Some conspiracy theories never die. They remain impervious to facts or logic. So deeply enamored are some cynics with their dark fantasies, that all evidence to the contrary is either ignored, or dismissed.
[caption id="attachment_1730" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The E ring of the Pentagon at the 7th Corridor is beginning to fill with a thin haze of smoke, about 20 mins after plane hit the Pentagon. Photo by Jamie McIntyre. © 2001"][/caption]
So it is with the 9/11 deniers who still, nine years later, argue no plane hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. And I know this firsthand, because one of my reports is routinely used, or misused, to perpetuate the myth.
[caption id="attachment_1731" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Outside the River Entrance, waiting for the second plane to hit, 9/11/01 Photo by Jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]
Google “Jamie McIntyre” and “9/11” and this firsthand account from 2001 will pop up, in which I utter the fateful words, “I can tell you from my close-up inspection, there’s no evidence of a plane crashing anywhere NEAR the Pentagon.”
That phrasing – taken out on context – has fueled internet conspiracies for years, and a fresh crop has popped up ahead of the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
What the 9/11 deniers intentionally misrepresent, is that I was answering a question about an earlier report that the plane crashed SHORT of the Pentagon, nearby. I was explaining there was no sign of a crash anywhere BUT at the Pentagon.
[caption id="attachment_1732" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A portion of the Pentagon collapses - 9/11/01 - Photo by Jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]
A Google search will also turn up a longer version of the same report, in which you can see the full context of my report, and how it was deliberately distorted by mischief-makers whose motives are frankly unfathomable to me.
Whenever I confront one of these conspiracy promoters, the result is the same: they simply conclude I must be lying, or that the government has "gotten to me" to change my story.
But I was there. I saw the thousands of pieces of the plane scattered over the heliport outside the Pentagon. I photographed pieces of the wreckage, photos you can see here.
As a journalist I understand why some people are willing to believe the worst about the government. Because sometimes the government does lie, and cover up.
[caption id="attachment_1733" align="alignright" width="300" caption="On the heliport thousands of tiny shards of airplane wreckage cover the ground, 9/11/01 - Photo by jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]
But the evidence surrounding the events of the September 11 is overwhelming and incontrovertible. Conspiracy theorists use a very simple devious and disingenuous tactic to sow doubt and promote their dubious conclusions. They simply ignore all the strong links in the chain of evidence, and focus instead on the weakest possible link.
If all you had to go by was the short clip of me saying, "there's no evidence a plane hit anywhere NEAR the Pentagon," you might well debate all day what I meant.
But we have all the evidence we need to know, without any doubt, that American Airlines flight 77 that took off from Dulles Airport was in fact flown into the side of the Pentagon the morning of September 11th.
[caption id="attachment_1734" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A piece of wreckage that appears to be a cockpit window - 9/11/01 - Photo by Jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]
When it comes to questioning the official version of events, it's good to keep an open mind. But if your mind is too open, your brain can fall out.
And frankly I think that's what's happened to some of these deniers.
[Construction Complete On 9/11 Truther Memorial]
[caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A piece of American Airlines flight 77, on the grounds of the Pentagon - 9/11/01 - Photo by Jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1736" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The picture I was arrested for taking. A Pentagon Police officer claimed I violated the ban on photography. - 9/11/10 - Photo by Jamie McIntyre ©2001"][/caption]