The film's main claims are considered false by many media outlets, independent researchers, and prominent members of the scientific and engineering community.
The original film was edited and re-released as Loose Change: 2nd Edition, and then subsequently re-edited again for the 2nd Edition Recut, each time to tighten the focus on certain key areas and to remove what the filmmakers have learned to be inaccuracies and copyrighted material. Loose Change: Final Cut, deemed "the third and final release of this documentary series" was released on DVD and Web-streaming format on November 11, 2007. This installment is a completely new film; using almost none of the same content appearing in the previous Loose Change versions.
In May 2002, Dylan Avery began researching the 9/11 attacks and based on his research he concluded they were not a terrorist attack involving only members of Al Qaeda, but rather that they were an attack orchestrated by members of the United States government.
In April 2005, the first edition of Loose Change was made available for free on the Internet and was given a limited DVD release to certain video stores. It cost around $2000 to make, and was made primarily on Avery's laptop computer, featuring a distinctive soundtrack produced by DJ Skooly. Avery's childhood friend, Korey Rowe, left the service of the United States Army in June 2005 to assist with the marketing of the movie.
Soon after this, Avery decided that "there was new information that needed to be added and improvements made", and so began creating Loose Change: 2nd Edition. Korey Rowe assumed the role of producer, and Jason Bermas, a graphic designer, worked as production assistant. This edition cost around $6,000. It was originally released in December 2005, but was re-released in June 2006 as Loose Change: 2nd Edition Recut. Before the release of this edition, Avery, Rowe and Bermas set up an independent movie production company called Louder than Words, an organization that identifies with the 9/11 Truth Movement.
The third and final edition of the movie, Loose Change Final Cut, was released in November 2007. According to the Loose Change website, this edition "is substantially different from Loose Change and Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut in the way it presents the information surrounding 9/11/2001. However, it remains true to the spirit that has made Loose Change what it is today." Professor David Ray Griffin was brought on as script consultant, and radio host Alex Jones and Tim Sparke of Mercury Media served as executive producers. Due to an estimated cost of $200,000, this version is the first not to be available for free online, although it is in fact available for free on Google Video in a lower quality version, currently having amassed nearly 30,000 hits. This edition is also substantially longer than previous versions, at over 2 hours in length.
Although each version of the film asserts that the events of 9/11 were essentially an "inside job", there were significant revisions between the particular theories that different editions posited. For example:
On May 26, 2006, a letter was sent to Dylan Avery regarding copyright and trademark infringement in Loose Change 2nd Edition resulting from the use of footage from French filmmakers the Naudet brothers. The letter states that Avery used copyrighted images from the film 9/11 and that those the images violate the Federal Lanham Trademark Act "by suggesting that the Naudet brothers or Mr. Hanlon have endorsed or sponsored the controversial views in your film." The letter concludes: "Accordingly, we hereby demand that you confirm to us within three (3) business days of the receipt of this letter that you have removed all footage taken from our clients' 9/11 film from your Loose Change film, including from the version of your film that can be downloaded on the Internet, the DVD version of your film and anywhere else you have used or are using our clients' footage. Dylan Avery announced that the recut version of the 2nd edition would omit some of the infringing material.
An August 2006 Vanity Fair article suggested that Loose Change "just might be the first Internet blockbuster" as it became the most watched video on Google Video in May 2006, being viewed at least 40 million times on that site, and with the official Loose Change website receiving over 100,000 hits a day. Millions more have viewed the film via unaffiliated websites. More than one million copies of the DVD have been sold, and many more have been given away.
According to Broadcast magazine, the video was to have a special screening at the UK Houses of Parliament on June 14, 2006. Michael Meacher, the British MP who had considered sponsoring the screening, decided against it. During that same month of June 2006, a former engineer from Microsoft developed a site, www.loose-change-911.com, to stream the movie in seven different languages.
On September 11, 2006 Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas appeared on Democracy Now! the War and Peace Report, to debate with James Meigs and David Dunbar, two of the editors of Popular Mechanics and the book Debunking 9/11 Myths.
Avery appeared on BBC's 9/11 Conspiracy Files in February 2007.
Rowe was at the end of his active-duty enlistment in the summer of 2005 when he was told his unit would be re-deployed to Iraq. Because of stop-loss policy, soldiers may be kept beyond their normal tour of duty. Rowe's unit, the 187th Infantry Regiment, was due to return to Iraq in August 2007, but was eventually granted release.
In 2008, Bermas directed a new film about the 9/11 attacks, entitled Fabled Enemies. The official website for the film states that "Instead of the focus being on physical anomolies surrounding the attacks, it focuses on a vast intelligence network and how they were able to succeed almost 7 years ago. A low-quality version of film has been released on Google Video.
Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut (2006) opens with a brief description of past suspicious and questionable motives in the history of American government. This discussion includes mention of Operation Northwoods, a plan put forward, but never implemented, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to create and utilize bogus terrorist attacks against the United States, which were to be blamed on Cuba, as a pretext for invasion of the country. Focus is particularly directed at the previously proposed plans to substitute real commercial airliners with pilotless drone aircraft in order to investigate the plausibility of covertly using them as weapons, whilst maintaining the cover of an accident.
Attention is also given to the Project for the New American Century, a neo-conservative think-tank, which released a report in 2000 titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses". In particular the film points out a line from that report which states "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" -Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. It also highlights the fact that during the same year the report was released, the Pentagon conducted the first of two training exercises which simulated a Boeing 757 crashing into the building. There is also mention that, from September 6 to September 10 an unusual amount of put options were placed on the stock of American Airlines, Boeing and United Airlines.
This is followed by an examination of the attacks on the Pentagon. The film opposes the official story of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, alleging that the path of destruction does not match that which a 757 would leave. In particular, it points out the size of the hole in the Pentagon caused by the crash, examining a lack of debris and landscape damage seemingly inconsistent with prior airliner crashes. It is also alleged that too few parts were recovered from the crash site to reliably ascertain that they were of a Boeing 757, and a certain flywheel observed at the site seemed too small to have been part of the aircraft's engine turbine. The wheel was officially declared to have been part of the APU but disputed by some experts as not to have come from the APU of a 757 but likely from an E-3 Sentry aircraft. It is also claimed that Hani Hanjour, the hijacker pilot, had difficulty performing basic controls on a small Cessna at a flight school where he rented, and that perhaps not even an experienced pilot could have maneuvered the reflex angle of turn at the airspeed and altitude at which the aircraft approached without going into a high speed stall. Mention is also given to three cameras on nearby buildings that allegedly caught the entire incident at the Pentagon on film, which the government confiscated and has refused to release in full.
The next section focuses on the destruction of the World Trade Center itself. The film comes out in favor of the controlled demolition theory of the destruction of World Trade Centers 1, 2 and 7. Cited as evidence are eyewitness reports from a janitor, firemen, and other people near the buildings who heard bangs, many of them describing them as explosions, as well as videotapes showing windows far below the burning floors blow out during the collapse and seismograph results recorded during the collapse compared to the collapse of other similar buildings. The film claims that WTC 1, 2 and 7 were the first steel frame buildings in history to collapse due to fire. Another allegation centers on an audio recording in which it is claimed two distinct explosions can be heard at the time of the impact. Also, the film posits that the official story of the collapse violates the laws of physics.
In particular, the video alleges that the fires inside the twin towers were not hot enough to bring the buildings down. An audio tape is presented in which the Captain of Ladder 7 claims that the fires can be brought under control by two lines, and it is mentioned that building 7 had taken only minor damage before its own collapse. These allegations follow a listing of buildings that burned longer than the Twin Towers and did not fall.
For Flight 93, the video ignores the more mainstream theory of the plane being crashed by passengers to instead allege it was landed safely at Cleveland Hopkins Airport where it was evacuated by government personnel into an unused NASA research center. Evidence cited included photographs and eyewitness reports of the crash site as evidence, a corresponding evacuation at Cleveland Hopkins Airport and the corresponding reports, oddities in the transcripts of cell-phone calls supposedly placed from the plane during the hijacking, and the sighting of the tail number of Flight 93 on an aircraft in use at a later date.
This is then followed by a more miscellaneous listing of allegations. It is claimed that cellular phone calls could not be made from American Airlines flights at the time of the crash, asking why American Airlines had to install a system in their own airplanes to allow the reception of cellular signals within the planes if they could do this regardless on September 11. It is suggested that the calls from passengers and crew were faked using sophisticated voice-morphing technology developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and that the December 13, 2001 video of Osama Bin Laden claiming responsibility for the attacks was also faked, featuring what appeared to be an overweight lookalike version of Bin Laden. Finally, it is alleged that, of the list of hijackers initially released by the government, many were not in the planes and were alive after September 11, 2001 and may even still be alive.
In the end, the film gives out motives for people who would have benefited from launching the attacks themselves. Mention is first given to financial motives, including those of Larry Silverstein, who stood to receive a substantial insurance payout after the attacks due to a specific anti-terrorism clause as well as other allegations of insider trading and Halliburton's benefiting from the subsequent launch of America's "War on Terror".
"It treats statements made at this time as if they represent reasoned judgments, not impromptu, often poorly thought-through misimpressions and uninformed speculation... In sum, Loose Change is researched very shoddily, making numerous mistakes of fact and judgment. Nevertheless, this has not prevented it from becoming extraordinarily popular.
It goes on to note that Loose Change has also been criticized by other members of the 9/11 Truth Movement, referencing the critique entitled Sifting Through Loose Change. Michael Green, a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, has analyzed the film and is critical of many of its claims and methods. Several independent researchers have also written critiques of the film. The Loose Change Guide, created by Mark Roberts, features the whole transcript of the show, along with his comments and criticisms. Roberts also compiled a lengthy selection of interview quotes in which the Loose Change creators elaborate on the claims made in the film.
In May 2006, the blog Screw Loose Change was created to criticize the claims in the film. In collaboration with the creators of the blog and drawing upon the work of Mark Roberts, Mark Iradian prepared an edited version of Loose Change which he subtitled with criticisms. Another analysis of the film has been created by the Internet Detectives. Many of the critiques argue that Loose Change quote mines, uses unreliable or out-of-date sources, and cherry-picks evidence to claim that there are serious problems with official accounts of the events of September 11. America.gov points out what it deems to be "very sloppy errors" Loose Change makes on the Pentagon attack.
One of the many aspects focused on by these critiques is Loose Change's analysis of the collapse of the World Trade Center. The comparison to other notable high-rise fires which did not lead to collapse ignores differences in building design, significant WTC structural damage and compromised fireproofing; as most steel loses over half its strength at 600°C (1112°F). The Madrid's Windsor Tower comparison fails to note its steel-supported perimeter floors collapsed during the fire. Kevin Ryan, described by Loose Change as an working for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), was actually employed in a water-testing subsidiary. Furthermore, UL does not certify structural steel, and ASTM E119 certification is not meant to predict performance in real uncontrolled fires. The NIST found no evidence of any firm having conducted tests on WTC materials in the past. Another expert quoted, Van Romero, has clarified that he was misquoted by the Albuquerque Journal; he had actually said that it "looked like" explosives took down the WTC. When the misquote was printed, he felt his "scientific reputation was on the line."
On September 11, 2006, Democracy Now! broadcast a discussion between the Loose Change creators and editors from Popular Mechanics, where they debated various aspects of the documentary. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has written that the "9/11 truth movement": "gives supporters of Bush an excuse to dismiss critics of this administration. I have no doubt that every time one of those Loose Change dickwads opens his mouth, a Republican somewhere picks up five votes."
Chris Farrell, the Director of Investigations & Research at Judicial Watch, warned in an interview that his organization "could be the water carriers for a honey pot operation, in which the government attracts overwhelming attention to the Pentagon issue, making it the cornerstone of the "9/11 truth movement", and then blowing it out of the water by releasing clear footage of Flight 77. He stated, "Let's just call it a baited trap, it draws somebody into a situation in which they're compromised."
According to George Monbiot, "The film's greatest flaw is this: the men who made it are still alive. If the US government is running an all-knowing, all-encompassing conspiracy, why did it not snuff them out long ago? There is only one possible explanation. They are in fact agents of the Bush regime, employed to distract people from its real abuses of power. This, if you are inclined to believe such stories, is surely a more plausible theory than the one proposed in Loose Change.