NY21: Is Green candidate Matt Funiciello a 9/11 “Truther”?

Some people, including Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, question the widely held view that the 9/11 terror attacks were carried out solely by Islamic radicals. Photo: Robert J. Fisch, Creative COmmons, some rights reserved

Some people, including Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, question the widely held view that the 9/11 terror attacks were carried out solely by Islamic radicals. Photo: Robert J. Fisch, Creative COmmons, some rights reserved

Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello has confirmed that he believes that the truth about the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 has been concealed from the public, despite  numerous investigations and probes.

“I’m definitely as an American in no way satisfied with the official story that we’ve been told over and over again about the three towers that came down and the subsequent damage on 9/11,” Funiciello said in an interview with NCPR.

He described himself as a “questioner” of the official narrative:  “The story does not make sense and it is not just from me.”

Check out WWNY TV’s coverage of Funiciello’s 9/11 views here.

The issue arose during a hotly contested House race in which Funiciello is polling at 10%, trailing Democrat Aaron Woolf and Republican Elise Stefanik.

In comments posted on-line, Funiciello said that he doesn’t “believe the horrific and nonsensical fairy tale our government has sold us concerning 9/11.”

As evidence that the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC was part of a more complex conspiracy, Funiciello asserted that one of the structures that fell, known as World Trade Center 7, collapsed under mysterious circumstances.

In fact, a report produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that the WTC 7 collapsed when fires inside the building weakened its structural integrity.  “Our take-home message today is that the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery,” NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder said at the time.

Asked about that report, Funiciello replied, “I guess you have a source that you believe is correct and I have what I saw with my own eyes.”  He added that he has friends, family members and acquaintances “who don’t agree” with the official findings.

A growing issue in on-line discussions

The last couple of weeks, anonymous comments about Funiciello’s 9/11 beliefs have been popping up in various on-line discussions.  Here’s an example from this blog.  “Phil” writes, “Don’t you think it’s only right that the media reveal to voters that Matt Funiciello is an outspoken 9/11 Truther?”

Similar accusations have popped up on the blog of Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham and the comment section of the Watertown Daily Times.  In past writings, Funiciello has appeared convinced that we don’t yet know the true story about the causes of and main conspirators behind the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC.

Funiciello’s 2010 article suggests that Wall Street Traders knew in advance about attack

In an essay posted on the Albany Times Union website in 2010, Funiciello wrote the following:

Some of the questions we should ask ourselves about 9/11 are pretty simple. Why doesn’t our so-called “free media” report on GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWTC 7 at all? You know, the third tower that fell for no reason and that only 5% of Americans are even aware of?

Why were no scramble orders issued to shoot down hijacked planes flying over two of our major cities? Why were the “put options” [a reference to an investment tool used by Wall Street traders] that clearly show foreknowledge not important enough for the 9/11 Commission to explore (a.k.a. the “Nouveau Warren Commission”)?

How did the cockpit of the “plane” that hit the Pentagon make a hole smaller than it actually was and then spontaneously combust without leaving any evidence of the crash? Why were there massive amounts of thermite (a highly flammable accelerant) found in independent samples of the dust taken?

It turns out the issue also surfaced on the campaign trail this year.  During a candidate panel in June in Old Forge, while talking about the NSA spying scandal, Funiciello argued that Americans “still don’t really know why a third tower came down on 9/11. Why don’t we spy about that?”

In recent days, Funiciello has defended his views in numerous posts made in the comment section of the Watertown Daily Times.

Conspiracy theories about 9/11 have been widely debunked

A large number of journalists and government agencies have probed these questions and reached a general, though not universally held, consensus that 9/11 conspiracy theories don’t hold up under scrutiny.  The magazine Popular Mechanics conducted one of the most exhaustive probes a few years ago.  Here’s what they concluded:

Sadly, the noble search for truth is now being hijacked by a growing army of conspiracy theorists. A few of these skeptics make a responsible effort to sift through the mountain of information, but most ignore all but a few stray details they think support their theories.In fact, many conspiracy advocates demonstrate a maddening double standard. They distrust every bit of the mainstream account of 9/11, yet happily embrace the flimsiest evidence to promote their wildest notions: that Osama bin Laden attacked the United States with help from the CIA; that the hijacked planes weren’t commercial jets, but military aircraft, cruise missiles or remote-control drones; that the World Trade Center buildings were professionally demolished.

This discussion about Funiciello’s views on 9/11 and the causes of the terror attacks come as the Green Party candidate is polling at 10 percent, and as he prepares to take part in three debates with Democrat Aaron Woolf and Republican Elise Stefanik this fall.  He’s argued that Woolf should drop out of the race to clear the way for his candidacy.

But that kind of clout in the race is sure to come with more scrutiny and a closer look at Funiciello’s ideas and arguments.  It’s also likely to draw attacks from his political opponents.  What do you think?  Does it matter to you that Funiciello holds views about the 9/11 attacks that are generally discounted?

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69 Comments on “NY21: Is Green candidate Matt Funiciello a 9/11 “Truther”?”

  1. shovel says:

    Brian, I would be interested to know what he thinks explains all of his “unanswered question.” I’m sure he has a theory, and it would be very illuminating to hear what it is.

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  2. This isn’t central (or even ancillary) to his campaign. And it’s not central (or ancillary) to the criteria I use to cast my vote. So does it matter to me? Not really.

    His views on the issues that actually affect me and other working people relating to the corporate state are what set him apart from his opponents (who support the corporate state) and why I’m voting for him.

    Do I agree with Funiciello on every issue? No. Do I agree with him on the issues most important to me and that I think will make the most difference in the lives of ordinary Americans? Yes.

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  3. Jody Tosti says:

    Very interesting. Thanks, Brian.

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  4. Peter Hahn says:

    It sounds like he really is a “9/11 truther”. It may not be central to his campaign but it does shed light on his ability to think critically.

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  5. dave says:


    To me, this says a lot about the ability of someone to process information and come to rational conclusions about reality. That is absolutely central to the criteria I use to cast my vote and I think is critical to anyone we elect to office to represent us.

    Birthers, truthers, climate deniers, flat earthers, alien conspiracy nuts… people with a conspiratorial mind set are fun to talk to at parties or watch on TV shows, but they can be downright dangerous when in a position of power.

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  6. Terence says:

    If he would stop asking us rhetorical questions and just tell us what he actually thinks…

    On the other hand, is this election about 9/11 or about local policies in the district? He should be allowed to nurse his own cranky opinions, as long as he does the job.

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  7. Pete Klein says:

    Maybe we could eliminate some junk if all online posts met the standards for letters to the editor.
    It wouldn’t be impossible to know the identity of those writing the comments if their identities were required.
    As to the truther stuff goes, its just weird.

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  8. Peter says:

    I never expect that I’ll agree with everything a candidate believes, and that includes Matt Funiciello. I put much more weight on ideas the candidate expresses for how our government, country, and society can operate better going forward. He seems to look ahead much more than he does behind. Everybody’s allowed to have some strange beliefs, like “Keystone Pipeline’s a good thing” (Woolf) and “Obamacare’s a catastrophe” (Stefanik). I’ll vote on one I think reflects more of my hopes for what our Country can become.

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  9. James M. says:

    Why is this even important? He’s at 10% in opinion polls and is unlikely to win the election. I want to know if he’s related to Annette Funicello, lol!

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  10. Peter says:

    Brian, you should be ashamed. This is nothing more than an attempt to cast aspersions against the character of the man. Furthermore, if you think all of the questions have been answered, then YOU haven’t been doing your homework.

    Here’s something to consider: One of my close friends was living less than a half mile away from the pentagon and happened to be home when the plane flew over his house, so close that the shadow passed through his window. The problem is, he was living on the opposite side from where the crash occurred, so based on that flight path, the pilot would have had to pass the Pentagon and pull a hard u-turn. Doesn’t that make you wonder? Don’t you wonder why there was ZERO debris at that site?

    Brian, put down the purple kool-aid.

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  11. Mr. Kent says:

    James M.
    You just might be on to something. Annette Funicello was born in Utica NY. Who knows what those beach scenes with Frankie Avalon may have led too. We will never know now, she passed away a year ago. Where are all those right wing conspiracy theorists when you need one?

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  12. Mervel says:

    There is a broad cross section of people that believe various forms of this on both sides of the aisle. Ron Paul for example comes to mind.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  13. Rick M says:

    We there goes my vote. I like his stand on most issues but congress already has enough conspiracy kooks.

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  14. Jim Bullard says:

    A member of congress needs to be able to process information and come to rational conclusions. That Matt may believe conspiracy theories about 9/11 fits with the total distrust of both major parties and his stated refusal to caucus with either of them if he should win. Government of the people, by the people and for the people requires a certain level of cooperation and trust with others. We have enough right wing representatives in congress with strange ideas. We don’t need to add a left wing version in the 21st district.

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  15. Sam says:

    Brian, you fail to point out what some other reporters have: Matt Funiciello does not say he has any particular theories about what happened. He simply says there are some pieces of the official story that don’t make sense. There’s also a very large portion of the public that doesn’t believe the official story.

    If you think this is something that should really be cause for concern to voters, then I would point out that we already have a Congress where majorities have absolutely no regard for facts or science. The proportion of climate deniers in Congress is greater than the public overall.

    Matt Funiciello does have an ability to think critically, as he has demonstrated through the issues he talks about. This is not an issue that’s important to the campaign. Why can’t the media stop looking for reasons to tear down third party candidates? Are you finding dirt on the two corporate candidates?

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  16. Are you self-described liberals okay with supporting a candidate accused of practicing wage theft against his employees, as Woolf is? Funiciello pays his workers $13-20 an hour… several of whom are paid more than he is.


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  17. Jim B: Greens are maybe 1% of registered voters in the district. It will be impossible for him to win without significant support from all parties, certainly the two major ones.

    Additionally, he said he’d refuse to caucus with either major party. He did not say he’d refuse to cooperate with them. There’s a big difference.

    Refusing to caucus simply means he’d assess each issue on his merits, rather than following the orders of his caucus. Shouldn’t ALL members of Congress act that way?

    Tribalism and lack of independent thought is what’s harming our democracy.

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  18. Terence says:

    It’s an interesting trick to describe other people’s beliefs as ‘irrational’, as if simply seeing the truth we show them should be enough to change their minds and cause them to think correctly. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a 9/11 truther and they annoy me to no end — but I think we often overlook the real reason why people are attracted to conspiracy theories: it’s an emotional response to the suspicion that people in power are deeply corrupt, or else it’s a strangely comforting belief that bizarre events really are under human control of some sort.

    In any case, no one has ever won a single argument by simply calling the other side irrational and demanding that they see reality our way. A better tactic is to say, “OK, I believe that you believe this — now tell me why. (Or don’t tell me why, because I don’t care, but tell me how we can work together on other issues.)”

    If you think he can do a good job, vote for him. If not, don’t. But the position he’s running has nothing to do with anything related to 9/11, and he’s entitled to his own version of reality.

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  19. The Original Larry says:

    Funiciello’s position on 9/11 is central to his candidacy because it presumably would inform his opinion on issues like foreign policy, terrorism, the American intelligence community and even the operation of our government. It is not for us to excuse or condemn his beliefs but to evaluate how we think they will effect his performance if elected.

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  20. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    While Funiciello has ideas that are typically considered left of center he also has many ideas that are right of center.
    It seems to me Funiciello is much more a Libertarian in beliefs than a liberal – thus, the comparison with Ron Paul above rings true.

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  21. Mervel says:

    Well there ARE unanswered questions about 9-11. Why not start by declassifying the whole report.

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  22. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Peter says: “Everybody’s allowed to have some strange beliefs, like “Keystone Pipeline’s a good thing” (Woolf)…”

    This is a misrepresentation of Wolf’s position. Woolf has looked at the problem and seen the complexities of the issue, one of which is the fact that hundreds of rail tankers filled with crude have been passing through our communities every day creating the potential for a disaster.

    Please: Thou shall not bear false witness!

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  23. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mervel, there IS stuff that needs to legitimately be kept secret for national security reasons. It isn’t too hard to figure out though, bin Laden said he planned it and sent people to carry out the attack and pretty much all of the facts we know point to exactly that.

    The question many of us haven’t seemed to ask ourselves is what was the purpose? What did bin Laden think was going to happen? That the US would fall and he would march in and take over? Of course not. So now that we are embroiled with ISIL will anyone try to understand how our reaction to 9/11 failed to stem the future problems?

    That is why we don’t need a representative who can’t separate truth from fiction.

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  24. Jim Bullard says:

    FWIW WWNYTV7 had an interview with Matt Funicello about this. The extended interview (audio) is available on their website. Bottom line: He insists he’s not a conspiracy theorist and that it’s not that he doesn’t believe the report but it doesn’t answer all his questions and he doesn’t accept all its explanations of the questions it does answer. A rather finely parsed distinction IMO.

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  25. Knuckle: I would tend to agree with you. He and Paul would disagree on many things but agree on many things, especially related to empire, corporatism and the surveillance state. But I think many “standard” liberals and conservatives have objections to those things too.

    Political analysis is straight jacketed by the extremely narrow red-blue dichotomy. Libertarianism doesn’t fit neatly into that, which is why political junkies are usually way off in their analysis of them. I do commend you for showing more nuance than most.

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  26. Johan Barbarossa says:

    Considering that 28 pages of the 9/11 House-Senate Intelligence Committee Joint Inquiry remains classified, his skepticism of the official story may be perfectly reasonable.


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  27. Peter says:

    CDC was covering up toxicity of vaccines and was exposed just recently. You all believed vaccines were just fine?
    Question authority?

    This is an example of very poor journalism.

    Let’s see how long this story stays on the home page. My bet is the rest of the week.

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  28. Tounge Chemtrails says:

    I wish he had stayed on the tack that Johan Barbarossa is talking about above. George W Bush fought against an official investigation of 9/11 (this is a fact) and then significant parts are still classified (fact)

    Stop talking about building design, start talking about reality. American deserves to see the full report.

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  29. The Original Larry says:

    Pointing out that there is some sort of conspiracy to suppress the “real story” about 9/11 is vastly different from publishing or broadcasting hard, verifiable evidence of the same. Does anyone seriously believe that the media has been unable or unwilling to do that? In this day and age nothing can be hidden for long, much less for 13 years.

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  30. newt says:

    The Al Jazeera article cited above is entirely about allegations of censorship to protect high-ranking Saudis who may have been involved in supporting the 9/11 attacks. I doubt that many of us would be surprised if such people exist, or that there is a coverup to protect them. I think most of us would be surprised if this were not true.

    The article does not in any way allege that there is evidence that somehow terrorists from (the Bush Administration?, Wall Street? The Media? Microsoft? All of the above?) somehow subverted or deceived the security and maintenance departments of seven or so WTC complex buildings, loaded them with tons of explosives, blew them up in perfect coordination with the air attacks, and have manged to keep the details of who and how this was done a secret to this very day.

    There is a difference.

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  31. Mervel says:


    Yes I understand the need for some classification, in fact I have been a proponent of the need for classification. However, to me there are still things that don’t make sense and don’t fall together and I think that is normal. We never really are told the whole truth by our government, sometimes this is legitimate sometimes it is not. So to question some of the official reports about 9/11 is not the same as saying you are a crazy false flag person etc.. For example I am thinking from my perspective, how involved was the Saudi government and how much do we know about the Saudi governments active role in the attacks? Why did the Saudi contingent get to fly out of the country when the rest of the nation was grounded in the immediate aftermath of the attacks? Things of this nature.

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  32. Mervel says:

    I agree with newt.

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  33. Mervel says:

    Consider if we had stupidly blundered into providing the Syrian Rebels with arms last year (thank you President Obama for standing firm on a NO to that!), but it seemed reasonable to do so. I was actually thinking it was an ok idea. Well now this year we would have see those same weapons in the hands of ISIS, we would have see these same people we would have helped with weapons; beheading our own countrymen. So it is not crazy to wonder how and in what ways we had been involved with Saudi Arabian intelligence services, and who have they been helping and how or if these screwed up relationships came back at us on 9/11 in some way. This is not a false flag situation or a crazy conspiracy. Who would have thought that we would now be allied with Iran and Assad against ISIS?

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  34. Paul says:

    Sounds like he is nuts?

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  35. Mervel says:

    Ok I just read Brian’s interview.

    I would have to say that this guy is a little out there. Its one thing to say we are missing information or there has been some things covered up, another to say the whole thing is a conspiracy.

    Darn, who am I going to vote for?????

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  36. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mervel: “Who would have thought that we would now be allied with Iran and Assad against ISIS? ”

    Well, we aren’t exactly allied but it is no surprise to me. Various interests align and oppose in foreign affairs on a regular basis. remember howIran helped us defeat the Taliban? Why did the Taliban exist at all? As the culmination of many events spun out of Imperial Russia’s conflict with the British Empire that we “inherited” during the Cold War and when the Soviets rolled into Afghanistan we could have lodged a protest (as Carter did) and work slowly over time to let the occupation collapse with the USSR. Instead Reagan supported covert military intervention which eventually led to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIL.

    Elections matter. If Gore had been president in 2001 we would likely be in a very different situation today. Imagine if McCain had own, how many conflicts would we be in?

    Control of Congress also matters, Stefanik would be a giant step backwards for our district.

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  37. Paul says:

    Like they say you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. When a person is unable to form a reasoned truthful opinion based on the overwhelming facts that is fine if they are sitting in their underwear blogging in the basement but not if they are hoping to hold public office.

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  38. Paul says:

    The 9-11 commissions report is free to download (all 600 pages).

    It also lists all the bipartisan co-conspirators that would have to exists for Mr. Funiciello’s opinions to be valid.


    My conclusion is that if we secured cockpit doors on 9-11 we would not be having this discussion and thousands of people would still be here to not have the discussion with us!

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  39. Ken Hall says:

    “Birthers, truthers, climate deniers, flat earthers, alien conspiracy nuts… people with a conspiratorial mind set are fun to talk to at parties or watch on TV shows, but they can be downright dangerous when in a position of power”

    Wow! sounds as if “dave” is talking about every Republican in both houses of Congress.

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  40. Redacted says:

    There are 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that are still classified as top secret. If a member of Congress wishes to read the redacted chapter, they have to receive permission from the House Intelligence Committee or the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. If approved, they are escorted to a sound-proof and RF-shielded room where they may read it.

    Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-MA: “Twelve years after the horrific September 11 attacks, unanswered questions still remain. These pages contain information that is vital to a full understanding of the events and circumstances surrounding this tragedy. The families of the victims and the American people deserve better; they deserve answers, they deserve a full accounting, and that has not happened yet.”

    See http://www.28pages.org for information about legislation urging the President to declassify the 28 pages.

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  41. Terence says:

    Oh, man… I came back here to post again because the comments on the interview are being wallpapered by a shouty truther.

    This was an excellent interview. I never expected to see such direct, assertive questions on NCPR, which usually has a very mild interviewing style. After reading Funiciello’s answers to Brian’s questions, I realized that the man doesn’t actually have an alternative explanation — he just has a feeling. A feeling that he is determined to hold on to, regardless of new information. I couldn’t believe that someone would seriously maintain that most Americans don’t know about the collapse of the third tower at WTC 7: it’s on Wikipedia, for eff’s sake! It’s in the huge report which Funiciello has apparently not even skimmed!

    I don’t know what to say. After all my mild calls to not label people as irrational, now I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve had a little peek into a deranged view of the world, or another world whose reality I can’t share.


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  42. OutsideObserver says:

    Can we please return to a discussion of real issues that affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary people living in the district? Like how to prevent the shrinking of the middle class? Or maybe the fact that the standard of living has declined measurably in the last 15 years? This whole discussion has served as nothing more than a distraction to the real issues facing ordinary Americans.

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  43. Michael Greer says:

    Matt refers to himself as a “questioner” instead of a “truther”. I’m probably a questioner too, not so much about the buildings, but about the speed with which our bumbling, asshole of a President was able to spin it all. It seems to me that a fair amount of planning would have to have been needed to mount such a well formed response….unless someone knew that something was about to happen. Bush had, at some point, expressed a wish for some sort of “Pearl Harbor Moment”, and while I don’t believe the White House planned it, I remember all too clearly how our government went around the world insulting and annoying everyone they could with a bullying bravado, and a chip on the shoulder, daring someone to act.
    The world economy took a dip upon the news of Bush’s election. The only path of recovery required a huge war effort…all we needed was an enemy.
    It’s probably better to be a 9/11 questioner than a 9/11 liar.

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  44. CouchDog says:

    Okay, you opened up the can of worms.

    Time to ask the other candidates things that make them look like truthers..

    Ask the republican if she wants to do away with social security and if she ignores climate change.

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  45. myown says:

    As has been pointed out, Funiciello is not the only one with questions about 9/11, including the 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs.


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  46. wakeup says:

    Hey NCPR police. Are you gonna allow Greer to call our former President an ahole?

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  47. Mervel says:

    I don’t like the labeling trend that we as a culture particularly on the more Liberal side have slid into. If you disagree with someone about pretty much any cultural issue, or if you really think Obama is not a good president; you are a “hater. ‘ If you have questions about our Presidents past you are a “birther” or now if you question 9/11 you are a “truther”, and so forth. So really it comes down to if you don’t swallow the institutional crap, whole hog all down, you get labeled as crazy with one of these conspiracy titles.

    So in that regard it gets a little annoying. The CIA HAS done really bizarre crazy things, the data in this case do not support that they blew up the towers however, its not there it just is not. But given the kid gloves that we seem to treat Saudi Arabia, I do really wonder how much they were involved. It is like calling what happened at Fort Hood a case of workplace violence.

    But regardless, I think Brian’s interview did show to me at least, that I really think this candidate is way off base on his ideas about 9/11, besides its an obscure topic that would have NO impact on issues facing our district, mainly poverty, high taxes and population decline.

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  48. The Original Larry says:

    Many people speak as if only the issues they are interested in are important. Foreign policy, to which the 9/11 issue is directly related, is increasingly problematic. It might be less so if more people (including the President) paid attention to it.

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  49. myown says:

    Maybe Congressman Funiciello can join forces with the other bi-partisan politicians who want the full story released to the American public.


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  50. Paul says:

    “Birthers, truthers, climate deniers, flat earthers, alien conspiracy nuts… people with a conspiratorial mind set are fun to talk to at parties or watch on TV shows, but they can be downright dangerous when in a position of power”

    Ken for sure. The same goes for folks that ignore the science that points to the safety of GMOs and foolish people who think that vaccinations cause autism. When both have overwhelming benefits to us all.

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