By Adam Taylor
Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth

Editor’s note: This is Part 10 of 10 (see Part 9), the conclusion of an extensive report by 9/11 researcher Adam Taylor that exposes the fallacies and flaws in the arguments made by the writers and editors of Popular Mechanics (PM) in the latest edition of Debunking 9/11 Myths. We encourage you to submit your own reviews of the book at and other places where it is sold. (Quotes from PM are shown with page numbers.)

Part 10:
Minimal Wreckage to Study

More than 100,000 tons of WTC building debris was removed from Ground Zero in the three weeks following 9/11, making a proper on-site investigation impossible

In the last section of their book covering WTC7, PM’s writers and editors discuss the fact that the steel from Ground Zero was quickly removed from the site and recycled. 9/11 researchers have cited this as evidence of a cover-up. However, PM’s writers attempt to explain why there was nothing unusual about this speedy cleanup of Ground Zero, and we see that, once again, their excuses are groundless.

PM starts off by quoting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) structural engineer Gene Corley:

“There has been some concern expressed by others that the work of the team has been hampered because debris was removed from the site and has subsequently been processed for recycling,” Gene Corley told the U.S. House Representatives’ Committee on Science in March 2002. “This is not the case. The team has had full access to the scrap yards and to the site and has been able to obtain numerous samples. At this point there is no indication that having access to each piece of steel from the World Trade Center would make a significant difference to understanding the performance of the structures.” (p. 86)

Although the FEMA team had some access to the steel and the site, the initial investigation was plagued with problems cited by the Science Committee of the House of Representatives, including:

The BPAT (Building Performance Assessment Team) did not control the disposition or acquisition of the steel. “The lack of authority of investigators to impound pieces of steel for investigation before they were recycled led to the loss of important pieces of evidence.”

FEMA required BPAT members to sign confidentiality agreements that “frustrated the efforts of independent researchers to understand the collapse.”

The BPAT was not granted access to “pertinent building documents.”

Funding and analysis was severely curtailed. “The BPAT team does not plan, nor does it have sufficient funding, to fully analyze the structural data it collected to determine the reasons for the collapse of the WTC buildings.”

Moreover, Corley complained to the Committee that the Port Authority refused to give his investigators copies of the Towers’ blueprints until he signed a wavier that the blueprints would not be used in a lawsuit against the agency. Corley also admitted that “the delay in the receipt of the plans did somewhat hinder the team’s ability to confirm their understanding of the buildings.”

Contrary to what many believe, the removal of the debris was very rapid, with more than 100,000 tons of it being removed by September 29, 2001. Much of the steel was removed from the site before FEMA had even started its investigation. Although PM apparently sees nothing wrong with how the debris was handled, numerous individuals demanded that the steel be preserved and were upset that the steel was recycled, including professor of fire science Glenn Corbett, fire protection engineer Craig Beyler, and Bill Manning, editor of Fire Engineering Magazine, who deemed the investigation a “half-baked farce…. the destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.” Because the steel was recycled so quickly, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hardly had any steel to examine from the three towers. Much of the steel that NIST did have was left un-catalogued and stored in Hangar 17 at JFK airport. NIST used fallacious reasoning to exclude most of this steel from its primary investigation. Rather than acknowledge the absurdity of this, PM instead notes that NIST relied extensively on computer models to investigate Building 7’s collapse. The writers also quote New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (whom they also mention has an engineering degree) as saying “Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn’t tell you anything.” (p. 87)

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