“The nation was unprepared.” So wrote the authors of the The 9/11 Commission Report. And so might many witnesses remember feeling as they helplessly watched so many terrifying events unfold on Sept. 11, 2001.
Who among us could prepare to watch a commercial airplane fly into the North Tower of the World Trade Center? Or for a second to strike the South Tower minutes later? Or for yet another, at the Pentagon? Or for what would play out on Flight 93, when passengers tried to fight back?
No one could prepare for any of it — including seeing the towers fall or losing so many firefighters, police officers, and first responders, who had rushed in to help the people trapped inside.
No one was prepared to watch, in seconds, skyscrapers turn to dust.
The deadly, coordinated terror attacks against the U.S. stole nearly 3,000 lives and left behind permanent scars for countless others.
They also spurred lasting conspiracy theories and rumors that readers search on our site to this day.
What follows are some of those our fact-checkers have debunked.
Did Nostradamus Predict the 9/11 Attacks?
The Nostradamus 9/11 "prediction" was created as a fabricated example to illustrate how easily an important-sounding prophecy can be crafted through the use of abstract imagery.
Did a WTC Leaseholder Buy Terrorism Insurance Just Before 9/11?
A longstanding urban legend holds that World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein "fortuitously" took out terrorism insurance just months before the 9/11 attacks.
Mohammed Atta Released by Israel
Did Mohammed Atta, a convicted terrorist released by Israel at the insistence of the U.S., participate in the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Was the 9/11 Pentagon Attack Faked?
A Boeing 757, and not a cruise missile or anything else, caused damage to the Pentagon on 9/11.
Was Donald Trump at Ground Zero Searching for Survivors Two Days After 9/11 with Workers He Paid For?
A meme echoes President Trump's 2001 comments about having hundreds of workers search for survivors after the terrorist attacks in Lower Manhattan.
Did a Man Safely ‘Surf’ Down from the Upper Levels of the WTC on 9/11?
Rumor holds that a man survived a multi-story fall from the World Trade Center, riding down on the explosion like a surfer.
Did a European Scientific Journal Conclude 9/11 Was a Controlled Demolition?
Viral news stories misattributed an article written by "9/11 Truth" advocates as one published in the European Scientific Journal; it was actually published in Europhysics News, which is not peer-reviewed.
UPS Uniforms Stolen by Terrorists?
The claim that terrorists have acquired a large number of "missing" UPS uniforms is old and untrue.
Did Daisy the Dog Rescue Hundreds of 9/11 Survivors?
The tale of a dog named Daisy who rescued countless souls from World Trade Center towers on 11 September 2001 is inspiring but fabricated.
Thousands of Israelis Were Absent from the WTC on 9/11?
Did 4,000 Israelis stay home from work at the World Trade Center on 9/11?
Did London Mayor Sadiq Khan Defend 9/11 Terrorists?
Rumors that Sadiq Khan defended 11 September 2001 terrorists were spread alongside an unrelated video following June 2017 attacks in London.
Oliver North Warned of Osama bin Laden in 1987
Did Oliver North warn Congress about Osama bin Laden during the Iran-Contra hearings?