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Profile: World Trade Center

 
  

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World Trade Center actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 1, 1992: US Misses Opportunity to Stop First WTC Bombing and Discover al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Al-Qaeda Operatives Ahmad Ajaj and Ramzi Yousef enter the US together. Ajaj is arrested at Kennedy Airport in New York City. Yousef is not arrested, and later, he masterminds the 1993 bombing of the WTC. “The US government was pretty sure Ajaj was a terrorist from the moment he stepped foot on US soil,” because his “suitcases were stuffed with fake passports, fake IDs and a cheat sheet on how to lie to US immigration inspectors,” plus “two handwritten notebooks filled with bomb recipes, six bomb-making manuals, four how-to videotapes concerning weaponry, and an advanced guide to surveillance training.” However, Ajaj is charged only with passport fraud, and serves a six-month sentence. From prison, Ajaj frequently calls Yousef and others in the 1993 WTC bombing plot, but no one translates the calls until long after the bombing. [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/01] Ajaj is released from prison three days after the WTC bombing, but is later rearrested and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/01] One of the manuals seized from Ajaj is horribly mistranslated for the trial. For instance, the title page is said to say “The Basic Rule,” published in 1982, when in fact the title says “al-Qaeda” (which means “the base” in English), published in 1989. Investigators later complain that a proper translation could have shown an early connection between al-Qaeda and the WTC bombing. [New York Times, 1/14/01] An Israeli Newsweekly later reports that the Palestinian Ajaj may have been a mole for the Israeli Mossad. The Village Voice has suggested that Ajaj may have had “advance knowledge of the World Trade Center bombing, which he shared with Mossad, and that Mossad, for whatever reason, kept the secret to itself.” Ajaj was not just knowledgeable, but was involved in the planning of the bombing from his prison cell. [Village Voice, 8/3/93]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center, Ahmad Ajaj, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, al-Qaeda
          

February 26, 1993: WTC Is Bombed but Does Not Collapse, as Bombers Had Hoped      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bomb damage in underground levels of the WTC in 1993.
An attempt to topple the WTC fails, but six people are killed and over 1000 are injured in the misfired blast. An FBI explosives expert later states that, “If they had found the exact architectural Achilles' heel or if the bomb had been a little bit bigger, not much more, 500 pounds more, I think it would have brought her down.” Ramzi Yousef, who has close ties to bin Laden, organizes the attempt. [Village Voice, 3/30/93; Congressional Hearings, 2/24/98] The New York Times later reports on Emad Salem, an undercover agent who will be the key government witness in the trial against Yousef. Salem testifies that the FBI knew about the attack beforehand and told him they would thwart it by substituting a harmless powder for the explosives. However, an FBI supervisor called off this plan, and the bombing was not stopped. [New York Times, 10/28/93] Other suspects were ineptly investigated before the bombing as early as 1990. Several of the bombers were trained by the CIA to fight in the Afghan war, and the CIA later concludes, in internal documents, that it was “partly culpable” for this bombing. [Independent, 11/1/98] US officials later state that the overall mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is a close relative, probably an uncle, of Yousef. [Independent, 6/6/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] One of the attackers even leaves a message which will later be found by investigators, stating, “Next time, it will be very precise.” [Associated Press, 9/30/01]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, World Trade Center, Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, Emad Salem, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 1996: Security Firm with Connections to Bush Family Acquires Security Contract for World Trade Center; Possible Security Breach Is Alleged      Complete 911 Timeline

       A security company called Stratesec acquires an $8.3 million contract to help provide security at the World Trade Center. It is one of numerous contractors hired in the upgrade of security at the WTC following the 1993 bombing. Stratesec, which was formerly called Securacom, is responsible for installing the “security-description plan”—the layout of the electronic security system—at the World Trade Center. It has a “completion contract” to provide some of the center's security “up to the day the buildings fell down,” according to Barry McDaniel, its CEO from January 2002. Another of Stratesec's biggest security contracts, between 1995 and 1998, is with the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, providing electronic security for Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. Their work includes maintaining the airfield access systems, the CCTV (closed circuit television) systems, and the electronic badging systems. American Airlines Flight 77—one of the planes hijacked on 9/11—takes off from Dulles. Marvin P. Bush, the youngest brother of future President George W. Bush, is a director at Stratesec from 1993 to June 2000, when most of their work on these big projects is done. Wirt D. Walker III, a distant relative of George W. Bush, is chairman of the board at Stratesec from 1992, and its CEO from 1999 until January 2002. Another of Stratesec's directors, from 1991 to 2001, is Mishal Yousef Saud Al Sabah, who is a member of the Kuwaiti royal family. Al Sabah is also chairman of an investment company called the Kuwait-American Corporation (KuwAm), which, between 1993 and 1999, holds a large, often controlling share of Stratesec. In 1996, it owns 90 percent of the company; by 1999 it owns 47 percent. According to Wayne Black, the head of a Florida-based security firm, it is delicate for a security company serving international facilities to be so interlinked with a foreign-owned company. He suggests: “Somebody knew somebody.” Black also points out that when a company has a security contract, “you know the inner workings of everything.” Furthermore, if another company is linked to the security company, then “what's on your computer is on their computer.” After 9/11 Stratesec CEO Barry McDaniel is asked whether FBI or other agents have questioned him or others at Stratesec about their security work related to 9/11. He answers , “No.” [Progressive Populist, 2/1/03; Washington Spectator, 2/15/05; Progressive Populist, 4/15/03; Prince George's Journal, 2/4/03; American Reporter, 1/20/03]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Stratesec
          

June 8, 1999: New York Emergency Command Center Opened in WTC Building 7      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Giuliani's emergency command center.
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani opens a $13 million emergency Command Center on the 23rd floor of World Trade Center Building 7. [Newsday, 9/12/01] The center is intended to coordinate responses to various emergencies, including natural disasters like hurricanes or floods, and terrorist attacks. The 50,000 square foot center has reinforced, bulletproof, and bomb-resistant walls, its own air supply and water tank, and three backup generators. This Command Center is to be staffed around the clock and is intended as a meeting place for city leaders in the event of an act of terrorism. [Times of London, 9/12/01; CNN, 6/7/99] The center is ridiculed as “Rudy's bunker.” [Time, 12/31/01] Most controversial is the 6,000-gallon fuel tank. In 1998 and 1999, Fire Department officials warn that the fuel tank violates city fire codes and poses a hazard. According to one Fire Department memorandum, if the tank were to catch fire it could produce “disaster.” Building 7 will be destroyed late in the day on 9/11; some suspect this tank helps explains why. [New York Times, 12/20/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani
          

July 24, 2001: World Trade Center Ownership Changes Hands For the First Time      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Larry Silverstein.
Private businessman Larry Silverstein's $3.2 billion purchase of the World Trade Center is finalized, giving him de facto ownership with a 99-year lease of the building. [Ireizine, 7/26/01] It is the only time the WTC has ever changed hands. It was previously owned by the New York Port Authority, a bi-state government agency. [ICSC, 4/27/01] After 9/11, Silverstein attempts to get $7 billion in insurance for the 9/11 destruction of the WTC towers. [Guardian, 10/24/01] In late 2004, he will be tentatively awarded $2.2 billion, double what insurance companies offered to pay him. [UPI, 12/6/04] A judge also makes a ruling that keeps open the possibility he could eventually receive as much as $6.4 billion. [Associated Press, 12/7/04]
People and organizations involved: New York Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, World Trade Center
          

August 23, 2001: O'Neill Begins Job as Head of Security at the WTC      Complete 911 Timeline

       John O'Neill begins his new job as head of security at the WTC. [New Yorker, 1/14/02] A friend says to him, “Well, that will be an easy job. They're not going to bomb that place again.” O'Neill replies, “Well actually they've always wanted to finish that job. I think they're going to try again.” On September 10, he moves into his new office on the 34th floor of the North Tower. That night, he tells colleague Jerry Hauer, “We're due for something big. I don't like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan” (a probable reference to the assassination of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the day before). O'Neill will be killed in the 9/11 attack. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (D)]
People and organizations involved: John O'Neill, Jerry Hauer, Ahmed Shah Massoud, World Trade Center
          

September 6, 2001: WTC Security Scaled Back in Week and Day Before 9/11 Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       Security personnel at the WTC are working extra-long shifts because of numerous phone threats. However, on this day bomb-sniffing dogs are abruptly removed. Security further drops right before 9/11. WTC guard Daria Coard says in an interview later on the day of 9/11: “Today was the first day there was not the extra security.” [Newsday, 9/12/01 (B)] Janitor William Rodriguez later claims that he saw hijacker Mohand Alshehri inside the WTC in June 2001. [New York Daily News, 6/15/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohand Alshehri, Daria Coard, World Trade Center, William Rodriguez
          

6:47 a.m.: WTC Building 7 Alarm Not Operating      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to later reports, the alarm system in WTC 7 is placed on “TEST” status for a period due to last eight hours. This ordinarily happens during maintenance or other testing, and any alarms received from the building are generally ignored. [Nist Progress Report, 6/04, pp 28]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 Attack: 3,000 Die in New York City and Washington, D.C.      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The September 11, 2001 attacks. From left to right: The World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Flight 93 crash.
The 9/11 attack: Four planes are hijacked, two crash into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, al-Qaeda, American Airlines, Pentagon, World Trade Center
          

8:30 a.m.: Army Base Near Pentagon Holds Terrorist Attack Exercise      Complete 911 Timeline

       At Fort Belvoir, an army base 10 miles south of the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Mark R. Lindon is conducting a “garrison control exercise” when the 9/11 attacks begin. The object of this exercise is to “test the security at the base in case of a terrorist attack.” Lindon later says, “I was out checking on the exercise and heard about the World Trade Center on my car radio. As soon as it was established that this was no accident, we went to a complete security mode.” Staff Sgt. Mark Williams of the Military District of Washington Engineer Company at Fort Belvoir also later says: “Ironically, we were conducting classes about rescue techniques when we were told of the planes hitting the World Trade Center.” Williams' team is one of the first response groups to arrive at the site of the Pentagon crash and one of the first to enter the building following the attack. [Connection Newspapers, 9/5/02] A previous MASCAL (mass casualty) training exercise was held at Fort Belvoir a little over two months earlier (see July 2001). It was “designed to enhance the first ready response in dealing with the effects of a terrorist incident involving an explosion.” [MDW News Service, 7/5/01]
People and organizations involved: Fort Belvoir, World Trade Center, Mark Williams, Mark R. Lindon
          

8:46 a.m.: Flight 11 Hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Flight 11 hits the WTC North Tower at 8:46. This video still is the only well-known image of this crash.
Flight 11 slams into the WTC North Tower (Building 1). Seismic records pinpoint the crash at 26 seconds after 8:46 a.m. [New York Times, 9/12/01; NORAD, 9/18/01; CNN, 9/12/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); New York Times, 9/11/02; USA Today, 12/20/01; Newsday, 9/10/02; USA Today, 8/13/02] Investigators believe the plane still has about 10,000 gallons of fuel and is traveling approximately 470 mph. [New York Times, 9/11/02] The plane strikes the 93rd through 98th floors in the 110-story building. No one above the crash line survives; approximately 1,360 people die. Below the crash line, approximately 72 die and more than 4,000 survive. Both towers are slightly less than half full at the time of the attack, with between 5,000 to 7,000 people in each tower. This number is lower than expected. Many office workers have not yet shown up to work, and tourists to the observation deck opening at 9:30 A.M. have yet to arrive. [USA Today, 12/20/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

(9:00 a.m.): WTC South Tower Announcement: OK to Return to Offices      Complete 911 Timeline

      
People inside the World Trade Center flee down a stairway.
A public announcement is broadcast inside the WTC Tower Two (the South Tower, which has yet to be hit), saying that the building is secure and people can return to their offices. [New York Times, 9/11/02] Such announcements continue until a few minutes before the building is hit, and “may [lead] to the deaths of hundreds of people.” No one knows exactly what is said (though many later recall the phrase “the building is secure”), or who gives the authority to say it. [USA Today, 9/3/02] Additionally, security agents inside the building repeat similar messages to individuals in the tower. For instance, one survivor recounts hearing, “Our building is secure. You can go back to your floor. If you're a little winded, you can get a drink of water or coffee in the cafeteria.” [New York Times, 9/13/01 (G)] Another survivor recalls an escaping crowd actually running over a man with a bullhorn encouraging them to return to their desks. [Newsday, 9/12/01] Businessman Steve Miller recalls hearing a voice say over the building's loudspeaker something similar to: “There's a fire in Tower One. Tower Two in unaffected. If you want to leave, you can leave. If you want to return to your office, it's okay.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (D)] British visitor Mike Shillaker recalls, “As we got to around floor 50, a message came over the [loudspeaker], telling us that there was an isolated fire in Tower One, and we did not need to evacuate Tower Two. Again, thank god we continued down, others didn't.” [BBC, 9/1/02 (B)] Despite messages to the contrary, about two-thirds of the tower's occupants evacuate during the 17 minutes between the attacks. [USA Today, 12/20/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Mike Shillaker, Steve Miller
          

9:03 a.m.: Flight 175 Crashes into WTC South Tower; Millions Watch Live on Television      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Flight 175 an instant before it hits the WTC south tower.
Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center (Tower Two). Seismic records pinpoint the time at six seconds before 9:03 a.m. (rounded to 9:03 a.m.). [USA Today, 9/3/02; New York Times, 9/11/02; USA Today, 12/20/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); New York Times, 9/12/01; CNN, 9/17/01; NORAD, 9/18/01; CNN, 9/12/01] Millions watch the crash live on television. The plane strikes the 78th through 84th floors in the 110-story building. Approximately 100 people are killed or injured in the initial impact; 600 people in the tower eventually die. All but four of those killed work above the crash point. The death toll is far lower than in the North Tower because about two-thirds of the South Tower's occupants have evacuated the building in the 17 minutes since the first tower was struck. [USA Today, 12/20/01] The combined death toll from the two towers is estimated at 2,819, not including the hijackers. [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

9:47 a.m.: Internal Collapse at WTC South Tower Reported      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Someone falling from the WTC. [Allsport] “Probably well over 50” jumped or fell from the North Tower, none from the South Tower. [New York Times, 9/11/02]
A man who is on the 105th floor of the South Tower calls emergency 9-1-1 to report that floors below his location, “in the 90-something floor,” have collapsed. The 9-1-1 operator types a record of this call into the Special Police Radio Inquiry Network (SPRINT) data link, which will be passed on to the New York fire department's Emergency Medical Service (EMS). It isn't known when the call is made exactly, but the EMS Dispatch computer apparently receives the call record at this time. However, because it is classified as a “supplement message,” it is not yet read by anyone. The police dispatcher dealing with the area around the WTC also receives the call record, but misinterprets it as meaning that the floor the person is on has collapsed. EMS dispatchers are dealing with an enormous volume of calls as well as performing many other tasks under extreme pressure during the crisis, so a report later concludes that the EMS operators didn't have the time to review the information before the collapse of the South Tower at 9:59 (see 9:59 a.m.), and the fire chiefs never received the information. [McKinsey Report, 8/19/2002]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

(After 9:59 a.m.): WTC Building 7 Appears Damaged      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Damage to World Trade Center Building 7.
WTC Building 7 appears to have suffered significant damage at some point after the WTC Towers had collapsed, according to firefighters at the scene. Firefighter Butch Brandies tells other firefighters that nobody is to go into Building 7 because of creaking and noises coming out of there. [Firehouse Magazine, 8/02] According to Deputy Chief Peter Hayden, there is a bulge in the southwest corner of the building between floors 10 and 13. [Firehouse Magazine, 4/02] Battalion Chief John Norman later recalls, “At the edge of the south face you could see that it was very heavily damaged.” [Firehouse Magazine, 5/02] Deputy Chief Nick Visconti also later recalls, “A big chunk of the lower floors had been taken out on the Vesey Street side.” Captain Chris Boyle recalls, “On the south side of 7 there had to be a hole 20 stories tall in the building, with fire on several floors.” [Firehouse Magazine, 8/02] The building will collapse hours later.
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Nick Visconti, Peter Hayden, Butch Brandies, John Norman, Chris Boyle
          

After 10:28 a.m.: Fire Fighters Trying to Extinguish Fires in WTC 7      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to Captain Michael Currid, the sergeant at arms for the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, some time after the collapse of the North Tower, he sees four or five fire companies trying to extinguish fires in Building 7 of the WTC. Someone from the city�s Office of Emergency Management tells him that WTC 7 is in serious danger of collapse. Currid says, “The consensus was that it was basically a lost cause and we should not lose anyone else trying to save it.” Along with some others, he goes inside WTC 7 and yells up the stairwells to the fire fighters, “Drop everything and get out!” [September 11: An Oral History, by Dean E. Murphy, 8/02, pp. 175-176] Although Currid doesn�t say exactly at what time this occurs, it is later reported that at 12:10 to 12:15 p.m. fire fighters find individuals inside the building and lead them out. [NIST Progress Report, 6/04, p. L-18] So presumably it is some time after this when they call the fire fighters to evacuate. However, contradicting this account, one report later claims, “Given the limited water supply and the first strategic priority, which was to search for survivors in the rubble, FDNY did not fight the fires [in WTC 7].” [Fire Engineering, 9/02] And a 2002 government report says, “the firefighters made the decision fairly early on not to attempt to fight the fires, due in part to the damage to WTC 7 from the collapsing towers.” [FEMA study, 5/1/02, p. 5-21] Building 7 eventually collapses late in the afternoon of 9/11 (see (5:20 p.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Office of Emergency Management, World Trade Center, Michael Currid
          

4:10 p.m.: WTC Building 7 Burning      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Several small fires burn inside World Trade Center Building 7.
World Trade Center Building 7 is reported to be on fire. [CNN, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

(4:30 p.m.): WTC Building 7 Area Is Evacuated      Complete 911 Timeline

       The area around WTC Building 7 is evacuated at this time. [Kansas City Star, 3/28/04] New York fire department chief officers, who have surveyed the building, have determined it is in danger of collapsing. Several senior firefighters have described this decision-making process. According to fire chief Daniel Nigro, “The biggest decision we had to make was to clear the area and create a collapse zone around the severely damaged [WTC Building 7]. A number of fire officers and companies assessed the damage to the building. The appraisals indicated that the building's integrity was in serious doubt.” [Fire Engineering, 9/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

(5:20 p.m.): WTC Building 7 Collapses; Cause Remains Unclear      Complete 911 Timeline

      
World Trade Center Building 7 collapses down into its footprint.
Building 7 of the WTC complex, a 47-story tower, collapses. No one is killed. [CNN, 9/12/01; Washington Post, 9/12/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); MSNBC, 9/22/01] Many questions will arise over the cause of this collapse in the coming weeks and months. Building 7, which was not hit by an airplane, is the first modern, steel-reinforced high-rise to collapse because of fire. [New York Times, 3/2/02; Stanford Report, 12/3/01; Chicago Tribune, 11/29/01] Some later suggest that the diesel fuel stored in several tanks on the premises may have contributed to the building's collapse. The building contained a 6,000-gallon tank between its first and second floors and another four tanks, holding as much as 36,000 gallons, below ground level. There were also three smaller tanks on higher floors. [FEMA study, 5/1/02; New York Observer, 3/25/02; Chicago Tribune, 11/29/01; New York Times, 3/2/02] However, the cause of the collapse is uncertain. A 2002 government report concludes: “The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence.” [FEMA study, 5/1/02] Some reports indicate that the building may have been deliberately destroyed. Shortly after the collapse, CBS News anchor Dan Rather comments that the collapse is “reminiscent of ... when a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.” [CBS News, 9/11/01] In a PBS documentary broadcast in 2002, the World Trade Center's leaseholder Larry Silverstein talks about a phone call from the Fire Department commander he had on 9/11. Silverstein recalls saying to the commander about the building: “You know, we've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse.” [PBS, 9/10/02] It is unclear what Silverstein meant by the phrase “decision to pull.”
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Dan Rather, Larry Silverstein
          

September 12-October 2001: Steel Debris From WTC Shipped Out of US for Recycling      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Steel beams from the WTC were already being removed and recycled by September 20, 2001, when this picture was taken.
In the month following 9/11, a significant amount of the steel debris from the WTC collapses is removed from the rubble pile, cut into smaller sections, and either melted at a recycling plant or shipped out of the US. [Committee on Science hearing, 3/6/02] Each of the twin towers contained 78,000 tons of recyclable steel. Much of this is shipped to India, China, and other Asian countries, where it will be melted down and reprocessed into new steel products. Asian companies are able to purchase the steel for just $120 per ton, compared, for example, to a usual average price of $150 per ton in China. Industry officials estimate that selling off the steel and other metals from the WTC for recycling could net a few tens of million dollars. [New York Times, 10/9/01; Reuters, 1/21/02; CorpWatch, 2/6/02; Reuters, 1/22/02; Eastday (.com), 1/24/02] 9/11 victims' families and some engineers are angered at the decision to quickly discard the steel, believing it should be examined to help determine how the towers collapsed. A respected fire fighting trade magazine comments, “We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence.” [Fire Engineering, 1/02 (B)] Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) will later call the loss of this evidence “borderline criminal.” By March 2002, 150 pieces of steel from the WTC debris will have been identified by engineers for use in future investigations (see March 6, 2002). [FEMA report, p. D-13] A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which commences in August 2002 [Associated Press, 8/21/02; NIST, 8/21/02] , will have 236 pieces of recovered steel available to it. Of these, 229 pieces are from WTC 1 and 2, representing “roughly 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent of the 200,000 tons of structural steel used in the construction of the two towers.” [NIST draft report, 9/05, p. 85] New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg defends the decision to quickly get rid of the WTC steel, saying, “If you want to take a look at the construction methods and the design, that's in this day and age what computers do. Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn't tell you anything.” Officials in the mayor's office decline to reply to requests by the New York Times regarding who decided to have the steel recycled. [New York Times, 12/25/01; Eastday (.com), 1/24/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

September 14, 2001: Gruesome WTC Remains Found, But No Black Boxes      Complete 911 Timeline

       Some gruesome remains are discovered in the WTC ruins. Investigators find a pair of severed hands bound together with plastic handcuffs on a nearby building. They are believed to have belonged to a flight attendant. [Newsday, 9/15/01] There are reports of whole rows of seats with passengers in them being found, as well as much of the cockpit of one of the planes, complete with the body of one of the hijackers, and the body of another stewardess, whose hands were tied with wire. [Ananova, 9/13/01; New York Times, 9/15/01 (D)] Yet, contradicting the claim that a hijacker's body was found, only in February 2003 are the remains of two hijackers identified. While all of these bodies and plane parts are supposedly found, not one of the four black boxes for these two airplanes is ever found. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson says, “It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders.” [CBS News, 2/23/02] The black boxes are considered “nearly indestructible,” are placed in the safest parts of the aircraft, and are designed to survive impacts much greater than the WTC impact. They can withstand heat of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, and can withstand an impact of an incredible 3,400 G's. [ABC News, 9/17/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, National Transportation Safety Board
          

December 25, 2001: Experts: WTC Collapse Investigation Inadequate      Complete 911 Timeline

       The New York Times reports that “some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts” believe the investigation into the collapse of the WTC is “inadequate” and “are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide.” Experts critical of the investigation include “some of those people who are actually conducting it.” They point out that the current team of 20 or so investigators has no subpoena power, inadequate financial support, and little staff support. Additionally, it has been prevented from interviewing witnesses and frequently prevented from examining the disaster site, and has even been unable to obtain basic information like detailed blueprints of the buildings that collapsed. The decision to recycle the steel columns, beams, and trusses from the WTC rapidly in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be known. [New York Times, 12/25/01] Incredibly, some of the steel is reforged into commemorative medallions selling for $30 apiece. [Associated Press, 1/30/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

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