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Black Box Cover-Up
By Greg Szymanski ・American Free Press December 12, 2004
A 9-11 rescue worker recently came forward to say he was told by FBI agents to 徒eep my mouth shut・about one of the 澱lack 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 澱lack 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 澱lack boxes・were found while he traversed 堵round zero・in his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with three federal agents.
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.
典hey 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痴 ATV. 的 said, 賎ive me a good reason.・When they couldn稚, I told them I wouldn稚 shut up about it.
展hy should I? I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain. It痴 the truth, and Nick and I are sticking to our story as we always have.・
Bellone said he and DeMasi were not the only 9-11 rescue workers to see the 澱lack boxes.・He said there were several other witnesses and said he knows they have been silenced by federal agents.
的 know two or three others saw what went down, but they are not talking,・said Bellone. 典hey 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稚 break a fellow worker痴 confidence by revealing his identity.
的 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 澱lack boxes・were secretly carted away, agents acted like 都omething big was going down,・he added.
Bellone said he never learned the FBI agents・names as this type of personal contact and information wasn稚 exchanged between the civilian workers and government officials working side-by-side at ground zero.
典hey had on their FBI jackets, but I知 sure I could pick them out of a lineup or recognize their pictures,・said Bellone.
The pair痴 bombshell accusations blow a big hole in the official story as well as the findings in the recent 9-11 commission report.・
In Chapter 1, footnote 76, there is the sole but definitive reference to the airline 澱lack boxes・ 典he CVR痴 and the FDR痴 [voice and flight data recorders] from American 11 and United 175 were not found.・
Asked if DeMasi and Bellone were questioned or subpoenaed, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said: 的 can稚 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.
的 have been contacted by only one newspaper reporter, from The Philadelphia Daily News,・/i> said Bellone, referring to an October 2004 story by reporter William Bunch, who recapped DeMasi痴 statements as well as the usual official denials.
Those close to the 9-11 investigation said the recovery of the 澱lack 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.
的t痴 extremely rare that we don稚 get the recorders back,・said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. 的 can稚 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 擢laming Skulls.