Black Box Bombshell: NY Firefighter Claims FBI Recovered Data Recorders at Ground ZERO

Officials across the board deny ever finding the boxes and 911 Commission agrees, maybe ignoring the firefighter's and one other rescue worker's statements. 911 truth activists, however, hope this is the one revelation that finally breaks the Bush Administration's bubble of lies and cover-ups.

3 Dec 2004

By Greg Szymanski

 Three of the four airline “black boxes,” officially never found in the WTC wreckage, are said to be under FBI control since January 2002, according to New York Fireman Nicholas DeMasi in a book entitled “Behind The Scenes: Ground Zero.”

 DeMasi’s “bombshell accusation” blows government claims sky-high, including statements given to the 911 Commission. Buried in Chapter 1, footnote 76, of the Commission Report is the sole but definitive reference:

 “The CVR’s and FDR’s (voice and flight data recorders) from American 11 and United 175 were not found.”

  Al Felzenberg, an official spokesman for the Commission said this week about DeMasi and the book published well-before the hearings:

 “I can’t tell you now if he is one of the 1,200 people we interviewed or if his book was one of the countless ones we researched. We explored every lead, but I will try to find out if we talked to him and get back to you.”

 DeMasi has remained unavailable for comment since his account appeared in the August 2003 book, featuring numerous heroic efforts and personal accounts of Ground Zero complete with over 200 colored photographs.

 Since the book was dedicated to the memory of the 343 New York firefighters, 37 Port Authority officers and 23 NYPD officers who died on 911, it’s hard to imagine he would have lied about something so critical in determining the truth behind why so many brave men and women perished.

 It’s also hard to imagine why a story of such magnitude and importance has remained “a well-kept secret” unless the mainstream media purposefully has ignored it.

 Besides several internet accounts, the story has surfaced in only one mainstream publication, an October 2004 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News. The story, by reporter William Bunch, essentially recaps DeMasi’s book statements along with the usual official denials, including those by New York fire and FBI spokesmen.

 Almost two months later, bureau and fire officials again this week have denied finding any trace of the black boxes.

 However, what should have been done long ago has not been:

 What’s needed is a thorough investigation of any possible on or off-the-scene witnesses, including other firefighters, rescue workers, civilians, FBI officials, 911 Commissioners and FAA authorities who may have vital information to add.

 Potential sources up until now have virtually been left in the dark, left talking to themselves by the mainstream media seemingly content with echoing government denials and refusing to dedicate necessary resources to “pound home” the facts on a daily basis.

 Thus far DeMasi’s claim has been verified by another book contributor and Honorary Firefighter Michael Bellone, who claims he saw a reddish-orange device with white stripes in the back of DeMasi’s ATV used during the 911 clean-up.

 Internal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) flight recorder photos reveal devices of the same color with two white stripes exactly like Bellone described, seemingly verifying his eye witness account.

 Bellone said he was on the scene when DeMasi and three FBI agents found one of the boxes but said the other two were uncovered in different locations, adding the agents left the scene with all three boxes.

 On page 108 of the book, referring to a routine clean-up assignment, DeMasi said:

 “At one point I was assigned to take federal agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out and my ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance.

 “We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. When we go in to take off, one of the agents accidentally pushed me forward. The ATV was already in reverse. We went down the stairs in reverse. Fortunately everything was okay. There was a total of four black boxes. We found three.”

 And finding the boxes appears to be standard procedure when it comes to past airplane crashes, according to Ted Lopatkiewicz, a spokesman for the NTSB:

 “It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the recorders back. I can’t recall another case in which we did not recover the recorders.”

 With both DeMasi and the NTSB’s ammunition in their arsenal, this could be the one big revelation needed for those in the battle weary 911truth movement, a group looking for a way to sway popular opinion in their direction.

 And they hope this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back or the one chink in the king’s armor, finally forcing the Bush Administration to come clean.

  The 911 truth movement has compiled a laundry list of supposed Administration cover-ups, lies and inconsistencies pointing to a 911 cover-up in order to justify wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 The “black boxes,” though, could be the one that finally bursts the bubble, activists said.


 At least, they add, Bush himself needs to go public and claim responsibility and accountability. If he doesn’t, they said it’s just one more red flag showing the President is purposefully concealing prior knowledge or active participation in the events surrounding 911.

 Brian Sacks and Nicholas Levis, two 911truth movement trepresentatives, are passing out free copies of DeMasi’s book and encouraging journalists to start investigating the entire story.

 Although DeMasi’s personal account was contained within the book along with many others, it was actually written by Gail Swanson with help from Bellone and retired fireman Robert Barret.

 “If DeMasi’s story is true, then there has to be others at Ground Zero who may have witnessed the recovery of the black boxes, “ said Sacks and Levis. “There may even be pictures or video of the recovery since FEMA and OSHA monitored the entire site.

 “A trail demonstrating the truth of his statements would almost certainly exist, for example, the FBI agents who supposedly took the boxes need to testify. However, the question remains: Will enough journalists and public officials be willing to pursue this story, wherever it leads, until the truth is finally revealed?”

 The importance of the black boxes is significant, each airplane having a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data recorder located in the tail of the plane.

 A 2002 CBS news report said concerning 911:

 “The efforts to better understand the day (911) isn’t being made so easy by the fact that the voice data recorders aboard the two hijacked jetliners that hit the towers haven’t been recovered. The four devices and the clues they would hold have failed to turn-up so far in the 1.25 million tons of steel, concrete and other material taken from Ground Zero.”

 The cockpit voice recorder uses a pair of microphones to capture all sounds of the cockpit for at least the last 30 minutes of a crashing aircraft. Concerning 911, the recorder should have copied any conversations and radio transmissions concerning what really happened to the flight crew, the hijackers and possibly even the passengers.

 The flight data recorder is also significant since it records heading, altitude and airspeed. Both recorders are designed to withstand enormous impact and force of at least 3400 Gs and fires of 1,100 degrees Celsius. Both these criteria were not exceeded using official estimates made at the WTC.

 Also, these recorders are designed to transmit “loud pinging or ringing noises” so that they can even be located in crashes occurring over large bodies of water.

 DeMasi, who at the time of 911 was assigned to Engine Company 261 in Queens, is now working in the fire department’s marine unit.



Greg Szymanski