Oh man, I can't just ignore this new little article from the OC Weekly - journalist Nick Schou wants Orange County residents to know "If you believe a passenger jet hit the Pentagon on 9/11, then these local ‘citizen investigators’ say you’ve been . . .
I note that he misspells Lagasse (unless I have been) and gets CIT's name wrong (Citizens Investigative Team, rather than Citizen's Investigation-ish Thing, or Comedy Improv Team). Otherwise, a great piece. Among the new things is someone else's take on the idiocy I've been dwelling on for too long, and interviews with three people who've dealt with the CIT - Mike Walter, Russell Pickering, and DPS/PFPS Sgt (now Lt I hear!) William Lagasse.
Those interviews made Walter probably the most well-known eyewitness to what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11, which is why, a little more than five years later, in November 2006, he found himself hosting a barbecue for a group of eager young men who were making Loose Change, a documentary about the terrorist attacks. After getting a telephone call from a self-described 9/11 researcher named Russell Pickering, Walter invited Pickering and Dylan Avery, the film’s director, to his house in Fairfax, Virginia.
They showed up with a couple of other people Walter had never spoken with: Craig Ranke, a fast talker with wild eyes, and Aldo Marquis, a heavyset guy who didn’t talk much. The two said they were helping Avery and Pickering with research for their film. Walter chatted casually with the pair, and at one point, he realized that Ranke was surreptitiously tape-recording the conversation.
That was weird, he thought. And increasingly, so was the conversation itself. Although Pickering and Avery seemed relatively normal, Ranke and Marquis appeared to be on a mission to prove that the Pentagon plane crash never happened. They wouldn’t listen to anything that contradicted this notion.
“I understand why people have certain feelings about this government,” Walter says. “There are things this administration did that I’m not pleased with, but facts are facts. I was on the road that day and saw what I saw. The plane was in my line of sight. You could see the ‘AA’ on the tail. You knew it was American Airlines.”
Marquis and Ranke simply refused to believe Walter saw what he saw. “They were saying things like, ‘Are you sure the plane didn’t land [at Reagan airport] and they set off a bomb?’ They kept coming up with all these scenarios.
“Some of those guys [at the party] were young and nice and disaffected [about] their government,” Walter concludes. “And some of them were crazy.”
After noticing Ranke’s not-so-subtle effort to secretly tape-record their conversation—and realizing that Ranke and Marquis weren’t interested in hearing anything that contradicted their notion that a plane didn’t actually hit the building—he refused to submit to an interview.
“They thought they were really going to uncover this thing, and I tried to set them straight,” Walter says. “The next day, I told them I wasn’t going to talk to them, and later, I found out they were really hammering on me on the Internet.”
Walter’s friend Troy Hanford, who was also at the barbecue, says that Pickering and Avery seemed like “opportunists” who were just trying to make it in Hollywood. “They wanted to be the next Michael Moore team,” he said. “The other guys”—Marquis and Ranke—“their objective was to unseat the U.S. government.”
[Russell] Pickering, who now runs an antiques store in Washington, recently told the Weekly he’s aware Ranke and Marquis consider him to be a government operative. “They firmly believe that about me,” he says, adding that his experience with Marquis and Ranke motivated him to drop out of the conspiracy movement. He still believes that 9/11 was an inside job, but Pickering strongly disagrees with Ranke and Marquis’ fly-over theory, which isn’t supported by a single eyewitness. “Nobody looked up and saw a plane fly over the Pentagon and fly away. Nobody reported a fly-over.”
When reached at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA)—the official name of the Pentagon police agency, where he’s now a lieutenant—Legasse groaned when he heard the names Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis and said he couldn’t comment without permission from a press officer.
Oops! Damage control! Oddly enough, Chad Brooks' corroboration was not even mentioned in the piece, but Pentagon Force Protection Service tells Schou:
Chris Layman, a PFPA spokesman, said the agency now prohibits officers from speaking directly to the media, but he sent the Weekly a brief, written statement saying the Pentagon “was hit by American Airlines Flight 77 at 9:37 a.m., killing all 64 passengers and crew and 15 Pentagon employees,” that the event was “witnessed by hundreds of people,” and while some “have their own theories,” the “facts have been verified and are clear.”
That's not the whole article, so go ahead and read it.