Al Qaeda's Top Gun

by Jeremy R. Hammond
Foreign Policy Journal, April 17, 2010

An examination of the documentary record reveals a clear pattern of willful deception on the part of the 9/11 Commission with regard to alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour in an apparent effort to manipulate the facts to suit the official theory.

Hani Hanjour is the hijacker who flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001, according to the official account of terrorist attacks. “The lengthy and extensive flight training obtained by Hani Hanjour throughout his years in the United States makes it reasonable to believe that he was the pilot of Flight 77 on September 11″, concluded FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.[1] The story is that while Hanjour had difficulties learning to fly at first, he persevered, overcame his obstacles, and became an extraordinary enough pilot to be able to precisely hit his target after performing a difficult flight maneuver.

The public was originally told that attack on the Pentagon obviously required a fairly high level of sophistication in the cockpit. It was conventional wisdom that being able to maneuver a large jetliner required a certain level of training, a certain level of skill. The public was then told that Hanjour was the pilot among the 19 hijackers who had the most training and the greatest piloting skill. As the facts emerged and it became evident that Hanjour did not have the requisite level of skill, the government chose to manipulate the evidence in order to maintain its theory. The 9/11 Commission served to cement the legend of Hani Hanjour into history, and the mainstream media, for the most part, accepted and maintained that legend even when much of their own reporting revealed facts that contradicted it. In a few cases, there was acknowledgment that Hanjour was a “shitty” pilot after all, but in such cases the official account was still maintained by throwing common sense out the window and reversing the original consensus that it must have taken a skilled pilot to have performed that final, fatal maneuver.

Perhaps this revisionist retelling of the official story is the correct one. Perhaps the conventional wisdom that it would actually take a skilled pilot to competently control a large jetliner is really wrong. Perhaps it’s true that any second-rate pilot who has trouble controlling even a Cessna-172 could get into the cockpit of a Boeing 757 and do what Hani Hanjour is said to have done. Or, on the other hand, perhaps the revisionist account is just as much nonsense as the story that Hanjour “persevered” and “overcame his mediocrity”.

Whichever the case, many questions about the events of 9/11 remain to this day unanswered, despite the appointment of the 9/11 Commission ostensibly to investigate and provide answers to those questions. And whichever the case, the conclusion is inescapable that the 9/11 Commission deliberately attempted to deceive the public about the piloting capabilities of Hani Hanjour.


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