7 World Trade Center, often simply known as Building 7, has long been the focus of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. So, just what happened to this structure, and why do so many truthers regard its destruction as the ‘smoking gun’ that points to an inside job?
What happened to Building 7?
Building 7 was a 47-storey skyscraper that formed part of the World Trade Center complex. Although it wasn’t hit by a plane on 11th September 2001, it was heavily damaged by debris that fell from the North Tower.
Fires broke out on multiple floors of the structure, and at 5:20pm on that world-changing day – many hours after the Twin Towers fell – Building 7 collapsed. As its occupants and all rescue workers had already been evacuated by that time, there were no casualties.
The conspiracy theory
There are several key reasons why conspiracy theorists have fixated on the collapse of Building 7. One is that it collapsed at all, despite not having been impacted by a hijacked plane. They point to the fact that even the authorities acknowledged that Building 7 was the first ever tall structure to collapse as a result of fire damage alone.
There’s also the thorny issue of Building 7’s tenants at the time of the attacks. Much of the building was leased by the kinds of tenants you would have expected to see at the World Trade Center, such as American Express and investment bank Salomon Brothers. However, certain floors were taken up by the US Secret Service, the US Department of Defense, and the CIA.
According to a CBS News report published a few months after the attack: ‘A secret office operated by the CIA was destroyed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, seriously disrupting intelligence operations… The station was a base of operations to spy on and recruit foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations, while debriefing selected American business executives and others willing to talk to the CIA after returning from overseas.’