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

Larry Silverstein leased and insured against terror attacks from planes in the weeks before 9/110

Background

The claim is connected to another claim, namely that Larry Silverstein, a famous businessman, ordered that the World Trade Center 7 should be blown up so that he could make money from insurance fraud0.

The insurance sum is claimed to be $5.4 billion0.

Facts

Ownership
Larry Silverstein owned the World Trade Center 7, and held the lease of the World Trade Center 1, 2, 4, and 5, by the end of May, 2001, where he signed a lease for 99 years, at the amount of $3.25 billion1.

Silverstein was later paid $4.5 billion in compensation, and not $5.4 billion, as claimed2.

Insurance and compensation

In 1993, Islamic terrorists from al Qaeda, among them Khalid Sheik Mohammed, attempted to topple the World Trade Center 1 on the World Trade Center 2 by placing a truck with a big bomb in the parking lot under the World Trade Center 1, with the goal of destroying both buildings. The bomb killed seven people, wounded thousands, and caused large damage. It was unsuccessful in making the building topple3.

Unless the insurance companies had specifically included an exception for terrorism, they would have been forced to pay compensation in case of an act of terror. This was the case after the terror attack in 1993 where the insurance companies paid more than half a billion dollars in compensation4. Silverstein did not insure specifically against attacks made by planes.

Risk and loss

Insurance fraud is always a high risk. You might be found out and the verdicts in the inevitable court cases are impossible to predict. You might end up with a huge bill instead.

Following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, Silverstein had to take the case to court where he first lost the case, but, after appealing, he was given a compensation of around $4.5 billion2.

Despite this, Silverstein has not become rich from this. On the contrary, he ended up losing a lot of money and did not even have the money to rebuild the World Trade Center5.

Logic

Larry Silverstein
The lease of the World Trade Center 1, 2, 4, and 5 was won after an invitation to lease which Silverstein first lost, then won when the other bidder withdrew his offer. This means that if Silverstein is partly guilty of placing explosives and nanothermite in the building, he only had 49 days to do it, in secret. Perhaps up to 100 tons of explosives would have to be placed, strategically. This is quite implausible1.

Additionally, Silverstein was committed to rebuild the World Trade Center 1, 2, 4, and 5 in case the buildings were destroyed. This makes insurance fraud impossible, given that the compensation must be used to rebuild the center1.

In fact, Silverstein has lost money from the terror attack: Not only has he lost rent income since the terror attack, he also has had to spend time, effort, and money on court cases which did not ensure a positive outcome for him. Add to that all the trouble and expenses for rebuilding the complex.

The terror attacks on September 11, 2001 were a really bad deal for Larry Silverstein.

Insurance companies

If Silverstein committed insurance fraud, it has not resulted in any reaction from the insurance companies. No cases against Silverstein has been prepared or filed and no suspicions have been made public from the insurance companies.

If the insurance companies were also in on the fraud, they would only swindle themselves. This would be suicidal, considering that the subsequent insurance claims exceeded $50 billion6.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Undocumented
  • Self-contradicting

Sources

  1. Løbeseddel, i11time.dk
  2. World Trade Center, Wikipedia
  3. Insurance dispute, Wikipedia
  4. 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Wikipedia
  5. WTC Attack to Cost Insurers Billions, Reuters/Fox News
  6. World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein wants own bailout, Daily News
  7. Study Finds More Dire Financial Impact of 9/11, New York Times