News & Politics

French Publisher Apologizes for Textbook that Said CIA 'Orchestrated' 9/11 Attacks

Photo by: Hubert Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

A French textbook publisher has apologized after one of his company’s textbooks said that the CIA “orchestrated” the September 11, 2001, attacks on America.

The sentence appears in a chapter on the creation of al-Qaeda and says of the 9/11 attacks, “This global event – no doubt orchestrated by the CIA (secret services) to impose American influence on the Middle East? – hit the symbols of American power on its own territory.”

Fox News:

High school history and geography teachers were the first to find the conspiracy-driven sentence and alerted a teachers’ Facebook group, the paper reported.

The publisher said in a statement on its website that the sentence should have never appeared in the textbook. It said the author, Jean-Pierre Rocher, a certified professor of history and geography and a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies, wanted it removed.

“This phrase, which echoes conspiracy theories devoid of any factual basis, should never have been used in this book,” the statement said in French. “It does not reflect the editorial line of Ellipses or the position of its author.”

Ellipses said it would include a correction slip with all copies of the textbook that had not been shipped to bookstores, according to the BBC.

A “correction slip”? Like that’s really going to stay with that textbook as it passes from student to student over the next few years?


The textbook is described as a complete course on the last century in French, European and world history. It was written by Jean-Pierre Rocher, a teacher of history and geography and a graduate of the Sciences Po university in Paris, and aimed at Sciences Po undergraduates as well as students preparing for France’s elite “grandes écoles”.

Although the book came out in November, it was not until the daughter of one of the secondary school teachers bought a copy that one of them spotted the reference to the CIA.

What’s more worrisome? That it took a couple of months to find the mistake or that the editors and fact-checkers at the textbook company just assumed the information was correct?

The 9/11 conspiracy theories will always be with us, just like the Kennedy assassination scenarios and the moon landing “hoax.” It’s hard for some people to accept obvious explanations for shattering events. Besides, the human mind is built to see conspiracies in everything. We need to make order out of chaos and something as earth-shaking as 9/11 was bound to generate alternative theories.

But this is ludicrous.