternoon of 9/11, almost seven hours after the Twin Towers
had come down, Building 7 of the World Trade Center also came down. The
collapse of this building was from the beginning considered a mystery. 
The same should have been true, to be sure, of the collapse of the Twin
Towers. But they had been hit by planes, which had ignited big fires in
them, and many people assumed this combination of causes to be sufficient to
explain why they came down.
But WTC 7 had not been hit by a plane, so it was apparently the first
steel-framed high-rise building in the known universe to have collapsed
because of fire alone. New York Times writer James Glanz quoted a structural
engineer as saying: "[W]ithin the structural engineering community, [WTC 7]
is considered to be much more important to understand [than the Twin
Towers]," because engineers had no answer to the question, "why did 7 come
From a purely scientific perspective, of course, there would have been an
obvious answer. Scientists, presupposing the regularity of nature, operate
on the principle that like effects generally imply like causes. Scientists
are, therefore, loathe to posit unprecedented causes for common phenomena.
By 9/11, the collapse of steel-framed high-rises had become a rather common
phenomenon, which most Americans had seen on television. And in every one of
these cases, the building had been brought down by explosives in the process
known as controlled demolition. From a scientific perspective, therefore,
the obvious assumption would have been that WTC 7 came down because
explosives had been used to remove its steel supports.
However, the public discussion of the destruction of the World Trade Center
did not occur in a scientific context, but in a highly charged political
context. America had just been attacked, it was almost universally believed,
by foreign terrorists who had flown hijacked planes into the Twin Towers,
and in response the Bush administration had launched a "war on terror." The
idea that even one of the buildings had been brought down by explosives
would have implied that the attacks had not been a surprise, so this idea
could not be entertained by many minds in private, let alone in public.
This meant that people had to believe, or at least pretend to believe, that
Building 7 had been brought down by fire, even though, as Glanz wrote:
"[E]xperts said no building like it, a modern, steel- reinforced high-rise,
had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire."  And so, this
building's collapse had to be considered a mystery - insofar as it was
considered at all.
But this was not much. Although WTC 7 was a 47-story building, which in most
places would have been the tallest building in the city, if not the state,
it was dwarfed by the 110-story Twin Towers. It was also dwarfed by them in
the ensuing media coverage. And so, Glanz wrote, the collapse of Building 7
was "a mystery that . . . would probably have captured the attention of the
city and the world," if the Twin Towers had not also come down.  As it
was, however, the mystery of Building 7's collapse was seldom discussed.
For those few people who were paying attention, the mysteriousness of this
collapse was not lessened by the first official report about it, which was
issued by FEMA in 2002. This report put forward what it called its "best
hypothesis" as to why the building collapsed, but then added that this
hypothesis had "only a low probability of occurrence." 
This FEMA report, in fact, increased the mystery, thanks to an appendix
written by three professors at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. This
appendix reported that a piece of steel from WTC 7 had melted so severely
that it had gaping holes in it, making it look like a piece of Swiss cheese.
 James Glanz, pointing out that the fires in the building could not have
been hot enough to melt steel, referred to this discovery as "the deepest
mystery uncovered in the investigation."
The task of providing the definitive explanation of the collapse of WTC 7
was given to NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Although NIST had been expected to issue its report on this building along
with its report on the Twin Towers, which came out in 2005, it did not. NIST
then continued to delay this report until August of 2008, at which time it
issued a Draft for Public Comment.
1. NIST's Denial of Evidence for Explosives
At a press briefing, Shyam Sunder, NIST's lead investigator, declared that
"the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a
mystery." Also, announcing that NIST "did not find any evidence that
explosives were used to bring the building down,"  he said: "[S]cience is
really behind what we have said."  In the remainder of this lecture, I
will show that both of those statements were false.
NIST and Scientific Fraud
With regard to the question of science: Far from being supported by good
science, NIST's report repeatedly makes its case by resorting to scientific
Before going into details, let me point out that, if NIST did engage in
fraudulent science, this would not be particularly surprising. NIST is an
agency of the US Department of Commerce. During the years it was writing its
World Trade Center reports, therefore, it was an agency of the Bush-Cheney
administration. In 2004, the Union of Concerned Scientists put out a
document charging this administration with "distortion of scientific
knowledge for partisan political ends." By the end of the Bush
administration, this document had been signed by over 15,000 scientists,
including 52 Nobel Laureates and 63 recipients of the National Medal of
Moreover, a scientist who formerly worked for NIST has reported that it has
been "fully hijacked from the scientific into the political realm," with the
result that scientists working for NIST "lost [their] scientific
independence, and became little more than ‘hired guns.'"11 Referring in
particular to NIST's work on the World Trade Center, he said everything had
to be approved by the Department of Commerce, the National Security Agency,
and the Office of Management and Budget---"an arm of the Executive Office of
the President," which "had a policy person specifically delegated to provide
oversight on [NIST's] work." 
One of the general principles of scientific work is that its conclusions
must not be dictated by nonscientific concerns - in other words, by any
concern other than that of discovering the truth. This former NIST
employee's statement gives us reason to suspect that NIST, while preparing
its report on WTC 7, would have been functioning as a political, not a
scientific, agency. The amount of fraud in this report suggests that this
was indeed the case.
According to the National Science Foundation, the major types of scientific
fraud are fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. There is no sign that
NIST is guilty of plagiarism, but it is certainly guilty of fabrication,
which can be defined as "making up results," and falsification, which means
either "changing or omitting data." 
The omission of evidence by NIST is so massive, in fact, that I treat it as
a distinct type of scientific fraud. As philosopher Alfred North Whitehead
said in his 1925 book, Science and the Modern World: "It is easy enough to
find a [self-consistent] theory . . . , provided that you are content to
disregard half your evidence." The "moral temper required for the pursuit of
truth," he added, includes "[a]n unflinching determination to take the whole
evidence into account." 
NIST, however, seemed to manifest an unflinching determination to disregard
half of the relevant evidence.
Physical Evidence of Explosives
Some of the evidence ignored by NIST is physical evidence that explosives
were used to bring down WTC 7.
Swiss-Cheese Steel: I will begin with the piece of steel from WTC 7 that had
been melted so severely that it looked like Swiss cheese. Explaining why it
called this "the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation," James
Glanz wrote: "The steel apparently melted away, but no fire in any of the
buildings was believed to be hot enough to melt steel outright." 
Glanz's statement was, in fact, quite an understatement. The full truth is
that the fires in the building could not have brought the steel anywhere
close to the temperature - about 1,482°C (2,700°F) - needed for it to melt.
The professors who reported this piece of steel in the appendix to the FEMA
report said: "A detailed study into the mechanisms [that caused] this
phenomenon is needed." Arden Bement, who was the director of NIST when
it took on the WTC project, said that NIST's report would address "all major
recommendations contained in the [FEMA] report." 
But when NIST issued its report on WTC 7, it did not mention this piece of
steel with the Swiss-cheese appearance. Indeed, NIST even claimed that not a
single piece of steel from WTC 7 had been recovered. 
This piece of steel, moreover, was only a small portion of the evidence,
ignored by NIST, that steel had melted.
Particles of Metal in the Dust: The Deutsche Bank building, which was right
next to the Twin Towers, was heavily contaminated by dust produced by their
destruction. But Deutsche Bank's insurance company refused to pay for the
clean-up, claiming that this dust had not resulted from the destruction of
the WTC. So Deutsche Bank hired the RJ Lee Group to do a study, which showed
that the dust in the Deutsche Bank was WTC dust, which had a unique
signature. Part of this signature was "Spherical iron . . . particles." 
This meant, the RJ Lee Group said, that iron had "melted during the WTC
Event, producing spherical metallic particles."  The study even showed
that, whereas iron particles constitute only 0.04 percent of normal building
dust, they constituted almost 6 percent of WTC Dust - meaning almost 150
times as much as normal. 
The RJ Lee study also found that temperatures had been reached "at which
lead would have undergone vaporization"  - meaning 1,749°C (3,180°F).
Another study was carried out by the US Geological Survey, the purpose of
which was to aid the "identification of WTC dust components." Besides also
finding iron particles, the scientists involved in this study found that
molybdenum had been melted. This finding was especially significant, because
this metal does not melt until it reaches 2,623°C (4,753°F). 
NIST, however, did not mention either of these studies, even though the
latter one was carried out by another US government agency.
NIST could not mention these studies because it was committed to the theory
that the WTC buildings were brought down by fire, while these studies
clearly showed that something other than fire was going on in those
Nanothermite Residue: What was that? A report by several scientists,
including chemist Niels Harrit of the University of Copenhagen, showed that
the WTC dust contained unreacted nanothermite, which - unlike ordinary
thermite, which is an incendiary - is a high explosive. This report by
Harrit and his colleagues, who included Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan, did not
appear until 2009,  several months after the publication of NIST's final
report in November 2008.
But NIST, as a matter of routine, should have tested the WTC dust for
residue of explosives, such as nanothermite. The Guide for Fire and
Explosion Investigations put out by the National Fire Protection Association
says that a search for evidence for explosives should be undertaken whenever
there has been "high-order damage." Leaving no doubt about the meaning of
this term, the Guide says:
High-order damage is characterized by shattering of the structure, producing
small, pulverized debris. Walls, roofs, and structural members are
splintered or shattered, with the building completely demolished.  That
description applied to the destruction of the Twin Towers and WTC 7. The
next sentence - "Debris is thrown great distances, possibly hundreds of
feet" - applied to the destruction of the Twin Towers, a fact that NIST had
to admit in order to explain how fires were started in WTC 7.  So NIST
should have looked for signs of explosives, such as nanothermite.
But when asked whether it had, NIST said No. A reporter asked Michael
Newman, a NIST spokesman, about this failure, saying: "[W]hat about that
letter where NIST said it didn't look for evidence of explosives?" Newman
replied: "Right, because there was no evidence of that." "But," asked the
reporter "how can you know there's no evidence if you don't look for it
first?" Newman replied: "If you're looking for something that isn't there,
you're wasting your time . . . and the taxpayers' money."  (You couldn't
make this stuff up.)
When Shyam Sunder, who headed up NIST's investigation of the WTC buildings,
gave his press conference in August of 2008 - at which he announced that
"the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery"
– he began by saying:
Before I tell you what we found, I'd like to tell you what we did not find.
We did not find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building
down.  By making this point first, Sunder indicated that this was NIST's
most important conclusion - just as it had been NIST's most important
conclusion about the Twin Towers. However, although Sunder claimed that this
conclusion was based on good science, a conclusion has no scientific
validity if it can be reached only by ignoring half the evidence.
Molten Metal: In addition to the ignored evidence already pointed out, NIST
also, in its investigation of the WTC, ignored reports that the rubble
contained lots of molten metal - which most people described as molten
steel. For example, firefighter Philip Ruvolo, speaking of the Twin Towers,
said: "You'd get down below and you'd see molten steel, molten steel,
running down the channel rails, like you're in a foundry, like lava." 
Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction, which was involved in the
clean-up operation, said that he saw pools of "literally molten steel." 
However, when John Gross, one of the main authors of NIST's reports, was
asked about the molten steel, he said to the questioner: I challenge your
"basic premise that there was a pool of molten steel," adding: "I know of
absolutely no . . . eyewitness who has said so."
However, in addition to Ruvolo and Tully, the eyewitnesses who said so
- Leslie Robertson, a member of the engineering firm that designed the
Twin Towers. 
- Dr. Ronald Burger of the National Center for Environmental Health. 
- Dr. Alison Geyh of The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, who
headed up a scientific team that went to the site shortly after 9/11 at
the request of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- Finally, the fact that "molten steel was also found at WTC 7" was added
by Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., which was
involved in the clean-up. 
And yet John Gross suggested that no credible witnesses had reported molten
steel. That appears to have been a gross lie.
Testimonial Evidence for Explosives
Besides ignoring physical evidence that explosives had been used, NIST also
ignored testimonial evidence.
NIST's Twin Towers Report: In its 2005 report on the Twin Towers, NIST
ignored dozens of testimonies provided by reporters, police officers, and
WTC employees, along with 118 testimonies provided by members of the Fire
Department of New York.  NIST even explicitly denied the existence of
these reports, saying that there "was no evidence (collected by . . . the
Fire Department of New York) of any blast or explosions" that would have
suggested that explosives were going off. 
However, when a group of scholars including scientists and a lawyer called
NIST on this false statement, NIST refined its meaning, saying:
NIST reviewed all of the interviews conducted by the FDNY of firefighters
(500 interviews). . . . Taken as a whole, the interviews did not support the
contention that explosives played a role in the collapse of the WTC Towers.
 So, although NIST had said in its report that there was no testimonial
evidence for explosives, it now seemed to be saying that, because only 118
out of 500 reported explosions, the testimonies, "taken as a whole," do not
support the idea that explosions were going off, so that NIST had been
justified in claiming that there was no testimonial evidence to support the
idea that explosives had been used.
Imagine an investigation of a murder on the streets of San Francisco. Of the
100 people who were at the scene at the time, 25 of them reported seeing
Pete Smith shoot the victim. But the police release Pete Smith, saying that,
taken as a whole, the testimonies did not point to his guilt. That would be
NIST-style forensic science.
Reports from People Outside WTC 7: NIST continued this approach in its WTC 7
report. There had been several credible reports of explosions. A reporter
for the New York Daily News, said: [T]here was a rumble. The building's top
row of windows popped out. Then all the windows on the thirty-ninth floor
popped out. Then the thirty-eighth floor. Pop! Pop! Pop! was all you heard
until the building sunk into a rising cloud of gray.  NYPD officer Craig
Bartmer said: I was real close to Building 7 when it fell down. . . . [A]ll
of a sudden. . . I looked up, and . . . [t]he thing started pealing in on
itself. . . . I started running . . . and the whole time you're hearing
"boom, boom, boom, boom, boom."  Reports from Hess and Jennings from
Inside WTC 7: Besides ignoring these and other reports of explosions made by
people outside Building 7, NIST distorted the testimony of two highly
credible men who were inside: Michael Hess, who was New York City's
corporation counsel, and Barry Jennings, the deputy director of the
Emergency Services Department of the New York City Housing Authority.
Immediately after the North Tower was struck that morning, both men followed
the instruction that, whenever there was an emergency, they were to meet
Major Giuliani at his Emergency Management Center on the 23rd floor of
Building 7. The North Tower was struck at 8:46, so they would have arrived
at about 9:00. They found, however, that everyone had left. Calling to find
out what they should do, Jennings was told to get out of the building
immediately. So, finding that the elevator would not work (the electricity
had evidently been knocked out at 9:03 by the airplane strike on the South
Tower), they started running down the stairs. But when they got to the 6th
floor, there was a huge explosion, which blew the landing out from under
them and blocked their path. They went back up to the 8th floor, broke a
window, and signaled for help.
Firemen came to rescue them, Jennings said, but then ran away. Coming back
after a while, the firemen again started to rescue them, but then ran away
again. They had to run away the first time, Jennings explained, because of
the collapse of the South Tower, which occurred at 9:59, and the second time
because of the North Tower collapse, which occurred at 10:28. On that basis,
Jennings told Dylan Avery in an interview in 2007, he knew that, when that
big explosion occurred, "both buildings were still standing." Finally, when
the firemen returned after the second tower collapsed, Hess and Jennings
This must have been sometime between 11:00 and 11:30, because at 11:57, Hess
gave an on-the-street interview several blocks away. Jennings also gave an
on-the-street interview. Both men reported that they had been trapped for
some time - Hess specified "about an hour and a half."
This story obviously was very threatening to NIST. It was going to claim
that, when Building 7 came down at 5:21 that afternoon, it did so solely
because of fires. There were no explosives to help things along.
But here were two city officials reporting that a big explosion had gone off
pretty early in the morning, evidently before 9:30. In his interview for
Dylan Avery, moreover, Jennings said that the big explosion that trapped
them was simply the first of many. He also said that when the firefighter
took them down to the lobby, he saw that it had been totally destroyed - it
was, he said, "total ruins, total ruins." Jennings also that, when he and
the firefighter were walking through this lobby, they were "stepping over
Jennings's testimony contradicted the official story, according to which
there were no explosions in WTC 7 and no one was killed in this building.
What would NIST do?
NIST's Treatment of the Hess-Jennings Testimony: NIST simply ignored
Jennings' report about the lobby and, with regard to the time that Hess and
Jennings got trapped, followed the line that had taken by Rudy Giuliani in a
2002 book, according to which the event that Hess and Jennings took to be an
explosion within WTC 7 was simply the impact of debris from the collapse of
the North Tower.
But that collapse did not occur until 10:28, whereas the event described by
Hess and Jennings had occurred at least an hour earlier.
Also, Jennings said that the South Tower as well as the North Tower was
still standing when the event he called an explosion occurred, and that is
surely what he told NIST when it interviewed him (as well as Hess) in the
Spring of 2004.
Another problem was that Hess had said that they had been trapped for "about
an hour and a half." If the event that trapped them did not happen until
almost 10:30, as NIST claims, then they would not have been rescued before
noon. And sure enough, in an Interim Report on WTC 7 put out by NIST in
2004, it claimed that Hess and Jennings had been rescued "[a]t 12:10 to
12:15 PM." But that is clearly false, given the fact that Hess was being
interviewed several blocks away before noon. 
NIST would, of course, deny that it had distorted Jennings' testimony. But
when we sent a Freedom of Information Act request to NIST to obtain a copy
of the Hess and Jennings interviews, NIST declined on the basis of a
provision allowing for exemption from FOIA disclosure if the information is
"not directly related to the building failure."  NIST thereby suggested
that a report of a massive explosion within the building would be irrelevant
to determining the cause of its failure. Using such an obviously phony
reason seemed to be NIST's way of saying: There's no way we're going to
release those interviews.
The BBC Helps Out: In any case, NIST's attempt to neutralize the testimony
of Barry Jennings was aided by the BBC, which interviewed Jennings and then,
obviously, changed the timeline, so that the narrator, with her reassuring
voice, could say: "At 10:28, the North Tower collapses. . . . This time,
Tower 7 takes a direct hit from the collapsing building. . . . Early
evidence of explosives were just debris from a falling skyscraper." 
Mike Rudin, who produced this BBC program, recently telephoned me to discuss
the possibility of interviewing me about my little book, Osama bin Laden:
Dead or Alive?  I told him that I had a book coming out shortly about
WTC 7 and that, after seeing it, he probably would not want to interview me.
When he asked why, I said because I pointed out that he had obviously
distorted the timeline of Jennings's account. When he denied this, I said,
OK, show me the uncut, unedited interview. If this interview had showed that
Rudin had not distorted the timeline, I would have told the world. Rudin,
however, declined to allow me to see the unedited interview. 
This BBC program had appeared in July of 2008. The first version of NIST's
final report - its Draft for Public Comment - was to be released at a press
briefing on August 21, at which time Sunder would announce that the mystery
of the collapse of WTC 7 had been solved.
The Death of Barry Jennings: Two days prior to that, Barry Jennings died –
and died very mysteriously. No one has been willing to provide any
information as to how or why this 53-year-old man had died. Dylan Avery,
trying to find out something, hired a private investigator - reputed to be
one of the best in the state of New York - to find out what she could. He
used his credit card to pay her a considerable fee. Within 24 hours,
however, Avery received a message from her, saying: Due to some of the
information I have uncovered, I have determined that this is a job for the
police. I have refunded your credit card. Please do not contact me again
about this individual. This is not the response one would expect, Avery
observed, if she had merely found that Jennings had passed away "innocently
in a hospital."  The dedication page on my book says: "To the memory of
Barry Jennings, whose truth-telling may have cost him his life."
Be that as it may, his death was very convenient for NIST, which now did not
need to fear that Jennings might hold his own press conference to say that
NIST had lied about his testimony.
The BBC Helps Out Again: The death of Jennings was also convenient for the
BBC, which could now put out a second version of its program on WTC 7, this
time including Michael Hess.
In the first version, the BBC had pretended that Jennings had been in the
building all by himself. Even though Jennings would say, "We did this, and
then We did that," the BBC spoke only of Jennings, never mentioning the fact
that Hess was with him.
But in the new version, which was aired at the end of October 2008, Hess was
the star. While admitting that, back on 9/11, he had "assumed that there had
been an explosion in the basement," he said: "I know now this was caused by
the northern half of Number 1 [the North Tower] falling on the southern half
of our building," exactly what Giuliani had said in his book. It is no
surprise that Hess supported Giuliani's account, given the fact that since
2002 Hess has been Giuliani's business partner.
In spite of the fact that Hess could in no way be considered an impartial
witness, Mike Rudin portrayed him as such. On his BBC blog, Rudin said that
some "self-styled truthers" had charged that the BBC, in presenting Barry
Jennings' testimony, had "misrepresented the chronology." But, Rudin said
triumphantly, Michael Hess, "In his first interview since 9/11 . . .
confirms our timeline."
But Hess's account could be said to "confirm" the BBC timeline only if it
were a credible account. In my book, however, I show that it is riddled with
problems, so that anyone can easily see that he was lying. 
2. NIST's Own Theory of WTC 7's Collapse
Thus far, I have spoken about the first half of my book, which deals with
NIST's negative claim, namely, that it had found no evidence that explosives
were used to bring down WTC 7. NIST could make this argument, I have pointed
out, only by committing two kinds of scientific fraud: Ignoring relevant
evidence and falsifying evidence - in this case, the testimony of Barry
The second half of my book deals with NIST's own theory as to how fire
brought the building down. To develop such a theory, NIST had to falsify and
fabricate data on a possibly unprecedented scale. And yet, after all of
that, it had to violate one of the basic principles of science: Thou shalt
not affirm miracles.
You perhaps know the cartoon about this. A physics professor has filled
several boards with mathematical equations, at the bottom of which we read:
"Then a miracle happens." In science, you cannot appeal to miracles, whether
explicitly, or only implicitly - by implying that some basic principle of
physics has been violated. And yet that is what NIST does.
Fabrication of Evidence
But before describing its miracle story, I will point out three especially
obvious examples of scientific fraud committed by NIST before it resorted to
this desperate expedient. These examples all involve fabrication.
No Girder Shear Studs: NIST's explanation as to how fire caused Building 7
to collapse starts with thermal expansion, meaning that the fire heated up
the steel, thereby causing it to expand.
A steel beam on the 13th floor, NIST claims, caused a steel girder attached
to Column 79 to break loose. Having lost its support, Column 79 failed, and
this failure started a chain reaction, in which all 82 of the building's
steel columns failed. 
Without getting into the question of whether this is even remotely
plausible, let us just focus on the question: Why did that girder fail?
It failed, NIST said, because it was not connected to the floor slab with
sheer studs. NIST wrote: In WTC 7, no studs were installed on the girders.
Floor beams . . . had shear studs, but the girders that supported the floor
beams did not have shear studs. This point was crucial to NIST's answer to a
commonly asked question: Why did fire cause WTC 7 to collapse, when fire had
never before brought down steel-framed high-rise buildings, some of which
had had much bigger and longer-lasting fires? NIST's answer was: differences
One of those crucial differences, NIST stated repeatedly, was "the absence
of [girder] shear studs that would have provided lateral restraint."
But this was a fabrication on NIST's part. How can we know this? All we need
to do is to look at NIST's Interim Report on WTC 7, which it had published
back in 2004, before it had developed its theory of girder failure.
This report stated that girders as well as the beams had been attached to
the floor by means of shear studs. 
We have here as clear a case of fabrication as one will see, with NIST
simply making up a fact in order to meet the needs of its new theory.
The Raging Fire on Floor 12 at 5:00 PM: NIST also contradicted its "interim
report" in telling a lie about the fire in the building. NIST claims that
there were very big, very hot fires covering much of the north face of the
12th floor at 5:00 PM. This claim is essential to NIST's explanation as to
why the building collapsed 21 minutes later. However, if you look back at
NIST's interim report, published before it had developed its theory, you
will find this statement:
Around 4:45 PM, a photograph showed fires on Floors 7, 8, 9, and 11 near the
middle of the north face; Floor 12 was burned out by this time.
Other photographs even show that the 12th floor fire had virtually burned
out by 4:00. And yet NIST now claims that fires were still going strong at
5:00 PM.  We have here another clear case of fabrication.
Shear Stud Failure: A third case of fabrication involves shear studs again –
this time the shear studs that connected to the steel beams to the floor
NIST claims that, due to the failure of that crucial girder discussed
earlier, the floor beams were able to expand without constraint. But each of
these beams was connected to the floor slab by 28 high- strength shear
studs. These studs should have provided plenty of restraint.
They would have, except for the fact, NIST tells us, that they all broke.
Why did they break? Because of what NIST calls "differential thermal
expansion," which is simply a technical way of saying that, in response to
the heat from the fires, the steel beams expanded more than the floor slabs
But why would that have been the case? Steel and concrete have virtually the
same "coefficient of thermal expansion," meaning that they expand virtually
the same amount in response to heat. If that were not the case, reinforced
concrete - that is, concrete reinforced with steel - would break up when the
weather got very hot or very cold. NIST itself points out that "steel and
concrete have similar coefficients of thermal expansion."
So why does NIST claim that the shear studs broke because of differential
To understand this point, you need to understand that NIST's theory is an
almost totally computer-based theory. NIST fed various variables into a
computer program, which then supposedly told it how WTC 7 would have reacted
to its fires. So, what did NIST feed into its computer that caused it to say
that the steel would have expanded so much more than the concrete slab that
all of the shear studs would have broken? The answer is given in this bland
statement: No thermal expansion or material degradation was considered for
the concrete slab, as the slab was not heated in this analysis. When I first
read this statement, I had to rub my eyes. Surely, I thought, I have
mis-read the statement, because a few pages earlier, NIST had said:
"differential thermal expansion occurred between the steel floor beams and
concrete slab when the composite floor was subjected to fire." The
"composite floor," by definition, is the steel beams made composite with the
floor slab by means of the shear studs. So NIST had clearly said, in stating
that the composite floor had been subjected to fire, that both the steel
beams and the concrete slab had been heated.
But then in the eye-rubbing passage, NIST said: When doing its computer
simulation, it told the computer that only the steel beams had been heated;
the concrete floor slab was not. 
So of course the steel beams would have expanded, while the floor slabs
stayed stationary, thereby causing the sheer studs to break, after which the
steel beams could expand like crazy and bump into Column 79, which then
causes the whole building to come down.
A comic book version of the official story of 9/11 has been published. 
This was an exercise in redundancy, because the official reports already are
the comic book version of what happened on 9/11. In any case, I come now to
Members of the 9/11 Truth Movement had almost from the first been pointing
out that WTC 7 came down at the same rate as a free-falling object, at least
NIST'S Denial of Free Fall: In NIST's Draft for Public Comment, it denied
this, saying that the time for the upper 18 floors to collapse "was
approximately 40 percent longer than the computed free fall time and was
consistent with physical principles."
Implicit in this statement is that any assertion that the building did come
down in free fall would not be consistent with physical principles - that
is, the principles of physics.
Explaining why not, Shyam Sunder said at a technical briefing: [A] free fall
time would be [the fall time of] an object that has no structural components
below it. . . . [T]he . . . time that it took . . . for those 17 floors to
disappear [was roughly 40 percent [longer than free fall]. And that is not
at all unusual, because there was structural resistance that was provided in
this particular case. And you had a sequence of structural failures that had
to take place. Everything was not instantaneous.
Chandler's Challenge: However, high-school physics teacher David Chandler
challenged Sunder's denial at this briefing, pointing that Sunder's 40
percent claim contradicts "a publicly visible, easily measurable quantity."
The following week, Chandler placed a video on the Internet showing that, by
measuring this publicly visible quantity, anyone knowing elementary physics
could see that "for about two and a half seconds. . . , the acceleration of
the building is indistinguishable from freefall."
Finally, Chandler wrote a comment to NIST, saying: "Acknowledgment of and
accounting for an extended period of free fall in the collapse of WTC 7 must
be a priority if the NIST is to be taken seriously."
NIST Admits Free Fall: Amazingly, NIST did acknowledge free fall in its
final report. It tried to disguise it, but the admission is there on page
607. Dividing the building's descent into three stages, it describes the
second phase as "a freefall descent over approximately eight stories at
gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s[econds]. "Gravitational
acceleration" is a synonym for free fall acceleration.
So, after presenting 606 pages of descriptions, testimonies, photographs,
graphs, analyses, explanations, and mathematical formulae, NIST on page 607
says, in effect: "Then a miracle happens."
Why this would be a miracle was explained by Chandler, who said: "Free fall
can only be achieved if there is zero resistance to the motion."
The implication of Chandler's remark is that, by the principles of physics,
the upper portion of Building 7 could have come down in free fall only if
something had removed all the steel and concrete in the lower part of the
building, which would have otherwise provided resistance, and only
explosives of some sort could have removed them.
If they had not been removed and the upper floors had come down in free fall
anyway, even for only a second or two, a miracle would have happened.
That was what Sunder himself had explained the previous August, saying that
a free-falling object would be one "that has no structural components below
it" to offer resistance. Having stated in August that free fall could not
have happened, NIST also stated that it did not happen, saying: "WTC 7 did
not enter free fall."
But then in November, while still defending the same theory, which rules out
explosives and thereby rules out free fall, NIST admitted that, as an
empirical fact, free fall happened. For a period of 2 and a fourth seconds,
NIST admitted, the descent of WTC 7 was characterized by "gravitational
acceleration (free fall)."
Knowing that it had thereby affirmed a miracle, meaning a violation of a law
of physics, NIST no longer claimed that its analysis was consistent with the
physical principles. In its Draft put out in August, NIST had repeatedly
said that its analysis of the collapse was "consistent with physical
principles." One encountered this phrase time and time again. In its final
report, however, this phrase is no more to be found.
NIST thereby admitted, for those with eyes to see, that its report on WTC 7,
by admitting free fall while continuing to deny that explosives were used,
is not consistent with the principles of physics. 
And yet the mainstream press will not report this admission. So the press
continues to support the notion that anyone who questions the official
reports on 9/11 is unfit for public service. 
The 9/11 Truth Movement has long considered the collapse of Building 7 to be
the Achilles' heel of the official story about 9/11 - the part of this story
that, by being most vulnerable, could be used to bring down the whole body
My latest book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the
Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False, shows that the
official account of this building is indeed extremely vulnerable to critique
– so vulnerable that, to see the falsity of this account, you need only to
read NIST's attempt to defend it, noting the obvious lies in NIST's report
and its violations of basic principles of physics.
I hope that my book will indeed help bring down that body of lies that some
of us call the Bush-Cheney conspiracy theory, according to which al-Qaeda
hijackers, by flying planes into two buildings of the World Trade Center,
brought down three of them - an obviously false conspiracy theory that is
still being used, among other things, to kill women, children, and other
innocent people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
1. This is a slightly revised version of a lecture presented at the 9/11
Film Festival at Grand Lake Theater, Oakland, California, September 10,
2009. It is based on David Ray Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World
Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and
False (Northampton, Mass., Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2009).
2. James Glanz, "Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade
Center," New York Times, November 29, 2001
5. See FEMA, World Trade Center Building Performance Study
(http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/fema403_ch5.pdf ), Ch. 5, Sect. 6.2,
"Probable Collapse Sequence."
6. Jonathan Barnett, Ronald R. Biederman, and Richard D. Sisson, Jr.,
"Limited Metallurgical Examination," FEMA, World Trade Center Building
Performance Study, May 2002, Appendix C
7. James Glanz and Eric Lipton, "A Search for Clues in Towers' Collapse,"
New York Times, February 2, 2002
8. Shyam Sunder, "Opening Statement," NIST Press Briefing, August 21, 2008
9. Quoted in "Report: Fire, Not Bombs, Leveled WTC 7 Building," USA Today,
August 21, 2008 (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-08-21-wtc-
10. Union of Concerned Scientists, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in
11. "NIST Whistleblower," October 1, 2007
13. "What is Research Misconduct?" National Science Foundation, Office of
Inspector General, New Research Misconduct Policies
(http://www.nsf.gov/oig/session.pdf). Although this document is undated,
internal evidence suggests that it was written in 2001.
14. Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (1925; New York:
Free Press, 1967), 187.
15. Glanz and Lipton, "A Search for Clues in Towers' Collapse."
16. The melting point of iron is 1,538°C (2,800°F). Steel, as an alloy,
comes in different grades, with a range of melting points, depending on the
percent of carbon (which lowers the melting point), from 1,371°C (2,500°F)
to 1,482°C (2,700° F); see "Melting Points of Metals"
17. Barnett, Biederman, and Sisson, "Limited Metallurgical Examination,"
18. Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Testimony before the House Science Committee
Hearing on "The Investigation of the World Trade Center Collapse," May 1,
2002 (http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/wtc/official/nist/ bement.h tm). In
the quoted statement, the name "FEMA" replaces "BPAT," which is the
abbreviation for "Building Performance Assessment Team," the name of the
ASCE team that prepared this report for FEMA.
19. "Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation," updated
December 18, 2008 (http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/
20. RJ Lee Group, "WTC Dust Signature," Expert Report, May 2004
WTCDustSignature_ExpertReport.051304.1646.mp.pdf ), 11.
21. RJ Lee Group, "WTC Dust Signature Study: Composition and Morphology,"
December 2003 (http://www.nyenvirolaw.org/WTC/130%20Liberty%20Street/
Composition%20and%20Morphology.Final.p df), 17. On the differences between
the 2003 and 2004 studies, see my discussion in The Mysterious Collapse of
World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is
Unscientific and False (Northampton, Mass., Olive Branch (Interlink Books],
22. RJ Lee Group, "WTC Dust Signature Study" (2003), 24.
23. Ibid., 21.
24. WebElements: The Periodic Table on the Web
25. WebElements: The Periodic Table on the Web
(http://www.webelements.com/molybdenum/physics.html ). Although the
scientists involved with this USGS study discovered the molybdenum, they did
not mention it in their report. Knowledge of their discovery was obtained
only by means of a FOIA request. See The Mysterious Collapse, 44-45.
26. Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank
M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, and Bradley R.
Larsen, "Active Thermitic Material Observed in Dust from the 9/11 World
Trade Center Catastrophe," The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009/2: 7-31
27. National Fire Protection Association, 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion
Investigations, 1998 Edition (http://www.interfire.org/res_file/92112m.asp),
28. See The Mysterious Collapse, 142-44.
29. Jennifer Abel, "Theories of 9/11," Hartford Advocate, January 29, 2008
30. Sunder, "Opening Statement."
31. Ruvolo is quoted in the DVD "Collateral Damages"
(http://www.allhandsfire.com/page/AHF/PROD/ISIS- COLL). For just this
segment plus discussion, see Steve Watson, "Firefighter Describes ‘Molten
Metal' at Ground Zero, Like a ‘Foundry,'" Inforwars.net, November 17, 2006
firefighter_describes_molten_metal_ground_zero_like_fou ndry.htm ).
32. Quoted in Christopher Bollyn, "Professor Says ‘Cutter Charges' Brought
Down WTC Buildings," American Free Press.net, May 1 & 8, 2006
33. "NIST Engineer, John Gross, Denies the Existance [sic] of Molten Steel"
34. James Williams, "WTC a Structural Success," SEAU News: The Newsletter of
the Structural Engineers Association of Utah, October 2001
35. Quoted in Francesca Lyman, "Messages in the Dust: What Are the Lessons
of the Environmental Health Response to the Terrorist Attacks of September
11?" National Environmental Health Association, September 2003
36. "Mobilizing Public Health: Turning Terror's Tide with Science," Magazine
of Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall 2001
37. Quoted in Bollyn, "Professor Says ‘Cutter Charges' Brought Down WTC
38. For the FDNY testimonies, see Graeme MacQueen, "118 Witnesses: The
Firefighters' Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers," Journal of 9/11
Studies, Vol. 2/August 2006 (http://www.journalof911studies.com/articles/
Article_5_118Witnesses_WorldTradeCenter.pdf ): 49-123. For a brief
discussion of these and other testimonies, see The Mysterious Collapse,
39. NIST, "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions," 2006
(http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006 .htm), Q. 2. For
discussion, see The Mysterious Collapse, 77.
40. NIST, "Letter of Response to Request," September 27, 2007, published in
Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 17/November 2007
41. This statement (by Peter Demarco) is quoted in Chris Bull and Sam Erman,
eds., At Ground Zero: Young Reporters Who Were There Tell Their Stories (New
York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002), 97.
42. Bartmer's statement is quoted in Paul Joseph Watson, "NYPD Officer Heard
Building 7 Bombs," Prison Planet, February 10, 2007
43. For documentation of these points about the testimonies of Hess and
Jennings, see The Mysterious Collapse, 84-92.
44. For discussion and documentation of NIST's treatment of the testimonies
of Hess and Jennings, see The Mysterious Collapse, 92-94.
45. Letter of August 12, 2009, from Catherine S. Fletcher, Freedom of
Information Act Officer, NIST, to a FOIA request of August 8, 2009, from Ms.
Susan Peabody, for "[t]he complete texts of NIST's 2004 interviews of
Michael Hess and Barry Jennings, which are cited in NIST NCSTAR 1-8... ,
109, n.380, as ‘WTC 7 Interviews 2041604 and 1041704.'"
46. For discussion and documentation of the BBC's treatment of Hess and
Jennings in the first version of its program, see The Mysterious Collapse,
47. David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (Northampton: Olive
Branch [Interlink Books], 2009).
48. Telephone conversation, September 1, 2001.
49. See The Mysterious Collapse, 98-99.
50. For documentation and discussion of the second version of the BBC's
show, including the problems in Hess's testimony, see The Mysterious
51. See The Mysterious Collapse, 150-55.
52. For documentation and discussion of NIST's claim about the lack of
girder shear studs, see The Mysterious Collapse, 212-15.
53. See The Mysterious Collapse, 187-88.
54. For discussion and documentation of this point about failed shear studs,
see The Mysterious Collapse, 217-21. As I point out in the book the
contradictions between NIST's final report and its 2004 interim report,
involving the 4:45 fire and both claims about shear studs, were discovered
by Chris Sarns.
55. Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (New
York: Hill and Wang, 2006).
56. For documentation and discussion of this point about free fall, see The
Mysterious Collapse, 231-41.
57. I am referring to the fact that Van Jones, who had been an Obama
administration advisor on "green jobs," felt compelled to resign due to the
uproar evoked by the revelation that he had signed a petition questioning
the official account of 9/11. The view that this act made him unworthy was
perhaps articulated most clearly by Washington Post columnist Charles
Krauthammer. After dismissing as irrelevant the other reasons that had been
given for demanding Jones's resignation, Krauthammer wrote: "He's gone for
one reason and one reason only. You can't sign a petition demanding ...
investigations of the charge that the Bush administration deliberately
allowed Sept. 11, 2001 - i.e., collaborated in the worst massacre ever
perpetrated on American soil - and be permitted in polite society, let alone
have a high-level job in the White House. Unlike the other stuff ... , this
is no trivial matter. It's beyond radicalism, beyond partisanship. It takes
us into the realm of political psychosis, a malignant paranoia that, unlike
the Marxist posturing, is not amusing. It's dangerous....You can no more
have a truther in the White House than you can have a Holocaust denier - a
person who creates a hallucinatory alternative reality in the service of a
fathomless malice" (Charles Krauthammer , "The Van Jones Matter," Washington
Post, September 11, 2009
Enver Masud, "What Really Happened to 7
World Trade Center," The Wisdom Fund, April 17, 2006
David Ray Griffin, "The
Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Official Final Report
About 9/11 Is Unscientific and False," Olive Branch Press (September