French Publisher Issues Correction After History Textbook Suggests 9/11 Attacks Were 'Orchestrated By the CIA'

A French publisher has issued a correction after a history textbook suggested the September 11 terror attacks were "orchestrated by the CIA."

The book—called History of the 20th Century in Flash Cards—was written by Jean Pierre-Rocher, a professor of history and geography who graduated from Sciences Po University in Paris, and published by Ellipses Publications in November last year.

The BBC reported that on page 204 of the book, described as a complete course on 20th Century French, European and world history, the author explained how the terror group Al-Qaeda was formed and the events of the four co-ordinated terror attacks that occurred in the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

The text featured the sentence (in French) about the September 11 attacks: "This world event—no doubt orchestrated by the CIA (secret services) to impose American influence in the Middle East?—hit the symbols of American power on its own territory."

The reference to the debunked conspiracy theory was shared on social media by a high school teacher on a Facebook group after their daughter bought a copy, Le Monde reported.

Bruno Modica, a spokesperson for the Facebook group, told the newspaper that the post "blew up very quickly."

"This inserted clause of his conveys a conspiracy theory you can hear in our classrooms, from some pupils' mouths; but to find it written by a teacher and in this type of publication is unacceptable," he said.

The Conspiracy Watch website wrote about it, writing that the the sentence would "sow confusion" in the minds of the young people the book is aimed at.

It cited a survey conducted by Ifop in 2018 that found 21 percent of people under the age of 35 believe the U.S. government was involved in the September 11 attacks

On its website, Ellipses Publications wrote that the author wishes to remove the sentence and said that it should never have been included in the book.

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

In a statement provided to Newsweek, the publisher said it regrets the error and it has issued a correction online and in all copies of the book that have not yet been sent to bookstores.

"Our company has had the mission of transmitting knowledge and producing educational works for almost half a century," the statement said.

"As such, we bitterly regret having allowed this sentence to escape our vigilance concerning the attacks of 9/11/2001."

It added that opinions could "be freely expressed in our books but under no circumstances can an inaccurate or unfounded fact be presented as an objective truth."

This article has been updated with a statement from the publisher.

9/11 memorial
People view the National September 11 Memorial in New York City on September 8, 2017. A French publisher issued a correction after a history textbook suggested the 2001 attacks were orchestrated by the CIA. Drew Angerer/Getty Images