Prelude 9/11 morning Flight 11 hijacked Flight 175 hijacked WTC 1 hit Flight 77 hijacked WTC 2 hit Flight 93 hijacked Pentagon hit WTC 2 collapses Flight 93 crashes WTC 1 collapses WTC 7 collapses Epilogue

Claim

Donald Rumsfeld denies the existence of WTC 70.

Background

The claim is intended to support a central claim, namely that the World Trade Center 7 was destroyed by a controlled demolition.

The claim is made by Nick Mehlsen, a member of the Danish Truth Movement, and is based on an interview by radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller, who in 2011 interviewed Donald Rumsfeld, who was the United States Secretary of Defense on September 11, 20010.

Erich Muller: “Building 7, I often hear about it. No plane hit Building 7. Why did Building 7 come down? What do you tell people?”

Donald Rumsfeld: “What is Building 7?”

Erich Muller: “Well, it was building 5, or the building that wasn’t hit by the plane. Building 7.”

Donald Rumsfeld: “I have no idea, I have never heard that.”

It is implied that, since Donald Rumsfeld must have known that the building existed, he is trying to cover up that the building, according to conspiracy theorists, should have been destroyed by controlled demolition.

Facts

The claim is based on a misinterpretation of what Donald Rumsfeld is saying. At no point does he deny the existence of World Trade Center 7. He merely does not understand what the radio host is talking about. Had Rumsfeld denied the existence of the building, his statement should have been something like “I deny the existence of Building 7”. This is not the case.

The expression “Building 7” is a central expression in the Truth Movement. World Trade Center 7 collapsed at 5:20 pm, local time, due to many hours of uncontrollable fires, which caused the steel construction to collapse. The fires started when the building was pummelted by debris from the collapsing North Tower (World Trade Center 1). No people died, since the building had been evacuated when the first plane hit World Trade Center 11.

World Trade Center 7’s collapse, without being hit by a plane, has spawned a long line of claims that point to the building having been prepared for controlled demolition in advance. This should have been achieved by placing explosives and top secret military-developed nanothermite
in the building2.

Nicknames

New York City is famous all over the world for its skyscrapers, some of which are among the tallest in the world. The World Trade Center 7, which was the 91st tallest building in the city on September 11, 2001, was primarily known as the Salomon Smith Barney building after the company that had rented part of the building. This is common practice and makes more sense to people living in the city since tall buildings are often useful landmarks. The nicknames often persist after the company has moved away. One example is the Chrysler Building3,, which is solely known by that name, despite the Chrysler Corporation has not been present in the building since the mid-1950s. Another example is the MetLife Building4, which is still referred to as the PanAm Building since Pan American World Airways had its main office here until 1991.

Logic

It is thus not surprising if Donald Rumsfeld is unfamiliar with a rather generic name, which “Building 7” really is. The question is also worded in a very diffuse manner: “The building that wasn’t hit by the plane” could mean any building that wasn’t hit by planes: Only three buildings in the entire world were hit, out of the millions that were not.

The claim is therefore based on the assumption that a former Secretary of Defense is as familar with conspiracy theory nomenclature as conspiracy theorists are. Hardly surprising, since this is not the case, it is nevertheless concluded that Rumsfeld is trying to cover up that World Trade Center 7 was not destroyed by controlled demolition by refusing to acknowledge that the building ever existed.

Despite that Rumsfeld makes it clear that he does not understand the question, Erich Muller does nothing to explain the context to him. The listeners is thus manipulated into believing something that is not true, where common journalistic integrity and decent interview technique could have cleared up the misunderstanding very quickly.

Erich Muller could have explained to Rumfeld (and the listeners) that the building’s collapse has been investigated quite thoroughly, and the results published in 2007, four years before the interview took place1. By leaving this out, Erich Muller keeps pertinent information from the listeners, information that immediately would have made it clear that there was nothing suspicious about the collapse of the building.

Normal becomes abnormal

It is common that landmarks in New York City have easily recognizable names and not generic number assignments. By claiming that Rumsfeld does, in fact, know a “Building 7”, and understands the implications (according to the Truth Movement), the normal becomes abnormal: A suspicion is built on a normal situation, by suddenly claiming that it is abnormal.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Manipulating

Sources

  1. Nick Mehlsen, Facebook
  2. Investigation of WTC 7

  3. The Mancow Experience
  4. WTC 7 collapses
  5. Chrysler Building, Wikipedia
  6. MetLife Building, Wikipedia

Q & A