The Weekend Power Down of World Trade Center 2. Witnesses Later Ignored by 9/11 Commission

Scott Forbes, who was a senior database administrator for Fiduciary Trust, located on the 97th floor of the South Tower received a remarkable notice three weeks before the 9/11 attacks. The Port Authority of New York informed his company that there would be a “power down” on the weekend of Sept. 8th, 2001. This would mean that all power would be off in the top half of the south tower for most of the weekend.

Forbes has called this unprecedented, because to have a data centre lose power for two days requires major preparations and disruption. He reports that as part of the power down, all security cameras and security door locks were non-operational for about 36 hours.

“Remember there were no security locks on doors or security cameras, so access was free unless a door was locked by a manual key. Seeing so many ‘strangers’ who didn’t work at the WTC was unusual,” Forbes said.

The work was claimed to be part of an upgrade to the Internet service in the building. No one has explained why this work required a complete cutting of electricity.

“There were guys in work clothes with huge tool boxes and reels of cable walking around the building that weekend,” he said.

There had also been a heightened security level at the towers for two weeks because of several alleged phone threats. The extra security, which included bomb-sniffing dogs, was removed on Sept. 6.

Forbes wrote to the Port Authority and to the 9/11 Commission to bring his suspicions about the power down to their attention. He never received any acknowledgement of his letters, and no mention of any of this made it into the 9/11 Commission Report.

Marvin Bush (left)

It might be useful to point out to those who aren’t aware of it that the company that had the contract to provide security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines and Dulles International Airport at the time was called Securicom (now Stratesec). One of the directors of the company from 1993-2000 was George W. Bush’s younger brother, Marvin Bush.  The CEO of the company from 1999-2002 was the Bush brothers’ cousin, Wirt D. Walker III.

Between 1996 and 2000, Securicom installed a new security system in the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, the details of what work they did were destroyed along with the towers on 9/11.

After Marvin Bush left Securicom in 2000, he became a director of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. (until 2002), which was one of the companies insuring the World Trade Center. Small world, eh?

If the power down was the only suspicious work being done in the towers, you might be inclined to discount it. But it wasn’t. In 2001, there were many vacancies in the towers; there were even entire floors that were empty. Long-time Trade Center employee William Rodriguez, who has talked about hearing massive explosions in the lower part of the towers on 9/11, also says that he heard major work being done on some vacant floors.

He describes loud banging, what sounded like heavy metal dumpsters being moved around, and lots of dust over everything. And it was all very secret. He says that in at least one case, the suspicious work was being done on a floor where the elevator didn’t even stop.

Financial analyst Ben Fountain of Firemen’s Trust has also described odd work being done in the towers. He says his company, Aon Corporation, was evacuated numerous times from their offices in the upper floors of the South Tower. They were also moved from one floor to another.

Fountain reported hearing loud noises on nearby floors, including the sounds of pneumatic drills. He also says there was a great deal of fine white dust all over everything.

Does any of this prove explosives were placed in the towers beyond a shadow of a doubt? No. But it’s part of the puzzle. And there are only so many incredible coincidences that one can swallow as being coincidences. When you add this to the enormous amount of evidence that only explosives could have brought the towers down the way they fell, the conclusion becomes inescapable.

Gary Corbett is a former employee of Fiduciary Trust Company International, a bank that occupied the 90th and the 94th to 97th floors of World Trade Center Two (the South Tower) and which lost 96 employees during the September 11 attacks. Corbett, who worked on the 97th floor, says there was a ‘power down’ on the week-end prior to September 11 for approximately 24 to 36 hours. During this period, he says, “there was a complete breakdown of security that weekend because of the power down.”

According to Corbett, the power down started on Friday night, at close of business and only came back on Sunday afternoon.

Interview with Scott Forbes
Interview with Scott Forbes, who worked in the South Tower of the world trade center, witnessed a power-down of the tower in the weekend before 9/11.

I spoke with Scott Forbes by telephone for around a half hour in late 2004. I also arranged a video interview. However, due to delays by a third person in releasing that video, Scott and I agreed to post a written interview now to fill in some of the details of Scott’s experience.

GENERAL BACKGROUND

GW: In 2001, you were working as an information technology specialist for Fiduciary Trust. Were you the main IT person for Fiduciary Trust, or were you an assistant IT person?

SF: I worked within an IT department of around 100 as a senior DBA [database administrator] and team leader.

GW: Fiduciary Trust had floors 90 and 94-97 of the South Tower at that time. Did you work on a specific floor, or did your duties normally keep you roaming on several floors?

SF: I and my technology colleagues worked on the 97th floor … in the course of the day we would have meetings or give support on other floors but most our time would have been spent on the 97th floor.

THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 8TH AND 9TH

GW: You’ve previously stated that on the weekend of September 8 and 9, 2001, there was a “power down” condition in world trade center Tower 2, the South Tower, and that this power down condition meant there was no electrical supply for approximately 36 hours from floor 50 up. Do you know what time the power-down started?

SF: All systems were shutdown on Saturday morning and the power down condition was in effect from approximately 12 noon on Saturday September 8, 2001.

GW: When did it end?

SF: Approximately 2PM on Sunday 9/9.

GW: How do you know that there was no electricity from floor 50 up, if Fiduciary Trust was on much higher floors — starting at the 90th floor?

SF: I can’t absolutely verify that there was no power on lower floors … all I can validate is that we were informed of the power down condition, that we had to take down all systems and then the following day had to bring back up all systems …

GW: You’ve previously stated that you were aware of the power down since you worked in the IT department and had to work with many others that weekend to ensure that all systems were cleanly shutdown beforehand … and then brought back up afterwards. How many other Fiduciary Trust folks were you working with? Can any of them verify your story?

SF: Many, many people worked on the power down, both from the IT department and from the business, revalidating systems when they were available again. Other people can validate my information. Some people do not remember the circumstances, some people will not revisit that time … but others acknowledge the power down freely and can validate my information.

GW: You said the reason given by the World Trade Center or Port Authority for the power down was that cabling in the tower was being upgraded. Do you know what parts of the building or how extensive the area would have been for upgrading cabling? In other words, would the area being worked on have been near the outer walls of the tower? Near the core? In the middle?

SF: I have no knowledge about this and can’t comment …

GW: You also stated that, without power, there were no security cameras. How do you know that? Could there have been backup generators which powered the security cameras?

SF: Within my company security cameras were monitored and videos retained for reference. They were powered from the usual power supplies so they would ave been out of action like all other electrical appliances.

GW: You also stated that, without power, there were security locks on doors. Are you just referring to outside doors, or also office doors? Were the locks electrical or key? If electrical, were they battery-operated?

SF: I was referring to the secure doors accessing my companies floors (and other companies). I do not believe there were any battery operated doors.

GW: You also stated there were many, many ‘engineers’ coming in and out of the tower. Did you see any of these folks yourself?

SF: Yes. By “engineers” I mean there were workmen on site, in overalls.

GW: Did these folks look “middle eastern”?

SF: No, not particularly, I mean I don’t recall registering that the guys were of one racial group or another.

GW: Did you recognize any of them from previous “work” in the tower?

SF: No.

THE MORNING OF 9/11

GW: You were home on the shore of Jersey City on the morning of 9/11, and — according to what you have said previously — you were “convinced immediately that something was happening related to the weekend work”. Why did you think that?

SF: When the South Tower collapsed, like a pillar of sand, it seemed unreal and inconceivable and I immediately thought something weird was going on. I became more suspicious several months later when the power down condition was never acknowledged and in some instances was denied by authorities.

THE 9/11 COMMISSION

GW: Finally, you’ve stated that you gave your information to the 9/11 Commission, but it took no interest. How did you get the info to the Commission (phone, email, letter?)

SF: I contacted the commission through their website and by mail. But I was never acknowledged nor contacted.

GW: Did the Commission ever follow up with you?

SF: No

GW: Anything else you wish to tell us?

SF: I have another piece of interesting information … after 9/11 my company, along with others, was in disaster recovery mode at a location in New Jersey. At that site were literally hundreds and hundreds of eye witnesses to the events of 9/11. As a British National I was contacted by Scotland Yard in London to interview me on the events … but I’ve often wondered why us authorities, like the New York police or FBI, did not interview all those witnesses available altogether in New Jersey. It seems like incompetence to me at best … negligence at worst. From <http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2005/11/interview-with-scott-forbes.html>

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