NIST's New Factsheet: Not Based on Fact
Scientists, engineers and architects will pick apart the factsheet in detail in the coming weeks. However, I'd like to address one particular misleading statement by NIST in the meantime.
The factsheet claims NIST did everything it could to preserve evidence from the destruction of the World Trade Centers. Specifically, in response to question # 4, "Why was physical evidence not collected immediately following the collapse of the WTC Towers?", NIST responds:
The complete collapse of the WTC Towers destroyed virtually all physical evidence except the major pieces of steel and mechanical equipment. In the initial days and weeks following the WTC disaster, the emphasis was on rescue and later on recovery, necessitating the removal of steel and disturbing the collapse site. FEMA, which had launched its Building Performance Study in early October 2001, sent a team of experts to review the steel at the WTC site and the salvage yards. These experts, including one from NIST, identified pieces of steel of potential interest to a follow-on investigation. Beginning in February 2002, NIST, on its own initiative, began identifying additional steel pieces of potential interest at the salvage yards and transporting them to NIST to preserve and secure the evidence in anticipation of launching its own investigation, which it did in August 2002. NIST did not receive the legal authority to collect and preserve physical evidence from a disaster/failure site until the National Construction Safety Team Act became law in October 2002. NIST NCSTAR 1-3 fully documents the steel recovered from the site.
Makes NIST sound like they did everything possible to collect and preserve evidence, and then make the evidence available to the public, right?
But it's just not true.
In fact, NIST's former head of fire science and engineering, who is one of the world’s leading fire science researchers and safety engineers, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (Dr. James Quintiere), wrote that evidence necessary to determine the cause of the collapse of the World Trade Centers was being destroyed.*
In addition, the official investigators themselves were largely denied access to the site and the evidence contained there, or even access to such basic information as the blueprints for the World Trade Center.
Indeed, the blueprints for the world trade center are apparently STILL being withheld from reporters and the public, and NIST has grossly mischaracterized the structure of the buildings.* He also called for an independent review of the World Trade Center Twin Tower collapse investigation. "I wish that there would be a peer review of this," he said, referring to the NIST investigation. "I think all the records that NIST has assembled should be archived. I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they've done; both structurally and from a fire point of view. ... I think the official conclusion that NIST arrived at is questionable."