WILLIAM LAGASSE, 2001
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
February 8 2008 11pm
My recent analysis of Chad Brooks’ 2001 Library of Congress interview, in the spirit of fairness, deserves a counterpart analysis for Sgt. William Lagasse. Both officers who would later agree on a north-of-the-Citgo flight path were also audio-taped for the LoC about their experiences in late 2001; Lagasse’s eight-minute-long account was recorded on December 4, about two weeks after Brooks’. [MP3 Listen/Download Link] Like Brooks, he gave the same basic location he did for his videotaped 2006 interview: “I was refueling my police cruiser at the Barracks K gas station,” also known as the Citgo and the Navy Exchange, “approximately 1/8 of a mile from the heliport side of the Pentagon.” But unlike Brooks, whose 2001/06 accounts seem to conflict, Lagasse seems probably consistent on the core point of the plane’s placement relative to the station.
At 4:42 he describes his sense of security as largely unchanged by the attack: “We all kind of knew that something like that was going to happen eventually. […] we knew there was a potential for an aircraft to hit the building,” he said, and added “I’ve never felt entirely safe at the building because it is such a target.” A skeptic might wonder if this previous talk about inevitable plane impacts helped condition him to see an impact instead of the flyover that would have to happen if it were north of the Citgo. But he is and always has been a clear impact witness: “The image of the airplane flying into the building has not ever left me.”
He describes briefly helping people out of construction area before he pulled back due to the smoke, and with his supervisor began a “methodical search and recovery of evidence from the aircraft.” He apparently didn’t think the debris seemed planted in any way. Oddly, at 7:18 he said “I remember being on the scene and seeing a chunk of the plane that just said “Ameri” on it.” This doesn’t sound familiar from the photos I’ve seen from as early as one minute after the crash. He also said “I remember seeing the light poles that the plane hit. That knocked it down. It’s absolutely surreal.” Indeed, especially considering he saw them on location, and in 2006 had shifted the location he remembers seeing them – and Lloyd’s taxi – to a point further north to match the flight path he was giving then.
And what flight path did he imply in 2001? It was a beautiful, clear day. He was standing outside his car with a great view, filling the tank. At first he didn't hear anything, but watched as "an American Airlines 757 flew approximately 100 feet above the ground level maybe 60 feet in front of me.” That’s as specific as it gets. The interview alone is inconclusive and vague and on its own it can’t tell us much. With pumps on both ends of the station, if we didn’t know which way he was facing, we’d have this scenario [orange swathes just over 60 feet north or south represent a 757 wingspan set along the basic NoC path and along the official/damage path]:
But of all people Sgt. Lagasse has been verified and verified as at the north end of the station and facing north. In 2003 he explained to Dick Eastman how he saw the right side of the plane, then described its flight path as north of the station. In September 2006 the Citgo station's security video was released showing perhaps Lagasse under the north canopy (and apparently no one under the south). In November CIT interviewed Lagasse and was able to record him remembering details to match the video, and got a further very detailed description of the trajectory and placement with visual cues.
Lagasse + North Path = uber-corroborated, perhaps over-corroborated. Score one for CIT. While the interview itself is inconclusive, their arguably star witness has no apparent discrepancies between 2001 and 2006.
Side-note of unknown relevance: I’m not sure who he’s referring to when Lagasse says at 6:25 “We have one officer who’s been recognized perhaps too much, and then we’ve got several officers who haven’t been recognized at all. And that’s – it’s disheartening.”