BLACK BOX COVER-UP
Rescue workers silenced after exposing 9-11 whitewash
A 9-11 rescue worker recently came forward to say
he was told by FBI agents to “keep my mouth shut” about one of the “black
boxes” a fellow firefighter helped locate at ground zero, contradicting the
official story that none of the flight and cockpit data recorders were ever
recovered in the wreckage of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers.
Honorary firefighter Mike Bellone claims he was
approached by unknown bureau agents a short time after he and his partner,
Nicholas DeMasi, a retired New York firefighter, found three of the four “black
boxes” among the WTC rubble before January 2002.
The pair first claimed in an August 2003 book
entitled Behind the Scene: Ground Zero to have found the data recorders.
DeMasi said the “black boxes” were found while he
traversed “ground zero” in his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with three federal
FBI and New York fire officials have denied ever
finding the voice and data recorders.
Now Bellone claims agents were adamant about
keeping the discovery a secret.
“They confronted me and told me to not to say
anything,” recalled Bellone, referring to one of three reddish-orange boxes
with two white stripes he saw in the back of DeMasi’s ATV. “I said, ‘Give me a
good reason.’ When they couldn’t, I told them I wouldn’t shut up about it.
“Why should I? I have nothing to hide and nothing
to gain. It’s the truth, and Nick and I are sticking to our story as we always
Bellone said he and DeMasi were not the only 9-11
rescue workers to see the “black boxes.” He said there were several other
witnesses and said he knows they have been silenced by federal agents.
“I know two or three others saw what went down,
but they are not talking,” said Bellone. “They got to those guys after they
talked to me. The only reason I can figure they are trying to hide the truth is
that the government knows it screwed up, and the recorders would prove it.”
Asked to give names of the other witnesses, he
said he wouldn’t break a fellow worker’s confidence by revealing his identity.
“I can tell you this, though, it was all very
strange. I worked on the spaceship Columbia cleanup, and you know when
something important is found and when something is not,” he said.
The day the “black boxes” were secretly carted
away, agents acted like “something big was going down,” he added.
Bellone said he never learned the FBI agents’
names as this type of personal contact and information wasn’t exchanged between
the civilian workers and government officials working side-by-side at ground
“They had on their FBI jackets, but I’m sure I
could pick them out of a lineup or recognize their pictures,” said Bellone.
The pair’s bombshell accusations blow a big hole
in the official story as well as the findings in the recent 9-11 commission
In Chapter 1, footnote 76, there is the sole but
definitive reference to the airline “black boxes”: “The CVR’s and the FDR’s
[voice and flight data recorders] from American 11 and United 175 were not
Asked if DeMasi and Bellone were questioned or
subpoenaed, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said: “I can’t tell you now if
he was one of the 1,200 people we interviewed or if the book was one of the
countless ones we researched. We explored every lead, but I will try to find
out if we talked with him and get back to you.”
Bellone said commission members never contacted
him or DeMasi and never asked the two to appear before the group even though
the book was published well before the hearings commenced.
“I have been contacted by only one newspaper
reporter, from The Philadelphia Daily News,” said Bellone, referring to
an October 2004 story by reporter William Bunch, who recapped DeMasi’s
statements as well as the usual official denials.
Those close to the 9-11 investigation said the
recovery of the “black boxes” is important because they may hold vital clues
about what really happened on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
The cockpit voice recorder uses a pair of
microphones to capture all cockpit sounds for the last 30 minutes of a doomed
flight. The flight data recorder is also significant since it records altitude,
heading and airspeed.
Both recorders are designed to withstand enormous
impact and heat. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said
they should have withstood the conditions at the WTC.
And finding the boxes after a crash seems to be
standard procedure, according to the NTSB.
“It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the
recorders back,’ said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. “I can’t remember
another case which we did not recover the recorders.”
Bellone is retired and was made an honorary New
York fireman for his efforts after 9-11. DeMasi has recently retired from
Engine Co. 261, nicknamed the “Flaming Skulls.”