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early morning*

morning* 6am-7am* 7am-8am* 8am-8:30am* 8:30am - 8:40am* 8:40 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.* 8:45 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.* 8:50 a.m.* |9am-10am 10:00-10:10* 10:05-10:10* 11am-midday* afternoon

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(8:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Intelligence Committee Chairs Meet with ISI Head and Possible 9/11 Attack Funder as the Attack Occurs Edit

Around 8:00 a.m., on September 11, 2001, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol with the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senator Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss, a 10-year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine operations wing. Also present at the meeting are Senator Jon Kyl and the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Maleeha Lodhi , as well as other officials and aides. (Goss, Kyl, and Graham had just met with Pakistani President Pervez Mushrraf in Pakistan two weeks earlier (see August 28-30, 2001)). . [1] Graham and Goss will later co-head the joint House-Senate investigation into the 9/11 attacks , which will focus on Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, but will say almost nothing about possible Pakistani government connections to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks (see August 1-3, 2003 and December 11, 2002). . [2] Note that Senator Graham should have been aware of a report made to his staff the previous month (see Early August 2001) that one of Mahmood’s subordinates had told a US undercover agent that the WTC would be destroyed. Some evidence suggests that Mahmood ordered that $100,000 be sent to hijacker Mohamed Atta (see October 7, 2001).

Graham will later say of the meeting: “We were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan.” The New York Times will report that bin Laden is specifically discussed. . [3] The US wants more support from Pakistan in its efforts to capture bin Laden. However, Mahmood says that unless the US lifts economic sanctions imposed on Pakistan and improves relations, Pakistan will not oppose the Taliban nor provide intelligence and military support to get bin Laden. He says, “If you need our help, you need to address our problems and lift US sanctions.” He also encourages the US to engage the Taliban diplomatically to get them to change, instead of isolating them. Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid will later comment, “It was absurd for Mahmood to insist now that the Americans engage with the Taliban, when [Pakistan’s] own influence over them was declining and al-Qaeda’s increasing.”

Zamir Akram , an accompanying Pakistani diplomat, leaves the room for a break. While outside, he sees a group of Congressional aides gathered around a television set. As Akram walks up to the TV, he sees the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He immediately runs back to the meeting to the tell the others. But even as he gets there, a congressional aide comes in to say that Capitol Hill is being evacuated. The aide says, “There is a plane headed this way.” Mahmood and the rest of the Pakistani delegation immediately leave and attempt to return to the Pakistani embassy. But they are stuck in traffic for three hours before they get there. . [4]

(8:00 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Rumsfeld Holds Breakfast Meeting at Pentagon; Key Military Figures PresentEdit

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hosts a breakfast meeting in his private dining room at the Pentagon.[5][6] The meeting, which is attended by several members of Congress, is intended to discuss the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review Wikipedia. As well as the secretary of defense, others in attendance include Rumsfeld’s senior military assistant, Navy Vice Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr. Wikipedia; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz Wikipedia; and Republican Representatives John Mica Wikipedia, Mark Steven Kirk Wikipedia, Mac Thornberry Wikipedia, Roger Wicker Wikipedia, Robin Hayes Wikipedia, Kay Granger Wikipedia, John Shimkus Wikipedia, Randy “Duke” Cunningham Wikipedia, and Christopher Cox Wikipedia. [7]

Secretary of the Army Thomas White Wikipedia, who is at the meeting, appears to say it is also attended by numerous key military figures, later telling PBS,

“Don Rumsfeld had a breakfast, and virtually every one of the senior officials of the Department of Defense—service chiefs, secretary, deputy, everybody, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And as that breakfast was breaking up, the first plane had hit the World Trade tower.”[8][9]


By “chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Wikipedia,” he presumably means Richard Myers, who is the acting chairman on this day, in place of Henry Shelton Wikipedia who is out of the country.[10][11]

During the course of the meeting Rumsfeld predicts that some kind of “shocking” world event will occur in the near future [see 1]. Most accounts suggest the meeting is adjourned soon after the time the first WTC tower is hit, presumably around 8:50 a.m., though one report says it ends at about 9 a.m.

Just prior to the meeting ending, Rumsfeld is handed a note informing him of the crash[see 2]. Edmund Giambastiani Wikipedia also sees this note. Whether the other people in attendance are notified of the crash at this time is unknown. [12][13][14][15][16] Thomas White Wikipedia says, “We all went on with the day’s business,” after leaving the meeting. He heads off to give a speech at the nearby Army Navy Country Club.[17] Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Giambastiani return to their offices. [18][19] The members of Congress leave the building. [20]

If Richard Myers is at the meeting, as Thomas White appears to say, he must head promptly to Capitol Hill, as he enters another meeting in the offices of Senator Max Cleland Wikipedia before the time when the second tower is hit [see 3][21][22]

8:00 a.m. September 11, 2001: President Bush Briefly Meets Local Law Enforcement Officials Edit

Having returned to the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort after his morning jog, George W. Bush meets for a brief chat in his penthouse suite with Manatee County Sheriff Charlie Wells Wikipedia, Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill Wikipedia, Sarasota Police Chief Gordon Jolly Wikipedia, and Manatee County Sheriff’s Colonel Ken Pearson Wikipedia. Wells later recalls the president was “totally unsuspecting about what is to happen.… It looked like, to me, he’s saying, ‘Glad to see you, but I’m ready to get on to the school and meet the kids.’” The four law enforcement officials will later travel to the Sarasota school in the president’s motorcade. [23][24]

(8:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Computer Specialists in WTC for ‘Emergency Drill’ Edit

An “emergency drill” has been scheduled for today, to take place on the 97th floor of the WTC South Tower. [25][26] A team of technology consultants from California is visiting investment firm Fiduciary Trust for this drill. (Fiduciary Trust has offices on the 97th floor.) [27][28] No further details are reported as to what it entails, or who the technology consultants are. However, California-based software company Oracle Corp. will later report that six of its consultants were working on the 97th floor of the South Tower on 9/11 and are subsequently missing. So presumably these were the workers involved with the drill. [29][30]

(8:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Larry Silverstein Doesn’t Go to WTC Due to Doctor’s Appointment Edit

WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein is supposed to be working today in the temporary offices of his company, Silverstein Properties, on the 88th floor of the North Tower. However, at his Park Avenue apartment, Silverstein’s wife reportedly “laid down the law: The developer could not cancel an appointment with his dermatologist, even to meet with tenants at his most important property.” [NEW YORK OBSERVER, 3/17/2003; NEW YORK MAGAZINE, 4/18/2005] He is therefore not at the WTC when it is hit, and first hears of the attacks when an associate calls him from the lobby of one of the WTC buildings. [REAL DEAL, 1/2004] Two of Silverstein’s children—his son, Roger, and daughter, Lisa—work for his company and have been regularly attending meetings with WTC tenants at Windows on the World (the restaurant at the top of the North Tower). Yet this morning they are running late. According to the New York Observer, “If the attack had happened just a little later, Mr. Silverstein’s children would likely have been trapped at Windows.” [NEW YORK OBSERVER, 3/17/2003] Fifty-four of Silverstein Properties’ 160 staff are in the North Tower when it is hit, and four of them die. [GLOBE AND MAIL, 9/7/2002] Silverstein signed the lease on the WTC less than two months previously, and later will attempt to get $7 billion in insurance for the destruction of the towers (see July 24, 2001). Entity Tags: Larry Silverstein Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, World Trade Center

===(8:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Former President George H. W. Bush Heads off After Spending Night at the White House ===Former President George H. W. Bush, along with former First Lady Barbara Bush, leaves Washington, DC, by private jet, bound for a speaking engagement in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Bushes spent the previous night at the White House. They had flown to Washington the previous day to attend several meetings and a dinner. One of the meetings attended by the former president was the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group, which was also attended by Shafig bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden’s brothers (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). They are later informed of the WTC attacks while on their jet. Due to all planes being grounded, they have to land in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [CBS NEWS, 11/1/2002; CNN, 10/25/2003; NEWSWEEK, 10/27/2003] Entity Tags: George Herbert Walker Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, George Bush


8:13 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Makes Its Last Communication with Air Traffic Control Edit

in a template

The last routine communication takes place between air traffic control and the pilots of Flight 11 at 8:13 and 29 seconds. Boston Center air traffic controller Pete Zalewski is handling the flight, and instructs it to turn 20 degrees to the right. Pilot John Ogonowski immediately acknowledges the instruction, but seconds later he fails to respond to a command to climb to 35,000 feet. Zalewski repeatedly tries to reach the pilot over the next ten minutes, even using the emergency frequency, but gets no response [see 4]. The 9/11 Commission concludes that Flight 11 is hijacked at 8:14, or shortly afterwards [see 5]. [31] [32] [33] [34]

(Between 8:13 a.m. and 8:21 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Transponder Turned Off Edit

Shortly after air traffic controllers ask Flight 11 to climb to 35,000 feet, its transponder stops transmitting. A transponder is an electronic device that identifies a plane on a controller’s screen and gives its exact location and altitude. Among other vital functions, it is also used to transmit a four-digit emergency hijack code. Flight control manager Glenn Michael later says, “We considered it at that time to be a possible hijacking.” [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 9/13/2001; MSNBC, 9/15/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/12/2002] Initial stories after 9/11 suggest the transponder is turned off around 8:13 a.m., but Pete Zalewski, the air traffic controller handling the flight, later says the transponder is turned off at 8:20 a.m. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] The 9/11 Commission places it at 8:21 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Colonel Robert Marr, head of NEADS, claims the transponder is turned off some time after 8:30 a.m. where the Flight 11 hijack was first detected a.m. [ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002]

8:14 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Is Hijacked, but Pilot Makes No Distress Call Edit

in a template [2]

The 9/11 Commission will later conclude that Flight 11 is hijacked at 8:14 or shortly after. It will state,

“Information supplied by eyewitness accounts indicates that the hijackers initiated and sustained their command of the aircraft using knives (as reported by two flight attendants); violence, including stabbing and slashing (as reported by two flight attendants); the threat of violence (as indicated by a hijacker in radio transmissions received by air traffic control); Mace (reported by one flight attendant); the threat of a bomb, either fake or real (reported by one flight attendant); and deception about their intentions (as indicated by a hijacker in a radio transmission received by air traffic control).”
[35]

The Commission says,

“We do not know exactly how the hijackers gained access to the cockpit; FAA rules required that the doors remain closed and locked during flight.… Perhaps the terrorists stabbed the flight attendants to get a cockpit key, to force one of them to open the cockpit door, or to lure the captain or first officer out of the cockpit. Or the flight attendants may just have been in their way.”
[36]

Pilots are trained to handle hijackings by staying calm, complying with any requests, and, if possible, dialing an emergency four-digit code on their plane’s transponder. It only takes a few seconds to dial this code. [37] Yet, as the Boston Globe notes, “It appears that the hijackers’ entry was surprising enough that the pilots did not have a chance to broadcast a traditional distress call” [see 6]. [38] The Los Angeles Times Wikipedia reports that, when flight attendant Amy Sweeney makes a phone call from the plane, she says the hijackers have “just gained access to the cockpit.” [39] Yet her first attempted call is not until 8:22, and, according to official accounts, her first call that stays connected is at 8:25, well past when the 9/11 Commission says the hijacker takeover occurs. [40] According to an anonymous employee at the FAA’s Boston Center, Flight 11 is hijacked while it is over Gardner, Massachusetts, about 45 miles northwest of Boston. . [41][42]

  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

8:14 a.m.-8:24 a.m. September 11, 2001: Air Traffic Controller Repeatedly Tries to Contact Flight 11 Edit

in a template [3]

After Flight 11 fails to respond to an instruction from air traffic control to climb to 35,000 feet [see 7], the controller handling it, Pete Zalewski, tries to regain contact with the aircraft. Over the following ten minutes, he makes numerous attempts but without success. (Zalewski says he makes 12 attempts; the 9/11 Commission says nine.) He tries reaching the pilot on the emergency frequency. Zalewski later recalls that initially,

“I was just thinking that it was, you know, maybe they—pilots weren’t paying attention, or there’s something wrong with the frequency.… And at first it was pretty much, you know, ‘American 11,’ you know, ‘are you paying attention? Are you listening?’ And there was still no response.”
“I went back to the previous sector to see if the pilot had accidentally flipped the switch back over on the—on the radio.”

But as Zalewski is repeatedly unable to get any response from Flight 11, he recalls, “I even began to get more concerned.” However, Zalewski claims, it is not until he sees the plane’s transponder go off at around 8:21 that he suspects something is “seriously wrong,” and calls his supervisor John Shippani[1] for assistance [see 8]. And it is not until about 8:25 that he realizes for sure that he is dealing with a hijacking [see 9]. It is only then that Boston Center starts notifying its chain of command that Flight 11 has been hijacked [see 10][2][3][4][5][6]


8:14 a.m.Edit

Flight 175 takes off from Logan Airport, 16 minutes after its scheduled 7:58 departure time.[7] [8]

(After 8:14 a.m.-8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Pilot Repeatedly Pushes Talk Back Button Edit

At some unknown point after the hijacking begins, Flight 11’s talkback button is activated, which enables Boston flight controllers to hear what is being said in the cockpit. It is unclear whether John Ogonowski, the pilot, activates the talkback button, or whether a hijacker accidentally does so when he takes over the cockpit. A controller[who?] later says, “The button [is] being pushed intermittently most of the way to New York.” An article later notes that “his ability to do so also indicates that he [is] in the driver’s seat much of the way” to the WTC. Such transmissions continue until about 8:38 a.m.[9] [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 9/13/2001; MSNBC, 9/15/2001]

8:15 a.m. September 11, 2001: Bush Prolongs Briefing About Planned School Visit Edit

Sandy Kress, George W. Bush’s unpaid education adviser, meets with the president in his hotel on Longboat Key, Florida, to brief him on their planned 9 a.m. visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in nearby Sarasota.

With them are Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Bush’s senior adviser Karl Rove, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Wikipedia. Kress goes over some key points for the talk Bush is due to give to the press after reading with the students at the school. However, Kress will later recall that the “president is a very punctual person,” and “I’ve never known him to be late.” Yet, “we finished the briefing on that fateful day, and we continued to talk for another ten minutes about people and politics in Texas. The time to leave came and passed.” Kress adds, “That struck me as unusual.” [10][11] According to the official schedule, the president is supposed to leave the resort at 8:30 a.m. for the drive to the school. [12] Yet, according to one account, he will not leave until as late as 8:39 [see 1][13][14]

(8:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight Controllers Cannot Contact Flight 11 Edit

in a template

Two Boston Center air traffic controllers, Pete Zalewski and Lino Martins, discuss the fact that Flight 11 cannot be contacted. Zalewski says to Martins, “He won’t answer you. He’s nordo [no radio] roger thanks.” [15][16]

(8:16 a.m.-8:28 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Four Calls Made From Flight 11 by Unknown Individual, Possibly Flight Attendant Sara Low Edit

Sara Low. [Source: Family photo / Associated Press] According to a computer presentation put forward as evidence in the 2006 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, an unknown person—or persons—makes four calls from Flight 11. These are at 08:16:50, 08:20:11, 08:25:31, and 08:28:33. The calls do not appear to have gone through properly: they are each described as “On button pressed, no call made.” Though the trial exhibit identifies the caller(s) only as “Unknown Caller,” other evidence suggests that at least one of the calls is made by—or on behalf of—Sara Low, who is one of the plane’s flight attendants. Her father, Mike Low, later says he learned from FBI records that his daughter had given her childhood home phone number in Arkansas to another of the flight attendants, Amy Sweeney, for her to report the hijacking. Low speculates that the reason his daughter gave this particular number was that she had just moved home, and so, in the stress of the hijacking, her childhood phone number was the only one she could remember. The Moussaoui trial presentation lists Sweeney as making five calls from the plane. However, it says these are all to the American Airlines office at Boston’s Logan Airport. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/4/2007] Sara Low lets Sweeney use her father’s calling card in order to make these five calls from an Airfone (see 8:22 a.m. September 11, 2001). [NEW YORK OBSERVER, 6/20/2004] Entity Tags: Sara Low, Madeline (“Amy”) Sweeney Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11, Alleged Passenger Phone Calls

8:19 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Attendant Ong Phones in Hijack Report, Officials Doubt Validity Edit

in a template thumb|100px|right|Betty's Ong's 9/11 call


Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong calls Vanessa Minter, an American Airlines reservations agent at its Southeastern Reservations Office, using a seatback Airfone from the back of the plane. Ong speaks to Minter and another employee, Winston Sadler, for about two minutes.

Then, at 8:21 a.m., supervisor Nydia Gonzalez is patched in to the call as well. Ong says, “The cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class and… I think there’s mace… that we can’t breathe. I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.” Asked what flight she is on, she mistakenly answers, “Flight 12,” though a minute later she corrects this, saying, “I’m number three on Flight 11.” She continues,

“And the cockpit is not answering their phone. And there’s somebody stabbed in business class. And there’s… we can’t breathe in business class. Somebody’s got mace or something… I’m sitting in the back. Somebody’s coming back from business. If you can hold on for one second, they’re coming back.”

As this quote shows, other flight attendants relay information from the front of the airplane to Ong sitting in the back, and she periodically waits for updates. She goes on, “I think the guys are up there [in the cockpit]. They might have gone there—jammed the way up there, or something. Nobody can call the cockpit. We can’t even get inside.” Ong’s emergency call will last about 25 minutes, being cut off around 8:44 a.m. [see 2]. However, the recently installed recording system at the American Airlines reservations center contains a default time limit, and consequently only the first four minutes of it will be recorded. Gonzalez later testifies that Ong was “calm, professional and in control” all through the call.[17][18][19][20];[21]

9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey, who will hear more recordings than are made public, later says that some officials on the ground greeted Ong’s account skeptically: “They did not believe her. They said, ‘Are you sure?’ They asked her to confirm that it wasn’t air-rage. Our people on the ground were not prepared for a hijacking.” [22]

(8:20 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Israeli Special-Ops Passenger Possibly Shot or Stabbed by Hijackers Edit

[4]

An FAA memo written on the evening of 9/11, and later leaked, will suggest that a man on Flight 11 is shot and killed by a gun before the plane crashes into the World Trade Center. The “Executive Summary,” based on information relayed by a flight attendant[who?] to the American Airlines Operation Center, states “that a passenger located in seat 10B [ Satam Al Suqami ] shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B [ Daniel Lewin ] at 9:20 a.m.” (Note that since Flight 11 crashes at 8:46, the time may be a typographical error, probably meaning 8:20).[citation needed]

A report in Ha’aretz on September 17 will identify Lewin as a former member of the Israel Defense Force Sayeret Matkal Wikipedia, Israel’s most successful Special Operations unit.[23] Lewin founded Akamai Wikipedia, a successful computer company, and his connections to Sayeret Matkal will remain hidden until the gun story becomes known.[24][25]

FAA and American Airlines officials[who?] will later deny the gun story and suggest that Lewin is probably stabbed to death instead.[26] Officials assert that the leaked document was a “first draft,” and subsequently corrected, but decline to release the final draft, calling it “protected information.” However, an unnamed FAA official present when the memo is drafted will dispute the FAA’s claim, asserting that “[t]he document was reviewed for accuracy by a number of people in the room, including myself and a couple of managers of the operations center.” [27][28] This unnamed official is probably Bogdan Dzakovic, a leader of the FAA’s “red team” conducting covert security inspections. He will later tell the 9/11 Commission:

“There are serious indications that the FAA deceived the public about what happened on 9/11. On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, I was working in one of the FAA operations centers collecting information on details of what happened during the hijacking. We received information that a firearm was used on one of the hijacked aircraft.… That evening the administrator of FAA requested an executive summary covering the day’s activities, and this information about a gun was included in the summary. Days later, without any explanation or questioning of the summary’s author, the administrator publicly announced that no guns had been used in the hijacking. Several months passed when the press re-surfaced this issue. FAA’s initial response was that no so such executive summary existed. Later, when confronted with the document, FAA admitted the executive summary existed, but denied its accuracy. Sometime later I learned that another operations center also received a report that a firearm was used.… There were also reports of a possible explosive threatened on a flight.” [29][30][31]


  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

8:20 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 IFF Signal Transmission Stops Edit

Flight 11 stops transmitting its IFF (identify friend or foe) beacon signal. [CNN, 9/17/2001] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

(8:20 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Veers Off Course Edit

Flight 11 starts to veer dramatically off course. It now heads in a northwesterly direction toward Albany, New York. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

8:20 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Dispatcher Learns of Problem With Flight 11 Edit

At the American Airlines operations center in Fort Worth, Texas, the flight dispatcher responsible for transatlantic flights receives a communication from an American Airlines flight traveling from Seattle to Boston, informing her that air traffic control has asked the aircraft to try and contact Flight 11. Under FAA rules, dispatchers licensed by the agency are responsible for following aircraft in flight. Once a plane is in the air, a dispatcher must monitor its progress, relay safety information to the captain, and handle any problems. American Airlines assigns a dispatcher to each of its flights. This is the first indication the dispatcher receives notice of any problem on Flight 11. [DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/13/2002; SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/14/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9 AND 86 ] However, Flight 11 is not a transatlantic flight, so why this particular dispatcher is notified is unclear. Entity Tags: American Airlines Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11


(8:20 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Flight Control Thinks Flight 11 May Be Hijacked? Edit

in a template According to some reports, Boston flight control decides that Flight 11 has probably been hijacked, but apparently, it does not notify other flight control centers for another five minutes, and does not notify NORAD for approximately 20 minutes.[32] [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/15/2001; NEWSDAY, 9/23/2001] ABC News Wikipedia will later say, “There doesn’t seem to have been alarm bells going off, [flight] controllers getting on with law enforcement or the military. There’s a gap there that will have to be investigated.”[33] [ABC NEWS, 9/14/2001] (Note the conflicting account at 8:21 a.m. [see 3]

(8:20 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 77 Takes Off 10 Minutes Late Edit

Flight 77 departs Dulles International Airport near Washington, ten minutes after its 8:10 scheduled departure time. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/12/2001; CNN, 9/17/2001; GUARDIAN, 10/17/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 77

(8:21 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Attendant Ong’s Hijacking Account Forwarded to American Airlines Operations Center Edit

in a template [5]


Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines supervisor with expertise on security matters, is patched in to a call with flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11.[34]

At 8:21 a.m., according to the 9/11 Commission (or 8:27 a.m., according to the Wall Street Journal), Gonzalez calls Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) in Fort Worth, Texas. Gonzalez holds the phone to Ong to one ear, and the phone to Marquis to the other.[35][36] [37][38]

Marquis quickly says, “I’m assuming they’ve declared an emergency. Let me get ATC [ air traffic control ] on here. Stand by.… Okay, we’re contacting the flight crew now and we’re… we’re also contacting ATC.”

Gonzalez relays that Ong is saying the hijackers from seats 2A and 2B are in the cockpit with the pilots, and that there are no doctors on board. Gonzalez talks to Marquis continuously until Flight 11 crashes. While only the first four minutes of Ong’s call from Flight 11 are recorded by American Airlines [see 4], all of Gonzalez’s call to Marquis will be recorded. Four minutes, of what is apparently a compilation from it, are later played before the 9/11 Commission. [34]

(8:21 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Controller Suspects Something Seriously Wrong with Flight 11, but NORAD Not Notified Edit

in a template[6]

Boston Center air traffic controller Pete Zalewski, handling Flight 11, sees that the flight is off course and that the plane has turned off both transponder and radio. Zalewski later claims he turns to his supervisor John Shippani[39] and says,

“Would you please come over here? I think something is seriously wrong with this plane. I don’t know what. It’s either mechanical, electrical, I think, but I’m not sure.”


When asked if he suspected a hijacking at this point, he replies, “Absolutely not. No way.”

According to the 9/11 Commission,

“the supervisor instructed the controller [presumably Zalewski] to follow standard operating procedures for handling a ‘no radio’ aircraft once the controller told the supervisor the transponder had been turned off.”

Another flight controller, Tom Roberts, has another nearby American Airlines Flight try to contact Flight 11. There is still no response. The flight is now “drastically off course” but NORAD Wikipedia is still not notified. [40] [41] Note that this response contradicts flight control manager Glenn Michael’s assertion that Flight 11 was considered a possible hijacking as soon as the transponder was discovered turned off.[see 5]

  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

8:22 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Attendant Sweeney Phones in Hijacking Details Edit

in a template [7]

Flight 11 attendant Amy Sweeney borrows a calling card from flight attendant Sara Low and uses an Airfone to try to call the American Airlines flight services office at Logan Airport.

She makes her first attempt at 8:22 a.m., but this quickly disconnects, as does a second attempt at 8:24. Further attempts at 8:25 and 8:29 are cut off after she reports someone hurt on the flight. The respondent to the call mistakenly thinks Sweeney’s flight number that she reports is 12. Hearing there is a problem with an American Airlines plane, Michael Woodward, an American Airlines flight service manager, goes to American’s gate area at the airport with a colleague, and realizes Flight 12 has not yet departed. He returns to the office to try to clarify the situation, then takes the phone and speaks to Sweeney himself. Because Woodward and Sweeney are friends, he does not have to verify the call is not a hoax. The call is not recorded, but Woodward takes detailed notes. According to the 9/11 Commission, the call between them lasts about 12 minutes, from 8:32 a.m. to 8:44 a.m. Accounts prior to the 9/11 Commission report spoke of one continuous call from around 8:20. [42][43]

Sweeney calmly tells Woodward, “Listen, and listen to me very carefully. I’m on Flight 11. The airplane has been hijacked.” [44][45] According to one account, she gives him the seat locations of three hijackers: 9D, 9G, and 10B. She says they are all of Middle Eastern descent, and one speaks English very well. [46][47] Another account states that she identifies four hijackers (but still not the five said to be on the plane), and notes that not all the seats she gave matched up with the seats assigned to the hijackers on their tickets. [48] [49] She says she cannot contact the cockpit, and does not believe the pilots are flying the plane any longer. [50]

According to a later Angeles Times report, “Even as she was relating details about the hijackers, the men were storming the front of the plane and ‘had just gained access to the cockpit,’” (This suggests Sweeney witnesses the storming of the cockpit at least seven minutes after radio contact from Flight 11 stops and at least one of the hijackers begins taking control of the cockpit.) [48]She says the hijackers have stabbed the two first-class flight attendants, Barbara Arestegui and Karen Martin. She adds, “A hijacker cut the throat of a business-class passenger [later identified as Daniel Lewin ], and he appears to be dead." [see 6]. She also says the hijackers have brought a bomb into the cockpit. Woodward asks Sweeney, “How do you know it’s a bomb?” She answers, “Because the hijackers showed me a bomb.” She describes its yellow and red wires. Sweeney continues talking with Woodward until Flight 11 crashes. [51][52]

  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

(Between 8:22 a.m. and 8:44 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Sweeney’s Call Reaches American Headquarters, but Managers Cover Up the News Edit

in a template

American Airlines Wikipedia Flight service manager Michael Woodward is listening to Flight 11 attendant Amy Sweeney on the telephone, and he wants to pass on the information he is hearing from her. Since there is no tape recorder, he calls Nancy Wyatt, the supervisor of pursers at Logan Airport. Holding telephones in both hands, he repeats to Wyatt everything that Sweeney is saying to him. Wyatt in turn simultaneously transmits his account to the airline’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters.

The conversation between Wyatt and managers at headquarters is recorded. All vital details from Sweeney’s call reach American Airlines’ top management almost instantly. However, according to victims’ relatives who later hear this recording, the two managers at headquarters immediately begin discussing a cover-up of the hijacking details. They say, “don’t spread this around. Keep it close,” “Keep it quiet,” and “Let’s keep this among ourselves. What else can we find out from our own sources about what’s going on?” One former American Airlines employee who has also heard this recording recalls, “In Fort Worth, two managers in SOC [ Systems Operations Control ] were sitting beside each other and hearing it. They were both saying, ‘Do not pass this along. Let’s keep it right here. Keep it among the five of us.’” Apparently, this decision prevents early and clear evidence of a hijacking from being shared during the crisis.

Gerard Arpey Wikipedia, American Airlines’ executive vice president for operations, soon hears details of the hijacking from flight attendant Betty Ong’s phone call [see 7] at 8:30 a.m.[see 8] but apparently, he does not learn of Sweeney’s call until much later. Victims’ relatives will later question whether lives could have been saved if only this information had been quickly shared with other airplanes. [53]

8:23 a.m.-8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Operations Center Tries to Contact Flight 11, But Gets No Response Edit

in a template

At 8:23 a.m., a flight dispatcher at the American Airlines operations center in Fort Worth, Texas sends an ACARS text message to Flight 11. ACARS, meaning Aircraft Communications and Reporting System, is an e-mail system enabling company personnel on the ground to rapidly communicate with those in the cockpit of an in-flight aircraft.

The message says,“Good morning… ATC [air traffic control] looking for you on [radio frequency] 135.32.” No response is received from Flight 11. Two minutes later, an American Airlines air traffic control specialist at the operations center sends another ACARS message to Flight 11. This says, “Plz contact Boston Center ASAP… They have lost radio contact and your transponder signal.” Again, no response is received from the plane. Subsequent ACARS messages also receive no reply. [54]

  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

morningEdit

8:24 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Air Traffic Controllers Hear Flight 11 Hijacker Say, ‘We Have Some Planes,’ but Uncertain of Origin of Transmission Edit

in a template

Because the talkback button on Flight 11 has been activated, Boston Center air traffic controllers can hear a hijacker on board say to the passengers: “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you’ll be OK. We are returning to the airport.” [55][56]

Air traffic controller Pete Zalewski recognizes this as a foreign, Middle Eastern-sounding voice, but does not make out the specific words “we have some planes.” He responds, “Who’s trying to call me?” Seconds later, in the next transmission, the hijacker continues: “Nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.”[57][58][59]

Bill Peacock, the FAA director of air traffic services, later claims, “We didn’t know where the transmission came from, what was said and who said it.” David Canoles, the FAA’s manager of air traffic evaluations and investigations, adds: “The broadcast wasn’t attributed to a flight. Nobody gave a flight number.”[60] Similarly, an early FAA report will state that both these transmissions came from “an unknown origin.” [61]

Zalewski asks for an assistant to help listen to the transmissions coming from the plane, and puts its frequency on speakers so others at Boston Center can hear. Because Zalewski didn’t understand the initial hijacker communication from Flight 11, Terry Biggio,the manager of Boston Center instructs Bob Jones, [62] the center’s quality assurance specialist to “pull the tape” of the transmission, listen to it carefully, and then report back. They do this, and by about 9:03 a.m. Terry Biggio will report having deciphered what was said in the first hijacker transmission [see 9][58][59]

Fellow Boston controller Don Jeffroy also hears the tape of the hijacker transmissions, though he doesn’t state at what time. He says: “I heard exactly what Pete [Zalewski] heard. And we had to actually listen to it a couple of times just to make sure that we were hearing what we heard.” [63] At some point, Ben Sliney, the national operations manager at the FAA’s Herndon Command Center, gets word of the “We have some planes” message, and later says the phrase haunts him all morning. American Airlines Executive Vice President for Operations Gerard Arpey Wikipedia is also informed of the “strange transmissions from Flight 11” at some point prior to when it crashes at 8:46 a.m. [64] Boston Center will receive a third transmission from Flight 11 about ten minutes later [see 10].

(Before 8:26 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Hijackers Identified by Seat Locations Edit

in a template

Having been told by flight attendant Amy Sweeney the seat locations of three hijackers [see 11], American Airlines Flight service manager Michael Woodward orders a colleague at Logan Airport to look up those seat locations on the reservations computer.

The names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit cards of these hijackers are quickly identified: Abdulaziz Alomari is in 9G, Mohamed Atta is in 9D, and Satam Al Suqami is in 10B. 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey notes that from this information, American Airlines officials monitoring the call would probably have known or assumed right away that the hijacking was connected to al-Qaeda. [65][66]

(8:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Realizes with Certainty that Flight 11 Has Been Hijacked Edit

in a template http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a825bostonrealizes#a825bostonrealizes

According to Terry Biggio, the operations manager at Boston Center, the center initially thought Flight 11 “was a catastrophic electrical failure and… was diverting to New York” [see 12][67]

However, at about 8:24 a.m., controllers heard two radio transmissions from it, with the voice of a hijacker declaring, “We have some planes” [see 13].

Pete Zalewski, who is handling Flight 11, says that after the second of these: “I immediately knew something was very wrong. And I knew it was a hijack.” He alerts his supervisor. Lino Martins, another Boston air traffic controller, says, “the supervisor came over, and that’s when we realized something was serious.”[68][69][70]

However, two senior FAA officials—Bill Peacock and David Canoles—later say that the hijacker transmissions were not attributed to a flight, so controllers didn’t know their origin. [71] An early FAA report will similarly refer to them as having come “from an unknown origin.” But right away, the center begins notifying the chain of command that a suspected hijacking is taking place [see 14].[72]

However, some reports claim that controllers decided Flight 11 was probably hijacked earlier than this, by about 8:20 a.m. [see 15].

8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Flight Control Tells Other Centers About Hijack, But Not NORAD Edit

in a template [8]


Boston Center reportedly “notifies several air traffic control centers that a hijack is taking place.” [73]This is immediately after Boston controllers heard a transmission from Flight 11, declaring, “We have some planes”[see 16], and would be consistent with a claim later made to the 9/11 Commission by Mike Canavan, the FAA’s associate administrator for civil aviation security. He says,

“[M]y experience as soon as you know you had a hijacked aircraft, you notify everyone.… [W]hen you finally find out, yes, we do have a problem, then… the standard notification is it kind of gets broadcast out to all the regions.”[74]


An early FAA report will say only that Boston controllers begin “inter-facility coordination” with New York air traffic control at this time [75], but the New York Times reports that controllers at Washington Center also know “about the hijacking of the first plane to crash, even before it hit the World Trade Center.” [76]

However, the Indianapolis Center flight controller monitoring Flight 77 claims to not know about this or Flight 175’s hijacking twenty minutes later at 8:56 a.m. [see 17]. Additionally, the flight controllers at La Guardia airport are never told about the hijacked planes and learn about them from watching the news. [77] Boston Center also begins notifying the FAA chain of command of the suspected Flight 11 hijacking at this time [see 18], but it does not notify NORAD Wikipedia for another 6-15 minutes, depending on the account [see 19].

  1. [SALON, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/18/2002]
  2. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002]
  3. [VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL, 9/12/2001; SALON, 9/14/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/3/2002]
  4. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 26-27]
  5. . 
  6. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001; LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004]
  7. . [FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 3/31/2003; VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 9/10/2004; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  8. . 
  9. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004; PBS, 10/26/2004]
  10. . 
  11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  12. . 
  13. [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001;
  14. . ABC NEWS, 8/12/2002;
  15. . PBS, 10/26/2004;
  16. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  17. .  [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/26/2004]
  18. . 
  19. [VANITY FAIR, 5/9/2003; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006]
  20. . [WASHINGTON POST, 1/9/2002]
  21. .  [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001;
  22. . AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001]
  23. . 
  24. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 36; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002]
  25. . 
  26. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/31/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/1/2006]
  27. . 
  28. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; DWYER AND FLYNN, 2005, PP. 77; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2006]
  29. . 
  30. [INFOWORLD, 9/13/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001]
  31. New York Times. 10/16/2001. 
  32. MSNBC. 9/11/2002. 
  33. 9/11 Commission. 6/17/2004. 
  34. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 4
  35. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 8 ]
  36. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 5]
  37. [CNN, 9/12/2001]
  38. [BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23/2001]
  39. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/20/2001]
  40. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 9-10 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006]
  41. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001;http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/investigate-collide.htm
  42. TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/932279-196/as-attacks-unfolded-faa-was-left-guessing.html

8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Center Starts Notifying Chain of Command Edit

in a template This article has been assessed as havingUnknown importance.

Good scope?NoN Timeline? +YesY wikified? +YesY red links < 10?NoN all red links fixed?NoN referenced?NoN Illustrated?NoN Googled and added info? NoN Checked 9/11 records archives? NoN Checked Wikinews? NoN Checked Wikisource? NoN [9]

Boston Center begins notifying the chain of command that a suspected hijacking of Flight 11 is in progress. Those notified include the center’s own facility manager, the FAA’s New England Regional Operations Center (ROC) in Burlington, Massachusetts Wikipedia, and the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia [see 20][78][79]

According to the 9/11 Commission, this is consistent with FAA protocol:

“From interviews of controllers at various FAA centers, we learned that an air traffic controller’s first response to an aircraft incident is to notify a supervisor, who then notifies the traffic management unit and the operations manager in charge. The FAA center next notifies the appropriate regional operations center (ROC), which in turn contacts FAA headquarters.”[80]


But according to Ben Sliney, the national operations manager at the FAA’s Command Center, “the protocol was in place that the center that reported the hijacking would notify the military.… I go back to 1964, where I began my air traffic career, and they have always followed the same protocol.” [81]

Yet Boston Center supposedly will not contact NORAD Wikipedia about Flight 11 until about 12 minutes later [see 21]. Already about ten minutes have passed since controllers first noticed a loss of contact with Flight 11[see 22]. Boston reportedly also contacts several other air traffic control centers about the suspected hijacking at this time [see 23]

(8:25 a.m.-8:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Military Liaison Arrives Late at Boston Center, Learns of First Hijacking Edit

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Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at Boston Center, arrives at work an hour late and is informed of the hijacking of Flight 11. [82][83][84] Scoggins is an experienced air traffic controller and specializes in airspace, procedures, and military operations. He is responsible for managing operating agreements between the Boston Center and other air traffic control facilities, and between Boston Center and the military. He is also responsible for generating the military schedules that keep FAA facilities synchronized with military airspace requirements, and has therefore developed personal relationships with most of the military units in his region.[85]

In a 2006 radio interview, Scoggins will recall that he arrives at work one hour late, saying, “That morning I actually came in, took an hour early on the front of my shift, so I didn’t get in until 8:30.” [83] But in a statement that will be provided to the 9/11 Commission, he says he arrives at the Boston Center slightly earlier, at “about 8:25 a.m.[86] When he enters the building, a colleague tells him about the hijacking of Flight 11. [87]

Rather than going immediately to help deal with the hijacking, Scoggins heads to the credit union Wikipedia at the center. He will recall, “I wasn’t in a rush because when hijacks do occur, sometimes too many people try to get involved, but instead they just get in the way.”

When he gets to the credit union, Scoggins decides he should go to the center’s traffic management unit, to make sure that fighter jets are launched in response to the hijacking. As he will later recall, he says to an employee at the credit union that “if it really came to it,” and fighter jets “had to stop the hijack from hitting a building or something, there wasn’t much [the fighters] could do.” [86]

Scoggins then heads to the center’s operational floor, arriving there at about 8:35.[83][88] He goes to the traffic management unit and the desk of Daniel Bueno, who is the unit’s supervisor. Bueno brings Scoggins up to date on the details of the hijacking. He tells him: “It sounds real. We heard a Mideastern or Arabic voice on radio. They’ve also turned off the transponder to prevent the hijack code from appearing.” Bueno says the Boston Center controllers are still tracking the primary radar return for [[Flight 11], but they lack information on its altitude. According to author Lynn Spencer, it occurs to Scoggins that NEADS might be able to provide altitude information for Flight 11, “because the FAA radar system filters out certain altitude information that NEADS gets.” He will therefore phone NEADS as soon as he arrives at his station [see 24].[87]

(8:25 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Speaks with Cheney Neither Can Later Recall What They Discuss Edit

Sean O’Keefe Wikipedia, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, stops by Vice President Dick Cheney’s White House office for an unscheduled visit. According to journalist and author Stephen Hayes Wikipedia, Cheney’s colleagues have learned to keep any impromptu sessions with him short and succinct. Yet O’Keefe spends more than 20 minutes with the vice president. Cheney is scheduled to meet John McConnell Wikipedia, his chief speechwriter, at 8:30 a.m. Yet McConnell is left waiting outside the office while the vice president is deep in discussion with O’Keefe. According to Hayes, while the topic of O’Keefe and Cheney’s conversation seems urgent at present, “In time, neither man would be able to recall what it was that had been so important.”[89][90] O’Keefe is a former Pentagon comptroller Wikipedia, and had been a close confidant of Dick Cheney’s when he was the secretary of defense, in the early 1990s. [91][92]

(8:26 a.m.-8:29 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Turns, Many Watch It on Primary Radar Edit

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At 8:26, Flight 11, which is already way off course, makes an unplanned 100-degree turn to the south over Albany, New York. A minute later, it turns right, to the south-southwest. Then, two minutes on, at 8:29, it turns left to the south-southeast. Boston Center air traffic controllers never lose sight of the flight, though they can no longer determine altitude as the transponder is turned off. Its last known altitude was 29,000 feet. [93]

Before this turn, the FAA had tagged Flight 11’s radar dot for easy visibility and, at American Airlines’ System Operations Control (SOC) in Fort Worth, Texas, “All eyes watched as the plane headed south. On the screen, the plane showed a squiggly line after its turn near Albany, then it straightened.” [94] Boston air traffic controller Mark Hodgkins later says, “I watched the target of American 11 the whole way down.” [95] However, NEADS has different radar. When they are finally told about the flight, they cannot find it [see 25] NEADS has to repeatedly phone the FAA, airlines, and others, for clues as to the plane’s location. NEADS will eventually focus on a radar blip they believe might be Flight 11, and watch it close in on New York. [96]

(Between 8:27 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Ong Gives Flight 11 Details; Seating Accounts Differ Edit

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Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines Wikipedia supervisor at its Southeastern Reservations Office, is relaying information to Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC)[see 26]. According to Marquis,

“She said two flight attendants had been stabbed, one was on oxygen. A passenger had his throat slashed and looked dead and they had gotten into the cockpit.”

Marquis later recollects that Ong said the four hijackers had come from first-class seats: 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. She’d said the wounded passenger was in seat 10B. [35] [97] Note that this conflicts with the seats flight attendant Amy Sweeney gave for the hijackers at about the same time: 9D, 9G, and 10B [see 27]. At around 8:30 a.m., this information is passed to Gerard Arpey Wikipedia, the effective head of American Airlines this morning [see 28].[98]

By 9:59 a.m., counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and other top officials receive the information. [99]

8:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: FAA Command Center Informed of Flight 11 Hijacking, Establishes Teleconference between Air Traffic Control Centers Edit

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Boston Center calls the FAA Command Center and says it believes Flight 11 has been hijacked and is heading toward the New York Center’s airspace. The Command Center immediately establishes a teleconference between the Boston, New York, and Cleveland Center air traffic control centers, so Boston can help the other centers understand what is happening, in case Flight 11 should enter their airspace. Minutes later, in line with the standard hijacking protocol, the Command Center will pass on word of the suspected hijacking to the FAA’s Washington headquarters [see 29][100][101][102]

Tom Paccione[103]a supervisor at the Command Center, promptly passes on the news of the possible hijacking to Ben Sliney, who is on his first day as the national operations manager there. The supervisor says the plane in question is “American Flight 11—a 767 out of Boston for Los Angeles.” According to author Lynn Spencer, “Sliney flashes back to the routine for dealing with hijackings from the days when they were more common.” The procedure is to

"[k]eep other aircraft away from the errant plane. Give the pilots what they need. The plane will land somewhere, passengers will be traded for fuel, and difficult negotiations with authorities will begin. The incident should resolve itself peacefully, although the ones in the Middle East, he recalls, often had a more violent outcome.”

Apparently not expecting anything worse to happen, Sliney continues to the conference room for the daily 8:30 staff meeting there [see 30]

The FAA Command Center is located in Herndon, Virginia, 25 miles from Washington, DC. According to Spencer, it

“is a communications powerhouse, modeled after NASA’s Mission Control. The operations floor is 50 feet wide and 120 feet long, packed with tiered rows of computer stations, and at the front, seven enormous display screens show flight trajectories and weather patterns.”


The center has nearly 50 specialists working around the clock, planning and monitoring the flow of air traffic over the United States. These specialists work with airlines and air traffic control facilities to fix congestion problems and deal with weather systems. [104]

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