Vice President of
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
gained lasting notoriety for candid remarks concerning the
collapses of the Twin Towers.
In a September 11, 2001 article in the Albuquerque Journal,
Romero was quoted as stating that the collapses of the
Twin Towers were the result of explosive devices.
Explosives Planted In Towers, N.M. Tech Expert Says
By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer
Televised images of the attacks on the World
Trade Center suggest that explosives devices caused the collapse of
both towers, a New Mexico Tech explosion expert said Tuesday.
The collapse of the buildings appears "too methodical" to be a chance
result of airplanes colliding with the structures, said Van Romero,
vice president for research at New Mexico Institute of Mining and
"My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the
airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive
devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse,"
Romero is a former director of the Energetic Materials
Research and Testing Center at Tech, which studies explosive
materials and the effects of explosions on buildings, aircraft and
Romero said he based his opinion on video aired
on national television broadcasts.
Romero said the collapse of the
structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to
demolish old structures.
"It would be difficult for something from
the plane to trigger an event like that,"
Romero said in a phone
interview from Washington, D.C. Romero said he and another Tech
administrator were on a Washington-area subway when an airplane
struck the Pentagon. He said he and Denny Peterson, vice
president for administration and finance, were en route to an
office building near the Pentagon to discuss defense-funded
research programs at Tech.
If explosions did cause the towers to collapse,
the detonations could have been caused by a small amount
of explosive, he said.
"It could have been a relatively small amount
of explosives placed in strategic points," Romero said.
The explosives likely would have been put in more than two points in
each of the towers, he said. The detonation of bombs within the
towers is consistent with a common terrorist strategy, Romero said.
"One of the things terrorist events are noted for is a
diversionary attack and secondary device,"
Romero said. Attackers detonate an initial,
diversionary explosion that attracts emergency personnel to the scene,
then detonate a second explosion, he said.
Romero said that if his scenario is correct, the diversionary
attack would have been the collision of the planes into the
towers. Tech President Dan Lopez said Tuesday that Tech had not been
asked to take part in the investigation into the attacks. Tech
often assists in forensic investigations into terrorist attacks,
often by setting off similar explosions and studying the
(C) 2001, 'Albuquerque Journal,'
Reprinted for Fair Use Only
Ten days later the Albuquerque Journal published
this following article,
describing a dramatic reversal of Van Romero's position.
Fire, Not Extra Explosives, Doomed Buildings, Expert Says
By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer
A New Mexico explosives expert says he now believes there
were no explosives in the World Trade Center towers,
contrary to comments he made the day of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
"Certainly the fire is what caused the building to fail,"
said Van Romero, a vice president at the New Mexico Institute of Mining
The day of the attack, Romero told the Journal the towers' collapse,
as seen in news videotapes, looked as though it had been triggered
by carefully placed explosives.
Subsequent conversations with structural engineers and more detailed
looks at the tape have led Romero to a different conclusion.
Romero supports other experts, who have said the intense heat
of the jet fuel fires weakened the skyscrapers' steel structural beams
to the point that they gave way under the weight of the floors above.
That set off a chain reaction, as upper floors pancaked onto lower ones.
Romero said he believes still it is possible that the final collapse
of each building was triggered by a sudden pressure pulse caused when
the fire reached an electrical transformer or other source of combustion
within the building.
But he said he now believes explosives would not have been needed
to create the collapse seen in video images.
Conspiracy theorists have seized on Romero's comments as evidence
for their argument that someone else, possibly the U.S. government,
was behind the attack on the Trade Center.
Romero said he has been bombarded with electronic mail from
the conspiracy theorists.
"I'm very upset about that," he said.
"I'm not trying to say anything did or didn't happen."
A scan of some articles from New Mexico Tech's website
suggests a motive for Van Romero's about-face.
This is the banner for the NMT website, which contains a series
of articles boasting about Van Romero's success in lobbying Washington
for millions of dollars in funding for his institute.
e x c e r p t
Van D. Romero, vice president for research and economic development
at New Mexico Tech, recently was appointed national chairman of the
National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a partnership of
public and private organizations committed to serving emergency
first-responders by training them to respond efficiently and
safely to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
e x c e r p t
The Wall Street Journal, in an article published on Oct. 5, 2001, named
New Mexico Tech to its list of "This Fall's Hot Schools." Tech made the
list on the basis of its peaceful location, research in counter-terrorism,
and scholarship money available.
e x c e r p t
New Mexico Tech Vice President Van Romero has been tapped as one of
“six lobbyists who made an impact in 2003” in an article featured
in this month's issue of Influence magazine.
Romero, who is in charge of research and economic development
at the research university in Socorro, was profiled in “The Players,”
a special year-end feature in the national magazine which identifies
a handful of prominent Washington, D.C. lobbyists who made a mark in 2003.
“From his perch 2,000 miles outside of the Beltway, this physics Ph.D.
understands exactly how Washington works,” the article states.
“A major chunk of his job involves lobbying for federal government funding,
and if the 2003 fiscal year was any indication, Romero is a superstar.”
Romero is credited in the article with being instrumental in procuring
about $56 million worth of appropriations for New Mexico Tech for the
current fiscal year. This notable achievement also recently caught the eye
of editors at The Chronicle of Higher Education as they ranked the
university first in the nation among institutions of higher education
that receive federal earmarks.
The article in Influence also points out that “Van Romero is proof
that the client can be the best lobbyist.”
e x c e r p t
U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today heralded the release of nearly $15 million
to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech),
which the institute will specifically use to provide two
terrorism-preparedness courses for First Responders.
The funding award was made to the Socorro institution through the U.S.
Justice Department's (DOJ) Domestic Preparedness Training and Technical
Assistance Program. Domenici, a member of the Commerce, Justice, State
and the Judiciary (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, secured the program
funding in the FY2002 CJS Appropriations Act and last year's emergency
"New Mexico Tech plays a significant role in supporting our government's
anti-terrorism activities. That is why I continue to work to see that
federal resources are allocated to support their work," Domenici said.
"First Responders from all over the country travel just to receive
anti-terrorism training, including this terrorism-preparedness instruction.
I fully expect this program to expand as we ramp up homeland security
page last modified: 2009-08-20