David Ray Griffin Burrows Further Down the Rabbit Hole of No-Phone-Calls-From-the-Planes

In the promotion for an updated version of Debunking 9/11 Debunking, David Ray Griffin expands on his theory that the phone calls received from passengers on the 9/11 flights were somehow faked:

“Stronger evidence that the alleged cell phone calls were faked: The most famous of these were the four calls that Deena Burnett reported receiving from her husband, Tom Burnett. She knows that they came from his cell phone, she said, because she saw his Caller ID number. According to the FBI’s report at the Moussaoui trial, however, there were only two cell phone calls from United 93, and they were made at 9:58, shortly before the plane crashed, when it was down to 5,000 feet. The FBI refused to support, therefore, the claim (e.g., by Popular Mechanics) that high-altitude cell phone calls were possible in 2001. Deena Burnett must have been duped.”

Was Deena Burnett duped? Or have we, in the truth movement, been duped into believing that these calls were made by cell phones, when in fact they were made by airphones? Have we been manipulated into turning our attention away from a body of evidence that would lead us to the real perpetrators of the attacks?

The following is a quote from the original Debunking 9/11 Debunking:

“For our present purposes, the main implication is that the government has covertly admitted that most of the alleged cellphone calls on Flight 93 could not have occurred. This admission implies that these calls must have been fabricated. And if those calls were fabricated, why should we not assume that the Airfone calls, in which the same kinds of things were said, were also fabricated?”

No, David, the government has not covertly admitted that the calls could not have occurred; it has only admitted that they did not occur using cell phones, and that they were thus made by airphones. Even if we assume that the calls alleged to have been made by cell phones were fabricated, it does not logically follow that the airphone calls were therefore also fabricated. There is no reason that some of the calls, such as the one allegedly made by Todd Beumer to a complete stranger– incidentally, a call that validates the official story on all accounts– may have been fabricated, while other calls, such as those by Tom Burnett on FL93 and Betty Ong on FL11– calls that contain information damning to the official story– were authentic and made on airphones.

If we are to believe that the calls were fabricated, then we must believe that someone faked Tom Burnett’s calls to his wife in which he reported guns in the possession of the hijackers. When questioned about her husband’s report of guns, which contradict the official story of knife-wielding Arab fanatics, Deena Burnett replied:

“He told me one of the hijackers had a gun. He wouldn’t have made it up. Tom grew up around guns. He was an avid hunter and we have guns in our home. If he said there was a gun on board, there was.”

This is an extremely important piece of evidence for us. It shows how the hijackers were able to subdue eight pilots on four flights with only one of them (supposedly) being able to communicate to ATC a distress signal. The evidence of guns on the flights is also reflected in an FAA report filed the day of the attacks, in which it was reported that a passenger had been shot. That report was based on the phone call from flight attendant Betty Ong on AAL11. On that phone call she also reported the seat numbers of the hijackers, one of which was assigned to a former Israeli commando named Daniel Lewin (seat 9B), another of which was assigned to a one Edmund Glazer (10B), whose background has yet to be investigated. Part of Ong’s call can be heard on the internet; the remainder of the recording has been kept from our ears. What else did she say on the recording? Do we really believe someone faked this call, then went through all the trouble of covering most of it up?

Griffin’s logic is that since the calls were said to be cell calls, and that cell calls are impossible from higher altitudes, therefore all the calls were fabricated. He doesn’t, however, deal with the full implications of such reasoning. According to him, something like the following scenario occurred:

The perpetrators decide to bolster their story of an al-Qaeda hijacking by making phony calls to various loved ones of the passengers. They are able to voice-morph Tom Burnett’s voice so masterfully that they are able to fool his wife not once, not twice, but on at least three and maybe four calls. Despite their brilliance with voice-morphing, however, they are so stupid as to make their fake call appear to come from a cell phone, which is known to be impossible at the altitude UAL93 was at when Tom called his wife. Griffin believes the calls were made by cell phones because Deena supposedly said she looked at the caller ID. So the perpetrators They were able to make the call seem to come from Tom’s own cell phone– did they pickpocket his cell phone before the flight, and the phones of various others? In addition to the stupidity of making their fake calls from cell phones, the perpetrators inexplicably decide to throw in a report from the fake Tom of the hijackers having guns, which the FBI and media later go through great lengths to cover up and/or ignore.......

Can we believe this preposterous scenario?

Let me propose an alternate scenario:

The perpetrators decide to frame their Arab enemies by allowing real passengers to make real phone calls relaying their false impression of an Arab hijacking. This false impression is created on the planes by having some hijackers disguise themselves as Arabs– with red headbands, dark skin, etc.– while committing heinous acts like knifing female passengers. The idea is brilliant, but they are too smart by half. Some “bad” information is transmitted via the phone calls as well, such as Burnett’s and Ong’s reports of guns, and the seat numbers given by Ong as well as Madeline Sweeney on AAL11.

Knowing that the phone calls contain devastating information contradicting their official story, those charged with covering up the whole thing commence a campaign of disinformation regarding these phone calls. Led, perhaps, by Mr. Chertoff from his perch in the Justice Department, they utilize friendly contacts within the FBI and media to perpetrate the myth that the phone calls were (impossibly) made by cell phones, not airphones. FBI agents whisper “cell phones” to reporters who dutifully spread the word in innumerable media stories. Those FBI agents, however, never get around to producing evidence of any cell phone calls.

Later, a 21 year old makes a film called Loose Change that strongly implies that since cell phone calls are impossible from airplanes, therefore all the calls are fake. The film is promoted quite successfully by parties unknown, and the youthful 9/11 truth movement buys off on the whole thing hook, line and sinker....

Now I ask you, which scenario is more likely? What is easier to accomplish, voice morphing numerous calls to spouses and loved ones; or a disinfo campaign bamboozling everyone into believing that a handful of airphone calls were actually made by cell phones?

I firmly believe that the cell phone myth has been a great disaster for the truth movement. The successful disinfo campaign that the calls were made by cell phones has led us to deny the validity of a body of evidence that would, in my opinion, quickly lead us to the real perpetrators. If we could get over the cell phone myth, here are the kind of questions we would be asking:

1. What kind of conspiracy is able to smuggle guns onto four airplanes? Does any Arab group have this kind of sophistication. And why did they choose to have knives if they also had guns? Were the knives just props?

2. What else did Betty Ong say on her phone call? Where is the rest of the recording? Why has it been withheld from us? Who is Edmund Glazer, the man sitting in the seat reported by Ong as belonging to a hijacker? What is his background?

3. What did Madeline Sweeney really say on her call? Why have the airline employees who received her call been ordered to be silent? One report says she reported three seat numbers of hijacker; another says she reported four, and that the fourth was from row 9. We know three of the seat numbers she allegedly reported; what was the fourth?

4. What caused the white smoke and explosion reported by Edward Felt from UAL93? What else did he say? Why has the person who took his call been ordered to remain silent?

These are the questions we should be asking. Sadly, though, many truth activists hold the no-phone-calls theory as some kind of religion. For the rest of you, though, who have an open mind, I suggest you throw away your copy of Loose Change– except for the controlled demolition and still-alive hijacker segments, which are pretty good. Instead, go to the Cooperative Research site and examine the records of the phone calls one by one.

As for you, Dr. Griffin, if you are reading this, please reconsider your stance on the phone calls. By denying their existence you are digging us deeper into a hole that we may never may never be able to dig out of.

Interesting take on it

I don't know if I agree with you 100%, but it was an interesting read.

The Fine Folks at SLC:

Those uber sounding jingo-patriots DO like to remind their readership of DRG's fake-able-phones, and then his further commentary on the feasibility of voice morphing compounded by fake-able calls. Sounds tin-hat-crazy enough for the casual reader so far.

It's a real 'winner' of counter argument, as far as anti-Truthers seem concerned.

Additionally, or hand in hand with highlighting DRG's fake-able phone voices admonition... anti-truth seekers also like to point at DRG's loose-ish comments suggesting his temptations towards what sound to them like "New World Order" leanings. What? Anti-Truthers don't want a NWO now. I'm a bit confused.

It's a little curious how well-read truth seeking opposition comes off at times. No? You have to wade through (past) quite a bit of DRG to begin finding his words that can be construed into a Hegel PRS subversion to seditiously carry a flag BACK into NWO. Did everyone follow that?

You can try demanding that DRG clarify his words better... you know... so that he himself can better lead the crowd. You can also take the time to demand of him that he come clean about his hidden "NWO" tendencies. Again, to best make sure he doesn't lead us all into the pits of hell.

Or... you can read or hear ALL of what he says... interpret on mass... integrate both his questions and comments into your own... simmer... and offer new or old friends your OWN newer comments and ideas leaving DRGs name out of it all together. DRG who?


I do agree that the phone calls were, in all probability, real, and that DRG is barking up the wrong tree with that one. I'm not sure I follow your logic about fake hijackers actually on the planes... were they US/allied operators who subsequently bailed out or something? That part doesn't really make sense to me. It seems more likely that the hijackers were allowed to sneak the guns on.

The answer to 1984 is 1776!
(Gold, Oil, and Drugs)

I have flown probably about

30-35 times in my life and only twice can I remember air-phones being available on any of those flights.
What are the odds of all 4 planes having air phones? Id say slim to none.
The original OCT says that some if not most calls were CELL PHONES and we know that is bullshit because the odds of making a cell phone call are less than slim to none.
I have seen no evidence at all that shows they were air-phone calls, IF they were it could easily be proven by credit card records of which they have never produced and never will same goes for cell phones.

The OCT does not hold water and we know without any doubt they are lying about at least the cell phone calls which were what most of them supposed to be.

Odds are that the passengers and the patsies were all knocked out with gas long before the planes crashed and any so called communications from anyone were faked, but this is one of those bits of evidence that is about 90% speculation (all but the fact that cell phone calls didn't happen) its just another dot to connect that no matter what happened in reality the one thing we do know for sure is that the OCT is impossible bullshit.
I highly doubt that we will ever know what really happened on those flights.

Edit: Actually the odds of Airfones on ALL 4 flights is ZERO because American Airlines has never installed Airfones on ANY of their planes.


In the above essay I incorrectly stated that Edmund Glazer was assigned to seat 10B. That seat was assigned to Satam Suqami. Glazer was assigned seat 9A.

According to the Boston Globe, in her phone call, Betty Ong listed the seat numbers of the hijackers as:

9A (Glazer)
9B (Lewin)
1A &2A ("Wail and Waleed Al-Shehhri")

She also listed an "injured passenger" in seat 10B (Suqami)

Seating Chart:


So then for the last several years when we heard that no plane had even a single hi-jacker or even Arab sounding name on the flight manifest then that was complete BS and we were all duped?

How do we know this information is correct?

Again, like I said before we will never know what really happened on those planes because the information can be so easily manipulated or just made up whole cloth with no real way of verification that you cant really trust any of it.

Its all pure speculation, unlike the fact of Controlled Demolition of 3 buildings which can be scientifically proven & collaborated by many eye witnesses & video.

To me anything that may have happened on/with the planes will never be anything but pure speculation.

Excellent Blog.

Andrew, I am not an expert on the phone calls, but evidently you are. You should study this information further and publish an article in the Journal of 9/11 Studies. That will get Griffin's attention.

Assuming that Airfones answer the questions, and that cell phones are irrelvent...

Could the guns on board be covered up because it would have so obviously pointed to the security firms at the airports? And, could this decision have been made after the fact?

There was a hijacking in India that led to the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh carried out by Kashmiri militants. They used knives only, and they did reach their objectives, including passage to Afghanistan. Could 9/11 have been decided upon -- that day -- to be a mirror image of that, in order to deflect attention from the airport security firms?

The M.O. was already established.

This apparent fingering of Israeli suicide skyjackers is not going to fly so well, I feel. It would certainly need more evidence. I'm not sure we've ever seen such a phenomenon before?

It does suggest further intense investigation is warranted.


>>I firmly believe that the cell phone myth has been a great disaster for the truth movement.

Agreed. Thanks for the essay. I also agree with John above - submit it to the Journal.


This is a thought provoking article by the A-Train. I agree with Victronix, and would also be interested in Jim Hoffman's analysis. I would also be interested in DRG's rebuttal so we can resolve this issue. The phone calls mention guns and have the wrong seat numbers for the "hijackers". PS - The A-Train, who wrote this article, is an Air Traffic controller, so we should listen to what he says.

Thanks for the support,

Thanks for the support, John. That means a lot to me. I will look into the Journal, and try to get something published there.

To me the guns point to a sophisticated conspiracy, with deep connections in airport security. This rules out al-Qaeda or any other Arab group. I believe the script for 9/11 called for savage Arab fanatics armed only with knives, slicing people up with relish-- and guns didn't fit into that.

Regarding "suicide skyjackers," I urge you to NOT assume the hijackers died on the flights. Please refer to my previous blog on the subject:

"Are the Hijackers-- the Real Ones-- Still Alive and With Us Today?"

I demonstrate that the maneuver of covertly bailing out of an airliner is routine and regularly practiced by such elite commando organizations as the Navy SEALS, and therefore could have been done by professional hijackers on 9/11.

Well . . ..

Although it could have been done, was it?

That's the same issue you are calling Griffin out on here, so some extent, the real basis in the evidence.

The larger problem with suggesting they are alive is that average Americans decide we are nuts when they read that. And average Americans have a big emotional response to the hijackers. The more we can stay with the strongest facts around that issue, the better we will do. If you have STRONG evidence for them bailing out, that would be one thing. AFAIK, we do not.

But interesting point.

Your logic is no better than his

It is all speculation.

So someone either believes him, you, or someone else.

But neither his, nor your, nor anyone else's, speculations signal "the end of the movement as we know it".

People need to calm their shit down and get over themselves already.

If there is anything that is "hurting the movement", it is this kind of crap.

Senior 9/11 Bureau Chief, Analyst, Correspondent, Principle Investigator, Forensic 9/11ologist

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. — Abraham Lincoln

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. — Robert Heinlein


>>People need to calm their shit down and get over themselves already.

>>If there is anything that is "hurting the movement", it is this kind of crap.

Pot and kettle . . .

Nope. Not even close.

Senior 9/11 Bureau Chief, Analyst, Correspondent, Principle Investigator, Forensic 9/11ologist

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. — Abraham Lincoln

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. — Robert Heinlein

The phone calls are PART of the operation.

Real or fake they are an integral part of the PSYOP. The problem is that it can not be proven one way or another. It's a distraction in my opinion. They can tell us whatever they want about the phone calls.

Jumbo Jets Can Not Demolish Skyscrapers.


There is no real way that is ever going to happen to positively verify ANYTHING about these flights & calls.
The ONLY thing we know for certain is that anything this administration and anyone connected to them says is a LIE and that cell phone calls on a passenger jet in 2001 were virtually impossible.


Thanks for your input! You make great points!

However, I am having trouble with your "real hijacking, fake perps" scenario, too.

If the hijackings were real, what happened to the perps? Were they sacrificed like the others or did they parachute out of the planes? If they were duped into hijackings as part of an "exercise" or "training op", I doubt they would have gone as far as spilling the blood of the passengers or the crew. On the other hand, if they knew the final outcomes of their flights, they would have had probably less of an issue with killing a passenger or a flight attendant or two, because everybody on board would be dead after the crash anyway. But that would require either some suicidal operatives, which is very hard to believe outside the context of radical islam, or parachuting out of the jetliner of the perps, which is also very difficult (read: unlikely) from a passenger jetliner, or so I have heard.

Against real hijackings speaks also the possibility that there could have easily been some passengers on board with relevant expertise (former or present military personnel, police officers) who could have presented a real threat to the success of the op. Conducting a real hijack with so many participants (times four) seems very messy to me, and even more improbable than Atta taking a commuter flight with just 15 min to spare to catch the flight he had prepared for for years.

Now, just like you presented a choice to your readers, I would like to present a choice to you : Which scenario is more likely: 1) A messy real-time hijacking with many unknown variables and a real possibility of failure, and for what -- so that a few people can make some phone calls to confirm the official story to the outside world, or 2) The hijackings did not take place and calls were faked (one way or another) from some sort of controlled environment. It seems to me that creating fake phone calls from controlled environment is easier than controlling a real-life hijacking with physical violence and so many participants.

Good point.....

"Against real hijackings speaks also the possibility that there could have easily been some passengers on board with relevant expertise (former or present military personnel, police officers) who could have presented a real threat to the success of the op. Conducting a real hijack with so many participants (times four) seems very messy to me, and even more improbable than Atta taking a commuter flight with just 15 min to spare to catch the flight he had prepared for for years."

That's a great point. A real hijack has the potential to be messy. But that point is ultimately yet another argument in favor of the evidence that the hijackers had guns, as well as knives.

A knives-only hijacking could be extremely messy. Just a few large, tough male passengers could put up quite a fight, and possibly subdue the hijackers. Now consider the same scenario with guns in possession of the hijackers. Any troublesome passengers could be quickly dispatched the same way as were the pilots-- with a bullet to the head. The guns were thus an insurance policy against any genuine passenger uprising.

Note: Jim Hoffman suggests the conspirators chose lightly scheduled flights to minimize casualties. I disagree. They chose flights with few passengers to avoid the kind of messy scenario you describe.

Actually, they did tacitly

Actually, they did tacitly admit that some of the calls were not real -- in the Moussaoui trial. Barbara Olsen was alleged to have made two connected calls to Ted, the substance of which he began trumpeting to the media that same afternoon. (Among other things, she said that the pilot was herded to the back of the plane with her. Chuck Burlingame's family has disputed this possibility; they have maintained that he would have had to be killed to give up his plane.) But when the FBI presented their phone call evidence, they showed only an attempted call from Olsen, with 0 minutes of connectivity. As Griffin pointed out in a recent speech, the press should have jumped all over this, with bold headlines the following day. The FBI was strongly suggesting that Ted Olsen lied, and that Barbara's boxcutter story, which came from the non-existent calls, must have been fabricated. If calls were possible from either cell phones or seatback phones, why wouldn't the pilots have made them? (It has yet to be proven that there were even seatback phones ON the planes.)

Likewise, the FBI was only able to present evidence from 2 calls onboard Flight 93.

This is similar to the FBI claiming that there is not enough evidence to connect OBL to 9/11 -- good enough to go to war, not good enough to go to court. Doesn't the truth movement make the claim that this is, at the very least, anomalous?

There are other possible explanations for the Betty Ong recording and its editing. One is that she was participating in, or had recently participated in, a scripted hijacking scenario. Remember, they were running simulations of hijacked planes. Who knows what might have been included as part of the drill and/or its preparation? That would explain the lack of expected background noise in the call, and her unusually calm demeanor. The parts which were edited out might have identified it as a scripted scenario. This is purely speculative, of course, but struck me as a distinct possibility when I heard the recording.

DRG doesn't have to go into voice-morphing to show strong evidence that some of the calls don't pass muster. And if some of the calls were real and the substance of them were true, why the need to invent the others? It strikes me as very odd.

And again exactly right.

"If calls were possible from either cell phones or seatback phones, why wouldn't the pilots have made them? (It has yet to be proven that there were even seatback phones ON the planes.)"

There is zero verifiable evidence that air phones even existed on ANY of these planes (which could be verified somehow I'm sure but never will be) and if cell phones worked at all then why weren't more calls made? Because even in 2001 at least 1/2 the passengers on all those planes had to have had cell phones on them. So according to the OCT what, like 3-4 calls were allegedly made? and ALL of those sound fishy.
Well what about the other passengers? There were supposedly 762 seats available for all 4 flights combined, there were only allegedly 265 passengers total if only 1/3 of those passengers had cell phones which personally I think is a low estimate then somewhere around 88 cell phones were on board all 4 flights (This COULD be verified BTW but never will be) so with this many phones there were only 3-4 fishy sounding calls made? Bullshit.
The OCT is a LIE this is the only thing we can be 100% certain of, so anything they say you can bet its exactly the opposite.
While like everything else DRG's opinion is speculation, it at least makes more sense given what we know could not have happened.

Ted Olson's lies part of disinfo campaign to discredit ALL calls

My take on Ted Olson's phony phone calls from his wife is that this was a crude example of the kind of disinformation campaign I mentioned in my essay to discredit all the phone calls.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the conspirators knew they had a problem on their hands with the phone calls from Ong, Burnett, Sweeney, Felt, etc. So they had an incentive to make us all suspect that all the phone calls were faked, so we wouldn't look too closely at the calls from the persons I mentioned. So, knowing cell phone calls are impossible from altitude, they started spreading the word that the calls had been made by cell phones. As I stated in my essay, this disinfo campaign has succeeded for them marvelously.

They also had their flunky, Ted Olson, come out with some ridiculous tales about his wife phoning from AAL77, most of which contradicted each other. They are hoping that we will be naive enough to conclude that: Since Ted Olson's accounts of the calls from his wife are lies.... Therefore, ALL the calls are faked.....

Let's not be so naive.

might I ask

what call even could have been "real" out of the very few alleged calls?
They all sound very fishy and suspect to me, the ones that were supposedly cell phones are clearly BS, the one or 2 that were allegedly air phones are dubious at best and we have more proof of aliens visiting Earth than we do of these calls.

Similar for the eyewitnesses

The cherry-picking and distortions of the eyewitness claims worked in a similar way -- a few choice statements highlighted over and over and over to add up to "it was a missile," "it was a Skywarrior," "they were all too confused," etc., no matter that there were dozens and dozens reporting the same thing but opposite to the one repeated one.

ERROR: 'Eyewitnesses Saw a Small Plane'

Wow, excellent argument

These seems to fit what authorities might do? It may be a simple attempt to discredit the phone call information? This thread is great! I tend to pass over the long and intricate arguments but I'm glad I was returned to this one from a recent reference!

You've argued your point with some brilliance, Andrew! Hats off to you! You've definitely enlarged my thinking on the phone calls from the planes! Thanks!

...don't believe them!

My take

The fact that none of the experienced pilots gave any kind of a hijack alarm to me strongly suggests that no attempt at a real hijacking took place.

There was a large anti-hijacking exercise going on at the same time.

Some, or many, of the calls appear scripted.

Weren't some of the alleged hijackers reported to have lived and practiced near U.S. air bases?

One possibility is that they thought they were participating in an antiterrorism exercise.

As I believe were the four ordinary Muslims that allegedly blew four bombs in London in 2005. There was also an antiterrorism exercise going on there at the same time, with the same scenario as the one that really happened -- as on 9/11.


David Ray Griffin's Response to Cell Phone Criticism


Another idea

Anyone ever consider that maybe the cell phone calls were possibly from genuinely distraught passengers witnessing something, but simply not made at the altitude at which they would have been impossible, i.e. made either on the ground, or at low altitude in a different plane? The multiple reports of cell phone calls, coupled with the impossibility of such calls at high altitudes, really tells us only one thing: that no cell phone calls from 9:28 to 9:55 could have originated from the plane commonly known as Flight 93, travelling above 30,000 feet during that period, based on the flight data recorder info on altitude released by the NTSB. If we could all just agree on that as a starting point, then we can work from there. The fact that the FBI no longer claims that most of these calls were cell phones doesn't necessarily invalidate all the prior reports - are we now to believe the FBI? In my view, there still remain many possibilities about how the calls - assuming they were made - originated, with either real or fake callers witnessing a real or fake hijacking, etc., but all we can state for sure is that the reported cell phone calls during the above period could simply have not come from that high-altitude plane - period.