posted on Nov, 24 2004 @ 03:22 PM
Just saw this, thought it would be interesting for some to read:
Area man stirs debate on WTC collapse
South Bend firm's lab director fired after questioning federal probe
By JOHN DOBBERSTEIN
Tribune Staff Writer
SOUTH BEND -- The laboratory director from a South Bend firm has been
fired for attempting to cast doubt on the federal investigation into
what caused the World Trade Center's twin towers to collapse on Sept.
Kevin R. Ryan was terminated Tuesday from his job at Environmental
Health Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories
Inc., the consumer-product safety testing giant.
On Nov. 11, Ryan wrote a letter to the National Institute of Standards
and Technology -- the agency probing the collapse -- challenging the
common theory that burning jet fuel weakened the steel supports
holding up the 110-story skyscrapers.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc., according to Ryan, "was the company
that certified the steel components used in the construction of the
Ryan wrote that last year, while "requesting information," UL's chief
executive officer and fire protection business manager disagreed about
key issues surrounding the collapse, "except for one thing -- that the
samples we certified met all requirements."
UL vehemently denied last week that it ever certified the materials.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is conducting a $16
million, two-year investigation of the collapse of the twin towers.
The agency expects to issue a draft report in January, and UL has
played a limited role in the investigation.
Ryan wrote that the institute's preliminary reports suggest the WTC's
supports were probably exposed to fires no hotter than 500 degrees --
only half the 1,100-degree temperature needed to forge steel, Ryan
said. That's also much cooler, he wrote, than the 3,000 degrees needed
to melt bare steel with no fire-proofing.
"This story just does not add up," Ryan wrote in his e-mail to Frank
Gayle, deputy chief of the institute's metallurgy division, who is
playing a prominent role in the agency investigation. "If steel from
those buildings did soften or melt, I'm sure we can all agree that
this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone
the briefly burning fires in those towers."
He added, "Alternatively, the contention that this steel did fail at
temperatures around (500 degrees) suggests that the majority of deaths
on 9/11 were due to a safety-related failure. That suggestion should
be of great concern to my company."
Ryan declined to comment about his letter Thursday when reached at his
South Bend home.
But his allegations drew a sharp rebuke from UL, which said Ryan wrote
the letter "without UL's knowledge or authorization." The company told
The Tribune "there is no evidence" that any firm tested the materials
used to build the towers.
"UL does not certify structural steel, such as the beams, columns and
trusses used in World Trade Center," said Paul M. Baker, the company's
Ryan was fired, Baker said, because he "expressed his own opinions as
though they were institutional opinions and beliefs of UL."
"The contents of the argument itself are spurious at best, and
frankly, they're just wrong," Baker said.
Seeking to head off controversy just months before its report is
released, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued
its own statement Thursday.
Some steel recovered from the WTC was exposed to fires of only 400 to
600 degrees, the institute said, but computer modeling has shown
higher temperatures of 1,100 to 1,300 degrees or greater were "likely"
experienced by steel in regions directly affected by the fires.
The institute believes impact from the jets dislodged fireproofing
surrounding some of the steel, and the higher temperatures led to the
buckling of the towers' core columns.
Wrangling on the Web
Ryan's statements have generated interest on many Web sites, including
some advocating sharp scrutiny of the federal government's WTC probe.
Ryan copied his e-mail to David Ray Griffin, author of "The New Pearl
Harbor," and to Catherine Austin Fitts, a board member of 911Truth.org
-- a Web site organized by citizens who believe the government is
covering up the true cause of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
One day later, Griffin requested and received permission to distribute
Ryan's letter to other parties.
An official from 911Truth.org called Ryan to confirm his authorship.
They said Ryan made it clear he is speaking for himself only, not on
behalf of his laboratory or the company, but that others at UL were
aware of his action.
The letter was published Nov. 11 on the Web site
septembereleventh.org, site of the 9/11 Visibility Project. On
Tuesday, organizers of the 911Truth.org Web site noted Ryan had been
In his letter, Ryan appeared confident in his statements about the
WTC's fire protection levels.
"You may know that there are a number of current and former government
employees that have risked a great deal to help us to know the truth,"
he told the institute's Gayle. "Please do what you can to quickly
eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires to
soften or melt structural steel."
UL moved immediately to discredit Ryan.
The company said Ryan "was not involved in that work and was not
associated in any way with UL's Fire Protection Division, which
conducted testing at NIST's request."
The company said it "fully supports NIST's ongoing efforts to
investigate the WTC tragedy. We regret any confusion that Mr. Ryan's
letter has caused 9/11 survivors, victims' families and their friends."
"We prefer to base our conclusions, and NIST would say the same, on
science rather than speculation," Baker said. "We anxiously await the
outcome of the NIST investigation."
Organizers of 911Truth.org came to Ryan's defense Thursday, although
they couldn't persuade him to speak publicly.
"He just saw too many contradictions, and it set off his sense of what
was the right thing to do," said David Kubiak, 911Truth.org's
executive director. "It's unfortunate for the country, and it's
particularly tragic for him, but inspiring as hell."
"The way things are working in the country right now," Kubiak added,
"it's only going to be citizens like this who take their professional
knowledge and sense of personal integrity, and put it ahead of the
strange status quo, that we will see truth and justice out of the system."
Staff writer John Dobberstein