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The report about the towers does not include the collapse


The report about the towers does not include the collapse0.


The claim was made by the Danish chemistry professor emeritus Niels Harrit during the radio show DR Detektor on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation on March 9, 2011. Niels Harrit claimed that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has not included the collapses of the World Trade Center 1 and 2. Niels Harrit also claimed on the show that the buildings were destroyed by explosives. Niels Harrit repeated the claim on the radio show Wiretapped on the Danish radio station Radio 24syv. The claim is used to demand a new investigation of the events on September 11, 2001.


NIST has described the cause of the collapse very thoroughly in their 2004 report: “Final report of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers”1. The investigation, which comprises of calculations, measurements, computer simulations, photographic documentation, graphical explanations, and a number of other technical analyses, takes up 73 pages in the condensed version and about 400 pages in the full version2. The report is authored by a number of experts and scientists both from NIST and a selection of carefully chosen external institutions.

Collapse initiation:

  • The bowed south wall columns buckled and were unable to carry the gravity loads. Those loads shifted to the adjacent columns via the spandrels, but those columns quickly became overloaded as well. In rapid sequence, this instability spread all the way to the east and west walls.
  • The section of the building above the impact zone (near the 98th floor), acting as a rigid block, tilted at least 8 degrees to the south.
  • The downward movement of this structural block was more than the damaged structure could resist, and global collapse began.

NIST’s investigation builds on the preliminary report by FEMA3 about the same catastrophe and is in many ways far more comprehensive, detailed, and thorough.

NIST was tasked with not only understanding and explaining the cause of the collapse but also to propose improvements in future construction and securing of skyscrapers, so that a comparable catastrophe can be avoided or at least not be as catastrophic.

There are no scientific investigations that point to other conclusions than those of NIST.


The claim is absurd and downright false, solely due to the fact that the NIST report’s title is “Final report of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers”. Chapter 6 in the report is called “Reconstruction of the Collapses”. The collapse is the main theme of the whole investigation and is very thoroughly carried through.

In case Niels Harrit thinks the collapse is not explained well enough to his taste, it merely means that we are dealing with a personal opinion which naturally cannot be the reason for yet another investigation.

In any case, the claim is so obviously false that it appears to be intended to provoke a certain response or to be deliberately misleading and manipulative. When viewed in context with other statements and frequent lectures by Niels Harrit, it is clear that Niels Harrit believes that the catastrophe on September 11, 2001 was not a terror attack but a so-called inside job by the U.S. Government which should have placed explosives in the buildings. This leads Niels Harrit to deliberately reject the conclusions by NIST since these do not fit with his perception of the events. In other words, NIST does not deal with the collapse the way Niels Harrit wishes, because NIST did not find any evidence of explosives or that the towers had been hit by missiles.

NIST concluded in the later report on the World Trade Center 7 that there could in no way have been explosives involved with the collapse of that building. The conclusion is so obvious that it may reasonably be inferred when it comes to the World Trade Center 1 and 2 as well. There would obviously have been very loud booms from the explosives. Yet not a single trace of these can be found on any of the hundreds of audio/video recordings of the catastrophe.

As a politically independent organization, NIST has no interest in distorting or falsify the results of their investigation. This is not the case with Niels Harrit, since he represents a grass root movement whose goal it is to change society in a revolutionary way by setting aside democracy and state of law.


The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Undocumented
  • Misleading
  • Manipulative


  1. DR Detektor, 9. marts, 2011 (DR, dødt link)
    DR Detektor, 9. marts, 2011 (YouTube)
    Aflyttet uge 38, 2012, Radio 24syv
    Afskrift, på engelsk
  2. NCSTAR 1 side 81- 154
  3. NCSTAR 1-6
  4. FEMA 403, World Trade Center Building Performance Study

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