By Craig McKee
One of the most disturbing aspects of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is the strange and sometimes suspicious behavior of the media.
We have seen journalists who reversed their stories, stories that were reported on 9/11 but never after that, and huge questions that were never even asked by the media. And we have witnessed what can only be seen as intentional deception on the part of some media professionals or those connected to the media.
As the attacks were unfolding that morning, there was an apparent army of TV network executives and news staff who just happened to be near the World Trade Center or the Pentagon and were ready to report on what was going on within minutes. No fewer than six high-level staff from USA Today or its parent company Gannett were on hand to witness the Pentagon crash. They were all caught in traffic past 9:30 a.m., and one would imagine they were all late for work. And they were all in position to see the plane pass in front of their windshields and hit the building.
One of the star eyewitnesses of the Pentagon crash was Mike Walter of USA Today and its TV station WUSA channel 9 in Washington D.C. He claims to have been caught in traffic on the way to work. On CNN on the day of the attacks, he says:
“I saw this plane, a jet, an American Airlines jet, and I thought this doesn’t add up, it’s really low, and I saw it, it just went – it was like a cruise missile with wings.”
But did he see it hit the building? Here’s what he told Bryant Gumbel on CBS:
“You know, the, the, the, there were trees there that kind of obstructed it, so I kind of – I saw it go in. I’m not sure if it turned at an angle. I’ve heard some people say that’s what it did…Well, as I said, you know, there were trees obstructing my view,so I saw it as it went – and then the – then the trees, and then I saw the, the fireball and the smoke.”
Trees obstructed his view.
In a later interview, the tale gets more elaborate and now he can see everything perfectly, and apparently in slow motion. Now the trees are no longer a problem.
“I looked up and I saw it banking, and clearly you could see the AA on the side; I knew it was an American Airlines jet. And it went into a steep decline and accelerated. Boom, right into the Pentagon, the side of the Pentagon. And the wings on the jet just folded back, and it just kind of crumpled, it came together like an accordion, and just pierced the wall of the Pentagon, and there was this huge boom.”
His remarks were seen to be so unbelievable that he was forced to go on television to clarify what he had said. No more mention of cruise missiles this time. What we did see, however, was Walter glancing to the side at someone off camera and talking about how people have questioned his account of what happened.
“What happened is pretty obvious. The force of this jet hitting the Pentagon at about 500 miles per hour, when something hits a concrete structure like that, you know, this belief that the wings would go in is ridiculous.
But that’s exactly what the wings appear to have done at the World Trade Center. And those wings were going through steel girders. Why didn’t they “fold in?” Given that the hole in the Pentagon was less than 20 feet across, physics would suggest that the wings would have snapped off and been left outside the building.
He goes on: “So that’s why you say, well the hole isn’t big enough, but that’s why. The wings were not strong enough to withstand the impact, they folded back, and that’s why the jet went in, and that’s why the hole that you see isn’t as large as you might imagine in another structure.”
So this concrete was tougher to penetrate than the steel girders of the WTC? This guy’s an expert in aviation, physics, architecture, and engineering. Too bad he isn’t an expert at lying. At that he’s an amateur.
The plane was allegedly flying low enough to knock over light poles, and he says to himself, “This doesn’t add up”? How about, “Holy crap that plane is going to crash!”?
He also watched the plane “go into a steep dive and accelerate.” Within a second or two he was able to discern that the plane wasn’t in a dive, then entered into one, and then increased its speed. I guess it must have pulled out of its dive almost immediately because it hit the side of the building without touching the ground.
And how did he see the wings fold in amid the huge fireball that occurred? All of this would have happened in a fraction of a second. It’s a lie, and not a very good one.
If this were the only anomalous account of the event, you might find a way to explain it away: he was traumatized, he wanted the attention, he had been doing hallucinogenic drugs… But there were other “eyewitness” accounts that were clearly phony – or at least highly problematic. In a couple of days I’ll post an article about Theresa Renaud and the most transparent lie of all.
In the case of Mike Walter, it’s not a question of whether he lied; we know that he did. The question is why.