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The term “conspiracy theory,” with the image it invokes of a cabal of black-hearted men who convene on a regular basis to consolidate their power, reduces alternate history to a cartoon. ...
One who’s undaunted by the degree of difficulty is Sander Hicks, who endeavors to shed new light on events leading up to 9/11 mostly through meetings with, if not remarkable men, remarkable maniacs. In fact, his book, The Big Wedding, named after Al Qaeda code for 9/11, could just as easily be called “My Adventures Covering the Terror Beat.
The first portrait in his rogues’ gallery is Randy Glass, an informant for an ATF/FBI terrorist sting. Pre-9/11, he dined out in Manhattan with a Pakistani arms dealer, who, gesturing toward the World Trade Center, exclaimed, “Those towers are coming down.
Meanwhile, he maintains, the idea that “terrorists with box cutters were able to defeat a $400 billion-a-year war machine” is as “kooky” a theory as any. Ending on a hopeful note, however, he calls for a whistle-blowers’ conference.
In The Big Wedding, Sander Hicks has not only told some rollicking tales, but gone a long way to sorting out 9/11 alternate history. If more clear-eyed reporters like him pitched in, independent investigations into 9/11 would no longer be tarred with the conspiracy theory brush.