Fact Check: Footage Does NOT Prove That No Plane Hit Pentagon On 9/11

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Footage Does NOT Prove That No Plane Hit Pentagon On 9/11 FBI Video

Does footage related to the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon prove that no airplane struck the building? No, that's not true: The video -- which was published online by the FBI more than a decade ago -- only shows "recovery and investigative operations" at the Pentagon following the attack. Additionally, there are images and a thorough investigation detailed in The 9/11 Commission Report that prove an airplane struck the Pentagon.

The claim originated in a post (archived here) published on the Telegram channel "π™€π™‰π˜Ώ ILLUMINATI πŸ”ΊοΈβŒ" on October 4, 2022. The post included a video of what appeared to be wreckage at the Pentagon following the 9/11 attack. The caption of the post read:

π—£π—˜π—‘π—§π—”π—šπ—’π—‘ 9/11

This is how the post looked on Telegram at the time of writing:

CROPPED telegram pentagon 9-11 no plane.jpg
(Source: Telegram screenshot taken on Thu May 25 17:14:00 UTC)

On May 24, 2023, the claim reappeared in a post on Instagram. The Instagram post used a YouTube video repost of the Telegram post as its source. The caption of the post read:

ULTRA RARE footage of the Pentagon on 9/11. This proves without a doubt there was no plane. Please share this. #september11 #neverforget #rare #footage #pentagon

A screenshot of the Instagram post is included below:

9-11 pentagon no plane IG post.png
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu May 25 16:55:19 2023 UTC)

However, the footage that all these conspiracy claims use is not "ultra rare." It was released by the FBI and posted publicly on the bureau's website under the category "9/11 Videos." The FBI's video is titled "Recovery and Investigative Operations at Pentagon" and was also posted as a video on the bureau's YouTube channel on September 13, 2011, (at the time of writing, the video is unlisted). The date the video was taken is unclear but a large first responder and military presence suggest it was sometime soon after the attack. The video captured the personnel carrying out operations after the attack and did not necessarily capture an extensive view of the site of the attack.

There are images of aircraft debris at the site of the attack, also released by the FBI (here, here and here). More images of the attack site can be found on the FBI's website.

Although there is no clear image of an airplane or its debris in the footage in question, there is security camera footage of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. While the aircraft used for American Airlines Flight 77 is not especially clear in the security camera footage, it may be because the aircraft was traveling at about 530 miles per hour, as detailed in The 9/11 Commission Report excerpt included below:

At 9:29, the autopilot on American 77 was disengaged; the aircraft was at 7,000 feet and approximately 38 miles west of the Pentagon. At 9:32, controllers at the Dulles Terminal Radar Approach Control 'observed a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed.' This was later determined to have been Flight 77.

At 9:34, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport advised the Secret Service of an unknown aircraft heading in the direction of the White House. American 77 was then 5 miles west-southwest of the Pentagon and began a 330-degree turn. At the end of the turn, it was descending through 2,200 feet, pointed toward the Pentagon and downtown Washington. The hijacker pilot then advanced the throttles to maximum power and dove toward the Pentagon.

At 9:37:46, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, traveling at approximately 530 miles per hour. All on board, as well as many civilian and military personnel in the building, were killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board published a flight path study of American Airlines Flight 77 that detailed the path of the aircraft before the crash.

Lead Stories previously published a fact check debunking the claim that a CNN news report proves that no airplane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. We even received a comment from Jamie McIntyre, the reporter who was featured in that news report, who has also debunked the no-airplane claim several times over the years (including here, here and here).

Lead Stories has also published several other fact checks about the airplane attacks on September 11, 2001. Those fact checks can be found here.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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