In the early 2000s, Kevin Ryan was the site manager at Environmental Health Laboratories. On November 11, 2004, he wrote directly to Frank Gayle, the director of NIST’s Twin Towers investigation. The following week, he was fired. This is his story.
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“But someone would have talked,” say the self-styled skeptics who believe the government’s official conspiracy theory of 9/11. “After all, every major conspiracy has its whistleblowers, doesn’t it?”
But there’s a problem with this logically fallacious non-argument. “Someone” did talk. In fact, numerous people have come out to blow the whistle on the events of September 11, 2001, and the cover-up that surrounds those events.
These are the stories of the 9/11 Whistleblowers.
You’re tuned in to The Corbett Report.
In 2001, Kevin Ryan was the site manager at Environmental Health Laboratories (EHL) in South Bend, Indiana. At the time, EHL was a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety consulting and certification corporation that tests a range of consumer and industrial products for compliance with government safety standards. Among many other things, UL provides fire resistance ratings for structural steel components to insure compliance with New York City building codes.
Just weeks after the events of September 11, 2001, UL’s then-CEO, Loring Knoblauch, visited Ryan’s EHL lab in South Bend. During his speech there, Knoblauch assured the lab’s workers that UL “had certified the steel in the World Trade Center buildings” and “that we should all be proud that the buildings had stood for so long under such intense conditions.” Knowing UL’s role in producing a fire resistance directory and providing ratings for steel components, Ryan thought little of the statement at the time.
But Ryan’s curiosity about UL’s role in the certification of the World Trade Center steel was piqued when, in 2003, he began to question the lies that the Bush administration had used to justify the invasion of Iraq, and, eventually, to question the official story of September 11th itself. Recalling Knoblauch’s comments about UL’s role in certifying the Trade Center steel shortly after 9/11, Ryan began to take a professional interest in the official investigation into the Twin Towers’ destruction, an investigation in which UL itself was to play a part.
As Ryan began to learn more about the issues involved with the destruction of the towers and the ongoing investigation into that destruction, his concerns only grew. Why had the actual steel evidence of the towers’ destruction been illegally removed and disposed of before a proper investigation could take place? Why did not one or two, but three modern, steel-frame buildings completely collapse due to fire on 9/11 given that such an event had never taken place before? Why did the towers fail at all when John Skilling, the structural engineer responsible for designing the towers, claimed in 1993—just five years before his death—that his own analysis of jet plane crashes and ensuing fires in the towers had concluded that “the building structure would still be there”? And why had Knoblauch himself bragged about UL’s role in testing the World Trade Center steel—a test that would have rated the floor components for two hours of fire resistance and the building columns for three hours—when the North Tower “failed” in 102 minutes and the South Tower came down in just 56 minutes?
These concerns prompted Ryan, in October 2003, to write directly to Loring Knoblauch, outlining his thoughts and “asking what [Knoblauch] was doing to protect our reputation.” But if Ryan was expecting Knoblauch to put his mind at ease about these issues, he was sorely disappointed. Instead, Knoblauch—who included Tom Chapin, then the head of UL’s fire resistance division, in the email chain—wrote a response that only raised more questions than it answered.
KEVIN RYAN: Knoblauch copied Tom Chapin on his response to me, because it was Tom’s job as the leader of the fire resistance division to really address these kinds of things. And interestingly, Tom Chapin had written a letter to the editors at The New York Times in 2002 where he basically admitted, again, that UL’s testing had been behind the fire resistance of the World Trade Center towers. And so I’ve written about that a little bit, but he was very clear that the World Trade Center stood for as long as it did because of UL’s testing. And the problem of course with that is that the South Tower lasted for only 56 minutes after it was hit, and the testing that was required by New York City code was three hours of fire resistance for the columns and two hours for the floor assemblies. So 56 minutes and those ratings do not add up. That’s just not something that should go unquestioned.
So Loring Knoblauch wrote back to me after my questions in—it must have been October 2003 when I wrote to him. He wrote back to me a month later and he said all these things about how the company had tested the steel components used to build the World Trade Center towers. What he meant is we had tested samples of those and provided ratings for fire resistance to the New York City code—again, three hours for columns and two hours for floor assemblies. And that information established the confidence that the buildings would stand in those fire durations. And the test that was used was ASTM E119, which is the standard test used for this purpose. And UL is the leader in doing that testing, so it wasn’t a surprise.
And not only that, but NIST—the government agency NIST [the National Institute of Standards and Technology]—had made clear in some of their progress reports that UL had consulted with the construction companies for the World Trade Center towers, and throughout the building of the buildings that UL had provided that information. So it’s really not a surprise at all.
And Tom Chapin replied further to me that the NIST agency was doing an investigation and asked me, basically, to have patience. And I did for maybe the next year.
In 2002, NIST began its three-year, $16 million study of the Twin Towers’ “failure.” Tom Chapin had assured Ryan that UL was cooperating with this investigation and that his concerns would be allayed once the final report was released. But by 2004, it was already clear that there were serious problems with that report and its preliminary findings, including findings from tests conducted by UL on mock-ups of the WTC floor assemblies that contradicted NIST’s own conclusions about the buildings’ destruction.
RYAN: Well, it’s very important to understand that with the official accounts for the World Trade Center, there were a number of explanations given in the early years. And for the towers the one that was settled upon and that lasted for three years was the pancake theory.
And the pancake theory was this concept where the floor assemblies had heated up and sagged and this steel had softened or weakened and then they started to collapse upon each other in a pancake fashion. And then the columns basically just folded inward. So that was the official account, really. It was given by the FEMA investigators Corley and Thornton and others—who coincidentally had also given us the official account for the Oklahoma City bombing. But in this video from the television program Nova, it was captured for everyone’s benefit in little videos . . . animations. And so the pancake theory was the official account.
And UL tested the floor assemblies basically for the possibility of this in August 2004. So this was, again, nine months or ten months after I had asked my original questions. And they did so by using different assemblies with varying amounts of fireproofing. One of the assemblies had basically no fireproofing on it at all, and they ran it through this furnace in this ASTM E119 test and concluded in the end that there would be no collapse. That the floors would not collapse even at temperatures and times greater than what we’re seeing at the World Trade Center.
And they made that clear. NIST made this clear, that the pancake theory was not supported. So that left us all at that time with no explanation, in 2004, three years later. Having invaded Iraq, having done so much to invest in the official account that the World Trade Center had been destroyed by these planes. And that was a difficult situation for NIST and for everyone.