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Michael Hess, Barry Jennings
The 9/11 Interview with Evidence that NIST Lied about When Michael Hess and Barry Jennings Were Rescued

by David Ray Griffin

Note: To see the UPN interview with Michael Hess, go to minute 57 of the video available here.

Shortly after the first strike on the World Trade Center, which occurred at 8:46 AM on 9/11, Michael Hess, New York City's corporation counsel, and Barry Jennings, the deputy director of the Emergency Services Department of the New York City Housing Authority, headed to the Office of Emergency Management's Emergency Operations Center, which was on the 23rd floor of WTC 7, where they assumed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be.

But when Hess and Jennings arrived, the place was empty. Jennings then telephoned someone to ask what they should do and was told that they should leave immediately. Finding that the elevators would not work, they started down the stairs.

When they reached the sixth floor, however, there was a powerful explosion beneath them, which, Jennings told the makers of "Loose Change: Final Cut," [1] caused the landing on which they were standing to give way. Making their way back up to the eighth floor, they were able to break a window and call for help. Hess later reported: "[W]e were trapped on the eighth floor with smoke, thick smoke, all around us, for about an hour and a half [before] the New York Fire Department . . . came and got us out." [2]

Hess had made this statement while being interviewed by Frank Ucciardo of UPN 9 News "on Broadway about a block from City Hall," which was several blocks from WTC 7. This interview began before noon.

As to the exact time, it has been believed that it began at 11:34. This belief has been based on the fact that, according to writing on a DVD containing UPN 9 programs from that morning, the programs contained on the video had begun at 10:37 AM. The Hess interview begins at the 57-minute mark, which would have been 11:34.

Further research, however, showed that the video actually started at 11:00. The crucial evidence is that, at the 111-minute mark, the UPN 9 program switched to live CNN coverage of a Taliban news conference, which began at 12:51,[3] and 111 minutes prior to 12:51 would be 11:00. The Hess interview, as we saw, began at the 57-minute mark, so it began at 11:57.

In any case, UPN 9's interview of Hess began before noon.

This fact is important, because NIST---the National Institute of Standards and Technology---which provided the official explanation of the collapse of the Twin Towers and WTC 7, claimed that Hess and Jennings were not rescued until after noon. In its "Interim Report on WTC 7", which was published in 2004, NIST claimed that the two men were rescued at "12:10 to 12:15 PM." [4] But if Hess was being interviewed several blocks away from WTC 7 before noon, that claim is impossible.

Why might NIST have made this claim? A reason is suggested by a statement about Hess and Jennings in another NIST document, which says:

"With the collapse of the two towers, a New York City employee and a WTC 7 building staff person became trapped inside of WTC 7. The two had gone to the OEM center on the 23rd floor and found no one there. As they went to get into an elevator to go downstairs the lights inside of WTC 7 flickered as WTC 2 [the South Tower] collapsed. At this point, the elevator they were attempting to catch no longer worked, so they started down the staircase." [5]

According to NIST, therefore, Hess and Jennings, upon finding the OEM center vacated, started down the stairs just after 9:59, when the South Tower collapsed. It was this collapse, NIST suggested, that was responsible for the elevator's failure to work.

As we saw earlier, however, Jennings said that they had arrived at the OEM center shortly after the strike on the North Tower, hence around 9:00 AM. He added, in fact, that he had to have been on the 23rd floor "when the second plane hit." [6] It was shortly after that event, Jennings suggested, that he and Hess started down the stairs. But according to NIST, Hess and Jennings did not start down stairs shortly after the strike on the South Tower, which occurred at 9:03, but shortly after the collapse of the South Tower, which occurred at 9:59.

Besides contradicting Jennings' testimony on that point, NIST's account went on to say:

"When they got to the 6th floor, WTC 1 [the North Tower] collapsed, the lights went out in the staircase, the sprinklers came on briefly, and the staircase filled with smoke and debris. The two men went back to the 8th floor broke out a window and called for help." [7]

According to NIST, therefore, what Hess and Jennings took to be an explosion in WTC 7 was really just an effect of the collapse of the North Tower. That collapse occurred at 10:28. Accordingly, if the two men were then trapped for about 90 minutes before they were rescued, as Hess said, then this rescue must have occurred at about noon. This seems to be the basis for NIST's claim that they were rescued at "12:10 to 12:15 PM."

NIST's timeline is clearly implausible. Claiming that Hess and Jennings started down the stairs after the collapse of the South Tower caused the elevator to fail, NIST implies that it took them 29 minutes---from 9:59 to 10:28---to descend from the 23rd floor to the 6th floor.

This claim is especially implausible in light of Jennings' description of his descent, in which he said: "I wanted to get out of that building in a hurry, so I started, instead of taking one step at a time, I'm jumping landings." [8] NIST's timeline requires, by contrast, that it took Jennings and Hess almost a half hour---from about 9:59, when the South Tower collapsed, until 10:28, when the North Tower collapsed---to get down those 17 flights of stairs.

NIST's timeline is also directly contradicted by the testimony of Jennings, who said: "When we made it back to the 8th floor, . . . both buildings were still standing." [9]

How did Jennings know that they were still standing? Jennings' statement, quoted more fully---"When we made it back to the 8th floor, . . . both buildings were still standing. Because I looked to---I looked one way, looked the other way, now there's nothing there. . . . [B]oth buildings were still standing" [10] ---might be taken to mean that he could see the Twin Towers. That would entail that he and Hess were on the south side of WTC 7, which faced the towers.

But that would be incorrect. Jennings stated that he was on "the North side of the building." He indicated, moreover, that when the towers fell, he could not see them fall:

"I was trapped in there when both buildings came down. The firefighters came. . . . And then they ran away. See, I didn't know what was going on. That's when the first tower fell. When they started running, the first tower was coming down. I had no way of knowing that. Then I saw them come back. Now I saw them come back with more concern on their faces. Instead, they ran away again: the second tower fell." [11]

Jennings' meaning was that, although he at the time did not know what was going on---that the firefighters ran away the first time because the South Tower came down and then ran away the second time because the North Tower came down---he realized this later. That's how he knew, when he was giving this testimony, that the Twin Towers had still been standing when the explosion occurred that knocked the landing out from under him.

Jennings even repeated this explanation, saying:

"When I got to the 6th floor, there was an explosion. That's what forced us back to the 8th floor. Both buildings were still standing. Keep in mind, I told you the fire department came and ran. They came twice. Why? Because Building Tower One fell, then Tower Two fell." [12]

Jennings' statement provides strong evidence against NIST's timeline, according to which the event that both Hess and Jennings had called "an explosion" was really simply an effect of debris striking WTC 7 when the North Tower collapsed at 10:28.

The strongest evidence against NIST's timeline, however, is Hess's interview with UPN 9 News. Defenders of the official account, according to which there were no explosions in WTC 7, might challenge the truth of Jennings' testimony. But if Hess was giving an interview almost a half mile away before noon, then NIST's timeline, according to which the two men were not rescued until after noon, is objectively disproved.

Given the fact that this interview occurred several blocks from WTC 7, it would probably have taken Hess close to half an hour to get there after he was rescued. So if the interview began at 11:57, he and Jennings must have been rescued by about 11:30.

NIST's explanation for the event that Hess and Jennings took to be a massive explosion in WTC 7, therefore, cannot be true. If the two men were rescued by about 11:30 after they had been trapped for about an hour and a half (as Hess said), the event must have occurred at least by 10:00.

In fact, it must have occurred earlier still, because Jennings stated, as we saw, that after the explosion occurred and he and Hess made it back up to the 8th floor, both towers were still standing. The South Tower collapsed at 9:59, so the event that Hess and Jennings called an explosion had to have happened before 9:59.

Therefore, the event could not, contrary to NIST, have been the collapse of the North Tower, because this collapse did not occur until 10:28.

NIST's claim, nevertheless, would be repeated by the BBC. A BBC special on WTC 7, entitled "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11--The Third Tower," which aired July 6, 2008, contained material from an interview that Jennings granted the BBC. But the BBC's presentation distorted Jennings' testimony. Although he evidently told the BBC interviewer the same story he had earlier told to the makers of "Loose Change Final Cut," the BBC placed his testimony within the time framework suggested by NIST. So, in conjunction with footage in which Jennings described a massive explosion in WTC 7---which would have occurred some time between 9:03, when the South Tower was struck, and 9:59, when it came down---the BBC narrator said: "At 10:28, the North Tower collapses. . . . Tower 7 takes a direct hit. . . . Early evidence of explosives were just debris from a falling skyscraper." [13]

Jennings, however, will not be available to correct the record. Although only 53 years old, Jennings reportedly died on August 19, 2008, two days before NIST issued its report on WTC 7. [14]

After Jennings' death, moreover, the BBC put out a second version of its program on WTC 7, this one entitled "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11–-The Truth Behind the Third Tower." [15] This version contains an interview with Michael Hess, who did not appear in the first version and was, in fact, not even mentioned. In this second version, Hess endorsed the position taken by NIST and the BBC. Saying that he had, on 9/11, "assumed that there had been an explosion in the basement," he claimed: "I know now this was caused by the northern half of Number 1 [the North Tower] falling on the southern half of our building." [16]

In The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False, I have given many reasons why Hess's new story is not credible. The most obvious of these reasons, however, is simply the fact that Hess was giving an interview several blocks away by 11:57, after having been trapped in this building for at least an hour and a half. The event in question could not, therefore, have occurred as late as 10:28.

Important Note: To see the UPN interview with Michael Hess, go to minute 57 of the video available here. For lots more reliable, verifiable information questioning the official story of 9/11, see the 9/11 Information Center available here.


[1] This interview was not included in "Loose Change Final Cut" at Jennings' request, after he had, he said, received threats to his job. But after Jennings participated in a BBC documentary about WTC 7 ("The Conspiracy Files: 9/11--The Third Tower"), Dylan Avery, who had conducted the interview, put it on the Internet as "Barry Jennings Uncut." This essay refers to the version of this interview that is available as "Barry Jennings-–9/11 WTC7 Full Uncut Interview," which is in two parts: Part 1 ( and Part 2 (

[2] "Michael Hess, WTC7 Explosion Witness," YouTube (

[3] See "America Under Attack: Taliban Press Conference," September 11, 2001 (; "Ratings: Cable World, September 24, 2001" ( Thanks to Elizabeth Woodworth for establishing this fact.

[4] "Interim Report on WTC 7," which is Appendix L of NIST-SP 1000-5: June 2004: Progress Report on the Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center ( The quoted phrase is on L-18.

[5] NIST NCSTAR 1-8, Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: The Emergency Response Operations ( Section 5.9.

[6] "Barry Jennings Uncut," Part 2, at 0:20-0:32.

[7] NIST NCSTAR 1-8: Section 5.9

[8] "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11--The Third Tower," BBC, July 6, 2008 (available at, at 12:06-12:26.

[9] "Barry Jennings Uncut," Part 2, at 4:52-5:02.

[10] Ibid., at 4:52-5:17.

[11] "Barry Jennings Uncut," Part 1, at 2:49-3:44.

[12] "Barry Jennings Uncut," Part 2, at 5:08-5:33. In speaking of "Tower One" and "Tower Two," Jennings was not referring to their names. He was referring, respectively, to the first one to come down (the South Tower, WTC 2) and the second one to come down (the North Tower, WTC 1).

[13] "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11--The Third Tower," at 13:29-13:40.

[14] Aaron Dykes, "Key Witness to WTC 7 Explosions Dead at 53,", Updated September 17, 2008 (

[15] "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11–-The Truth Behind the Third Tower," BBC, October 26, 2008 (available at or

[16] Michael Hess BBC interview, available in Mike Rudin, "Caught Up in a Conspiracy Theory," BBC, October 21, 2008 ( This statement is in "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11–-The Truth Behind the Third Tower," at 30:24-30:40.

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