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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Why Pentagon released 9/11 tape
Pentagon crash site, 11 September 2001
The impact caused a five-floor section of the building to collapse
A non-profit government watchdog has succeeded in getting the US to release videotapes of a plane striking the Pentagon on 11 September 2001.

The conservative group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request in December 2004, which was denied a month later, the group says.

The Pentagon said it could not release the videos in question because they were part of an ongoing investigation against al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui, according to Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch sued the government over its refusal, saying there was "no legal basis" for it.

Government resistance collapsed after a court sentenced Moussaoui to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks, and they agreed to release the video, a Judicial Watch spokeswoman told the BBC.

Conspiracy theories

Judicial Watch describes itself as a conservative, non-partisan foundation that fights government corruption.

The organisation's president, Tom Fitton, said in a statement he hoped the release of the footage would "put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines 77", the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.

His remark was apparently a reference to ideas aired in books such as Thierry Meyssan's The Pentagate, which argues that a missile, not a plane, struck the headquarters of the US defence department.

The French journalist and left-wing activist claims the US government itself was behind the attacks.

Two books he published on the subject were worldwide bestsellers.

A Pentagon spokesman, Glen Flood, said in 2002 Mr Meyssan's first book was "a slap in the face and real offence to the American people".

US 'releases 9/11 Pentagon tape'
16 May 06 |  Americas
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04 May 06 |  Americas

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