Debunking The Real 9/11 Myths: Part 9: Larry Silverstein and Barry Jennings
Editor’s note: This is Part 9 of an extensive report by 9/11 researcher Adam Taylor that exposes the fallacies and flaws in the arguments made by the 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 Amazon.com and other places where it is sold.
* Larry Silverstein’s “Pull It” Quote
* Analysis of Larry Silverstein’s statements about WTC7 reveals that they do not match the sequence of events that occurred on 9/11
PM’s next section deals with another controversial issue in the debate regarding WTC7 – the infamous quote from WTC7 owner Larry Silverstein regarding the building’s destruction. For reference, here is Silverstein’s full quote from his interview with PBS:
“I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.” And they made that decision to pull, and we watched the building collapse.”1
PM’s book says that “pull it” is not a term generally used in the demolition industry, meaning that it is unlikely that Silverstein was referring to demolishing Building 7. It also notes that Silverstein’s spokesperson later explained he was discussing pulling the firefighters from the building, when he spoke of “the decision to pull.” Although I cannot say with certainty what the meaning of Silverstein’s remark was, there are a number of undeniable facts that should be further investigated.
Silverstein claims he spoke with the NYC “fire department commander” on 9/11, which was Chief Daniel Nigro. However, Daniel Nigro has confirmed that he did not speak to Silverstein on 9/11:
1. “I am well aware of Mr. Silverstein’s statement, but to the best of my recollection, I did not speak to him on that day, and I do not recall anyone telling me that they did either. That doesn’t mean he could not have spoken to someone from FDNY; it just means that I am not aware of it.”2
2. To date, not a single member of the FDNY has corroborated Silverstein’s story.
When members of the group We Are Change confronted Silverstein about his comments, he commented that he received the call from the FDNY at around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m.3 However, according to the NIST report of WTC7, the decision to pull the firefighters away from the area surrounding Building 7 occurred at 2:30 p.m.4 This clearly contradicts Silverstein’s account of events.
3. According to mainstream journalist and 9/11 eyewitness Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, Silverstein discussed demolishing Building 7 on 9/11 with his insurance carrier. This report was sourced not by FDNY officials but by NYPD officers and ConEd employees. Bizarrely, Shapiro seems to think that his claim exonerates Silverstein and that it somehow removes the mystery about how the building came down symmetrically and in freefall without explosives.5
The fact of the matter is that we may never know what part Silverstein may have played in WTC7’s collapse until a real investigation is launched. As noted by the website RememberBuilding7.org, “As part of a new investigation, Mr. Silverstein should be questioned under oath about the conversation he had with the fire department commander, who should also be called to testify.”6 Shapiro, the witnesses he spoke with, and Larry Silverstein’s insurance carriers should also be questioned under oath.
While the cause of 9/11 survivor Barry Jennings’ death in 2008 has not been verified, his testimony about explosions in WTC7 lives on, despite the criticism of Popular Mechanics
While PM’s next section regarding 9/11 survivor Barry Jennings may be true in some areas, it is completely false in others.
Jennings, the former Deputy Director of the Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority, died in August 2008, although no official cause of death was provided. PM refers to various internet postings made by someone claiming to be Barry Jennings’ son, who states that he was with his father when he died of leukemia. However, the identity of the individual who made these postings has not been verified for authenticity.
This section of PM’s book is clearly meant to play on the emotions of the reader, in order to make it seem that members of the 9/11 Truth movement have been insulting and disrespectful to the memory of Jennings. But beyond the obvious appeal to emotion PM uses in this section, it also claims that Barry Jennings’ death was not the result of foul play.
However, it is completely obvious that PM cherry-picked this issue in regards to Jennings and thereby avoided more the important issues.
The most important issue raised by members of the 9/11 Truth movement in regards to Barry Jennings is that he was one of the last people rescued from inside WTC7 on 9/11, and that while in the building Jennings claimed to have heard and experienced explosions. PM devotes two paragraphs to this issue.
In 2007, Jennings, the father of four, gave an interview to the producers of Loose Change, alleging that he heard “explosions” in Building 7 before it collapsed. “I’m just confused about why World Trade Center 7 went down in the first place,” he says on camera. “I know what I heard. I heard explosions.” In that instant, Jennings became conspiracy theorists’ sole eyewitness for a Building 7 controlled demolition scenario… NIST’s analysis of the emergency response at the World Trade Center alludes to Jennings’s story, and provides a timeline suggesting the “explosions” he heard were actually the collapse of WTC1 roughly 300 feet away, along with the subsequent debris damage to Building 7. Jennings backed off his claims during a 2008 interview with the BBC, saying he “didn’t like the way (he) was portrayed” in the film. He added, “I didn’t appreciate that, so I told them to pull my interview.” (pg. 81)
PM claims Jennings was the sole eyewitness to report explosions at WTC 7, ignoring the testimony of Air Force medic Kevin McPadden (above) and others
PM refers to Barry Jennings as the sole witness to explosions in connection with the destruction of Building 7, when in fact that is completely untrue. There are several other individuals who claimed to have heard explosions right before and during the time Building 7 collapsed, including first responders Kevin McPadden7 and Craig Bartmer8. Furthermore, Michael Hess9, the former Corporation Counsel for New York City was trapped with Barry Jennings in Building 7, and he also claimed to have heard explosions inside the building. Hess has since retracted this claim. In any case, several people claimed to have heard explosions when WTC7 collapsed, and PM’s characterization of Barry as the sole eyewitness is flatly untrue.
NIST’s analysis… provides a timeline suggesting the “explosions” he heard were actually the collapse of WTC1
The NIST analysis which PM discusses states that Barry Jennings and Michael Hess were rescued at around 12:00 to 12:15 p.m. However, as David Ray Griffin has demonstrated, the time Hess and Jennings were likely rescued was well before noon10, meaning that NIST’s timeline is inaccurate and that the explosions that Jennings and Hess said they experienced could not have been the result of debris from the collapse of the North Tower. Why did PM not also thoroughly examine NIST’s timeline of events and attempt to determine whether the PM timeline is consistent with it?
Jennings backed off his claims during a 2008 interview with the BBC
This claim is by far PM’s most dishonest one. Barry Jennings retracted only one aspect of his testimony to the Loose Change producers, and that was his claim that he stepped over dead bodies as he was rescued from the building. However, he never retracted his statement about hearing the explosions in WTC 7. But PM dishonestly portrays Jennings as if he retracted his entire testimony.11
1Quoted from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq-0JIR38V0
2Quoted from: http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=3440364&postcount=1
4See: NIST NCSTAR 1-9, pg. 303
6Quoted from: http://rememberbuilding7.org/silverstein-statement/
11For Jennings’ testimony to the Loose Change producers, see: http://blip.tv/i-am-dylan-avery/barry-jennings-uncut-1071126 For Jennings’ testimony to the BBC regarding his so-called “retraction,” see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKrthDJ1awM