American Society of Civil Engineers Accused of WTC Cover-Up
In the World Trade Center case, critics contend the engineering society wrongly concluded skyscrapers cannot withstand getting hit by airplanes. In the hurricane investigation, it was accused of suggesting that the power of the storm was as big a problem as the poorly designed levees.
The group has about 140,000 members and is based in Reston, Va. It sets engineering standards and codes and publishes technical books and a glossy magazine. Members testify regularly before Congress and issue an annual report on the state of the nation's public-works projects.
The society got a $1.1 million grant from the Army Corps of Engineers to study the levee failures. Similarly, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid the group about $257,000 to investigate the World Trade Center collapse.
In 2002, the society's report on the World Trade Center praised the buildings for remaining standing long enough to allow tens thousands of people to flee.
But, the report said, skyscrapers are not typically designed to withstand airplane impacts. Instead of hardening buildings against such impacts, it recommended improving aviation security and fire protection.
Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a structural engineer and forensics expert, contends his computer simulations disprove the society's findings that skyscrapers could not be designed to withstand the impact of a jetliner.
Wha??? You mean... you mean... airplanes don't push through steel columns without slowing... then disintegrate once past them?