The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?
The Missing Black Boxes
The flight data recorder—or black box—is integral to the investigation of any plane crash. No less so in the case of the 9/11 attacks. A recovered black box could provide crucial information about the last moments in the cockpit, such as: What language were the hijackers speaking? Did they have any contact with associates on the ground? What were their motivations? What group was directing their actions?
Titanium-reinforced and engineered to survive intense fire, flight data recorders are highly resistant to damage. They are painted bright orange, despite their black-box nickname, and equipped with both radio and sonar beacons. Thanks to this design, they have survived and been recovered even after the most dire of crashes. TWA Flight 800, for example, exploded in a gigantic fireball off of Long Island, NY, and the flight recorder was still recovered in less than a week more than 100 feet down on the ocean floor. Yet despite this durability, the government claims that no flight recording device from either plane was ever recovered from Ground Zero.
The government insists that the devices were destroyed in the initial impact or melted in the conflagration that followed. Yet somehow the passport for Satam al-Suqami, one of the hijackers, survived this hellish inferno and was found days later on the street below. Miraculously, this passport flew from either a pocket or a bag, escaped the licking flames and floated nearly entirely intact to the ground below.
There is an eyewitness, however, who contradicts the official report. He asserts that the flight data recorders actually survived and that he saw rescue officials carting off one from the World Trade Center site.
Mike Bellone was a volunteer at Ground Zero, where he performed recovery and rescue work for 257 straight days. One evening, as Bellone was working, he saw the FBI combing through the rubble for the recorders and watched as they discovered one of the planes' black boxes. "They had found one [flight recorder] that I know of," Bellone stated definitively. "That I actually physically saw." Speaking later that night to an FBI agent whom he had befriended, Bellone learned that the FBI had found two more flight recorders, three of the four that would have been on the two planes.
Award-winning investigative journalist Dave Lindorff claims he has a source at the National Transportation and Safety Administration who corroborates the recovery of the supposedly obliterated flight data recorders from Ground Zero. Lindorff recounted asking his contact what had happened to the black boxes: "And he said, 'Do you want the real answer or the official answer?' Of course I want the real answer. And he said, 'Well, the real answer is, we got all four of them. And that they are now in the possession of the FBI, which took them away from us.'"
Given that the black boxes were recovered, what motive could the government possibly have to deny their discovery? Some conspiracy theorists believe these "missing" flight recorders may contain evidence linking the Bush administration to the attacks.