On this week’s episode of 9/11 Free Fall, former NIST employee Peter Michael Ketcham joins host Andy Steele to share his thoughts on the University of Alaska Fairbanks final report on World Trade Center Building 7.
Ketcham contends that it is now incumbent upon NIST, as a scientific agency with a duty to the public, to address these new findings and explain why they diverge so greatly from NIST's own 2008 report on WTC 7.
We invite you to listen or to read the interview below.
Welcome to 9/11 Free Fall. I'm the host, Andy Steele. Today we're joined by Peter Ketcham. Peter was a member of the NIST technical staff during the period between 1997 and 2011. He initially joined the high-performance systems and service division and later became a member of what was at the time the mathematical and computational sciences division of the Information Technology Laboratory.
A few years ago, he came out calling for a new investigation of the collapse of the three towers that fell on September 11th, 2001. We'll be catching up with him today now, that the World Trade Center 7 report is out. Peter, welcome back to 9/11 Free Fall.
Well, thank you Andy. Thank you for inviting me and it's a pleasure to talk with you again.
Well, it's a pleasure to talk to you and hear so many different perspectives now that this report is out—something that we have been waiting for a very long time. Maybe not a long time in the span of human history, but for people who are eager for justice, it has felt like an eternity, but here it is. The World Trade Center 7 report is out and of course we have some very startling conclusions that are not compatible with what NIST has told us before.
And of course you are a former employee at NIST, so we're going to be getting your take on this today. Let's start with my first question. Considering that you are a former NIST employee and you did come out calling for a new investigation, has your life or view of the world changed at all since that time when you came out?
Well, let me break that question into two answers. The first, has my life changed at all? I would say no. There have not been any changes to my life. The second one: Has my view of the world changed? Yes, it's changed greatly. My view of authorities, and in this case government agencies, it has changed greatly, and I've lost a lot of trust.
One of the things that happened as I started to become more and more involved with the 9/11 truth movement is that I started becoming aware of other issues that sort of encircle and encompass 9/11, including the way our global financial systems work, the way our central banking systems work, and my views on that have changed greatly from what they were before my involvement in 9/11 truth movement.
It is like a rabbit hole. It's an analogy from Alice in Wonderland. I think that analogy has been out there so many years, but of course she falls down a hole chasing a rabbit and enters a completely upside-down world, where everything she expects from what she knows is completely different. And that is what it's like for people as they start to go down this [9/11] path. I remember it was like that for me. It has really colored my view of things, and it's of course influenced my trust in government. And I think that is very important, as we face new crises all the time.
You always have to question what you're hearing from official sources, because if it needs to be an official source, then that means they have some kind of agenda to protect. I'm never really confident that the "powers that be" are really looking out for me.
Now the Hulsey report just came out, as I mentioned. What's your take on it, now that it's been released?
Well, it's an excellent piece of research. This is really a milestone. It's an impressive study, and the release of this report is a big milestone, because I think one of the pieces that was missing was a comprehensive, detailed academic study. That was always a weak point that critics could point to. They could say, "Well, people in the 9/11 truth movement, you've got some good arguments, you've got some great evidence, but where's the academic research?"
So, this is like a big building block being put into place—the University of Alaska study. It's a big building block being put into place, and, of course, I obviously have read the report. I was one of the reviewers, one of the early reviewers. So I've read it cover to cover, every single page, and it's impressive.
Absolutely. What really feels like an accomplishment, to me, for the movement in getting this report out is that it's now out there in the history [books]. We're facing some challenges right now in the overall world that are competing for attention with this report, obviously. I need not say what the big news story taking up the front pages is at this moment, but the fact that the report is even out there right now means it can be looked up at any time in the future. And I really believe the Hulsey report is going to live on in people's minds. It's something that they're going to remember— that they're going to be citing for a long time.
Let's not forget that there are inventions out there that have really revolutionized the world. But when they first came out, they didn't catch on right away. Sometimes the inventors feel like they have failed initially, and maybe it's only after they die that their product really catches on with the general public and really has an impact.
So we've just got to have faith in ourselves as a movement that our work is producing fruit and that the seeds we plant are going to sprout. You've just got to keep on putting this stuff out there. I see things changing all over the world, slowly but surely, the way people think, the way people look at the news and the information they're getting. And at some point, they're going to be looking back at 9/11 and saying, "Why can't we investigate this again? Why can't we look at what really brought down the World Trade Center 7? We've got this report conflicting with NIST. Let's get to the bottom of that. Let's get at why these two reports conflict so much."
Definitely you got to have faith in yourself and carry the work forward even when forces are trying to keep you from getting the information to as many people as you can.
You said that you read the report. Give us your take on the information in it. What did you find to be the most compelling points made by Dr. Hulsey and his team?
The part of the report that really got my attention and that I really studied carefully was the steel girder structure of Building 7. In other words, the network or web of beams and girders that form the structure of the building, how those connections are made, how the beams and girders connect, their stiffness, how it compares to the stiffness of the exterior of the building, where the centroid was in terms of movements as the building heated up or would have heated up during a fire. That was really very telling, because it showed where NIST had either omitted certain details or changed certain details.
And the details were crucial in the two different results: NIST results for how NIST claims the building collapse versus how Professor Hulsey and his team claimed the building collapsed. I could sum it up in a well-known phrase: "The devil is in the details." So, I spent a lot of time examining all the engineering drawings that are contained in the report, and that's where the really fascinating meat of the report is. At least for me it was.
Absolutely. In the details. I say this so many times on the show, I feel like I'm being repetitive, but it's not a talking point. It's just a fact that people on the other side of this debate like to ignore. They just continue on with the same hollow arguments. But you have two reports with conflicting outcomes. One has all of its data available, one keeps its input data under lock and key under this false guise of protecting the public safety.
I mean, which one are you going to trust? That's like saying, "I want to buy a car." You got two dealerships. One will let you look at the car they're selling and the other one won't. They just want you to pay them and then they'll let you drive it off of the lot and see it for the first time. I mean, this is just a spit in the face of common sense when evaluating any kind of scientific document. I will keep on stressing that.
And you're right, the devil is in the details. I think that's a very important detail right there—the fact that it's hard to get at some of the details in the NIST report. And of course what they do lay out has been proven to be false in so many different instances that we've documented here on the show. That's why it's so important to get this UAF study out to academics, people who can really dive into it and let them have at it and see for themselves that this isn't just some conspiracy theory on the internet. This isn't just some people in their parents' basements shooting their mouths off on the computer. This is real. This is what happened. It was a controlled demolition and the science proves it.
Now, I keep on bringing up the point that we have two different conclusions here. One's from a university and one is from NIST. I want to know from you, why is that so important? I know why it's important to me, but from what you know of NIST from working there, how should NIST be handling a situation like this when it comes up? I mean, pretend it's not 9/11. Pretend it's some other more benign topic that isn't going to spark so much passion and controversy. If a university comes out with a report that conflicts with a conclusion that NIST put out, what would be the proper way for NIST to handle the situation?
I can give sort of a common sense answer. I can't speak to NIST procedures in a situation like this because I never worked with any of those specific procedures. But I can step back from this and give a common sense answer based on any kind of scientific research institute or agency or organization. What has to happen at this point is to have a full, complete, thorough, detailed comparison of what NIST did versus what the University of Alaska did.
This is just how basic science is done. You dig in and you start examining everything. Everything has to be laid out on the table. Everything has to be opened up. Everything has to be transparent. None of these squirrely games that NIST has been playing, where they don't want to show this, they don't want to show that. They can have excuse for this, excuse for that.
That has got to stop and there has to be a thorough—I'm using these words— thorough, complete, open, transparent, detailed comparison of everything NIST did against everything the University of Alaska did. That is the path forward. Endless debate, endless discussion without new information is not the path forward. Investigating thoroughly, completely, openly—that is the path forward.
I couldn't agree with you more. And of course, that's all that we are asking for. Obviously, people throughout the 9/11 truth movement have their own opinions about what they think happened. We keep that out of AE9/11Truth. We keep personal speculation about whatever the motive was to ourselves. When we do our work here, under AE's name, we do what we do best: We focus on the science and we simply call for a new investigation, which is the most reasonable thing that anybody can ask for. And that's something that the other side likes to ignore as well.
I mean, if you have new data, if you have new information, if you have something from a credible source making this case, then there's a valid reason for NIST to simply re-analyze the whole matter. I mean, this was 9/11. This is something that still impacts us to this day. So if there's anything that we got wrong, there's no problem with looking at it again.
I mean, there are people that will look into the Titanic—and I'm not alleging that that's any kind of a cover-up or anything. I think the official story's good on that. But people will just look at it for historical interest. They might find some facts that are a little bit different than what they originally believed when they look at these historical events. It doesn't mean anything or that there was a cover-up on 'em. It just means that, okay, we want to get the story straight. So maybe we were wrong about this particular thing, now we're correcting it here.
So, in this case, if you have something that gives a completely different conclusion as to what brought the building down, it seems like a no-brainer that you reinvestigate it and look into the information alleging it when it comes from a credible source. Of course, they're not going to do that, because there was a cover-up going on here. There's a lot of stonewalling, and they're trying to protect the official story, and they're not being scientific as we all know—people who listen to the show.
Now, I'm curious. You're a former employee of NIST. I don't want to believe everyone at NIST is some kind of bad person. I believe most people in government are people doing their jobs, and they have families and are saving for retirement and just want to get along in life, like most of us. But some bad things went on here, and I'm interested in how people interact, how they go about their daily lives as part of something like this, and how it happens behind the scenes.
I don't want to hear that the media is censoring. I want to hear how that decision is made to censor something. I want to hear about the interactions between the people ordering an issue to be censored and the people who have to carry that out. I want to know the same thing when it comes to government organizations, how they arrive at these decisions. Now, I know you weren't involved in this, but just from what you see and what you experience, how could something like this happen, in your view?
That's a great question. And the answer is, I don't know. I don't know how something like this could happen. When I started developing an awareness of this in 2016, I was stunned, because I thought that NIST would never be involved in anything that I would consider suspicious. I thought NIST was above that. So my illusions were kind of shattered.
I did not work in any management capacity at NIST. I was a worker bee. So I don't have any good sense for how these things happen. How do things get coerced, manipulated, covered up, changed and altered away from where the scientific research and truth leads you? How does that happen? I don't know, but my guess is it's simply some flavor of corruption. That's the best answer I can give.
Yeah, and when I first started speaking out about these issues, people would say, "Oh, you think the whole government is bad, and they're all in on this, and that's what's going on, huh?" People like to just jump to these bold assertions to avoid discussing the issue. And I don't think everybody is bad. But yeah, I had an experience—and I'm not going to get into the whole story, but I worked at a video store one time when I was very young, and there was a girl who was stealing money, but she was doing it in a pretty clever way and kind of manipulating things behind the scenes.
She wasn't clever enough, though, because I also was a little smart, and I tricked her and I caught her doing it and she ended up getting in some serious trouble for that. But I saw firsthand how one person within some kind of organization, in this case, just a video store, could manage to pull something off and manipulate things in such a way that nobody knows what's going on.
And I believe that something like that probably does happen in the bigger organizations, too. You get one or two bad apples and everybody else is oblivious or they're just following orders or they're not even knowing that they're part of some cover-up. They're just doing their job and they get some other explanation. I'm speculating here when I talk like this, because we don't know what went on behind the scenes. But what we can do is look at the science. We can look at the NIST report. We can look at the UAF report. We can determine what is better science and what kind of data NIST got wrong when they made their analysis.
We've pointed out time and time again, and it's just an uphill battle to try to get any kind of big platform. I mean, we can get our message out, and we do the best that we can. I think we do a really great job, considering the position that we are in, getting our information our great supporters out there. But we always shoot for the corporate media, even though we're not big fans of them, because they have that giant platform. I mean, that's what everybody turns to if there's ever another 9/11. They're going to look to CNN, because they have that ability to be there on the spot and cover it. So they have that kind of reach, though we'd still want to offer the chance to cover this to those institutions.
At the same time, we're making them more irrelevant, because people are turning them off. They're seeing right through it. They see through the propaganda and they are turning to more alternative sources. The problem is, the alternative sources are so scattered, which I think in some sense is a good thing. But it's hard to reach everybody by getting it through one source. So you can get a window into the kind of challenges that we face here.
Now, we were talking about trust in government earlier, and government science and figures, and you see government spit out figures and people say, "Hey, that's a nice graph there. They're telling me this is the numbers, so I'm going to trust it." But if NIST is standing by its deeply flawed World Trade Center 7 report and you're a 9/11 truth activist, what can we say now about government accounts of any issue that they're covering?
You know? I mean, if this could happen at NIST, it could be happening in some other agency with some other thing going on. That's what always runs through my head whenever I'm being fed a story by the television that's coming through the US government. What are your thoughts on that, Peter?
Yeah. I'm going to sort of answer your question, maybe not completely directly. This is maybe a circumspect answer. But what has become clear to me over since 2016, when I started developing an awareness of this, what has become clear to me is that governments must be held accountable. Because if they're not, they tend to slide into corruption. And I think one thing that gets lost is that government serves the people, not the other way around.
And I heard, I don't remember who said this, I'm quoting someone, I don't remember who it was, but they said something along the lines of, "The United States used to be a country with a government. Now we're becoming a government with a country." So our federal government, the US federal government, has to be held accountable, and there has to be transparency. Because if that doesn't happen, our government is going to slide into corruption, and that's very difficult to recover from. Very difficult to recover from. Certainly history is filled with examples of where that has happened, and I don't want to see that happen in the United States. That's sort of a circumspect the answer to what you're asking. But that's what comes to mind when you ask me the question you did.
No, I mean that is totally true. In my view, there's always going to be some form of corruption everywhere, in every government. The better governments root out most of it. But to have people killed for doing nothing other than going to work, and then you have evidence of this and you cover it up, I mean, this is a level that we just cannot tolerate any more in this country. This is beyond just some kind of crony capitalism or giving special benefits to your friends. I'm not diminishing the seriousness of that either, but 9/11 and covering up evidence that completely changes the understanding of what happened is like in a whole different universe than those things. Once you allow that, the door is open to any other kinds of lies and cover-ups.
And now we've got this report from UAF that's reputable, debunks NIST, and we've got to get it out there. Now, just your own views on this. We're up against coronavirus taking up the front page of everything right now. We're up against media stonewalling on this issue, which has gone on for years. In your view, just as a supporter of a new investigation, sometimes activist, how do we break through that? What can the individual do beyond volunteering with us? But if you only have, I don't know, an hour a week to do some work, what would you recommend doing, Peter?
You mean just for sort of the average US citizen?
The average citizen who doesn't have time to join up with any groups, but maybe for a few hours on a Sunday can spend some time on this on his own. What's the simplest thing he could do, in your view?
I think the simplest thing to do, and this is one of the things I did, is start watching some of the really excellent documentaries about 9/11. Just start watching them. There are a number that are excellent, including those produced by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
And once people start watching those documentaries, they're going to start developing an awareness, they're going to start waking up, and they're going to start watching more. And from there then they may be motivated to expand their activities. But if they've got limited time, I would say start watching those documentaries.
Absolutely. And share them. Don't just keep it to yourself.
Yeah. Yes, yes. And share them.
Right. It's so tempting to soak up information and then walk around with it and look at your fellow Americans with disdain because they don't happen to know about this thing. I think that is counterproductive. I think it's important to share. I mean, some people are going to get hostile. Some people are going to get mad at you, and you may lose some people in your life. To me, though, if somebody gets mad at you for questioning something, it might be a person that you need to lose in your life.
But the rewards are so much better if you wake somebody up and they go and spread it to someone else and they go and spread it, I mean, it catches like wildfire, and then maybe it'll wake up the person that's got the key to getting this out into the front pages of every paper in this country and in this world. So you never know what's going to happen when you just do the work.
Well, Peter, we are out of time now on the show, but I want to thank you again for having the courage to speak out. I mean, there are people who don't have the background that you do, who are afraid to speak out, but you did it, and we commend you for that. And thank you for your activism that you do and just for lending your voice to this call for a new investigation. And of course, as always, thank you so much for coming on 9/11 Free Fall today.
Yes. Well, you're welcome. Thank you for the kind words, and it was a pleasure to talk with you today.