Noam Chomsky is in Denial About 9/11 By Mark H Gaffney

Noam Chomsky is in Denial About 9/11

By Mark H Gaffney

During a recent interview on Democracy Now, Noam Chomsky stated that he believes Osama bin Laden was probably behind the attacks of September 11, 2001.i The statement was curious because in earlier interviews Chomsky described the evidence against bin Laden as thin to nonexistent,ii which was accurate and, no doubt, explains why the US Department of Justice never indicted bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.

Nor has any new evidence against bin Laden come to light; on the contrary. A compelling body of evidence now points in a very different direction, toward the unthinkable.

Three years ago (in July 2010) I attempted to engage Professor Chomsky in a conversation about this new evidence. Chomsky, however, showed no interest in the subject. After responding in a way that can only be described as incomprehensible, Chomsky repeated what he had stated in an earlier email: that skeptics of the official story should pursue the usual pathways to advance their ideas. In other words, they should publish their work.

By 2010, however, this had already been done. Indeed, my reason for contacting Chomsky at the time was to alert him to the serious implications of the new research that I will very briefly summarize in this article.

Before I do that, however, I need to preface this discussion with the obvious. Professor Chomsky has been one of our leading intellectuals for more than half a century. Since the time he first began to participate in teach-ins at MIT protesting the Vietnam War, Chomsky has mentored successive generations of US peace activists, including this writer. Much of what I know about geopolitics, especially the Middle East, I learned from Chomsky. The man’s grasp of the region’s history and its fractious politics is near-encyclopedic. I have never once caught Chomsky in a historical error. He seems never to forget a name, a date, or a place.

Beyond this, I owe Chomsky a personal debt of gratitude. Without his assistance my first book would never have seen print. Chomsky was there for me at a crucial moment, and I have no doubt that other writers and activists can relate similar stories. I was always amazed by the way Chomsky stayed on top of his correspondence, given the heavy demands on his time. Without fail, he would get right back. This kind of accessibility and generosity has no parallel in my experience, and it explains my respect for the man and my reluctance to criticize him. Nor would I do so now if the facts in the case were not so compelling, and the need so great.

Now, on to the evidence: In two peer-reviewed papers published in 2008-2009, independent scientists reported finding residues of nanothermite, an incendiary, in dust samples from the collapsed World Trade Center. The scientists also found tiny flakes of unexploded nanothermite.iii They found, in other words, not just the smoking gun but the gun itself. Nanothermite was originally developed for the US military at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.iv

Here was powerful evidence that the horrifying World Trade Center collapses witnessed that morning by a stunned world were likely caused by cutting-edge explosives, not, as we have been told ad nauseum, by plane impacts and fires. The publication of these papers should have been front-page news at the New York Times and Washington Post; but, of course, there was not a peep.

By this time, a large body of additional physical evidence, expert testimony, and eyewitness accounts also pointed to the same conclusion. See the following note for a concise summary and sources.v

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the federal agency charged to investigate the World Trade Center collapses, admitted that it failed to look for chemical residues, even though this is standard procedure in cases of building fires,vi a telling omission. Nor has anyone, thus far, attempted to refute the two papers cited above. They stand unchallenged in the scientific literature and must be viewed as the most up-to-date thinking on the issue.

By 2010, other important information had also come to light. In 2008, after years of foot-dragging, NIST finally released its report on the other steel-frame structure that collapsed on 9/11, Building Seven (WTC-7), which was located one block from the North Tower. Building Seven did not collapse on the morning of September 11, but later that afternoon, at 5:20 P.M.

In its final report on Building Seven, NIST tacitly conceded that the 47-story high-rise, with a base the size of a football field, dropped into its footprint at free-fall speed.vii The admission of free-fall was damning because this is the sine qua non of a controlled demolition. Interestingly, in its earlier draft report NIST had attempted to obscure the free-fall by fudging the start-time of the collapse. However, at a public hearing sponsored by NIST in August 2008, David Chandler, a high school physics teacher, and Dr. Steven Jones, a former professor of physics at Brigham Young University, asked penetrating questions that exposed the obfuscation. At the hearing senior scientists from NIST were unable to defend their work, a remarkable display of incompetence (though malfeasance is probably more accurate) that forced NIST back to the drawing boards. In its final report released two months later NIST tacitly acknowledged free-fall.viii Chandler has since posted a simple but thorough analysis of the WTC-7 collapse, based on video footage, showing that free-fall is indisputable.ix

By 2009 the facts were clear. The evidence pointed to the use of explosives at the World Trade Center, a very disturbing conclusion because Islamic terrorists could not have been responsible.

Nor was this all. By this time a separate line of evidence pointed in the same direction. A statistical study by Allen Poteshman published in 2006 in the Journal of Business found that early press reports about pre-9/11 insider trading were almost certainly correct. Poteshman studied trading data from the Chicago Board Option Exchange (CBOE), and concluded that “there is evidence of unusual option market activity in the days leading up to September 11 that is consistent with investors trading on advance knowledge of the attacks.”x Two other more recent papers also support Poteshman’s work.xi These academic papers also deserved to be headline news, because they flatly contradict claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the 9/11 Commission that there was no insider trading in the days prior to 9/11.xii Once again, however, the US media took the day off.

Surely one not need be a structural engineer or a professor of statistics to understand what all of this means. The possibility that Islamic terrorists somehow obtained explosives that were developed here in the US and managed to sneak into the World Trade Center unawares and plant them beforehand along with the necessary control technology is approximately zero. The probable use of explosives and the strong likelihood of insider trading tells us that highly-placed individuals on Wall Street were complicit in the 9/11 attacks. No other conclusion is possible. Although we do not yet know the full degree of their complicity, it had to be at the highest level.

By 2010 such a conclusion should have been evident to every thinking American. Even so, at the time I was prepared to cut Chomsky some slack. Everyone, after all, is at a different place on the learning curve. Chomsky’s recent statements on Democracy Now, however, indicate that his views on 9/11 have not evolved and may even have regressed. Therefor, I believe we must now hold Chomsky (and other left-wing gatekeepers) accountable for statements about 9/11 that amount to denial. Sorry, but there is no other word for it.

Judging from his emails, Chomsky thinks 9/11 truth is a distraction “that draws energy away from activism to oppose shocking crimes of state.” Such a view is not only mistaken, it is incomprehensible. However, before I comment further, here is the relevant passage from the email that I received from Chomsky in July 2010. The reader may draw his or her own conclusions:

“I'm surprised, however, that you cannot see that if your claims [about 9/11] are correct, the [sic] absolve George Bush and point the finger at Saddam and bin Laden. History may regard it as curious that so many people have labored so hard for 9 years to establish this conclusion, believing themselves to be courageous dissidents, and having no impact on policy apart from drawing energy away from activism to oppose shocking crimes of state.”xiii

I was dumfounded when I read Chomsky’s email. How does one respond to his strange assertion that 9/11 truth absolves Bush? The evidence pointing to complicity on Wall Street does nothing of the sort. If the financial elite was involved, then, the 9/11 attacks must rank as the most audacious crime of state in US history. Far from distracting us, the latest evidence serves to empower us. What better way to oppose crimes of state than by unmasking the perpetrators?

Chomsky is one of the most rational people in the western hemisphere. Despite advancing age, he remains sharp. So, how do we explain his aversion to 9/11 truth? It is an interesting question, and I have some thoughts about it. However, in my opinion, the reason (whatever it is) is less important than the simple fact that one of our leading intellectuals has lost his way on a key issue.

9/11 is key because 9/11 was the pivotal event that set the stage for everything that has occurred since. But 9/11 is also key for another reason, one that Chomsky should understand but does not. The terrible truth about that fateful day holds the power to unite Americans of every political persuasion. This is why unmasking the big lie is so important. The untold truth about 9/11 could yet rally the 99% against the financial elite, including the much smaller group of insiders who rule this country from behind the scenes. The same individuals shape US foreign policy and are thus responsible for crimes of state. No doubt, many of the same people were also responsible for dismantling the US economy, off-shoring millions of jobs, creating the real estate bubble, the 2008 meltdown, the continuing bail-outs to the corrupt too-big-to-fails, and as we have recently learned, the blackmailing of Congressmen and government officials by means of unlimited surveillance, and so on.

One would think that the Left would have awakened to this long ago, and embraced 9/11 truth. Sadly, it never happened. Many prominent Left-wing gatekeepers continue to serve as unwitting tools of power by ridiculing skeptics of the official 9/11 story. If we survive the coming days with a measure of equanimity and are able to look back to the present with the advantage of hindsight, their blind servility will be obvious at a glance. Surely, this explains the continuing malaise of the US peace movement.

Today, there is no one to look up to. We have no leaders worthy of the name, certainly none on the Left. The same may be said of US institutions. None are worthy of our respect. We are on our own. We need to recognize this, accept it, and commit ourselves to helping one another in the difficult days that lie ahead.
Mark H. Gaffney’s latest book is Black 9/11: Money, Motive and Technology (Trineday, 2012). Check out his website at Mark can be reached for comment at



ii For example, see

iii Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, Steven E. Jones, “Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials,” Environmentalist (2009) 29:56–63. First posted on line in 2008.

Niels H. Harrit et al, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31. Posted at

iv Kevin Ryan, “The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites,” 9/, July 2, 2008, posted at

The Los Alamos National Lab has also developed thermite matches.

v The physical evidence is consistent with the use of explosives. Extremely high temperatures persisted at the World Trade Center for many weeks after 9/11. The temperatures were in excess of 4500 F, far far beyond what can be explained by burning jet fuel and office fires. For a good summary see James Gourley, The 9/11 Toronto Report (Dallas, International Center for 9/11 Studies, 2013); also see David Ray Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (Northhampton, MA, Olive Branch Press, 2010).

With regard to testimony by experts: more than 1900 architects and engineers now agree that the plane impacts and fires could not and did not cause the World Trade Center collapses on 9/11. Hear them explain why the official story cannot be right in this excellent video

In addition to many press accounts, 118 New York City firemen reported explosions at the World Trade Center. The 9/11 Commission had all of this testimony but ignored it. For an excellent discussion see the paper by Graeme MacQueen posted at

vi See question #22.

vii See the diagram on page 46.

viii Ibid.

ix In its final report, NIST nonetheless attempted to finesse the issue by incorporating free-fall within a computer-generated collapse model. NIST claimed that WTC-7 had suffered a so-called “progressive collapse.” Although a forensic examination of recovered steel columns from the WTC rubble pile would have definitively resolved the matter, NIST had none to study because during the weeks after 9/11 nearly all of the steel columns from the World Trade Center rubble pile (including Building Seven) were removed from the site, sold, and shipped abroad. This destruction of evidence was itself a crime.

In the absence of physical evidence, NIST resorted to a computer model. It also proposed a new phenomenon to explain the collapse of Building Seven, what experts at NIST called “thermal expansion.” NIST argued that the heat from the building fires in WTC-7 caused floor beams to expand and detach from one main core column (#79), setting in motion a catastrophic collapse within the structure that was not visible from without until the last instant when the whole building came down. The temperature at which all of this happened: a mere 570 degrees F.

The low temperature at which catastrophic failure supposedly occurred should have raised skeptical eyebrows, because the insulation protecting the building’s steel infrastructure remained intact throughout the structure. No plane impacted WTC-7. NIST also acknowledged that the collapse of the nearby North Tower caused only minor damage to one corner of WTC-7 and played no significant role.

NIST’s explanation for the collapse of Building Seven amounted to an extraordinary claim because no steel-frame high-rise has ever failed due to thermal expansion, not before nor since. As Carl Sagan once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” But the only evidence NIST offered was a computer-generated model that no one outside of NIST has ever seen. NIST has yet to explain how minor fires on just six floors (out of 47) triggered an unprecedented phenomenon across an entire structure. The fact that NIST refused to allow independent scientists access to its computer model, essential for verification, is the clearest indication that the NIST investigation was rigged: a scientific fraud.

x Allen M. Poteshman, “Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” Journal of Business, 2006, vol. 79, no. 4. Archived at

xi Marc Chesney, Remo Crameri and Loriano Mancini, “Detecting Informed Trading Activities in the Options Markets,” Swiss Financial Institute Research Paper No. 11-42, July 3, 2012. Posted at

Wing-Keung Wong, Howard E. Thompson and Kweehong Teh, “Was there Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?”, Multinational Finance Journal, 2011, vol. 15, no. 1/2, pp. 1–46. Posted at

xii For an excellent discussion see

xiii email from Chomsky, July 8, 2010.


edited below

Noam was my teacher at MIT

I, as a 10 year 911 truth activist, of course agree with the thrust of Gaffney's piece. It is rare and refreshing to see a critique of Noam on any matter which eschews ad hominem attacks.

I will only note where I differ.

I agree that Noam and the left have a right to associate the truth movement with resistance to activism. Gaffney's quote seems to imply Noam holds that the truth movement diminishes activism because 9/11 activism is not activism. If that what he said, I can't possibly agree. Nevertheless, I do criticize the culture of the truth movement as being populated largely by people who dislike organizing. I can't hardly blame truth sympathizers for disliking being treated so terribly by so many people. However, if we don't organize, something which is second nature to most leftists, we will lose.Various examples include, the perpetrators are too powerful, the movement is filled with police agents, anyone who ever disagrees with me is a police agent, I can tell who the police agents are, if we just would use my brilliant gimmick, it would turn the whole movement around, I don't like leafletting, I don't like calling people, emailing is always better than calling people, I don't want big brother to know i am a truther, its too late, I'll just wait until its all over and THEN remind my idiot friends and family "I told you so."

I believe the reason Noam is so wrongheaded on the 9/11 truth issue is that it's an extension of his assumption that rejecting the JFK single bullet theory necessarily means one would idolize JFK. I don't accept the Warren Commission report, but I don't idolize JFK. As a corollary, I don't generally expect anyone who COULD win the presidency deserves more than a trivial hope of being a decent ,right thinking person. Let them surprise me. In the meantime,I'll work on the issues. Noam moved to JFK's home state in his 20's has now lived about 60 years in the Bay State. The idolatry was worse right after JFK died, but the idolatry of JFK AND the Kennedy family involves the mystical leadership associated with fascism.( I am an admirer of RFK Jr, who actually served 30 days in jail for a civil disobedience over Vieques.) There are fair comparisons between 11/22/63 and 9/11/01, but one huge difference is that the victims on and after 9/11 were regular people. Even the rich( compared to me) stockbrokers in the towers were regular people compared to JFK.

I also hold there are two basic arguments against the left gatekeepers that Gaffney doesn't raise. One is that the left's REFUSAL TO EVEN DISCUSS OUR BEST PHYSICAL EVIDENCE is an example of hypocrisy or racism or both. All the interfaith groups in the nation take the position that Muslims shouldn't be blamed for the actions of a few. This is SO much weaker than Al Queda was not the real culprit. The immigrant founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition told me to my face that he was quite aware of AE911Truth and he had no time to discuss it at all. Anyone living near a big enough city should join your interfaith group and support 9/11 truth as a way of supporting the main victims of 9/11, Muslims. BTW, If you don't do it politely, you don't belong with religious leaders.

The other reason could be considered a corollary of Gaffney's position. Yes the left is doctrinaire and does not want non leftists in the truth movement to get the slightest credit. I agree monopoly capitalism is terrible, but the primary goal should be antifascism, and libertarians who make up such a large part of the truth movement, are certainly allies in the efforts against fascism.

David Slesinger on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 11:12pm.

Richard Gage presents Collected Articles to Noam Chomsky

You will be happy to know that Dr. Chomsky is coming around.
Richard Gage presented the Collected Articles On Nine Eleven to Professor Noam Chomsky PhD at MIT. The CAONE
includes 22 papers published in independent (cannot be accused of being a Truther journal like, peer reviewed scholarly journal.
Here is a photo.


Do we know if Dr. Chomsky is going to formally respond to these papers?


don't hold your breath

Chomsky has been "in denial" about the Kennedy assassinations for 40+ years, using the same tired arguments and non-arguments to avoid facts and evidence. He keeps his followers hypnotized by his justified (but ineffective and divisive) moral outrage and ignorant of how power really works in American politics.

I will not speculate on his motives but agree with James Corbett ( ) if he looks like a gatekeeper, and acts like a gatekeeper, what else can we call him?

I cannot tell you how many times I have introduced 911 or the Kennedy assassinations to an otherwide intelligenyt leftist, only to be dismissed out of hand by a quote from Chomsky. The man does real harm.

I hope I am wrong, but don't hold your breath for Chomsky to change.