The Boston and 9/11 Investigations: Similarities and Significant Differences

As I have watched the Boston Marathon tragedy unfold, my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I had similar feelings on 9/11/2001 and continue to pray for comfort for victims and due-process punishment of perpetrators in both tragedies.

Yes, there are similarities -- but there are also significant differences, particularly as we see how the investigation of the Boston crime scene unfolds. Boston: investigators seek to preserve every scrap of metal from the explosive device, each nail and steel ball bearing. They look for clues in how it was constructed, where materials were obtained, what were the goals, who ALL was involved. Very little jumping to conclusions as to WHO all was involved and WHY. Investigators and the public are determined to leave no stone unturned as criminal investigators welcome public input and seek to capture and bring to justice ALL perpetrators.

In the 9/11 crime scene, however, we find that the WTC steel was hastily gathered and shipped to Asia where the evidence it held was melted down, totally destroyed. Over 99.5% of this evidence was destroyed, contrary to the protests of scientists and engineers seeking to preserve the evidence for analysis

There was a small fraction of 9/11 steel saved, some with clear evidence of high-temperature sulfidation and a "swiss-cheese" appearance [see paper above referenced]. Yet this evidence was not pursued by the NIST investigators charged by Congress to investigate. NIST investigators admit that they did not look at ANY steel for their analysis of WTC7, for example. Nor did they look for explosive or incendiary residues, contrary to the thorough efforts in Boston.

Public input is invited and welcomed-- from anyone who might have taken relevant photos in Boston or seen anyone with a heavy backpack, anything unusual that might lead to the capture of all perpetrators. Not the same with 9/11, where those who testified of or seeing unusual activity in the WTC buildings or hearing explosions were threatened and perhaps silenced (such as Barry Jennings

Some people have lost their careers or jobs for questioning the "official story" of 9/11, that ONLY Al Qaeda was involved. The eye-witness testimony of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta was heard by the 9/11 Commission, but not included in their report -- nor did this commission even mention the total destruction of WTC7. Mineta was forced to step down as his whistleblower testimony became known. Yet with Boston, no stone is left unturned and public help and scrutiny is welcomed.

As the investigation unfolds with the Boston tragedy, let us look for parallels and differences, and for ideas as to how we might encourage the same level of scrutiny and public interest in a THOROUGH criminal investigation of 9/11, including justice for ALL perpetrators in both instances.


...they are actually treating this one as a crime, rather than an "act of war".

Jon and I have an email conversation going

about this question of "act of war" versus "act of terrorism" -- how was it called officially by the government? The distinction may affect insurance rulings.

Here is an interesting example found by Jon of such distinctions, in the case of Larry Silverstein now suing American Airlines trying to get more billions from this tragedy: "The papers were filed in Manhattan Federal Court as part of a motion seeking a judgment dismissing the “act of war” defense."

"Developer Larry Silverstein accused American Airlines Wednesday of a “shameful display of duplicity” for asserting the World Trade Center terror attack was an “act of war” that should shield it from liability.
In court papers, Silverstein said the airline and its parent company repeatedly promised not to invoke such a defense to avoid paying property damage claims arising from the 9/11 attack.
"Now, having obtained many billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded benefits from a massive federal bailout, which benefits continue to accrue, they have reversed course, asserting with breathtaking cynicism a supposed distinction — but one without a difference — between an act of war exclusion and an act of war defense,” Silverstein attorney Richard Williamson said in court papers.
The papers were filed in Manhattan Federal Court as part of a motion seeking a judgment dismissing the “act of war” defense.
“This Court can and should put an end to this charade,” Williamson said.
A spokesman for the airline declined comment.
Silverstein Properties sued American Airlines and United Airlines in 2008, contending their negligence caused the destruction of the Twin Towers.
In September, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the lawsuit could go to trial and that Silverstein could seek $2.8 billion in damages.

Read more:

I’m no lawyer….

….but it looks to me that they may be in a wee bit of a pickle. Let’s see if I understand this right.

On one hand, they claimed after the event that it was an “Act of War”, and not really a crime so it didn’t have to be investigated as a crime, bypassing procedure and destroying evidence. And this “act or war” defense was recently used by American Airlines against a suit by Larry Silverstein.

Moreover this “act of war” defense may also be considered in a separate environmental lawsuit by Cedar & Washington, when they sued the same airlines and other companies controlled by Larry Silverstein. According to the article:

“In the environmental case, property owner Cedar & Washington Associates LLC sued the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and other defendants, including American Airlines and parent AMR Corp, United Airlines and companies controlled by Silverstein”.

“Hellerstein had earlier dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that Cedar & Washington had failed to state a legally sufficient claim under CERCLA. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York last May asked the judge to determine whether the cleanup costs were subject to "an act of war" defense.”

“U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other defendants are not liable for environmental cleanup expenses claimed by the owners of a nearby property.”

Now getting back to the American Airlines defense against Mr. Silverstein:

“Parties in a separate case related to the attacks, meanwhile, are waiting for Hellerstein to decide whether the attacks were an act of war.” And: “In February, Silverstein asked Hellerstein to reject an argument from American Airlines that it is not liable because the attacks were an act of war.
Hellerstein has yet to rule on that request. In his ruling Wednesday on the environmental claims, the judge cautioned that the act-of-war defense wouldn't automatically apply in Silverstein's case against the airlines.”

So, it looks to me that what’s good for the goose is not that good for the gander.