FOLKLORE/BRENNAN /MISSING TAPES
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
June 10 2008
Previously on this site I’ve cited “2001 LoC interviews” with Pentagon attack witnesses William Lagasse, Chadwick Brooks, and Roosevelt Roberts, all Defense Protective Service officers. These are part of a larger series of oral interviews gathered by the “American Folklife Center” at the Library of Congress, and more specifically from a sub-set of interviews collected by Utah State University student Jennifer Brennan. A USU website lists the impressive collection of 56 oral interviews recorded on tape and catalogued in their library after a folklore professor there “instigated this documentary project in her fall 2001 semester class(es). Some of her students participated in what was a larger (nation-wide) folklore collecting project," the site explains.
Remember when reading or listening to these accounts, they are not part of a scientific investigation of witnesses; the oral accounts are gathered as folklore, passed-down stories, only based in authentic experience. But around Arlington, they tell their kids that “folklore” consists of “fictional stories of a country or region passed down through generations to help explain natural phenomenon, often using animals and bigger than life characters. Paul Bunyan is an example of folklore.” How’s about the north-of-Citgo flight path, Pentagon flyover and all-faked destruction? A tall tale that will re-surface for generations when the subject of September 11 comes up? “What about those officers and that animation… didn’t some people actually see the plane fly over the Pentagon?” Never mind that it makes no actual sense, aside fro the vigorous lobbying of certain ‘investigators,’ it has a certain mythic resonance with a number of people, and these three accounts - and later accounts by the same men - are among the few real things that give it that.
But as well as embryonic folk legend, the tapes are evidence of some kind, and much of this is good stuff. The freshness of the accounts is core to their value, all recorded within a few months of the events. The register of all USU tapes, compiled in May 2004, lists the collection as including assorted paperwork “contained in the first of four boxes in the collection, each informant having an individual folder within the box. The audio tapes are held in the remaining three boxes.” Regarding the list itself, each informant's name was “followed by the call numbers (for both the interview paperwork and the corresponding audio tape), the date and place each interview occurred, as well as any other pertinent information." [emph. mine]
Including our three DPS officers, Brennan contributed 24 of the total 56 interviews (10 of which were also published at the LoC site - search "Jennifer Brennan" if needed), all conducted in late November/early December 2001. These are listed chronologically, starting with one Donald Brennan (Pentagon employee), whom she refers to as “Dad.” His account was in Box 1, Folder 7, and the audio tape in box 2, No. 4. The interview date is listed as Nov. 18, in Washington D.C. via telephone from Logan, UT. It includes “Tape log; fieldwork data sheets; 2 transcribed oral narratives included; collector release form only.” Himself a DPS officer of unclear rank, Brennan Sr’s account is detailed and coherent (and included in the LoC collection, in 2 parts). He didn’t see the plane but he mentions hearing two transmissions: of a plane approaching and a plane impacting – possible candidates for these calls include officers Brooks, Lagasse, or Roberts, all of which Brennan apparently helped his daughter get ahold of, along with at least some of the others I would guess, giving her by far the biggest take in the USU’s effort and I would hope high marks in the class.
Our eventual CIT witnesses are listed at the USU site thus:
William C. Lagasse (Pentagon employee):
Box 1, Folder 20 [AUDIO TAPE: Box 2, No. 17]
06 Dec. 2001
Fredericksburg, VA (via telephone from Logan, UT)
(Tape log; fieldwork data sheets; Collector release form only.)
Chadwick Brooks (Pentagon employee):
Box 1, Folder 24 [AUDIO TAPE: Box 3, No. 3]
09 Dec. 2001
Stephens City, VA (via telephone from Logan, UT)
(Tape log; fieldwork data sheets; Collector and informant release forms.)
Roosevelt Roberts, Jr. (Pentagon employee ?):
Box 1, Folder 27 [AUDIO TAPE: Box 3, No. 6 - MISSING]
10 April 2002
Waldorf, MD (via telephone from Logan, UT)
(Tape log; fieldwork data sheets; Tape missing; collector and informant release forms.)
So Roberts’ original tape is missing from the USU collection. This could have many different reasons, and is not unique to his interview. Four other tapes are also listed as missing, all from Brennan’s 24, and all listed as (Pentagon employee ?). two of these five, Roberts and Maiorca, were first logged with the LoC and still available, for a net loss of 3 audio accounts from all known circulation (Cooke, Ochoa, Wayman). How this happened and what significance it may have I can’t yet say.
There is also an odd pattern here by which the “date and place each interview occurred” as given on the USU site is generally later than the given dates for the ten featured on the LoC site, though generally within a few days or weeks of each other. Her fathers and Wagstaff’s are the only ones with dates that match, Nov 18 and 29th respectively, listed the same at both sites. Lagasse is listed as recorded on December 4 by LoC, and Dec 6 by USU, Brooks as Nov 25 and Dec 9. Rosati, Gamble, Stout, and Nesbitt follow this pattern. It seems reasonable to guess that one set of dates refer to the actual interview and the other to a later cataloguing or something The USU site’s wording must be wrong, since the LoC couldn’t be cataloguing them before they occurred.
The general proximity of all but two of the USU dates makes sense, but Roberts is listed as recorded Nov 30 by LoC and on April 10 2002 by the USU site, over four months apart. This is not unique, and apparently related to its missing status. The five missing tapes are all given dates of April 10, 11, or 16 2002. This is presumably the date they were found to be gone, the original dates somehow lost as well (written on the tapes?)