Popular conspiracy theories behind 9/11

Dominique Lyons

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 tore apart many American families, ended many lives, united the states as only tragedy could and — according to some people — were orchestrated by the American government.

These conspiracy theorists believe that the American government not only hides information from its people but also actively works against them. Here are some of the most popular conspiracy theories behind the 9/11 attacks:

  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the military to stand down and not intercept the hijacked planes.
    • “I don’t believe it to be true. There has never been evidence presented that would suggest it to be true, and given the chain of command in the military, it would be likely that somebody in a position of authority would have received those orders to transmit to pilots and ground crews and someone would have said something about it. I think it is part of the broader conspiracy that the US government allegedly had a role in 9/11.” — Richard Hanley, associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University and panelist for “Politics, Burgers and Beer,” an NPR affiliate’s weekly political discussion program.
  • A Boeing 757 flown by an amateur pilot could not possibly have maneuvered its way into the Pentagon, the stronghold of the world’s most powerful military.
    • “Believe it or not, (these planes are) basically operated by an automatic pilot. It does seem surprising that there wasn’t enough time to scramble the fighter jets and to try to do something. It could well be that we were complacent back then. This was pre-9/11.” — Steven Hook, chair of the Kent State political science department.
  • Wall Street traded on stocks directly affected by the attacks prior to their occurrence, leading people to believe they knew that the attacks were coming.
    • “There’s just no evidence of that. Wall Street opens at 9:30, so there’s just no evidence of trading stock before the attack. That’s just fanciful.” — Hanley
  • Saudi Arabia and Iran played a part in the attacks, and then-President George W. Bush withheld knowledge of the countries’ involvement.
    • “You have to realize Saudi Arabia is largely Sunni Muslim and Iran is largely Shiite. Plus Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, and Iran has been an adversary, so I don’t see how those two countries would be cooperating with each other.” — Hook

Sept. 11 is a day of somber celebration. It is a day of intense loss and heartfelt patriotism. There will always be those who deny the truth, but whether you believe these theories or not, a better nation emerged from the ashes of the twin towers.

Contact Dominique Lyons at [email protected].