Hoffman, Jim

gretavo's picture


The Pentagon Attack:
What the Physical Evidence Shows

Jim Hoffman
Version 0.9, March 28, 2006


The theory that the Pentagon was not hit by a Boeing 757 (the kind of plane that Flight 77 was) is promoted by the most widely distributed books, videos, and other media challenging the official account of the 9/11 attack. The no-Boeing theory forms the central thesis of Thierry Meyssan's books L'effroyable Imposture (The Frightening Fraud), and Le Pentagate; is featured by the videos Painful Deceptions, 9/11 In Plane Site, and Loose Change; and is the subject of the Flash animation 9/11 Pentagon Strike. These pieces have been distributed worldwide in quantities reaching into the millions, thanks to a combination of excellent production values, entertaining and captivating styles of presentation, and expert, well-financed marketing. The work of 9/11 researchers who do not embrace the no-Boeing theory has been eclipsed in every medium except the web.

In late 2004 I wrote The Pentagon No-757-Crash Theory: Booby Trap for 9/11 Skeptics . In it, I examined the no-Boeing theory from several perspectives including analysis of its:

That essay presents a cumulative argument against the no-Boeing theory using each of these perspectives. Critics of this essay failed to acknowledge this and instead zeroed in on one point or another to highlight it as if the entire case against the no-Boeing theory hinged on that point. For example, several critics have misstated my position as relying exclusively on the accounts of eyewitnesses, ignoring my detailed examination of the 'physical evidence case' for the no-Boeing theory.

In this essay I look exclusively at the physical evidence of the Pentagon attack -- post-crash photographs and verifiable information about the building, the Boeing 757-200 aircraft, and the physics of aircraft crashes based on case studies. In some cases I mention elements of eyewitness accounts, but only to frame my analysis of what the photographs show about the crash. I show that the physical evidence is consistent with the crash of a 757, noting flaws in popular arguments to the contrary.

The many eyewitness accounts of the Pentagon attack constitute a rich body of evidence that strongly supports the conclusion that the attack plane was either a Boeing 757 or a very similar aircraft. The physical and eyewitness evidence are thus mutually corroborating, a fact that is obscured by common errors in evaluating the physical evidence. Many researchers have dismissed the body of eyewitness evidence out of hand, primarily for two reasons:

  • Allegations that the body of witness evidence as a whole is plagued by bias, contamination, and unreliability (addressed here) have been widely promoted and have not been effectively countered, apparently because the ponderous volume of the witness reports discourages analysis.
  • Assertions that physical evidence trumps witness evidence in any crime investigation have fostered a reflexive disdain for witness evidence while lending a false sense of infallibility to arguments based on photographs.

Factors such as these have contributed to the creation of a false dialectic, which has eyewitness evidence supporting the Boeing theory and physical evidence supporting the no-Boeing theory. By focusing on the physical evidence here, I hope to sidestep that dialectic and clarify what conclusions the physical evidence actually supports.