CNN's Jamie McIntyre: "From my close-up inspection, there is no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon"
This is a commonly used quote, and quite understandably: taken alone it does seem to clearly support the "no plane at the Pentagon" theories. But, as is so often the case, key information is being left out. Here's another site questioning whether Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, who nonetheless provide a more complete account.
CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre reporting live from the Pentagon says that there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the building.
Jamie Mcintryre, CNN correspondent
"From my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon.
The only site, is the actual side of the building that's crashed in. And as I said, the only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon and then caused the side to collapse.
Even though if you look at the pictures of the Pentagon you see that the floors have all collapsed, that didn't happen immediately. It wasn't until almost about 45 minutes later that the structure was weakened enough that all of the floors collapsed." - CNN (09/11/01)
Now we can see McIntyre is talking about debris, just saying it's very small. Of course that still leaves us with his first comment, "there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon". If he's saying that, then could his implication be that the debris was planted, or came from something else?
Uh, no. Here's something from McIntyre's report, before the famous quote, where he talks more about what he clearly believes was plane debris:
A short -- a while ago I walked right up next to the building, firefighters were still trying to put the blaze. The fire, by the way, is still burning in some parts of the Pentagon. And I took a look at the huge gaping hole that's in the side of the Pentagon in an area of the Pentagon that has been recently renovated, part of a multibillion dollar renovation program here at the Pentagon. I could see parts of the airplane that crashed into the building, very small pieces of the plane on the heliport outside the building. The biggest piece I saw was about three feet long, it was silver and had been painted green and red, but I could not see any identifying markings on the plane. I also saw a large piece of shattered glass. It appeared to be a cockpit windshield or other window from the plane.
And then there's the exchange that led to McIntyre's comment:
WOODRUFF: Jamie, Aaron was talking earlier -- or one of our correspondence was talking earlier -- I think -- actually, it was Bob Franken -- with an eyewitness who said it appeared that that Boeing 757, the American jet, American Airline jet, landed short of the Pentagon.
Can you give us any better idea of how much of the plane actually impacted the building?
MCINTYRE: You know, it might have appeared that way, but from my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. The only site is the actual site of the building that's crashed in, and as I said, the only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around, which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon and then caused the side to collapse.
Listening to this will make it clearer. The above image links to the full video clip, but at 40 MB+ it’s a little large, so you may prefer our more reasonably-sized MP3 audio clip here. Either way, you'll hear McIntyre is responding to Woodruff's question. She asks if the jet landed short of the Pentagon, he replies with an emphasis on the word "near": no, it didn't land "near" the Pentagon, it crashed straight into it, leaving behind debris as he described. He's certainly not saying there's no evidence of a plane at the Pentagon at all, and anyone who implies that is taking his report out of context.
What happened next was even more interesting, though. When the Flight 77 videos were released by the Pentagon in May 2006, McIntyre spoke out again, essentially repeating what he’d said originally:
...had a camera with me. I took pictures of some of the wreckage, some of the parts of the fuselage, a part of the cockpit, until they told us we had to move back away from the scene.
I saw thousands of shards of metal, of pieces of the plane all over the driveway. I didn't pick up any of them or touch any of them, but I saw them everywhere. And again, took some pictures of them.
His 9/11 comment about a “silver, red and green” item of debris could be part of the fuselage (green being primer on the inside), the “cockpit” reference could be the window he mentioned in his first report, and everything else being tiny shards of metal again matches up with the 9/11 account.
McIntyre goes on to cover the way his original quote has been taken out of context, confirming our interpretation of the word “near”:
MCINTYRE: The Web sites often take statements out of context, such as this exchange from CNN in which I -- myself -- appear to be questioning whether a plane really hit the building: From my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. In fact, I was answering a question based on a eyewitness account who thought the American Airlines plane landed short of the Pentagon. I was indicated there was no crash site near the pentagon only at the Pentagon
Surely now those who took the McIntyre report out of context would have to back down, right? Well, no -- they accused him of lying or contradicting himself, for not confirming a false interpretation that others had created in the first place:
NEW PENTAGON FOOTAGE REVEALS ANOTHER COVER-UP
CNN’S JAMIE MCINTIRE CONTRADICTS ORIGINAL REPORT
The release of new video footage of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon has spurred yet another controversy. In anticipation of the release, CNN’s Kyra Phillips was interviewing Jamie McIntyre Tuesday afternoon, and asked him what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11, as he was reporting live from the scene that day.
Referring to the idea that something other than a 757 hit the Pentagon, McIntyre stated, “Having been there on September 11th, having seen the plane wreckage and photographed it myself personally, I can tell you that’s nonsense…Click here for sound clip I had a camera with me, I took pictures of some of the wreckage, some of the parts of the fuselage of …a part of the cockpit, until they told us we had to move back away from the scene…” Click here for sound clip
However, McIntyre’s comments are in direct contradiction to his original report on 9/11, when he stated, “ …from my close up inspection, there’s no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. The only site is the actual… side of the building that’s crashed in and as I said, the only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, a fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon.” Click Here for sound clip
As a senior veteran reporter for the network, McIntyre sets the standard for accurate reporting and the network depends on reporters of his stature to accurately relay information. McIntyre’s blatant reversal of reported “facts” now brings into question the integrity of not just his reporting, but the credibility of the entire CNN network.
Jamie McIntyre Is lying! Video & Transcript Of 911 Pentagon Broadcast
The message is clear: don't trust snipped quotes from anyone (even us). Don't even put complete trust in transcripts, because there are situations (such as the word "near" in McIntyre's original quote) where hearing the emphasis on a particular word can change its meaning. Go back to the original audio where you can, or at least the full transcript, before you decide whether a given interpretation is accurate.