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Number of Pages:585

Date Created:July 17, 2004

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Final FM.1pp
THE 9/11
Final FM.1pp
List Illustrations and Tables
Member List
Staff List xiii xiv
Inside the Four Flights
Improvising Homeland Defense
2.5 Declaration War
Bin Ladin Appeal the Islamic World
The Rise Bin Ladin and Qaeda (1988 1992)
Building Organization, Declaring
War the United States (1992 1996) Qaeda Renewal Afghanistan (1996 1998) COUNTERTERRORISM EVOLVES
From the Old Terrorism the New:
The First World Trade Center Bombing
Adaptation and Nonadaptation the Law Enforcement Community and the Federal Aviation Administration and the Intelligence Community
Final FM.1pp
5:25 and the State Department and the Defense Department and the White House and the Congress 102 RESPONSES QAEDA INITIAL ASSAULTS 108
Before the Bombings Kenya and Tanzania 108
Crisis: August 1998 115
Diplomacy 121
Covert Action 126
Searching for Fresh Options 134 QAEDA AIMS THE AMERICAN HOMELAND 145
Terrorist Entrepreneurs 145
The Planes Operation 153
The Hamburg Contingent 160 Money Trail? 169 FROM THREAT THREAT 174
The Millennium Crisis 174
Post-Crisis Reflection: Agenda for 2000 182
The Attack the USS Cole 190
Change and Continuity 198
The New Administration Approach 203 THE ATTACK LOOMS 215
First Arrivals California 215
The 9/11 Pilots the United States 223
Assembling the Teams 231
Final Strategies and Tactics 241 THE SYSTEM WAS BLINKING RED 254
The Summer Threat 254
Late Leads Mihdhar, Moussaoui, and KSM 266 HEROISM AND HORROR 278
Preparedness September 278
September 11, 2001 285
Emergency Response the Pentagon 311
Analysis 315
Final FM.1pp
10. WARTIME 325
10.1 Immediate Responses Home 326
10.2 Planning for War 330
10.3 Phase Two and the Question Iraq 334
Imagination 339
Policy 348
Capabilities 350
Management 353
Reflecting Generational Challenge 361
Attack Terrorists and Their Organizations 365
Prevent the Continued Growth Islamist Terrorism 374
Protect against and Prepare for Terrorist Attacks 383
Unity Effort across the Foreign-Domestic Divide 400
Unity Effort the Intelligence Community 407
Unity Effort Sharing Information 416
Unity Effort the Congress 419
Organizing America Defenses the United States 423
Appendix Common Abbreviations 429
Appendix B:Table Names 431
Appendix Commission Hearings 439
Notes 449
Final FM.1pp
Final FM.1pp
AND TABLES 148 238 239 279 284 288 312 313 313 413
FAA Air Traffic Control Centers
Reporting structure, Northeast Air Defense Sector
Flight paths and timelines
Usama Bin Ladin
Map Afghanistan
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
The 9/11 hijackers
The World Trade Center Complex 9/11
The World Trade Center radio repeater system
The World Trade Center North Tower stairwell with deviations
The Twin Towers following the impact American Airlines
Flight and United Airlines Flight 175
The Pentagon after being struck American Airlines Flight
American Airlines Flight crash site, Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Unity effort managing intelligence
Final FM.1pp
Final FM.1pp
Thomas Kean
Lee Hamilton
vice chair
Richard Ben-Veniste
Bob Kerrey
Fred Fielding
John Lehman
Jamie Gorelick
Timothy Roemer
Slade Gorton
James R.Thompson
Final FM.1pp
Final FM.1pp
Philip Zelikow, Executive Director
Christopher Kojm, Deputy Executive Director
Daniel Marcus, General Counsel
Joanne Accolla
Samuel M.W. Caspersen
Staff Assistant
Alexis Albion
Melissa Coffey
Professional Staff Member
Staff Assistant
Scott Allan, Jr.
Lance Cole
John Azzarello
Marquittia Coleman
Staff Assistant
Caroline Barnes
Marco Cordero
Professional Staff Member
Professional Staff Member
Warren Bass
Professional Staff Member
Ann Bennett
George Delgrosso
Information Control Officer
Mark Bittinger
Gerald Dillingham
Professional Staff Member
Professional Staff Member
Madeleine Blot
Thomas Dowling
Professional Staff Member
Antwion Blount
Steven Dunne
Systems Engineer
Deputy General Counsel
Sam Brinkley
Thomas Eldridge
Professional Staff Member
Geoffrey Scott Brown
Alice Falk
Research Assistant
Daniel Byman
John Farmer, Jr.
Professional Staff Member
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Dianna Campagna
Alvin Felzenberg
Manager Operations
Deputy for Communications
Final FM.1pp
Lorry Fenner
Daniel Leopold
Professional Staff Member
Staff Assistant
Susan Ginsburg
Sarah Webb Linden
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Professional Staff Member Graham Giusti
Douglas MacEachin
Security Officer
Professional Staff Member Team Leader
Nicole Marie Grandrimo
Ernest May
Professional Staff Member
Senior Adviser
Douglas Greenburg
Joseph McBride
Barbara Grewe
James Miller
Senior Counsel, Special Projects
Professional Staff Member
Elinore Flynn Hartz
Kelly Moore
Family Liaison
Professional Staff Member
Leonard Hawley
Charles Pereira
Professional Staff Member
Professional Staff Member Christine Healey
John Raidt
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Professional Staff Member
Karen Heitkotter
John Roth
Executive Secretary
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Walter Hempel
Peter Rundlet
Professional Staff Member
Counsel Michael Hurley
Lloyd Salvetti
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Professional Staff Member
Dana Hyde
Kevin Scheid
Professional Staff Member Team Leader
John Ivicic
Kevin Shaeffer
Security Officer
Professional Staff Member
Michael Jacobson
Tracy Shycoff
Deputy for Administration Finance
Hunter Jamerson
Dietrich Snell
Senior Counsel Team Leader
Bonnie Jenkins
Jonathan DeWees Stull
Communications Assistant
Reginald Johnson
Lisa Marie Sullivan
Staff Assistant
Staff Assistant
R.William Johnstone
Quinn John Tamm, Jr.
Professional Staff Member
Professional Staff Member
Stephanie Kaplan
Catharine S.Taylor
Special Assistant Managing Editor
Staff Assistant
Miles Kara, Sr.
Yoel Tobin
Professional Staff Member
Janice Kephart
Emily Landis Walker
Professional Staff Member Family Liaison
Hyon Kim
Garth Wermter
Senior Consultant
Katarzyna Kozaczuk
Serena B.Wille
Financial Assistant
Gordon Nathaniel Lederman
Peter Yerkes
Public Affairs Assistant
Final FM.1pp
PREFACE pre the narrative this report and the recommendations
that flow from the President the United States, the United States
Congress, and the American people for their consideration. Ten
Commissioners five Republicans and five Democrats chosen elected
leaders from our nation capital time great partisan division have
come together present this report without dissent. have come together with unity purpose because our nation
demands it. September 11, 2001, was day unprecedented shock and suffering the history the United States.The nation was unprepared. How
did this happen, and how can avoid such tragedy again? answer these questions, the Congress and the President created the
National Commission Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Public
Law 107-306, November 27, 2002).
Our mandate was sweeping.The law directed investigate facts and
circumstances relating the terrorist attacks September 11, 2001, including those relating intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, diplomacy, immigration issues and border control, the flow assets terrorist
organizations, commercial aviation, the role congressional oversight and
resource allocation, and other areas determined relevant the Commission. pursuing our mandate, have reviewed more than 2.5 million pages documents and interviewed more than 1,200 individuals ten countries.
This included nearly every senior official from the current and previous
administrations who had responsibility for topics covered our mandate. have sought independent, impartial, thorough, and nonpartisan.
From the outset, have been committed share much our investigation can with the American people.To that end, held days
hearings and took public testimony from 160 witnesses.
Final FM.1pp
Our aim has not been assign individual blame. Our aim has been
provide the fullest possible account the events surrounding 9/11 and
identify lessons learned. learned about enemy who sophisticated, patient, disciplined,
and lethal.The enemy rallies broad support the Arab and Muslim world demanding redress political grievances, but its hostility toward and
our values limitless. Its purpose rid the world religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite, and equal rights for women. makes distinction between military and civilian targets. Collateral damage not its
lexicon. learned that the institutions charged with protecting our borders,
civil aviation, and national security did not understand how grave this threat
could be, and did not adjust their policies, plans, and practices deter
defeat it.We learned fault lines within our government between foreign
and domestic intelligence, and between and within agencies.We learned
the pervasive problems managing and sharing information across large
and unwieldy government that had been built different era confront
different dangers. the outset our work, said were looking backward order look forward. hope that the terrible losses chronicled this report
can create something positive America that safer, stronger, and wiser.
That September day, came together nation.The test before
sustain that unity purpose and meet the challenges now confronting us. need design balanced strategy for the long haul, attack terrorists and prevent their ranks from swelling while the same time protecting
our country against future attacks.We have been forced think about the
way our government organized. The massive departments and agencies
that prevailed the great struggles the twentieth century must work
together new ways, that all the instruments national power can
combined. Congress needs dramatic change well strengthen oversight
and focus accountability. complete our final report, want begin thanking our fellow Commissioners, whose dedication this task has been profound.
have reasoned together over every page, and the report has benefited from
this remarkable dialogue. want express our considerable respect for
the intellect and judgment our colleagues, well our great affection
for them. want thank the Commission staff.The dedicated professional staff,
headed Philip Zelikow, has contributed innumerable hours the completion this report, setting aside other important endeavors take this
Final FM.1pp
all-consuming assignment. They have conducted the exacting investigative
work upon which the Commission has built.They have given good advice,
and faithfully carried out our guidance.They have been superb. thank the Congress and the President. Executive branch agencies
have searched records and produced multitude documents for us.
thank officials, past and present, who were generous with their time and
provided with insight. The PENTTBOM team the FBI, the
Director Review Group the CIA, and Inspectors General the
Department Justice and the CIA provided great assistance. owe
huge debt their investigative labors, painstaking attention detail, and
readiness share what they have learned. have built the work
several previous Commissions, and thank the Congressional Joint
Inquiry, whose fine work helped get started.We thank the City New
York for assistance with documents and witnesses, and the Government
Printing Office and W.W. Norton Company for helping get this
report the broad public. conclude this list thanks coming full circle:We thank the families 9/11, whose persistence and dedication helped create the
Commission.They have been with each step the way, partners and
witnesses.They know better than any the importance the work
have undertaken. want note what have done, and not done.We have endeavored provide the most complete account can the events September
11, what happened and why.This final report only summary what
have done, citing only fraction the sources have consulted. But event this scale, touching many issues and organizations, are
conscious our limits.We have not interviewed every knowledgeable person found every relevant piece paper. New information inevitably will
come light. present this report foundation for better understanding landmark the history our nation. have listened scores overwhelming personal tragedies and
astounding acts heroism and bravery. have examined the staggering
impact the events 9/11 the American people and their amazing
resilience and courage they fought back.We have admired their determination their best prevent another tragedy while preparing
respond becomes necessary. emerge from this investigation with
enormous sympathy for the victims and their loved ones, and with
enhanced respect for the American people. recognize the formidable
challenges that lie ahead. also approach the task recommendations with humility. have
Final FM.1pp
made limited number them. decided consciously focus recommendations believe most important, whose implementation
can make the greatest difference. came into this process with strong
opinions about what would work. All have had pause, reflect, and
sometimes change our minds studied these problems and considered
the views others.We hope our report will encourage our fellow citizens study, reflect and act.
Thomas Kean
Lee Hamilton
vice chair
Final FM.1pp
THE 9/11
Final FM.1pp
9:12 HAVE
Tue sday, ptembe 11, 01, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless
the eastern United States. Millions men and women readied themselves for
work. Some made their way the Twin Towers, the signature structures the
World Trade Center complex New York City. Others went Arlington,Virginia, the Pentagon.Across the Potomac River, the United States Congress
was back session. the other end Pennsylvania Avenue, people began
line for White House tour. Sarasota, Florida, President George Bush
went for early morning run.
For those heading airport, weather conditions could not have been
better for safe and pleasant journey.Among the travelers were Mohamed Atta
and Abdul Aziz Omari, who arrived the airport Portland, Maine.
Boarding the Flights
Boston:American and United 175. Atta and Omari boarded 6:00 A.M.
flight from Portland Boston Logan International Airport.1
When checked for his flight Boston, Atta was selected computerized prescreening system known CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), created identify passengers who should
subject special security measures. Under security rules place the time,
the only consequence Atta selection CAPPS was that his checked bags
were held off the plane until was confirmed that had boarded the aircraft. This did not hinder Atta plans.2
Atta and Omari arrived Boston 6:45. Seven minutes later,Atta apparently took call from Marwan Shehhi, longtime colleague who was
another terminal Logan Airport.They spoke for three minutes.3 would
their final conversation.
Between 6:45 and 7:40,Atta and Omari, along with Satam Suqami,Wail Shehri, and Waleed Shehri, checked and boarded American Airlines
Flight 11, bound for Los Angeles.The flight was scheduled depart 7:45.4 another Logan terminal, Shehhi, joined Fayez Banihammad, Mohand Shehri, Ahmed Ghamdi, and Hamza Ghamdi, checked for United
Airlines Flight 175, also bound for Los Angeles.A couple Shehhi colleagues
were obviously unused travel; according the United ticket agent, they had
trouble understanding the standard security questions, and she had over
them slowly until they gave the routine, reassuring answers.5 Their flight was
scheduled depart 8:00.
The security checkpoints through which passengers, including Atta and his
colleagues, gained access the American gate were operated Globe
Security under contract with American Airlines. different terminal, the
single checkpoint through which passengers for United 175 passed was controlled United Airlines, which had contracted with Huntleigh USA perform the screening.6 passing through these checkpoints, each the hijackers would have been
screened walk-through metal detector calibrated detect items with
least the metal content .22-caliber handgun. Anyone who might have set
off that detector would have been screened with hand wand procedure
requiring the screener identify the metal item items that caused the alarm. addition, X-ray machine would have screened the hijackers carry-on
belongings.The screening was place identify and confiscate weapons and
other items prohibited from being carried onto commercial flight.7 None
the checkpoint supervisors recalled the hijackers reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.8
While Atta had been selected CAPPS Portland, three members his
hijacking team Suqami,Wail Shehri, and Waleed Shehri were selected Boston.Their selection affected only the handling their checked bags, not
their screening the checkpoint. All five men cleared the checkpoint and
made their way the gate for American 11. Atta, Omari, and Suqami took
their seats business class (seats 8D, 8G, and 10B, respectively). The Shehri
brothers had adjacent seats row (Wail 2A,Waleed 2B), the firstclass cabin. They boarded American between 7:31 and 7:40. The aircraft
pushed back from the gate 7:40.9
Shehhi and his team, none whom had been selected CAPPS, boarded
United 175 between 7:23 and 7:28 (Banihammad 2A, Shehri 2B, Shehhi 6C, Hamza Ghamdi 9C, and Ahmed Ghamdi 9D).Their aircraft
pushed back from the gate just before 8:00.10
Washington Dulles:American 77. Hundreds miles southwest Boston, Dulles International Airport the Virginia suburbs Washington, D.C.,
five more men were preparing take their early morning flight.At 7:15, pair
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES them, Khalid Mihdhar and Majed Moqed, checked the American
Airlines ticket counter for Flight 77, bound for Los Angeles.Within the next minutes, they would followed Hani Hanjour and two brothers, Nawaf Hazmi and Salem Hazmi.11
Hani Hanjour, Khalid Mihdhar, and Majed Moqed were flagged
CAPPS.The Hazmi brothers were also selected for extra scrutiny the airline customer service representative the check-in counter. did
because one the brothers did not have photo identification nor could
understand English, and because the agent found both the passengers suspicious.The only consequence their selection was that their checked
bags were held off the plane until was confirmed that they had boarded
the aircraft.12
All five hijackers passed through the Main Terminal west security screening checkpoint; United Airlines, which was the responsible air carrier, had
contracted out the work Argenbright Security.13 The checkpoint featured
closed-circuit television that recorded all passengers, including the hijackers, they were screened. 7:18, Mihdhar and Moqed entered the security
Mihdhar and Moqed placed their carry-on bags the belt the X-ray
machine and proceeded through the first metal detector. Both set off the alarm,
and they were directed second metal detector. Mihdhar did not trigger the
alarm and was permitted through the checkpoint. After Moqed set off,
screener wanded him. passed this inspection.14
About minutes later, 7:35, another passenger for Flight 77, Hani Hanjour, placed two carry-on bags the X-ray belt the Main Terminal west
checkpoint, and proceeded, without alarm, through the metal detector. short
time later, Nawaf and Salem Hazmi entered the same checkpoint. Salem
Hazmi cleared the metal detector and was permitted through; Nawaf Hazmi
set off the alarms for both the first and second metal detectors and was then
hand-wanded before being passed. addition, his over-the-shoulder carry-on
bag was swiped explosive trace detector and then passed. The video
footage indicates that was carrying unidentified item his back pocket,
clipped its rim.15
When the local civil aviation security office the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) later investigated these security screening operations, the
screeners recalled nothing out the ordinary.They could not recall that any the passengers they screened were CAPPS selectees.We asked screening
expert review the videotape the hand-wanding, and found the quality the screener work have been marginal best. The screener should
have resolved what set off the alarm; and the case both Moqed and
Hazmi, was clear that did not.16 7:50, Majed Moqed and Khalid Mihdhar boarded the flight and were
seated 12A and 12B coach. Hani Hanjour, assigned seat (first class),
soon followed.The Hazmi brothers, sitting and 5F, joined Hanjour the
first-class cabin.17
Newark: United 93. Between 7:03 and 7:39, Saeed Ghamdi, Ahmed
Nami, Ahmad Haznawi, and Ziad Jarrah checked the United Airlines
ticket counter for Flight 93, going Los Angeles.Two checked bags; two did
not. Haznawi was selected CAPPS. His checked bag was screened for explosives and then loaded the plane.18
The four men passed through the security checkpoint, owned United
Airlines and operated under contract Argenbright Security. Like the checkpoints Boston, lacked closed-circuit television surveillance there
documentary evidence indicate when the hijackers passed through the
checkpoint, what alarms may have been triggered, what security procedures
were administered.The FAA interviewed the screeners later; none recalled anything unusual suspicious.19
The four men boarded the plane between 7:39 and 7:48. All four had seats the first-class cabin; their plane had business-class section. Jarrah was
seat 1B, closest the cockpit; Nami was 3C, Ghamdi 3D, and Haznawi 6B.20
The men were aboard four transcontinental flights.21 They were planning hijack these planes and turn them into large guided missiles, loaded
with 11,400 gallons jet fuel. 8:00 A.M. the morning Tuesday,
September 11, 2001, they had defeated all the security layers that America civil
aviation security system then had place prevent hijacking.
The Hijacking American
American Airlines Flight provided nonstop service from Boston Los
Angeles. September 11, Captain John Ogonowski and First Officer
Thomas McGuinness piloted the Boeing 767. carried its full capacity nine
flight attendants. Eighty-one passengers boarded the flight with them (including the five terrorists).22
The plane took off 7:59. Just before 8:14, had climbed 26,000 feet,
not quite its initial assigned cruising altitude 29,000 feet.All communications
and flight profile data were normal. About this time the Fasten Seatbelt sign
would usually have been turned off and the flight attendants would have begun
preparing for cabin service.23 that same time, American had its last routine communication with
the ground when acknowledged navigational instructions from the FAA
air traffic control (ATC) center Boston. Sixteen seconds after that transmission,ATC instructed the aircraft pilots climb 35,000 feet.That message
and all subsequent attempts contact the flight were not acknowledged.
From this and other evidence, believe the hijacking began 8:14
shortly thereafter.24
Reports from two flight attendants the coach cabin, Betty Ong and
Madeline Amy Sweeney, tell most what know about how the
hijacking happened. began, some the hijackers most likely Wail
Shehri and Waleed Shehri, who were seated row first class stabbed
the two unarmed flight attendants who would have been preparing for cabin
service.25 not know exactly how the hijackers gained access the cockpit;
FAA rules required that the doors remain closed and locked during flight. Ong
speculated that they had jammed their way in. Perhaps the terrorists stabbed
the flight attendants get cockpit key, force one them open the cockpit door, lure the captain first officer out the cockpit. the flight
attendants may just have been their way.26 the same time shortly thereafter, Atta the only terrorist board
trained fly jet would have moved the cockpit from his business-class
seat, possibly accompanied Omari.As this was happening, passenger Daniel
Lewin, who was seated the row just behind Atta and Omari, was stabbed
one the hijackers probably Satam Suqami, who was seated directly
behind Lewin. Lewin had served four years officer the Israeli military. may have made attempt stop the hijackers front him, not realizing that another was sitting behind him.27
The hijackers quickly gained control and sprayed Mace, pepper spray,
some other irritant the first-class cabin, order force the passengers and
flight attendants toward the rear the plane.They claimed they had bomb.28
About five minutes after the hijacking began, Betty Ong contacted the
American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office Cary, North Carolina,
via ATT airphone report emergency aboard the flight.This was the
first several occasions 9/11 when flight attendants took action outside
the scope their training, which emphasized that hijacking, they were
communicate with the cockpit crew.The emergency call lasted approximately minutes, Ong calmly and professionally relayed information about events
taking place aboard the airplane authorities the ground.29 8:19, Ong reported: The cockpit not answering, somebody stabbed business class and think there Mace that can breathe don
know, think getting hijacked. She then told the stabbings the two
flight attendants.30 8:21, one the American employees receiving Ong call North Carolina, Nydia Gonzalez, alerted the American Airlines operations center Fort
Worth,Texas, reaching Craig Marquis, the manager duty. Marquis soon realized this was emergency and instructed the airline dispatcher responsible
for the flight contact the cockpit. 8:23, the dispatcher tried unsuccessfully contact the aircraft. Six minutes later, the air traffic control specialist American operations center contacted the FAA Boston Air Traffic Control Center
about the flight. The center was already aware the problem.31
Boston Center knew problem the flight part because just before
8:25 the hijackers had attempted communicate with the passengers. The
microphone was keyed, and immediately one the hijackers said, Nobody
move. Everything will okay. you try make any moves, you endanger
yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet. Air traffic controllers heard the transmission; Ong did not.The hijackers probably did not know how operate the
cockpit radio communication system correctly, and thus inadvertently broadcast their message over the air traffic control channel instead the cabin
public-address channel. Also 8:25, and again 8:29, Amy Sweeney got
through the American Flight Services Office Boston but was cut off after
she reported someone was hurt aboard the flight.Three minutes later, Sweeney
was reconnected the office and began relaying updates the manager,
Michael Woodward.32 8:26, Ong reported that the plane was flying erratically. minute later,
Flight turned south. American also began getting identifications the
hijackers, Ong and then Sweeney passed some the seat numbers
those who had gained unauthorized access the cockpit.33
Sweeney calmly reported her line that the plane had been hijacked;
man first class had his throat slashed; two flight attendants had been
stabbed one was seriously hurt and was oxygen while the other wounds
seemed minor; doctor had been requested; the flight attendants were unable contact the cockpit; and there was bomb the cockpit. Sweeney told
Woodward that she and Ong were trying relay much information they
could people the ground.34 8:38, Ong told Gonzalez that the plane was flying erratically again.
Around this time Sweeney told Woodward that the hijackers were Middle Easterners, naming three their seat numbers. One spoke very little English and
one spoke excellent English.The hijackers had gained entry the cockpit, and
she did not know how.The aircraft was rapid descent.35 8:41, Sweeney told Woodward that passengers coach were under the
impression that there was routine medical emergency first class. Other
flight attendants were busy duties such getting medical supplies while Ong
and Sweeney were reporting the events.36 8:41, American operations center, colleague told Marquis that the
air traffic controllers declared Flight hijacking and think [American
11] headed toward Kennedy [airport NewYork City].They moving everybody out the way.They seem have him primary radar.They seem
think that descending. 8:44, Gonzalez reported losing phone contact with Ong. About this
same time Sweeney reported Woodward, Something wrong.We are
rapid descent are all over the place. Woodward asked Sweeney look
out the window see she could determine where they were. Sweeney
responded: are flying low. are flying very, very low. are flying way
too low. Seconds later she said, God are way too low. The phone
call ended.38 8:46:40,American crashed into the North Tower the World Trade
Center New York City.39 All board, along with unknown number
people the tower, were killed instantly.
The Hijacking United 175
United Airlines Flight 175 was scheduled depart for Los Angeles 8:00. Captain Victor Saracini and First Officer Michael Horrocks piloted the Boeing 767,
which had seven flight attendants. Fifty-six passengers boarded the flight.40
United 175 pushed back from its gate 7:58 and departed Logan Airport 8:14. 8:33, had reached its assigned cruising altitude 31,000 feet.The
flight attendants would have begun their cabin service.41
The flight had taken off just American was being hijacked, and 8:42
the United 175 flight crew completed their report suspicious transmission overheard from another plane (which turned out have been Flight 11)
just after takeoff. This was United 175 last communication with the ground.42
The hijackers attacked sometime between 8:42 and 8:46.They used knives
(as reported two passengers and flight attendant), Mace (reported one
passenger), and the threat bomb (reported the same passenger). They
stabbed members the flight crew (reported flight attendant and one passenger). Both pilots had been killed (reported one flight attendant).The eyewitness accounts came from calls made from the rear the plane, from
passengers originally seated further forward the cabin, sign that passengers
and perhaps crew had been moved the back the aircraft. Given similarities American hijacker seating and eyewitness reports tactics and
weapons, well the contact between the presumed team leaders, Atta and
Shehhi, believe the tactics were similar both flights.43
The first operational evidence that something was abnormal United
175 came 8:47, when the aircraft changed beacon codes twice within
minute. 8:51, the flight deviated from its assigned altitude, and minute
later New York air traffic controllers began repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying contact it.44 8:52, Easton, Connecticut, man named Lee Hanson received
phone call from his son Peter, passenger United 175. His son told him: think they taken over the cockpit attendant has been stabbed 
and someone else front may have been killed. The plane making
strange moves. Call United Airlines Tell them Flight 175, Boston LA. 
Lee Hanson then called the Easton Police Department and relayed what
had heard.45
Also 8:52, male flight attendant called United office San Francisco,
reaching Marc Policastro.The flight attendant reported that the flight had been
hijacked, both pilots had been killed, flight attendant had been stabbed, and
the hijackers were probably flying the plane.The call lasted about two minutes,
after which Policastro and colleague tried unsuccessfully contact the
flight.46 8:58, the flight took heading toward New York City.47 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried call his wife,
Julie. left message their home answering machine that the plane had
been hijacked. then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight
had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit take control the plane away from the hijackers.48 9:00, Lee Hanson received second call from his son Peter: getting bad, Dad stewardess was stabbed They seem have
knives and Mace They said they have bomb getting very bad the plane Passengers are throwing and getting sick The
plane making jerky movements don think the pilot flying the
plane think are going down think they intend
Chicago someplace and fly into building Don worry, Dad happens, very fast God, God.49
The call ended abruptly. Lee Hanson had heard woman scream just before cut off. turned television, and her home did Louise Sweeney.
Both then saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.50 9:03:11, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower the World
Trade Center.51 All board, along with unknown number people
the tower, were killed instantly.
The Hijacking American
American Airlines Flight was scheduled depart from Washington Dulles
for Los Angeles 8:10. The aircraft was Boeing 757 piloted Captain
Charles Burlingame and First Officer David Charlebois. There were four
flight attendants. September 11, the flight carried passengers.52
American pushed back from its gate 8:09 and took off 8:20. 8:46,
the flight reached its assigned cruising altitude 35,000 feet. Cabin service
would have begun. 8:51, American transmitted its last routine radio communication.The hijacking began between 8:51 and 8:54. American
and United 175, the hijackers used knives (reported one passenger) and
moved all the passengers (and possibly crew) the rear the aircraft (reported one flight attendant and one passenger). Unlike the earlier flights, the Flight hijackers were reported passenger have box cutters. Finally, passenger reported that announcement had been made the pilot that the
plane had been hijacked. Neither the firsthand accounts mentioned any stabbings the threat use either bomb Mace,though both witnesses began
the flight the first-class cabin.53
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES 8:54, the aircraft deviated from its assigned course, turning south. Two
minutes later the transponder was turned off and even primary radar contact
with the aircraft was lost.The Indianapolis Air Traffic Control Center repeatedly tried and failed contact the aircraft. American Airlines dispatchers also
tried, without success.54 9:00, American Airlines Executive Vice President Gerard Arpey learned
that communications had been lost with American 77.This was now the second American aircraft trouble. ordered all American Airlines flights
the Northeast that had not taken off remain the ground. Shortly before
9:10, suspecting that American had been hijacked, American headquarters
concluded that the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center might have
been Flight 77. After learning that United Airlines was missing plane,American Airlines headquarters extended the ground stop nationwide.55 9:12, Renee May called her mother, Nancy May, Las Vegas. She said
her flight was being hijacked six individuals who had moved them the
rear the plane. She asked her mother alert American Airlines. Nancy May
and her husband promptly did so.56 some point between 9:16 and 9:26, Barbara Olson called her husband,
Ted Olson, the solicitor general the United States. She reported that the
flight had been hijacked, and the hijackers had knives and box cutters. She further indicated that the hijackers were not aware her phone call, and that they
had put all the passengers the back the plane. About minute into the
conversation, the call was cut off. Solicitor General Olson tried unsuccessfully reach Attorney General John Ashcroft.57
Shortly after the first call, Barbara Olson reached her husband again. She
reported that the pilot had announced that the flight had been hijacked, and
she asked her husband what she should tell the captain do.Ted Olson asked
for her location and she replied that the aircraft was then flying over houses.
Another passenger told her they were traveling northeast.The Solicitor General then informed his wife the two previous hijackings and crashes. She did
not display signs panic and did not indicate any awareness impending
crash.At that point, the second call was cut off.58 9:29, the autopilot American was disengaged; the aircraft was
7,000 feet and approximately miles west the Pentagon.59 9:32, controllers the Dulles Terminal Radar Approach Control observed primary
radar target tracking eastbound high rate speed. This was later determined have been Flight 77. 9:34,Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport advised the Secret Service unknown aircraft heading the direction the White House.American was then miles west-southwest the Pentagon and began
330-degree turn. the end the turn, was descending through 2,200 feet,
pointed toward the Pentagon and downtown Washington.The hijacker pilot then
advanced the throttles maximum power and dove toward the Pentagon.60
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT 9:37:46, American Airlines Flight crashed into the Pentagon, traveling approximately 530 miles per hour.61 All board, well many civilian and military personnel the building, were killed.
The Battle for United 8:42, United Airlines Flight took off from Newark (New Jersey) Liberty
International Airport bound for San Francisco.The aircraft was piloted Captain Jason Dahl and First Officer Leroy Homer, and there were five flight attendants. Thirty-seven passengers, including the hijackers, boarded the plane.
Scheduled depart the gate 8:00, the Boeing 757 takeoff was delayed
because the airport typically heavy morning traffic.62
The hijackers had planned take flights scheduled depart 7:45 (American 11), 8:00 (United 175 and United 93), and 8:10 (American 77). Three
the flights had actually taken off within minutes their planned
departure times. United would ordinarily have taken off about minutes
after pulling away from the gate.When left the ground 8:42, the flight was
running more than minutes late.63 United left Newark, the flight crew members were unaware the
hijacking American 11.Around 9:00, the FAA,American, and United were
facing the staggering realization apparent multiple hijackings. 9:03, they
would see another aircraft strike the World Trade Center. Crisis managers
the FAA and the airlines did not yet act warn other aircraft.64 the same
time, Boston Center realized that message transmitted just before 8:25 the
hijacker pilot American included the phrase, have some planes. one the FAA the airlines that day had ever dealt with multiple
hijackings. Such plot had not been carried out anywhere the world more
than years, and never the United States.As news the hijackings filtered
through the FAA and the airlines, does not seem have occurred their
leadership that they needed alert other aircraft the air that they too might risk.66
United 175 was hijacked between 8:42 and 8:46, and awareness that
hijacking began spread after 8:51. American was hijacked between 8:51
and 8:54. 9:00, FAA and airline officials began comprehend that attackers were going after multiple aircraft. American Airlines nationwide ground
stop between 9:05 and 9:10 was followed United Airlines ground stop.
FAA controllers Boston Center, which had tracked the first two hijackings,
requested 9:07 that Herndon Command Center get messages airborne
aircraft increase security for the cockpit. There evidence that Herndon took such action. Boston Center immediately began speculating about
other aircraft that might danger, leading them worry about transcontinental flight Delta 1989 that fact was not hijacked. 9:19, the FAA
New England regional office called Herndon and asked that Cleveland Center advise Delta 1989 use extra cockpit security.67
Several FAA air traffic control officials told was the air carriers responsibility notify their planes security problems. One senior FAA air traffic
control manager said that was simply not the FAA place order the airlines what tell their pilots.68 believe such statements not reflect
adequate appreciation the FAA responsibility for the safety and security
civil aviation.
The airlines bore responsibility, too.They were facing escalating number conflicting and, for the most part, erroneous reports about other flights,
well continuing lack vital information from the FAA about the hijacked
flights.We found evidence, however, that American Airlines sent any cockpit warnings its aircraft 9/11. United first decisive action notify its
airborne aircraft take defensive action did not come until 9:19, when
United flight dispatcher, Ballinger, took the initiative begin transmitting
warnings his transcontinental flights: Beware any cockpit intrusion 
Two a/c [aircraft] hit World Trade Center. One the flights that received
the warning was United 93. Because Ballinger was still responsible for his
other flights well Flight 175, his warning message was not transmitted
Flight until 9:23.69 all accounts, the first minutes Flight cross-country trip proceeded routinely. Radio communications from the plane were normal. Heading, speed, and altitude ran according plan. 9:24, Ballinger warning
United was received the cockpit.Within two minutes, 9:26, the pilot,
Jason Dahl, responded with note puzzlement: Ed, confirm latest mssg
plz Jason.
The hijackers attacked 9:28. While traveling 35,000 feet above eastern
Ohio, United suddenly dropped 700 feet. Eleven seconds into the descent,
the FAA air traffic control center Cleveland received the first two radio
transmissions from the aircraft. During the first broadcast, the captain first
officer could heard declaring Mayday amid the sounds physical struggle the cockpit. The second radio transmission, seconds later, indicated
that the fight was continuing.The captain first officer could heard shouting: Hey get out here get out here get out here. the morning 9/11, there were only passengers United addition the hijackers.This was below the norm for Tuesday mornings
during the summer 2001. But there evidence that the hijackers manipulated passenger levels purchased additional seats facilitate their operation.72
The terrorists who hijacked three other commercial flights 9/11 operated five-man teams.They initiated their cockpit takeover within minutes takeoff. Flight 93, however, the takeover took place minutes after
takeoff and there were only four hijackers. The operative likely intended
round out the team for this flight, Mohamed Kahtani, had been refused entry suspicious immigration inspector Florida Orlando International Airport August.73
Because several passengers United described three hijackers the
plane, not four, some have wondered whether one the hijackers had been
able use the cockpit jump seat from the outset the flight. FAA rules allow
use this seat documented and approved individuals, usually air carrier
FAA personnel.We have found evidence indicating that one the hijackers, anyone else, sat there this flight. All the hijackers had assigned seats first class, and they seem have used them.We believe more likely that
Jarrah, the crucial pilot-trained member their team, remained seated and
inconspicuous until after the cockpit was seized; and once inside, would not
have been visible the passengers.74 9:32, hijacker, probably Jarrah, made attempted make the following announcement the passengers Flight 93: Ladies and Gentlemen: Here
the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting.We have bomb board.
So, sit. The flight data recorder (also recovered) indicates that Jarrah then
instructed the plane autopilot turn the aircraft around and head east.75
The cockpit voice recorder data indicate that woman, most likely flight
attendant, was being held captive the cockpit. She struggled with one the
hijackers who killed otherwise silenced her.76
Shortly thereafter, the passengers and flight crew began series calls from
GTE airphones and cellular phones. These calls between family, friends, and
colleagues took place until the end the flight and provided those the
ground with firsthand accounts. They enabled the passengers gain critical
information, including the news that two aircraft had slammed into the World
Trade Center.77 9:39, the FAA Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center overheard second announcement indicating that there was bomb board, that the
plane was returning the airport, and that they should remain seated.78 While apparently was not heard the passengers, this announcement, like those
Flight and Flight 77, was intended deceive them. Jarrah, like Atta earlier,
may have inadvertently broadcast the message because did not know how operate the radio and the intercom.To our knowledge none them had
ever flown actual airliner before. least two callers from the flight reported that the hijackers knew that passengers were making calls but did not seem care. quite possible Jarrah
knew the success the assault the World Trade Center. could have
learned this from messages being sent United Airlines the cockpits
its transcontinental flights, including Flight 93, warning cockpit intrusion
and telling the New York attacks. But even without them, would certainly have understood that the attacks the World Trade Center would
already have unfolded, given Flight tardy departure from Newark. Jarrah did know that the passengers were making calls, might not have occurred him that they were certain learn what had happened New York, thereby
defeating his attempts deception.79
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES least ten passengers and two crew members shared vital information with
family, friends, colleagues, others the ground. All understood the plane
had been hijacked. They said the hijackers wielded knives and claimed have bomb.The hijackers were wearing red bandanas, and they forced the passengers the back the aircraft.80
Callers reported that passenger had been stabbed and that two people were
lying the floor the cabin, injured dead possibly the captain and first
officer. One caller reported that flight attendant had been killed.81
One the callers from United also reported that thought the hijackers might possess gun. But none the other callers reported the presence firearm. One recipient call from the aircraft recounted specifically asking her caller whether the hijackers had guns.The passenger replied that did
not see one. evidence firearms their identifiable remains was found the aircraft crash site, and the cockpit voice recorder gives indication gun being fired mentioned any time.We believe that the hijackers had
possessed gun, they would have used the flight last minutes the passengers fought back.82
Passengers three flights reported the hijackers claim having bomb.
The FBI told they found trace explosives the crash sites. One
the passengers who mentioned bomb expressed his belief that was not real.
Lacking any evidence that the hijackers attempted smuggle such illegal
items past the security screening checkpoints, believe the bombs were
probably fake.83
During least five the passengers phone calls, information was shared
about the attacks that had occurred earlier that morning the World Trade
Center. Five calls described the intent passengers and surviving crew members revolt against the hijackers. According one call, they voted
whether rush the terrorists attempt retake the plane. They decided,
and acted.84 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated
phone calls with loved ones order join the revolt. One the callers
ended her message follows: Everyone running first class. got
go. Bye.
The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds the passenger assault
muffled the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened the recording report that they can hear the voice loved one among the
din. cannot identify whose voices can heard. But the assault was sustained.86 response, Jarrah immediately began roll the airplane the left and
right, attempting knock the passengers off balance. 9:58:57, Jarrah told
another hijacker the cockpit block the door. Jarrah continued roll the
airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. 9:59:52, Jarrah
changed tactics and pitched the nose the airplane and down disrupt
the assault.The recorder captured the sounds loud thumps, crashes, shouts,
and breaking glasses and plates.At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.87
Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, that it? Shall finish off? hijacker
responded, No. Not yet.When they all come, finish off. The sounds
fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose the
aircraft and down.At 10:00:26, passenger the background said, the
cockpit. don die! Sixteen seconds later, passenger yelled, Roll
it! Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers about 10:01:00 and said, Allah
the greatest! Allah the greatest! then asked another hijacker the cockpit, that it? mean, shall put down? which the other replied, Yes,
put it, and pull down.
The passengers continued their assault and 10:02:23, hijacker said, Pull down! Pull down! The hijackers remained the controls but must have
judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them.The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard the right.The airplane rolled onto its back, and one the hijackers began shouting Allah
the greatest. Allah the greatest. With the sounds the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into empty field Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 580 miles per hour, about minutes flying time from
Washington, D.C.89
Jarrah objective was crash his airliner into symbols the American
Republic, the Capitol the White House. was defeated the alerted,
unarmed passengers United 93.
The FAA and NORAD 9/11, the defense U.S. airspace depended close interaction between
two federal agencies: the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD).The most recent hijacking that involved U.S. air traffic controllers, FAA management, and military coordination had occurred
1993.90 order understand how the two agencies interacted eight years
later, will review their missions, command and control structures, and working relationship the morning 9/11.
FAA Mission and Structure. September 11, 2001, the FAA was mandated law regulate the safety and security civil aviation. From air
traffic controller perspective, that meant maintaining safe distance between
airborne aircraft.91
Many controllers work the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers.
They are grouped under regional offices and coordinate closely with the
national Air Traffic Control System Command Center, located Herndon,
New York
Indianapolis Center
FAA Air Traffic Control Centers
Northeast Air
Defense Sector
Air Force
Air Force Base
Continental Aerospace
Command Region (CONR)
Reporting structure, Northeast Air Defense Sector
Graphics courtesy ESRI
Virginia, which oversees daily traffic flow within the entire airspace system.
FAA headquarters ultimately responsible for the management the
National Airspace System.The Operations Center located FAA headquarters
receives notifications incidents, including accidents and hijackings.92
FAA Control Centers often receive information and make operational decisions independently one another. 9/11, the four hijacked aircraft were
monitored mainly the centers Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. Each center thus had part the knowledge what was going
across the system.What Boston knew was not necessarily known centers
New York, Cleveland, Indianapolis, for that matter the Command
Center Herndon FAA headquarters Washington.
Controllers track airliners such the four aircraft hijacked 9/11 primarily watching the data from signal emitted each aircraft transponder
equipment.Those four planes, like all aircraft traveling above 10,000 feet, were
required emit unique transponder signal while flight.93 9/11, the terrorists turned off the transponders three the four
hijacked aircraft.With its transponder off, possible, though more difficult, track aircraft its primary radar returns. But unlike transponder data,
primary radar returns not show the aircraft identity and altitude. Controllers centers rely heavily transponder signals that they usually not
display primary radar returns their radar scopes. But they can change the
configuration their scopes they can see primary radar returns.They did this 9/11 when the transponder signals for three the aircraft disappeared.94
Before 9/11, was not unheard for commercial aircraft deviate
slightly from its course, for FAA controller lose radio contact with
pilot for short period time. controller could also briefly lose commercial aircraft transponder signal, although this happened much less frequently.
However, the simultaneous loss radio and transponder signal would rare
and alarming occurrence, and would normally indicate catastrophic system
failure aircraft crash. all these instances, the job the controller was reach out the aircraft, the parent company the aircraft, and other planes the vicinity attempt reestablish communications and set the aircraft
back course.Alarm bells would not start ringing until these efforts which
could take five minutes more were tried and had failed.95
NORAD Mission and Structure. NORAD binational command established 1958 between the United States and Canada. Its mission was, and is, defend the airspace North America and protect the continent.That mission does not distinguish between internal and external threats; but because
NORAD was created counter the Soviet threat, came define its job
defending against external attacks.96
The threat Soviet bombers diminished significantly the Cold War
ended, and the number NORAD alert sites was reduced from its Cold War
high 26. Some within the Pentagon argued the 1990s that the alert sites
should eliminated entirely. effort preserve their mission, members the air defense community advocated the importance air sovereignty
against emerging asymmetric threats the United States: drug smuggling,
 non-state and state-sponsored terrorists, and the proliferation weapons
mass destruction and ballistic missile technology.97
NORAD perceived the dominant threat from cruise missiles. Other
threats were identified during the late 1990s, including terrorists use aircraft weapons. Exercises were conducted counter this threat, but they were not
based actual intelligence. most instances, the main concern was the use such aircraft deliver weapons mass destruction.
Prior 9/11, was understood that order shoot down commercial aircraft would have issued the National Command Authority
phrase used describe the president and secretary defense). Exercise planners also assumed that the aircraft would originate from outside the United
States, allowing time identify the target and scramble interceptors.The threat terrorists hijacking commercial airliners within the United States and using
them guided missiles was not recognized NORAD before 9/11.98
Notwithstanding the identification these emerging threats, 9/11 there
were only seven alert sites left the United States, each with two fighter aircraft alert.This led some NORAD commanders worry that NORAD
was not postured adequately protect the United States.99 the United States, NORAD divided into three sectors. 9/11, all
the hijacked aircraft were NORAD Northeast Air Defense Sector (also
known NEADS), which based Rome, New York. That morning
NEADS could call two alert sites, each with one pair ready fighters: Otis
Air National Guard Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Langley Air Force
Base Hampton,Virginia.100 Other facilities, not alert, would need time arm the fighters and organize crews.
NEADS reported the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR)
headquarters, Panama City, Florida, which turn reported NORAD
headquarters, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Interagency Collaboration. The FAA and NORAD had developed protocols for working together the event hijacking.As they existed 9/11,
the protocols for the FAA obtain military assistance from NORAD
required multiple levels notification and approval the highest levels government.101
FAA guidance controllers hijack procedures assumed that the aircraft
pilot would notify the controller via radio squawking transponder code 7500 the universal code for hijack progress. Controllers would notify
their supervisors, who turn would inform management all the way FAA
headquarters Washington.Headquarters had hijack coordinator,who was the
director the FAA Office Civil Aviation Security his her designate.102 hijack was confirmed, procedures called for the hijack coordinator
duty contact the Pentagon National Military Command Center (NMCC)
and ask for military escort aircraft follow the flight, report anything
unusual, and aid search and rescue the event emergency.The NMCC
would then seek approval from the Office the Secretary Defense provide military assistance. approval was given, the orders would transmitted
down NORAD chain command.103
The NMCC would keep the FAA hijack coordinator date and help
the FAA centers coordinate directly with the military. NORAD would receive
tracking information for the hijacked aircraft either from joint use radar from
the relevant FAA air traffic control facility. Every attempt would made
have the hijacked aircraft squawk 7500 help NORAD track it.104
The protocols did not contemplate intercept.They assumed the fighter
escort would discreet, vectored position five miles directly behind the
hijacked aircraft, where could perform its mission monitor the aircraft
flight path.105 sum, the protocols place 9/11 for the FAA and NORAD
respond hijacking presumed that
 the hijacked aircraft would readily identifiable and would not
attempt disappear;
 there would time address the problem through the appropriate
FAA and NORAD chains command; and
 the hijacking would take the traditional form: that is, would not suicide hijacking designed convert the aircraft into guided
missile. the morning 9/11, the existing protocol was unsuited every respect
for what was about happen.
American Airlines Flight
FAA Awareness. Although the Boston Center air traffic controller realized early stage that there was something wrong with American 11, did not
immediately interpret the plane failure respond sign that had been
hijacked. 8:14, when the flight failed heed his instruction climb
35,000 feet, the controller repeatedly tried raise the flight. reached out the pilot the emergency frequency. Though there was response,
kept trying contact the aircraft.106 8:21,American turned off its transponder, immediately degrading the
information available about the aircraft.The controller told his supervisor that thought something was seriously wrong with the plane, although neither
suspected hijacking.The supervisor instructed the controller follow standard procedures for handling radio aircraft.107
The controller checked see American Airlines could establish communication with American 11. became even more concerned its route
changed, moving into another sector airspace. Controllers immediately began move aircraft out its path, and asked other aircraft the vicinity look
for American 11.108 8:24:38, the following transmission came from American 11:
American 11: have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you okay. are returning the airport.
The controller only heard something unintelligible; did not hear the specific words have some planes. The next transmission came seconds later:
American 11: Nobody move. Everything will okay. you try make
any moves, you endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.109
The controller told that then knew was hijacking. alerted his
supervisor, who assigned another controller assist him. redoubled his
efforts ascertain the flight altitude. Because the controller didn understand
the initial transmission, the manager Boston Center instructed his quality
assurance specialist pull the tape the radio transmission, listen
closely, and report back.110
Between 8:25 and 8:32, accordance with the FAA protocol, Boston Center managers started notifying their chain command that American had
been hijacked.At 8:28, Boston Center called the Command Center Herndon advise that believed American had been hijacked and was heading toward
New York Center airspace. this time,American had taken dramatic turn the south.At 8:32,
the Command Center passed word possible hijacking the Operations
Center FAA headquarters.The duty officer replied that security personnel headquarters had just begun discussing the apparent hijack conference
call with the New England regional office. FAA headquarters began follow
the hijack protocol but did not contact the NMCC request fighter
The Herndon Command Center immediately established teleconference between Boston, New York, and Cleveland Centers that Boston
Center could help the others understand what was happening.112 8:34, the Boston Center controller received third transmission from
American 11:
American 11: Nobody move please.We are going back the airport.
Don try make any stupid moves.113
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT the succeeding minutes, controllers were attempting ascertain the altitude the southbound flight.114
Military Notification and Response. Boston Center did not follow the
protocol seeking military assistance through the prescribed chain command. addition notifications within the FAA, Boston Center took the initiative, 8:34, contact the military through the FAA Cape Cod facility.
The center also tried contact former alert site Atlantic City, unaware
had been phased out. 8:37:52, Boston Center reached NEADS. This was
the first notification received the military any level that American
had been hijacked:115
FAA: Hi. Boston Center TMU [Traffic Management Unit], have
problem here.We have hijacked aircraft headed towards New York,
and need you guys to, need someone scramble some F-16s something there, help out.
NEADS: this real-world exercise?
FAA: No, this not exercise, not test.116
NEADS ordered battle stations the two F-15 alert aircraft Otis Air
Force Base Falmouth, Massachusetts, 153 miles away from New York City.
The air defense America began with this call.117 NEADS, the report the hijacking was relayed immediately Battle
Commander Colonel Robert Marr. After ordering the Otis fighters battle
stations, Colonel Marr phoned Major General Larry Arnold, commanding
general the First Air Force and NORAD Continental Region. Marr sought
authorization scramble the Otis fighters. General Arnold later recalled
instructing Marr ahead and scramble them, and get authorities
later. General Arnold then called NORAD headquarters report.118
F-15 fighters were scrambled 8:46 from Otis Air Force Base. But NEADS
did not know where send the alert fighter aircraft, and the officer directing
the fighters pressed for more information: don know where scrambling
these guys to. need direction, destination. Because the hijackers had
turned off the plane transponder, NEADS personnel spent the next minutes
searching their radar scopes for the primary radar return. American struck
the North Tower 8:46. Shortly after 8:50, while NEADS personnel were still
trying locate the flight, word reached them that plane had hit the World
Trade Center.119
Radar data show the Otis fighters were airborne 8:53. Lacking target,
they were vectored toward military-controlled airspace off the Long Island
coast.To avoid New York area air traffic and uncertain about what do, the
fighters were brought down military airspace hold needed. From 9:09 9:13, the Otis fighters stayed this holding pattern.120
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES summary, NEADS received notice the hijacking nine minutes before struck the North Tower. That nine minutes notice before impact was the
most the military would receive any the four hijackings.121
United Airlines Flight 175
FAA Awareness. One the last transmissions from United Airlines Flight
175 is, retrospect, chilling. 8:40, controllers the FAA New York Center were seeking information American 11. approximately 8:42, shortly
after entering New York Center airspace, the pilot United 175 broke
with the following transmission:
UAL 175: New York UAL 175 heavy.
FAA: UAL 175 ahead.
UAL 175:Yeah.We figured wait your center.Ah, heard suspicious transmission our departure out Boston, ah, with
someone, ah, sounded like someone keyed the mikes and said
everyone stay your seats.
FAA: Oh, okay. pass that along over here.122
Minutes later, United 175 turned southwest without clearance from air traffic control. 8:47, seconds after the impact American 11, United 175
transponder code changed, and then changed again. These changes were not
noticed for several minutes, however, because the same New York Center controller was assigned both American and United 175.The controller knew
American was hijacked; was focused searching for after the aircraft
disappeared 8:46.123 8:48, while the controller was still trying locate American 11, New
York Center manager provided the following report Command Center
teleconference about American 11:
Manager, New York Center: Okay. This New York Center.
watching the airplane. also had conversation with American Airlines, and they told that they believe that one their stewardesses was stabbed and that there are people the cockpit that
have control the aircraft, and that all the information they have
right now.124
The New York Center controller and manager were unaware that American had already crashed. 8:51, the controller noticed the transponder change from United 175 and
tried contact the aircraft.There was response. Beginning 8:52, the controller made repeated attempts reach the crew United 175. Still
response.The controller checked his radio equipment and contacted another
controller 8:53, saying that may have hijack and that could not
find the aircraft.125
Another commercial aircraft the vicinity then radioed with reports
over the radio commuter plane hitting the World Trade Center. The controller spent the next several minutes handing off the other flights his scope other controllers and moving aircraft out the way the unidentified aircraft (believed United 175) moved southwest and then turned
northeast toward New York City.126 about 8:55, the controller charge notified New York Center manager that she believed United 175 had also been hijacked.The manager tried notify the regional managers and was told that they were discussing
hijacked aircraft (presumably American 11) and refused disturbed.At 8:58,
the New York Center controller searching for United 175 told another New
York controller might have hijack over here, two them. 127
Between 9:01 and 9:02, manager from New York Center told the Command Center Herndon:
Manager, New York Center: have several situations going here.
escalating big, big time.We need get the military involved with us. re, involved with something else, have other aircraft that
may have similar situation going here.128
The other aircraft referred New York Center was United 175. Evidence indicates that this conversation was the only notice received either
FAA headquarters the Herndon Command Center prior the second crash
that there had been second hijacking.
While the Command Center was told about this other aircraft 9:01,
New York Center contacted New York terminal approach control and asked
for help locating United 175.
Terminal: got somebody who keeps coasting but looks like going
into one the small airports down there.
Center: Hold second. trying bring him here and get
you There right there. Hold on.
Terminal: Got him just out 9,500 9,000 now.
Center: you know who is?
Terminal: just, just don know who is.We just picking him now.
Center (at 9:02): Alright. Heads man, looks like another one coming in.129
The controllers observed the plane rapid descent; the radar data terminated over Lower Manhattan. 9:03, United 175 crashed into the South
Meanwhile, manager from Boston Center reported that they had deciphered what they had heard one the first hijacker transmissions from
American 11:
Boston Center: Hey you still there?
New England Region: Yes, am.
Boston Center: far the tape, Bobby seemed think the guy
said that have planes. Now, don know was because was
the accent, there more than one, but gonna, gonna
reconfirm that for you, and get back you real quick. Okay?
New England Region: Appreciate it.
Unidentified Female Voice: They have what?
Boston Center: Planes, plural.
Boston Center: sounds like, talking New York, that there
another one aimed the World Trade Center.
New England Region: There another aircraft?
Boston Center: second one just hit the Trade Center.
New England Region: Okay.Yeah, gotta get gotta alert the
military real quick this.131
Boston Center immediately advised the New England Region that was
going stop all departures airports under its control. 9:05, Boston Center confirmed for both the FAA Command Center and the New England
Region that the hijackers aboard American said have planes. the
same time, New York Center declared ATC zero meaning that aircraft were
not permitted depart from, arrive at, travel through New York Center
airspace until further notice.132
Within minutes the second impact, Boston Center instructed its controllers inform all aircraft its airspace the events New York and
advise aircraft heighten cockpit security. Boston Center asked the Herndon
Command Center issue similar cockpit security alert nationwide.We have
found evidence suggest that the Command Center acted this request issued any type cockpit security alert.133
Military Notification and Response. The first indication that the
NORAD air defenders had the second hijacked aircraft, United 175, came phone call from New York Center NEADS 9:03.The notice came
about the time the plane was hitting the South Tower.134 9:08, the mission crew commander NEADS learned the second
explosion the World Trade Center and decided against holding the fighters military airspace away from Manhattan:
Mission Crew Commander, NEADS: This what foresee that
probably need do.We need talk FAA.We need tell
this stuff gonna keep going, need take those fighters, put over Manhattan.That best thing, that the best play right now. coordinate with the FAA.Tell there more out there, which don know, let get over Manhattan.At least got some kind play.135
The FAA cleared the airspace. Radar data show that 9:13, when the Otis
fighters were about 115 miles away from the city, the fighters exited their holding pattern and set course direct for Manhattan. They arrived 9:25 and
established combat air patrol (CAP) over the city.136
Because the Otis fighters had expended great deal fuel flying first
military airspace and then New York, the battle commanders were concerned about refueling. NEADS considered scrambling alert fighters from Langley Air Force Base Virginia New York, provide backup.The Langley
fighters were placed battle stations 9:09.137 NORAD had indication
that any other plane had been hijacked.
American Airlines Flight
FAA Awareness. American began deviating from its flight plan 8:54,
with slight turn toward the south.Two minutes later, disappeared completely
from radar Indianapolis Center, which was controlling the flight.138
The controller tracking American told noticed the aircraft turning the southwest, and then saw the data disappear.The controller looked
for primary radar returns. searched along the plane projected flight path
and the airspace the southwest where had started turn. primary targets appeared. tried the radios, first calling the aircraft directly, then the airline.Again there was nothing.At this point, the Indianapolis controller had
knowledge the situation New York. did not know that other aircraft
had been hijacked. believed American had experienced serious electrical mechanical failure, both, and was gone.139
Shortly after 9:00, Indianapolis Center started notifying other agencies that
American was missing and had possibly crashed.At 9:08, Indianapolis Center asked Air Force Search and Rescue Langley Air Force Base look for
downed aircraft.The center also contacted the West Virginia State Police and
asked whether any reports downed aircraft had been received. 9:09,
reported the loss contact the FAA regional center, which passed this information FAA headquarters 9:24.140 9:20, Indianapolis Center learned that there were other hijacked aircraft,
and began doubt its initial assumption that American had crashed.A discussion this concern between the manager Indianapolis and the Command Center Herndon prompted notify some FAA field facilities that
American was lost. 9:21, the Command Center, some FAA field facilities, and American Airlines had started search for American 77.They feared
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES had been hijacked. 9:25, the Command Center advised FAA headquarters the situation.141
The failure find primary radar return for American led investigate this issue further. Radar reconstructions performed after 9/11 reveal that
FAA radar equipment tracked the flight from the moment its transponder was
turned off 8:56. But for minutes and seconds, between 8:56 and 9:05,
this primary radar information American was not displayed controllers Indianapolis Center.142 The reasons are technical, arising from the way the
software processed radar information, well from poor primary radar coverage where American was flying.
According the radar reconstruction,American reemerged primary
target Indianapolis Center radar scopes 9:05, east its last known position.The target remained Indianapolis Center airspace for another six minutes, then crossed into the western portion Washington Center airspace
9:10.As Indianapolis Center continued searching for the aircraft, two managers
and the controller responsible for American looked the west and southwest along the flight projected path, not east where the aircraft was now
heading. Managers did not instruct other controllers Indianapolis Center
turn their primary radar coverage join the search for American 77.143 sum, Indianapolis Center never saw Flight turn around. the time reappeared primary radar coverage, controllers had either stopped looking for the aircraft because they thought had crashed were looking toward
the west. Although the Command Center learned Flight was missing, neither nor FAA headquarters issued all points bulletin surrounding centers search for primary radar targets. American traveled undetected for minutes course heading due east for Washington, D.C.144 9:25, FAA Herndon Command Center and FAA headquarters knew
two aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center.They knew American
was lost. least some FAA officials Boston Center and the New England
Region knew that hijacker board American had said have some
planes. Concerns over the safety other aircraft began mount.A manager
the Herndon Command Center asked FAA headquarters they wanted order nationwide ground stop. While this was being discussed executives FAA
headquarters, the Command Center ordered one 9:25.145
The Command Center kept looking for American 77. 9:21, advised the
Dulles terminal control facility, and Dulles urged its controllers look for primary targets. 9:32, they found one. Several the Dulles controllers
 observed primary radar target tracking eastbound high rate speed and
notified Reagan National Airport. FAA personnel both Reagan National and
Dulles airports notified the Secret Service. The aircraft identity type was
Reagan National controllers then vectored unarmed National Guard C130H cargo aircraft, which had just taken off route Minnesota, iden-
tify and follow the suspicious aircraft.The C-130H pilot spotted it, identified Boeing 757, attempted follow its path, and 9:38, seconds after
impact, reported the control tower: looks like that aircraft crashed into the
Pentagon sir. 147
Military Notification and Response. NORAD heard nothing about the
search for American 77. Instead, the NEADS air defenders heard renewed
reports about plane that longer existed: American 11. 9:21, NEADS received report from the FAA:
FAA: Military, Boston Center. just had report that American still the air, and its way towards heading towards Washington.
NEADS: Okay. American still the air?
FAA: Yes.
NEADS: its way towards Washington?
FAA: That was another was evidently another aircraft that hit the
tower.That the latest report have.
NEADS: Okay.
FAA: going try confirm for you, but would assume somewhere over, uh, either New Jersey somewhere further
NEADS: Okay. American isn the hijack all then, right?
FAA: No, hijack.
NEADS: American hijack?
FAA: Yes.
NEADS: And heading into Washington?
FAA: Yes.This could third aircraft.148
The mention third aircraft was not reference American 77.There
was confusion that moment the FAA.Two planes had struck the World
Trade Center, and Boston Center had heard from FAA headquarters Washington that American was still airborne.We have been unable identify the
source this mistaken FAA information.
The NEADS technician who took this call from the FAA immediately
passed the word the mission crew commander, who reported the
NEADS battle commander:
Mission Crew Commander, NEADS: Okay, uh, American Airlines
still airborne. Eleven, the first guy, heading towards Washington.
Okay? think need scramble Langley right now.And gonna
take the fighters from Otis, try chase this guy down can find
After consulting with NEADS command, the crew commander issued the
order 9:23: Okay scramble Langley. Head them towards the Washington
area. [I]f they there then run them. .These guys are smart. 
That order was processed and transmitted Langley Air Force Base 9:24.
Radar data show the Langley fighters airborne 9:30. NEADS decided
keep the Otis fighters over New York.The heading the Langley fighters was
adjusted send them the Baltimore area. The mission crew commander
explained that the purpose was position the Langley fighters between
the reported southbound American and the nation capital.150 the suggestion the Boston Center military liaison, NEADS contacted
the FAA Washington Center ask about American 11. the course the
conversation, Washington Center manager informed NEADS: looking also lost American 77. The time was 9:34.151 This was the first notice the military that American was missing, and had come chance.
NEADS had not placed that call, the NEADS air defenders would have
received information whatsoever that the flight was even missing, although
the FAA had been searching for it. one FAA headquarters ever asked for
military assistance with American 77. 9:36, the FAA Boston Center called NEADS and relayed the discovery
about unidentified aircraft closing Washington: Latest report.Aircraft
VFR [visual flight rules] six miles southeast the White House. Six, southwest. Six, southwest the White House, deviating away. This startling news
prompted the mission crew commander NEADS take immediate control the airspace clear flight path for the Langley fighters: Okay, going turn crank up. Run them the White House. then discovered, his surprise, that the Langley fighters were not headed north toward
the Baltimore area instructed, but east over the ocean. don care how many
windows you break, said. Damn it. Okay. Push them back. 152
The Langley fighters were heading east, not north, for three reasons. First,
unlike normal scramble order, this order did not include distance the target the target location. Second, generic flight plan prepared get the
aircraft airborne and out local airspace quickly incorrectly led the Langley fighters believe they were ordered fly due east (090) for miles.Third,
the lead pilot and local FAA controller incorrectly assumed the flight plan
instruction 090 for superseded the original scramble order.153
After the 9:36 call NEADS about the unidentified aircraft few miles
from the White House, the Langley fighters were ordered Washington, D.C.
Controllers NEADS located unknown primary radar track, but kind faded over Washington.The time was 9:38.The Pentagon had been struck American 9:37:46.The Langley fighters were about 150 miles away.154
Right after the Pentagon was hit, NEADS learned another possible
hijacked aircraft. was aircraft that fact had not been hijacked all.After
the second World Trade Center crash, Boston Center managers recognized that
both aircraft were transcontinental 767 jetliners that had departed Logan Airport. Remembering the have some planes remark, Boston Center
guessed that Delta 1989 might also hijacked. Boston Center called NEADS 9:41 and identified Delta 1989, 767 jet that had left Logan Airport for Las
Vegas, possible hijack. NEADS warned the FAA Cleveland Center
watch Delta 1989.The Command Center and FAA headquarters watched
too. During the course the morning, there were multiple erroneous reports hijacked aircraft. The report American heading south was the first;
Delta 1989 was the second.155
NEADS never lost track Delta 1989, and even ordered fighter aircraft
from Ohio and Michigan intercept it. The flight never turned off its
transponder. NEADS soon learned that the aircraft was not hijacked, and
tracked Delta 1989 reversed course over Toledo, headed east, and landed Cleveland.156 But another aircraft was heading toward Washington, aircraft about which NORAD had heard nothing: United 93.
United Airlines Flight
FAA Awareness. 9:27, after having been the air for minutes, United acknowledged transmission from the Cleveland Center controller.This was
the last normal contact the FAA had with the flight.157
Less than minute later, the Cleveland controller and the pilots aircraft the vicinity heard radio transmission unintelligible sounds possible
screaming struggle from unknown origin. 158
The controller responded, seconds later: Somebody call Cleveland? This
was followed second radio transmission, with sounds screaming. The
Cleveland Center controllers began try identify the possible source the
transmissions, and noticed that United had descended some 700 feet.The
controller attempted again raise United several times, with response. 9:30, the controller began poll the other flights his frequency determine they had heard the screaming; several said they had.159 9:32, third radio transmission came over the frequency: Keep remaining sitting.We have bomb board. The controller understood, but chose respond: Calling Cleveland Center, you unreadable. Say again, slowly. notified his supervisor, who passed the notice the chain command. 9:34, word the hijacking had reached FAA headquarters.160
FAA headquarters had this time established open line communication with the Command Center Herndon and instructed poll all its
centers about suspect aircraft.The Command Center executed the request and, minute later, Cleveland Center reported that United may have bomb board. 9:34, the Command Center relayed the information concerning
United FAA headquarters.At approximately 9:36, Cleveland advised the
Command Center that was still tracking United and specifically inquired
whether someone had requested the military launch fighter aircraft intercept the aircraft. Cleveland even told the Command Center was prepared
contact nearby military base make the request.The Command Center told
Cleveland that FAA personnel well above them the chain command had make the decision seek military assistance and were working the issue.161
Between 9:34 and 9:38, the Cleveland controller observed United climbing 40,700 feet and immediately moved several aircraft out its way.The controller continued try contact United 93, and asked whether the pilot could
confirm that had been hijacked.162 There was response.
Then, 9:39, fourth radio transmission was heard from United 93:
Ziad Jarrah: Uh, this the captain.Would like you all remain seated.
There bomb board and are going back the airport, and
have our demands [unintelligible]. Please remain quiet.
The controller responded: United 93, understand you have bomb
board. ahead. The flight did not respond.163
From 9:34 10:08, Command Center facility manager provided frequent
updates Acting Deputy Administrator Monte Belger and other executives
FAA headquarters United headed toward Washington, D.C. 9:41,
Cleveland Center lost United transponder signal. The controller located primary radar, matched its position with visual sightings from other aircraft, and tracked the flight turned east, then south.164 9:42, the Command Center learned from news reports that plane had
struck the Pentagon.The Command Center national operations manager, Ben
Sliney, ordered all FAA facilities instruct all aircraft land the nearest
airport.This was unprecedented order.The air traffic control system handled with great skill, about 4,500 commercial and general aviation aircraft
soon landed without incident.165 9:46 the Command Center updated FAA headquarters that United
was now twenty-nine minutes out Washington, D.C. 9:49, minutes after Cleveland Center had asked about getting military help, the Command Center suggested that someone headquarters should
decide whether request military assistance:
FAA Headquarters: They pulling Jeff away talk about United
Command Center: Uh, want think, uh, about scrambling
FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, don know.
Command Center: Uh, that decision somebody gonna have
make probably the next ten minutes.
FAA Headquarters: Uh, know everybody just left the room.166 9:53, FAA headquarters informed the Command Center that the deputy
director for air traffic services was talking Monte Belger about scrambling
aircraft. Then the Command Center informed headquarters that controllers
had lost track United over the Pittsburgh area.Within seconds, the Command Center received visual report from another aircraft, and informed headquarters that the aircraft was miles northwest Johnstown. United was
spotted another aircraft, and, 10:01, the Command Center advised FAA
headquarters that one the aircraft had seen United waving his wings. 
The aircraft had witnessed the hijackers efforts defeat the passengers counterattack.167
United crashed Pennsylvania 10:03:11, 125 miles from Washington,
D.C. The precise crash time has been the subject some dispute.The 10:03:11
impact time supported previous National Transportation Safety Board
analysis and evidence from the Commission staff analysis radar, the flight
data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder, infrared satellite data, and air traffic
control transmissions.168
Five minutes later, the Command Center forwarded this update headquarters:
Command Center: O.K. Uh, there now that United 93.
FAA Headquarters: Yes.
Command Center: There report black smoke the last position gave you, fifteen miles south Johnstown.
FAA Headquarters: From the airplane from the ground?
Command Center: Uh, they speculating from the aircraft.
FAA Headquarters: Okay.
Command Center: Uh, who, hit the ground.That what they speculating, that speculation only.169
The aircraft that spotted the black smoke was the same unarmed Air
National Guard cargo plane that had seen American crash into the Pentagon minutes earlier. had resumed its flight Minnesota and saw the
smoke from the crash United 93, less than two minutes after the plane went
down. 10:17, the Command Center advised headquarters its conclusion
that United had indeed crashed.170
Despite the discussions about military assistance, one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93. Nor did any manager FAA headquarters pass any the information had about United the military.
Military Notification and Response. NEADS first received call about
United from the military liaison Cleveland Center 10:07. Unaware that
the aircraft had already crashed, Cleveland passed NEADS the aircraft last
known latitude and longitude. NEADS was never able locate United
radar because was already the ground.171
9:12 HAVE SOME PLANES the same time, the NEADS mission crew commander was dealing with
the arrival the Langley fighters over Washington, D.C., sorting out what their
orders were with respect potential targets. Shortly after 10:10, and having knowledge either that United had been heading toward Washington
that had crashed, explicitly instructed the Langley fighters: negative 
negative clearance shoot aircraft over the nation capital.172
The news reported bomb board United spread quickly
NEADS.The air defenders searched for United primary radar return and
tried locate other fighters scramble. NEADS called Washington Center report:
NEADS: also want give you heads-up,Washington.
FAA (DC): ahead.
NEADS: United nine three, have you got information that yet?
FAA: Yeah, down.
NEADS: down?
FAA: Yes.
NEADS: When did land? Cause have got confirmation 
FAA: did not land.
NEADS: Oh, down? Down?
FAA: Yes. Somewhere northeast Camp David.
NEADS: Northeast Camp David.
FAA: That the last report.They don know exactly where.173
The time notification the crash United was 10:15.174 The
NEADS air defenders never located the flight followed their radar
scopes.The flight had already crashed the time they learned was hijacked.
Clarifying the Record
The defense U.S. airspace 9/11 was not conducted accord with preexisting training and protocols. was improvised civilians who had never
handled hijacked aircraft that attempted disappear, and military unprepared for the transformation commercial aircraft into weapons mass
destruction. turned out, the NEADS air defenders had nine minutes 
notice the first hijacked plane, advance notice the second, advance
notice the third, and advance notice the fourth. not believe that the true picture that morning reflects discredit
the operational personnel NEADS FAA facilities. NEADS commanders
and officers actively sought out information, and made the best judgments they
could the basis what they knew. Individual FAA controllers, facility managers,and Command Center managers thought outside the box recommending nationwide alert, ground-stopping local traffic, and, ultimately,
deciding land all aircraft and executing that unprecedented order flawlessly.
American Airlines Flight
(AA 11)
United Airlines Flight 175
(UA 175)
Boston Los Angeles
Boston Los Angeles
New York City
New York City
Last routine radio
communication; likely takeover
Flight attendant notifies
Transponder turned off attempts contact the
Boston Center aware
Boston Center notifies NEADS hijacking
NEADS scrambles Otis fighter
jets search crashes into WTC
(North Tower)
Otis fighter jets airborne headquarters aware that
Flight has crashed into
Boston Center advises NEADS
that airborne heading
for Washington
NEADS scrambles Langley
fighter jets search
Last radio communication
Likely takeover
Transponder code changes
Flight attendant notifies
hijacking attempts contact the
New York Center suspects
Flight 175 crashes into WTC
(South Tower)
New York Center advises
NEADS that 175 was the
second aircraft crashed into
WTC headquarters aware that
Flight 175 had crashed into
American Airlines Flight
(AA 77)
United Airlines Flight
(UA 93)
Washington, D.C., Los Angeles
Newark San Francisco
Last routine radio
8:51-8:54 Likely takeover
Flight makes unauthorized
turn south
Transponder turned off
9:05 headquarters aware that
Flight hijacked
Herndon Command Center
orders nationwide ground stop
Dulles tower observes radar
fast-moving aircraft (later
identified 77)
FAA advises NEADS that missing
9:37:46 crashes into the
10:30 headquarters confirms
Flight crash into Pentagon
Flight receives warning
from about possible
cockpit intrusion
Last routine radio
Likely takeover
Herndon Command Center
advises FAA headquarters that hijacked
Flight attendant notifies
hijacking; attempts
contact the cockpit
Transponder turned off
Passenger revolt begins
10:03:11 Flight crashes field
Cleveland Center advises
NEADS hijacking
10:15 headquarters aware that
Flight has crashed PA;
Washington Center advises
NEADS that Flight has
More than the actual events, inaccurate government accounts those events
made appear that the military was notified time respond two the
hijackings, raising questions about the adequacy the response.Those accounts
had the effect deflecting questions about the military capacity obtain
timely and accurate information from its own sources. addition, they overstated the FAA ability provide the military with timely and useful information that morning. public testimony before this Commission May 2003, NORAD officials stated that 9:16, NEADS received hijack notification United from
the FAA.175 This statement was incorrect.There was hijack report 9:16.
United was proceeding normally that time. this same public testimony, NORAD officials stated that 9:24,
NEADS received notification the hijacking American 77.176 This statement was also incorrect.The notice NEADS received 9:24 was that American had not hit the World Trade Center and was heading for Washington,
D.C.177 their testimony and other public accounts, NORAD officials also
stated that the Langley fighters were scrambled respond the notifications
about American 77,178 United 93, both.These statements were incorrect
well.The fighters were scrambled because the report that American was
heading south, clear not just from taped conversations NEADS but also
from taped conversations FAA centers; contemporaneous logs compiled
NEADS, Continental Region headquarters, and NORAD; and other records.
Yet this response phantom aircraft was not recounted single public
timeline statement issued the FAA Department Defense.The inaccurate accounts created the impression that the Langley scramble was logical
response actual hijacked aircraft. fact, not only was the scramble prompted the mistaken information
about American 11, but NEADS never received notice that American was
hijacked. was notified 9:34 that American was lost.Then, minutes later,
NEADS was told that unknown plane was miles southwest the White
House. Only then did the already scrambled airplanes start moving directly
toward Washington, D.C.
Thus the military did not have minutes respond American 77,
testimony the Commission May 2003 suggested. had most one
two minutes react the unidentified plane approaching Washington, and
the fighters were the wrong place able help.They had been responding report about aircraft that did not exist.
Nor did the military have minutes respond United 93, would
implied the account that received notice the flight hijacking 9:16. the time the military learned about the flight, had crashed. now turn the role national leadership the events that morning.
When American struck the World Trade Center 8:46, one the White
House traveling with the President knew that had been hijacked.While
that information circulated within the FAA, found evidence that the
hijacking was reported any other agency Washington before 8:46.179
Most federal agencies learned about the crash New York from CNN.180
Within the FAA, the administrator, Jane Garvey, and her acting deputy, Monte
Belger, had not been told confirmed hijacking before they learned from
television that plane had crashed.181 Others the agency were aware it, explained earlier this chapter.
Inside the National Military Command Center, the deputy director operations and his assistant began notifying senior Pentagon officials the incident. about 9:00, the senior NMCC operations officer reached out the
FAA operations center for information. Although the NMCC was advised
the hijacking American 11, the scrambling jets was not discussed.182 Sarasota, Florida, the presidential motorcade was arriving the Emma Booker Elementary School, where President Bush was read class and
talk about education.White House Chief Staff Andrew Card told was
standing with the President outside the classroom when Senior Advisor the
President Karl Rove first informed them that small, twin-engine plane had
crashed into the World Trade Center.The President reaction was that the incident must have been caused pilot error.183 8:55, before entering the classroom, the President spoke National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who was the White House. She recalled
first telling the President was twin-engine aircraft and then commercial aircraft that had struck the World Trade Center, adding that all know
right now, Mr. President. 184 the White House,Vice President Dick Cheney had just sat down for
meeting when his assistant told him turn his television because plane
had struck the North Tower the World Trade Center. The Vice President was
wondering how the hell could plane hit the World Trade Center when
saw the second aircraft strike the South Tower.185
Elsewhere the White House, series 9:00 meetings was about begin. the absence information that the crash was anything other than accident, the White House staff monitored the news they went ahead with their
regular schedules.186
The Agencies Confer
When they learned second plane had struck the World Trade Center, nearly
everyone the White House told us, they immediately knew was not
accident. The Secret Service initiated number security enhancements
around the White House complex. The officials who issued these orders did
not know that there were additional hijacked aircraft, that one such aircraft
was route Washington. These measures were precautionary steps taken
because the strikes New York.187
The FAA and White House Teleconferences. The FAA, the White House,
and the Defense Department each initiated multiagency teleconference
before 9:30. Because none these teleconferences least before 10:00 
included the right officials from both the FAA and Defense Department, none
succeeded meaningfully coordinating the military and FAA response the
hijackings. about 9:20, security personnel FAA headquarters set hijacking
teleconference with several agencies, including the Defense Department.The
NMCC officer who participated told that the call was monitored only periodically because the information was sporadic,it was little value,and there were
other important tasks. The FAA manager the teleconference also remembered that the military participated only briefly before the Pentagon was hit.
Both individuals agreed that the teleconference played role coordinating response the attacks 9/11.Acting Deputy Administrator Belger was frustrated learn later the morning that the military had not been the call.188 the White House, the video teleconference was conducted from the Situation Room Richard Clarke, special assistant the president long
involved counterterrorism. Logs indicate that began