ANALYSIS OF 9-11
|Why would Osama bin Laden want to kill Dubya, his former business partner?
By James Hatfield
July 3, 2001
[...] According to counter-terrorism experts quoted in Germany's largest newspaper, the attack on Dubya might be a James Bond-like aerial strike in the form of remote-controlled airplanes packed with plastic explosives.
``The president received a presidential daily briefing which was not a warning briefing, but an analytic report. This analytic report ... talked about UBL's (Osama bin Laden's) methods of operation, talked about what he had done historically, in 1997, in 1998. It mentioned hijacking, but hijacking in the traditional sense, and in a sense said that the most important and most likely thing was that they would take over an airliner, holding passengers and demand the release of one of their operatives.''
Condoleeza Rice, May 16, 2002
|A personnel attorney at the Pentagon, Goldsmith was riding a shuttle bus to work on Tuesday, Sept. 11, when she learned of the attack on the World Trade Center. [...] "We saw a huge black cloud of smoke," she said, saying it smelled like cordite
or gun smoke.
- Jewish Bulletin News
|WASHINGTON, D.C. — The airliner crashed between two and three hundred feet from my office in the Pentagon, just around a corner from where I work.
I'm the deputy General Counsel, Washington Headquarters Services, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE.
A slightly different calibration and I have no doubt I wouldn't be sending this to you. My colleagues felt the impact, which reminded them of an earthquake. People shouted in the corridor outside that a bomb had gone off upstairs on the main concourse in the building. No alarms sounded. I walked to my office, shut down my computer, and headed out.
Even before stepping outside I could smell the cordite.
Then I knew explosives had been set off somewhere."
|The second plane looked similar to a C- 130 transport plane, [Keith Wheelhouse] said. He believes it flew directly above the American Airlines jet, as if to prevent two planes from appearing on radar - while at the same time - guiding the jet toward the Pentagon.
Daily Press, September 14, 2001
Business jet, military cargo plane were in area of hijacked United Flight 93
Sunday, September 16, 2001
By Bill Heltzel and Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writers
Two other airplanes were flying near the hijacked United Airlines jet when it crashed in Somerset County, but neither had anything to do with the airliner's fate, the FBI said yesterday.
In fact, one of the planes, a Fairchild Falcon 20 business jet, was directed to the crash site to help rescuers. The request for the jet to fly low and obtain the coordinates for the crash explains reports by people in the vicinity who said a white or silver jet flew by moments after the crash.
A C-130 military cargo plane was also within 25 miles of the passenger jet when it crashed, FBI spokesman Bill Crowley said yesterday, but was not diverted.
|At 9:25, [Jane] Garvey, in an historic and admirable step, and almost certainly after getting an okay from the White House, initiated a national ground stop, which forbids takeoffs and requires planes in the air to get down as soon as reasonable.|
Lt. Col. Steve O'Brien started his day at the controls of a Minnesota National Guard C-130 cargo plane. He and his crew were heading back to the Twin Cities after moving military supplies around the Caribbean. About 9:30 a.m., O'Brien throttled the lumbering plane down a runway at Andrews Air Force Base, just southeast of the District of Columbia.
"When we took off, we headed north and west and had a beautiful view of the Mall," he said. "I noticed this airplane up and to the left of us, at 10 o'clock. He was descending to our altitude, four miles away or so. That's awful close, so I was surprised he wasn't calling out to us.
"It was like coming up to an intersection. When air traffic control asked me if we had him in sight, I told him that was an understatement - by then, he had pretty much filled our windscreen. Then he made a pretty aggressive turn so he was moving right in front of us, a mile and a half, two miles away. I said we had him in sight, then the controller asked me what kind of plane it was.
"That caught us up, because normally they have all that information. The controller didn't seem to know anything."
O'Brien reported that the plane was either a 757 or 767 and its silver fuselage meant it was probably an American Airlines jet. "They told us to turn and follow that aircraft - in 20-plus years of flying, I've never been asked to do something like that. With all of the East Coast haze, I had a hard time picking him out.
"The next thing I saw was the fireball. It was huge. I told Washington the airplane has impacted the ground. Shook everyone up pretty good. I told them the approximate location was close to the Potomac. I figured he'd had some in-flight emergency and was trying to get back on the ground to Washington National. Suddenly, I could see the outline of the Pentagon. It was horrible. I told Washington this thing has impacted the west side of the Pentagon."
O'Brien asked the controller whether he should set up a low orbit around the building but was told to get out of the area as quickly as possible. "I took the plane once through the plume of smoke and thought if this was a terrorist attack, it probably wasn't a good idea to be flying through that plume."
He flew west, not exactly sure where he was supposed to land. Somewhere over western Pennsylvania, O'Brien looked down at a blackened, smoldering field. "I hoped it was just a tire fire or something, but when I checked with Cleveland center, he told me he'd just lost a guy off the scope pretty close to where we saw it. By then, we were able to patch in AM radio, so we heard about all the planes. It was like a domino effect - a really bad day for airplanes."