Proof That 'Flight
77' Eyewitness Report Skewed
Many Flight 77 skeptics who believe that an American Airlines Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon on 9/11 scoff at eyewitness testimony which claims to describe intricate details about the alleged commercial airliner. In at least one case those doubts have now been validated.
James R. Cissell, an eyewitness to the object that struck the Pentagon on September 2001, is furious with a Cincinnati newspaper for falsely attributing quotes to him that he never made.
The Cincinnati Post reported Cissell's comments in a September 12 story headlined, 'I saw the faces of some of the passengers.'
Here is how the Post quoted Cissell in full.
''Out of my peripheral vision,'' Cissell said, ''I saw this plane coming in and it was low - and getting lower."
''If you couldn't touch it from standing on the highway, you could by standing on your car."
''I thought, 'This isn't really happening. That is a big plane.' Then I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board,'' Cissell said.
For an earlier article, we undertook a simple video analysis in which a low flying American Airlines Boeing 757 was speeded up by four times to approximate what eyewitnesses would have seen.
It's plausible they could have identified the jet as a large American Airlines Boeing 757, but comments about seeing intricate details of the plane as it zoomed past at over 500 MPH are outside the realm of possibility.
We concluded the analysis by commenting,"The video and any degree of common sense suggests that Cissell could not possibly have seen the faces of the passengers on board. Even when the video is reduced to normal speed, four times slower than the reported speed of Flight 77, you can't see passengers in the windows."
That conclusion has now been proven accurate in a development that will cast more suspicion on embellished accounts of what eyewitnesses saw crossing the Pentagon highway before it ploughed into the building.
James R. Cissell contacted us to express his anger at the newspaper for taking his comments completely out of context.
"The Cincinnati Post article, which you refer, angered me greatly after reading it. It is almost completely fiction based loosely on an interview I did with a Cincinnati Post reporter Kimball Perry who called me in response to an on air phone report that I did for Channel 12 in Cincinnati."
Cissell relates what he actually told the reporter.
"The reporter took extreme creative license not only with the title but also with the story as a whole. Why he felt the need to sensationalize anything that happened on September 11 is beyond me. My words to the reporter were, "I was about four cars back from where the plane crossed over the highway. That it happened so quickly I didn't even see what airline it was from. However, I was so close to the plane when it went past that had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."
Here's the Post quote again.
"I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board.''
Compared to, "Had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."
Cissell's comments were taken so far out of context that this seems to be a deliberate attempt at sensationalism or even an effort at lending bias towards the assumption that the plane was a large commercial airliner with passengers on board.
Cissell has himself worked in media and expressed his incredulity at the sloppy journalism betrayed in the article.
His numerous calls, e mails and letters to the Post went unanswered and though he was promised the online version of the article would be removed, as of June 30th it is still online without retraction.
Regarding the speculation that something other than Flight 77 hit the Pentagon and alternate explanations behind the event, Cissell is not certain that the plane was as large as a 757, but at least as large as a 727.
"As far as the size of the plane, it happened very quickly. What I can say is that it was a passenger plane at least as big as a 727 maybe bigger. From the time I heard it over my left shoulder and turned to see it I had one thought, 'he's off course'; I was used to seeing planes fly along the Potomac on the other side of the Pentagon to land at national airport just a mile or two away. My next thought wasn't a thought, it was the realization of what was happening and that happened moments or even a moment before the plane struck."
"Later I found it remarkable that someone even saw what airline it was from. The plane was coming from left and behind of me - I guess if you were on the other side of the highway and facing the plane as it came in you would have had a lot more time to react," said Cissell.
These comments cloud the accuracy of the eyewitness reports of people who claimed to have seen clear markings which would have irrefutably identified the aircraft, such as Christine Peterson, who claimed that the plane was "so close that I could read the numbers under the wing."
Did Peterson really say this or was she also taken out of context?
Why would reporters need to sensationalize one of the biggest events in world history? Was its scope not gargantuan enough?
Cissell disagrees with some aspects of how the official version of events describes the approach of the aircraft.
"Looking at the trajectories in the diagrams they have online seems off to me. I remember the plane coming in more directly at the side of the building than at an angle," said Cissell.
Cissell makes it clear that speculation that the object was a missile or that there was no plane at all is off base.
"With regards to conspiracies in general, I think the conspiracy people need to be focusing on is the one where Bush and his administration leveraged the tragedy of 911 to enter a war for money and oil that cost the lives of who knows how many civilians, a couple thousand soldiers and undid 30 years of progress in a region that was slowly healing itself."
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