Interview with Dr. Niels Harrit on Discovery of Nano-Thermite in WTC Dust


by Jeremy R. Hammond
March 7, 2011


Face to Face with Dr. Niels Harrit: “There is no doubt that this building was taken down in a controlled demolition…” from I.C.T.V. Victoria on Vimeo.

Dr. Niels Harrit is a retired associate professor of chemistry at the University of Copenhagen and one among an international team of scientists who published a paper in The Open Chemical Physics Journal on the discovery of nano-thermite
in the dust from the World Trade Center collapses on September 11, 2001. He has recently finished a lecture tour of Canadian universities, where he spoke on the subject.

In this interview on the cable program Face to Face with Jack Etkin, Dr. Harrit discusses this finding and its implications. Dr. Harrit notes that World Trade Center building 7 (WTC 7), a 47-story steel-framed skyscraper that was not hit by one of the planes on 9/11, collapsed symmetrically into its own footprint, and that the official explanation for this is that it was due to fire. However, the finding of nano-thermite in the dust, along with other available evidence, leads inescapably to another conclusion. “There is no doubt that this building was taken down in a controlled demolition,” says Dr. Harrit. “I consider this to be [a] mainstream scientific conclusion. There’s no way around this conclusion. There are so many observations that are only compatible with a controlled demolition.”

“Science is based on observation and experience,” says Dr. Harrit in the interview. Point out that it had never occurred before 9/11, he says, “A steel framed high rise simply does not collapse due to fire.”

Among the other evidence is the observation that WTC 7 fell at the acceleration of gravity, or free-fall acceleration. Fire, says Dr. Harrit, cannot do that to a building. “All of these columns had to be cut at the same time for this phenomenon to happen,” he says.

While conventional thermite is an incendiary, made from a mixture of powdered aluminum and iron oxide, Dr. Harrit explains that nano-thermite is manufactured from the atomic scale up. The ingredients are much more intimately mixed, he says, so they react with each other much faster. Unlike thermite, “Nano-thermite can be used as an explosive,” notes Dr. Harrit. “You can use thermite for cutting the steel beams, and it’s soundless,” he adds.

Discussing the relevance and importance of the conclusion that the three World Trade Center towers were destroyed in a controlled demolition, Dr. Harrit says, “I think what happened on September 11, 2001 is the most important event to our generation, and for our children…. And the consequenes of this event should be obvious to everyone. But it’s not. But it’s happening at such a slow pace that people maybe do not connect the dots.”

It’s not just about getting history right and understanding what truly happened on 9/11, according to Dr. Harrit. “I think the whole civilization is in the balance these days,” he says. “Planet Earth will still be there no matter what we do…. But what we call civilization — if you care about music, this is what we’re talking about. If you care about the health of your grandparents, this is what we’re talking about. If you care about theater, literature, kids playing in the playground. Whatever you care for, whatever you love, this is what’s at stake here. Civilization. And it’s very fragile. And it can easily be lost.”

He discusses issues ranging from the environment to the loss of liberty due to the threat of terrorism stemming from the attacks of 9/11. The U.S. has waged multiple wars using 9/11 as a pretext, even though, in the case of Afghanistan, the publicly stated purpose for the war was to bring to justice the presumed mastermind of the attacks, Osama bin Laden. Yet, Dr. Harrit points out, to this day, “we haven’t seen the evidence for this person actually being guilty in the crime, and he is not wanted by the FBI for this attack on 9/11.” An FBI spokesperson, Rex Tomb, Dr. Harrit observes, in fact explained to reporter Ed Haas that 9/11 is not listed on bin Laden’s “Wanted” poster because the FBI does not have enough hard evidence to connect him to 9/11 to indict him in a court of law.

Dr. Harrit credits Dr. Stephen Jones, a retired professor of physics at Brigham Young University, with having the insight to examine the dust to look for evidence of how the buildings collapsed. Dr. Harrit rebuts two of the more common attempts to dismiss the discovery of nano-thermite in the dust. One dismissal that is often heard is that this material was a natural occurrence resulting from the collapses. Dr. Harrit points out that this violates basic chemical principles, and that nano-thermite is a high-tech manufactured substance that cannot result from natural occurrences. Another charge is that the material was planted in the dust samples Dr. Harrit and his team examined, a claim Dr. Harrit regards as preposterous, noting that the chain of custody of each of the four samples examined for the peer-reviewed paper is well-documented.

Nano-thermite, Dr. Harrit explains further, is “produced only in military facilities and big military institutions in the world…. The explosions of the future are based on this technology…. Research is going on, but it’s military research. This is high technology material.”

“We know explosives were used,” says Dr. Harrit, to bring down the towers. However, “We do not know where the nano-thermite fits into this picture. We do not know the exact role played by the reactive remains we found.” Further investigation is required to answer the questions that arise from this discovery. But the bottom line, notes Dr. Harrit, is that “Nano-thermite shouldn’t have been there.”

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst whose articles have been featured in numerous print and online publications around the world. He is the founder and editor of Foreign Policy Journal (, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. He was a recipient of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. Read more articles by Jeremy R. Hammond —

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