Personal Effects and the Crash-Proof Passport

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Of all the evidence produced in relation to the 9/11 attacks, perhaps none has been as notorious as the passport of one of the hijackers, recovered from 9/11. The discovery was treated with scorn almost immediately, with talk of "indestructible passports" (and comments like "why don't they build planes out of the material they use to make Saudi passports") spreading all over the web. It must have been planted because such a delicate item would surely have been destroyed, said almost everyone. 911Research take a relatively mild view:

One immediate question to ask here is, why? Why plant the passport? It wasn't necessary. Suqami was on the manifest, for instance, and that is the evidence that he was on the plane. The passport isn't cited to support that, because it's not evidence at all - his passport could be carried by one of the others. The presence of the passport does not show that he was on the plane. It shows nothing. If anything, it takes away, as it's used as evidence against the 9/11 Commission account, rather than for it.

More importantly, the claim that the "Hijacker's Passport and a Landing Gear Fragment Alone Survive Fiery Crash" is entirely false. Even the FEMA report refers to wreckage beyond the landing gear, for example: you're just not being told about it.

Other evidence indicates that the destruction wasn't as total as you might have expected. Robert C. Shaler was in charge of the process of identifying remains recovered from Ground Zero, and in his book he reports the following statistics:

The majority of the passengers on Flight 11 were identified. In seven cases DNA testing wasn't even required. The "charred fragment of landing gear" was by no means all that remained of the flight.

In addition there are accounts of fragile passengers personal effects and other debris being retrieved from all the crash scenes, beyond those relating to the hijackers:

Pictures of items have appeared, too.

Of course surviving the impact and fireball is only one problem, as David Ray Griffin points out:

Dr Griffin doesn't believe that a passport could survive both the initial fire and the WTC collapses, then. But then that isn't what the 9/11 Commission said happened.

The passport was found before the towers collapsed. Other accounts certainly suggest some parts of the plane were left outside the building.

This photo had an interesting caption: "The original caption reads "On Albany Street, two blocks south of WTC 2, Two men examine a seat cushion from AA Flight 11. 8:52 a.m." Another flammable object that's made it out of the towers in a recognisable state. What's more, you can see how the debris stands out. The green object in front of the men looks the approximate size of a passport, for instance, and you can easily imagine it catching the eye of a passer-by.

Flight 11 Seat Cushion.jpg

We've no doubt there were many other items recovered that haven't been detailed online, and so it's hard to see why Suqami's passport might not also have survived. Explosions are chaotic events: you can't reliably predict what might happen. By way of an example, consider this story from the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. The craft broke up on re-entry, 40 miles about the earth, and debris fell over a wide area. Amongst this was one of the experiments involving tiny worms.

Remarkably, not only were the canisters retrieved, but the worms were still alive (the above link tells you more). Who would have believed that? Not the scientist in charge of the experiment, who said in the same story:

In fact if we wanted to start a “Columbia space shuttle crash never happened” conspiracy site then that would make great “evidence”, because it goes against what you’d expect. And that’s a great quote, too. But then maybe intuition doesn’t tell the whole story, and more can survive explosions than you think.