Debunk Texas Monthly's "Debunking"

On the cover of the July issue of Texas Monthly magazine a story is billed as "September 11 Conspiracies Debunked!"
ACTION: Write to Texas Monthly and demand real coverage of the real issues.
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The editor's blog is here
The general topic blog area is here

Instead of an article about debunking you'll find an interview with Lawrence Wright who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Looming Towers. It's reported to be a great book about the history of terrorism. In the most lame excuse for debunking I have ever seen, the historian says that there is no mystery as to why the two towers fell. They fell because big jetliners hit them. It's obviously enough to knock them down, because they did fall down.

What hacks me off is that Texas Monthly put this on the cover as a debunking piece and then offers no real attempt at debunking. Take the time to send a letter to the editor or hit the blogs if you can. The interview was done by Evan Smith, who is the editor of the magazine. The magazine is usually known for good reporting, and this is the worst exception to that tradition I have ever seen.


I read the Looming Tower

It was not bad from a certain viewpoint, but I'm a bit surprised it won the Pullitzer Prize. IMHO it was not half as good as, say, Triple Cross by Peter Lance or Unsafe at any Altitude by Joe Trento. While Lance and Trento have their critics here, they are at least thinking with their heads and when they find a problem with the OCT they don't relegate to an endnote.

Wright's style is not just stenography, more "stenography plus". He puts a bit of effort into it, and he writes nicely, but when he finds a loose end, the last thing he wants to do is pull it. For example, he writes that Alec Station, the CIA's bin Laden unit, actually received the Phoenix Memo, which the CIA has denied repeatedly. Whereas he just drops this in one line on page 350, a better journalist would have followed it up. If the CIA did receive the Phoenix Memo, why did they lie about it?

Another example is that he thinks the CIA lied about being told that Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi were terrorists by the Saudi Arabian General Intelligence Directorate (actually, I think they actually worked for the GID, but that's another story). In the text about this (p. 310) he just says the Saudis told the US they were al-Qaeda, but doesn't even mention that the CIA denied being informed of this, let alone say it thinks they were lying. If they were lying, we need to know exactly why they were lying - declassifying the CIA OIG report would be a start.

If you read the interview, he is using "incompetence" as a "get out of jail free" card, which is not going to work. The absolute bare minimum of 9/11 truth is that the CIA was protecting at least two of the hijackers and that is what half the FBI agents Wright interviewed told him. If the CIA had not taken deliberate steps to protect them (at least - help? enhance?), we would not have got 9/11.

One thing he did that I liked, though, was that he named Tom Wilshire, deputy director of Alec Station during the Malaysia meeting and assistant to ITOS chief Michael Rolince at the FBI during the Moussaoui case (Wilshire appears under the pseudonym "John" in the DOJ OIG report). Wilshire is DEFINITELY one of the conspirators.