Robert M. Bowman (born 1934) is a former Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force in the Ford and Carter administrations, and a former United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 101 combat missions. He holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. 
What Really Happened on 9/11; Why All the Secrecy?
by Dr. Robert M. Bowman
There are conspiracy theories flying around the internet like seagulls around a landfill. Many people are convinced that George W. Bush knew what was going to happen and purposely allowed it to happen so he and his neo-conservative buddies could have the “new Pearl Harbor” they needed to justify their wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Others go further. They are absolutely sure Cheney and company actually planned and carried out the attack (usually along with the Mossad). These folks don’t think there were ever any Arab hijackers at all.
What is so disturbing is that their arguments are quite convincing. If an enormous cloud of suspicion is not to be permanently over the head of our government, the Bush Administration must “come clean,” releasing information thus far withheld from the American people.
Clearing themselves of actively planning and carrying out the 9/11 attacks ought to be fairly easy. All they have to do is give the American people the answers to a few key questions:
(1) Why were there no Arab names on the passenger lists provided by the airlines?
(2) What exactly is the status of the remote control system which conspiracy theorists say was used to hijack the airliners — a system designed to thwart hijackers by moving control from the cockpit to ground controllers.
(3) Why is there no evidence of flight 77 which supposedly flew into the Pentagon? Why was there such a small hole in the Pentagon? Why were no wings or engines found? Why are there no eyewitnesses that saw the plane? Give us the evidence that it happened the way you say and that the Pentagon was not hit by a U.S. missile and flight 77 shot down over the ocean.
There are lots more questions, but you get the idea. Answer just a few of the questions, and the most virulent of the conspiracy theories goes away.
Dealing with the other major theory, however, (that Osama bin Laden really did it, but Bush et al let it happen) will require more answers. Various web sites have literally hundreds of unanswered questions. A group of New Jersey widows of men who died in the World Trade Center collapse have compiled quite a few. If this government is to have any credibility and avoid being seen as responsible for allowing thousands of Americans to die, it must answer these questions promptly and honestly. Here are just a few:
(4) What was in the CIA daily brief presented to the president on August 6, 2001, and why has it been withheld for so long? The Congressional committee and the independent commission have both requested copies and been refused. Why?
(5) Why did John Ashcroft and top Pentagon officials cancel plans to fly commercial airlines the morning of 9/11? If they knew what was about to happen, why wasn’t it stopped?
(6) Who made all the millions of dollars selling short United and American Airlines just before 9/11? The hijackers obviously had no use for the money. Who besides them knew that those two particular airlines were going to suffer devastating losses on 9/11? Our intelligence agencies have Promis software that detects unusual stock trades. These trades were 25 times as great as usual. If, as has been reported, alarm bells were going off at our intelligence agencies on 9/10, why didn’t they beef up security on United and American flights? Why didn’t they react promptly to the hijackings?
(7) Why weren’t the hijacked airliners intercepted by jet fighters and shot down before they could fly into the WTC and Pentagon? Standard procedures call for any airliner that loses radio contact or goes off course to be intercepted. Four airliners were hijacked almost simultaneously, and it was obvious to air traffic controllers immediately. The transponders on the airliners were turned off. The hijackers were heard on the radio. And the four deviated drastically from their assigned courses. Was NORAD told? If not, why not? What did the air traffic controllers say, and to whom? Why did the FBI impound the tapes of those conversations? Why has the public never been told what was on them? Why weren’t the congressional investigators told? The independent commission? Who is hiding what, and why? If it was just a matter of incompetence or somebody not doing their job, why hasn’t anyone been fired or reprimanded? If someone ordered the standdown, who? and why? and why haven’t they been charged with treason?
(8) What was President Bush doing sitting in a classroom for half an hour after he was told that the country was under attack? Why didn’t the Secret Service rush him away from where everyone knew he was, unless they knew he wasn’t a target? If they knew that, how?
There are many more unanswered questions. If the PNAC oil mafia didn’t purposely let 9/11 happen so they could have their new Pearl Harbor and pursue their imperialist wars, then why don’t they answer some of these questions???