ABC-TV News' Trade Towers report raises questions

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By Russ Gerst

Editor’s note: Jonah Goldberg’s column is not available today.

Last Wednesday, ABC-TV News reported that it had received newly released photos from a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (see

bubbler). NIST was responsible for the analysis of the Sept. 11, 2001, Trade Towers’ demise.

The photos include numerous images of the dust cloud surrounding Ground Zero after the destruction of Tower Two of the World Trade Center (WTC). The collection also includes a particular photo of the actual destruction of Tower One (

These photos, but in particular the Tower One destruction photo, call into question the claim by ABC News that this is a new release.

This particular sourced photo already was part of an analysis put together in the summer of 2006 by a materials engineer, Judy Wood, of Clemson, S.C. The same photo was also part of her Request for Correction submission to NIST in March, 2007, which included her analysis of the building debris that refutes NIST’s report. Further, Wood included this same photo in her Qui tam court case filed on behalf of the People of the United States in April, 2007, and unsealed in September, 2007.

Could Wood’s photo have come from another source? According to the ABC report, “ … The images were taken from a police helicopter — the only photographers allowed in the airspace near the skyscrapers on Sept. 11, 2001 ... .” Further, the angle and exact timing of the photo are absolutely identical to the photo submitted to NIST by Wood.

In February of last year, I met with The Gazette and presented roughly 25 photos, one of which was that photo. During that interview, I presented evidence that nearly 90 percent of the debris from the towers and other buildings of the WTC was missing immediately following their destruction.

On Feb. 1 this year, I presented the same work to one of my former Coe College mathematics professors. That same photo was in the presentation.

The next day, I presented the same proof including this photo to students and faculty at Coe College as part of their Issue Dinner Series.

Not a big deal? Consider Thursday’s hourly news reports on live radio about the “new” release. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC carried a story including an in-studio interview of Greg Semendinger, the former New York Police Department detective who took the photos. In that interview, Semendinger even stated that he was unaware the photos were being released until a few days before. How could this be?

Wood has analyzed not only these photographs from Ground Zero but thousands upon thousands of others. Her assessment of specifically what happened to the buildings that caused them to essentially turn to dust in just over 10 seconds can be found on her Web site Also included in this analysis were Richter readings, magnetometer data, weather satellite imagery, comparative analysis to other structures, earthquake data, etc.

Specifically, her work followed the scientific method in which she observed all sources of data available (in this case all the pictorial evidence) letting it direct further analysis into Richter readings, hydraulics, temperature analysis, etc. She found strikingly similar phenomena in a lab setting which focused further assessment into magnetometer readings, weather data, electromagnetic fields and interference technology.

Wood’s analysis raises serious questions about the NIST report.

Russ Gerst of Cedar Rapids is a financial analyst and 1988 Coe College cum laude graduate with degrees in business and accounting and a minor in mathematics. Contact him at

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