David Griffin's New Pearl Harbor Revisited Excerpt from Ch. 6: Continuing Obstructions and New Doubts About Hijackers

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After briefly discussing problems associated with the government's account of the alleged hijackers in NPH's sixth chapter, I discussed them more fully in its Afterword. I here discuss the issue still more fully on the basis of additional information.

Still Alive?In the Afterword, I emphasized the evidence that some of the accused men were still alive after 9/11. I then devoted the first chapter of 9/11 CROD to this issue. Indeed, my first shock upon reading The 9/11 Commission Report was seeing, in its first few pages, the names of the 19 men who had been identified as hijackers by the FBI shortly after 9/11, followed later in the book by the FBI's photographs of them, [46] without any suggestion that there might be doubts about whether all of these men had died in hijacked airliners on 9/11.The Commission's brazen disregard of contrary evidence was shown most clearly by its treatment of alleged hijacker Waleed al-Shehri. In a September 22, 2001, article entitled "Hijack 'Suspect' Alive in Morocco," David Bamford of the BBC had made clear that the man of that name identified by the FBI as one of the hijackers was still alive.[47]

His photograph was released by the FBI, and has been shown in newspapers and on television around the world. That same Mr. Al-Shehri has turned up in Morocco, proving clearly that he was not a member of the suicide attack. He told Saudi journalists in Casablanca that he has now been interviewed by the American authorities, who apologised for the misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the 9/11 Commission endorsed the FBI's inclusion of al-Shehri on the list of hijackers and even said he was probably responsible for stabbing one of the flight attendants on American 11. [48]

A 2003 article in Der Spiegel tried to debunk Bamford's story, along with a related BBC story of September 23, 2001 ("Hijack 'Suspects' Alive and Well" [49]), which Der Spiegel characterized as "nonsense about surviving terrorists." It claimed that the reported still-alive hijackers were all cases of mistaken identity, involving men with "coincidentally identical names." This claim by Der Spiegel depended on its assertion that, at the time of the reports, the FBI had released only a list of names: "The FBI did not release photographs until four days after the cited reports, on September 27th." [50] This, however, was not true. Bamford's BBC story of September 22 as we saw, had reported that Waleed al-Shehri's photograph had been "released by the FBI" and "shown in newspapers and on television around the world."

In 2006, the BBC withdrew its support for its own stories of September 22 and 23, 2001, on the same basis. Steve Herrmann, the editor of the BBC News website, claimed that confusion had arisen because "these were common Arabic and Islamic names." Accordingly, he said, the BBC changed its September 23 story ("Hijack 'Suspects' Alive and Well") in one respect: "Under the FBI picture of Waleed al Shehri we have added the words 'A man called Waleed Al Shehri...' to make it as clear as possible that there was confusion over the identity." However, Bamford's BBC story of September 22 which Herrmann failed to mention, had made it as clear as possible that there was no confusion.

The attempts by Der Spiegel and the BBC to discredit the reports that Waleed al-Shehri and other men on the FBI's list of hijackers were still alive after 9/11 have been refuted by Jay Kolar. He shows, among other things, that FBI photographs had been published by Saudi newspapers on September 19 [51] -- a fact that fits with Bamford's statement that Waleed al-Shehri had seen his published photograph prior to September 22.

Devout Muslims?Another question raised in NPH was whether, given reports of these young men's drinking and sexual habits, we can believe that they were really devout Muslims, ready to meet their Maker. The threat that these reports posed to the official account of 9/11 was brought out in an article published in a Florida newspaper five days after 9/11. Entitled "Suspects' Actions Don't Add Up," it said:

Three guys cavorting with lap dancers at the Pink Pony Nude Theater. Two others knocking back glasses of Stolichnaya and rum and Coke at a fish joint in Hollywood the weekend before committing suicide and mass murder. That might describe the behavior of several men who are suspects in Tuesday's terrorist attack, but it is not a picture of devout Muslims, experts say. Let alone that of religious zealots in their final days on Earth.... [A] devout Muslim [cannot] drink booze or party at a strip club and expect to reach heaven, said Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. The most basic tenets of the religion forbid alcohol and any sex outside marriage. "It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam," said Ayoub. "People who would kill themselves for their faith would come from very strict Islamic ideology. Something here does not add up." [52]

Although this reported behavior by the alleged hijackers should have led the press to investigate why the official account did "not add up," the press instead began modifying and eliminating such reports. An example was provided by the evolution of the most repeated story about Atta's drinking, which involved a place called Shuckums (the "fish joint" mentioned in the story quoted above). According to articles published by the New York Times and papers immediately after 9/11, Atta and his constant companion, Marwan al-Shehhi, were drinking heavily there on September 7, just four days before 9/11. Atta drank vodka and orange juice, while al-Shehhi drank rum and Coke, and the bartender described the two men as "wasted." [53] Soon, however, this story was transformed in the press so that Atta had no longer drunk alcohol [54] , [54]. Rather, he had merely played games and, if he drank anything, it was cranberry juice. [55] The Atta-drank-cranberry-juice version of the Shuckums story was even carried by Time magazine, [56] although it had, only a week earlier, published the vodka-and-orange-juice version and quoted the bartender's statement that Atta had been "wasted." [57]

Even though the press had helpfully cleaned up the Shuckums story so that it was consistent with the official portrayal of Atta as a devout Muslim, the 9/11 Commission refused the gift. In line with its claim that Atta had become very religious, even "fanatically so," [58] the Commission simply pretended that Atta had not even gone to Shuckums that night. Rather than doing something so frivolous four days before 9/11, Atta was all business:  "On September 7, he flew from Fort Lauderdale to Baltimore, presumably to meet with the Flight 77 team in Laurel." [59] Although dozens of newspapers had reported the Shuckums episode, not one of them, to my knowledge, has challenged the 9/11 Commission's revisionist account, according to which that well-reported episode never happened.

The Commission extended this pretense to the stories about the sexual proclivities of Atta and other alleged hijackers, which were mentioned in NPH. These stories were in mainstream newspapers. The San Francisco Chronicle described trips to Las Vegas, during which Atta and other "self-styled warriors for Allah... engaged in some decidedly un-Islamic sampling of prohibited pleasures," including lap dances. The Chronicle then emphasized the importance of this revelation by quoting Dr. Osama Haikal, president of the board of directors of the Islamic Foundation of Nevada, as saying: "True Muslims don't drink, don't gamble, don't go to strip clubs." [60] The Boston Herald, after reporting that two of the hijackers had hired a prostitute just two nights before 9/11, commented that this was "just the latest link between the Koran-toting killers and America's seedy sex scene," after which it referred to reports that the hijackers, including Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, spent hundreds of dollars on lap dances in strip clubs in Florida and Las Vegas. [61] These reports were even pointed out in a WaIl Street Journal editorial entitled "Terrorist Stag Parties," [62] which referred to the stories in the Boston Herald and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Commission handled the threat posed by these reports by simply pretending to be unaware of them, claiming that it had seen "no credible evidence explaining why... the operatives flew to or met in Las Vegas." [63]

The Commission also covered up the fact -- which I mentioned in a note to the Afterword of NPH and then discussed at some length in 9/11 Contradictions [64] -- that Atta, as documented by investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, had lived with a stripper named Amanda Keller in Venice, on the west coast of Florida, in the early months of 2001. Although this fact was well known in the area, having been reported by local newspapers shortly after 9/11 and verified by many witnesses, the Commission simply followed the FBI's timeline, which claimed Atta left the Venice area late in 2000, never to return. [65]

An especially dangerous part of the covered-up story was that, according to Keller, Atta regularly used cocaine, which he obtained from Huffman Aviation, where he was taking flying lessons. [66] Atta's first date with Keller, in fact, reportedly involved what Hopsicker described as a "very un-Islamic three-day drug- and-booze-fueled party in Key West." [67] Although the mainstream press has not asked the 9/11 Commission about such reports, one member of the alternative press, interviewing Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, asked: "If Mohamed Atta is technically a fundamentalist Muslim, what is he doing doing cocaine and going to strip bars?" Ben-Veniste replied, "You know, that's a heck of a question." [68] It was a question, however, that the 9/11 Commission, when it issued its report, did not address.

By thus ignoring all evidence to the contrary, the Commission could portray the alleged hijackers as devout Muslims ready to meet their Maker: a "cadre of trained operatives willing to die." [69]

Atta to Portland?As I suggested in NPH, the information reportedly found in Atta's luggage, which had failed to get loaded onto Flight 11, appears to have been planted. Additional evidence, unknown to me at that time, suggests an even more radical conclusion. [70]

According to the official story, partially told on the first page of The 9/11 Commission Report, Atta and another hijacker, Abdul al-Omari, rented a blue Nissan Altima in Boston on September 10 and drove up to Portland, Maine, where they stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn. Early the next morning, they drove the Nissan to the Portland airport, left it in the parking lot, and caught the 6:00AM commuter flight to Boston. They arrived there at 6:45, with time to spare to catch American Flight 11, which was not scheduled to depart until 7:45. [71] For some reason, however, Atta's luggage did not make the connection. When authorities later discovered and opened this luggage, they found a treasure trove of information, which seemed to leave no doubt about al-Qaeda's responsibility for the hijackings.

There have always been two mysteries about this story. First, why would Atta, after he was already in Boston, have gone to Portland and stayed overnight, making his arrival back at the Boston airport in time to catch American Flight 11 contingent on the commuter flight, which might have been late? Atta was (allegedly) the designated pilot for Flight 11 and the ringleader of the whole operation, which, after years of planning, he might have had to call off. Why would he have taken such a risk? Both the 9/11 Commission and the FBI admitted that they had no answer for this question. [72] The second mystery is based on the fact that the commuter flight arrived an hour before Flight 11's scheduled departure time, as the 9/11 Commission admitted. [73] Why, then, did Atta's bags not get loaded onto Flight 11? (A careless ground crew cannot be blamed, since the bags of all the other passengers reportedly made it. [74] )

The reason for these mysteries appears to be that the whole Atta-went-to-Portland story was a late invention. In the first few days after 9/11, news stories reported that the treasure trove of information, rather than being found in Atta's luggage inside the airport, was found in a white Mitsubishi, which Atta had left in the parking lot at Boston's Logan Airport. It was two other alleged hijackers, Adnan Bukhari and Ameer Bukhari, who were said to have driven the rented Nissan to Portland and then flown back to Boston on the commuter flight the next morning.

The distinction between Atta and the men who flew from Portland to Boston was clearly made in a CNN report on September 12, which said:

Law enforcement sources say that two of the suspected hijackers... are brothers that lived [in Vero Beach, Florida].... One of them is Adnan Bukhari. We have a photograph of him ... Also living in Vero Beach, Bukhari's brother, Ameer....Law enforcement sources... tell CNN that the Bukhari brothers were believed to have been on one of the two flights out of Boston.... Also we can report to you that a car impounded in Portland, Maine, according to law enforcement authorities, was rented at Boston Logan Airport and driven to Portland, Maine. Now the Maine state police confirm that two of the suspected hijackers were on a US Air flight out of (Portland Jetport). [75] The FBI is also looking at two more suspected hijackers, Mohammad Ana and Marwan Yusef Alshehhi. [76]

Another CNN report that same day stated that the incriminating materials were found in a car at the Boston airport and, while discussing the Nissan found at the Portland airport, made no suggestion that it had been rented by Atta:

Law enforcement officials confirmed that a car was seized at Boston's Logan International Airport and that suspicious materials were found. The Boston Herald said there were Arabic language flight training manuals in the car. ... Meanwhile, in Portland, Maine, police said that two individuals who traveled by plane from that city to Boston were under investigation. "I can tell you those two individuals did get on a plane and fly to Boston early yesterday morning," said Portland Police Chief Mike Chitwood. "I cannot tell you who they are, I cannot tell you where they came from. I can tell you that they are the focus of a federal investigation." He said that the two were recorded on videotape as they went through the Portland Jetport's security cameras.... Maine authorities said a car -- a rented silver Nissan Altima with Massachusetts plates -- was seized from the Portland airport Tuesday evening. Authorities believe the two men -- possible hijackers -- used that car to travel to the airport, where they boarded an early morning commercial flight to Boston. [77]

Both of these reports clearly distinguished between the Nissan found at the Portland Jetport and the car with Arabic materials found at the Boston airport. Also, because the first story said that CNN had a photo of Adnan Bukhari and the second story said that the two men who took the commuter flight from Portland were recorded on the videotape of the airport's security cameras, it should have been clear whether those two men were the Bukharis or not.

On the next day, September 13, CNN identified the two men as the Bukhari brothers and also identified Atta as the person who had rented the car found at Boston-now identified as a Mitsubishi-containing the Arabic materials:

Two of the men were brothers... Adnan Bukhari and Ameer Abbas Bukhari... The two rented a car, a silver-blue Nissan Altima, from an Alamo car rental at Boston's Logan Airport and drove to an airport in Portland, Maine, where they got on US Airways Flight 5930 at 6AM Tuesday headed back to Boston, the sources said.... A Mitsubishi sedan impounded at Logan Airport was rented by [Mohamed] Atta, sources said. The car contained materials, including flight manuals, written in Arabic that law enforcement sources called "helpful" to the investigation. [78]

That same day, September 13, CNN gave an even fuller account, saying:

Federal law enforcement in the United States was led to the Hamburg connection by way of information linked to a car seized at Logan Airport. It was a Mitsubishi. It was rented by Mohammed [sic] Atta, who lived in an apartment in Hamburg.. . . Inside was a flight manual in Arabic language material that law enforcement investigators say was very helpful. ... [W]e are being told by [a] law enforcement source right now that. .. the FBI was on the lead to the Bukhari brothers from that Portland car that they impounded.... Also, we know that those two men who took that car to Portland were on a US Air flight from Portland to Logan right before the American and United planes took off. [79]

On the afternoon of September 13, however, CNN suddenly announced that neither of the Bukharis had died on 9/11: Ameer had died the year before and Adnan was still alive. CNN apologized for the "misinformation," which had been "[b]ased on information from multiple law enforcement sources."[80]

Although the story, consequently, began to change, it did not assume its final form immediately. That same article, for example, still said that a Mitsubishi sedan at Boston's Logan Airport, which "sources said was rented by Atta," contained "materials written in Arabic, including flight manuals, that law enforcement sources called 'helpful' to the investigation" and that "led investigators to... Mohammed [sic] Atta and Marwan Yousef Alshehhi." Even the next day, September 14, CNN said: "According to law enforcement sources, Atta was on American Airlines Flight 11 .... A Mitsubishi sedan he rented was found at Boston's Logan Airport. Arabic language materials were found in the car. "[81]

That same day, however, the story began to change more drastically. An Associated Press report, citing Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood, said with respect to "two suspects in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center":

One of the two suspects who boarded a flight in Portland was Mohamed Atta, 33.... The 2001 Nissan Altima used by the men came from the same Boston rental location as another car used by additional suspects that contained incriminating materials when it was seized at Boston's Logan Airport. Once in Maine, the suspects spent the night at the Comfort Inn in South Portland before boarding the plane the next morning, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Public Safety Department.[82]

Suddenly, the Nissan Altima had been driven to Portland by Atta and his companion, who then stayed at the Comfort Inn. But the incriminating materials were still found in a rental car left at Logan (although this car had been rented by unnamed "additional suspects," not Atta).

Finally, on September 16, the Washington Post published a story in which the transition to the final form of the story had been completed: Not only had Atta (with al-Omari) driven the rental car to Portland, stayed in the Comfort Inn, then taken the commuter flight back to Boston the next morning. But also, the incriminating evidence was "left in his luggage at Boston's Logan Airport." [83]

By October 5, the FBI had supplied a timeline of the visit to Portland by Atta and al-Omari, complete with witnesses and videos proving that they had been there. [84] One of the images from this video that was circulated by the FBI showed Atta and al-Omari at the Jetport gas station at 8:28:29PM. This photo, however, had been cropped to hide the date. [85] At the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006, the FBI presented an uncropped copy of this picture, and it showed the date to be 11-10-01, rather than 9-10-01. [86] Although one might regard this photo as evidence that Atta was in Portland on November 10, two months after 9/11, the video was stamped "MON," meaning Monday, and November 10 fell on a Saturday. (September 10 was, of course, a Monday.) Still another problem was that, although the video was stamped 8:28AM, the FBI timeline reported that, on September 10, Atta and al-Omari were at the Jetport station at 9:15, having been photographed at two other places at 8:31 and 8:41 [87]. The video was evidently a botched forgery-unless someone at the FBI was engaged in subtle whistle blowing.

The FBI also included in the evidence to the Moussaoui trial an affidavit, dated 9:53AM September 12 and signed by FBI agent James K. Lechner and US Magistrate Judge David M. Cohen, stating that the blue Nissan Altima found at the Portland Jetport had been rented by Mohamed Atta; that the names of Atta and al-Omari were on the passenger list for American Flight 11; that "American Airlines personnel at Logan discovered two bags [checked to passenger Atta] that had been bound for transfer to AA11 but had not been loaded onto the flight"; and that on September 11, US Magistrate Judge Lawrence P Cohen had authorized a search of these bags, which included much incriminating material, including Atta's will. [88] (I found no evidence that these two judges, David M. Cohen and Lawrence P. Cohen, are related.)

However, if this affidavit, in its present form, was truly signed early on September 12, the media's reporting on the following days is inexplicable. The media were getting their information from the FBI and other law enforcement officials. (CNN said on September 13, as we saw, that the misinformation it had received about the Bukharis had been "[b]ased on information from multiple law enforcement sources"). If the FBI affidavit in its present form had been signed on the morning of September 12, why were the media saying until the afternoon of September 13 that the blue Nissan had been rented and driven to Portland by the Bukharis, and that Atta had rented a Mitsubishi and left it, filled with incriminating materials, in the parking lot at Boston's Logan Airport? And how could we explain the fact that it was evidently not until September 16 that anyone reported that the incriminating materials had been found in Atta's luggage? We could understand all of this, however, if the affidavit, in its present form, had been back-dated.

In any case, learning the history behind the story about Atta's trip and his luggage provides a likely explanation for why this story makes no sense: it was simply invented after the original story about the Portland trip was undermined by the discovery that the Bukharis had not died on 9/11. This new story provided a way to explain why a rental car left at the Portland airport could have led authorities to two of the hijackers. But this solution created the mystery of why Atta would have taken this trip plus the problem of explaining the well-reported fact that incriminating materials had been found at Logan Airport. This latter problem was solved by saying that these materials were found in Atta's luggage, which did not make it onto Flight 11. But this solution created, in turn, the mystery as to why Atta's luggage failed to make the flight. The main problem facing the new story, however, is simply the fact that it is a new story, which radically contradicts what the authorities had said the first few days after 9/11.

The idea that this story was a late invention is supported not only by all the contradictions reported above but also by the fact that ticket agent Michael Tuohey, who checked in the two men at the Portland Jetport, described their attire in a way that did not fit the security video footage of Atta and al-Omari. According to a reporter who had interviewed him:

As [Tuohey] watched the security video taken at the passenger screening area upstairs, he picked out the two men without a doubt. They were no longer wearing the coats and ties they had on when they approached the counter. Tuohey figures they must have taken them off on the way to screening and tucked them into their carry-ons. [89] (same article at diff source for 89 and 90 -gReT)

That, however, was a very unlikely explanation, especially given the fact that the two men had arrived so late that Tuohey had been worried, he said, that they might miss the flight. [90] Tuohey claimed, in fact, that after Atta started insisting on receiving boarding passes for the second flight (American 11), Tuohey told him: "Mr. Atta, if you don't go now, you will miss your plane." [91]

As that statement illustrated, Tuohey completely supported the official account, according to which the two men he checked in were Atta and al-Omari. He was even cited in The 9/11 Commission Report (although it misspelled his name). [92] But his support must be considered suspect, because he made a claim that the ticket agent in Boston who completed the reservation for Atta and al-Omari committed suicide later. [93] -- that appears to be baseless. [94] It may be significant, nevertheless, that Tuohey, who otherwise supported the official account, gave a description of the two men's attire that undermined the claim that the security video footage of Atta and al-Omari was taken on September 11 (see the discussion of "Airport Security Videos" below).

Replacements:  When it was discovered, after the FBI had prepared its initial list of hijackers, that the Bukharis had not been on Flight 11, [95] replacements were needed. Adnan and Ameer Bukhari, who were thought to be brothers (although Adnan denied it), were replaced by two (other) brothers: Wail and Waleed al-Shehri. [96] The fact that these latter two men were last-minute substitutes may help to explain why they were both reportedly still alive after 9/11.

Moreover, two other men originally on the list of Flight 11 hijackers -- Amer Kamfar and Abdulrahman al-Omari -- were also replaced. [97] Amer Kamfar was replaced by Satam al-Suqami, and Abdulrahman al-Omari was replaced by a man with a similar name, Abdul Aziz al-Omari. This latter al-Omari was the man who, shortly after he was added to the list, was said to have accompanied Atta to Portland on September 10. This means that, besides the fact that Atta was originally said to have left his rental car in Boston, not Portland, the man who was said to have accompanied him to Portland was not even on the FBI's original list of hijackers.

Another name not originally on the FBI's list of hijackers was that of Hani Hanjour. On September 14 at about 10:00AM, CNN correspondent Kelli Arena, reporting that CNN had "managed to grab a list of the names of the 18 suspected hijackers that is supposed to be officially released by [the Department of] Justice sometime later today," read the list aloud. Instead of Hani Hanjour, the list included a name that, based on her pronunciation, was transcribed as "Mosear Caned." [98] On a list released by CNN at 2:00PM the same day, however, that name had been replaced with Hanjour's. [99] On September 16, a Washington Post story, seeking to explain why Hanjour's "name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight," said that "he may not have had a ticket." [100] That explanation, however, would raise the question as to how he had gotten on board. In any case, the fact that Hanjour was a last minute substitute may help explain why the official story about Flight 77 ended up with a pilot who could not fly.

Post-175 Flights for Hamza al-Ghamdi:  In February 2008, the FBI released, in response to a FOIA request, a redacted version of a document entitled "Hijackers Timeline." [101], Although this document had been cited extensively (52 times) in The 9/11 Commission Report, it contains several items of interest that were not mentioned by the Commission. One of these items indicatesthat Hamza al-Ghamdi, named as one of the hijackers on United Flight 175-which was supposed to go from Boston to Los Angeles-had booked later flights. Besides having a continuation flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco that same day, al-Ghamdi had also booked flights to and within Saudi Arabia for September 20 and 29. [102] This suggests that if he was on Flight 175, he had not thought of it as a suicide mission. Would this be why the 9/11 Commission did not mention this interesting information?


As we have seen, much of the evidence that there were hijackers on the planes dissipates upon examination. In Chapter 3, we saw that the phone calls reporting the presence of hijackers on Flight 93 appear to have been faked. In the present chapter, we have seen that the idea that the alleged hijackers were devout Muslims, ready to die for their faith, is contradicted by considerable evidence; that the story about incriminating evidence found in Atta's luggage appears to have been invented; that several of the names on the FBI's final list of hijackers were added after some other names on its original list proved problematic; and that some of the people on this final list appear to have still been alive after 9/11. Does any of the evidence for hijackers stand up? I will look next at six more types of evidence that have been cited: phone calls from the flights (divided into two parts), discovered passports, a discovered headband, airport videos, a hijacker's voice on the radio of Flight 11, and names on flight manifests.

Phone Calls from Flights 77, 93, and 175:  In Chapter 2, we saw that, according to the FBI's report presented to the Moussaoui trial in 2006, the phone call from flight attendant Renee May to her parents was not really, as her parents had thought, made from a cell phone. In Chapter 3, we saw that the numerous high altitude cell phone calls reported from Flight 93, besides being extremely improbable technologically, were said in the FBI's Moussaoui trial evidence to have been made from onboard phones. In light of both the technology of the time and the FBI report, therefore, either all of these calls were faked or, if they really did originate from passengers on the flights, were made from onboard phones. If one accepts the latter possibility, one can still regard these calls as providing evidence that there were hijackers on the flights. To accept this view, however, one would need to accept the improbable view that Renee May's parents and the relatives of several people on Flight 93 shared the same confusion, mistakenly thinking that their loved ones had said that they were calling on cell phones. This belief becomes even more improbable when we bring in United Flight 175, from which two passengers, Peter Hanson and Brian Sweeney, were believed by their relatives to have called from cell phones. [103] Can we believe that so many people would have made the same mistake? Is it not more likely that they all thought they had been called on cell phones because they had been told this by people pretending, with the aid of voice morphing, to be their relatives?

The case for this conclusion becomes even stronger when we turn to Deena Burnett, who reported that her phone's Caller ID showed her husband's cell phone number. How could she possibly have been confused about that? She must have been called by someone who faked Tom Burnett's cell phone number as well as his voice. And if the calls to Deena Burnett were faked, must we not conclude that the rest of the calls were faked, too?

The case for the conclusion that the calls were faked becomes still stronger when we recall that Ted Olson's story about getting two calls from his wife on American Flight 77 is doubly ruled out, regardless of which version we consider. The cell phone version is ruled out both by the cell phone technology of the time and the FBI report on calls from Flight 77. The onboard phone version is ruled out by American Airlines-which reported that Flight 77, being a Boeing 757, had no onboard phones-and by the FBI report. We must conclude, therefore, that either Ted Olson lied or else he was fooled, like other people, by fake phone calls. Either way, the story that Barbara Olson made two calls, reporting that Flight 77 had been hijacked, was based on deceit. If deceit was involved in this all-important call, we must suspect that all the other reported calls from passengers were deceitful.

Phone Calls from Flight Attendants on American 11:  To test this suspicion, we can turn to the one flight not yet discussed, American 11. Although no passenger calls were reported from this flight, there were reportedly two calls made by two of the flight attendants, Madeline ("Amy") Sweeney and Betty Ong. These reported calls have been crucial to the official story about American Flight 11. The 9/11 Commission said that they "tell us most of what we know about how the hijacking happened." [104]

Amy Sweeney reportedly made several attempts to call the American Flight Services Office in Boston and, after finally reaching the manager, Michael Woodward, spoke to him for twelve minutes (8:32 to 8:44). Stating that her plane had been hijacked, she added that the hijackers had slit a passenger's throat and stabbed two flight attendants. [l05] Most important, besides reporting that the hijackers were of "Middle Eastern descent," she gave their seat numbers, from which Woodward was able to learn the identities of three of them: Mohamed Atta, Abdul al-Omari and Satam al-Suqami. [l06] Amy Sweeney's call was critical, ABC News explained, because without it, "the plane might have crashed with no one certain the man in charge was tied to al Qaeda."[107]

The story of this very important call, however, contained at least eight problems. [108]

First, the public information about this reported call- -- its content along with its very occurrence -- rested entirely on a report constructed by the FBI. American Airlines employees were ordered by the FBI not to discuss Sweeney's reported call with the press. [109]

Second, the only publicly available document testifying to the occurrence of the call is the previously discussed affidavit by FBI agent James Lechner, dated September 12, 2001, which (dubiously) stated that the blue Nissan had been rented by Mohamed Atta and that the incriminating evidence had been found in Atta's luggage inside Boston's Logan Airport. [110] We have good reason, in other words, to be skeptical of this document.

Third, Lechner's affidavit stated that, according to Woodward, Sweeney had been "using a cellular telephone." [111] But when the 9/11 Commission discussed this reported call, it said that Sweeney had used an onboard phone-which the Commission called an "airphone." [112]

Behind that change of story was the claim, made in 2004, that a previously unreported tape recording existed. Although Michael Woodward, this story said, had not recorded Sweeney's call, because his officie had no tape recorder, he had repeated what he was hearing from Sweeney to a colleague, Nancy Wyatt, who then repeated the account by telephone to Ray Howland at American headquarters in Fort Worth, who recorded Wyatt's third-hand account. [113] After Amy Sweeney's husband was informed of the existence of this recording in June 2004, he said to Gail Sheehy:

I was shocked that I'm finding out, almost three years later, there was a tape with information given by my wife that was very crucial to the happenings of 9/11. Suddenly it miraculously appears and falls into the hands of FBI? … Why did it surface now? [l14]

The answer to this question might have something to do with one piece of information on the tape: that Amy Sweeney, thanks to "an AirFone card, given to her by another flight attendant," had used a passenger-seat phone. [115] Given this information, there was no need to claim that Amy Sweeney had completed a high-altitude cell phone call that lasted for twelve minutes. That this was indeed the motive is supported by the evidence, reported in Chapter 3, that the FBI in 2004 also changed its report about phone calls from Flight 93, so that it no longer affirmed any high altitude cell phone calls.

The FBI's new account of Amy Sweeney's call, however, raised the question of why Lechner's FBI affidavit had stated that, according to Woodward, Sweeney had called on a cell phone. Although stories sometimes get changed in the retelling, it is hardly conceivable that, if Woodward had told Nancy Wyatt that Sweeney was using a cell phone, Wyatt could have misunderstood him to have said that she had borrowed a calling card in order to use an onboard phone. [116]

In light of what is publicly known, in fact, it seems possible that the Wyatt recording was created, rather than discovered, in 2004 (perhaps as part of a more general transformation of most of the reported cell phone calls into calls from onboard phones, which would explain why the FBI report on phone calls presented for the Moussaoui trial in 2006 differed radically from previous reports, as discussed in Chapter 3, with regard to the number of cell phone calls made from the airliners). This supposition would be in line with Eric Lichtblau's account on September 20, 2001, which said:

FBI officials in Dallas, where American Airlines is based, were able, on the day of the terrorist attacks, to piece together a partial transcript and an account of the phone call. American Airlines officials said such calls are not typically recorded, suggesting that the FBI may have reconstructed the conversation from interviews. [117]

The supposition that there was no recording made on 9/11 is also supported by a statement in 2002 by American Airlines spokesman John Hotard. Referring to "Woodward's original notes of his conversation with Sweeney," Hotard said: "I've never seen them.... But the FBI got a hold of them very quickly, and wrote a summary." [118] Why would the FBI have used Woodward's notes to write its summary if it had a tape recording in which Amy Sweeney's statements had been repeated verbatim? (Woodward, in explaining to FBI agent James Lechner why he had not made a recording, would surely have mentioned that a recording of the word-for-word repetition of her message was available at American Airlines headquarters in Dallas.)

A fourth problem with Sweeney's reported call involves timing. The FBI document about Sweeney's call said, according to Lichtblau's article, that while she was relating details about the hijackers, they stormed the front of the plane and "had just gained access to the cockpit." [119] The 9/11 Commission said, however, thatthe hijacking of Flight 11 "began at 8:14 or shortly thereafter" but that Sweeney's call did not go through until 8:25. [120] The FBI report, therefore, portrayed her as describing the hijacking as beginning at least eleven minutes after it, according to the Commission, had been successfully carried out. (This timing problem is similar to the problem discussed with the Glick call, pointed out in Chapter 3, according to which the passenger revolt on Flight 93 began at least six minutes later than it did according to the Commission's timeline.)

A fifth problem with the reported call from Sweeney involves the all-important seat identifications. According to Gail Sheehy's account of this call:

(Sweeney] gave him (Michael Woodward] the seat locations of three of the hijackers: 9D, 9G and 10B.... Mr. Woodward ordered a colleague to punch up those seat locations on the computer. At least 20 minutes before the plane crashed, the airline had the names... of three of the five hijackers. They knew that 9G was Abdulaziz al-Omari, 10B was Satam al-Suqami, and 9D was Mohamed Atta -- the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorists. [111]

According to the official report, however, Atta and al-Omari were in 8D and 8G, respectively. [112] How could they have been correctly identified by Woodward if Sweeney had said that they were in Row 9 rather than Row 8?

A sixth problem is that this same divergence from the official story -- putting two of the hijackers in the ninth row – was contained in the call from the voice claiming to be flight attendant Betty Ong. The recording of this call was played at a 9/11 Commission hearing in 2004 and presented at the Moussaoui trial in 2006. [123] "Ong," speaking of "the four hijackers," said that they "had come from first-class seats 2A, 2B, 9A and 9B." [124] Seats 2A and 2B agree with the official story, according to which those seats were occupied by Wail and Waleed al-Shehri, respectively. But her statement that two of the hijackers were in 9A and 9B differed from both the statement by "Sweeney" (9D and 9G) and the official view (8D and 8G).

A seventh problem is that, whereas the official view is that there were five hijackers on Flight 11, both "Sweeney" and "Ong" spoke of only four. The statement by "Ong" was quoted in the previous paragraph. The fact that "Sweeney" said the same was shown in Eric Lichtblau's Los Angeles Times article of September 20, 2001, which said:

Investigators have identified five suspected hijackers on the flight. ... But Sweeney apparently saw only four of the five men. ... Investigators noted that Sweeney even had the presence of mind to relay the exact seat numbers of the four suspects in the ninth and 10th rows, although a few of those seats do not match up with the seats assigned to the hijackers on the tickets they purchased. [125]

Mentioning only four hijackers and placing two of them in the ninth row were not, moreover, the only points on which the calls by "Ong" and "Sweeney" shared an error (meaning a statement that disagreed with what became the official story). After "Ong" called an American Airlines reservations desk in Raleigh, North Carolina, to report that her flight had been hijacked, she was asked which flight she was on. In a portion of the call that was recorded and can be heard on the Internet, she replied, "Flight 12" and did not correct the error until about a minute later. [126] Also, the person who took the first call from "Amy Sweeney" reported, according to the 9/11 Commission, that she had said that she was on Flight 12 (which was indeed scheduled to fly out of Boston that morning but had not yet departed). [127] This shared error constitutes an eighth problem.

How can we explain the fact that the calls by "Sweeney" and "Ong" had three errors in common and yet disagreed on the seating of the hijackers? One possibility would be that the people who made the calls were reading from scripts that contained identical errors (about the flight number and the number of hijackers) along with some divergent errors (the hijackers' seat numbers).

The questions about "Betty Ong" became even more complex with the appearance of another version of the "Ong" transcript. This version, which says that it was transcribed by the FBI on September 12, 2001, from an American Airlines recording, was declassified March 20, 2006. [128] It differs from the transcription of the previously known "Ong" recording in many ways: It is somewhat longer and refers to many unintelligible gaps (which are mostly not audible in the previously known recording); the statements by "Ong" occur in a different order; the statements by the two American Airlines employees -- Winston and Vanessa – also differ, accordingly; the mistaken reference to the plane as "Flight 12" is made only by Winston and Vanessa, not by "Ong" herself, who consistently says "Flight 11"; and she did not, unlike "Ong" in the other transcript, say, "I think we're getting hijacked." How could the two transcripts differ so radically if they were both transcribed from the same tape recording of a call from attendant Betty Ong calling from American Flight 11? [129]

Given all of these problems, the alleged calls from Amy Sweeney and Betty Ong are far too problematic to be regarded as authentic. They do nothing, therefore, to contradict our previous conclusion-that the reported phone calls from passengers and flight attendants do not provide credible evidence that the airliners were hijacked by Middle Eastern men.

Discovered Passports:  Although Satam al-Suqami might have been a late addition to the FBI's list of hijackers on Flight 11, the fact that he was actually on this flight was said to have been proved by the discovery of his passport at the site of the World Trade Center. But this claim came in two versions. According to the first version, provided by the FBI, al-Suqami's passport was found on the ground following the collapse of the Twin Towers. [130] After this claim was ridiculed -- "[T]he idea that [this] passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged," wrote one reporter, "would [test] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on terrorism" [131] -- the 9/11 Commission modified it to the claim that al-Suqami's passport was found before the towers collapsed. [132] This modified claim was evidently thought to be less obviously absurd:  Rather than needing to survive the collapse of the North Tower, the passport merely needed to escape from the plane's cabin, avoid being destroyed by the jet-fuel fire, and then find its way to the ground, landing in a place where it could be spotted. This claim is indeed less absurd-but only slightly so.

In strong competition for the most absurd passport story is the one told about Flight 93, according to which the passport of Ziad Jarrah, said to have been flying the plane, was found at the crash site. [133] It was allegedly found on the ground even though, as pointed out in NPH, there was virtually nothing at the crash site to indicate that an airliner had crashed there. The reason for this, we were told, was that the plane had been headed downwards at 580 miles per hour and, when it hit the soft Pennsylvania soil, buried itself deep in the ground. [134] We are supposed to believe, therefore, that although Jarrah's body, which was in the cockpit, was thrust dozens of feet into the ground, his passport escaped from this fast-moving plane just before it buried itself in the soil. Did Jarrah, going 580 miles per hour, have a window open? [135]

A Discovered Headband:  Problematic for the same reason was the claim that investigators also found at the Flight 93 crash site one of the red headbands that, according to some of the phone calls, the hijackers were wearing. [136] This claim was problematic for an additional reason. Former CIA agent Milt Bearden, who helped train the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, has pointed out that it would have been very unlikely that members of al-Qaeda would have worn such headbands:

[The red headband] is a uniquely Shi'a Muslim adornment. It is something that dates back to the formation of the Shi'a sect... [I]t represents the preparation of he who wears this red headband to sacrifice his life, to murder himself for the cause. Sunnis are by and large most of the people following Osama bin Laden [and they] do not do this. [137]

We have good reason, therefore, to conclude that the headband was planted, evidently by people who did not know the difference between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims.

Airport Security Videos:  People in America and around the world have seen frames from videos, purportedly taken by airport security cameras, that were said to show hijackers checking into airports. For example, photos showing Mohamed Atta and Abdul al-Omari checking into an airport "were flashed round the world and gave a kick start to the official story in the vital hours after the attacks." [138] However, although it was widely assumed that these photos were from the airport at Boston, they were really from the airport at Portland (at least purportedly). There were no photos showing Atta or any of the other alleged hijackers at Boston's Logan Airport. We at best have photographic evidence that Atta and al-Omari were at the Portland airport.

Moreover, in light of the fact that the story of Atta and al-Omari going to Portland was apparently a late invention, we might expect the photographic evidence that they were there on the morning of September11 to be problematic, and indeed it is. I mentioned above the curious fact that Portland ticket agent Michael Tuohey, while otherwise supporting the view that Atta and al-Omari boarded the flight from Portland to Boston, described their attire in a way that did not match the security video. But also, a photo showing Atta and al-Omari passing through the security checkpoint is marked both 05:45 and 05:53. [139] Perhaps this video was fabricated by the same person who created the one of Atta at the Jetport gas station, mentioned earlier.

Another airport video was distributed worldwide on July 21, 2004, the day that The 9/11 Commission Report was published. The Associated Press, using a frame from it as corroboration of the official story, included this caption:

Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar... passes through the security checkpoint at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va., Sept. 11 2001, just hours before American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in this image from a surveillance video. [140]

This video would seem to be the one described in The 9/11 Commission Report as "Metropolitan Washington Airport Authorityvideotape, Dulles main terminal checkpoints, Sept 11 2001." [141]

However, as Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall have pointed out, "a normal security video has time and date burned into the integral video image by proprietary equipment according to an authenticated pattern, along with camera identification and the location that the camera covered. The video released in 2004 contained no such data." [142] It was also was of much lower resolution than airport security videos usually are. In spite of what the Associated Press told the world, accordingly, there was no evidence that this video was taken on September 11 or even at Dulles.

The lack of credible video evidence that the alleged hijackers boarded the planes is matched, moreover, by the absence of credible eyewitness testimony. The 9/11 Commission Report admits, in fact, that "[n]one of the checkpoint supervisors [at Logan Airport in Boston] recalled the hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening." [143]

Hijacker's Voice on Radio?One piece of irrefutable evidence for the existence of hijackers on the planes, it might be thought, was provided by three transmissions from Flight 11 heard by air traffic controllers at the FAA's Boston Center, in which a hijacker said:

We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport....

Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet....

Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves. [144]

The 9/11 Commission Report, besides using the first line, "We have some planes," as the title of its first chapter, stated that these transmissions came from "American 11."

The Commission failed to inform its readers, however, that there was really no proof that this had been the case. According to the FAA's "Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events," published September 17, 2001, each of these transmissions was "from unknown origin."[145] Bill Peacock, the FAA's air traffic director, said: “We didn’t know where the transmission came from." [146] The idea that it came from American 11 was a pure inference. This inference would be justified only if we had independent evidence that hijackers had taken over American Flight 11, which we do not.

Flight Manifests:  But, it might be assumed, we do have suchevidence, because the names of the   were on the passenger manifests for the four flights. According to Richard Clarke, the FBI told him at about 10:00 that morning that it recognized the names of some al-Qaeda operatives on passenger manifests it had received from the airlines. CIA Director George Tenet said that he had obtained the manifests and recognized some al-Qaeda names on them. [147] With regard to the question of how the FBI itself acquired its list, Robert Bonner, the head of Customs and Border Protection, told the 9/11 Commission in 2004:

On the morning of 9 /11, through an evaluation of data related to the passengers manifest for the four terrorist hijacked aircraft, Customs Office of lntelligence was able to identify the likely terrorist hijackers. Within 45 minutes of the attacks, Customs forwarded the passenger lists with the names of the victims and 19 probable hijackers to the FBI and the intelligence community. [148]

Under questioning, Bonner added:

We were able to pull from the airlines the passenger manifest for each of the four flights. We ran the manifest through [our lookout] system.... [By 11:00AM, I'd seen a sheet that essentially identified the 19 probable hijackers. And fact, they turned out to be, based upon further follow-up in detailed investigation, to be the 19. [149]

Bonner's statement, however, is doubly problematic. In the first place, the initial FBI list, as we saw above, had only 18 names. In the second place, as we also saw, several of those names were subsequently replaced with other names. It would seem, therefore, that the FBI's final list of hijackers was drawn from some source other than passenger manifests received from the airlines on September 11.

This suspicion is supported by the fact that the passenger manifests that were released to the public included no names of any of the 19 alleged hijackers and, in fact, no Middle Eastern names whatsoever. [150] These manifests, therefore, supported the suspicion that there were no al-Qaeda hijackers on the planes.

It might appear that this problem has been rectified. In 2005, a photocopy of a portion of an apparent passenger manifest from American Flight 11, with the names of three of the alleged hijackers, was contained in a book by Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers. [151]McDermott reportedly said that he had received these manifests from the FBI [152] However, these purported manifests do not appear to have been included in the evidence presented by the FBI to the Moussaoui trial in 2006. [153]

Another problem with these manifests is that they appear in some respects to be too good to be true. (Copies of these alleged manifests can be viewed on the Internet. [154] ) One problem is that Ziad Jarrah's last name was spelled correctly, whereas in the early days after 9/11, the FBI was referring to him as "Jarrahi," as news reports from the time show. [155] A second problem is that the manifest for American Flight 77 contains Hani Hanjour's name. This is a problem because, as pointed out earlier, the FBI's initial list of hijackers for Flight 77 included a name transcribed as "Mosear Caned" instead of the name Hani Hanjour, leading the Washington Post to speculate as to why Hanjour's "name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight." [156] Finally, the manifest for American Flight 11 contains the names of Wail al-Shehri, Waleed al-Shehri, Satam al-Suqami, and Abdul Aziz al-Omari. As we saw earlier, however, the FBI's original list of Flight 11 hijackers instead included the names of Adnan Bukhari, Ameer Bukhari, Amer Kamfar, and Abdulrahman al-Omari. Besides problematically spelling Jarrah's name correctly, therefore, these apparent flight manifests contain five names that had not been on the FBI's first list of hijackers. How, then, could these documents possibly be the actual passenger manifests from September11, 2001?

The Pilots Who Didn’t Squawk: Having examined various kinds of evidence offered by the government for the existence of hijackers on the flights, we have seen that none of this evidence stands up to scrutiny. This absence of good evidence for the existence of hijackers is complemented by the presence of good evidence for their nonexistence. This evidence is based on the fact that, if the planes had really been taken over by men breaking into the cockpits, at least some of the eight pilots of the four flights would have used the standard method for alerting ground control that their planes were being hijacked -- entering the standard hijack code (7500) into their transponders in order to "squawk" this code to controllers on the ground. [157] As the Christian Science Monitor wrote the day after 9/11, referring to the (alleged) hijacking of American Flight 11:

The pilots apparently did not punch in the four-digit hijack code... into the transponder, the controller says, because the radar facility never received any transmitted code-which a pilot would normally send the moment a hijack situation was known. [158]

The fact that neither of the Flight 11 pilots squawked this code, which they "normally" would do, constitutes a big problem for the official story. We can see this more clearly by looking at CNN's treatment of this issue the same day, which said:

Flight 11 was hijacked apparently by knife-wielding men. Airline pilots are trained to handle such situations by keeping calm, complying with requests, and if possible, dialing in an emergency four digit code on a device called a transponder. It transmits crucial flight data to air traffic controllers. The action takes seconds, but it appears no such code was entered. [159]

A problem with this statement is that the word "dialing" suggests that the operation would be like dialing a telephone, which might take several seconds. However, the transponder (at least on a Boeing 757 or 767) has four knobs. The pilot (or co-pilot) simply rotates the knobs until the transponder reads "7500." This action, pilots have told me, takes only two or three seconds.

In any case, the crucial issue was indicated in the CNN story by the phrase "if possible": Would it have been possible for the pilots of Flight 11 to have performed this action? Right after the above-quoted comment, CNN said:

But in the cabin, a frantic flight attendant managed to use a phone to call American Airlines Command Center in Dallas. She reported the trouble. And according to The Christian Science Monitor, a pilot apparently keyed the microphone, transmitting a cockpit conversation. [160]

If there was time for both of those actions to be taken, there would have been more than enough time for one of the pilots to squawk the four-digit hijack code.

The same conclusion follows from the 9/11 Commission's account, which said:

We do not know exactly how the hijackers gained access to the cockpit; FAA rules required that the doors remain dosed and locked during the flight. [Flight attendant Betty] Ong speculated that they had "jammed their way" in. Perhaps the terrorists stabbed the flight attendants to get a cockpit key, to force one of them to open the cockpit door, or to lure the captain or first officer out of the cockpit. [161]

If any of those scenarios described what really occurred on Flight 11, one of the pilots would have been able to squawk the hijack code. As the Christian Science Monitor pointed out, the pilots' failure to send the code was an "anomaly." [161]

How did the 9/11 Commission treat this problem? It did acknowledge that sending the code would have been standard procedure, writing:

FAA guidance to controllers on hijack procedures assumed that the aircraft pilot would notify the controller via radio or by "squawking" a transponder code of "7500"-the universal code for a hijack in progress. [162]

The Commission's report, however, did not explore the question of why the pilots, given their training, failed to send the hijack code. The Commission implicitly admitted, therefore, that this was a problem that it could not solve.

Moreover, if the pilots on American Flight 11 should have had time to squawk the hijack code, that would have been all the more true of the pilots on United Flight 93, given the official story. According to a reporter's description of the (purported) tapes from this flight, which had been played at the Moussaoui trial:

The prosecutors Tuesday played two other tapes from the cockpit that were picked up by ground control. In those tapes, the pilots shouted as hijackers broke into the cockpit. "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" a pilot screamed in the first tape. In the second tape, 30 seconds later, a pilot shouted: "Mayday! Get out of here! Get out of here!" [l64]

According to these tapes, at least one of the pilots was still alive and coherent 30 seconds after realizing that hijackers were breaking into the cockpit. And yet in all that time, neither he nor the other pilot, according to the official account, did the most important thing they had been trained to do -- turn the transponder to 7500.

In addition to the pilots on Flights 11 and 93, furthermore, the four pilots on Flights 175 and 77 all, coincidentally, failed to do this as well. This is a lot of coincidences to accept.

In one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous short stories, "Silver Blaze," Sherlock Holmes's solution to a mystery hinged on a dog that failed to bark. Silver Blaze, a famous race horse, had disappeared the night before a big race. A Scotland Yard detective believed that an intruder had stolen it. Holmes, doubting this, pointed to "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." The inspector replied: "The dog did nothing in the night-time." Holmes explained: "That was the curious incident." [165] Had there really been an intruder, in other words, the dog would have barked. This has become widely known as the case of "the dog that didn't bark."

Just as the intruder theory was disproved by the dog that didn't bark, the hijacker theory is disproved by the pilots who didn't squawk.

In NPH, I raised the question of "the true identity of the hijackers." Now, however, it appears that there is no good evidence for hijackers at all. Although it might seem unwarranted to move from the lack of evidence for hijackers to the conclusion that there really were no hijackers on the planes, there are three good reasons to make this move. First, all of the evidence for the existence of hijackers appears to have been fabricated, and such fabrication would have made sense only if the supposed hijackers really did not exist. Second, the fact that none of the pilots used their transponders to squawk the hijack code provides powerful evidence against the view that hijackers broke into the cockpits. Third, the role assigned to the hijackers in the official narrative – that of guiding the planes to their targets -- could perhaps have been performed more effectively by remote control. [166] This third reason is not, however, a subject that needs to be settled in advance of a real investigation into 9/11. All we need in order to demand such an investigation is strong evidence that the official story about the hijackers is false, and we have far more than enough of that.