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1993: Twin Towers Engineer Says “It Can Survive Jumbo Jet Hit”

colour 9/11/01, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES --- The second hijacked plane is seen moments before striking the second tower of the World Trade Center. --- Photo by Masatomo Kuriya/Corbis Sygma -1-

Did you know that in 1993 one of the WTC engineers said that the buildings were “safe” in the event of a “collision with a large jet airliner”?

In 1982 drills were run simulating a “plane crashing into the WTC”.

And between 1999 – 2001 authorities in New York took part in exercises that simulated major fires on the floors of the twin towers.

Taken from: Historycommons.org

November 7, 1982: Port Authority Practices for Plane Crashing into the WTC

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey holds a drill at the World Trade Center based on the scenario of a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. Numerous agencies participate in the drill, which is held on a Sunday. As well as the Port Authority, these include the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Emergency Medical Services. Guy Tozzoli, the director of the Port Authority’s World Trade Department, will describe the drill during a legislative hearing in 1993. He will recall that the Port Authority simulates the “total disaster” of “the airplane hitting the building” and participants simulate “blood coming out of people.” He will add that the drill is “a real preparation for a disaster.”

(During the hearing, Tozzoli will mistakenly recall the drill being conducted in the late 1970s, but it is in fact held in November 1982.) The drill follows an incident in 1981, when an Argentine aircraft came within 90 seconds of crashing into the WTC’s North Tower as a result of having problems communicating with air traffic controllers. Asked about the drill shortly after 9/11, Tozzoli will say it was held “just to have people trained within the city for that particular scenario [of a plane hitting the WTC].” The 1982 exercise appears to be the last “joint drill involving all the emergency responders” held at the WTC prior to the 9/11 attacks, 19 years later, according to New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn.

February 27, 1993: WTC Engineer Says Building Would Survive Jumbo Jet Hitting It

In the wake of the WTC bombing, the Seattle Times interviews John Skilling who was one of the two structural engineers responsible for designing the Trade Center. Skilling recounts his people having carried out an analysis which found the Twin Towers could withstand the impact of a Boeing 707. He says, “Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed.” But, he says, “The building structure would still be there.”

The analysis Skilling is referring to is likely one done in early 1964, during the design phase of the towers. A three-page white paper, dated February 3, 1964, described its findings: “The buildings have been investigated and found to be safe in an assumed collision with a large jet airliner (Boeing 707—DC 8) traveling at 600 miles per hour. Analysis indicates that such collision would result in only local damage which could not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building and would not endanger the lives and safety of occupants not in the immediate area of impact.” However, besides this paper, no documents are known detailing how this analysis was made.

The other structural engineer who designed the towers, Leslie Robertson, carried out a second study later in 1964, of how the towers would handle the impact of a 707.

However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), following its three-year investigation into the WTC collapses, will in 2005 state that it has been “unable to locate any evidence to indicate consideration of the extent of impact-induced structural damage or the size of a fire that could be created by thousands of gallons of jet fuel.”

(March 22-29, 1993): Hearings Held to Discuss WTC Bombing and Continuing Terrorist Threat

Three days of public hearings are held to examine the security and safety aspects of the recent World Trade Center bombing. New York State Senator Roy Goodman (R-Manhattan) presides over the hearings. His committee questions 26 witnesses in what journalists Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins will later call “a no-holds-barred probe of the City [of New York] and of the Port Authority.”

Bombing Was a ‘Dire Warning’ – During the hearings, Goodman calls the WTC “an extremely inviting target” for terrorists, and says the recent bombing (see February 26, 1993) was a “tragic wake-up call” and “a dire warning of the future disasters which could occur with far greater loss of life if we fail to prepare” for terrorism “here at home.” He also refers to a number of Port Authority consultant and internal security reports, which predicted the kind of bombing that occurred at the WTC, and criticizes Port Authority officials who appear for failing to follow the recommendations of these reports.

Detective Says He Fears a ‘Further Disaster’ – One Port Authority employee who appears, Detective Sergeant Peter Caram, warns about the continuing threat to the WTC. Caram is the only Port Authority employee with a top security clearance and who is assigned to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force. He says he fears a “further disaster somewhere down the line” and, referring to the WTC, implores the Port Authority to “harden our target.” James Fox, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, similarly warns, “We would be well advised to prepare for the worst and hope for [the] best.” And New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says New York should remain at “a heightened state of awareness and readiness for the foreseeable future.”

Official Recommends Practicing for a Plane Hitting the WTC – On the final day of the hearings, Guy Tozzoli, the director of the Port Authority’s World Trade Department, recalls a drill held in 1982, which simulated a plane crashing into the WTC, and recommends that New York’s emergency response agencies train again for an aircraft hitting the Twin Towers

Report Based on Hearings Is ‘Largely Ignored’ – The exact dates of the hearings are unclear. The hearings begin on March 22, according to Barrett and Collins.

And according to Newsday, March 29 is the third and final day of the hearings.

Goodman will issue a 34-page report in August this year based on the hearings. The report, titled “The World Trade Center Bombing: A Tragic Wake-Up Call,” will describe the WTC as “a singular potential terrorist target.” It will call for a special task force and for increased security in the parking facilities under public skyscrapers. But Goodman will say, shortly after 9/11, that his report’s recommendations “were largely ignored as time dulled the sensitivity of the public to terrorist threats.”

(March 29, 1993): Former Port Authority Director Recommends that New York Agencies Prepare for a Plane Hitting the WTC

Guy Tozzoli, a former director of the Port Authority’s World Trade Department, recommends during a legislative hearing that emergency response agencies and the New York Port Authority train for the possibility of an aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center, but his recommendation will be ignored. Tozzoli, who is known as “Mr. World Trade Center” due to his close association with the WTC complex, makes his recommendation on the third and final day of public hearings, presided over by New York State Senator Roy Goodman (R-Manhattan), into the security and safety aspects of the recent WTC bombing. He is the last person, out of 26 witnesses, to be questioned.

Tozzoli’s testimony is “the only time that an airplane scenario came up in any detail” during the hearings, according to Newsday. Tozzoli’s recommendation, however, will be ignored. Alan Reiss, the director of the World Trade Department at the time of the 9/11 attacks, will say in November 2001 that “no exercise based on an airplane scenario was done over the past eight years.”

Computer Simulation Examined Effect of a Plane Hitting the WTC – During his testimony, Tozzoli also describes a computer simulation that was performed when the Twin Towers were being constructed—apparently referring to a simulation conducted in 1964 —to determine the effect of a Boeing 707 crashing into one of the buildings. “The computer said [the 707] would blow out the structural steel supports along one side of the building completely to seven floors, and naturally there would be a large loss of life on those seven floors because of the explosion,” Tozzoli says. “However,” he continues, “the structure of the building would permit the 50 floors or whatever it is above to remain and not topple, because the loads would distribute themselves around the other three walls and then eventually be assimilated in the floors below.” Furthermore, Tozzoli describes a training exercise the Port Authority held in 1982, which simulated a plane crashing into the Twin Towers.

Report Based on Hearings Ignores Tozzoli’s Recommendation – No newspapers mention Tozzoli’s testimony, and the report based on the hearings will not include Tozzoli’s recommendation that the Port Authority train for an aircraft hitting the WTC. Charles Jennings, a professor of fire protection at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will comment, shortly after 9/11, that Tozzoli’s recommendation appears to contradict official claims that no one could have prepared for what happened on September 11. “The fact that this was explicitly suggested by Port Authority personnel in a public hearing certainly suggests that there was or should have been awareness of this threat and consideration of planning for it among the effected agencies,” he will say.

June 6, 1999-Summer 2001: Port Authority and Fire Department Train for a Major Fire at the WTC

Employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the World Trade Center, and the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) take part in training exercises that simulate major fires on upper floors of the WTC.

On June 6, 1999, members of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) and the FDNY participate in an exercise that simulates a five-alarm, full-floor fire on the 92nd floor of the WTC’s South Tower. The exercise, held early on a Sunday morning, makes use of smoke machines, lighting, and mannequins, to create a realistic environment for participants.

In September 2000, the Port Authority and the FDNY conduct a similar exercise on the empty 93rd floor of one of the Twin Towers (the particular tower is unstated). Like the June 1999 exercise, it is held on a Sunday morning, simulates a five-alarm fire, and uses smoke machines to make it more realistic. Alan Reiss, the director of the Port Authority’s World Trade Department, will later recall: “It was a major full-floor high-rise fire. It was a full-scale fire simulation.” Five FDNY engine companies take part. The exercise is videotaped and elevators are unavailable while it is taking place.

At some point in the summer of 2001, the Port Authority and 30 FDNY companies train for a five-alarm fire on the 90th floor of the South Tower. Fire safety directors working for OCS Security, which holds the fire safety contract for the WTC, also take part in the exercise.

The PAPD holds “annual tabletop drills involving both police and the civilian management at the World Trade Center,” to exercise the emergency response plans for the WTC, according to Reiss. These drills are developed by PAPD specialists, Reiss will say, and other agencies besides the Port Authority—such as the FDNY—can participate. However, despite being recommended in 1993 to train for the event of a plane hitting the WTC the Port Authority conducts no exercises simulating that scenario in the subsequent eight years before 9/11.

Whether the Port Authority held exercises simulating large fires on the upper floors of the WTC before 1999 is unclear.

Between September 3, 2001 and September 7, 2001: WTC Structural Engineer Says Trade Center Designed for 707 Crashing Into It

Leslie Robertson, one of the two original structural engineers for the World Trade Center, is asked at a conference in Frankfurt, Germany what he had done to protect the Twin Towers from terrorist attacks. He replies, “I designed it for a 707 to smash into it,” though does not elaborate further.

The Twin Towers were in fact the first structures outside the military and nuclear industries designed to resist the impact of a jet airplane.  The Boeing 707 was the largest in use when the towers were designed. Robertson conducted a study in late 1964, to calculate the effect of a 707 weighing 263,000 pounds and traveling at 180 mph crashing into one of the towers. He concluded that the tower would remain standing. However, no official report of his study has ever surfaced publicly. A previous analysis, carried out early in 1964, calculated that the towers would handle the impact of a 707 traveling at 600 mph without collapsing  In 2002, though, Robertson will write, “To the best of our knowledge, little was known about the effects of a fire from such an aircraft, and no designs were prepared for that circumstance.” The planes that hit the WTC on 9/11 are 767s, which are almost 20 percent heavier than 707s