SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is backing away from videotaped comments that he made in support of 9/11 "truthers," who believe that a government conspiracy was behind the attack on the World Trade Center.
That came after Chaffetz's comments created a stir on Internet blogs and were featured on MSNBC. It began when a video was posted on YouTube of a post-town-hall meeting interview that Chaffetz had with a representative of "We Are Change Utah."
In it, Chaffetz was asked if he would favor reopening the investigation of 9/11.
"Well, there's a lot we still need to learn. Of course we want to look into that issue, look at every aspect of it," Chaffetz said.
He then added that he had met with Steven E. Jones, the physicist who retired from Brigham Young University in 2006 after the school recoiled from the controversy surrounding his 9/11 theories. "He's done some interesting work," Chaffetz said in the video.
When asked if he gave much thought about whether a falsified terrorist attack occurred on 9/11, Chaffetz said, "Well, I know there's still a lot to learn about what happened and what didn't happen. We should be vigilant and continue to investigate that, absolutely."
When the representative told him that his group believes that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosives placed within the building in a "falsified terrorist attack," Chaffetz said, "I appreciate good Americans being vigilant in every aspect."
Chaffetz clarified his stance in a statement.
"I am not sympathetic to claims that 9/11 was a government conspiracy. I have never believed the government was in any way complicit or responsible for those attacks," he said.
He further explained that when he was asked about the need to explain the attacks, "I answered truthfully that we should always continue to investigate new information."
He added, "The 9/11 attacks were the biggest attacks in the history of the United States of America. We should always be asking questions, looking for answers, and learning from that experience, but I have no reason to believe that the government was responsible for the attacks."