Culture and Society

What are the conspiracy theories behind the Pentagon attack on 9/11?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. When it comes to trying to figure out exactly how and why the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, many have turned to conspiracy theories. These range from believing that the government knew about the attacks and let them happen, to thinking that Flight 93 was shot down by the government in Pennsylvania instead of crashing due to passenger revolt. But what about the plane that crashed into the Pentagon?

    Conspiracy theorists think the official account of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon is off base. They question why the Pentagon was struck in an evacuated section that was undergoing renovation. They wonder why the damage to the Pentagon was more apparent on the outer wall and not farther inward. Some have commented that the damage to the building looks more like the work of a bomb or missile.

    There's no clear, definitive video of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon, and despite the fact that hundreds of witnesses saw the plane hit, conspiracy theorists still believe the damage could have come from a military missile. They say that the 75-foot (23-meter) wide hole should have been bigger since the plane's wingspan was about 124 feet (38 meters), but experts say that this is because one of the wings hit the ground first, not the building -- the wings of the plane would not simply have cut a neat, plane-shaped hole in the structure anyway [source: Popular Mechanics]. Debris from the plane found at the site also dispels this theory.

    Finally, some conspiracy theorists say it's suspicious that no one at the Pentagon was able to shoot the plane down with surface-to-air missiles.

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