Could Barbara Olson Have Made Those Calls?
An Analysis of New Evidence about Onboard Phones
Pilots For 9/11 Truth | June 27, 2007
David Ray Griffin and Rob Balsamo
Prefatory Note: When we, in this jointly authored article, need to refer to only one of us, the appropriate initials---DRG or RB--are used.
06/26/07 - Did American Airlines 77---the flight that, according to the official conspiracy theory about 9/11, struck the Pentagon---have onboard phones? This question is relevant to the possible truth of the official theory, because Ted Olson, who was then the US Solicitor General, claimed that his wife, Barbara Olson, called him twice from this flight using an onboard phone.
He did, to be sure, waver on this point. CNN, which mentioned in a story posted just before midnight on 9/11 that Barbara Olson had used a cell phone to call her husband, reported in a more extensive treatment, posted at 2:06 AM (EDT) on September 12, that Ted Olson had told it that his wife “called him twice on a cell phone from American Airlines Flight 77.”1 But on September 14, Olson said on Hannity & Colmes (Fox News) that she had called collect and therefore must have been using the “airplane phone”---because, he surmised, “she somehow didn't have access to her credit cards.”2 On CNN's Larry King Show later that same day, however, Olson returned to his first version. After saying that the second call from her suddenly went dead, he surmised that this was perhaps “because the signals from cell phones coming from airplanes don't work that well.”3 On that same day, moreover, Tony Mauro, the Supreme Court correspondent for American Lawyer Media, published an account saying that Barbara Olson “was calling on her cell phone from aboard the jet.”4 Two months later, however, Ted Olson returned to the second version of his story. In the “Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture” delivered to the Federalist Society, he said that she used “a telephone in the airplane to [make] those two telephone [calls].”5 This second version was repeated in March 2002. “[C]alling collect,” he told the London Daily Telegraph, his wife “us[ed] the phone in the passengers' seats.” She called collect, he again surmised, because “she didn't have her purse” and hence her credit card.6
This revised version of his story has evidently gone virtually unnoticed in the American press. A year after 9/11, for example, CNN was still reporting that Barbara Olson used a cell phone.7 Nevertheless, Ted Olson's statement to the Federalist Society and the Telegraph---that she called collect using a passenger-seat phone---was apparently his final word on the matter.
The claim that she must have called collect because she did not have her credit card, however, does not make any sense, because a credit card is needed in order to activate a passenger-seat phone.8 If she did not have a credit card, therefore, she could not have used a passenger-seat phone, whether to call collect or otherwise.9
By settling on this version of his story, nevertheless, Olson at least appeared to make defensible his claim that the calls occurred. We say this because of the extremely strong evidence that her reported calls could not have been made on a cell phone, given the cell phone technology in 2001. Cell phone calls from an airliner were, as DRG has argued extensively elsewhere, generally possible only if it was flying slowly and low,10 but Barbara Olson's first call, according to the 9/11 Commission, occurred “[a]t some point between 9:16 and 9:26,”11 when the plane was flying too fast and too high for cell phone calls to have been possible. According to the Flight Data Recorder information released by the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane at 9:16 would have been over 25,000 feet, which is far too high (as well as too fast: 281 knots [324 mph]), while at 9:26 the plane would have been flying at 324 knots (370 mph), which is much too fast (as well as still too high: almost 14,000 feet).12 By settling on the claim that his wife used an onboard phone instead of a cell phone, Ted Olson avoided this problem.
Continued at http://pilotsfor911truth.org/amrarticle.html
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