Paul M. Baker Manager
Media Relations Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Northbrook, Ill., USA
(847) 272-8800 ext. 41001
Cell: (847) 602-2828
UL Letter text:
On Nov. 11, 2004, a letter from Kevin Ryan, a former employee of Underwriters Laboratories Inc., addressed to the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), was posted on a Web site called the 9-11 Visibility Project (www.septembereleventh.org). In the letter, Mr. Ryan speculated on the causes of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
Mr. Ryan wrote the letter without UL’s knowledge or authorization. Mr. Ryan was neither qualified nor authorized to speak on UL’s behalf regarding this issue. The opinions he expressed in the letter are his own and do not reflect those of Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
UL’s Fire Protection Division has assisted NIST in its investigations regarding the collapse of the WTC towers. However, Mr. Ryan was not involved in that work and was not associated in any way with UL’s Fire Protection Division, which conducted testing at NIST’s request. Rather, Mr. Ryan was employed in UL’s water testing business, Environmental Health Laboratory, in South Bend, Indiana.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. fully supports NIST’s ongoing efforts to investigate the WTC tragedy. We regret any confusion that Mr. Ryan’s letter has caused 9/11 survivors, victims’ families and their friends.
From: W. David Kubiak
Subject: Re: UL’s statement regarding Kevin Ryan
Date sent: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 15:21:10 -0500
Dear Mr. Baker,
Thank you for the letter, but I notice that neither it or your note address the important issues we discussed last night. Since the NIST findings are critical to our nation’s understanding of the events of 9/11, they have serious implications for our subsequent policies, governance and collective security. They thus demand the greatest degree of disclosure and transparency.
Your letter’s dismissal of Mr. Ryan’s “speculation” on these matters simply on the grounds that he was not in the loop and assigned to another job, hardly addresses the primary questions at hand.
- Was he in possession of the data he was discussing?
- Are his reasoning and conclusions sound?
- If UL repudiates his logic, where specifically do you find fault?
- What were the official grounds for his immediate firing?
- Does NIST’s proprietary control of the UL WTC data (that you spoke of) mean that it cannot be released for review to any other respected authorities in the engineering, fire-prevention or materials testing fields?
- Since our national (and architectural) security depend so heavily on the truth and integrity of these NIST investigations, what is this bizarre “proprietary” secrecy all about?
In other words, it is fine to assert that Mr. Ryan was not speaking for UL, but we want — and indeed urgently need — to know what UL has to say on these matters for itself.
As you are perhaps aware, there is serious widespread dissatisfaction with the conduct and conclusions of the Kean 9/11 Commission, which has yet to furnish the promised “definitive” explanation of the critical events of that day. The documented omissions, contradictions and outright falsehoods in their final report undermine public confidence in their consequent recommendations and thus our hope for truly improved security.
The 9/11 Commission’s flaws are largely attributed to commissioners’ conflicts of interest, political pressure and obstructive official secrecy. That is why so many have looked to the NIST investigations for non-politicized truth, disclosure and accountability. However, the increasing secrecy now shrouding their own hearings and data as well as harsh reprisals against citizens like Mr. Ryan who dare to publicly discuss the evidence seem to openly betray those expectations.
For generations, Underwriters Laboratories has built a priceless reputation for speaking inconvenient truth to economic power and making our lives and products safer. It appears to many of us that Mr. Ryan’s statement embodied the best of that tradition and we wonder why you would not stand behind him now.
In sincere hope of an honest exchange on these issues,
W. David Kubiak
Another look at UL’s claims three years later