By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON - The official line of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command in Afghanistan, is that the war against Afghan insurgents is vital to the security of all the countries providing troops there.....
In fact, however, NATO was given a central role in Afghanistan because of the influence of United States officials concerned with the alliance, according to a US military officer who was in a position to observe the decision-making process.
"NATO's role in Afghanistan is more about NATO than it is about Afghanistan," the officer, who insisted on anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the subject, told Inter Press Service in an interview.
The alliance would never have been given such a prominent role in Afghanistan but for the fact that the George W Bush administration wanted no significant US military role there that could interfere with their plans to take control of Iraq.
That reality gave US officials working on NATO an opening.
General James Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) from 2003 to 2005, pushed aggressively for giving NATO the primary security role in Afghanistan, according to the officer.
"Jones sold US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on turning Afghanistan over to NATO," said the officer, adding that he did so with the full support of Pentagon officials with responsibilities for NATO. "You have to understand that the NATO lobbyists are very prominent in the Pentagon - both in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff," said the officer.
Jones admitted in an October 2005 interview with American Forces Press Service that NATO had struggled to avoid becoming irrelevant after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. "NATO was in limbo for a bit," he said.
But the 9/11 attacks on the US had offered a new opportunity for NATO to demonstrate its relevance.
The NATO allies were opposed to the US war in Iraq, but they wanted to demonstrate their support for stabilizing and reconstructing Afghanistan. Jones prodded NATO member countries to provide troops for Afghanistan and to extend NATO operations from the north into the west and eventually to the east and south, where US troops were concentrated.
That position coincided with the interests of NATO's military and civilian bureaucrats and those of the military establishments in the member countries.
But there was one major problem: public opinion in NATO member countries was running heavily against military involvement in Afghanistan.
To get NATO allies to increase their troop presence in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, Jones assured member states that they would only be mopping up after the US military had defeated the Taliban. On a visit to Afghanistan in August 2004, Jones said, "We should not ever even think that there is going to be an insurrection of the type that we see in Iraq here. It's just not going to happen."
Reassured by Washington and by Jones, in September 2005 NATO defense ministers agreed formally that NATO would assume command of southern Afghanistan in 2006.
But conflicts immediately arose between the US and NATO member countries over the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Britain, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands had all sold the NATO mission to their publics as "peacekeeping" or "reconstruction" as distinct from counter-insurgency war.
When the Bush administration sought to merge the US and NATO commands in Afghanistan, key allies pushed back, arguing the two commands had different missions. The French, meanwhile, were convinced the Bush administration was using NATO troops to fill the gap left by shifting US troops from Afghanistan to Iraq - a war they strongly opposed.
The result was that one NATO member state after another adopted "caveats" that ruled out or severely limited their troops from actually carrying out combat in Afghanistan.
Even as the Bush administration was assuring its NATO allies that they would not have to face a major Taliban uprising, US intelligence was reporting that the insurgency was growing and would intensify in spring 2006.
General Karl Eikenberry, who had just arrived as commander of all US troops in Afghanistan in 2005, and newly appointed US ambassador Ronald E Neumann were warning Washington that the well-publicized domestic debates in NATO member states over troop commitments were "generating a perception of NATO political weakness", as Neumann recalls in his memoirs on Afghanistan published in 2009.
Neumann wrote that both he and Eikenberry believed "the insurgents would see ISAF's expansion and the US contraction as the moment to rekindle the war".
But Eikenberry assured the news media that the insurgency was under control. In a December 8, 2005 press briefing at the Pentagon, Eikenberry asserted that the more aggressive Taliban tactics were "very much a sign of weakness".
Asked if he wasn't concerned that the situation in Afghanistan was "sliding towards an Iraqi scenario", Eikenberry replied: "We see no indications that such is the case."
A few weeks later, the Taliban launched the biggest offensive since its regime was ousted in 2001, seizing control of much of Helmand, Kandahar and several other southern provinces.
Eikenberry, clearly under orders from Rumsfeld, continued to carry out the policy of turning the south over to NATO in mid-2006. He was rewarded in early 2007 by being sent to Brussels as deputy chairman of NATO's Military Committee.
Eikenberry acknowledged in testimony before the US Congress in February 2007 that the policy of turning Afghanistan over to NATO was really about the future of NATO rather than about Afghanistan. He noted the argument that failure in Afghanistan could "break" NATO, while hailing the new NATO role in Afghanistan as one that could "make" the alliance.
"The long view of the Afghanistan campaign," said Eikenberry, "is that it is a means to continue the transformation of the alliance."
The Afghanistan mission, Eikenberry said, "could mark the beginning of sustained NATO efforts to overhaul alliance operational practices in every domain." Specifically, he suggested that NATO could use Afghan deployments to press some member nations to carry out "military modernization".
But Canadian General Rick Hillier, who commanded NATO forces in Afghanistan from February to August 2004 and was later chief of staff of the Canadian Armed Forces from 2005 to 2008, wrote in his memoir A Soldier First, published in 2009, that NATO was an unmitigated disaster in Afghanistan.
He recalled that when it formally accepted responsibility for Afghanistan in 2003, NATO had "no strategy, no clear articulation of what it wanted to achieve" and that its performance was "abysmal".
Hillier said the situation "remains unchanged" after several years of NATO responsibility for Afghanistan. NATO had "started down a road that destroyed much of its credibility and in the end eroded support for the mission in every nation in the alliance," Hillier wrote.
"Afghanistan has revealed," wrote Hillier, "that NATO has reached the stage where it is a corpse decomposing" ....
"Shortly after he received the watch from General Winfield, he saw a report onand:
one of the big news stations, a small light plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
They had live television feed from multiple TV stations. Gardner, he recalled flew as
crew on an A-6 and the discussed when they saw and they started the internal JCS
notification list, to include the Chairman's office. They also notified the office of the
Secretary of Defense. Either he or Commander Gardner would have made the
notification calls. He reported that a small airplane crashed into one of the two towers of
the World Trade Center.
He was prompted that the Senior Operations Officer went to gather up as much
information as he could and he recalled that one call was made to the FAA. He thought
Commander Gardner actually made that call. FAA had a report of a hijacking on a plane
that had departed Boston. They asked if FAA needed any assistance. The answer was
no, the pilot had called in and said everything was under control and he was going to landat New York shortly. This call was made to the FAA Operations CenterThere was something unusual, he and Gardner thought, that a light plane had
crashed into the WTC and that there was a report of a hijacking. This is all before the
second plane impacted the other WTC tower."
"Concerning the NOIWON call (a Washington area-specific watch officerand:
network that links key 24-hour watches, including the White House Situation Room), he
does not recall who called first. It is not uncommon for the White House to call first,
while' the NMCC is making its notifications. That, and most other calls to the NMCC
were seeking whatever additional information was available. He recalled no situational
awareness that came from the NOrwON call.
He was told that the SIEC was convened between 0920 and 0925 and was asked
if he was aware of any other aircraft out there, lost, missing or hijack. He did not recall
being concerned about any other aircraft at the point that the SIEC was convened. The
only plane he knew about was the one that was going to land in NYC and that had not
He recalled that FAA only had one STU-III and they could not stay up on a
conference on that phone .
He had no awareness of AA 77 coming back to Washington D.C. His firstawareness was a call from the SECDEF's three-star aide who asked if he felt theexplosion in the building and asked Leidig to investigate, it might be a terrorist attack."
"No one talked Force Protection before the Pentagon was struck, that he recalled.and:
[9/11 Classified Information]
He did not recall phone calls to NORAD prior to the advent of the SIEC. At
this point Stafftumed to the transcript of the Air Threat Conference Call (ATCC) and
recalled for him his update. His reference to AA 11 he recalled was because that incident
was open and not resolved; he said on the conference that AA11 was headed for
Washington. He thought his reference was that "it was being confirmed" not that "it has
been confirmed." He thought the information came from FAA. They're trying to figure
out where the hijacked aircraft was going.
There was not a separate hijack conference, he said. Staff then referred to such
as an FAA conference. He does not recall being on any such conference.
Staff recounted for Liedig, in reference to the SIEC, that NORAD
recommended the reconvening of the conference as an ATCC. He thought the SIEC was
the right conference, the ATCC had cold war implications and brought a different group
of people to a conference.
The plane that hit the Pentagon was not the same plane that was underdiscussion in the Air Threat Conference Call. The fact that he transitioned to an ATCC,
in retrospect, he thought was because he perceived an air threat at that time. He recalled
that they were notifying people continuously and did not recall who was notified that the
ATCC was convened, but was confident that notification was made. He recalled very
clearly being frustrated that he could not keep FAA in the conference. They would ask
questions, FAA would not be there, and they would have to redial them. He thought it
would have been the ADDO or the SOO who was trying to keep FAA in the conference
by calling their watch center; he referred to it as an ops center.
[EGHet He did not recall if the VCJCS was in the ATCC conference, by telephone. He
said they would have been trying to do so; he is a member of the conference."
"He described his situation as a multi-tiered battle, to include knowing aboutand:
consequence management underway elsewhere in the building. He recalled his
situational awareness on the Pentagon crash as being an aircraft was from CNN.Leidig is certain that Winfield returned after the Pentagon was hit. He is not
certain of Winfield's arrival in relationship with the Vice Chairman.
The only specific situational awareness he recalled was on a hijacked airplane
that was a threat to Chicago. He was referred to a NORAD report of "a possible fourth"
aircraft. He did not recall where the term "fourth" came from. He was not aware of any
other continuous open line with either the FAA or with NORAD.
"They did not have the thought in the Command Center to put all the aircraft inand:
the United States on the ground. There was no discussion about that event before itoccurred.Leidig did not know that there were fighter aircraft in CAP over DC before
discussions at the national level about that need. He did remember discussions about
fighter support for Air Force One, in the conference and not on a separate line.
He can't say that there was a separate source for the PEOC report of an inbound
aircraft. He equated that report to the same plane that had been headed to Chicago.
He deferred to the transcript of the Air Threat Conference for definitive
information as to when FAA was on the Conference. He did not recall anyone coming in
from another room or calling out himself to bring FAA into the conference.
Concerning Andrews, he thought Commander Gardner might have been
handling any such calls. He recalled that General Meyers was using available phones to
talk to senior officers at multiple locations. He and other Generals/Admirals were
working issues using a bank of available phones. The Air Threat Conference was on
speaker so everyone could hear. He recalled the room going quiet when the shootdown
language came over the Conference.
Concerning the threat to DC, the NMCC was convinced, he recalled that therewas an inbound threat to the Pentagon. He sense was that there were fighters in the airand they were trying to get them focused on the inbound threat. He had a hard timegetting someone to tell him about the fighters."
"Concerning the first registering of the Vice President's shoot down language.and:
He recalled that it was more specific than what is registered in the transcript at this point.
It is more of a question than an order. He doesn't think that they have given the order at
He recalled language that when a plane got 15 minutes outbound (he meant
inbound) they had authority to engage. That language apparently came during a blank
portion of the tape. [Staff Note. The taping device that day was an analog device that
required that someone pay attention and periodically flip the cassette or insert a new one.
His recollection was, on reading the transcript, that there were conversations not
recorded.] He thought he was still the DDO at this point, not General Winfield. [He later
recalled that there wasn't that much missing from the transcript.]
He recalled a discussion about what they were going to do with any futurethreats and that's when the Vice President came forward with other specificity.However, the "pin drop" moment was when the "15 minutes" language came over thespeaker phone. All heads in the room turned toward the speaker, he recalled."
"General Winfield took over at some point in relation to the report of theand:
Pennsylvania crash. [Crash was at 10:03, so any reporting would be after that time.]
There was a question as to whether the military shot down the airplane that he
believes was not captured on the transcript. The issue was who's talking to those pilots
right now so we can talk to them and find out if the fighters shot down an aircraft. His
recall was that the fighters overhead were Andrews fighters."
"There was never a doubt, he said, that the President was in control that day. HisLeidig was the acting Deputy Director for Operations, sitting in for Brigadier General Montague Winfied, who was conveniently absent until later. It looks like the Joint Chiefs arranged for this completely unprepared guy - he had been qualified to do this job for a month - to guard the chicken coop while the fox went egg hunting.....
specific reference was to the Vice President's language, "I've confirmed ... " He also
knows from his job that the President is always capable of constant communication with
the national leadership. He again reaffirmed that there was never a doubt in his mind."
[Just look at the line of tired, dirty, hungry, hard-working Afghan laborers, waiting for their pay-checks. The United States is trying to do in Afghanistan today what it should have done there twenty-years ago, pay local laborers a decent salary repairing all the stuff destroyed in our latest war there. We are such stingy, opportunist bastards that we do our best to get everything at "bottom dollar," or free. In the case of Afghanistan, we had no problem at all throwing money at the Afghan "mujaheddin," to help them fight against the Soviet invaders that we brought into their midst with Brzezinski's deception, but the minute that the last Russian soldier crossed that bridge we washed our hands of the Afghan problem. We got their country and about a million of their citizens blown to hell, but we then left them all to rot in that hell we created and wondered, ten years afterward, why they were still pissed at us....then, we re-invented and re-invigorated Al-CIAda....and engineered the barbaric Inside Job of 9/11.....
Pay up, Uncle Sam. Stop looking for new wars to start until you have cleaned-up your previous messes, wars, assassinations and utter war crimes.....]
Listen to my complete interview with Susan Lindauer here. Below is a transcript of the first half of the interview.
Kevin Barrett, PhD
I understand that you had some 9/11 foreknowledge, but were actually busted for trying to explain to the Bush Administration through your cousin Andrew Card, that invading Iraq was insane, that the Iraqis were basically going to do anything we wanted anyway--they'll agree to anything for peace--and that there would be a terrible resistance and a terrible war if there was an invasion. And for that very accurate and prescient warning, they went after you.
Well, you have a very good grasp of this issue, I will tell you. It is a complicated story. I was one of the very few (CIA) assets covering Iraq before the war. And I had established contact with the Iraqi embassy at the United Nations in New York back in August of 1996. And for seven years before the invasion, I was what they call a "back channel" to Iraq on the question of terrorism. That was my foremost priority. This was covert in the sense that it was covert to the West. But the Iraqis were fully informed as to who I was and what I was doing and what my purpose was. My motivation was that I hated the United Nations sanctions. I hated the genocidal consequences and suffering for the Iraqi people, most truly and genuinely--that was very sincere. And they knew it. And both sides knew my politics. In fact, the CIA had come to me knowing my politics and said "hey, why don't you try to help us." They co-opted me--they did--but I agreed to be co-opted. We all understood each other. And that's very important for what happened.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. There is a role for people who are intermediaries between warring parties and who try to make peace. And it sounds like that's what you were doing.
Yes indeed. And both sides understood my politics, that I wanted to help end the sanctions. And the CIA was very adamant that Iraq had to meet certain criteria in order for that to happen. And my contribution from the very first days was on terrorism. Our team started what we called preliminary talks with Baghdad in November of 2000, two years before the United Nations got involved. Our team started back channel talks to get Iraq's agreement on the weapons inspections. And over the next fifteen months, my supervisor, Richard Fuisz (pronounced "fuse"), through talks at the Iraqi embassy, mostly with Iraq's ambassador Dr. Sayeed Hassan, and with other senior Iraqi diplomats, on what conditions Iraq would have to accept in order to resume the weapons inspections. And at that point we had begun to develop a comprehensive peace framework which extended great support to anti-terrorism. Iraq agreed to let the FBI come into Baghdad and operate a task force that would have authority--this was before 9/11 ever happened! Nine months before 9/11 happened, Iraq agreed to have the FBI come into Baghdad with the authority to conduct terrorism investigations, interview witnesses, make arrests. After 9/11, Iraq agreed to give financial records on al-Qaeda to the United States. BUT the United states didn't want to take the records.
It makes you wonder why not.
Isn't that an interesting question.
It leads me to (my next question): You apparently had some kind of foreknowledge of 9/11. Can you explain to us what that was?
Yes. This is a very interesting thing, and I'm glad...I hope your audience will pay attention to this. We absolutely expected 9/11 to happen. And there's a subtlety here that I hope your audience will appreciate. In April and May of 2001 I was summoned to my CIA handler's office and told that I needed to confront the Iraqi diplomats at the United Nations, through my back channel, with a demand for any fragment of intelligence regarding airplane hijackings and/or airplane bombings. And over the summer, that progressed to a deep belief that there was going to be an airplane hijacking attack, and some sort of aerial strike, on the World Trade Center. We talked about this in our one-on-one meetings practically every week. Just so we are clear, this was not a one-time conversation. This was a major focus of our efforts. Richard (Fuisz, Lindauer's CIA handler) was very worried about it, very agitated about it, how Iraq must give us this intelligence. Now, I don't mean to patronize you, but I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of deniability. I do not think that Richard Fuisz knew all the details of 9/11. However, he knew enough. My book Extreme Prejudice goes into the conversations that we had in great detail. And he knew the timing of the attack. By August 2001, Richard was telling me not to go into New York City because this attack was immanent. And on the day of FBI Director Robert Mueller's confirmation hearings, which I think was August 2nd--in my book it's very clear, I've checked all the dates--Richard Fuisz told me that the attack was immanent. And I said, well, I'm going up to New York to ask my Iraqi sources about this again. And he said "Don't go to New York, it's too dangerous, I don't want you going there again." And I said "I'm just going up this weekend, and I promise I will not go back to New York." And that's how close this was. They knew a great deal. And what was interesting is that after 9/11, I get arrested, and he gets thirteen million dollars in payoffs. (laughs)
(laughing) Oh boy. That's amazing. They arrested you, because they were probably concerned about you revealing the contents of your conversations with Richard, among other things.
Oh yes, absolutely. And the fact that there was a peace option on the table that had been developed over a two year period before the war, a comprehensive peace framework. It included cooperation on anti-terrorism; it included the weapons inspections, of course--you already knew that; and it included Iraq's commitment to donate economic reconstruction--donate is not the right word--to dedicate economic reconstruction contracts to United States corporations with preferential treatment, preferential contracts in telecommunications, health care, pharmaceuticals, and transportation. This was a comprehensive peace framework! We covered everything! We covered a lot. And nobody even knows about this!
That's amazing. There have been general reports of this nature, including post-9/11, right up to the eve of the invasion, there have been reports that Saddam Hussein was willing to give the US basically everything it wanted to hold off the invasion.
That leads to the question: Why do you think, given that you recognize just how insane this invasion was, how completely unnecessary--the Iraqis were caving as far as they had to cave anyway--what was the point?
Yes, literally, Iraq said to me: "What is it the United States wants? Anything that the United States asks for, we will give them. Just tell us what it is!" When I was on a trip to Baghdad, they offered to buy one million American-made automobiles every year for ten years. And (an Iraqi diplomat) said to me, "Look, Susan, if ten years isn't enough, we'll make it twenty years."
You know, Susan, you're kind of ruining Saddam Hussein's posthumous reputation as somebody who stood up to the U.S.!
He was more harsh on terrorists than we were.
He didn't get along with al-Qaeda, and he didn't get along with Islamists of any kind, including the Iranians.
You would have thought that the U.S. would have just kept running him as an American puppet. He got his start as a CIA hit man, apparently.
So why, why this insane insistence on going to war with Iraq--a war that has killed one and a half million innocent Iraqis and destroyed that country. What was the purpose of it?
It was so incredibly stupid. And 9/11...9/11 could have been used at the start...9/11 was a tragedy, a terrible, terrible tragedy, but 9/11 could have accomplished great good. Because right after 9/11 Iraq went into high mode of giving. They were offering us everything we wanted: Financial records on al-Qaeda, proof of a Middle Eastern link to what we used to call the inter-Arab group of terrorists, which was actually an amalgamation of several different terrorist factions, coalesced into al-Qaeda. They were willing to prove that there was a Middle Eastern link to the Oklahoma City bombing and the first attack on the World Trade Center, and those included financial documents, bank records...we could have tracked the money that's financing terrorism around the world. Instead what we do is, we create an enemy. Because it looks better--the politicians could go grandstand. As a former (CIA) asset I can assure you, they don't actually do anything on terrorism. They give speeches. They go wave their hands in the parades. But they don't do anything to contribute to anti-terrorism efforts. But the people have been fooled by their showmanship and their grandstanding and their spectacle. It's like a circus performance now! In fact, before 9/11, there were 200 to 300 terrorists in the world who wanted to attack America. Now, after 9/11 and after the war in Iraq and after the war on Afghanistan, there are only about 2000 to 3000 individuals whose entire focus of life is revenge and coming into the United States and attacking us. That's only 3000 people. The way I look at it, this is like a high school auditorium that you could fill with the potential terrorists. That's it! This is an invention! We've made this up!
Right. Very well put. I've often explained to people that there was no real terrorist threat pre-9/11, and that for every one person pre-9/11 who was bent on doing harm to the US, there must be a great many today, because of all the terrible things that have gone on since 9/11.
So the question then, is...is it just sheer total incompetence and stupidity and grandstanding and egotism--I'm sure all of that contributes to it, but---uh...well, frankly, Susan, my take on all of this is that 9/11 was a Mossad operation, that it was of course done through Cheney's office. There were no hijackings. The guys that they blamed for it were not terrorists at all. They weren't even on the planes. There is not a shred of evidence that any of these guys were on those planes, nor is there a shred of actual evidence that there were any hijackings. Instead, we had a military operation that was essentially a Zionist coup d'état by the Likkud faction that wanted to destroy Iraq so it would never be a threat to Israel. A prosperous Iraq, allied to the US, would actually be terrible for Israel. That's why they wouldn't take the deals that you were brokering. Care to comment?
I think that you are--I do believe in the hijackings, but I believe in everything else that you have just said. One of the things that came out right after 9/11: I've often been asked by people what my CIA handler Richard Fuisz's source was for the 9/11 attack. And he told me briefly, he let it slip. Immediately after the attack, when we were all in a state of shock, he said to me...the first building had collapsed, but it was before the second building collapsed. This is a very important time frame. He made reference to video tape, which by the way was not released to the public until the next day, but right after 9/11 Richard Fuisz already knows about this video tape! Right after the attack--the first building has collapsed, the second one is still standing--and we're both talking in the living room, we're both shouting--I'm in my living room, he's in his living room, and we're shouting at the televisions--and he blurts out to me: "Susan, how many times do you think a camera is cued up waiting for a car accident to occur?" He said, "What do you think are the odds that those two people were just standing on the sidewalk with a video camera waiting patiently for the plane to hit the building?" And he said, "Those are Mossad agents. They knew that the World Trade Center was about to get hit, and they were waiting there for it to happen so they could record it and put it out in the media." Now this is before it has even come out in the media. He identifies them as Mossad agents, and I believe--I'm convinced--that that was the source of our knowledge of al-Qaeda. But what you guys don't know, which I will throw out to you, which comes out in my book, is that from April and May of 2001 onwards, Richard Fuisz instructed me to threaten the Iraqis with war. Now everybody assumes that the war stuff came after 9/11. But it didn't. They had decided months before 9/11 ever happened that as soon as this attack occurred, this would be the motivation for the war. So they absolutely knew that this attack was coming. They knew that it was going to be in late August or September. And that opens up a whole new dynamic proving what you have just said: That it was a Mossad conspiracy, that there was complicity...maybe that's a better word, complicity...I'm going to go a little softer on the language than you. Mossad complicity.
I would argue that it's a little more than complicity--that the demolitions of the three tallest buildings ever taken down in controlled demolitions required immense skill and military specialization and so on...
Oh yes, when I say complicity, I include that in it. Yes. I believe in the detonations. In fact...do I have time to tell you one story before break?
Tell it, go for it.
While I was writing my book, I had a high-ranking State Department official, who has a very very high, top-top-top security classification, and I cannot name him for you because I don't want to hurt his reputation. He's close to retirement, he's going to have a pension--they would crush him if he was ever exposed, I suspect. He thinks it too. He says that a couple of weeks before 9/11, at the end of August, for about two weeks, strange vans were arriving at the World Trade Center at three o' clock in the morning. They were staying from about three o' clock to about four-thirty or five. They were coming in for a brief period. And he swore to me that he personally had investigated the janitorial services, and he said "I know first hand how many employees the janitorial service had, what their trucks looked like, what their revenues were like, where they lived." He said "we know the addresses." We are confident that none of the people from the janitorial services were tied to these trucks. It had never happened before, it was a unique thing. This was not a constant thing like over a six month period. It was a strange anomaly right before (the attack on) the World Trade Center. And he was convinced that this was government-level thermite, government-level weapons, that had been put into either the stairwells or the elevator shafts. And he is convinced that this is when it happened.....