The Republican Party’s nominee for Maryland attorney general hosted a series of five radio shows in 2006 devoted to arguing in support of 9/11 conspiracy theories questioning if the terror attack was the work of an “elite bureaucrat” who had demolition charges in every building in New York City and even suggesting if those who died after a hijacked plane hit the Pentagon were killed elsewhere.
Michael Peroutka, a candidate best known for his ties to neo-Confederate organizations, made the remarks on The American View, a radio show he co-hosted, in October 2006 while discussing the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
“What happened on 9-1-1, I told you that I had been doing some research and watching some videos,” Peroutka said during one of the episodes reviewed by CNN’s KFile. “And I said that if the buildings in New York City, the World Trade Center buildings, came down by demolition charges – that is to say – if there was this evidence that there was that something was preset there, then the implications of that are massive,” said Peroutka.
“I’ve been doing some reading and doing some studying, and I believe that to be very, very true,” he added, before further suggesting the work was done by controlled explosives.
“The other thing that just is so striking to me, I can’t get it out of my brain, and that is the vision of Building 7 falling faster than the speed of gravity, right? Building 7, which no plane hit,” said Peroutka. “And all of a sudden Building 7 falls, very consistent with what they call controlled demolitions or controlled charges because that building from the top down falls faster than if you had thrown a hammer off the top of the building.”
Peroutka’s comments echo the widely debunked conspiracy theory that the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center, the smaller building within the vicinity of the towers, were wired with explosives and detonated in a series of controlled demolitions.
The Twin Towers collapsed after terrorist-hijacked planes intentionally crashed into the North Tower and then the South Tower, killing 2,753 people. Nearby “Building 7” suffered intense and uncontrollable fires after debris from the North Tower hit the building, causing a chain reaction that led to the building’s collapse, according to a study published in 2008 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Peroutka went even further with his conspiratorial logic, speculating that every building in New York City could have preset charges awaiting detonation by some “elite bureaucrat.”
“That begs the question that if there are preset charges in Building Seven, what’s to stop there for being preset charges in Buildings 1, 2 8, 9, and 27?” said Peroutka. “Are there charges in every building in New York City? Is everyone ready to be brought down whenever some elite bureaucrat decides that he’s gonna pull it?”
Peroutka also called the 9/11 terrorist attacks an “inside job,” saying “you can’t have an explosion in the basement that’s done by the hijacker on the airplane” and claimed that the official account of the 9/11 attack was the real “conspiracy theory.”
The campaign did not address Peroutka’s previous conspiracy theories when asked for comment, but Macky Stafford, Petroutka’s campaign coordinator, told CNN in a statement that the “primary election results demonstrate that Maryland Republicans are dissatisfied with their current leadership.”
But outgoing Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan called out Peroutka on Sunday, saying, “These disgusting lies don’t belong in our party.”
“We know who was responsible for 9/11. Blaming our country for Al-Qaeda’s atrocities is an insult to the memory of the thousands of innocent Americans and brave first responders who died that day,” Hogan tweeted.
Peroutka previously ran for president in 2004 as the nominee of the Constitution Party. During that campaign, Peroutka posted on his website an endorsement from the League of the South – a new-Confederate organization that advocates southern secession. The homepage for his campaign prominently featured a Confederate flag linking to “Southerners for Peroutka” whose homepage had a large Confederate flag displayed over the Capitol saying, “We have a dream.” He also promoted his candidacy to the Council of Conservative Citizens, according to copies of their newsletter obtained by CNN. The CCC is a self-described White-rights group that opposes non-White immigration and advances White nationalist ideology.
Peroutka will face Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown in the general election this November. If elected, Brown would be the first Black attorney general in the state. Maryland has not had a Republican attorney general since 1952, when one was appointed; the last Republican attorney general elected in the state was in 1919.
In other episodes of Peroutka’s radio show reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Peroutka also cast doubt that the Pentagon was hit by American Airlines Flight 77, asking where the video is showing this “incoming attack, plane or missile,” later saying that it is “very plausible that a missile that looked like a plane hit the Pentagon.”
Peroutka even questioned if remains of the deceased were found at the Pentagon, suggesting they were killed elsewhere. He said he had seen “no evidence” of any bodies or luggage to his late co-host and former presidential campaign adviser, John Lofton.
Lofton said, “Ah, but see the missile thing. Then you gotta count for the remains and the body parts and show how all those people got inside the missile. How all those passengers–”
“I saw the pictures. There was, there was nothing that looked like a body or luggage or anything in there,” Peroutka interrupted. “And the pictures that I saw – if there are pictures, John – that show body parts or luggage or even a seat of an airplane that’s consistent with Flight 77, that particular airplane. If there’s anything that’s consistent with that, I haven’t seen a picture of it.”
Shortly after, Lofton said, “If I can produce for you a person who was a friend or loved one of one of the passengers that perished on that plane that hit the Pentagon, that says, ‘Yes, we got remains back from our loved one or friend.’ Will that impress you?”
“No, absolutely not,” replied Peroutka. “Where did the remains come from? I’m not disputing that the people died.”
“Unless a plane hit the Pentagon, how would the remains of anybody on that flight get into the Pentagon?” asked Lofton.
“I didn’t say they got into the Pentagon. I couldn’t see them in the Pentagon. There wasn’t any – I’ve never seen any evidence that anything like a body or a passenger or passenger’s luggage or anything that’s consistent with the Flight 77 is in the Pentagon. If there are such pictures, I’d like to see them. Now, you could clearly understand that somebody whose loved one was lost on that plane, very possibly, could have gotten some piece of forensic evidence that indicated that their loved one was in fact deceased. But who says that came from the Pentagon?”
Peroutka then said this was the first time he had heard that the remains of the deceased were found at the Pentagon.
American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked by five terrorists on September 11, 2001, and deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people aboard and another 125 people in the building.
This story has been updated with additional reaction.