My friend LarryG commented on my last post. I'll reproduce his comments in italics and respond:
1. Is there a copy of the letter of correction they are referring to available to read?
I don't know for sure, but I assume the letter to which NIST is responding is available online or publicly available somewhere. Okay, I think this is it. Here's a sample of what the Jones, et al. letter said that NIST's recent reply was addressing:
"Under the NIST IQS, no initial request for correction will be considered
concerning “disseminated information the correction of which would serve no useful
purpose.” (See NIST IQS, Part III(B)(3).) This exception clearly does not apply to this Request. The horrendous attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 were the worst attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and perhaps the worst such attacks in the history of the United States. Approximately 3,000 people died on 9/11, and the vast majority of those died in the World Trade Center. In fact, family members of two of the Requesters herein died in the WTC Towers. Accurate, reliable information regarding the 9/11 attacks is imperative to the future of the United States because it is an essential part of any rational planning process and policy aimed at ensuring that such an attack never happens again.
NIST was statutorily tasked with telling the American people, the 9/11 victims’
family members, independent researchers, and the U.S. government how and why the WTC Towers collapsed, which would form the basis for future government policy. If NIST, through the WTC Report, has given inaccurate, unreliable information about the destruction of the WTC Towers, the implications would stretch across the entire architectural, political and social landscape.
Initially, inaccurate information and/or incorrect analysis by NIST would lead to
improper building codes, standards and practices. These improper building standards could, in turn, lead to needless deaths if such standards are too lenient, or unnecessary expenses if the standards are too strict.
In addition, there are immense political and social ramifications that stem from
NIST’s inaccurate information and analysis. For example, if the destruction of the WTC Towers was caused solely by the actions of foreign terrorists, but the quality of the data and information disseminated by NIST fails to meet the basic requirements of the DQA, then millions of Americans will needlessly doubt their government.
Consequently, Americans’ trust in their government will unnecessarily be undermined. On the other hand, if NIST is incorrect and airplane damage and resultant fire alone cannot explain the destruction of the WTC Towers, it would mean that the assumption that foreign terrorists alone carried out the destruction would become a matter of dispute. The importance of resolving this question is undeniable given that the destruction of the buildings, and the resulting deaths of almost 3,000 American citizens influenced, and continues to influence, national decisions of the gravest magnitude.
Thus, the importance and usefulness of having accurate, reliable, objective data
regarding the destruction of the WTC Towers cannot be overstated, and, in either case, an important and highly useful purpose will be served by NIST disseminating information that complies with applicable information quality standards. (pp. 3-4)"
2. The paragraph just before the one you cite states"In the case of the WTC Towers, NIST has established that the failures initiated in the floors affected by the aircraft impact damage and ensuing fires resulted in the collapses of the towers. This conclusion is supported by large body of visual evidence collected by NIST."
LarryG makes a good point here. NIST reasserts its conclusion that the airplane impact and the resultant fires brought down the twin towers. But then they go on to say in the next paragraph that they can't fully explain the collapses.
That might be a reference to the computer models mentioned in the paragraph that LarryG pointed out, which is also quite interesting. NIST notes that Jones, et al. criticized NIST for not using computer models to analyze the collapses. NIST says that they did in fact use computer models but that they only did so to "the point where the buildings reached global instability."
They then apparently abandoned the computer modeling at that point. That is to say, they did not allow the computer models to mimic the collapse. They only allowed the computer models to analyze conditions up to the point where collapse was more or less inevitable.
Now why would they do that? Perhaps it's because they did let the computer models analyze the collapse and the computers showed that a building cannot fall at virtual free fall speed following the path of most resistance, as they would have us believe. Seeing that the computer models invalidated the official story, perhaps they thought that the computers had been misprogrammed. Or perhaps they were ordered to cover up their findings. Who knows?
What we do know is that NIST defends their abandonment of computer modeling after a certain point with a very weak argument:
"At this point, because of the magnitude of the deflections and the number of failures occurring, the computer models are not able to converge on a solution."
Say what? They expect us to believe that these computers cannot explain a building collapse? So the government has computers which can analyze mounds of data, map the human genome, and do all kinds of wonderful and complex things but when it comes to analyzing the collapse of a structure built in the 70s, these computers are clueless?
And not only would they have us believe these computers can't analyze a building collapse, they say it's because of all the complicating factors, i.e., the "deflections and the number of failures occurring." That's precisely why a computer is ideal to analyze such things--because there are so many factors to take into account.
And that's to say nothing of NIST's avoidance of the collapse of WTC 7, which was not hit by a plane at all.
3. Two paragraphs after the one you cite they talk about the theory of explosives. They basically cite that after all the interviews they could not find anything to suggest that there were explosives.
NIST dismisses the use of explosives based on their interviews and analysis. This is simply ludicrous. There is no shortage of eyewitnesses who say they heard or felt explosions in the twin towers. Even firefighters say they saw and heard explosions, which NIST acknowledges.
However, NIST does not offer any reason why they discount the possibility of the use of explosives. They simply say:
"Taken as a whole, the interviews did not support the contention that explosives played a role in the collapse of the WTC Towers."
There you go--cut and dried. NIST says the interviews don't lead one to the conclusion that explosives were used. I'd say the exact opposite is true, that taken as a whole, the interviews do support the contention that explosives played a role.
4. Even though they state that they cannot explain the total collapse in one paragraph, they state in the end that they are sticking to their original assertions. I think what they mean by "unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse" is that they could not satisfy the letter writers request for additional data and not that they did not have a valid explanation.
I guess. I think they would like us to believe they have a valid explanation.
5. This letter is hard to read (even for an engineer)and I find a few grammatical mistakes in it as well. Just makes me a little curious as to the authenticity of it. However I have no evidence to support that assertion. Just an observation on my part.
I agree that the letter was kind of dense and obtusely worded in a lot of places. I don't doubt its provenance, but then again, who the hell knows?
6. With regard to the cell phones: Although I use cell modems in my electrical designs, I don't know about their ability then or now to perform at high altitude. Has this been tested in real life?
According to David Ray Griffin, here's the deal with the cell phone calls:
"However, as I reported in the Revised and Updated Edition of my book, the FBI had in 2006 presented, as evidence in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui (sometimes called “the 20th hijacker”), a report on phone calls from the four airliners. According to this report, there were only two cell phone calls from United 93, and they were made at 9:58, shortly before the plane crashed, when it was down to 5,000 feet. When the FBI had to present evidence in a court of law, therefore, it would not claim that any high-altitude cell phone calls had occurred. (These two low-altitude calls from Flight 93 were, according to the FBI report, the only two cell phone calls made from all four flights)."
Griffin also points out that in 2006, American Airlines (the airline on which Barbara Olson was flying) stated that their 757s did not have seat-back phones in 2001. Therefore, Olson could not have used one to call her husband. And again, the FBI's evidence in the Moussaoui trial showed that although Olson did attempt a cell phone call, it did not go through.
In Ted Olson's telling of the phone calls, he apparently went back and forth on what type of phone Barbara used to call him. He finally settled on onboard, seat-back phones which we now know, by the airline's own admission, were not available on the plane Barbara was in.