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The September 11 Attacks & Aftermath
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Multimedia Timeline: September 11, 2001
Primer: Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
Before listening to the report excerpts below, it's recommended you familiarize yourself with the organization of homeland defense at it existed on September 11, 2001. This section of chapter 1.2 explains that system.
9/11 Report
 
(all times are EDT)
NPR Mohamed Atta
5:00 AM: National Public Radio begins broadcasting its pre-recorded program, Morning Edition, beginning with a story about President Bush visiting a school in Florida.

6:00 AM: Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari arrive at the airport in Portland, Maine, for a flight to Boston.

6:00 AM: In New York City, Howard Stern begins another broadcast of The Howard Stern Show.
6:45 AM: Atta and Omari arrive in Boston.

6:52 AM: Atta receives a phone call from Marwan al Shehhi, fellow hijacker at another terminal at Logan Airport. They speak for three minutes.

6:45 AM: Atta and Omari, along with Satam al Suqami,Wail al Shehri, and Waleed al Shehri, check in and board American Airlines Flight 11 [1st impact, north tower], bound for Los Angeles, sometime between 6:45 and 7:40. The flight is scheduled to depart at 7:45.

In another Logan terminal, Shehhi, joined by Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al Shehri, Ahmed al Ghamdi, and Hamza al Ghamdi, check in for United Airlines Flight 175 [2nd impact, south tower], also bound for Los Angeles.


7:00 AM: In New York City, Howard Stern begins hour 2 of The Howard Stern Show.

7:15 AM: Khalid al Mihdhar and Majed Moqed check in with American Airline at Dulles in Washington for flight 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon], bound for Los Angeles. Within the next 20 minutes, they are joined by Hani Hanjour and two brothers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Salem al Hazmi.

7:39 to 7:48 AM: All four hijackers have boarded UA 93 [4th impact, PA] in Newark, New Jersey.
 
Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
This section of chapter one details the movement of the hijackers on the morning of September 11, 2001, from 6:00 AM until all 19 had boarded the 4 planes.
9/11 Report
 
7:40 AM: AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] pushes back from the gate at Logan.

7:58 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] pushes back from the gate. It is scheduled to depart at 8:00, but is delayed 14 minutes.

7:59 AM: AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] departs Logan.
 
Excerpts from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
These sections of chapter one detail the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11 as it left Logan Airport in Boston for Los Angeles until it crashed into the North Tower of The World Trade Center at 8:46 AM, and the homeland defense reaction to the hijacking. [note: where possible, recordings of the actual aircraft/air traffic control transmissions have been inserted in the appropriate places].
9/11 Report
 
8:00 AM: Scheduled departure time of UA 93 [4th impact, PA] out of Newark, New Jersey. Due to heavy airport traffic, the plane is delayed and won't be airborne until 42 minutes later.

In New York City, Howard Stern begins hour 3 of The Howard Stern Show. As American Airlines 11 crashes, the conversation focuses on a missed Stern sexual opportunity with Pamela Anderson.

8:09 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] pushes back from the gate at Washington Dulles.

8:14 AM: AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] has its last routine radio communication. The takeover likely happens only moments later. When the aircraft fails to heed instruction to climb to 35,000 feet, the controller repeatedly tries to raise the flight.

8:14 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] departs Logan in Boston.
 
Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
These sections of chapter one detail the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 175 as it left Logan Airport in Boston for Los Angeles until it crashed into the South Tower of The World Trade Center at 9:03 AM, and the homeland defense reaction to the hijacking. [note: where possible, recordings of the actual aircraft/air traffic control transmissions have been inserted in the appropriate places].
9/11 Report
 
Betty Ong
8:19 AM: Flight attendant Betty Ong onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] notifies AA of hijacking.

8:20 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] departs Washington Dulles. It was scheduled to depart at 8:00 but is delayed 20 minutes
 
Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
These sections of chapter one detail the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 77 as it left Washington Dulles Airport for Los Angeles until it crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 AM, and the homeland defense reaction to the hijacking. [note: where possible, recordings of the actual aircraft/air traffic control transmissions have been inserted in the appropriate places].
9/11 Report
8:21 AM: AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] transponder is turned off.

8:23 AM: AA attempts to contact the cockpit of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].

8:24 AM:
Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], Atta keys the cockpit microphone in an attempt to communicate with the passengers. Instead, he transmits outside the aircraft and those transmissions are recorded on the ground. He says, "We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport." [sound Listen, :06]. And then, “Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.” [sound Listen, :11]

8:25 AM: Boston Center is aware of the hijacking of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].
Mohamed Atta
 
Amy Sweeney Betty Ong
8:25 AM: Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], flight attendant Amy Sweeney gets through to the American Flight Services Office in Boston but is cut off.

8:26 AM: Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], flight attendant Betty Ong reports that the plane is “flying erratically.”

8:27 AM: AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] turns south.

8:28 AM: Boston Center calls the Command Center in Herndon to advise that it
believes American 11 has been hijacked and is heading toward New York Center’s airspace.

8:29 AM: Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], flight attendant Amy Sweeney again gets through to the American Flight Services Office in Boston but is again cut off.

8:32 AM: Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], flight attendant Amy Sweeney is reconnected to the Flight Services Office in Boston and begins relaying updates to the manager, Michael Woodward.

8:32 AM: Boston Center notifies the Operations Center at FAA headquarters of hijacking of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].
8:34 AM: The Boston Center controller receives a third transmission from American 11: "Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don’t try to make any stupid moves." [sound Listen, :08]

8:37 AM: Boston Center notifies NEADS of hijacking of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower]. This is the first notification received by the military—at any level—that American 11 has been hijacked [sound Listen, :11]. NEADS promptly orders to battle stations the two F-15 alert aircraft at Otis Air Force Base, about 153 miles away from New York City. The air defense of America began with this call.
Mohamed Atta
Betty Ong
8:38: AM: Betty Ong tells the FAA that the AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] is flying erratically again. Sweeney tells Woodward that the hijackers are Middle Easterners, and names three of their seat numbers. This becomes key information for the early stages of the investigation.

8:41 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] enters New York City's airspace.

8:42 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] has its last radio communication with the ground, in which they report on a “suspicious transmission” overheard from another plane (which turned out to have been AA 11) [1st impact, north tower].
 
8:42 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] departs Newark, New Jersey, now airborne about 25 minutes after it would have been if it had pulled back from the gate at 8:00 as scheduled.
 
Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
These sections of chapter one detail the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93 as it left Newark, New Jersey for San Francisco until it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 AM, and the homeland defense reaction to the hijacking. [note: where possible, recordings of the actual aircraft/air traffic control transmissions have been inserted in the appropriate places].
9/11 Report
 
8:42-8:46 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] is taken over by the hijackers.
 
8:44 AM: The FAA loses phone contact with Betty Ong onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].

8:45 AM: Onboard AA 11 [1st impact, north tower], Amy Sweeney reports to Woodward, “Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent . . .we are all over the place.” Woodward asks Sweeney to look out the window to see if she can determine where they are. Sweeney responds: “We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low.” Seconds later she says, “Oh my God we are way too low.” The phone call ends.
Betty Ong Amy Sweeney
 
American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into 1 WTC
8:46:40 AM: American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into 1 WTC (The North Tower), tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it afire. All persons onboard the aircraft and an unknown number of persons on the tower are killed instantly. No one in the White House or traveling with the President in Florida knows that it had been hijacked. Initial news reports are that the tower was struck by a single-engine plane, and pilot error is assumed. There are only two known video clips of the first impact. While there were thousands of cameras trained on the towers when the 2nd plane hit, there were few cameras trained on The World Trade Center before the first impact. This video was being shot as part of a firefighter training video. The video did not make it to the networks until late in the day on September 11. [sound Audio & transcript of Fire Dispatch Operator, Manhattan: 8:46-9:31 a.m. | 9:35-10:22 a.m.]
 
8:46 AM: NEADS scrambles Otis fighter jets in search of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].

8:47 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] transponder code changes twice.

8:48 AM: A New York Center manager provides a report on a Command Center teleconference about American 11, to the New York Center controller. They were unaware that AA 11 had already crashed [sound Listen, :14]

8:51 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] deviates from its assigned altitude.

8:51 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] has its last routine radio communication. It has been airborne for 31 minutes.

8:51-8:54 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] is taken over by hijackers.

8:46 AM: NEADS scrambles Otis fighter jets in search of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower].

8:47 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] transponder code changes twice.

8:48 AM: A New York Center manager provides a report on a Command Center teleconference about American 11, to the New York Center controller. They were unaware that AA 11 had already crashed [sound Listen, :14]

8:51 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] deviates from its assigned altitude.

8:51 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] has its last routine radio communication. It has been airborne for 31 minutes.

8:51-8:54 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] is taken over by hijackers.

 
8:52 AM - 9:04 AM: CBS
tvCBS Special Report
8:52 AM - 9:04 AM: CBS has breaking news of the first plane crash. Bryant Gumbel interviews a restaurant worker in Soho, then the doorman to the Marriott WTC hotel located between the two towers. He describes falling debris that set a man's clothes on fire. Bryant then is talking with another eyewitness as United Airlines 175 strikes the South Tower (approximately 5 minutes have been edited out of this clip to conserve space and provide the best video).

8:52 AM: New York air traffic controllers begin repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying to contact UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] .
 
8:52 AM: Onboard UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] a male flight attendant calls a United office in San Francisco, reaching Marc Policastro and reports that the flight has been hijacked. The call lasts about two minutes.

8:53 AM: Otis fighter jets, scrambled 7 minutes earlier, are now airborne. They begin searching for American Airlines Flight 11 [1st impact, north tower], which crashed 7 minutes earlier. Lacking a target, they are vectored toward military-controlled airspace off the Long Island coast. To avoid New York area air traffic and uncertain about what to do, the fighters are brought down to military airspace to “hold as needed.” From 9:09 to 9:13, the Otis fighters stay in this holding pattern.

8:54 AM: UA attempts to contact UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] cockpit following phone call from flight attendant.

8:54 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] makes unauthorized turn to the south and then disappears from radar.

8:55 AM: New York Center suspects hijacking of UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower].

8:55 AM: President Bush is told by Karl Rove that a small, twin-engine plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. Standing outside of a classroom in Sarasota Florida, The President’s reaction was to assume that the incident must have been caused by pilot error. He then calls National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice at the White House.

8:56 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] transponder is turned off.

8:58 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] turns toward New York City.

8:59 AM: UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] passenger Brian David Sweeney tries to call his wife, Julie. He leaves a message on their home answering machine that the plane has been hijacked. He then calls his mother, Louise Sweeney, tells her the flight has been hijacked, and adds that the passengers are thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.

9:00 AM: Lee Hanson receives a chilling phone call from his son, Peter onboard UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] . It ends abruptly. Lee hears a woman scream just before it cuts off. He turns on a television and sees the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.
 
9:00 AM: In New York City, Howard Stern interrupts the fun during The Howard Stern Show at approximately 9:00 to say that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. After a few minutes, they return to discussing Pamela Anderson. As with all Americans, it took time for the magnitude of the day's events to register
[excerpt excerpt].

9:01-9:02 AM: A manager from New York Center tells the Command Center in Herndon that there are "several situations" going on here and references an "other aircraft" [excerpt Listen, :09].

9:01 AM: While Command Center was told about this "other aircraft" at 9:01 a.m., New York Center contacted New York terminal approach control and asked for help in locating United 175 [excerpt Listen, :18]
The Howard Stern Show
 
9:03 AM: Meanwhile, a manager from Boston Center reports to FAA New England that they have deciphered what they had heard in one of the first hijacker transmissions from American 11 at 8:24 AM, that the hijacker said, "We have some planes".
[excerpt Listen, :45].
 
United Airlines Flight 175 strikes the South Tower
9:03:11 AM: United Airlines Flight 175 strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All on board, along with an unknown number of people in the tower, are killed instantly. Because of the cameras trained on the towers after the first impact, this incident is recorded from numerous views. However, it takes about 5 minutes for film footage of the impact to be found and shown on the air. Throughout the day, other views are aired as they come in to the news stations [tv UA 175 impact].
 
9:03 AM: Indianapolis Center starts, now unable to find AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] for ten minutes, begins notifying other agencies that the plane is missing and has possibly crashed. They are unaware of the other hijackings.
 
9:05 AM: AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] reemerges as a primary target on Indianapolis Center radar scopes, east of its last known position. It remains on their scopes for another six minutes, then crosses into the western portion of Washington Center’s airspace at 9:10. As Indianapolis Center continues searching for the aircraft, two managers and the controller responsible for American 77 look to the west and southwest along the flight’s projected path, not east—where the aircraft was now heading. They never saw AA 77 turn around.

9:05 AM: AA headquarters is aware that AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] is hijacked.

9:05 AM: The Howard Stern Show is interrupted with news of the second impact. His regular co-hosts have difficulty believing that both WTC towers are on fire. Stern is quick to suggest terrorism.
Howard Stern
sound Excerpt
 
Bush told of 2nd crash
Bush told of 2nd crash
Melissa Harrington Hughes
9:05 AM: The President is seated in a classroom in Sarasota, Florida, when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispers to him: “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.” The President remains in the classroom for another five to seven minutes, while the children continue reading.

9:07 AM: 31-year-old Melissa Harrington Hughes, an international trade consultant, was in New York attending a financial conference, staying in the Marriott Hotel on floor 101 of the World Trade Center's North Tower. She made
a phone call to her father at 8:55, then at 9:07 was able to get through to San Francisco to leave this message for her sleeping husband [excerpt Listen, :15)] [tv Video of 3 victim phone calls, :22].
 
9:08 AM: Indianapolis Center asks Air Force Search and Rescue at Langley Air Force Base to look for a downed aircraft.

9:08 AM: The Mission Crew Commander at NEADS learned of the second explosion at the World Trade Center and decided against holding the fighters in military air space away from Manhattan [excerpt Listen, :17].

9:09 AM: Otis fighters reach holding pattern.

9:09 AM: Fighters from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia are sent to New York, to provide backup.

9:09 AM: Indianapolis Center reports the loss of contact with AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] to the FAA regional center, which passed this information to FAA headquarters at 9:24.

9:12 AM: Onboard AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon], passenger Renee May calls her mother, who then calls AA to tell them the plane has been hijacked.
 
9:13 AM: While still broadcasting live in New York City and after viewing television footage of the 2nd plane strike, Howard Stern is perhaps the first media broadcaster to publicly declare that America is under attack. Comparatively, the CNN anchor continued to suggest that the two plane crashes were purely coincidental accidents for a full 18 minutes after the 2nd attack. Stern also suggests, without actually saying so, that the attack is being carried out by Middle Eastern terrorists [excerpt excerpt ].

9:13 AM: The Otis fighters, now about 115 miles away from New York City, exit their holding pattern and set a course direct for Manhattan.
Howard Stern
9:15 AM: New York Center advises NEADS that UA 175 was the second aircraft that crashed into WTC.

9:15 AM: President Bush leaves the classroom and returns to a holding room, where he is briefed by staff and sees television coverage. He next speaks to Vice President Cheney, Dr. Rice, New York Governor George Pataki, and FBI Director Robert Mueller. He decides to make a brief statement from the school before leaving for the airport. For the next fifteen minutes, the staff is busy arranging a return to Washington, while the President consults his senior advisers about his remarks. No one in the traveling party has any information during this time that other aircraft are hijacked or missing. Staff are in contact with the White House Situation Room, apparently no one with the President was in contact with the Pentagon. The focus was on the President’s statement to the nation. The only decision made during this time was to return to Washington.

9:16 AM: AA headquarters is now aware that AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] has crashed into WTC (30 minutes ago).

9:17 AM: The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports.

9:19 AM: Now worried about other transcontinental flights, the FAA’s New England regional office calls Herndon and asks that Cleveland Center advise Delta 1989 to use extra cockpit security.

9:19 AM: A United Airlines flight dispatcher, Ed Ballinger, takes the initiative to begin transmitting warnings to his 16 transcontinental flights: “Beware any cockpit intrusion—Two a/c [aircraft] hit World Trade Center.”

9:20 AM: UA headquarters is aware that UA 175 [2nd impact, south tower] has crashed into the WTC (17 minutes ago).

9:21 AM: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

9:21 AM: Still looking for AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon], The Command Center advises the Dulles terminal control facility. Dulles urges its controllers to look for primary targets (now missing for 28 minutes).

9:21 AM: Boston Center erroneously advises NEADS that AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] is still airborne and heading for Washington (it crashed 35 minutes ago) [excerpt Listen, :29]. The NEADS technician who took this call from the FAA immediately passed the word to the Mission Crew Commander [excerpt Listen, :12].
 
NPR
9:23 AM: Bob Edwards, host of NPR's Morning Edition, breaks into the rebroadcast of the show to inform listeners that two planes have struck the twin towers of The World Trade Center. Coverage continues on Morning Edition until 11:00, when Neal Conan takes over.

9:24 AM: NEADS scrambles Langley fighter jets in search of AA 11 [1st impact, north tower] (it crashed 38 minutes ago).
9:24 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] receives warning from UA flight dispatcher Ed Ballinger to be aware of possible cockpit intrusion.

9:25 AM: Herndon Command Center orders nationwide ground stop.

9:25 AM: Otis fighters arrive and establish a combat air patrol (CAP) over New York City.

9:26 AM: Onboard UA 93 [4th impact, PA], the pilot, Jason Dahl, responds to the cockpit intrusion warning with a note of puzzlement: “Ed [Ballinger], confirm latest mssg plz—Jason.”
9:26 AM: Onboard AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] Lawyer and TV commentator Barbara Olson calls her husband, Ted Olson, the Solicitor General of the United States, for the 2nd time. He tells her of the previous hijackings and crashes and then they are cut off.

9:27 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] has last routine radio communication.
Barbara Olson
9:28 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] is taken over by hijackers. While traveling 35,000 feet above eastern Ohio, United 93 suddenly drops 700 feet. Eleven seconds into the descent, the FAA’s air traffic control center in Cleveland receives the first of two radio transmissions from the aircraft. During the first broadcast, the captain or first officer can be heard declaring “Mayday” amid the sounds of a physical struggle in the cockpit. The second radio transmission, 35 seconds later, indicates that the fight was continuing. The captain or first officer can be heard shouting: “Hey get out of here—get out of here—get out of here.”

9:29 AM: The autopilot on AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] is disengaged.

9:30 AM: The FAA, the White House, and the Defense Department each initiate a multi-agency teleconference. Because none of these teleconferences—at least before 10:00—include the right officials from both the FAA and Defense Department, none succeed in meaningfully coordinating the military and FAA response to the hijackings.
 
Bush 1st response
9:30 AM: President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack." His words suggest he believes that the attack is over. [sound Listen, 1:32].

9:32 AM: Still looking for AA 77, Dulles tower finally observes a primary radar image of a fast-moving aircraft. It is AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon]), now amazingly missing for 39 minutes.
9:32 AM: Onboard UA 93 [4th impact, PA] ,a hijacker, probably Jarrah, attempts to make the following announcement to the passengers of Flight 93: “Ladies and Gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board. So, sit.” Jarrah then turns the aircraft around and heads east.

9:32 AM: Passengers onboard UA 93 [4th impact, PA] begin to make phone calls to family, friends, and colleagues. These calls continue until the aircraft crashes 31 minutes later and provide those on the ground with firsthand accounts. They enable the passengers to gain critical information, including the news that two aircraft have slammed into the World Trade Center.

9:34 AM: After receiving a warning from Dulles, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport advises the Secret Service of an unknown aircraft heading in the direction of the White House (AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon]). Reagan National controllers then vector an unarmed National Guard C-130H cargo aircraft, which has just taken off en route to Minnesota, to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft. The C-130H pilot spots it, identifies it as a Boeing 757, and attempt to follow its path.

9:34 AM: FAA advises NEADS that AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon] is missing when NEADS makes a chance call to inquire about AA 11. If NEADS had not placed that call, the NEADS air defenders would have received no information whatsoever that the flight was even missing, although the FAA had been searching for it.

9:34 AM: Herndon Command Center advises FAA headquarters that UA 93 [4th impact, PA] is hijacked.

9:35 PM: The President's motorcade departs the elementary school.

9:36 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] flight attendant notifies UA hijacking; UA attempts to contact the cockpit.

9:36 AM: The FAA’s Boston Center calls NEADS and relays the discovery about an unidentified aircraft (AA 77 [3rd impact, Pentagon]) closing in on Washington: “Latest report. Aircraft VFR [visual flight rules] six miles southeast of the White House. . . . Six, southwest. Six, southwest of the White House, deviating away.” The Langley fighters are ordered to Washington, D.C.

9:36 AM.: Vice President Richard Cheney is evacuated to the underground bunker in the White House by Secret Service agents.
 
9:37:46 AM: American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, traveling at approximately 530 miles per hour. All on board, as well as many civilian and military personnel in the building, are killed. The National Guard C-130H cargo aircraft following the aircraft reports to the control tower at Reagan, “Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon sir.” The Langley fighters are 150 miles away. The plane came in so low that it clipped 5 lamp posts and a portable generator before impact. The crash is captured by a low resolution security camera, shown here as 5 sequential still images.
[tv CBS live report] [tv report from later in the day].
AA 77 Hits Pentagon
 
Ziad Jarrah
9:39 AM: The FAA’s Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center overhears a second announcement from UA 93 [4th impact, PA] by hijacker Ziad Jarrah indicating that there is a bomb on board, that the plane is returning to the airport [sound Listen, :10].

9:40 AM (approximately): Arlington Virginia Police dispatches emergency response to the Pentagon
[sound Listen, 3:09].
9:40 AM: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9:41 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] transponder is turned off.

9:42-9:45 AM: The President's motorcade arrives at the airport in Sarasota. The President learned of the attack on the Pentagon en route.

9:46 AM: The Command Center updates FAA headquarters that UA 93 [4th impact, PA] was now “twenty-nine minutes out of Washington, D.C.”

9:49 AM: 13 minutes after Cleveland Center has asked about getting military help, the Command Center suggests that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance in regards to UA 93 [4th impact, PA] [sound Listen, :19].
 
9:50 AM (approximately): New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is interviewed on the street.
[tv video, :56].

9:52 AM: Mrs. Cheney arrives at the White House and joins her husband in the bunker.

9:54 AM: Air Force One departs from Sarasota without any fixed destination after it's decided the
Rudolph Guiliani
President should not return to Washington (upon the advice of the Secret Service, staff, and the Vice President)
 
Excerpt from The 9/11 Commission Report (2004)
Section 3 of chapter 1 details the Bush Administrations National Crisis Management of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
9/11 Report
 
The South Tower
9:57 AM: President Bush departs from Florida.

9:57 AM: UA 93 [4th impact, PA] passenger revolt begins.

9:59 AM:
The South Tower of the World Trade Center, struck by United Airlines 175 at 9:03 AM, collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris forms and slowly drifts away from the building. [tv Video 1 | video 2 | Still Image].
10:03:11 AM: After a struggle between the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 and their hijackers for control of the aircraft, Flight 93 crashes in field in Shanksville, PA.
[tv video, 2:43].

10:07 AM: NEADS receives its first call about United 93 from the military liaison at Cleveland Center, at Unaware that the aircraft had already crashed, Cleveland passes to NEADS the aircraft's last known latitude and longitude. NEADS is never able to locate United 93 on radar because it has already in the ground.
Flight 93 crashes
Still Images
 
10:08 AM: Command Center updates FAA Headquarters on UA 93 [4th impact, PA] hijacking, 5 minutes after it has crashed
[sound Listen, :10].

10:08 AM: Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles are deployed into Lafayette Park across from the White House.

10:10 AM: A portion of the Pentagon's "E Section" collapses.

10:10 AM: NEADS calls Washington Center to report that UA 93 [4th impact, PA] is down [sound Listen, :20].

10:10-10:15 AM: In a phone call with the Vice President, President Bush gives authority for pilots to shoot down civilian aircraft that have been hijacked.

10:13 AM: The United Nations building evacuates, including 4,700 people from the headquarters building and 7,000 total from UNICEF and U.N. development programs.

10:15 AM: UA headquarters aware that Flight 93 has crashed in PA; Washington Center advises NEADS that Flight 93 has crashed in PA.

10:18-10:20: At the advice of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, Vice President Cheney calls the President to confirm the shoot-down order as it is believed UA 93 is still approaching Washington.

10:22 AM: In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.

10:22-11:07 AM: Fire Dispatcher Manhattan [ [sound Listen, 46:34].

10:24 AM: The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.
 
The North Tower collapses
The North Tower collapses
10:28 AM: The World Trade Center's North Tower collapses from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.
[tv video, :37 | video by Dr. Mark Heath, 6:45] The video by Dr. Heath begins a few moments before the collapse of the North Tower. Dr. Mark Heath has gone down to the site to see if he can be of any assistance, and has taken his video camera with him. He is filming as the North Tower collapses on top of him. After the debris clears enough to be able to see, you can hear the strange, eerie noises of the emergency workers' personal alarms that are set to go off when they sense that the wearer is not moving. This is one of the most powerful pieces of video shot on 9/11.
 
10:30 AM: AA headquarters confirms AA 77 crash into Pentagon.

10:30 AM: The White House shelter starts receiving reports of another hijacked plane, this time only 5 to 10 miles out. It turns out to be a medivac helicopter.
 
10:45 AM: All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10:45 AM (approximately): NBC shows footage, recorded earlier, of Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks on America [tv video, :50].

10.46 AM.: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cuts short his trip to Latin America to return to the United States.
Palestinians celebrating
 
10.48 AM: Police confirm the plane crash in Pennsylvania.
 
Governor George Pataki
10:53 AM: New York's primary elections, scheduled for Tuesday, are postponed.

10:54 AM:
Israel evacuates all diplomatic missions.

10: 57 AM:
New York Governor George Pataki says all state government offices are closed.
[soundListen, :25]
11:00 AM (approximately): Eyewitness descriptions recorded throughout the morning are broadcast
[tv video, 2:33].

11:02 AM: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay at home and orders an evacuation of the area south of Canal Street.
Eyewitness descriptions
11:16 AM: CNN reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing emergency-response teams in a precautionary move.

11:18 AM: American Airlines reports it has lost two aircraft. American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, had 58 passengers and six crew members aboard.

11:26 AM: United Airlines reports that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, has crashed in Pennsylvania. The airline also says that it is "deeply concerned" about United Flight 175
 
Carol Marin
11:48 AM: CBS employee Carol Marin in the studio, still covered in dust, describes her harrowing experience [tv video, 2:48].

11:59 AM: United Airlines confirms that Flight 175, from Boston to Los Angeles, has crashed with 56 passengers and nine crew members aboard.
12:04 PM: Los Angeles International Airport, the destination of three of the crashed airplanes, is evacuated.

12:15 PM: San Francisco International Airport is evacuated and shut down. The airport was the destination of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

12:15 PM: The Immigration and Naturalization Service says U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are on the highest state of alert, but no decision has been made about closing borders.

12:30 PM: The FAA says 50 flights are in U.S. airspace, but none are reporting any problems
 
1:04 PM: Bush speech, recorded at 12:36 at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana is played. Bush says that all appropriate security measures are being taken, including putting the U.S. military on high alert worldwide. He asks for prayers for those killed or wounded in the attacks and says, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts"
[sound Listen, 2:10].

1:27 PM: A state of emergency is declared by the city of Washington.
Bush 2nd response
 
Fox News Interview Mayor Giuliani
1:45 PM (approximately): NYC Mayor Giuliani talks to Fox News by phone about the city's emergency response. [sound Listen, 6:36]. He continued to give more media interviews around this time [sound Listen, :52].

1:44 PM: The Pentagon says five warships and two aircraft carriers will leave the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, to protect the East Coast from further attack and to reduce the number of ships in port. The two carriers, the
USS George Washington and the USS John F. Kennedy, are headed for the New York coast. The other ships headed to sea are frigates and guided missile destroyers capable of shooting down aircraft.

1:47 PM: White House Press Secretary Hari Fleischer gives a press briefing aboard Airforce One [transcript].

1:48 PM: Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base aboard Air Force One and flies to an Air Force base in Nebraska.

2:00 PM: Senior FBI sources tell CNN they are working on the assumption that the four airplanes that crashed were hijacked as part of a terrorist attack.
 
2:30 PM: The FAA announces there will be no U.S. commercial air traffic until noon EDT Wednesday at the earliest.

2:38 PM: Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki hold a joint news conference at the Police Academy. Mayor Giuliani says that subway and bus service are partially restored in New York City. Asked about the number of people killed, Giuliani says, "I don't think we want to speculate about that -- more than any of us can bear" [tv View partial, 1:34 | sound Listen full, 12:01].
Mayor Giuliani
 
Pentagon Karen Hughes
3:00 PM (approximately): The Pentagon holds a news conference outdoors
[sound Listen, 6:00].

3:55 PM: Bush counselor Karen Hughes makes the first in-person appearance by a member of the President's staff since the attacks and says the president is at an undisclosed location, later revealed to be Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, and is conducting a National Security Council meeting by phone. VP Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice are in a secure facility at the White House. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is at the Pentagon [sound Listen, 5:16].
 
3:55 PM: Giuliani now says the number of critically injured in New York City is up to 200 with 2,100 total injuries reported.

4:00 PM: CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor reports that U.S. officials say there are "good indications" that Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, suspected of coordinating the bombings of two U.S. embassies in 1998, is involved in the attacks, based on "new and specific" information developed since the attacks.

4:06 PM: California Gov. Gray Davis dispatches urban search-and-rescue teams to New York.

4:10 PM: Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex is reported on fire.
 
4:20 PM: U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he was "not surprised there was an attack (but) was surprised at the specificity." He says he was "shocked at what actually happened -- the extent of it" [sound Listen, 6:46].

4:25 PM: The American Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange say they will remain closed Wednesday.
Sen. Bob Graham
4:30 PM: The president leaves Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska aboard Air Force One to return to Washington.

5:15 PM: CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports fires are still burning in part of the Pentagon. No death figures have been released yet.

5:20 PM: The 47-story Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex collapses. The evacuated building was damaged when the twin towers across the street collapsed earlier in the day. Other nearby buildings in the area remain ablaze.

5:30 PM: CNN Senior White House Correspondent John King reports that U.S. officials say the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania could have been headed for one of three possible targets: Camp David, the White House or the U.S. Capitol building.

5:30 PM: White House Press Secretary Hari Fleischer hold a press briefing aboard Airforce One, en route. to Andrews Airforce Base, Maryland [transcript].

6:00 PM: Explosions are heard in Kabul, Afghanistan, hours after terrorist attacks targeted financial and military centers in the United States. The attacks occurred at 2:30 a.m. local time. Afghanistan is believed to be where bin Laden, who U.S. officials say is possibly behind Tuesday's deadly attacks, is located. U.S. officials say later that the United States had no involvement in the incident whatsoever. The attack is credited to the Northern Alliance, a group fighting the Taliban in the country's ongoing civil war.

6:10 PM: Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay home Wednesday if they can.
 
military fighter escort U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
6:30 PM (Approximately): Air Force One with military fighter escort, on its way to Andrews Air Force Base [tv video, :40].

6:40 PM: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld holds a news conference in the Pentagon, noting the building is operational. "It will be in business tomorrow," he says [sound Listen, 15:33].
 
6:54 PM: While Rumsfeld is speaking, President Bush arrives at the White House, after exiting Air Force One at 6:42 p.m. and flying across Washington in Marine One. CNN's King reports Laura Bush arrived earlier by motorcade from a "secure location" [tv video, 4:11].

7:00 PM: Minnesota Public Radio's Marketplace airs.
Bush arrives at the White House
7:02 PM: CNN's Paula Zahn reports the Marriott Hotel near the World Trade Center is on the verge of collapse and says some New York bridges are now open to outbound traffic.
 
Congress sings "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps
Congress sings "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps (2 views)
7:17 PM: U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says the FBI is setting up a Web site for tips on the attacks. He also gives out the phone number for family and friends of possible victims to leave contact information.

7:45 PM:
The New York Police Department says that at least 78 officers are missing. The city also says that as many as half of the first 400 firefighters on the scene were killed.

7:45 PM:
Members of Congress gather on the steps outside. After comments by Dennis Hastert and Tom Daschle, they spontaneously begin singing "God Bless America" [tv video, 5:32].
8:00 PM (approximately): Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) is interviewed by CNN on the steps of Capitol Hill [sound Listen, 4:40 | tv video].

8:30 PM: President Bush addresses the nation, saying "thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil." He announces that the U.S. will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed the acts and those who harbor them [sound Listen, 4:24) | tv video, 4:24].
Senator Hillary Clinton President Bush
Larry King interviews Senators
9:00 PM (approximately): CNN's Larry King interviews Senators John Warner (R-VA), John Kerry (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Fred Thompson (R-TN) [sound Listen: 10:46 | tv video].

9:22 PM: CNN's McIntyre reports the fire at the Pentagon is still burning and is considered contained but not under control.
10:00 PM: NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says New York City schools will be closed Wednesday and no more volunteers are needed for Tuesday evening's rescue efforts. He says there is hope that there are still people alive in rubble. He also says that power is out on the westside of Manhattan and that health department tests show there are no airborne chemical agents about which to worry. Giuliani names some of the high-ranking police and fire officers that are missing [sound audio |tv video, 14:36].
Rudy Giuliani
first video shot at "Ground Zero"
10:30 PM: Some of the first video shot at "Ground Zero" is shown on the air for the first time
[tv view, 5:03]. Bin Laden file footage is shown [tv video, 1:09].

10:49 PM: CNN Congressional Correspondent Jonathan Karl reports that Attorney General Ashcroft told members of Congress that there were three to five hijackers on each plane armed only with knives.
10:50 PM: CNN interviews terrorism expert Peter Bergen, who once interviewed Osama Bin Laden
[sound Listen, 3:40 | tv video].

10:56 PM: CNN's Zahn reports that New York City police believe there are people alive in buildings near the World Trade Center. Footage of the evening rescue effort is shown [tv video, 1:57].

11:54 PM: CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno reports that a government official told him
Peter Bergen
Video Essay
there was an open microphone on one of the hijacked planes and that sounds of discussion and "duress" were heard. Sesno also reports a source says law enforcement has "credible" information and leads and is confident about the investigation. Bin Laden History is shown [tv video 3:55].

A Video Essay, shot on 9/11, shown on 9/12 [tv view: 2:36].
 
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Last modified July 19, 2012