12 Secrets They’re Still Not Telling You About 9/11
More than half of Americans believe the U.S. government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks. Here are some of the most haunting and disturbing questions that still remain 17 years later.
The real reason the towers collapsed so quickly
Engineers designed the Twin Towers to withstand the impact of a commercial jet airplane. Yet, both towers collapsed within two hours of being hit. This paradox spawned a number of theories regarding the towers having been rigged with explosives (demolition-style) prior to the planes hitting. However, Snopes recently discredited these theories as not scientifically sound. But that begs the question: how was it these optimally-engineered towers collapsed like houses of cards? Here are 16 more of history’s strangest unsolved mysteries.
The “molten aluminum” mystery
The primary material used in constructing airplanes is aluminum. According to the Smithsonian channel, two scientists have independently pointed out that at extremely high temperatures (over 1,000°F), aluminum melts and becomes a powerful explosive when it comes into contact with water. They theorize the burning towers formed a “furnace” of sorts, melting the aluminum, which would have then exploded on contact with water from the building’s sprinklers. This theory could explain the towers’ “demolition-style” collapse. And yet it’s gone nowhere since 2011.
The missing evidence
Setting aside the lack of interest in pursuing the molten-aluminum theory, Smithsonian points out that the official investigation report doesn’t even mention the presence of aircraft wreckage in the towers. The obvious question: Why? Did investigators fail to recognize aluminum in its molten state? Or did they, for whatever reason, ignore its presence? The questions persist. All of these conspiracy theories actually turned out to be true.
Why did the government ignore this final warning?
The day before the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted two communications, both from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia. One says, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” The other says, “The match begins tomorrow.” Unfortunately, these messages were not translated until September 12, according to CNN.
Where was the NSA on September 10, 2001?
Assuming the NSA didn’t translate these ominous messages on the day they were intercepted, there’s still the question of what the agency was doing that day. The CIA had been on high alert since August 23 that a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda was imminent. These are the twists of fate that saved 7 people’s lives on 9/11.
How early did the government know?
On July 31, 2001, the FAA issued a warning to airlines that “terror groups are known to be planning and training for hijackings.” According to CNN, this warning wasn’t the first such warning issued by the government. In fact, as far back as 1998, in response to ominous statements made by Osama bin Laden himself, the FAA had warned airlines and airports to maintain a “high degree of alertness.” How long had the government been on notice that a major terrorist attack on the United States was being planned?
Why didn’t anyone bother to warn us?
On August 6, 2001, the CIA reported to President George W. Bush that al Qaeda was planning airline hijackings, according to CNN; the information was passed on to embassies and other overseas organization. But why not the American public? There’s a chance that authorities didn’t take the threat seriously, and there’s a chance that they believed there was little citizens could have done to alter the outcome. But many people—especially families of the victims—would have preferred that the American public had a warning.
How about in the future? Will we be warned?
Just this past June, the European Union enacted legislation requiring that citizens be alerted to potential terrorist attacks. The legislation has been called “lifesaving.” U.S. agencies have been more forthcoming about potential danger—Homeland Security had a color-coded system (red being the highest threat) to keep Americans alert, reports CNN, but that has been replaced by the National Terrorism Advisory system, which simply refers to “elevated” and “imminent” alerts. Major cellular companies also have the capability of warning subscribers about threat level changes. Check out how 1 World Trade Center is safer than the Twin Towers were.
Why won’t anyone tell the FBI what happened?
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The greatest enduring conspiracy theory regarding the 9/11 attacks is why the CIA kept blocked communications that would have informed the FBI of impending terrorist attacks. “It’s horrible. We still don’t know what happened,” Newsweek quotes one of the FBI’s lead counterterrorism agents as saying. For some former national security officials, the unanswered questions about the events leading up to the attacks “dwarf” those about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Could the attacks have been prevented?
“I am sad and depressed about it,” Mark Rossini, one of two FBI agents assigned to the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, told Newsweek. It appears the CIA blocked information regarding a possible attack in both 2000 and 2001 from reaching the FBI. “It is patently evident the attacks did not need to happen and there has been no justice,” Rossini said, and many family members of 9/11 victims would agree. This woman survived 9/11—these are the questions she gets asked the most.
Was the U.S. government in cahoots with the Saudi Arabian government?
In the brand new book, The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror, authors Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy set out their theory of how a conspiracy between the U.S. government and the Saudi Arabian government is responsible not only for the attacks but also the secrecy surrounding the attacks. As Newsweek says, the authors assemble a compelling case of a government-wide cover-up of Saudi complicity in the affair, but if we’re still asking these questions 17 years later, is there any hope of ever knowing for sure? These are the 13 powerful things surviving 9/11 taught this woman.
Will it happen again?
Perhaps the most sensitive question that remains 17 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, is whether it could happen again. While measures have been taken to prevent terrorists from successfully hijacking an airplane, the greatest risk may be a growing sense of being “safe,” according to this report by ABC News. “The greatest vulnerability in the security system may be complacency—that government officials, airlines, and passengers will let their guard down.” Next, read about these simple twists of fate that saved these people’s lives on 9/11.