Exposing NIST’s fraud in court: Mick Harrison and Ted Walter on 9/11 Free Fall

This week on 9/11 Free Fall, public interest attorney Mick Harrison and AE911Truth Director of Strategy Ted Walter join host Andy Steele to discuss the lawsuit that AE911Truth will soon file against NIST over the agency’s unlawful response to the damning request for correction that AE911Truth submitted last year in an attempt to compel the agency to revise its report on World Trade Center Building 7.

Andy Steele:

Welcome to 9/11 Free Fall. I’m the host Andy Steele. Today, we’re joined by Ted Walter and Mick Harrison. Ted Walter is the director of strategy and development here at AE911Truth. Prior to taking that role, he was the director of NYC CAN’s 2009 ballot initiative as well as its 2014 High-Rise Safety Initiative, and he was a volunteer campaign manager for AE911Truth’s Rethink 9/11 campaign back in 2013. My God, seems like yesterday, but that was a long time ago. He’s also the lead author of AE911Truth’s book Beyond Misinformation: What Science Says About the Destruction of Towers 1, 2, and 7 of the World Trade Center.

And as I mentioned, he’s joined by Mick Harrison, who is the director of litigation for the Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry. He is a public interest attorney and a graduate summa cum laude of the University of the District of Columbia School of Law. He has a national practice that focuses on cases that involve whistleblower protection, government accountability, corporate fraud, and dangers to public health or the environment. And over the last 25 years, he has worked in partnership on such cases with the Government Accountability Project, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, he Chemical Weapons Working Group, the National Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Vietnam veterans organizations as well, along with other groups.

So he knows what he’s doing, and he’s taking on the establishment time after time, and of course, this is our issue. This is a very important one. Both these guys have worked very hard to bring this issue to some kind of conclusion, some kind of justice, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.But first, let me say guys, welcome back to 9/11 Free Fall.

Mick Harrison:

Thanks, Andy.

Ted Walter:

Thank you, Andy. It’s always a pleasure to be on.

Andy Steele:

All right. So we’re going to start with Ted, and we’re going to be talking about suing NIST today, something that people have been calling for for years. Definitely justified, not just on this latest thing, in my opinion, but even before so with those horrible reports that they issued. But we want to keep in mind, new people just tuning into this whole long drama of 9/11 Truth just coming into it. Ted, why don’t you give them some background? Talk about AE911Truth’s history with NIST as well as the request for correction?

Ted Walter:

Sure. So NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They’re the federal agency that investigated the destruction of World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 as well as Building 7, which came down later in the day on September 11th, 2001. And their final report on Building 7 was issued in 2008. The report on the towers was issued before that in 2005, and Architects & Engineers for 9/11Truth, along with many other engineers, scientists, researchers, investigators, lawyers in the 9/11 Truth Movement have been essentially going after NIST since it issued its reports in 2005 and 2008, dissecting those reports and establishing that those reports are false and fraudulent and provide a false explanation for the destruction of all three buildings.

Last year, Architects & Engineers, along with 88 of our petition signers who are architects and structural engineers, as well as 10 family members of 9/11 victims, submitted a request for correction under the Data Quality Act, essentially asking NIST to revise its report and focusing on eight items of information in the NIST report for Building 7 that we believe violated NIST’s own information quality standards. And so the Data Quality Act requires that federal agencies like NIST put out information quality standards or adopt standards that all the information that they disseminate have to meet.

And the key standards in our case that we felt that we showed in our request for correction that were violated especially was objectivity, that the report in many respects was not objective. And we could show this by showing that they essentially drew conclusions that were totally unsubstantiated, that were unsupported by the evidence, that were provably false, and that’s exactly what we did in the 100-page request and subsequently in the roughly 100-page appeal that we filed.

And we were going after, when I said eight items of information, four of those items had to do with NIST’s modeling and how their probable collapse sequence, showing that they’re probable collapse sequence… in other words, the scenario of how the building collapsed was physically impossible and things that they did in their modeling that were false and, let’s say, incorrect, that allowed them to develop that probable collapse sequence… we show that it was actually impossible because the things that they did were wrong.

The fifth item also had to do with their modeling, but more simply how their models completely failed to replicate the actual collapse, and anyone out there whose seen the NIST model of the collapse will immediately recognize that it looks nothing like the actual collapse that we saw 9/11 because the collapse we saw on 9/11 was totally symmetrical and straight down and actually had very, very little deformation to the outside of the structure.

That’s what you see in the videos, whereas in the NIST model, the structure is completely warped and distorting. There’s lots of deformation happening, which is what you might expect in a more natural collapse where different members of the building are failing and pulling on each other, and you’re getting a lot of internal stresses on the building. In this case, the building comes straight down with very little deformation on the outside.

The last three items that we targeted were essentially NIST’s ignoring of evidence of explosives and incendiaries, and that includes the seismogram data, which was recorded north of the city at a seismogram station as well as eye witness reports and audio evidence of explosions, and finally, severely eroded steel that was recovered from Building 7 that the erosion in the steel, the sulfidation and intergranular melting could not have been caused by fires. And there’s a very, very plausible hypothesis that is totally consistent with the evidence that erosion was caused by thermate, which would have been used to bring the building down.

And so, as Mick, I think, will attest to, the request for correction was extremely meticulous, well documented, very precise in the information it was putting into it, and, in any sane, reasonable scenario would have shown the agency that the report was false.

Now, of course, we’re dealing with a report that was deliberately falsified; we’re not dealing with mistaken information that the agency disseminated. So it wasn’t so straightforward, and we knew that the agency was… We were hoping for the best, but the agency was unlikely to comply with our request. And so four months later, last year in August, they denied our request for correction, and this process, where you can request correction to information disseminated by agencies, allows you to appeal the initial decision, which is what we did.

And so, a month later, by the deadline, we appealed their initial decision. And the appeal basically showed, again very meticulously, how their initial decision actually did not comply with their own standard, their own protocol for dealing with these requests and did not comply with the Data Quality Act because they didn’t actually engage with any of our arguments, or very few of them, in a detailed point-by-point way that it would be a serious, earnest look at the information and the evidence. They skipped past much of it. They gave, in some cases, incredibly, I don’t know, I mean, outrageous, truly outrageous, preposterous explanations for why they did things certain ways, and really just many of the arguments just completely just didn’t address them at all.

And so, that’s what we made the case for in our appeal and setting the stage for where we are now, showing in the record that their decision, their initial decision, did not comply with the Data Quality Act, did not comply with their procedure for addressing these requests for correction. And so the agency had, from when we filed the appeal, the agency had about two months. They said they usually respond to these appeals within two months. Ours took nine months.

When we hit the eight-month mark last June, I mean, sorry, June of this year. We told them that if they didn’t respond within the month that we would file a lawsuit to try to force them to issue a final decision. Mick has perhaps more experience with these procedures and these kinds of dealing with agencies and items, so I’ll let him speak to what he thinks about the NIST final decision.

But I think, in my view, the final decision was even worse than the initial decision. There was zero attempt to engage with any of the information, which it just completely went against what we said in the appeal, NIST would have to do in order to comply with the Data Quality Act. It’s a very, very short perfunctory, barely five-page, barely-getting-up-to-the-fifth page letter that doesn’t actually address in any detail any of the arguments, any of the data.

And it essentially says the methods that we use in our analysis differ from the methods that NIST used, and therefore our findings, the outcomes of our analyses, don’t have any impact on their analyses. That is the crux of NIST’s response, and there’s no substantiation of that whatsoever. There’s no explanation for why, if we use one method and they use another method, we might reasonably arrive at different results.

In fact, pretty much all of… Let me clarify that all of the matters, all of the issues that we raised in the request and in the appeal have nothing to do with different methods of modeling or different methods supposedly of gathering eyewitness evidence. It’s all actually very straightforward information., and it’s very, very, … You won’t get different results just because you use a slightly different modeling program or have a slightly different modeling assumption with the kind of issues that we’re talking about. So we are going to be filing lawsuit against NIST by the end of the summer, by the end of August in federal court, alleging that NIST, again, did not comply with the Data Quality Act.

And there’s another act of which Mick will speak to that is involved, which is the Administrative Procedure Act. And, essentially, what we’ll be trying to do is get a court to order NIST to go back and actually address the arguments and the points in our request for correction and in the appeal.

And the big picture here is if NIST actually addresses… There’s no way around, the reason they didn’t address any of our arguments is because we’re absolutely right and they’re absolutely wrong. And for them to actually engage with our arguments they would actually have to go and revise their report and do all these analyses that they should do that they’re not. And they would ultimately have to render a conclusion that the building came down due to controlled demolition.

That’s what we’re trying to get them to do, but whether it’ll work out that way, whether the courts, whether the case is strong enough that the courts will fight for us, is obviously… that’s the big question. But it’s a fight that we have to continue to fight and hope that more people start to pay attention to it and hope that at a certain point the pressure just becomes too much and somebody at NIST will fold and do the right thing. That’s what we were hoping for in this case with the appeal, but unfortunately, the person at NIST did not have the courage or the integrity to do that.

Andy Steele:

They take nine months trying to hope that they’ll wait us out or an asteroid will crash into the Earth or something, and they won’t have to deal with us, and they finally issued the shoddy decision and responding back to you. And I love when they say about different methods, that you followed different methods than they did. It’s almost like somebody who says that not using punctuation is a writing style. Well, I didn’t use any periods or commas or any proper sentence structure; that’s just my writing style. No, it’s just bad writing. So that’s exactly what NIST is doing; it’s bad science.

So Mick, I’m going to turn to you right now because we’re going to get a little bit more into the nitty gritty of the legal stuff. Talk about this legal basis by which we are going after NIST in court. Ted brought up a few points regarding the Data Quality Act and something else there. Please delve a little bit deeper into that.

Mick Harrison:

Sure. Well, the something else is the Administrative Procedures Act, which we call the APA for short, and it is a tool that citizens can use when a government agency conducts itself in a way that’s arbitrary and capricious or in violation of law, and the key is to show that you’ve got an agency action that’s final, which we do here now finally after issuing a notice of intent to sue to prompt NIST to issue its decision, which did end up prompting them. You also have to show that you were affected by the decision. In this case, we’re talking about a government study of one of the greatest bombing crimes in history and one of the greatest human tragedies in history.

And the petitioners, the requesters that have joined Architects & Engineers include family members who lost family members in the tragedy of 9/11 from the building collapses… include architects and engineers who earn their living dealing with the truth about how buildings are constructed and the dangers of collapse and the safety concerns based on real science. And so we don’t expect those components to be a problem, although NIST will no doubt and use every procedural defense they can think of in trying to dismiss this suit.

But I think the heart of the litigation will be whether we can show that NIST, in issuing its decision that Ted has described, which is blatantly deficient in many ways, was under the legal standards, either arbitrary and capricious or not in accordance with the law or an abuse of discretion or without observance of procedures required by law.

Those are sort of the four big issues typically decided in an APA case, and so the question is will the NIST five-page decision, which is pretty much as illogical and irrational as Ted has described. I like your analogy, Andy, about writing a document without any punctuation and claiming it’s just a difference in writing style. NIST basically said that all AE was complaining about was that NIST used a different approach than AE and different than the Alaska study with Professor Hulsey.

And to me, that’s like saying that someone decides to do something that’s illogical, factually false, dishonest, irrational, unethical, that’s simply an option, a different approach that they’re free to choose, and the result they get using that approach is equally as valid, as an ethical, honest, scientifically valid, factually accurate approach. So it was a strange argument, I thought, for NIST to make. AE pointed out very persuasively that you can’t explain the actual observed and filmed behavior of Building 7 when it collapsed unless you use a model and an analysis like Professor Hulsey where you have multiple columns of the building failing simultaneously. Otherwise, the building doesn’t act like it actually did act during the filmed and observed collapse.

And NIST is just ignoring that fact. It’s ignoring the free-fall period and the significance of it. It actually, in its analysis, omitted a couple structural components of the building that strengthened the building and would not have allowed the collapse under NIST’s analysis and model. So basically they just took those components out to, in my view, get the result that they decided in advance that they wanted to get. It’s a predetermined conclusion, predisposition, or you might call it a bias. So to me the NIST decision is clearly capricious for those reasons.

It’s not in accordance with law because it does not give a point-by-point analysis either in the final decision on the appeal or in the earlier initial denial of AE’s request for correction… does not give a point-by-point analysis of AE’s scientific arguments on the data quality issues, some of which Ted has mentioned, some of which I’ve mentioned, and the Information Quality Act, which is the basis for AE’s request for correction, and its administrative appeal requires a point by point response by the agency. So it didn’t even use the right procedure, apart from being illogical and irrational and just ignoring established facts.

One of the things that concerned me in reading their decision was that they tried to convince the public who would read their five-page decisions that they were transparent, which is one of the Information Quality Act legal criteria, transparent in their decision and decision process, but they also have not denied that they, to this day, refused to release the computer modeling on which they rely for drawing their conclusions that fire has caused the collapse of Building 7 — the modeling that doesn’t go to the point of free fall and would not have shown the free fall had it been extended. So the modeling is still a black box. It’s not clear what data was input. It’s not clear what assumptions were used, it’s not clear how the modeling was programmed in terms of all the elements of the building construction and how they would respond to fire.

I mean, there was just a lot that goes into these models, and clearly, you canhave many different approaches in the modeling, but some of them are not going to be scientifically valid. Some are just going to be dishonest. But the question here was about transparency and also reproducibility. Under the Information Quality Act, an agency dealing with a scientific matter is supposed to provide enough detail about what they did and how they did it that an independent citizen or a scientist or a nonprofit could reproduce their results by using the same procedure that the agency describes. Here, the agency is basically telling the world that their analysis and conclusions are based on a black box. We don’t see it. We don’t get to see the contents of the black box, the modeling, and yet they claim in their five-page decision that they were transparent.

And one of the things that they argue about transparency is they allowed the public to comment. Well, okay. They showed the public the black box, and the public got to say, oh, that looks like a black box. So is that transparency? If you can’t see inside the black box then and of course the answer is no, because it’s… okay, you can’t see through it, but also, you can’t reproduce what you can’t know and can’t perceive. So NIST clearly didn’t satisfy the law on transparency and reproducibility, also objectivity and integrity when you’re basically making factual assumptions that are contrary to the known facts, ignoring huge pieces of information like eye-witness accounts of explosions, the free-fall period, the actual components of the building structure, which were left out.

This isn’t really, to me, a close call decision in terms of whether there was compliance with the Information Quality Act. And it’s not a close call decision whether there was rationality in the agency decision. It’s clearly irrational. So under the Administrative Procedures Act, the courts have the authority to set aside agency action that violates one of these standards because it’s arbitrary, because it’s not in accordance with law, because it was an abusive discretion or didn’t follow the procedures required by law, and that’s what this lawsuit is going to be about. So that’s the gist, at least the conceptual basis for the lawsuit.

Andy Steele:

Exactly. The fact that they took nine months to come up with this horrible answer shows they really have nothing. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors over there, but I imagine that they’re talking to a lawyer, and this is the best that they can come up with. And obviously NIST knows who we are and what we’re about. It’s not an issue of methodology. It’s like, you can figure out the area of a square using the Pythagorean theorem if you draw a line through it, and all you got to do is take the two triangles and find the area of them and times two, and that’s a different methodology of figuring it out, but you can’t do it with a circle unless you do some extra steps because you get a completely different answer.

In this case, you got two different endings here. You’ve got two different answers coming out from the University of Alaska and from NIST. And given the importance of 9/11 and the heat behind this issue, to just claim it’s a different methodology is utterly ridiculous, and it shows that they are on the run.
Mick, I’m going to ask you the next question here because I want to know. I always look for precedent in anything I do. I always figure that somebody went through something before me, and I can always find the answer from that. But as we go deeper and deeper into fighting the government and media on this issue, I find that there’s less and less precedents for these kinds of things the more ridiculous they on the other side get. Is there any precedent that you know about that is similar to a case like this, maybe not on the scale of 9/11, but an issue that is similar?

Mick Harrison:

Well, it depends on how similar you want to ask. I mean, there are thousands of cases under the Administrative Procedures Act. The courts have been asked for decades to declare agency action arbitrary and capricious, not in accordance with law. I’m trying to think of one similar to this. I mean, first of all, the factual underpinnings of this dealing with the 9/11 attacks and that tragedy are pretty much unprecedented. So you’re going to have to search long and hard to find something with a comparable factual basis in another APA lawsuit.

There are, however, lawsuits out there where agencies have done something that was clearly irrational or that clearly ignored facts established in the record, or clearly didn’t do steps in the procedure required by the applicable law. So those cases are analogous in regard to those individual APA standards. I’m not prepared to say that there’s another case like this one already out there.

Andy Steele:

All right. So we only got five minutes left. This is fascinating stuff though, and this is why everyone needs to follow this. We’re going to be letting our supporters know what’s going on with this as we receive updates, but I want to turn to Ted, here. Ted, I want you to speak to how our supporters can help. We’ve sent out bulletins already, but also, why is it important to keep on taking on the system in court and these various different cases, and we’ve had a lot of them coming up over the year, but why do we have to keep hammering them through the courts and going through this strategy here, holding them to account?

Ted Walter:

Sure. Well, to answer your second question first, I think that if you’re somebody who cares about the world and the direction that the world is going in, and you care about truth and justice and democracy and freedom, that you can’t ignore the crimes of 9/11. They’ve really been the foundation of our, not only our policy-making but just our national culture for the last 20 years.

It has become the founding myth of the United States of America for the 21st century, essentially. And if we were to expose what actually happened on 9/11 and who was actually behind it, it would have a profound effect on our country, and it could be traumatic in ways. It will be without a doubt, but in the end, I believe that we would come out in a better place and that it would lead to a much better society, much more justice, much more peace, and much saner policy.

And so, if you believe that like I do, it’s, I think, incumbent on all of us to keep fighting in whatever ways that we can think of. And from an organization standpoint, from AE’s standpoint, we have to be working on as many fronts as possible. It’s not just the legal front or just political front or just trying to raise awareness with videos and films and so on. It’s we have to be working on every front possible, and I think pretty much everybody can appreciate that idea. And lawsuits can have a huge impact that can be a vehicle for raising awareness as well. Partly, it is a matter of keeping this issue in the public eye.

And in this particular case, NIST has to be held to account for the fraud that it’s perpetrated on the world. NIST is an agency that is a federal agency, a government of, by, and for the people. NIST should have reported to the world that those three buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. Until they do, people will continue to fight, and we’re leading that fight right now.

And, so, we are grateful to Mick for all the work that he’s done and for his willingness to work on this with us. And we have to keep looking for ways, for fronts, that make sense that… where we have a real chance of turning things around, and this is one. Unfortunately, we can’t just sue NIST for their reports.

We had to first go through this process of trying to get them to correct their reports, and now we can sue them because they didn’t comply with the process that was supposed to get them to correct their reports. And we’re essentially really litigating the validity of their reports here when it comes down to it because they can’t show that their reports are valid, and they have no rational way of responding to our arguments showing that their reports are invalid.

So as far as what listeners can do, with everyone out there who cares about this issue like I do, like you do, like Mick does, we did manage to raise the funds that we need to bring this lawsuit forward so that Mick can afford to work on this case and live. And so we’re grateful to everybody who donated in the past week.

And I think just continue to send people our websites, send people to lawyers committee’s website, tell them about the request for correction, tell them that there are family members of 9/11 victims who are suing NIST to try to get a truthful report on World Trade Center 7, Hey, maybe we’ll move on to the towers sometime soon, but right now, the Building 7 report was so clearly fraudulent, and we believe that we could demonstrate that it was false, that we chose this path right now.

So it’s about not being afraid to have the conversation with people in parties, with your own family, telling them about Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, sharing our films, sharing our website, and talking about this request for correction and the lawsuit.

Andy Steele:

Absolutely. You’ve got to get behind things. There’s always victories. There’s always setbacks, as is the case with any war, and that is what we are at right now. It’s a cerebral one, it’s a peaceful one, but it is the same kind of importance and intensity behind it.

And I’ll tell you what. Finding the one weak spot in the death star and blowing it up in a few minutes is a great way to wrap up a two-hour movie, but it’s not real life. Look at real life. I watched some of the documentaries I watched on Independence Day about the American Revolution. I mean, we lost New York at one point. We lost other territories. There are soldiers standing in the snow in bare feet, but we kept on fighting. We slowly got more victories, and we ended up winning that. That’s how we have a country now.

So we’ve just got to keep on coming at them when we can and keep this fight going. And I think we are wearing them down. You can see the change in attitudes throughout this country. And like I said, the fact that NIST can issue such a terrible response, I think, is a good thing. I’ll see if the courts can hold them to a standard of justice here and if we can have a real look at what really brought down those towers and have the evidence get its day in court.

Guys, thank you so much for all that you’re doing. Keep up the good work. Like I said, we’re going to keep on top of this and let our supporters know exactly what’s going on with this lawsuit. And I think we’re going to see some good things coming in the next year. So thank you again.

Ted Walter:

Thank you, Andy.

Mick Harrison:

Thank you, Andy.


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