1993 WTC bombing

The FBI Investigation into the First Attack on WTC found that Al-Qaeda aimed at destroying both towers of WTC in 1993.

According to the FBI, Ramzi Yousef wanted the bomb in ‘93 to topple one tower of the World Trade Center, with the collapsing debris knocking down the second.  (To the Story in the FBI Archive, and on the active FBI-Website)

And the FBI claims further that Al-Qaeda in 2001 wanted to destroy the Twin Towers as well. The last paragraph of their story reads:

„⌈…⌋ with the help of Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda would later return to realize Yousef’s nightmarish vision.“

I wonder if the FBI is serious about this. If the FBI is sure about this detail, I am curious about their answer to this simple question:

Why Al-Qaeda should have assumed the planes would bring down the Towers of the World Trade Center?

There is only one simple answer to this Question, which avoids further contradictions. But it does not fit with the FBI’s assumption:

Al-qaeda did not want to bring down the Towers in 2001.

Obviously one could not refute this explanation. Possibly Al-Qaeda dropped the goal of destroying the Towers long before 2001. If the terrorists did not want to bring the towers down, an attack purely based on planes – without any attack from within the buildings – would have made sense.

The FBI’s assumption that Al-Qaeda wanted the Twin Towers to collapse is a poor fit with the official reports

The three major reports on the attacks on September 11, 2001 do not discuss the precise objective of the plot. But their hidden assumptions seems to be: Al-Qaeda did not expect the Twin Towers to collapse.

I took a close look into the NIST-report, and into the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, released in december, 2002. Same for the 09/11 Commission report, released on July 22, 2004. In none of them I found a discussion of the probabiltiy that the terrorists wanted to destroy the Twin Towers. So these three reports manage to avoid the critical question: Why Al-Qaeda should have assumed the planes would bring down the Towers of the World Trade Center?

The NIST worked very hard to explain that a collapse of three buildings could possibly be a result of planes crashing into two of them. NIST proved this result not to be physically impossible – although until 2001 the contrary was widely believed.

The NIST did not mention Occam’s razor to explain why the scope of its investigation did not cover suicide attackers inside the towers. (The NIST only considered Non-suicidal attackers distributing charges inside the buildings well ahead of the attacks. See Page XXXVIII of the NIST-report)

But seemingly the NIST used or misused Occam’s razor and reasoned: If the collapse of the Towers can be explained by the fires caused by jet fuels, why assume that suicide attackers distributed explosives or thermite in the Buildings while they were evacuated? Or the Investigators just had a blind spot. (For Details, see my post On WTC destruction and professional bias)

I doubt if Occam’s razor is applicable in this context. But for sure, the NIST should have explained its approach.