Internet Archive Confirms BBC Video was Before WTC7 Collapse

Information Liberation
Mar. 03, 2007

Related Coverage:
> The Smoking Gun? BBC Jumps The Gun: Announces WTC7 Collapse As Building Still Stands
> Another Smoking Gun? Now CNN Jumps the Gun: On 911 CNN Announced WTC 7 "Has Either Collapsed or is Collapsing" Over an Hour Before it Fell
> BBC Responds to Building 7 Controversy; Claim 9/11 Tapes Lost
> Time Stamp Confirms BBC Reported WTC 7 Collapse 26 Minutes In Advance
From's Director of Collections:
Subject: Some Background and Context for this Clip

I am Director of Collections at the Internet Archive, responsible for all video and audio files.

This video clip is part of a collection from the TV Archive of global television coverage of the events that occurred on and shortly after September 11, 2001.

This clip, among others, has drawn quite a bit of attention because it appears to show a BBC reporter in New York reporting that World Trade Center Building 7, also referred to as WTC7 or the Salomon Brothers Building, has collapsed before it actually did collapse.

Despite some confusion on the issue of time code stamping and UTC conversions to EDT, the timing on the clip appears to be correct. This particular clip was recorded between 4:54 and 5:36 PM EDT. The anchor references to the WTC7 collapsing occur at 4:58 PM and 5:01 PM and then a live reporter says the building has collapsed at 5:08 PM in what appears to be a live shot with the building still in tact behind her. The feed from the live reporter is lost at 5:15 PM and then the building does actually collapse at 5:20 PM.

A subsequent clip from the BBC then shows coverage of the actual collapse in an archived account recorded from 5:36 – 6:16PM. This clip is available at .

An annotated version of the key sequence from this clip can be seen at .

Further support for the correct timing on the clip comes from another archived clip, this one from the BBC 24 channel which includes a time stamp on the TV screen indicating that the reference to the collapses of WTC7 does occur before the actual collapse.

There is some discussion as to whether or not that time stamp was later edited in by someone tampering with the clip. It is unclear whether that happened or not but the reporting and the time of the reporting as shown does seem to coincide with the other BBC World report. This clip can be seen at various web sites including .

Also there has been some discussion about whether the shot of the WTC7 still standing was a live shot or a so-called “green screen” shot in which the live reporter was photographed in front of an electronic screen with a superimposed image of videotape of earlier coverage. That could explain the time disparity; however other clips seem to support the view that the video behind the BBC reporter in this clip is indeed live.

This clip is being widely circulated on the web along with other 9/11 news coverage clips that have surfaced. The earliest apparent reports of WTC7 collapsing come from CNN which reports before 5PM that WTC7 is either burning, is collapsing or has collapsed. You can see this clip at . That story then gets repeated later on BBC 24 and BBC World. Similar coverage on ABC can be found posted at .

Assuming all the time references are correct, there are two possible explanations offered for the confusion. One is that the building was intentionally brought down by its owner and that a press release indicating that was prematurely issued and prematurely reported on by the media.

Another explanation is that there was simply confusion at the time and some journalistic “whispering down the lane” in which early stories that there was something happening at WTC7 led to rumors of its collapsing which then led to on-air reporting of its collapse. The fact that the WTC7 is still standing and visible in the background of the live shot appears to confirm that the reporting of the collapse did take place before the actual collapse.

One possible explanation for the apparent clairvoyance of the reporter, or the alleged deception by those in charge, is that there was a fire at WTC7 when it was first reported on CNN at approximately 4:10 PM and that the BBC then picked up that story from CNN and reported that the WTC7 might be collapsing and in the confusion of live news coverage that story then was communicated to the anchor and the reporter that the building had collapsed.

Additional information may be available from other television network coverage of that same period of time which has also been archived by the TV Archive. This includes coverage from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CNN. Efforts are underway to gather that additional archive footage so that a more comprehensive picture can be presented of what really happened that day.

Other references and discussions related to this clip can be found at various other web sites including , , , , , and .

The official BBC statement regarding its explanation for the mistaken reporting can be found at .
From's Digital Librarian:
Two of the much discussed BBC are available again, but this time as streaming flash files.

Based on the analysis of the time codes, the engineer involved is certain that the BBC was talking about the collapse before the building was reported to have collapsed on the site.

We hope to have other videos from this collection available soon.

Digital Librarian
More From's Digital Librarian:
[This is from an engineer responsible for capturing this production off-air on Sept 11, 2001. I am the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. -brewster]

During this week on the Internet a Flash version of some video from 9/11/2001 was released which shows BBC World announcing that World Trade Center 7 (also known as the Salomon Brothers building) had collapsed. However, the announcement of the collapse was before it actually happened.

The Flash version contained added text showing the time, but the person that added the time got the time-zone wrong, indicating times in Eastern Standard Time and not Eastern Daylight Time as was the case on 9/11/2001. Needless to say, this caused much skepticism about the real time the video was recorded.

V08591-16.mpg runs from 20:54:47 through 21:36:28 UTC. The following events were observed in the video:

16:58:08 EDT comes the first mention of the collapse.

17:01:17 EDT the collapse is mentioned again.

17:08:48 EDT they cut to a live shot from NYC and talk about the collapse with a reporter (who has the WTC7 visible behind her!)

17:15:07 EDT there is a problem with the feed and BBC switches to some pre-recorded material and does a couple of interviews

The next file, V08591-20.mpg runs from 21:36:28 through 22:18:09 UTC. At 17:39:15 EDT, the BBC runs video actually showing the collapse which has already occurred at 17:20:33 EDT according to

Therefore, the time of BBC talking about the collapse happened before the time of the collapse as reported by
Brewster Kahle Digital Librarian, Director and Co-Founder

Brewster has built technologies, companies, and institutions to advance the goal of universal access to all knowledge. He currently oversees the non-profit Internet Archive as founder and Digital Librarian, which is now one of the largest digital archives in the world.

As a digital archivist, Brewster has been active in technology, business, and law.

Keywords: MIT'82, helped start Thinking Machines, founder WAIS Wide Area Information Servers, Internet strategist AOL, co-founded Alexa Internet, sold to, directs Internet Archive.

After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982, he helped start a supercomputer company, Thinking Machines, that built systems for searching large text collections. In 1989, he invented the Internet s first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server). WAIS Inc. created the online presence for many of the world's largest publishers, and was purchased by America Online in 1995. In 1996, Brewster co-founded Alexa Internet, which provides search and discovery services included in more than 90 percent of web browsers, and was purchased by Amazon in 1999.

Brewster has also worked to revise law and policy in light technical advances. He is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a plaintiff in Kahle v. Gonzales (formerly Kahle v. Ashcroft), which challenges recent copyright term extensions.

Brewster is profiled in Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite (HardWired, 1996). He was selected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, the AlwaysOn/Technorati Open Media 100 in 2005, the Upside 100 in 1997, the Micro Times 100 in 1996 and 1997, and the Computer Week 100 in 1995.


* Univeristy of North Carolina, School of Library and Information Science, Visiting Scholar 2006-Present
* Internet Archive, Digital Librarian, Director, Co-Founder 1996-present
* American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected as a member in 2005
* Electronic Frontier Foundation, Board Member
* Alexa Internet, President, CEO, Co-Founder (sold to 1996-2002 The Library of Congress, National Digital Strategy Advisory Board April 2001
* America Online, Internet Strategist 1995-1996
* Wide Area Information Servers, Inc (WAIS), Founder, President (sold to AOL) 1992-1995
* Thinking Machines with Apple, Dow Jones, KPMG, WAIS Inventor and Project Leader 1989-1992
* Thinking Machines, Scientist 1983-1992. Helped start company, chips, boards, architected CPU of CM2

Stewart Cheifet Director of Collections
Stewart Cheifet has been an attorney, a media executive, and a technology journalist. He has worked in various capacities for ABC, CBS, NPR, and PBS in the United States, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. He has managed broadcast radio and television stations and was CEO of several media production and distribution companies.

He was former Executive Producer and host of the PBS series Computer Chronicles and Net Caf�. He has served as President of PCTV, a company focused on broadcast and new media production in the field of personal technology.

He holds a B.S. in mathematics and psychology from the University of Southern California, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and he was a post-graduate fellow in technology journalism at the University of Chicago.

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