Trump fans point to a September 16, 2001 report from a CBS New York affiliate, as supporting evidence for his claims about celebrating Muslims on 9/11.
CBS reporter Pablo Guzman related an eye-opening account from unnamed investigators:
However, what no one outside the terrorist task force knows, is that just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and where they had evidence removed, is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects. Suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by other neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building.
The F.B.I. and other terrorist task force agencies that arrived, and the older investigators on the task force recalled that they had been to this building before, eight years ago, when the first World Trade Center attack led them to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose Jersey City mosque lies between the two buildings getting attention today. And the older investigators remember that the suspects who eventually got convicted for the first Trade Center case, followers of Sheik Rahman, lived in the building where these same eight men were celebrating the destruction that they saw from the roof. Calling this a hot address, the task force investigators ordered everyone detained.
They saw something else: A model of the Trade Center on the roof, along with sets of binoculars. The kind of model used by an architect or an engineer for a presentation, an investigator told me. They knew, he said, the planes were going to hit and they wanted a ringside seat.
If you saw this report on September 16, 2001, and vaguely remembered it fourteen years later, you might make comments like Trump did.
This long-lost report does raise some big questions, such as whatever happened to those eight arrested men? (It appears the oft-told tale of the five dancing Israelis, who were arrested, is a different case.) In June 2002, an in-depth report on ABC’s 20/20 focusing on the arrested Israeli men quoted a statement from the FBI, “To date, this investigation has not identified anybody who in this country had pre-knowledge of the events of 9/11.” There was no mention of this in the 9/11 Commission Report. Either there was a massive cover-up of a group of Jersey City Muslims seeming to know the attacks were coming, or the unidentified investigator who spoke to CBS’ Pablo Guzman either exaggerated, was erroneous, or simply made up his account.
Still, the events described in this CBS News report more or less align with other second-hand but contemporaneous claims of seeing celebrating Muslims, such as callers to the Howard Stern show, a eyewitness interviewed by MTV a few weeks after the attacks, brief references to reports of celebrations in the Washington Post and New York Post.
But those descriptions of small groups are a considerably different from Trump’s original description of what happened: “I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering… It was on television. I saw it… It was well covered at the time, George.”
Eric Bolling, a member of Fox News’ The Five, said yesterday the number of protesting Muslims didn’t really matter.
So I remember this day, and I, I stood on the New York side, watched the plane fly into the tower. I remember the next day and I remember the news reports and I remember specifically the news reports about Jersey City. They said people were on the roofs watching the planes fly in. They were tipped off prior to the thing. And this, this was a narrative that was going on. I remember video, I don’t remember if it was Pakistan or Patterson.
(Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino interrupt and say “Palestine.”)
But there was also a lot of talk. Now the reason why I know this, is cause I was in the building in 1993 when it was blown up by Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was the “Blind Sheikh,” who built, devastated, er, devised the plan to blow up the World Trade Center in 93. It didn’t work. But he was the Jersey City imam. And I remember that there were claims his group, his whole mosque was cheering the planes actually doing finally doing what he had tried to do in 1993. Whether or not it was a thousand, thousands, a few hundred, a handful? Who cares?
Really? They think it doesn’t matter whether the Muslim-American community in New Jersey has a handful of al-Qaeda supporters or “thousands and thousands”? And it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump is running around describing things that never happened, and insisting they were “well-covered at the time”?