9/11 Conspiracy Theories - Terminology

Terminology

Within the context of 9/11 conspiracy theories, the terms "mainstream account", "official account" and "official conspiracy theory" all refer to:

  • The reports from government investigations – the 9/11 Commission Report (which incorporated intelligence information from the earlier FBI investigation (PENTTBOM) and the Joint Inquiry of 2002), and the studies into building performance carried out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Investigations by non-government organizations that support the accepted account – such as those by the National Fire Protection Association, and by scientists of Purdue University and Northwestern University.
  • Articles supporting these facts and theories appearing in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, and Time.
  • Similar articles in news media throughout the world, including The Times of India, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the BBC, Le Monde, Deutsche Welle, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and The Chosun Ilbo of South Korea.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama's June 2009 speech to the Muslim world where he said "I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day."

These sources concluded that al-Qaeda crashed United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. The impact and resulting fires caused the collapse of the Twin Towers and the destruction and damage of other buildings in the World Trade Center complex. The Pentagon was severely damaged by the impact of the airliner and the resulting fire. The hijackers also crashed a fourth plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers and flight crew attempted to regain control of the aircraft.

The 9/11 Commission Report concluded that pre-attack warnings of varying detail of the planned attacks against the United States by al-Qaeda were ignored due to a lack of communication between various law enforcement and intelligence personnel. For the lack of interagency communication, the report cited bureaucratic inertia and laws passed in the 1970s to prevent abuses that caused scandals during that era. The report faulted the Clinton and the Bush administrations with "failure of imagination."

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