[A] law enforcement official said the ''pinging'' of a black box from a hijacked plane might have been detected. ''They are picking up some pinging, but there is so much stuff on top of it, including ironwork, that it will take some time for them to get to it,'' the official said. [NewYork Times]

9/11: What Happened to the
WTC Black Boxes?

At the time of the disaster, Nicholas DeMasi was a firefighter at Engine Company 261 in Queens. (The firehouse was shut down in 2003, after a century of operation.)

In the weeks that followed 9/11, he joined an all-terrain vehicle crew (ATV Unit) at Ground Zero. In "Behind-the-Scenes," he describes his experience as follows: "If you needed anything, go ask the ATV Guy, they're the gopher guys."

On page 108 comes the revelation:

"At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. When we got into the ATV to take off, the agent accidentally pushed me forward. The ATV was already in reverse, and my foot went down on the gas pedal. We went down the stairs in reverse. Fortunately, everything was okay. There were a total of four black boxes. We found three." [summeroftruth.org]

If the information in those boxes is recoverable, or if, as is likely, it has been recovered already, it could give crucial evidence regarding the skill of the hijacker/pilots, perhaps of their strategy, of whether they were getting outside help in guiding them to their targets, of how fast they were flying and a host of other things.

Why would the main intelligence and law enforcement arm of the U.S. government want to hide from the public not just the available information about the two hijacked flights that provided the motivation and justification for the nationís "War on Terror" and for its two wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, but even the fact that it has the devices which could contain that information? Conspiracy theories abound, with some claiming the planes were actually pilotless military aircraft, or that they had little or nothing to do with the building collapses. The easiest way to quash such rumors and such fevered thinking would be openness.

Instead we have the opposite: a dark secrecy that invites many questions regarding the potentially embarrassing or perhaps even sinister information that might be on those tapes. [Counterpunch]

See also: The 9/11 Reichstag Fire

What Really Happened