CHAD BROOKS, 2001: LEFT? BEHIND?
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
February 5 2008
video added 2/21 3am
final update 2/22 3am
2006 vs 2001: The Left Hand Knows Not…
One of The PentaCon’s two uniformed witnesses to the North-of-the-Citgo flight path is Sergeant Chadwick Brooks, video-verified on location at FOB lot 6, where he saw the plane approach the Pentagon from the west. I agree with CIT’s assessment that we can’t pinpoint an exact parking spot, but I think it’s safe to say he’s in the right row – having driven west from the Citgo station, he parked in the westernmost row of the main part of the lot. He is facing west when he affirms that ‘this exactly where you were standing when you got out of the car, after you saw the plane coming.” From there, Brooks tells CIT “we were able to see everything,” indicating a flight path originating above, ahead, and to the right, traced with his finger descending back and to his right. The path he describes is entirely north of the station, if barely. This looked good for the case, and even better when he drew a different line further north later on.
This graphic then depicts the account presented verbally in the PentaCon:
However, both stories seem to conflict with what Brooks described two months after the event, when both he and officer Lagasse were interviewed for a US Library of Congress project. Brooks gave a 14-minute audio interview, recorded November 25, 2001, apparently by the Utah State University folklore archive, on behalf of the LoC. [MP3 listen/download link] One of officer Brooks’ more interesting revalations is this, at 01:22: “One of our assignments that day was at 11:00 we were supposed to be at the heliport, the actual crash site, for, uh.. a dignitary coming in.” This can only be President Bush, scheduled to arrive at the Pentagon via helicopter at 12:00, after returning to the Capitol from Florida. This was of course cancelled after the 9:38 crash of Flight 77.
The interview shows a very real human, nervous on his recollection; I counted at least nineteen instances of the word ‘literally.’ He spoke of dealing with the injured, and of “sheer terror.” “It felt like a lifetime,” he said, and “it felt like everything was in slow motion. My mind just didn’t register.” Indeed, his description of the plane’s approach includes several periods of “a few seconds later” and the like; read literally, the whole attack would have taken perhaps a couple of minutes. In reality it took only 2-3 seconds from his position to impact, plus however long he saw it in the distance first. Almost poetically, he noted the poignant feeling of “knowing that there were people on the plane at the time just literally flying over me. What were they thinking? I know they had to see us.”
And what side of the plane would he himself have been visible from (if the shades weren’t pulled)? It’s less specific than his 2006 interview, and I can’t make a 100% assertion at this point. However, he places himself in a parking lot near the Citgo, and at 02:12 he says:
“I just happened to look up to my left up in the air and just seeing a plane. A few seconds shortly after that I heard what seemed to be a tractor trailer coming behind me […] I looked to my left and lo and behold I notice that the plane was going awfully low […] I saw the plane just go nose dive into the Pentagon.”
1) He ‘happened to look up’ and to his left to see the plane at some distance
2) Then he heard a sound that seemed to come from behind him
3) Then he saw it again on his left, descending. Ahead or behind unclear.
4) At some point in this process he also mentions getting out of the car.
5) Then he saw the impact, which was about 2.5 seconds after passing over him.
Now, everything so far indicates that he had driven into the parking spot, not backed in, and saw the plane ahead of him in the distance. If this were indeed the case, the sound coming from behind him could be the 757's roar bouncing back off the Pentagon's west wall. For the plane to be ahead of him to his left, remain on his left, descend and move west-east as all evidence suggests it did, it could only be on a line south of the Citgo and more-or-less on the official path, where all the poles and columns and people were damaged. This would be a big problem for his later north side claim that helps rule out the impact he thinks happened anyway.
The Case For East
Craig Ranke has left several comments below, along with a few craters I deleted, and my responses. It almost seems he was trying to confuse/intimidate the story into submission. “Up is down, north is south, left is right in Caustic Illogic's world. Anything to cast doubt and confuse. […] He describes the plane on the north side in both interviews. This is 100% clear. You are losing all grip on reality.” You don’t draw flak unless you’re over the target, some say.
Ranke seems to feel Brooks backed in to the spot, facing east towards the Pentagon before the plane approached, and a flight on his left means a north path coming in from behind him, left of the station just like he said. “Dummy...... If the plane came from "behind" him as he said then to his left is north, right? If he did not back in to the space then why would he describe the plane as coming from behind him? How do you not understand this?” I do understand this scenario, which is why I anticipated that would be his answer and even offered it myself as his best bet.
What was his basic starting direction before he got out of the car, when he first saw a plane to the west and on his left? His 2006 interview does not help clarify this question at all; CIT only asks him about his position after getting out of the car; by then he was clearly facing towards the plane, which is west unless he only got out after it passed him. In fact they don’t ask him any details about his first sighting, and the impression one gets watching the video is that it just appeared unannounced over the trees about 100 feet from him. This is just as well since Brooks was clearly mistaken about the north path and might have screwed up the other parts too.
Considering CIT’s take, to be fair, it is entirely possible he backed in, and as a cop that makes some sense, to be prepared to pull out. He’d be facing east as the plane snuck up from the west, and he does mention a sound behind him. It’s possible he saw the plane behind him at a distance before hearing it behind him. Compared to some other assertions CIT has wrung out by twisting the evidence hard enough, this seems a reasonable possibility.
And this is the only interpretation open if we believe his 2006 testimony which clearly places it north.
My previously take, which is reflected in this video version [Youtube page link] and the original posting of this article, included this clever but not entirely applicable observation:
“If this is the case, that Brooks was facing east at the time, then at the least we have a case of him placing himself backwards in the scene in his ‘06 recreation, where he is generally facing west and trying to remember it that way, having to switch hands and basic bodily directions to accommodate the twist. What odd witness behavior when CIT originally touted six reasons to believe their witness' North-side claims, including point 2: "The simple right or left nature of their claim"
I’d like to amend this point without fully retracting it; as noted above he never actually re-enacts this first sighting at all. This is all after he saw the plane either ahead or behind and got out to watch it. For that time he’s facing the right way, just in some kind of error when he puts up his right hand and describes it north. Therefore, I would not necessarily believe it even if CIT tracked him down and got him to confirm he was backed in. I’m curious only in the clues offered by the original Chad Brooks of 2001.
The Case for West
1) That he would happen to look back over his shoulder, from inside the car, with no prior cues he mentions, makes less sense than his ‘happening’ to just glance up, or catch a subtle glint, if facing towards the approach. From this angle, west makes more sense.
2) The sound coming from behind him is not problematic for a west direction. It could either be the 757 having passed that far, on his left, or more likely reverb. Consider this from Terry Morin’s account, facing south at the Navy Annex just before the plane came in from the west:
“I started to hear an increasingly loud rumbling behind me and to my left. As I turned to my left, I immediately realized the noise was bouncing off the 4-story structure that was Wing 5. One to two seconds later the airliner came into my field of view.”
This case is clear; the sound to his left and behind was off the building, and the plane came in from his right. Less clearly Brooks says “shortly after [first seeing the plane] I heard what seemed to be a tractor trailer coming behind me. Well, it felt like it was coming from behind me,” he added. This last indicates the actual plane was coming from ahead. As in Morin’s case, this could well be sound deflection off something behind him, like the Pentagon, or perhaps something smaller and closer, and his qualifier indicates as much.
3) Again, as I just found out via stumbling, I’m needlessly replicating the works of Pickering.
Russell Pickering is of course the trailblazing PentagonResearch.com proprietor who won the ear of the Loose Change guys and near single-handedly persuaded them to at least entertain the obvious. Back in the pre-PentaCon era, as a moderator at the Loose Change Forum, he posted this observation to fellow mod Ranke (as Lyte Trip) on September 10 2006, in response to their growing fascination with north-side Lagasse and a then-unnamed Citgo employee:
“We also have Brooks who was in the parking lot across the street from the Citgo (and Lagasse and the employee) who puts the plane on his left or in the mechanical damage path to the south. He was the only one between the Annex and 27 that was not under a canopy and claims to have had a clear view.”
Pickering was drawing on the 2001 interview, and admitted that Brooks “does not indicate which way he was facing.” But all things considered, the conclusion was clear enough that he offered this difference between Brooks and Lagasse: “Brooks placed the aircraft to the south of the Citgo hitting the poles," whereas "Lagasse said, "I was on the Starboard side of the aircraft" but claims he saw it hit the poles too.”
So Russell felt Brooks’ pre-PentaCon story matched a south path, which Pickering championed and Ranke disparaged. Three days later he added, almost as a taunt, “you have an officer who was only 300 feet away from the Citgo who was not under a canopy and facing the approach path in one manner or another you have totally discounted.” [emph mine]
So was he always a north path witness, or was Chad Brooks 2001 left behind when, less than two months after the post above, he met Ranke and/or Marquis and their camera? What were the Citizen Investigators thinking as they stood in front of him, and enthusiastically absorbed his ‘didn’t actually see the poles clipped,’ plane-on-the-right story without any question? I was unable to find any post-November dialog about the irony of this twist, either from Pickering or the CIT side.