NIST Replies to WTC7 Stiffeners Inquiry

I am pleased to offer the following email from Public Affairs Officer Michael Newman, dated 25 OCT 2013. The inquiry actually began in March 2012 immediately following our discovery of the stiffeners on girder A2001. Despite what the answer says, I made my inquiry on 26 JUL 2013 and followed up on 24 SEP. No reply was received so I sent a final letter on 19 OCT.

Background on this inquiry can be found here:


Subject: RE: WTC7 Report Discrepancies
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:55:28 +0000

Dear Mr. Cole,

Following your e-mail of September 24 (see below), a set of responses to your questions were prepared. Unfortunately, the partial shutdown of the federal government delayed our getting these responses to you. With our apologies for tardiness, here are those responses:

A) In NCSTAR 1-9, which design drawing was used to create:

Figure 8-21?.................1091, 9114
Figure 8-23?.................1091, 3004, 9114
Figure 8-26?.................1091, 3004, 9114
Figure 8-27?.................E12-13
Figure 11-16?...............E12-13, E120
Figure 11-19?...............None
Figure 12-24?..............1091, 9114
Figure 12-25?..............1091, 9114, E12-13

B) Given that Frankel drawing #9114 shows 3/4" web/flange stiffeners installed on the girder at the 13th floor column 79 connection, why weren't the stiffeners reported in NCSTAR 1-9 and shown in the figures listed above? Was Frankel Drawing #9114 used? If not, why not?

The web stiffeners shown at the end of the girder in Frankel drawing #9114 prevent web crippling. The structural analyses of WTC 7 did not show any web crippling failures. Therefore, the web crippling plates did not need to be included in the models/analyses.

Again, we apologize for the length of time it took to get this information back to you.

Thank you for your interest in the NIST World Trade Center investigation.


Michael Newman

NIST Public Affairs Office

Good Work, Kawika

I'm confused. Here's a search result for "web crippling":

From the drawing it is clear that these stiffener plates would clearly resist this "web crippling" from occurring at this location. But how in God's name would these same stiffeners NOT ALSO prevent girder walk-off? A lie of omission?

Crippling Analysis

How did they determine there was no web crippling? By analysis?

If you did an analysis and purposely left off the plates, then you would surely see flange failure, not web crippling.

This is very strange logic.


Just feels like double-talk.

Well, njes, njes, but...

A more technically correct term is "evasion", but engineers may have their own term that better fits the bill, or perhaps they prefer the colloquial term commonly represented by the letters "bs"?

At minimum it is a good thing to have the admission on record that the plates where omitted, and also having gotten a glimpse at the kind of tricks NIST will try in court.

How much of a bother would it be to do our own computer model of the supposed failure zone - not the whole building - with all the omissions included and all the distortions corrected? Would this not be the kind of evidence that stops the show?

Technically, NIST's statement is true, but it's a red herring

Clearly the only reason to use the stiffeners was to resist web crippling, which is what happens when a load is too concentrated.

There's a good explanation of the phenomenon here:

NIST is using web crippling as a red herring to disguise the fact that those same stiffeners would have resisted the curling of the lower flange as the girder reached the outer limit of its walk-off.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong:

1) I believe that NIST claims that the thermal expansion of the beams was sufficient to push the girder off even if there was a stiffener plate.

2) I believe Mr. Szamboti and Mr. Sarns have done calcs to show that the actual thermal expansion of the beam was not sufficient to push it that far.

3) I believe Mr. Brookman asked NIST for their thermal expansion calcs and was refused on public safety grounds.

A glimpse of the kinds of tricks yes...

Oh yes, NIST's response was delayed (for a number of months) and they apologize for it, how nice & decent.

So, they respond by writing a mere three short sentences to wrap it all up; the stiffeners were not included because their function is to prevent web crippling failures, which the structural analysis of WTC7 did not show. Satisfied now?

I also liked the "Thank you for your interest in the NIST World Trade Center investigation.".

Can I ask, what kind of response did anyone expect from NIST regarding this crucial issue? Again, they obviously believe they can get away with this kind of response. For me, it's the audacity, the nerve to think they can get away with answers like this, that worries and frustrates me (and quite frankly infuriates me if I'm honest).

I wonder now, what's next? Is mr. Cole going to write them again and ask if the stiffeners, which were omitted, maybe, just maybe, would have prevented the girder walking off its seat? Or ask them if they can verify that, had the stiffeners been included, the outcome would still have been the same (which is what they claim if I read their response correctly)? And how long will we have to wait for a response on that?

Open Opportunity

There is an open opportunity for anyone wishing to contact NIST and gather a few more answers. There is no reason it has to be just one or two individuals.

When it gets to be a blizzard of inquiries, they may take steps to run the analyses again and report back what was learned once the critical structural elements are included.

The interesting thing is the draft report in Aug 2008 underwent a limited, informal peer review. Here is a link to the comments received.

Pay particular attention to PDF page 9.

If NIST did not address the many concerns of this organization, then you can imagine what kind of evidence you will have to present to get their attention. The stiffeners and beam stubs fit that evidence set.


Yes, NIST have no excuse for not taking these guys seriously. They seem to have been right onto the fact that there should have been additional elements in and around this connection, and presumably they cam to this conclusion without having the drawings to refer to. Very telling that NIST have apparently been ignoring this issue since October 2008. No response as yet from the CTBUH on what, if anything NIST had to say in reply to the very pertinent points that they raise.


Thus far, NIST has gotten away with withholding their model data inputs by pleading that doing so would...


Based on this ludicrous statement we should not expect anything reasonable from NIST's official responses.

I only wish an Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake or Sibel Edmonds had done a stint at NIST.

I commend your work.

Sad thing is...

...if a Snowden, Drake or Edmonds had done a stint at NIST, it probably wouldn't have made much of a difference (in my opinion based on what I've learned and witnessed thusfar surrounding this whole 9/11 issue).

That doesn't mean I think we should just give up or anything like that, but I'm breaking my head on how exactly we could succesfully tackle this huge problem that we all face. We're dealing with forces that are extremely powerful & also frightened of course to lose their position of power once this 9/11 thing comes crashing down.

Let's face it, NIST knows exactly what's going on, they (that is, each and everyone who has worked on and contributed to those reports) know they've produced a load of bollocks on all three buildings. They all know these three structures were deliberately demolished. It doesn't matter what we point out to them, we all know that every time they have an answer, it will be another slap in the face, another clever distortion, another bold evasion.

It's good to see honest and sincere people (these are people that assure me that I'm not a crazy person as many people tell me that I am, believing what I believe) trying to get to the bottom of this, pointing out certain truths that have been ignored and facts that have been omitted, that keeps me going.

Not to sound negative, but I think the only way that the scientifc community will wake up to the truth about what happened to those buildings is when enough scientists, engineers and academics from all over the world will put the truth before their personal safety and wealth. This will take an enormous amount of courage and guts (which quite a few have shown thusfar, and these people have my utmost respect). Until the large majority of them starts speaking out publicly about this issue, I believe that all this will be futile. Mind you, when the number of people that are speaking out will near the critical mass, you can bet your bottom that something awful (again) is going to happen (that's how frightened people will react when they feel threatened) and we might have to starts all over again.
All we can do is stick with it, continue speaking out, so that we can live with our conscience, knowing we're doing the right thing, hopefully inspiring others to do the same.
It works but the process is going way too slow I feel.

Humans, they are so fragile & vulnerable...

I get a white page when clicking on your link...

And what exactly is an "informal" peer review? Does that count as the real thing? Surely not?

I assume NIST's draft report of 2008 did receive a fair amount of critique back them, which must have been ignored completely by NIST, as expected?


Weidlinger Associates' Najib Abboud entered quite a few pertinent observations/comments--jump to PDF page 734.

Link to report:

CLICK Publications
CLICK Draft Reports from the NIST World Trade Center Investigation - and public comments (April 2005 and August 2008)
CLICK Public comments received by NIST August 21 - September 15, 2008 (PDF, 32.6 MB)

I found the observations/comments

They are 8 pages in all, which I could handle :)
I also read some of the other stuff of the 913 pages, and the critique is pretty serious, as one would expect.

But I assume the stuff you were talking about was the fact that Mr. Abboud talked about how he thinks that the statement "which collapsed due to ordinary building fires" is IN consistent with the rest of the NIST report (page 5 or 738) and should therefore be deleted?

He also observes (on the next page) that various statements about girder walk off conflict with figure 11-29 and 11-36. Is that what you're referring to in this case?

Besides that, is it correct to state that the NISt has done absolutely nothing with most of this huge amount of serious critique? How in the world is that possible? What goes through your mind when you think about something like this, I wonder?

I think that would be a very good idea

Producing our own computermodel in which all the omission are included and all the distortions corrected.

I don't have the skills to make that happen, but surely there are people outthere who have. And maybe we need NIST's data for that, which has been made unavailable to anyone.

It would at least be another nail in the coffin. No guarantees on how far it would take us in court, but anyway.

NIST's bogus response points to a greater underlying problem

I am not an architect, but one doesn't have to be one to see that NIST's response is clearly unscientific and untransparent. (ie BS)

The other question here - and this is not to decry the greater proportion of the workforce at NIST who do honest work: "Is it realistic to expect NIST, a federal agency (within the US Department of Commerce) to come to an official conclusion regarding the destruction of the Twin Towers and WTC#7 that points away from, or implies a different scenario from what we have been "informed" by other agencies and persons within the US Government?

If that is indeed the case, and government agencies (in this case NIST) are complicit in protecting rogue elements ie criminals, terrorists, mass murderers and traitors within our own power structure, then we have the makings of a failed state on our hands. What means are at the disposal of we the people to rectify that?

the top 10 connections..

You make a good point.

The 9/11 Commission, FEMA and NIST have all put a thick coat of "whitewash" on all the reports so far, so it is fair to question their motives, and the general ability of any federal identity to produce honest and unbiased investigations.

This is very apparent from another angle, which is to consider the "inside-job" option which entails controlled demolition and nanothermite, since we know that leads to prominent federal labs(cited in Harrit´s nanothermite paper) and even NIST according to Kevin Ryan´s article about the NISTical connections to nanothermite development.

I am pretty sure many here have followed the "investigation" into the officially acknowledged fact that the Anthrax attack was an inside-job, so we do have a precedent for how efficient federal-grade whitewash really is, and perhaps even the mold for how the "lone nut" explanation for made-in-the-USA nanothermite would play out.

Re: the top 10 connections..

It's unlikely that there was any nanothermite involved in the destruction of the WTC. I'm very familiar with the nanothermite topic, having spent many hours studying what is known about it from info provided by all parties involved. Let's be careful to put forward only issues which we can verify to be correct and true. That NIST left out the stiffener plates from their analysis, and that this renders their analytical methodology to be improper and their conclusions thus invalidated (or dubious at best), is verified and correct.


First of all, it does not matter what you think personally. No matter the final conclusion, any new investigation into the collapses of the WTC buildings will have to examine the nanothermite evidence put forth by AE9/11 - which brings me to my original point: Since this investigation leads to nanothermite, any federal or governmental investigations are compromised because "the government" developed nanothermite and therefore there is an extreme conflict of interest. This fact should prevent more NIST reports on WTC7 assuming we nullify the old report in court, and help us get a proper independent investigation.

Secondly, I don´t know how you came to your conclusion, but the "issues" we put forward are in the form of documented evidence: published papers, eye-witness testimony, testimony from experts, etc - pretty much the AE9/11 evidence brochure, and this includes a lot of evidence for nanothermite. Real skeptics will respond with papers that attempt to refute or better explain our evidence, and this is how the debate proceeds until some theory is finally officially "verified". Given dust full of iron spheres, extreme temperatures data, and molten metal flowing like lava, the thermite hypothesis is very strong. And especially with Harrit´s paper, the nanothermite hypothesis is still the best explanation of the data.

Re: verified?

Themite? Possibly. Nanothermite? No reliable evidence for it.

Neither should be presented in a court case against NIST. Just one allegation determined to be false could get the case thrown out of court. It will be difficult enough to get a court to consider the matter of NIST's modeling indiscretions without introducing dubious hypotheses into the case.

If AE9/11 is pushing the nanothermite hypothesis, then AE9/11 is on the wrong track, imho.

You are missing the point

See my response to gerrycan1 below. The point is that no labs with connections to the government can handle the NEW investigation because nanothermite is a suspect, and there is already documented examples of previous investigations ignoring evidence that suggests thermite-type materials.

And again, you personal opinion about what is and is not the real culprit is irrelevant. You are using the same kind non-reasoning as NIST used as an excuse not to investigate the steel and dust and look for nanothermite evidence.

Finally since you provide nothing to back up your claim of "no reliable evidence" for nanothermite, I am forced to dismiss it. No-one has challenged a single point in Harrit´s paper or provided a better explanation for dust full of spheres, and both AE9/11 and Consensus911 support Harrit. Why do you think the JREF loud-mouths backed away from having the Millette Debunking Paper published? Hmmm?

Dr. Millette's findings have not been replicated

... let alone published.

Also very interesting is Millette's failure to do the DSC (Calorimeter) test to confirm that his chips were energetic as Dr. Harrit's chips were. Without that confirmation, Millette's chips could easily be just paint, and then his findings are meaningless.

Re: Dr. Millette's findings have not been replicated

Millette's results are not the only argument against the presence of nanothermite in the dust.

1. Painted on thermitic material, including nanothermite, has not been demonstrated to cause any significant damage to structural steel. All tests that I have seen to date have indicated no significant damage to steel caused by thermitic material when it is in a non-focused form. And if these red/gray chips didn't come from a material which was painted on, then in what form was it in?

2. In this video, Mark Basile demonstrates what happens when a red/gray chip is heated. Its appearance is not unlike what I would expect from some paints: the organic components expand with the heat, and the volatile components ignite and rapidly burn off when they reach their ignition temperature. There is no sparking or sputtering which is routinely seen when a themitic material is ignited. Is there aluminum oxide emission? Unclear from the video, but as a chemist, Basile should have tested for emission of aluminum oxide to establish its presence. For comparison, he should also have included an example of known thermite being ignited by heating in the same manner in the video.

3. All persons involved in the testing should have conducted ignition tests of the material in an inert atmosphere. If Harritt, Jones, Basile, et. al. want to seriously assert that the material is thermitic, they should expend the time and effort to conduct fresh tests on ignition of the material in an inert atmosphere. Millette should have done so as well. How the material behaves in an inert atmosphere would likely add some significant data indicating whether or not the material is thermitic.

These are just a few of the issues which indicate against (or fail to support) the red/gray chip material being nanothermite. There are others which could be added to the list, and more detailed examinations of the evidence have been done by others. I can't conclude from this that the material is not nanothermite (and it wasn't my intention to do so), but I think it can be reasonably asserted that the evidence for the red/gray chips being nanothermite is weak. Weak enough to make those who continue to press the hypothesis appear sloppy and not performing adequate evaluation before making bold assertions about the properties of a physical material.


The above demonstrates why whilst being relevant in some sense, issues such as thermitic material in the dust do not belong anywhere near the case in point re stiffeners. In the same way that this discussion could so easily be derailed by the topic, the case against NIST could also be. Whilst it may be tempting to include all the evidence that we have at our disposal in an assault against the official story, it is a far more shrewd tactic to focus on that which is prima facia and does not require corroboration from anywhere except NISTs own material.

Reply to Wildbear

This is a derailment. I agree that thermite questions are not relevant to the current topic. Start a new thread if you are really interested, Mark Basile is after all still working on a new paper and you may perhaps be able to make it better if you manage to divine genuine questions that need answering. I will however leave you with a quick reply to your three points for good measure:

1. Not relevant, but Harrit suggests the gray layer may be part of the severed beams or part of the container for the thermite, which means the red material may have been a shape charge.
2. You forget that Basile has another demonstration video with actual WTC paint, and that it did NOT ignite. This is consistent with what NIST said about the WTC paint, i.e. stable to temps above 800. The al-oxide emission is evident in the Harrit report. I think Basile also mentions the white smoke trail in one of his interviews. You cannot reliably test for visual effects with such tiny samples of red material, that also happen to be burdened with the inert gray layer. (And the ability to tailor nanothermite means the material may not put on a full show unless ignited in specific way).
3. This is only true for std. thermite, but irrelevant for a material that is smothered in an organic resin. This argument is also based on a monumental misunderstanding about the differences between the thermite reaction and conventional combustion:

- If the red material is a form of std paint containing al and iron oxide then it will leave al-oxide and iron-oxide post ignition, and almost certainly not melted.

- If the red material is a form of thermite then it will leave al-oxide and reduced iron post ignition, in molten form.

Let this be an answer to points 2 and 3: You notice that in both cases you end up with al-oxide? The main difference is that the thermite reaction reduces the iron and melts it, while normal combustion leaves an oxide! So I laugh whenever I hear or see someone declaring that the evidence is "weak".

9/11 World Trade Center Red /Gray chips ignition test-Mark Basie

Mark Basile conducts an ignition test on known WTC primer paint and known WTC Red/Gray chips,and some paint chips actually taken from his house.

Being right vs changing policy

Many in the 9/11 Truth movement make the mistake of assuming or believing that if we can prove we are right then we will therefore cause a change in the policy. This is not the way politics work.

The 9/11 Truth movement has had enough evidence and arguments to prove that the feds are lying since 9/11. In other words to prove that we are right. Yet nearly 13 years later the policy has not changed. I mean the global war on terror.

You have to find the pressure point and apply the pressure without getting dragged down in poor planning, no planning, or endless bickering and arguments.

Look at U.S. courts and laws. Here are some facts.

It is legal (meaning not illegal) for a government agency to lie. It happens all the time.

You have to have a legal basis for a lawsuit if you expect to win. You cannot just sue an agency for lying. If you could the entire government would have ground to a halt years before 9/11.

What law do you think NIST violated? What remedy does that law allow?

Is there a law that says that a Federal court can order NIST to publish new conclusions to its 9/11 investigations? What law is it?

Unless you can positively answer this question all of the reasons and evidence of NIST'S lies and cover up do not matter. The key words that will end any such lawsuit are the words "Case dismissed."

The bottom line is that being right is not enough. The 9/11 Truth movement has not learned this and may never learn it.


Re: the top 10 connections..

I am not so sure whether thermitic material was or wasn't used in the case of WTC7. Where I do agree with you wholeheartedly is that we need to draw a clear distinction between evidence that is relevant to what did and what did not happen. For now, it is important to attack the official story that we were given by NIST, and confine ourselves to attacking the issue of what DIDN'T happen, rather than speculate about what did. The onus is not on us to provide an explanation for how the building collapsed, it is clearly on NIST. It may be that further down the road the issue of what was used to bring WTC7 down becomes pertinent, but at this stage I believe that we need to focus on the holes in NISTs story, and not get ahead of ourselves by introducing speculative claims into the mix that could allow the route to resolution of this issue to be prolonged. So, whilst I would not cast aside the thermitic material paper entirely, I agree with you that it would not be a useful thing to introduce at this point. Let's rather stick to that which we have in black and white and can prove without getting into debates that could surely only serve to allow the issue to become more protracted.

I agree about focusing..

Yes, at this stage we should focus on "what did not happen" and essentially begin by hauling NIST´s behind to court for the fraudulent WTC7 report.

Determining what happened is far down the road, perhaps a few years, and most likely in the venue of academic papers before returning to court. I am not even sure that we will have to go to court to officially validate controlled demolition, reviewed papers should be enough. Establishing who planned and "did it" is another matter that is even further down the road and that is something that will hopefully end up in court.

However, returning to my original point, once we have nullified the WTC7 report, there will be a point where someone(perhaps the judge) appoints someone to handle the new investigation of 7´s demise, and at that point this someone will have to know of the conflicts of interests that should prevent governmental labs, and labs that have gov connections, from getting the job.

At this point there will be no need to prove that nano-thermite was the culprit; enough to establish that it is one of the suspects. That´s it.

Once again, they do the "NIST sidestep".

Of course web stiffeners are used to prevent web crippling. But that doesnt mean that the same plate won't also help resist the bottom flange from folding in the highly unlikely event that some strange additional force pushed the beam sideways.

Newton says that the forces on the plate works both ways. Just like a brace under a bookshelf is designed to hold the shelf up, that same shelf brace will also help brace the wall in the highly unlikely event that some strange additional force pushes sideways on the wall. Yet that's not the reason that the "shelf designer" put the brace there.

It's the physics of the forces that the brace resists that must be factored in to any honest analysis, not the "intent" of why it was put there, that matters.

But of course when it comes to 9/11 , we really don't expect much of an honest analysis from NIST.


i like your comment and appreciate/share your feelings.


I assume that most people that visit this site and post comments here feel more or less the same way. What strikes me is that academic people tend to not talk about their feelings a whole lot, but rather stick to what's practical instead of (essentially) complaining that we're in such a deep hole, talking negative etc etc. :)

I believe that Simon001 talked about this as well when he discussed all the tricks we are likely to encounter in court by NIST when it gets that far. I think he was right on the money with that one, but guys like Gerrycan and Tony Szamboti just refuse to get bogged down by that. Good to see on one hand, but on the other hand I think Simon was just being very realistic. This is a huge matter, with everything at stake for the PTB, so we can expect that they will throw everything they have at us when push comes to shove. No need to say of course their means available at their disposal are virtually unlimited and they possess a little "different" moral that "we" have, so we have to be careful and more importantly, we have to be fearless, undeterred by threats or anything like that. Difficult sure, but certainly not impossible.

Thanks again for your kind words. Always good to know that there are people outthere on the same page. :)

Thank you Sandberg

I do think it is only realistic and prudent to consider the ways in which NIST will respond. We all know how NIST behaved when making the report and it would be a huge mistake to assume that it is going to be Mr. Clean when responding in court to attacks on its credibility. And we have to consider that it is going to be a lot easier for the court to give NIST the benefit of doubt rather than "siding with conspiracy theorists"...and it would be childish to assume that the court will not consider the politics involved.

I do not mean to "bog down" gerrycan1 and TS. I am saying that whatever team they assemble will have to have some people on board that do consider these things, to make sure they do not get bogged down with NISTical BS in court.

Agree wholeheartedly....

A lot will depend though on which judge will be appointed to take the case.

It's strange how justice can be prolonged for so long and perhaps never served while these cases are so damn clearcut. It cannot be that money will determine that justice will not be served. Or can it?