Why the CIT Analysis of the Pentagon Event on 9/11 Should Be Rejected Outright

By David Chandler

There are fundamental grounds to reject the analysis put forward by CIT (Citizen Investigation Team), which proposes that

  • a large plane approached the Pentagon from north of the CITGO gas station, which is incompatible with the physical evidence.
  • given that its angle of approach did not align with the damage to the light poles or the path of damage inside the building, the plane could not have been what caused the damage.  Hence all damage at the Pentagon was staged.
  • the plane did not impact the building.  Instead, it flew over the Pentagon and its escape was hidden by a synchronized internal explosion and smoke cloud (which CIT compares to a “magic show”)
  • Their scenario is supported by a series of carefully stage-managed interviews with a small select group of eye-witnesses who they claim were the only ones in the ideal position to judge the true path of the plane, whether it was north or south of the CITGO gas station.  All of the other (hundreds of) witnesses were fooled by the fly-over + smoke cloud “magic show.”

CIT has been a divisive influence in the 9/11 Truth Movement from the beginning because they claim to have sole possession of the truth on the matter of what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11.  Instead of engaging in sincere truth-seeking and dialog with other researchers, for years they maintained a literal multi-page “enemies list” on their web site and condemned any who argued that the plane actually impacted the Pentagon as government collaborators.  Their list targeted some of the most significant members of the 9/11 Truth Movement.  Today that activity is continued by a new generation of CIT promoters at the Truth and Shadows web site and in social media, including a Facebook group that was a literal attempt to split the movement based on beliefs about what hit the Pentagon.

To address this ideological crisis in the 9/11 Truth Movement I am posting here the first two of perhaps several exposés of CIT’s highly manipulative and deceptive interview practices.  These are nuanced and analytical articles that require careful reading and reflection.

  1. Sgt. William Lagasse, of the Pentagon police department, is CIT’s “star witness” who was fueling his police cruiser at the CITGO gas station on 9/11 as the plane flew by and struck the Pentagon.  It appears that his testimony is the original source of the claim of a North of CITGO flight path, and his air of certainty about a seemingly direct, simple observation has led many to ask how he could possibly be wrong.  This article will address that question head on.  (Video based on this analysis.)
  2. Albert Hemphill, a civilian employee of the navy had an office in the top floor of the 8th wing of the Navy Annex, which overlooked the Pentagon.  (The building has since been demolished.)  CIT’s Craig Ranke interviewed him by phone.  On 9/11 he was standing at a large window in his office looking directly at the Pentagon when he saw the plane fly past his right shoulder, strike one of the lamp posts, and hit the Pentagon.  He is a South of CITGO witness, which he makes clear in the first few minutes of the call, but Ranke spends an hour on the phone with him maneuvering him into making a statement which Ranke can use to claim him as a North of CITGO witness.  Albert Hemphill was soon thereafter interviewed by Jeff Hill, who gives him an opportunity to clarify his positions and comment on the Ranke interview.

The flawed methodology, the  illogic of the inferences drawn from CIT’s interview data, and the blatant manipulation of witnesses invalidate their entire process.  CIT is not engaged in science or any other activity remotely resembling truth-seeking.  They are con artists, pure and simple.  But don’t take my word for it.  That is my opinion; judge for yourself.

Frank Legge and I published two articles in 2011 that investigated the plausibility of a “North of CITGO (NOC)” diversion of the flight path, in the last five seconds, based on flight dynamics, concluding that even with a broad interpretation of the data, the transition to the NOC flightpath would have been impossible:

The Pentagon Attack on 9/11: A Refutation of the Pentagon Flyover Hypothesis Based on Analysis of the Flight Path, published on the Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice web site, and

Addendum to the Paper Refuting the Pentagon Flyover Hypothesis, published in the Foreign Policy Journal.  Frank Legge published another summary paper in the Journal of 9/11 Studies in 2012 with some additional information: The 9/11 Attack on the Pentagon: the Search for Consensus.

In 2022, in response to a conversation on Facebook, I provided a graphical tool to do a simplified version of the calculation and made a video illustrating its use.  Links to download the tools and data are in the video notes.

I want to thank a number of researchers who have gone before me in addressing the CIT disinformation campaign. Thanks especially to Jim Hoffman, Victoria Ashley, the anonymous researcher “Arabesque”, the late Frank Legge, and John D. Wyndham.  See particularly:

These, and others, who have spoken out against CIT disinformation over the years have been subjected to harsh and relentless personal attacks and smear campaigns. CIT, from their earliest years, maintained a literal “enemies list” on their web site. That kind of behavior has no place in science or any other form of actual “truth seeking.” We are seeing cult-like behavior, with the CIT North of CITGO, flyover theory as unquestioned dogma, and dissent seen as heresy. The inquisition has moved on to a new generation, primarily embodied today in the Truth and Shadows web site.  I’m not popular on that site, … but of course not.

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