In any case, the statement about what “the FBI and DOJ believe” did indeed reflect a DOJ briefing (of May 2004), which said:
"While there was no direct evidence with respect to the ‘unknown calls,’ interviews with recipients (especially Lori Keyton who was answering the phone in Ted Olson's office on 9/11), plus interviews of family members of other Flight 77 passengers, has [sic] lead [sic] to the conclusion that all of these unknown calls were from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office."108
The question, however, is whether this “conclusion” is even remotely plausible. In answering this question, it will be helpful to look at the FBI reports of its interviews with the two people who reportedly received the calls: Ted Olson and DOJ secretary Lori Keyton.
According to the FBI’s summary of the testimony of Keyton (who was working in Olson’s office that morning to “cover the telephones”), she at approximately 9:00 AM received six to eight automated collect calls, from which nothing resulted. Next she “received a collect call from a live operator,” who had “an emergency collect call from Barbara Olsen [sic] for Ted Olsen [sic].” Keyton accepted the call and then put Barbara Olson’s call through to Ted. The FBI summary next says:
“There was a second telephone call a few to five (5) minutes later. This time Barbara Olsen [sic] was on the line when she answered. She called direct. It was not a collect call. . . . Keyton said, . . . ‘I’ll put you through.’ Keyton advised that there is no caller identification feature on the phone she was using. Keyton didn’t know if Barbara Olson was calling from the phone on the plane or from her cell phone.”109
This summary contains many noteworthy features. One of these is the fact that, whereas Ted Olson had based some confused speculations about what kind of phone his wife had used on the idea that both calls had been made collect (he told Hannity & Colmes [see note 17] that, given the fact that she called collect, she must have used the “airplane phone [because] she somehow didn’t have access to her credit cards”), Lori Keyton, who reportedly received the calls, said that one of them was a direct call. For our present purposes, however, the relevant point is that the summary of Keyton’s testimony concluded with the above-quoted words. There was no hint of any further calls from Barbara Olson.
The same is true of the FBI’s summary of its interview with Ted Olson himself. According to this summary, Olson said that, while he was watching television – which was “rerunning film of the second plane hitting the WTC” – he, after being told that Barbara was on the phone, “picked up the call from his wife and spoke for about one (1) minute,” after which the call “was then cut off.” After reporting this call to the DOJ Command Center, he was told that his wife was on the phone again and, after they discussed several things, “[t]his call was then cut off.” The FBI’s summary of Ted Olson’s testimony concludes by saying:
“Olsen [sic] then went back to the television and learned of the crash at the Pentagon... Olson doesn’t know if the calls were made from her cell phone or the telephone on the plane. She always has her cell phone with her.”110
In the light of these two interview summaries, how could we suppose that the four “connected calls to unknown numbers” could have been “from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office”?
We might, to be sure, find it plausible that the two calls reported by Lori Keyton and Ted Olson were the first two of the connected calls to unknown numbers, because their times and durations – 9:15:34 for 1 minute and 42 seconds; 9:20:15 for 4 minutes and 34 seconds – match up decently well with the Keyton-Olson reports.
But what are we to suppose about the third call, which reportedly began at 9:25:48 and lasted for 2 minutes and 34 seconds, and the fourth call, which reportedly began at 9:30:56 and lasted for 4 minutes and 20 seconds? Are we to suppose that Keyton received these calls and transferred them to the solicitor general, but then both of them failed, while being interviewed by the FBI, to mention these two calls, which would have lasted a total of almost 7 minutes? The idea is too ludicrous to consider.
How, then, are we to suppose that these final two calls could have been “from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office”? Can we imagine that someone else in that office – perhaps Ted Olson’s personal secretary, Helen Voss, or someone else who took over telephone duty from Lori Keyton – received these two calls and then, instead of transferring them to Ted, stayed on the line with Barbara for almost seven minutes, and then never told him about these calls? Again, the idea is too absurd to entertain.
Accordingly, the hypothesis that all four of the connected calls to unknown numbers were actually calls from Barbara Olson to Ted Olson’s office is completely implausible. As such, it cannot do anything to mitigate the conclusion that the FBI’s report for the Moussaoui trial undermines Ted Olson’s report that he received two calls from her.
Nevertheless, some critics of my views, looking aside from the question of whether the four-call hypothesis is plausible, have argued that it shows the falsity of my claim that the FBI, in issuing its Moussaoui trial report about Flight 77, in effect contradicted Ted Olson’s claim to have received two calls from his wife. This argument depends on the assumption that the FBI, in presenting its telephone call report to the Moussaoui trial in 2006, was proposing the four-call hypothesis.
Did the FBI’s Moussaoui Trial Report Propose the Four-Call Hypothesis, At Least Implicitly?
In a previous article, after quoting the FBI’s Moussaoui trial graphic about Flight 77 – which says of Barbara Olson only that she made one call, which was “unconnected” and (hence) lasted “0 seconds” – I wrote:
“According to the FBI, therefore, Ted Olson did not receive a single call from his wife using either a cell phone or an onboard phone This was an amazing development: The FBI is part of the Department of Justice, and yet its report undermined the well-publicized claim of the DOJ’s former solicitor general that he had received two calls from his wife on 9/11.”111
One critic, having quoted this statement, wrote:
“Yes, the FBI is part of the Department of Justice, and 2 years before the Moussaoui trial all this info[rmation] was known to them, and the Department of Justice confirmed Olson’s story. DRG claims the FBI’s report ‘undermined’ Olson’s claim to have received two calls from his wife.”
Then, referring to the above-quoted DOJ briefing of May 20, 2004 – the work for which, it says, “was conducted in support of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal case against Zacarias Moussaoui" – the critic says that “this document seems to prove otherwise.”112
This critic’s claim is that, in light of the fact that the work for this 2004 briefing was conducted by the FBI to support the DOJ’s case against Moussaoui, plus the fact that this briefing said that interviews had “lead [sic] to the conclusion that all of [the unknown connected] calls were from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office,” the FBI’s Moussaoui trial report, far from undermining Ted Olson’s story, had “confirmed” it. There are, however, two problems with this assertion.
First, for that 2004 “conclusion” – namely, that all four connected calls to unknown numbers had been calls from Barbara Olson to her husband’s office – to serve to “confirm” the truth of Olson’s account, that conclusion would need to be plausible. But, as we have seen, it is not, so it cannot confirm anything.
The second problem is that the FBI’s 2006 report to the Moussaoui trial did not repeat the 2004 statement about the DOJ-FBI “conclusion” that the four connected calls to unknown numbers were all made by Barbara Olson. One cannot validly infer, simply from the fact that the 2004 DOJ briefing reflected work that was “conducted in support of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal case against Zacarias Moussaoui," that the FBI in 2006 meant to reaffirm statements in that briefing that were not explicitly reaffirmed.113 A lot can happen in two years. Also, making a patently indefensible statement in a court of law is a much more serious matter than making such a statement in a press briefing.
Therefore, all that we can say about the FBI’s report to the Moussaoui trial, insofar as it bears on Ted Olson’s story, is that it indicates only that Barbara Olson attempted one call, that this attempted call was unconnected, and that it lasted “O seconds.” As such, this report clearly undermined Ted Olson’s account, according to which his wife had called him twice from American Flight 77, sharing information about the hijacking with him in each call. We cannot say that those presenting this report meant to undermine Olson’s testimony, but we also cannot say that they did not mean to do this. What we can say is that, as a matter of fact, the report did undermine his testimony.
The Two-Call Hypothesis As Less Problematic
Some critics, while granting the absurdity of the hypothesis that all four connected calls to unknown numbers were from Barbara Olson to her husband’s office, have suggested a two-call hypothesis. One off them wrote:
“[T]he FBI report on Flight 77 also contains several calls that could not be identified. The FBI if pressured could say that Barbara Olson's calls to Ted were from two of those unidentified calls.”114
This hypothesis, according to which only two of the calls to unconnected numbers were made by Barbara Olson – with these being the two calls reported by Lori Keyton and Ted Olson – is certainly less obviously false than the four-call hypothesis. Indeed, at first glance it seems promising, because the times and durations of the first two unknown calls correspond roughly with Olson’s account of the two calls he received.
As we saw earlier the first of the connected calls to unknown numbers reportedly occurred at 9:15:34, whereas the first call to Olson’s office occurred “between 9:16 and 9:26 AM.” These times apparently create a problem, because the first of the connected calls to unknown numbers occurred 26 seconds before, according to the 9/11 Commission, the first call from Barbara Olson was received at Ted Olson’s office. However, one might argue that, allowing for human error, the times corresponded well enough.
Another apparent problem is that the reported durations might seem too different to be referring to the same calls: the first unknown call reportedly lasted for 102 seconds (one minute and 42 seconds), whereas Ted Olson told the FBI on 9/11 that it “lasted about one (1) minute.” However, when Olson was interviewed by Larry King a few days later, he said of the first call: “We spoke for a minute or two, then the phone was cut off.”115 There is sufficient correspondence, therefore, for a plausible identification of the first of Flight 77’s connected calls to unknown numbers with the first call from Barbara Olson reported by Ted Olson’s office.
The same is true of the second calls reported by these sources. According to AA records, the second call from Flight 77 began at 9:20:15, whereas Lori Keyton reported that the second call from Barbara Olson came “a few to five (5) minutes” after the first one (so if the first one had been at 9:15:34, a second call at 9:20:15 would have been slightly less than five minutes later). Also, whereas the second unknown call lasted for 4 minutes and 34 seconds (274 seconds), Ted Olson told Larry King that he and his wife spoke in the second call for “another two or three or four minutes”116 – so, again, one could argue that this was close enough.
It might seem reasonable, therefore, to identify the first two of the reported calls to unknown numbers with the two calls reportedly received from Barbara Olson. If this is what the 9/11 Commission intended, however, it is puzzling that it specified that the first call came “between 9:16 and 9:26,” thereby seeming to rule out the possibility that the first of the unknown calls, said to have begun at 9:15:34, was the first Olson call.
Could an advocate of that position fix this problem by identifying the Olson calls with the second and third calls to unknown numbers, said to have begun at 9:20:15 and 9:25:48, respectively? The time between them – about 5 and a half minutes – fits the report provided by the Olson office closely enough. But the duration of the second unknown call – over 4 and a half minutes, could not correspond to Olson’s estimate to the FBI of the duration of the first call from his wife – “about one (1) minute” – or even his estimate to Larry King - “a minute or two.” So that attempted fix would not work.
The other possibility would be to equate the two Olson calls with the third and fourth calls from Flight 77 to unknown numbers. But this possibility seems to be ruled out by two facts: The third call lasted too long – over two and a half minutes – for Olson to have estimated to the FBI that it lasted only about one minute. And its beginning time of 9:25:48 seems far too late to fit the timeline suggested by various accounts of the occurrences in Ted Olson’s office that morning. For example, Olson and his secretary, Helen Voss, both reported that, after the first call, he phoned the DOJ Command Center to ask that someone – a security officer, Voss specified - be sent to his office.117 This security officer, Allen Ferber, said that this call came “at approximately 9:00 AM.”118 He surely would not have given this estimate if the call had not come until almost 9:26.
It would seem, then, that the most plausible way to portray the FBI phone report as compatible with Ted Olson’s account would be to equate the reported calls from his wife with the first two connected calls to unknown numbers.
Problems Confronting the Two-Call Hypothesis
However, whereas this version of the two-call hypothesis is not as obviously false as the four-call hypothesis, it is still afflicted with serious problems.
The Time of the First Call: One problem already discussed is that, according to the 9/11 Commission, the first call came at some time after 9:16, whereas the first of Flight 77’s calls to unknown numbers began earlier than that – at 9:15:34. There would need to be some explanation as to why this discrepancy should not rule out the identification of the two reported calls. Such an explanation might well be forthcoming, however, so this first problem is less serious than the following ones.
The Sequence of the Calls: According to Olson’s telephone receptionist, Lori Keyton, the first call from Barbara Olson was a collect call, made through an operator, whereas the second call was different: “This time Barbara Olsen [sic] was on the line when she answered. She called direct. It was not a collect call.”119 If we regard these two reported calls as the first two connected calls to unknown numbers that reportedly originated from Flight 77, and then add the unconnected direct call at 9:18:58 indicated by the Barbara Olson graphic provided in the FBI’s report to the Moussaoui trial, we need to say that Barbara Olson attempted three calls: a successful collect call through an operator at 9:15:34; an unsuccessful (unconnected) direct call at 9:18:58 by means of an onboard phone, which could have been activated only by means of a credit card; and then a successful direct call at 9:20:15.
This sequence raises some questions: In the first place, if Barbara Olson had her credit card (contrary to Ted Olson’s speculation) and also had access to an onboard phone, so that she knew that she could call her husband’s office direct, why did she first use an operator to call collect – a procedure that, besides also requiring a credit card, would have taken extra time? In the second place, having successfully reached the office through an operator, why would she then have tried to dial direct? In the third place, having then found that trying to call direct did not work, why would she have tried that method again, rather than going back to her first method, which had worked?
We cannot say for certain, of course, that she would not have made this sequence of calls. But the seeming impossibility of answering these questions does increase the problematic nature of the two-call hypothesis.
Why Were the Two Connected Calls “Unknown”? Articulating a still more severe problem for the two-call hypothesis, one commentator wrote:
“[I]t is very strange that the FBI did not have any confirmed calls from Barbara Olson to Ted Olson. There were 4 connected calls with unconfirmed numbers and unconfirmed callers. That is odd. If they were able to confirm a call by Barbara Olson that was unconnected to the DOJ and lasted zero seconds, why not calls that were actually connected and lasted several minutes long?”120
This set of claims, correctly called by this writer “very strange,” appears to be so bizarre as to be completely implausible. If the FBI was able to identify the number dialed for a call that failed to connect – so that it did not endure for even a hundredth of a second – could anyone give a plausible explanation as to why the FBI could not identify the number reached by two calls that, besides connecting, endured for over 1.5 and 4.5 minutes, respectively?
This problem becomes even more severe when we focus on the hypothesis that two of the connected calls to unknown numbers were from Barbara Olson to the Department of Justice, which was also reportedly the number reached by an attempted call from her that failed to connect. If the FBI was able to determine that Barbara Olson had at 9:18:58 unsuccessfully attempted to reach the Department of Justice, why would it have been unable to determine that the calls that she – according to the two-call hypothesis – made at 9:15:34 and 9:20:15 had reached that same Department of Justice?
Although to my knowledge no advocate of the hypothesis being considered – that some of the connected calls to unknown numbers were from Barbara Olson to the DOJ – has provided a plausible explanation of these seemingly bizarre consequences of that hypothesis, one advocate has tried. According to this individual:
“If you use a credit card and pay yourself you dial the number yourself and a record from the airphone is then made. She did that once and it didn't go through...you have the one recorded call, and the number dialed from the airphone. The others were made collect and therefor [sic] the operator dialed the number not the person using the airphone therefor [sic] the number called is unknown (not dialed on the airphone) but the time the airphone was used is known and recorded.”
There are two problems with this explanation. First, as we already saw, only one of the calls from Barbara Olson reportedly received by her husband’s office came through an operator. The other one, Lori Keyton said, was a direct call. Second, it is simply not the case that collect calls made through operators leave no record. (Without a record, how would the phone company know whom to charge for the calls?) So this explanation is about a wrong as an explanation can be.
This doubly false explanation was offered by a critic on behalf of his central thesis, which is: “Evidence shows the calls happened as Olson said, and there’s no evidence they didn’t.” But good evidence is provided by the apparent fact that, as this critic’s failed attempt illustrates, there is no plausible answer to this question: If the system was able to determine that Barbara Olson attempted a call to the DOJ that did not go through, why could this same system not identify either the caller or the recipient of two calls by her that did go through? If there is no plausible answer to that question, then this is good evidence that she did not complete two calls to Ted Olson’s office from Flight 77.
In sum: Although the two-call hypothesis is not as obviously false as the four-call hypothesis, it is still too problematic to be considered a way to reconcile the FBI’s Moussaoui trial telephone report with Ted Olson’s claim that he had received two calls from his wife while she was aboard American Flight 77. As far as I can see, therefore, my claim – that the FBI’s report to the Moussaoui trial undermined Ted Olson’s account of his wife’s having called him twice from aboard Flight 77 – stands.
The conclusion that Ted Olson’s account was false does not necessarily imply that he did not receive two calls, transferred to him from Lori Keyton, that were purportedly from Barbara Olson aboard American Flight 77. It merely implies that Lori Keyton and Ted Olson did not, in fact, receive two calls from Barbara Olson from Flight 77. What really happened is another question, which could probably be answered quite quickly by a genuine investigation into the matter.
Although this essay has focused on details, often minute, in merely one aspect of the official account of 9/11, the implications are enormous. Without the widespread assumption that the 9/11 attacks had been planned and carried out by al-Qaeda, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would not have been possible. With regard to the war in Afghanistan in particular, Michel Chossudovsky has recently emphasized the fact that NATO’s decision to support this US-led war was based on a briefing by Frank Taylor of the US State Department, in which he provided what was called conclusive evidence of al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the attacks.121 Although the contents of Taylor’s briefing have never been made public, the main evidence provided to the general public has consisted of the hijack-describing phone calls reportedly received from passengers and flight attendants aboard the airliners. But when subjected to a detailed analysis, these alleged phone calls, far from supporting the war-justifying story, lead to a very different conclusion: that these alleged calls were faked. This analysis thereby suggests that the entire 9/11 story used to justify the US-led wars is a lie.
If asked which part of the official story can be most definitively shown to be false, I would speak not of the alleged phone calls but of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the official account of which says that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 came down without the aid of pre-set explosives. Given the fact that this theory involves massive violations of basic laws of physics, the evidence against it is so strong as to be properly called proof – as I have recently emphasized in a book-length critique of the official report on WTC 7 in particular.122
Nevertheless, the importance of the evidence against the official account provided by analyzing the alleged phone calls should not be minimized. If the official story is false, then we should expect every major dimension of it to be false – which, as I have emphasized in another recent book, can be seen to be the case.123 It is this cumulative argument that provides the strongest disproof of the official, war-justifying account of 9/11. The evidence that the alleged phone calls from the airliners were faked is an important part of this cumulative argument.124
David Ray Griffin is professor emeritus at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of The New Pearl Harbor - Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 , The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions -- A Critique of the Kean-Zelikow Report as well as Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?
1 “9/11: The Unofficial Story,” The Fifth Estate, CBC News, November 27, 2009 (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story
). It is also available on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/user/SaveOurSovereignty3#p/u/3/8SK1PWIGs48
2 “Video Interview: David Ray Griffin,“ The Fifth Estate, CBC News, December 4, 2009
3 “David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Cell Phone Calls: Exclusive CBC Interview,” You Tube, December 18, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjImLL4NnwA
4 “David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Cell Phone Calls: Exclusive CBC Interview,” 911Blogger.com, December 19, 2009 (http://www.911blogger.com/node/22192
5 Dean Jackson, “Comments,” ibid.
6 Charles Lane and John Mintz, “Bid to Thwart Hijackers May Have Led to Pa. Crash,” Washington Post, September 13, 2001 (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-459249.html
7 “The Final Moments of United Flight 93,” Newsweek, September 22, 2001
8 FBI, Interview with Fred Fiumano, transcribed September 20, 2001
9 Kerry Hall, “Flight Attendant Helped Fight Hijackers,” News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.), September 21, 2001
10 Greg Gordon, “Widow Tells of Poignant Last Calls,” Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2002
11 “Harrowing Final Phone Calls,” BBC News, September 13, 2001 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1543466.stm
12 Karen Gullo and John Solomon, Associated Press, “Experts, U.S. Suspect Osama bin Laden, Accused Architect of World’s Worst Terrorist Attacks,” September 11, 2001 (http://sfgate.com/today/suspect.shtml
13 David Maraniss, “September 11, 2001,” Washington Post, September 16, 2001
14 See Natalie Patton, “Flight Attendant Made Call on Cell Phone to Mom in Las Vegas,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 13, 2001
15 Tim O’Brien, “Wife of Solicitor General Alerted Him of Hijacking from Plane,” CNN, September 11, 2001 (http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/pentagon.olson
16 “Transcription of FBI Interview with Theodore Olson,” September 11, 2001
17 Three days after 9/11, Olson told Hannity and Colmes (Fox News) that his wife must have used an “airplane phone,” but then on Larry King’s show that same day he went back to the cell phone version: Having reported that the phone suddenly went dead, he said that this must have been “because the signals from cell phones coming from airplanes don’t work that well” (“America’s New War: Recovering from Tragedy,” Larry King Live, CNN, September 14, 2001 [ http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/14/lkl.00.html
18 Theodore B. Olson, “Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture,” November 16, 2001, Federalist Society, 15th Annual National Lawyers Convention
Toby Harnden, “She Asked Me How to Stop the Plane,” Daily Telegraph, March 5, 2002 (http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2002/telegraph030502.html
19 See “On September 11, Final Words of Love,” CNN, September 10, 2002 (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/09/03/ar911.phone.calls
), which said: “Unbeknown to the hijackers, passenger and political commentator Barbara Olson, 45, was able to call her husband – Solicitor General Ted Olson – on her cellular phone.”
20 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Authorized Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 6, 453n32. (Henceforth cited as 9/11CR.)
21 Affidavit by FBI Special Agent James K. Lechner, September 11, 2001; available at Four Corners: Investigative TV Journalism
), page 9.
Sweeney and Woodward are not identified by name in the affidavit, which refers simply to the former as “a flight attendant on AA11” and to the latter as “an employee of American Airlines at Logan.” But their names were revealed in an “investigative document compiled by the FBI” to which reporter Eric Lichtblau referred in “Aboard Flight 11, a Chilling Voice,” Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2001
Also, the 9/11 Commission’s report indicates that the information about Amy Sweeney’s call was provided by Woodward (9/11CR 453n32).
22 FBI, “Interview with Deena Lynne Burnett,” 9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronological, September 11, 2001, Intelfiles.com, March 14, 2008
23 FBI, “Interview with Lee Hanson” (http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/2001-09-11-FBI-FD302-lee-hanson.pdf
24 For example, according to the 9/11 Commission’s report, which reflected official documents, United Flight 93 was at 34,300 feet when passengers and crew members began making calls, and it soon climbed “to 40,700 feet” (9/11CR 11-12, 29).
25 9/11CR 453n32.
26 AT&T spokesperson Alexa Graf said shortly after 9/11: “On land, we have antenna sectors that point in three directions---say north, southwest, and southeast. Those signals are radiating across the land.” Insofar as “those signals do go up,” that is “due to leakage” (quoted in Betsy Harter, “Final Contact,” Telephony’s Wireless Review, November 1, 2001 [http://wirelessreview.com/ar/wireless_final_contact
]). A story in the Travel Technologist, published one week after 9/11, said: “[W]ireless communications networks weren't designed for ground-to-air communication. Cellular experts privately admit that they're surprised the calls were able to be placed from the hijacked planes. . . . They speculate that the only reason that the calls went through in the first place is that the aircraft were flying so close to the ground” (“Will They Allow Cell Phones on Planes?” The Travel Technologist, September 19, 2001 [http://web.archive.org/web/20020818131901/ http://elliott.org/technology/2001/cellpermit.htm
]). But, of course, the planes were not flying close to the ground when most of the cell phone calls were reportedly made. These points were made in 2004 by Michel Chossudovsky, “More Holes in the Official Story: The 9/11 Cell Phone Calls,” Centre for Research on Globalisation, August 10, 2004 (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO408B.html
). On this basis, Chossudovsky concluded that at least part of the reported cell phone conversations had to have been fabricated.
27 A.K. Dewdney, “Project Achilles Report: Parts One, Two and Three,” Physics 911, April 19, 2003 (http://www.physics911.net/projectachilles
). He later summarized and extended his conclusions in “The Cell phone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93” ( http://physics911.net/cell
28 Dewdney, “Project Achilles Report.
29 The results of Dewdney’s twin-engine experiments are reported in Barrie Zwicker, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11 (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2006), 375.
30 E-mail letter from Dewdney, November 21, 2006.
31 Dewdney, “The Cell phone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93.”
32 QUALCOMM Press Release, “American Airlines and QUALCOMM Complete Test Flight to Evaluate In-Cabin Mobile Phone Use,” July 15, 2004
33 Stephen Castle, “Era of In-Flight Mobile Phone Use Begins in Europe,” International Herald Tribune, April 18, 2008 (http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/18/business/cell.php
34 Greg Gordon, “Prosecutors Play Flight 93 Cockpit Recording,” McClatchy Newspapers, KnoxNews.com, April 12, 2006
The quoted statement is Gordon’s paraphrase of the testimony of “a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
35 Dewdney, “The Cell phone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93.”
36 United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Exhibit Number P200054
These documents have been made more readily accessible by 9/11 researcher Jim Hoffman in “Detailed Account of Phone Calls from September 11th Flights”
37 Although the most easily accessible graphic about Felt’s call on the government website (see previous note) says only “call placed from bathroom,” the statement quoted in the text is on an expanded graphic. Although getting to it on that site can be difficult, this expanded graphic can easily be seen on Jim Hoffman’s website (see previous note).
38 This graphic for Lyles can easily be accessed on Jim Hoffman’s website (see the previous two notes).
39 “T7 B12 Flight 93 Calls- General Fdr- 5-20-04 DOJ Briefing on Cell and Phone Calls From AA 77 408,” May 20, 2004
40 See the graphics for Flights 11 and 175 at “Detailed Account of Phone Calls from September 11th Flights” (http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/calldetail.html
41 See “UA-93 Altitude Profile,” Webshots.com
42 jimd3100, “‘Fake’ Phone Calls? What The Evidence Shows,” 911Blogger.com, December 22, 2009 (http://911blogger.com/node/22214
43 Affidavit by FBI Special Agent James K. Lechner, September 11, 2001 (see note 21, above).
44 FBI, Interview with Jane Allen, September 12, 2001
45 “Madeline Amy Sweeney: The Final Call,” New York Times, December 26, 2001
46 Elizabeth L. Kilkenny, “Madeline ‘Amy’ Sweeney,” Irish Tribute
47 “Madeline Amy Sweeney,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
48 “Sweeney, Amy,” Biography, Astro Databank (http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Sweeney,_Amy
49 Jerry Harkavy, “Flight Affidavit: Flight Attendant Made Call to Report Hijacking,” Associated Press, October 5, 2001
50 9/11CR 453n32.
51 Alan Cabal, “Miracles and Wonders,” New York Press, August 10, 2004
52 Cabal wrote, for example: “[N]umerous technological miracles and wonders will rise up out of the ashes of that terrible day. . . . Satam Al-Suqami's indestructible passport, for one, is currently under the microscope in the Reverse Engineering Department at Area 51. My old passport was falling apart when I finally replaced it last year, just from spending 10 years in my pocket. His survived the destruction of the World Trade Center. I want one of those” (ibid.).
53 The term “airphone” seems to be either a misspelling of “Airfone” (which is the brand name of the onboard phone provided by GTE from 1986 to 2000 and by Verizon after that) or else the use of this alternative spelling as a generic term for onboard phones.
54 Staff Report (for the 9/11 Commission), August 26, 2004 (http://www.archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/staff-report-sept...
), 45. Although this report is dated August 26, its contents were obviously available to the Commission before the completion of its final report, which appeared in July. (This report provides no clue as to the reason for its late date.)
55 9/11CR 9, 90n156. The 9/11 Commission Report was written so as to disguise the fact that it was not affirming any cell phone calls other than the reported 9:58 calls from United Flight 93 by Edward Felt and CeeCee Lyles. Writing about this flight, for example, the Commission said: “Shortly [after 9:32], the passengers and flight crew began a series of calls from GTE airphones and cellular phones” (9/11CR 12). Along with many other readers, I was deceived for some years into thinking that the Commission had thereby affirmed the occurrence of high-altitude cell phone calls (as shown by my discussion in 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press [Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008], 173). Only after studying the Commission’s Staff Report of August 2004 (see previous note) did I realize that the only cellular calls in that alleged “series of calls from GTE airphones and cellular phones” were those of Felt and Lyles.
56 Gail Sheehy, “9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks,” New York Observer, June 24, 2004
58 Staff Report (for the 9/11 Commission), August 26, 2004: 14.
59 9/11CR 453nn25, 32, 33, 36.
60 Sheehy, “9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks.”
61 Eric Lichtblau, “Aboard Flight 11, a Chilling Voice,” Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2001 [http://web.archive.org/web/20010929230742/http://latimes.com/news/n...
62 The tape itself, to be sure, does reportedly contain dialogue that may have been intended to prepare for such a claim to be made. According to a former AA employee who heard the tape, Gail Sheehy has reported, it contains the voices of two managers in American Airlines’ SOC who, hearing Nancy Wyatt’s transmission of Amy Sweeney’s words on 9/11, were saying: “Do not pass this along. Let's keep it right here. Keep it among the five of us" (Sheehy, “9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks”). I find it completely beyond belief, however, that any AA officials, upon having learned that one of their airplanes was being hijacked, would have thought they could keep it among themselves. This reported conversation seems to be simply one of the most transparently phony parts of this made-up story.
63 “T7 B10 FBI 302s Olsen Fdr- 302s Re Michael Woodward 372”
64 Staff Report (for the 9/11 Commission), August 26, 2004: 14.
65 FBI, Interview with Deena Lynne Burnett, September 11, 2001 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/15072623/T1A-B33-Four-Flights-Phone-Calls...
66 See Thomas Burnett, Flight 93, in “Detailed Account of Phone Calls from September 11th Flights”
67 FBI, Interview with Lorne Lyles, September 12, 2001
68 Gordon, “Widow Tells of Poignant Last Calls.”
69 Deena L. Burnett (with Anthony F. Giombetti), Fighting Back: Living Life Beyond Ourselves (Longwood, Florida: Advantage Inspirational Books, 2006), 61.
70 FBI Interview with Ronald and Nancy May, September 12, 2001
71 9/11CR 455n57.
72 “T7 B13 Flight Call Notes and 302s Folder – Entire Contents” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/13499802/T7-B13-Flight-Call-Notes-and-302...
). The summary of the interview with Renee May’s fiancé is the final item in these notes.
73 Natalie Patton, “Flight Attendant Made Call on Cell Phone to Mom in Las Vegas,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 13, 2001
74 Although the graphic for Renee May did not specify the seat from which her call was made, it indicated that the call was made from an onboard phone by default, that is, by not specifying that it was made on a cell phone. Also, as we saw, an FBI report stated: “All of the calls from Flight 77 were made via the onboard airphone system” (see text for note 39, above).
75 Although Brickhouse Security’s advertisement for “Telephone Voice Changers” (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/telephone-voice-changers.html
) has been modified in recent years, it previously included a device called “FoneFaker,” the ad for which said: “Record any call you make, fake your Caller ID and change your voice, all with one service you can use from any phone.” I had quoted this statement in Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (Northampton: Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2007), 297. For more evidence that the calls from the airliners were fabricated, along with informed speculation about the process for creating the faked calls, see Rowland Morgan’s book-length manuscript “Voices: The 9/11 Phone-Call Evidence,” which is available on the Internet (http://davidraygriffin.com/voices/
76 For the times, see 9/11CR 9. The elevations are those indicated for 9:16 and 9:26, respectively, by the National Transportation Safety Board’s flight path study for AA Flight 77, put out February 19, 2002
77 See the NTSB flight path study (previous note) or the NTSB animation
78 “T7 B12 Flight 93 Calls- General Fdr- 5-20-04 DOJ Briefing on Cell and Phone Calls From AA 77 408,” May 20, 2004
79 This criticism was made by a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement writing on December 20, 2009, on 911Blogger.com under the alias “loose nuke”; see the comments under “David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Cell Phone Calls: Exclusive CBC Interview” (http://www.911blogger.com/node/22192
). This twofold claim was seconded by a couple of other commentators, to whom I refer below in note 94.
80 Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, 1st edition, 266-67, citing Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall, 9/11 Revealed: The Unanswered Questions (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005), 128-29.
81 The critic “jimd3100,” while attempting to contradict my position, stated, “American Airlines had AirFones in 2001,” evidently failing to understand that this was never at issue. The only question was whether American’s 757s in particular had them.
82 The letter of inquiry was sent December 6, 2004. The response from Tim Wagner was sent the same day; see Morgan and Henshall, 9/11 Revealed, 128-29. The fact that AA had confirmed the absence of onboard phones on its Boeing 757s is also mentioned in Rowland Morgan, Flight 93 Revealed: What Really Happened on the 9/11 ‘Let’s Roll’ Flight? (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006), 52.
83 Debunking 9/11 Debunking, 1st edition, 267.
84 Sam Ames, “Airline Grounds In-flight Phone Service,” CNET News.com (http://news.cnet.com/2100-1033-831093.html
85 David Ray Griffin, “Barbara Olson’s Alleged Call from AA 77: A Correction About Onboard Phones,” Information Clearing House, May 7, 2007
86 “Cell Phones Test Positive on AA Flight,” USA Today, July 16, 2004
87 This document is available at Pilots for 9/11 Truth
88 Posted February 17, 2006, by “the Paradroid” on the Politik Forum
89 As reported in the article cited in the following note, I confirmed the reliability of the person using “the Paradroid” alias, while Balsamo contacted Chad Kinder to ask if he had indeed written that reply. Kinder’s answer was that, although he could not recall that particular letter (which would have been written more than a year earlier), it “sound[ed] like an accurate statement.”
90 David Ray Griffin and Rob Balsamo, “Could Barbara Olson Have Made Those Calls? An Analysis of New Evidence about Onboard Phones,” Pilots for 9/11 Truth, June 26, 2007 (http://pilotsfor911truth.org/amrarticle.html
) or (http://www.911blogger.com/node/9627
91 Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, Revised and Updated Edition (Northampton: Olive Branch, August 2007), 90-91.
92 Ibid., 267.
93 “New Evidence that the Official Story about 9/11 is Indefensible,” The Canadian, October 9, 2007 (http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2007/10/08/01871.html
); also posted at 911Truth.org (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20071009102819394
94 The commentator “loose nuke,” who declared it a “fact” that “AA 757s had airfones on 9/11,” added: “and, as SCL [Screw Loose Change] documents, Griffin himself acknowledged as much in 2007 – but has continued to promote the claim about no phone calls.” Then, while stating that “SCL is dishonest and disgusting,” he proceeded to cite five articles posted on this website as support for his twofold claim. Jon Gold, citing for support the comment by “loose nuke,” claimed that it provided an example of my “[p]romoting false claims even after being shown they are false” (http://www.911blogger.com/node/22192
). And “jimd3100” - the critic who claimed that I had no evidence that any phone calls were faked - wrote: “American Airlines had AirFones in 2001. . . . DRG knows this, and has for years” (http://911blogger.com/node/22214
) – by which this critic evidently meant to be referring to American’s 757s in particular. As proof, this person referred to some of the same articles from Screw Loose Change cited by “loose nuke.” None of these articles, however, show that I have continued to express a view that I knew to be false. The first one, dated May 7, 2007 (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2007/05/debunking-david-ray-gr...
), is a post by “James B” in which he simply reported my retraction, which had been posted that same day. (And yet it is this article of mine, originally posted on May 7, 2007, at Information Clearing House, that “loose nuke” cites as proof that I have been making a claim I know to be false: After citing this article, “loose nuke” said: “DRG been made [sic] aware that AA 757's had airfones on 9/11; he acknowledged this in writing.” His criticism is, in other words, based on the false assumption that my article of May 7, 2007, was my final writing on the subject – an assumption that has been facilitated by James B, as I point out below.) In the second article, dated September 14, 2007 (screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2007/09/aa-77-airfones-final-story.html), James B, besides trying to take credit for my retraction, said that my next move was “to immediately turn around and decide that this was too big of a concession to reality and start trying to prove they didn't exist again.” This was, of course, his tendentious way of explaining why I retracted the retraction (without mentioning the three new pieces of evidence, which provided the reason). The important point, however, is that he did acknowledge this. So how could anyone point to this article as evidence that I have agreed since 2007 that Boeing 757s had onboard phones on 9/11? The third article, dated October 10, 2007 (screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2007/10/david-ray-griffin-liar-or-just-sloppy.html), is by Pat of SLC and has a title asking whether I am a “Liar or Just Sloppy?” The basis for this loaded question was a brief article in which I had said that the FBI’s report to the Moussaoui trial said “in effect that the two calls that [Ted Olson] reported had never happened.” Pat replied: “No, that's not what they said,” because they “show five other phone calls for which they don't know who the caller was.” Pat’s point seemed to be that my failure to mention these other five calls (four of which were described as “connected”) implied dishonesty or sloppiness on my part. But if one turns to the article I had co-authored with Balsamo, one will find, in the section headed “United States v. Ted Olson,” our discussion of the fact that the FBI report referred to four “connected calls to unknown numbers,” attributing each one to an “unknown caller.” I also discussed these calls in the updated edition of Debunking 9/11 Debunking (267) and, most fully, in the Olson chapter of my 9/11 Contradictions (76-78). In the fourth article, dated April 3, 2008 (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2008/04/griffin-and-barrett-su...
), James B, in an attempt to refute my claim that American 757s had no onboard phones in 2001 (which I had repeated during a radio interview that week), actually quoted, against me, my retraction of May 2007, even though he had previously – in his article of September 14, 2007, and also in an article of June 26, 2007 (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2007/06/mike-mechanic.html
) – acknowledged that I had shortly thereafter retracted that retraction. (This continued use of my retraction, even after having acknowledged that I had retracted it long ago, illustrates the dishonesty of the SLC site mentioned by “loose nuke.”) In the fifth article, dated December 20, 2009 (screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-on-griffin.html), James B points out – as if I had overlooked or deliberately failed to mention it –the fact that the 9/11 Commission had reported the times of the four “connected calls to unknown numbers,” adding that “the FBI and DOJ believe all four represent communications between Barbara Olson and her husband’s office.” But I quoted the times of these alleged calls in the Olson chapter of my 2008 book, 9/11 Contradictions, and Balsamo and I, in our jointly authored essay, quoted the Commission’s statement about what “the FBI and DOJ believe,” explaining why we found this a very strange belief. In sum: I cannot understand how anyone could cite the SCL articles as evidence that I have acknowledged since 2007 that American Flight 77 had onboard phones. (The other point for which these articles at SLC were said to provide good evidence – the claim that AA 77 did have onboard phones – is discussed next in the text.)
95 “The Paradroid,” Politik Forum, February 17, 2006
96 This document is available at Pilots for 9/11 Truth (http://pilotsfor911truth.org/AA757AMM.html
97 Posted by someone using the alias “Pomeroo,” James Randi Educational Forum, June 29, 2007
98 Captain Ralph Kolstad, email letters to Rob Balsamo and David Griffin, December 22, 2009.
99 See “American Airlines Flight #77 Telephone Calls: Unknown Caller”
100 Sam Ames, “Airline Grounds In-flight Phone Service,” CNET News.com
101 This document is available on the Internet
102 I discussed some of these reasons in the latter part of “Barbara Olson’s Alleged Call from AA 77: A Correction About Onboard Phones.”
103 “America’s New War: Recovering from Tragedy,” Larry King Live, CNN, September 14, 2001 (http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/14/lkl.00.html
104 The official location for this report is United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Exhibit Number P200054 (http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosec...
). But these documents can be more easily viewed in “Detailed Account of Phone Calls From September 11th Flights” (http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/calldetail.html#ref1
). One can also go directly to the Barbara Olson graphic (http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/docs/exhibit/BarbaraOls...
105 See the Flight 77 graphic for “Unknown Callers” (http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/calldetail.html#ref1
). Some critics of my position have implied that I have deliberately not mentioned this part of the report. For example, after citing a brief essay of mine on the calls reported by Ted Olson, the critic going by “jimd3100” wrote: “[Griffin] doesn't mention that there were 5 other calls from the flight, presented at the same trial. How come?” (“‘Fake’ Phone Calls? What The Evidence Shows” [http://911blogger.com/node/22214
]). Also, in note 94, above, I pointed out that Pat of SCL suggested that, because I have not mentioned these unknown but connected calls, I must be either sloppy or a liar. However, as I pointed out in that note, I have mentioned the four “connected calls to unknown numbers” in some of my writings, including the updated edition of Debunking 9/11 Debunking and the article I co-authored with Rob Balsamo.
106 9/11CR 9.
107 9/11CR 455n57.
108 “Memorandum for the Record: Department of Justice Briefing on Cell and Phone Calls from AA Flight 77,” May 20, 2004
109 FBI, summary of interview with Lori Lynn Keyton, September 14, 2001, INTEL Wire.com (http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/2001-09-14-FBI-FD302-lori-lynn-keyton...
110 FBI, “Interview with Theodore Olsen [sic],” 9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronological, September 11, 2001Intelfiles.com, March 14, 2008,
111 “Ted Olson's Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials,” Global Research, April 1, 2008
112 jimd3100, “‘Fake’ Phone Calls?” (http://911blogger.com/node/22214
113 Besides being guilty of making this faulty inference, jimd3100 compounds the problem by abbreviating the 2004 statement – that the interviews “lead [sic] to the conclusion that all of these unknown calls were from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office” – to “all of these unknown calls were from Barbara Olson to her husband Ted's office,” so that it appears to have been a simple categorical statement, not a speculative inference.
114 Dean Jackson, “Comment,” December 20, 2009, about “David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Cell Phone Calls: Exclusive CBC Interview,” 911Blogger.com, December 19, 2009 (http://www.911blogger.com/node/22192
115 “America’s New War: Recovering from Tragedy,” Larry King Live, CNN, September 14, 2001.
117 “Transcription of FBI Interview with Theodore Olson,” September 11, 2001; FBI, “Interview of Helen Voss,” transcribed September 14, 2001
118 FBI, “Interview of Allen Ferber,” transcribed September 14, 2001
119 FBI, summary of interview with Lori Lynn Keyton (http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/2001-09-14-FBI-FD302-lori-lynn-keyton...
120 This statement was made on December 20, 2009, by “DavidS” in comments to “David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Cell Phone Calls” (http://www.911blogger.com/node/22192
121 Michel Chossudovsky, “September 11, 2001: America and NATO Declare War on Afghanistan: NATO's Doctrine of Collective Security,” Global Research, December 21, 2009 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16573
122 David Ray Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2009).
123 David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008).
124 My thanks to Elizabeth Woodworth and Tod Fletcher for help with this essay.
David Ray Griffin is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by David Ray Griffin