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Before 9/11

Warning Signs (228)
Foreign Intelligence Warnings (27)
Insider Trading (36)
Counterterrorism Before 9/11 (181)
Able Danger (39)
Military Exercises (38)
Hunt for bin Laden (73)
Pipeline Politics (54)

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

Pakistani ISI (126)
Randy Glass (7)
Sibel Edmonds (6)
Saeed Sheikh (3)
Mahmood Ahmed (3)
Drugs (21)
Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden Family (110)
Bin Laden Family (33)
Israel (33)
Iraq (49)
US Dominance (34)

Day of 9/11

All day of 9/11 events (401)
Flight AA 11 (62)
Flight UA 175 (49)
Flight AA 77 (70)
Flight UA 93 (105)
George Bush (66)
Dick Cheney (24)
Donald Rumsfeld (24)
Richard Clarke (22)

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
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Complete 911 Timeline


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(9:27 a.m.): Cheney Given Updates on Unidentified Flight 77 Heading Toward Washington

       Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice, in their bunker below the White House, are told by an aide that an airplane is headed toward Washington from 50 miles away. The plane is Flight 77. FAA deputy Monty Belger says, “Well We're watching this target on the radar, but the transponder's been turned off. So we have no identification.” They are given further notices when the plane is 30 miles away, then ten miles away, until it disappears from radar (time unknown, but the plane is said to be traveling about 500 mph and was 30 miles away at 9:30 a.m., so 50 miles would be about three minutes before that). [ABC News, 9/11/02] Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta gives virtually the same account before the 9/11 Commission. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03] However, the 9/11 Commission later claims the plane heading toward Washington is only discovered at 9:32 a.m. (see 9:32 a.m.). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Norman Mineta, Monty Belger, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney

9:28 a.m.: CNN Reports US Officials Think Attacks Caused by Terrorists

       CNN quotes the Associate Press as reporting that a US official believes the attacks are believed to have been carried out by terrorists. [Ottawa Citizen, 9/11/01]

9:28 am (or Before): Erratic Flight 93 Movements Noticed by Cleveland Flight Controller

Key events of Flight 93 (times are based on a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette map and otherwise interopolated).
Cleveland flight controller Stacey Taylor has been warned to watch transcontinental flights heading west for anything suspicious. She later recalls, “I hear one of the controllers behind me go, ‘Oh, my God, oh my God,’ and he starts yelling for the supervisor. He goes, ‘What is this plane doing? What is this plane doing?’ I wasn't that busy at the time, and I pulled it up on my screen and he was climbing and descending and climbing and descending, but very gradually. He'd go up 300 feet, he'd go down 300 feet. And it turned out to be United 93.” (Note the time of this incident is not specified, but presumably it is prior to when Cleveland controllers note Flight 93 descends 700 feet at 9:29 a.m. (see (9:29 a.m.))) [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Stacey Taylor, Cleveland flight control

9:28 a.m.: Myers Updates Clarke Videoconference on Fighter Response

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, directing a video conference with top officials, asks Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?” Myers replies, “Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but ... Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.” Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian. Otis Air National Guard Base is in Massachusetts, 188 miles east of New York City; Langley is in Virginia, 129 miles south of Washington; Tinker Air Force Base is in Oklahoma. Clarke asks, “Okay, how long to CAP [combat air patrol] over D.C.?” Myers replies, “Fast as we can. Fifteen minutes?” Note that according to Clarke, Myers is surrounded by generals and colonels as he says this (which contradicts Myers' own accounts of where he is and what he's doing). [Clarke, 2004, pp 5] The first fighters don't reach Washington until 30 minutes or more later.
People and organizations involved: Vigilant Warrior, Otis Air National Guard Base, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Richard A. Clarke, Richard B. Myers, Vigilant Guardian

(9:28 a.m.): Cleveland Flight Control Hears Sounds of Struggle as Flight 93 Is Hijacked

Jason Dahl.
Flight 93 acknowledges a transmission from a Cleveland flight controller. This is the last normal contact with the plane. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] According to the 9/11 Commission, less than a minute later, the controller, and pilots of aircraft in the vicinity, hear “a radio transmission of unintelligible sounds of possible screaming or a struggle from an unknown origin...” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Guardian, 10/17/01; Newsweek, 11/25/01] Someone, presumably pilot Jason Dahl, is overheard by controllers as he shouts, “Mayday!” [New York Times, 7/22/04 (B)] Seconds later, the controller responds: “Somebody call Cleveland?” Then there are more sounds of screaming and someone yelling, “Get out of here, get out of here.” [MSNBC, 7/30/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Observer, 12/2/01; Newsweek, 9/22/01; Toronto Sun, 9/16/01] Then the voices of the hijackers can be heard talking in Arabic. The words are later translated to show they are talking to each other, saying, “Everything is fine.” [Newsweek, 11/25/01] Later passenger phone calls describe two dead or injured bodies just outside the cockpit; presumably these are the two pilots. [New York Times, 7/22/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, Jason Dahl, 9/11 Commission

9:28 a.m.: NORAD Possibly Holding ‘Live-Fly’ Training Exercise

       According to former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, around this time the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers tells him via video link: “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but ... Otis [Air National Guard Base] has launched two birds toward New York.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 5] However, no other references have been found to this exercise, “Vigilant Warrior.” Considering that exercise terms are “normally an unclassified nickname,” [CJCSM, 4/23/98] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.)), which is taking place on 9/11? According to a later news report though, NORAD confirms that “it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and Command Centers in the United States and Canada,” one of these being Vigilant Guardian. [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 12/5/03] If this is correct then there must be another NORAD exercise on 9/11. If not “Vigilant Warrior,” a possibility is that the exercise referred to by Richard Clarke is in fact “Amalgam Warrior,” which is a NORAD-sponsored, large-scale, live-fly air defense and air intercept field training exercise. Amalgam Warrior usually involves two or more NORAD regions and is held twice yearly, in the spring for the West Coast and in the autumn for the East Coast. [Airman, 1996; GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/14/02; Committee on Armed Services, 2000; Arkin, 2005, pp 254] Is it possible that in 2001 the East Coast Amalgam Warrior is being held earlier than usual (like Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m.)) and is taking place on 9/11? In support of this possibility is a 1997 Defense Department report that describes the Stratcom exercise Global Guardian, saying it “links with other exercise activities sponsored by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commands.” The exercises it links with are Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and—significantly—the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 10/10/02; Defense Department, 5/97] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.)) is occurring the same time as Global Guardian, might Amalgam Warrior be as well? In his book Code Names, William Arkin says that Amalgam Warrior is “sometimes combined with Global Guardian.” [Arkin, 2005, pp 254] Amalgam Warrior tests such activities as tracking, surveillance, air interception, employing rules of engagement, attack assessment, electronic warfare, and counter-cruise-missile operations. A previous Amalgam Warrior in 1996 involved such situations as tracking unknown aircraft that had incorrectly filed their flight plans or wandered off course, in-flight emergencies, terrorist aircraft attacks, and large-scale bomber strike missions. Amalgam Warrior 98-1 was NORAD's largest ever exercise and involved six B-1B bombers being deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to act as an enemy threat by infiltrating the aerial borders of North America. [Arkin, 2005, pp 254; Airman, 1/96; GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/14/02] Another Amalgam Warrior in fall 2000 similarly involved four B-1 bombers acting as enemy forces trying to invade Alaska, with NORAD going from tracking the unknown aircraft to sending up “alert” F-15s in response. [Eielson News Service, 10/27/00; Associated Press, 10/29/00] If either one (or both) of these exercises ending with the name “Warrior” is taking place on 9/11, this could be very significant, because the word “Warrior” indicates that the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, Commander in Chief, NORAD-sponsored field training exercise. [NORAD, 8/25/89] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them.
People and organizations involved: Ellington Air National Guard Base, Vigilant Guardian, Richard B. Myers, Amalgam Warrior, US Department of Defense, Richard A. Clarke, North American Aerospace Defense Command

(9:29 a.m.): Pentagon Command Center Begins High Level Conference Call

The National Miilitary Command Center, inside the Pentagon.
Captain Charles Leidig is in command of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), “the military's worldwide nerve center.” [CNN, 9/4/02] Telephone links are established with the NMCC located inside the Pentagon (but on the opposite side of the building from where the explosion will happen), Canada's equivalent Command Center, Strategic Command, theater commanders, and federal emergency-response agencies. An Air Threat Conference Call is initiated and it lasts for eight hours. At one time or another, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, key military officers, leaders of the FAA and NORAD, the White House, and Air Force One are heard on the open line. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] NORAD command director Captain Michael Jellinek claims this happens “immediately” after the second WTC hit. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] However, the 9/11 Commission concludes it starts nearly 30 minutes later, at approximately 9:29 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Brigadier General Montague Winfield, who later takes over for Leidig, says, “All of the governmental agencies that were involved in any activity going on in the United States at that point, were in that conference.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] The call continues right through the Pentagon explosion; the impact is not felt within the NMCC. [CNN, 9/4/02] However, despite being in the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld doesn't enter the NMCC or participate in the call until 10:30 a.m. (see (10:30 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, National Military Command Center, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Mike Jellinek, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Federal Aviation Administration, Charles Leidig, Montague Winfield

(9:29 a.m.): Confirmation of Strange Sounds Coming from Flight 93; NORAD Not Notified

       Shortly after hearing strange noises from the cockpit of Flight 93, Cleveland flight controllers notice the plane has descended about 700 feet. They try to contact the plane several times, but get no answer. At 9:30 a.m., a controller asks other nearby flights on his frequency if they've heard screaming; several say that they have. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, despite these disturbing sounds and lack of contact with the plane, Cleveland doesn't notify anyone else about it.
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control

9:29 a.m.: President Bush Makes a Scheduled Speech; Proclaims Terrorist Attack on Our Country

President Bush begins speaking at 9:29 in the library of Booker Elementary School.
Still inside Booker Elementary School, President Bush gives a brief speech in front of about 200 students, plus many teachers and reporters. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] He says, “Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.” [Federal News Service, 9/11/01] The talk occurs at exactly the time and place stated in his publicly announced advance schedule—making Bush a possible terrorist target. [Washington Post, 9/12/01; CNN, 9/12/01; New York Times, 9/12/01; MSNBC, 9/22/01] This is the last most Americans will see of Bush until the evening. reporters at Booker Elementary School.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush

(9:30 a.m.): Dulles Flight Controllers Track Flight 77; Timing Disputed

Flight controller Danielle O'Brien.
Radar tracks Flight 77 as it closes within 30 miles of Washington. [CBS News, 9/21/01] Todd Lewis, flight controller at Washington's Dulles Airport, later recalls, “... my colleagues saw a target moving quite fast from the northwest to the southeast. So she—we all started watching that target, and she notified the supervisor. However, nobody knew that was a commercial flight at the time. Nobody knew that was American 77. ... I thought it was a military flight.” [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)] Another account is similar, saying that just before 9:30 a.m., a Dulles Airport controller sees an aircraft without a transponder traveling almost 500 mph headed toward Washington. [USA Today, 8/13/02] In yet another account, Danielle O'Brien, the Dulles flight controller said to be the first to spot the blip, claims she doesn't spot it until it is around 12 to 14 miles from Washington. [ABC News, 10/24/01; ABC News, 10/24/01 (B)] There are also accounts that Vice President Cheney is told around 9:27 a.m. that radar is tracking Flight 77, 50 miles away from Washington. The 9/11 Commission says the plane isn't discovered until 9:32 a.m.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Todd Lewis, Danielle O'Brien

(9:30 a.m.): FAA Emergency Operations Center Is Finally Operational

       The FAA's Emergency Operations Center gets up and running, five minutes after the FAA issues an order grounding all civilian, military, and law enforcement aircraft. [Time, 9/14/01] This center's role in the crisis response remains unclear.
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration

(9:30 a.m.): Clarke Asks Cheney's Bunker for Air Force One Fighter Escort and Shootdown Authorization; Neither Happen for Some Time

       As President Bush begins a speech in Florida, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke orders all US embassies overseas closed and orders all military bases to an alert level named Combat Threatcon. Over the next few minutes, Clarke discusses with aides where Bush should go from Sarasota, Florida. He telephones PEOC, the command bunker containing Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice, and says, “Somebody has to tell the president he can't come right back here [to Washington]. Cheney, Condi, somebody, Secret Service concurs. We do not want them saying where they are going when they take off. Second, when they take off, they should have fighter escort. Three, we need to authorize the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft—including a hijacked passenger flight—that looks like it is threatening to attack and cause large-scale death on the ground. Got it?” [Clarke, 2004, pp 5-7] However, when Bush departs on Air Force One about half an hour later, there are no fighter escorts, and none appear for an hour or so. In addition, if Clarke requests authorization for a shootdown order at this time, it is apparently ignored; neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney give shootdown authorization for at least another 30 minutes (see (Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Secret Service

(Between 9:30-10:00 a.m.): Cockpit Voice Recording Begins

       Apparently, the only cockpit voice recording recovered undamaged from any of the 9/11 crashes is from Flight 93. It recorded on a 30-minute reel, which means that the tape is continually overwritten and only the final 30 minutes of any flight is recorded, though in practice sometimes the tape is slightly longer. Flight 93's recording lasts 31 minutes and begins at this time. [Hartford Courant, 4/19/04; CNN, 4/19/02; Longman, 2002, pp 206-207] According to one account, it begins seconds before the plane is hijacked. [Washington Post, 11/17/01] However, the version of the tape later played for the victims' relatives begins “too late to pick up the sounds of the hijackers' initial takeover.” [NBC, 4/18/02]

(9:30 a.m.): Delta Flight Mistakenly Suspected by Cleveland Flight Control

       Flight controllers mistakenly suspect that Delta Flight 1989, flying west over Pennsylvania, has been hijacked. The controllers briefly suspect the sound of hijackers' voices in Flight 93 is coming from this plane, only a few miles away. USA Today reports the flight “joins a growing list of suspicious jets. Some of their flight numbers will be scrawled on a white dry-erase board throughout the morning” at FAA headquarters. Miscommunications lead to further suspicion of Flight 1989 even after the source of the hijackers' message is confirmed to come from Flight 93. At some point, the Cleveland Airport flight control tower is evacuated for fear Flight 1989 will crash into it. Flight 1989 lands in Cleveland at 10:10 a.m. Eventually, about 11 flights will be labeled suspicious, with four of them actually hijacked. [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B); USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)] The 9/11 Commission later has another explanation as to why Flight 1989 is suspected. They claim that at 9:41 a.m., Boston flight control identifies Flight 1989 as a possible hijacking strictly because it is a transcontinental 767 that had departed from Logan Airport. Although NEADS never loses track of the flight, it launches fighters from Ohio and Michigan to intercept it soon after 10:00 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, Logan Airport, Unocal, Federal Aviation Administration

(9:30-9:37 a.m.): Langley Fighters Fly East to Ocean Instead of North to Washington; Explanations Differ

Route of the Langley Air Base fighters to Washington.
The three Langley fighters are airborne, but just where they go and how fast are in dispute. There are varying accounts that the fighters are ordered to Washington, New York, Baltimore, or no destination at all. The 9/11 Commission Reports that, in fact, the pilots don't understand there is an emergency and head east. They give three reasons. “First, unlike a normal scramble order, this order did not include a distance to the target, or the target's location. Second, a ‘generic’ flight plan incorrectly led the Langley fighters to believe they were ordered to fly due east (090) for 60 miles. The purpose of the generic flight plan was to quickly get the aircraft airborne and out of local airspace. Third, the lead pilot and local FAA controller incorrectly assumed the flight plan instruction to go ‘090 for 60’ was newer guidance that superseded the original scramble order.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, the Wall Street Journal gives a different explanation, surprisingly from 9/11 Commission testimony. “Once they got in the air, the Langley fighters observed peacetime noise restrictions requiring that they fly more slowly than supersonic speed and takeoff over water, pointed away from Washington, according to testimony before the [9/11 Commission].” The fighters that departed to New York City over 30 minutes earlier at 8:52 a.m. (see 8:52 a.m.) traveled faster than supersonic because they realized they were in a national emergency. [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04] In 2003 testimony, NORAD Commander Major General Larry Arnold explains that the fighters head over the ocean because NORAD is “looking outward” and has to have clearance to fly over land. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03] One of the Langley pilots, Craig Borgstrom, later says that after taking off, “They (NEADS) [are] giving us the heading and altitude of north-northeast up to 20,000 feet. Then shortly after takeoff they changed our heading more north-westerly and gave us max-subsonic. That's as fast as you can go without breaking the sound barrier.” Reportedly, the Langley fighters are now being vectored toward Washington, instead of New York. [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 63-65] Yet, in contrast to these accounts, the BBC reports that just before takeoff at 9:24 a.m., the pilots are specifically told that Flight 77 may have been hijacked, and they get a cockpit signal indicating they are in an emergency wartime situation (see (9:24 a.m.)). All the above accounts concur that, for whatever reason, the fighters go too far east. They don't reach Washington until roughly around 10:00 a.m.
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Larry Arnold

(9:30 a.m.): Who Warns Who of Flight 77's Impending Approach to D.C.?

       Chris Stephenson, head flight controller at Washington's Reagan National Airport tower, says that he is called by the Secret Service around this time. He is told an unidentified aircraft is speeding toward Washington. Stephenson looks at the radarscope and sees Flight 77 about five miles to the west. He looks out the tower window and sees the plane turning to the right and descending. He follows it until it disappears behind a building in nearby Crystal City, Virginia. [USA Today, 8/12/02] However, according to another account, just before 9:30 a.m., a controller in the same tower has an unidentified plane on radar, “heading toward Washington and without a transponder signal to identify it. It's flying fast, she says: almost 500 mph. And it's heading straight for the heart of the city. Could it be American Flight 77? The FAA warns the Secret Service.” [USA Today, 8/13/02] In short, it is unclear whether the Secret Service warns the FAA, or vice versa.
People and organizations involved: Chris Stephenson, Federal Aviation Administration, Secret Service

(After 9:30 a.m.): Secret Service Finally Rushes Bush Out of School

       Kevin Down, a Sarasota police officer, recalls that immediately after President Bush's speech concludes, “The Secret Service agent [runs] out from the school and [says] We're under terrorist attack, we have to go now.” [BBC, 9/1/02] The motorcade departs a few minutes later.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Kevin Down, Secret Service

9:30 a.m.: Langley Fighters Take Off Toward Washington; They Could Reach City in Six Minutes but Take Half an Hour

A typical F-16.
The three F-16s at Langley, Virginia, get airborne. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Washington Post, 9/12/01; ABC News, 9/11/02; NORAD, 9/18/01] The pilots are Major Brad Derrig, Captain Craig Borgstrom, and Major Dean Eckmann, all from the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Fighter Wing stationed at Langley. [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (C); ABC News, 9/11/02] If the assumed NORAD departure time is correct, the F-16s would have to travel slightly over 700 mph to reach Washington before Flight 77 does. The maximum speed of an F-16 is 1,500 mph. [Associated Press, 6/16/00] Even traveling at 1,300 mph, these planes could have reached Washington in six minutes—well before any claim of when Flight 77 crashed. Yet it is claimed they are accidentally directed over the Atlantic Ocean instead, and they will only reach Washington about 30 minutes later. NORAD commander Major General Larry Arnold admits in 2003 testimony that had the fighters been going at full speed, “it is physically possible that they could have gotten over Washington” before Flight 77. But asked if the fighters would have had shootdown authorization had they reached the hijacked plane, Arnold says no, claiming that even by this time in the morning it is only “through hindsight that we are certain that this was a coordinated attack on the United States.” [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03 Sources: Larry Arnold]
People and organizations involved: Craig Borgstrom, Brad Derrig, Dean Eckmann

9:30 a.m.: United Flights Are Instructed to Land Immediately; American Follows Suit

       United Airlines begins landing all of its flights inside the US (Note: All planes nationwide were already ordered down at 9:26 a.m. (see (9:26 a.m.)) and told to land in a reasonable amount of time. Now they're told to land immediately.) American Airlines begins landing all of their flights five minutes later. [Wall Street Journal, 10/15/01]
People and organizations involved: American Airlines, United Airlines

(After 9:31 a.m.): Flight 93 Attendant Is Stabbed

Flight attendant Debbie Welsh is apparently stabbed.
A few minutes after 9:31 a.m., a hijacker on board Flight 93 can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder ordering a woman to sit down. A woman, presumably a flight attendant, implores, “don't, don't.” She pleads, “Please, I don't want to die.” Patrick Welsh, the husband of flight attendant Debbie Welsh, is later told that a flight attendant was stabbed early in the takeover, and it is strongly implied it was his wife. She was a first-class attendant, and he says, “knowing Debbie,” she would have resisted. [Longman, 2002, pp 207]
People and organizations involved: Patrick Welsh, Debbie Welsh

9:32 a.m.: Cheney Is Notified That Flight 77 Is Headed To Washington

Vice President Cheney pointing a finger inside the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Footage of the World Trade Center plays on the televisions in the background (exact time is unknown).
According to the 9/11 Commission, the Dulles Airport terminal control facility in Washington has been looking for unidentified primary radar blips since 9:21 a.m. (see 9:21 a.m.) and now finds one. Several Dulles flight controllers “observed a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed” and notify Reagan Airport. FAA personnel at both Reagan and Dulles airports notify the Secret Service. The identity or aircraft type is unknown. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, other accounts place the discovery of this plane by Dulles around 9:24 a.m. (see (9:24 a.m.)) or 9:30 a.m. (see (9:30 a.m.)), and Vice President Cheney is told radar is tracking Flight 77 at 9:27 a.m. (see (9:27 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Secret Service, Washington Dulles International Airport, Federal Aviation Administration

(9:32 a.m.): FAA Notifies United Airlines About Flight 93

       The FAA notifies United Airlines' headquarters that Flight 93 is not responding to radio calls. This lack of response, combined with the plane's turning to the east, causes United to believe, by 9:36 a.m., that the plane has been hijacked. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 456]
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, Federal Aviation Administration

(9:32 a.m.): Flight 93 Hijacker Tells Passengers Bomb Is Onboard; Flight Controllers Overhear

       A hijacker says over the radio to Flight 93's passengers: “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the captain, please sit down. Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb aboard.” Apparently, Cleveland flight controllers can understand about a minute of screams, before a voice again says something about a “bomb on board.” A hijacker says in broken English that they are returning to the airport. [MSNBC, 9/3/02; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Newsweek, 9/22/01] According to the 9/11 Commission's account, the hijacker's voice says, “Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board.” The controller understands, but chooses to respond, “Calling Cleveland [flight control], you're unreadable. Say again, slowly.” Apparently there's no answer. The controller notifies his supervisor, who soon passes the notice to FAA headquarters. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, Federal Aviation Administration, 9/11 Commission

9:32 a.m.: Stock Exchange Closes

       The New York Stock Exchange closes. It is a short distance from the WTC. [MSNBC, 9/22/01]
People and organizations involved: New York Stock Exchange

9:33 a.m.: Planes Warned Away from Washington

       The BBC reports that pilot Major Dean Eckmann gets a message as he's flying from Langley, Virginia. “They said—all airplanes, if you come within (I believe it was) 30 miles of Washington, D.C., you will be shot down.” [BBC, 9/1/02] It's not clear who “they” are and what authority they have. However, fighters are not actually given shootdown orders until later, if at all.
People and organizations involved: Dean Eckmann

(9:33-9:37 a.m.): Eyewitness Reports Indicate There Was No Loss of Control on Flight 77

       Radar data shows Flight 77 crossing the Capitol Beltway and headed toward the Pentagon. However, the plane, flying more than 400 mph, is too high when it nears the Pentagon at 9:35 a.m., crossing the Pentagon at about 7,000 feet up. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01; CBS News, 9/21/01] The plane then makes a difficult high-speed descending turn. It makes a “downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes. The steep turn is so smooth, the sources say, it's clear there [is] no fight for control going on.” [CBS News, 9/21/01] It gets very near the White House during this turn. “Sources say the hijacked jet ... [flies] several miles south of the restricted airspace around the White House.” [CBS News, 9/21/01] The Daily Telegraph later writes, “If the airliner had approached much nearer to the White House it might have been shot down by the Secret Service, who are believed to have a battery of ground-to-air Stinger missiles ready to defend the president's home. The Pentagon is not similarly defended.” [Daily Telegraph, 9/16/01] White House spokesman Ari Fleischer suggests the plane goes even closer to the White House, saying, “That is not the radar data that we have seen. The plane was headed toward the White House.” [CBS News, 9/21/01 Sources: Ari Fleischer]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Secret Service

(9:34 a.m.): Bush Leaves Booker Elementary School for Sarasota Airport; Possible Threat En Route

Bush speaks on a cell phone while sitting next to Andrew Card as his motorcade travels to the Sarasota airport.
President Bush's motorcade leaves Booker Elementary School and heads toward Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Washington Times, 10/8/02; Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04] A few days after 9/11, Sarasota's main newspaper reports, “Sarasota barely skirted its own disaster. As it turns out, terrorists targeted the president and Air Force One on Tuesday, maybe even while they were on the ground in Sarasota and certainly not long after. The Secret Service learned of the threat just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01] Kevin Down, a Sarasota police officer at the scene, recalls, “I thought they were actually anticipating a terrorist attack on the president while we were en route.” [BBC, 8/30/02] ABC News reporter Ann Compton, who is part of the motorcade, recalls, “It was a mad-dash motorcade out to the airport.” [BBC, 9/1/02] A year later, Chief of Staff Andrew Card says, “As we were heading to Air Force One, we did hear about the Pentagon attack, and we also learned, what turned out to be a mistake, but we learned that the Air Force One package could in fact be a target.” [MSNBC, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Andrew Card, Kevin Down, Ann Compton, Secret Service

9:34 a.m.: FAA Mentions in Passing to NORAD That Flight 77 Is Missing

       According to the 9/11 Commission, NEADS contacts Washington flight control to ask about Flight 11. A manager there happens to mention, “We're looking—we also lost American 77.” The commission claims, “No one at FAA Command Center or headquarters ever asked for military assistance with American 77.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Yet, 38 minutes earlier, flight controllers determined Flight 77 was off course, out of radio contact, and had no transponder signal (see (8:56 a.m.)). They'd warned American Airlines headquarters within minutes. By some accounts, this is the first time NORAD is told about Flight 77, but other accounts have them warned around 9:25 a.m.
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Northeast Air Defense Sector, North American Aerospace Defense Command, American Airlines

9:34 a.m.: FAA's Headquarters Notified There Might Be a Bomb Onboard Flight 93; NORAD Not Notified

       According to the 9/11 Commission, word of Flight 93's hijacking reaches FAA headquarters. By this time, headquarters has established an open line of communication with the FAA Command Center at Herndon, Virginia. It had instructed the center to poll all flight control centers about suspect aircraft. So, at this time, the Command Center passes on Cleveland's message: “United 93 may have a bomb on board.” The Command Center continually updates FAA headquarters on Flight 93 until it crashes. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration

9:34 a.m.: Flight 93 Passenger Burnett Calls Again, Learns It's a Suicide Mission

       Tom Burnett calls his wife Deena a second time. He says, “They're in the cockpit.” He has checked the pulse of the man who was knifed (later identified as Mark Rothenberg, sitting next to him in seat 5B) and determined he is dead. She tells him about the hits on the WTC. He responds, “Oh my God, it's a suicide mission.” As they continue to talk, he tells her the plane has turned back. By this time, Deena is in constant communication with the FBI and others, and a police officer is at her house. [Longman, 2002, pp 110]
People and organizations involved: Mark Rothenberg, Deena Burnett, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tom Burnett

(9:35 a.m.): Silent Flight 93 Climbs and Drops; NORAD Still Not Notified

       When Flight 93 is over Youngstown, Ohio, Stacey Taylor and other Cleveland flight controllers see it rapidly climb 6,000 feet above its assigned altitude of 35,000 feet and then rapidly descend. The plane drops so quickly toward Cleveland that the flight controllers worry they might be the target. Other accounts say the climb occurs around 9:35 a.m. Controllers continue to try to contact the plane but still get no response. [Guardian, 10/17/01; USA Today, 8/13/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, Stacey Taylor

(9:35 a.m.): Treasury Department Evacuates; Pentagon and Other Washington Department Do Not

       The Treasury Department is evacuated a few minutes before Flight 77 crashes. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] Yet, CNN notes that “after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned the military's air defense command that a hijacked airliner appeared to be headed toward Washington, the federal government failed to make any move to evacuate the White House, Capitol, State Department, or the Pentagon.” [CNN, 9/16/01] A Pentagon representative says, “The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way.” Even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his top aides in the Pentagon remain unaware of any danger up to the moment of impact. [Newsday, 9/23/01] Senators and congresspeople are in the Capitol building, which is not evacuated until 9:48 a.m. (see 9:48 a.m.) Only Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, and possibly a few others are evacuated to safety a few minutes after 9:03 a.m. (see (After 9:03 a.m.)). Yet, supposedly, since at least the Flight 11 crash, “military officials in a Command Center [the National Military Command Center] on the east side of the [Pentagon] [are] urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do.” [New York Times, 9/15/01] The White House is evacuated at 9:45 a.m. (see (9:45 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: US Department of the Treasury, 9/11 Commission Report, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Federal Aviation Administration, National Military Command Center, US Department of State

9:35 a.m.: Flight 93 Attendant Warns United Airlines About Hijacking; Account Spreads but Not to NORAD

       The San Francisco United Airlines maintenance center receives a call from an unnamed flight attendant on Flight 93 saying that the flight has been hijacked. The information is quickly passed on. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04] Within ten minutes, “everyone” in the United Airlines crisis center “now [knows] that a flight attendant on board had called the mechanics desk to report that one hijacker had a bomb strapped on and another was holding a knife on the crew.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/15/01]
People and organizations involved: United Airlines

(9:36 a.m.): Flight 93 Turns Around, Files a New Flight Plan

       Flight 93 files a new flight plan with a final destination of Washington, reverses course and heads toward Washington. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Guardian, 10/17/01; MSNBC, 9/3/02; Longman, 2002, pp 219] Radar shows the plane turning 180 degrees. [CNN, 9/13/01 (B)] The new flight plan schedules the plane to arrive in Washington at 10:28 a.m. [Longman, 2002, pp 78]

(9:36 a.m.): Cleveland Flight Control Wants NORAD Notified; FAA Command Center Says People Are Working on It

       According to the 9/11 Commission, at about this time Cleveland flight control specifically asks the FAA Command Center whether someone has requested the military to launch fighters toward Flight 93. Cleveland offers to contact a nearby military base. The Command Center replies that FAA personnel well above them in the chain of command have to make that decision and are working on the issue. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Cleveland overheard a hijacker say there was a “bomb on board” at 9:32 a.m. and passed the message to FAA higher ups.
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, Federal Aviation Administration

Before 9:36 a.m.: Officials Claim NORAD is Monitoring Flight 93

       According to one account given by NEADS Commander Robert Marr, some time before around 9:36 when it changes direction, while it is still flying west, Flight 93 is being monitored by NEADS. Marr describes how, “We don't have fighters that way and we think [Flight 93 is] headed toward Detroit or Chicago.” He says he contacts a base in the area “so they [can] head off 93 at the pass.” Not only does NORAD know about the flight, but also, according to NORAD Commander Larry Arnold, “We watched the 93 track as it meandered around the Ohio-Pennsylvania area and started to turn south toward DC.” (This change of direction occurs around 9:36 a.m.) [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp. 68-71] This account completely contradicts the 9/11 Commission's later claim that NEADS is first notified about Flight 93 at 10:07 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Robert Marr, Larry Arnold

9.36 a.m.: Military Cargo Plane Asked to Identify Flight 77

A typical C-130.
Reagan Airport flight control instructs a military C-130 (Golfer 06) that has just departed Andrews Air Force Base to intercept Flight 77 and identify it. [Guardian, 10/17/01; New York Times, 10/16/01 (D)] Remarkably, this C-130 is the same C-130 that is 17 miles from Flight 93 when it later crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside (see 10:08 a.m.). [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/11/02; Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01] The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Steve O'Brien, claims he took off around 9:30 a.m., planning to return to Minnesota after dropping supplies off in the Caribbean. He later describes his close encounter: “When air traffic control asked me if we had him [Flight 77] 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 reports that the plane is either a 757 or 767 and its silver fuselage means it is probably an American Airlines plane. “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.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/11/02] The 9/11 Commission Reports that it is a C-130H and the pilot specifically identifies the hijacked plane as a 757. Seconds after impact, he reports, “Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Steve O'Brien, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Pentagon

(After 9:37 a.m.): Andrews Pilots Aware of Crisis but Still on Ground

Amraam missiles being loaded onto a 119th Fighter Wing jet on the day of 9/1.
After the Pentagon is hit, fighters at nearby Andrews Air Force Base are still preparing to launch. At some unknown point, flight squad commander Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville assembles three F-16 pilots and gives them a curt briefing. He recalls saying, “I have no idea what's going on, but we're flying. Here's our frequency. We'll split up the area as we have to. Just defend as required. We'll talk about the rest in the air.” All four of them dress up and get ready. One officer at Andrews recalls, “After the Pentagon was hit, we were told there were more [airliners] coming. Not ‘might be’—they were coming.” Meanwhile, a “flood” of calls from the Secret Service and local FAA flight control centers pour into Andrews, as the fighter response is coordinated. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02] However, the loading of missiles onto the fighters is very time consuming, and when these fighters finally take off nearly an hour later, they will launch without the missiles installed.
People and organizations involved: Andrews Air Force Base, Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Marc Sasseville

9:37 a.m.: Witnesses See Military Cargo Plane Near Flight 77; Pilot Implies He's Far Away

       A C-130 transport plane that has been sent to follow Flight 77 is trailing only a short distance behind the plane as it crashes. This curious C-130, originally bound for Minnesota, is the same C-130 that will be 17 miles from Flight 93 when it later crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside. [Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01; Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/11/02] A number of people see this plane fly remarkably close to Flight 77:
Kelly Knowles says that seconds after seeing Flight 77 pass, she sees a “second plane that seemed to be chasing the first [pass] over at a slightly different angle.” [Daily Press, 9/15/01]

Keith Wheelhouse says the second plane was a C-130; two other witnesses aren't certain. [Daily Press, 9/15/01]
Wheelhouse “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.” As Flight 77 descends toward the Pentagon, the second plane veers off west. [Daily Press, 9/14/01]
USA Today reporter Vin Narayanan, who saw the Pentagon explosion, says, “I hopped out of my car after the jet exploded, nearly oblivious to a second jet hovering in the skies.” [USA Today, 9/17/01]

USA Today Editor Joel Sucherman sees a second plane but gives few details. [eWeek, 9/13/01]
Brian Kennedy, press secretary for a congressman, and others also see a second plane. [Sacramento Bee, 9/15/01]
An unnamed worker at Arlington National Cemetery “said a mysterious second plane was circling the area when the first one attacked the Pentagon.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/20/01]

John O'Keefe is driving a car when he sees the Pentagon crash. “The first thing I did was pull over onto the shoulder, and when I got out of the car I saw another plane flying over my head. ... Then the plane—it looked like a C-130 cargo plane—started turning away from the Pentagon, it did a complete turnaround.” [New York Law Journal, 9/12/01]

The pilot of the C-130, Lieutenant Colonel Steve O'Brien, is later interviewed, but his account differs from the on-the-ground eyewitnesses. He claims that just before the explosion, “With all of the East Coast haze, I had a hard time picking him out,” implying he is not nearby. He also says that just after the explosion, “I could see the outline of the Pentagon,” again implying he is not nearby. He then asks “the controller whether [I] should set up a low orbit around the building,” but he is 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.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/11/02]

People and organizations involved: Keith Wheelhouse, Kelly Knowles, Brian Kennedy, Pentagon, John O'Keefe, Joel Sucherman, Vin Narayanan, Steve O'Brien

(After 9:37 a.m.): Cheney Tells Bush to Stay Away from Washington

       Having learned that the Pentagon had been hit, Vice President Cheney telephones President Bush, who is on his way to the Sarasota airport, and tells him that the White House has been “targeted.” Bush says he wants to return to Washington, but Cheney advises him not to “until we could find out what the hell was going on.” According to Newsweek, this call takes place in a tunnel on the way to the PEOC underground bunker. Cheney reaches the bunker “shortly before 10:00 a.m.” [Newsweek, 12/31/01] The 9/11 Commission's account largely follows Newsweek's. He reaches the tunnel around the time of the Pentagon crash and lingers by a television and secure telephone as he talks to Bush. The commission has Cheney enter the bunker just before 10:00, but they note, “There is conflicting evidence as to when the vice president arrived in the shelter conference room.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Indeed, in other accounts, including those of Richard Clarke and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Cheney reaches the bunker before the Flight 77 crash at 9:37 a.m. [Clarke, 2004, pp 3-4; ABC News, 9/11/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03 Sources: Norman Mineta, Richard A. Clarke] Regardless of Cheney's location, as Cheney and Bush talk on the phone, Bush once again refrains from making any decisions or orders about the crisis. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney

(After 9:37 a.m.): Rumsfeld Reportedly Rushes to Help Pentagon Crash Victims, but Accounts Are Contradictory and Problematic

This picture of Rumsfeld (center), taken from the US Army website, is captioned, “Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld returns to Pentagon inner offices Tuesday morning after surveying the damage from the hijacked plane which crashed into the building moments before.” This contradicts his claim that he was helping victims for nearly an hour after the attack.
By all accounts, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is in his Pentagon office when Flight 77 crashes, though accounts differ as to what he's doing there. Rumsfeld later relates what he does next: “I was sitting here and the building was struck, and you could feel the impact of it very clearly, and I don't know what made me do anything I did, to be honest with you. I just do it instinctive. I looked out the window, saw nothing here, and then went down the hall until the smoke was too bad, then to a stairwell down and went outside and saw what had happened. Asked a person who'd seen it, and he told me that a plane had flown into it. I had been aware of a plane going into the World Trade Center, and I saw people on the grass, and we just, we tried to put them in stretchers and then move them out across the grass towards the road and lifted them over a jersey wall so the people on that side could stick them into the ambulances. I was out there for awhile, and then people started gathering, and we were able to get other people to do that, to hold IVs for people. There were people lying on the grass with clothes blown off and burns all over them. Then at some moment I decided I should be in here figuring out what to do, because your brain begins to connect things, and there were enough people there to worry about that. I came back in here, came into this office. There was smoke in here by then.” [Defense Department, 10/12/01] Versions of this story appear elsewhere. [Defense Department, 5/9/03; ABC News, 9/11/02; Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/12/01; CNN, 12/5/01] Rumsfeld says the crash site is “around the corner” from his fourth floor office [ABC News, 9/11/02] , but, in fact, the crash site is on the opposite site of the huge Pentagon. [Reuters, 9/11/01] Rumsfeld says he reaches the crash site “moments after” the crash, which would be an impressive feat given the over 2,000 feet distance. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/23/04] One report even has Rumsfeld pull budget analyst Paul Gonzalez to safety from the burning wreckage. [Daily Telegraph, 9/16/01 (B)] However, Gonzalez later offers his own detailed recollections of pulling other people to safety, which fail to involve Rumsfeld in any way. [Washington Post, 3/11/02] Deputy Defense Secretary Torie Clarke, in the Pentagon at the time, says Rumsfeld is “one of the first people” outside [Defense Department, 9/15/01 (C)] , and remains outside for “about half an hour.” [Defense Department, 9/15/01 (B)] A Pentagon spokesperson has Rumsfeld helping for “15 minutes or so...” [Reuters, 9/11/01] In another account, he loads the wounded onto stretchers for 15 minutes. [Scripps Howard News Service, 9/11/01] Rumsfeld reportedly helps at the crash site until a security agent urges him to leave. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] However, in his 2004 testimony to the 9/11 Commission, he no longer mentions helping the wounded, merely saying, “I went outside to determine what had happened. I was not there long because I was back in the Pentagon with a crisis action team shortly before or after 10:00 a.m. (see (Between 10:00-10:30 a.m.)).” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/23/04] There are no photographs or eyewitness accounts of Rumsfeld outside the Pentagon that morning, except for one photograph of him walking down a sidewalk with some aides. In counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke's account, Rumsfeld never leaves a video conference for very long, except to move from one secure teleconferencing studio to another elsewhere in the Pentagon. [Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9 Sources: Richard A. Clarke]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Gonzalez, Pentagon

(Between 9:37-9:45 a.m.): Clarke Orders Combat Air Patrols over All Major Cities; Order Apparently Not Passed On

       At an indeterminate time after Flight 77 hits the Pentagon, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is given a note by the head of the Secret Service. The note reads, “Radar shows aircraft headed this way. I'm going to empty out the [White House].” The Secret Service knows this because they have equipment that can see what the FAA's radar is seeing around Washington. However, the note is too late: Flight 77 has already crashed. At almost the same time, another aide says to Clarke, “A plane just hit the Pentagon.” He replies, “I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn't get hit. No emotion in here. We are going to stay focused.” He orders an aide, “Find out where the fighter planes are. I want Combat Air Patrol over every major city in this country. Now!” [Clarke, 2004, pp 7-8; Australian, 3/27/04] NORAD does give this nationwide order around 9:49 a.m. (see 9:49 a.m.), but bases had been calling into NORAD and asking for permission to send up fighters since the second WTC crash. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Other cities generally remain unprotected until after 11:00 a.m. [Toledo Blade, 12/9/01] The Secret Service order to evacuate the White House takes place at 9:45 a.m. (see (9:45 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: Secret Service, Richard A. Clarke, Donald Rumsfeld

9:37 a.m.: Flight 77 Crashes into Reinforced Section of the Pentagon

The Pentagon explodes.
Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Approximately 125 people on the ground are later determined killed or missing. [MSNBC, 9/3/02; ABC News, 9/11/02; CBS News, 9/11/02 (B); Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); USA Today, 8/13/02; CNN, 9/17/01; Guardian, 10/17/01; NORAD, 9/18/01] Flight 77 strikes the only side of the Pentagon that had recently been renovated—it was “within days of being totally [renovated].” [Defense Department, 9/15/01] “It was the only area of the Pentagon with a sprinkler system, and it had been reconstructed with a web of steel columns and bars to withstand bomb blasts. The area struck by the plane also had blast-resistant windows—two inches thick and 2,500 pounds each—that stayed intact during the crash and fire. While perhaps, 4,500 people normally would have been working in the hardest-hit areas, because of the renovation work only about 800 were there...” More than 25,000 people work at the Pentagon. [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, US Department of Defense

(Between 9:37-9:58 a.m.): Seven Planes Unaccounted For New York City

       Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is told by his chief of staff that the White House knows of seven planes that are unaccounted for. He is told that the Pentagon has been hit, but also hears erroneous reports that the Sears Tower and other buildings have been hit. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/19/04]
People and organizations involved: Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani, Pentagon

9:37 a.m.: Rumsfeld Either Being Briefed by CIA or with Clarke Video Conference When Pentagon Is Hit

       There are conflicting accounts of what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld does in the 35 minutes between the second WTC crash and the Pentagon crash. In his 9/11 Commission testimony, he covers the time with the phrase “shortly thereafter:” “I was in my office with a CIA briefer and I was told that a second plane had hit the other tower. Shortly thereafter, at 9:38 a.m., the Pentagon shook with an explosion of then unknown origin.” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/23/04] In the book Bush at War, Bob Woodward writes, “Aware of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Rumsfeld had been proceeding with his daily intelligence briefing in his office” when the Pentagon gets hit. [Woodward, 2002] However, according to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, Rumsfeld joins a video conference at 9:10 a.m. (see (9:10 a.m.)), shortly after the second WTC hit, and stays with the conference, possibly from his office. After being told the Pentagon has been hit, Clarke says, “I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn't get hit”. The military response to the 9/11 crisis is being coordinated in the NMCC, apparently located only around 200 feet away, directly below Rumsfeld's office. [Reuters, 9/11/01; Defense Department, 9/15/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard A. Clarke, National Military Command Center

(9:37 a.m.): Flight 93 Passenger Jeremy Glick Describes Hijackers, Bomb

Jeremy Glick.
Jeremy Glick calls his wife, Lyz, from Flight 93. He describes the hijackers as Middle Eastern- and Iranian-looking. According to Glick, three of them put on red headbands, stood up, yelled, and ran into the cockpit. He had been sitting in the front of the coach section, but he was then sent to the back with most of the passengers. Glick says the hijackers claimed to have a bomb, which looked like a box with something red around it. Family members immediately call emergency 9-1-1 on another line. New York State Police are patched in midway through the call. Glick finds out about the WTC towers. Two others onboard also learn about the WTC at about this time. Glick's phone remains connected until the very end of the flight. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B); MSNBC, 7/30/02; Toronto Sun, 9/16/01; Longman, 2002, pp 143]
People and organizations involved: Jeremy Glick

(After 9:37 a.m.): FBI Confiscates Film of Pentagon Crash

       An employee at a gas station located across the street from the Pentagon servicing military personnel later says the station's security cameras should have recorded the moment of impact. However, he says, “I've never seen what the pictures looked like. The FBI was here within minutes and took the film.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/11/01] A security camera atop a hotel close to the Pentagon also records the impact. Hotel employees watch the film several times before the FBI confiscates the video. [Gertz File, 9/21/01] This film footage has never been released.
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Federal Bureau of Investigation

9:37 a.m.: United Flights Are Told to Bar Cockpit Entry

       Captain Jim Hosking, piloting United Flight 890 from Japan to Los Angeles, is sent a warning message to his cockpit printer. It reads, “There has been a terrorist attack against United Airlines and American Airlines aircraft. We are advised there may be additional hijackings in progress. Shut down all access to the flight deck. Unable to elaborate further.” He tells his first officer, “Get out the crash axe.” Other pilots are receiving similar messages around this time. [USA Today, 8/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Jim Hosking

9:37 a.m.: Langley Fighters Still Short of Washington; Where and Why Is Not Clear

       Accounts differ as to how far from Washington the F-16 fighters scrambled from Langley are when Flight 77 crashes. The Langley, Virginia, base is 129 miles from Washington. NORAD originally claimed that, at the time of the crash, the fighters are 105 miles away, despite having taken off seven minutes earlier. [NORAD, 9/18/01] The 9/11 Commission claims that at 9:36 a.m., NEADS discovers that Flight 77 is only a few miles from the White House and is dismayed to find the fighters have headed east over the ocean. They are ordered to Washington immediately, but are still about 150 miles away. This is farther away than the base from which they took off. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] The F-16 pilot codenamed Honey (who is apparently Captain Craig Borgstrom) offers a different explanation. As previously mentioned, he says they are flying toward New York, when they see a black column of smoke coming from Washington, about 30 or 40 miles to the west. He is then asked over the radio by NEADS if he can confirm the Pentagon is burning. He confirms it. He says that the mission of the Langley pilots at this time is clear: to keep all airplanes away from Washington. The F-16s are then ordered to set up a defensive perimeter above Washington. [Longman, 2002, pp 76; New York Observer, 2/11/04; Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 66] The maximum speed of an F-16 is 1,500 mph. [Associated Press, 6/16/00] Had the fighters traveled straight to Washington at 1,300 mph, they would have reached Washington at least one minute before Flight 77. Furthermore, at the time the Pentagon is hit, according to Craig Borgstrom, he and the other Langley pilots are hearing a lot of chatter over their radios, but nothing about airliners crashing into buildings. He says they are “all three on different frequencies � and [are] getting orders from a lot of different people.” [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 66]
People and organizations involved: Northeast Air Defense Sector, Craig Borgstrom, Pentagon

(Before 9:37 a.m.): Rumsfeld Said to Make Eerie Predictions, but Witness Who Gives Account Is Long Gone

       Representative Christopher Cox later claims he is still meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. They are still discussing missile defense, apparently completely oblivious of the approaching Flight 77. Watching television coverage from New York City, Rumsfeld says to Cox, “Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us.” According to the Daily Telegraph, Flight 77 hits the building “moments later.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] In another telling, Cox claims that Rumsfeld says, “If we remain vulnerable to missile attack, a terrorist group or rogue state that demonstrates the capacity to strike the US or its allies from long range could have the power to hold our entire country hostage to nuclear or other blackmail. And let me tell you, I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event.” Rumsfeld repeats that sentence for emphasis. According to Cox, “Within minutes of that utterance, Rumsfeld's words proved tragically prophetic.” Cox also claims, “I escaped just minutes before the building was hit.” [Rep. Cox Statement, 9/11/01] However, Rumsfeld claims that this meeting with Cox ended before the second WTC crash, which occurred at 9:03 a.m. Cox himself said that after being told of the WTC, “[Rumsfeld] sped off, as did I.” Cox says he immediately headed to his car, making it impossible for him to still be in the Pentagon “just minutes before” it is hit. [Associated Press, 9/11/01] Another account puts Rumsfeld's “I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event” comment two minutes before the first WTC crash at 8:46 a.m., when Rumsfeld reportedly makes other predictive comments. [Associated Press, 9/16/01 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Christopher Cox

(Before 9:37 a.m.): Flight 77 Turns, Then Disappears from Radar

       Washington flight controllers are watching Flight 77's radar blip. Just before radar contact is lost, FAA headquarters is told, “The aircraft is circling. It's turning away from the White House.” [USA Today, 8/13/02] Then the blip disappears. Its last known position is six miles from the Pentagon and four miles from the White House. The plane is said to be traveling 500 mph, or a mile every seven seconds. [CBS News, 9/21/01; USA Today, 8/13/02; Newhouse News Service, 1/25/02; ABC News, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration

9:37 a.m.: Fireman Dodges Flight 77; Immediately Notifies Superior About Crashed Jumbo Jet

Internet researchers have put together this image showing how an object the size of a jumbo jet clips a number of light poles and then destroys columns inside the Pentagon. [From website]
Fireman Alan Wallace is busy with a safety crew at the Pentagon's heliport pad. As Wallace is walking in front of the Pentagon, he looks up and sees Flight 77 coming straight at him. It is about 25 feet off the ground, with no landing wheels visible, a few hundred yards away, and closing fast. He runs about 30 feet and dives under a nearby van. [Washington Post, 9/21/01] The plane is traveling at about 460 mph, and flying so low that it clips the tops of streetlights. [CBS News, 9/21/01] Using the radio in the van, he calls his fire chief at nearby Fort Myer and says, “We have had a commercial carrier crash into the west side of the Pentagon at the heliport, Washington Boulevard side. The crew is OK. The airplane was a 757 Boeing or a 320 Airbus.” [Scripps Howard News Service, 8/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Fort Myer, Pentagon, Alan Wallace

(Before 9:37 a.m.): Sheer Coincidence Brings Emergency Rescue and Secret Service Near to Pentagon

       In response to an emergency 9-1-1 telephone call, the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center dispatches several units to deal with an apartment fire in Rosslyn, Virginia—within the vicinity of the Pentagon. Because this fire is in a high-rise building, nine different fire and medical service units are dispatched. However, the first engine crew to arrive radios to the other units that the fire has gone out. Consequently, by “sheer coincidence,” at the time when the Pentagon is hit, there are a significant number of available fire and medical service units already on the road nearby. [Arlington County After-Action Report, 7/02; Fire Engineering, 11/02] Additionally, Secret Service personnel are concentrated around the heliport a short distance from where Flight 77 will hit: “President Bush was scheduled to fly from Florida that afternoon, and his helicopter, Marine One, would carry him to the Pentagon. That meant Secret Service everywhere and their cars blocking the driveway.” [Scripps Howard News Service, 8/1/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Pentagon, Secret Service

Before 9:37 a.m.: Army Base near Pentagon Holding Air Field Fire Fighting Training

       At the Education Center at Fort Myer, an army base 1.5 miles northwest of the Pentagon, the base's firefighters are undertaking training variously described as “an airport rescue firefighters class”; “an aircraft crash refresher class”; “a week-long class on Air Field Fire Fighting”; and a “training exercise in airport emergency operations.” Despite hearing of the first WTC crash during a break, with no access to a TV, the class simply continues with its training. According to Bruce Surette, who is attending the session: “We had heard some radio transmissions from some other units in Arlington about how they thought they had a plane down here or a plane down there. So you're thinking, ‘Hey this could be real.’ But it really didn't strike home as being real until our guy came on the radio and said where the plane crash was.” The Fort Myer firefighters then immediately head for the Pentagon, arriving there at 9:40 a.m., only three minutes after it is hit, and participate in the firefighting and rescue effort there. The fire station at the Pentagon heliport is actually operated by the Fort Myer Fire Department, and is manned on the morning of 9/11 by three Fort Myer firefighters who have already undertaken the airfield firefighting training. [Arlington County After-Action Report, 7/02; First Due News, 4/1703; JEMS, 4/02; MDW News Service, 10/4/01; Pentagram, 11/2/01] The Fort Myer military community, which includes Fort Myer and Fort Lesley J. McNair—another army base, just two miles east of the Pentagon—was scheduled to hold a “force protection exercise” the week after 9/11. However this has been cancelled, so just prior to the attacks the morning of September 11, “some of its participants [are] breathing a sigh of relief.” [Pentagram, 9/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Fort Myer

9:39 a.m.: Rumsfeld Is Wanted at NMCC Teleconference but Cannot Be Reached

       Captain Charles Leidig, a low ranking officer temporarily in charge of the NMCC, is handling the NMCC's crisis teleconference. He mentions reports of a crash into the opposite side of the Pentagon, and requests that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld be added to the conference. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] As one magazine has noted, “On September 11, the normal scramble-approval procedure was for an FAA official to contact the [NMCC] and request Pentagon air support. Someone in the NMCC would call NORAD's Command Center and ask about availability of aircraft, then seek approval from the defense secretary—Donald H. Rumsfeld—to launch fighters.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Rather than join the NMCC conference, Rumsfeld has already gone out of the Pentagon to see the crash site, and remains out of contact for some time. It is unknown if Rumsfeld had a cell phone or pager, and if so, why he cannot be reached.
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, National Military Command Center, Charles Leidig

9:39 a.m.: Media Reports Pentagon Explosion

       Two seconds after 9:39 a.m., reporter Jim Miklaszewski states on NBC News, “Moments ago, I felt an explosion here at the Pentagon.” [Television Archive, WDCN 9:30] However, no media outlets record video footage of the Pentagon crash, and the cause of the crash remains unknown for some minutes afterward.
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Jim Miklaszewski

(9:39 a.m.): Flight 93 Hijacker Again Warns of Bomb on Board, Flight Controllers Again Overhear; NORAD Still Not Notified

       The Flight 93 hijackers (probably inadvertently) transmit over the radio: “Hi, this is the captain. We'd like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board. And we are going to turn back to the airport. And they had our demands, so please remain quiet.” [Longman, 2002, pp 209; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; MSNBC, 9/3/02; Boston Globe, 11/23/01] The controller responds, “United 93, understand you have a bomb on board. Go ahead,” but there is no response. There was a very similar “bomb on board” warning from the same flight at 9:32 a.m. (see (9:32 a.m.)). The 9/11 Commission indicates that these are separate incidents. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Cleveland flight control apparently continues to wait for FAA superiors to notify NORAD. Earlier in the morning, Boston flight control directly contacted NORAD (see (8:37 a.m.)) and local air force bases when they determined Flight 11 was hijacked.
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Cleveland flight control

(9:40 a.m.): FAA Command Center Identifies Ten Possible Hijacked Planes

       Newark, New Jersey, flight controller Bob Varcadapane is talking on the phone with the FAA Command Center. He is told that the Command Center is still suspicious of at least ten planes for one reason or another, all possible hijackings. [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Bob Varcadapane, Federal Aviation Administration

(9:40 a.m.): Flight 93 Transponder Signal Turned Off; Flight Still Closely Tracked

       The transponder signal from Flight 93 ceases. [MSNBC, 9/3/02; MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B); 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; CNN, 9/17/01] However, the plane can be—and is—tracked using primary radar by Cleveland flight controllers and at United headquarters. Altitude can no longer be determined, except by visual sightings from other aircraft. The plane's speed begins to vary wildly, fluctuating between 600 and 400 mph before eventually settling around 400 mph. [Longman, 2002, pp 77, 214; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Cleveland flight control, United Airlines

9:41 a.m.: Flight 93 Passenger Birtton Reports Two Killed

       Flight 93 passenger Marion Birtton calls a friend. She tells him two people have been killed and the plane has been turned around. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Marion Birtton

(9:41 a.m.): FBI Agent Already Aware of Flight 93 Hijacking

       Newark, New Jersey, flight controller Greg Callahan is talking on the phone to an FBI agent. The agent says about Flight 93: “We suspect that this aircraft has now been taken over by hostile forces.” The agent describes the sharp turn it has made over eastern Ohio and that it is now heading back over southwestern Pennsylvania. Callahan says he could tell the plane is on a course for Washington. [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)] The FBI has been in contact with Deena Burnett and informed of what her husband, Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett, has been saying since at least 9:34 a.m. (see 9:34 a.m.) [Longman, 2002, pp 110] It is unclear where in the chain of command details of these Flight 93 calls reach, and the 9/11 Commission has not clarified the issue of what the FBI knew and when.
People and organizations involved: Greg Callahan, Deena Burnett, Tom Burnett, Federal Bureau of Investigation

9:42 a.m.: Passenger Mark Bingham Tells of Bomb Threat on Flight 93

Mark Bingham.
From Flight 93, Mark Bingham calls his mother and says, “I'm on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys who have taken over the plane and they say they have a bomb.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)] In an alternate version, he says, “I'm in the air, I'm calling you on the Airfone. I'm calling you from the plane. We've been taken over. There are three men that say they have a bomb.” [Boston Globe, 11/23/01; Toronto Sun, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Mark Bingham

9:43 a.m.: Bush Learns of Attack on Pentagon as Motorcade Reaches Sarasota Airport

Bush boards Air Force One in Sarasota, Florida, waving to people below as if the day were like any other.
President Bush's motorcade arrives at Sarasota's airport and pulls up close to Air Force One. As the motorcade nears the airport, he learns a plane has hit the Pentagon. Bush immediately boards the plane. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Congressman Dan Miller and others hurry up the rear steps of the plane while Bush enters through the exposed front stairs. Bush pauses in the doorway to wave to photographers. The St. Petersburg Times notes this raises “further questions about security [on 9/11].” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] Security then does an extra-thorough search of all the baggage of the other passengers, delaying takeoff until 9:55 a.m. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Dan Miller

9:44 a.m.: NMCC Conference Thinks Flight 1989, Not Flight 93, Is Fourth Hijack

       NORAD briefs the NMCC teleconference on the possible hijacking of Delta Flight 1989. Four minutes later, a representative from the White House bunker containing Vice President Cheney asks if there are any indications of other hijacked planes. Captain Charles Leidig, temporarily in charge of the NMCC, mentions the Delta Flight and comments, “that would be the fourth possible hijack.” Flight 1989 is in the same general Ohio region as Flight 93, but NORAD doesn't scramble fighters toward either plane at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Charles Leidig, North American Aerospace Defense Command, National Military Command Center, Richard ("Dick") Cheney

(Between 9:45-9:55 a.m.): Clarke Initiates Continuity of Government Plans; Hears Shoot Down Talk from Cheney Bunker

       At some point after the White House is evacuated, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke institutes Continuity of Government plans. Important government personnel, especially those in line to succeed the president, are evacuated to alternate Command Centers. Additionally, Clarke gets a phone call from the PEOC Command Center where Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice are positioned. An aide tells Clarke, “Air Force One is getting ready to take off with some press still on board. [President Bush will] divert to an air base. Fighter escort is authorized. And ... tell the Pentagon they have authority from the president to shoot down hostile aircraft, repeat, they have authority to shoot down hostile aircraft.” However, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers wants the rules of engagement clarified before the shootdown order is passed on, so Clarke orders that pilots be given guidelines before receiving shootdown authorization. [Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9] Clarke's account that Cheney is giving shootdown authorization well before 10:00 a.m. matches Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's account of seeing Cheney giving what he interprets as a shootdown order before the Pentagon crash. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03] However, the 9/11 Commission later asserts that Cheney doesn't make the shootdown decision until about 10:00 a.m. (see (Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.)). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, US Department of Defense, George W. Bush, Norman Mineta

(9:45 a.m.): Senior FAA Manager, on His First Day on the Job, Orders All Planes Out of the Sky Nationwide

FAA National Operations Manager Ben Sliney.
Ben Sliney, FAA's National Operations Manager, orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at US airports are stopped. Around 3,950 flights are still in the air. Sliney makes the decision without consulting FAA head Jane Garvey, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, or other bosses, but they quickly approve his actions. It's Sliney's first day on the job. [USA Today, 8/13/02; USA Today, 8/13/02 (B); MSNBC, 9/22/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); Newsday, 9/10/02; USA Today, 8/13/02; Washington Post, 9/12/01; CNN, 9/12/01; Associated Press, 8/12/02; New York Times, 9/12/01] Seventy-five percent of the planes land within one hour of the order. [USA Today, 8/12/02 (C)] The Washington Post has reported that Mineta told Monty Belger at the FAA: “Monty, bring all the planes down,” even adding, “[Expletive] pilot discretion.” [Washington Post, 1/27/02] However, it is later reported by a different Post reporter that Mineta did not even know of the order until 15 minutes later. This reporter “says FAA officials had begged him to maintain the fiction.” [Slate, 4/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Jane Garvey, Federal Aviation Administration, Norman Mineta, Ben Sliney, Monty Belger

(9:45 a.m.): Bush Aides Debate Where to Fly Air Force Once

       According to the 9/11 Commission, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, the lead Secret Service agent, the president's military aide, and Air Force One pilot Colonel Mark Tillman, confer on a possible destination for Air Force One around this time. According to witnesses, some support President Bush's desire to return to Washington, but the others advise against it. The issue is still not decided when Air Force One takes off around 9:55 a.m. (see (9:56 a.m.)). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Mark Tillman, Secret Service, Andrew Card

9:45 a.m.: United Headquarters Learns Flight 77 Has Crashed into the Pentagon

       United Airlines headquarters receives a report that an aircraft has crashed into the Pentagon. They learn it is Flight 77. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: United Airlines

9:45 a.m.: Tom Burnett Says Flight 93 Passengers Are Making Plans to Defeat Hijackers

       Tom Burnett calls his wife, Deena, for the third time. She tells him about the crash at the Pentagon. Tom speaks about the bomb he'd mentioned earlier, saying, “I don't think they have one. I think they're just telling us that.” He says the hijackers are talking about crashing the plane into the ground. “We have to do something.” He says that “a group of us” are making a plan. [Longman, 2002, pp 111] This indicates there would have been at least 19 minutes advance notice that a passenger takeover was likely, if the contents of these phone calls are being passed on to the right authorities. Note that by Burnett's second call at 9:34 a.m., the FBI was already listening in. [Toronto Sun, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Tom Burnett, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Deena Burnett

(9:45 a.m.): White House Finally Evacuated

Secret Service with automatic weapons directing people away from the White House.
The White House begins a general evacuation. This comes about 30 minutes after the probable time Vice President Cheney has been evacuated from the White House (see (9:10 a.m.)). [New York Times, 9/12/01; MSNBC, 9/22/01; Washington Post, 1/27/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B)] Initially the evacuation is orderly, but soon the Secret Service agents are yelling that everyone should run. [ABC News, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Secret Service

9:45 a.m.: FBI Listens as Passenger Todd Beamer Describes Flight 93 Take Over Plan

Todd Beamer.
After having some trouble getting authorization to use an Airfone to call his family, passenger Todd Beamer is able to speak to Verizon phone representative Lisa Jefferson, with the FBI listening in. He talks for about 15 minutes. Beamer says he has been herded to the back of the plane along with nine other passengers and five flight attendants. A hijacker, who says he has a bomb strapped to his body, is guarding them. Twenty-seven passengers are being guarded by a hijacker in first class, which is separated from the rest of the aircraft by a curtain. One hijacker has gone into the cockpit. One passenger is dead (that leaves one passenger unaccounted for—presumably the man who made a call from the bathroom, thought to be Edward Felt). The two pilots are apparently dead. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B); Boston Globe, 11/23/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Newsweek, 9/22/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/16/01] A conflicting version states that 27 passengers were in the back, and that Beamer saw four hijackers instead of just three. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] It is not clear if Tom Burnett's first class section group is in contact with Todd Beamer's coach section group or if there are two independent plans to take over the plane.
People and organizations involved: Lisa Jefferson, Todd Beamer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tom Burnett

9:46 a.m.: NMCC Teleconference Still Looking to Include Rumsfeld and Myers

       Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office, and acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Myers' office, report to the NMCC teleconference that they are still trying to track down Rumsfeld and Myers, respectively, and bring them into the conference. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Rumsfeld is apparently outside the Pentagon looking at the Flight 77 crash site (see (After 9:37 a.m.)), though counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke suggests Rumsfeld is elsewhere in the Pentagon for much of the time (see (Between 9:37-9:45 a.m.)). Myers' whereabouts in the period after the Pentagon crash have not been fully explained (see (Before 10:30 a.m.)). Rumsfeld and Myers do not enter the NMCC until about 10:30 a.m. (see (10:30 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: National Military Command Center, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers

(9:46 a.m.): Flight 93 Hijackers Bring the Pilot Back In

       According to the later-recovered Flight 93 cockpit voice recording, around this time one hijacker in the cockpit says to another, “Let the guys in now.” A vague instruction is given to bring the pilot back in. It's not clear if this is a reference to an original pilot or a hijacker pilot. Investigators aren't sure if the original pilots were quickly killed or allowed to live. [Longman, 2002, pp 208]

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

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

(9:47 a.m.): Passenger Jeremy Glick Tells of Vote to Take Over Flight 93

       On Flight 93, Jeremy Glick is still on the phone with his wife, Lyz. He tells her that the passengers are taking a vote if they should try to take over the plane or not. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)] He later says that all the men on the plane have voted to attack the hijackers. [Toronto Sun, 9/16/01] When asked about weapons, he says they don't have guns, just knives. This appears to contradict an earlier mention of guns. His wife gets the impression from him that the hijacker standing nearby, claiming to hold the bomb, would be easy to overwhelm. [Longman, 2002, pp 153-154]
People and organizations involved: Lyz Glick, Jeremy Glick

9:48 a.m.: Capitol Building Finally Evacuates

       The Capitol building in Washington begins evacuation. Congress is in session, but apparently the chambers are not filled with congresspeople. [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); Guardian, 7/22/04] Senator Tom Daschle, Majority Leader of the Senate, later states, “Some capitol policemen broke into the room and said, ‘We're under attack. I've got to take you out right away.’ ” Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, third in line of succession to the presidency behind Vice President Cheney, is in the Capitol building with other congresspeople. Only after this time are Hastert and others in the line of succession moved to secure locations. Some time after this, Hastert and other leaders are flown by helicopter to secret bunkers. [ABC News, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Dennis Hastert, Tom Daschle

9:49 a.m.: Fighters Ordered to Scramble Nationwide

General Ralph Eberhart.
In the words of the 9/11 Commission, the commander of NORAD (General Ralph Eberhart) directs “all air sovereignty aircraft to battle stations fully armed.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Apparently, this means all fighters with air defense missions are to be armed and ready to scramble. This may be connected to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke's claim that after the Pentagon is hit, he orders an aide, “Find out where the fighter planes are. I want Combat Air Patrol over every major city in this country. Now!” (see (Between 9:37-9:45 a.m.)) Another account says calls to bases to scramble don't begin until about 10:01 a.m. (see 10:01 a.m.). [Toledo Blade, 12/9/01] It has not been explained why this order wasn't given much earlier. Calls from Air Force bases across the country offering to help had started “pouring into NORAD” shortly after 9:03 a.m. (see (After 9:03 a.m.)), when televised reports made an emergency situation clear. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] With a couple of exceptions, other fighters do not actually start taking off until about 11:00 a.m.
People and organizations involved: Ralph Eberhart, North American Aerospace Defense Command

9:49 a.m.: Pittsburgh Flight Control Tower Evacuates

       The FAA orders the Pittsburgh control tower evacuated. Shortly before the order, Cleveland flight controllers called Pittsburgh flight control to say that a plane is heading toward Pittsburgh and the pilot refuses to communicate. The plane is Flight 93. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/01 (B)] Also, around this time, while Flight 93 is heading east, NEADS Commander Robert Marr hears that the FAA is evacuating its Cleveland Center. [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 73]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Cleveland flight control, Pittsburgh flight control

9:49 a.m.: FAA Headquarters Continues to Delay Decision on Contacting NORAD About Flight 93

       According to the 9/11 Commission, the FAA Command Center has just twice warned FAA headquarters that United 93 is now “29 minutes out of Washington, D.C.” Someone at headquarters says to someone at the Command Center, “they're pulling Jeff [last name unknown] away to go talk about United 93.” Command Center replies, “Uh, do we want to think about, uh, scrambling aircraft [NORAD fighters]?” FAA headquarters replies, “Uh, God, I don't know.” Command Center says, “Uh, that's a decision somebody's gonna have to make probably, in the next ten minutes.” FAA headquarters answers, “Uh, ya know, everybody just left the room.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] This is 13 minutes since Cleveland flight control had asked the Command Center in vain to contact NORAD about Flight 93.
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, North American Aerospace Defense Command

9:50 a.m.: Sandy Bradshaw Tells of Preparations to Fight Three Guys with Knives

Sandra Bradshaw.
Sandy Bradshaw calls her husband from Flight 93. She says, “Have you heard what's going on? My flight has been hijacked. My flight has been hijacked with three guys with knives.” [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] She tells him that some passengers are in the rear galley filling pitchers with hot water to use against the hijackers. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Sandy Bradshaw

(Between 9:50-10:40 a.m.): Numerous False Reports of Terrorist Acts in Washington

A television broadcast falsely describes smoke coming from Washington Mall instead of its true source, the Pentagon.
There are numerous false reports of additional terror attacks. Before 10:00 a.m., some hear reports on television of a fire at the State Department. At 10:20 a.m., and apparently again at 10:33 a.m., it is publicly reported this was caused by a car bomb. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/11/01; Broadcasting and Cable, 8/26/02] At 10:23 a.m., the Associated Press reports, “A car bomb explodes outside the State Department, senior law enforcement officials say.” [Broadcasting and Cable, 8/26/02] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke hears these reports at this time and asks Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in the State Department to see if the building he's in has been hit. Armitage goes outside the building, finds out there's no bomb, and calls his colleagues to inform them that the reports are false. Reports of a fire on the Capitol Mall also appear and are quickly found to be false. [ABC News, 9/15/02 (B); Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9] There are numerous other false reports over the next hour, including explosions at the Capitol building and USA Today headquarters. [Broadcasting and Cable, 8/26/02] For instance, CNN reports an explosion on Capitol Hill at 10:12 a.m. CNN then announces this is untrue 12 minutes later. [Ottawa Citizen, 9/11/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage, US Department of State, Richard A. Clarke

(9:52 a.m.): Lynne Cheney Joins Husband in White House Bunker; Vice President Repeatedly Hangs up Clarke Telephone

Lynne Cheney.
According to the 9/11 Commission, Lynne Cheney joins her husband, Vice President Cheney, in the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations Center) bunker below the White House. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] She had been at a downtown office around 9:00 a.m. when she was escorted by the Secret Service to the White House. [Newsweek, 12/31/01] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke describes the people in the PEOC as “decidedly more political” than those in his bunker below the other wing of the White House. In addition to Cheney and his wife, most of the day the PEOC contains National Security Adviser Rice, political adviser Mary Matalin, Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and White House Communications Director Karen Hughes. Clarke is told later in the day by someone else in the PEOC, “I can't hear the crisis conference [led by Clarke] because Mrs. Cheney keeps turning down the volume on you so she can hear CNN ... and the vice president keeps hanging up the open line to you.” Clarke notes that the “right-wing ideologue” Lynne Cheney frequently offers her advice and opinions during the crisis. [Clarke, 2004, pp 18]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Lynne Cheney, Secret Service, Mary Matalin, Joshua Bolten, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice

9:53 a.m.: NSA Intercepts al-Qaeda Phone Call Predicting Fourth Attack

       The National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly intercepts a phone call from one of bin Laden's operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the Republic of Georgia. The caller says he has “heard good news” and that another target is still to come (presumably, the target Flight 93 is intended to hit). [CBS News, 9/4/02] Since the 9/11 crisis began, NSA translators have been told to focus on Middle Eastern intercepts and translate them as they are received instead of oldest first, as is the usual practice. This call is translated in the next hour or two, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld hears about it just after noon. [Bamford, 2004, pp 54; CBS News, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Agency, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda

9:53 a.m.: Hijackers Fear Passenger Retaliation

       According to Flight 93's cockpit voice recording, the hijackers grow concerned that the passengers might retaliate. One urges that the plane's fire axe be held up to the cockpit door's peephole to scare the passengers. [Longman, 2002, pp 209-210]

9:53 a.m.: FAA Headquarters Still Only Talking About Telling NORAD of Flight 93 Hijack

       According to the 9/11 Commission, FAA headquarters informs the FAA Command Center that the deputy director for air traffic services is talking to Deputy Administrator Monty Belger about scrambling aircraft after Flight 93. Yet in interviews with the commission, neither Belger nor the deputy director recall this discussion, and Belger subsequently e-mails the commission saying he does not believe the conversation took place. However, tape recordings reveal a staff person from headquarters at this time telling the Command Center, “Peter's talking to Monte now about scrambling.” FAA headquarters is also informed that the flight is 20 miles northwest of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Incredibly, FAA headquarters has known since 9:34 A.M. about hijackers talking about a bomb on board the flight, and more evidence has since been passed on confirming a hijacking in progress. Still, reportedly, no one tells NORAD anything about the plane.
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Monty Belger

9:54 a.m.: Tom Burnett Calls for Fourth Time; Details Plan to Take Control of Plane

       Tom Burnett calls his wife, Deena, for the fourth and last time. In early reports of this call, he says, “I know we're all going to die. There's three of us who are going to do something about it.” [Toronto Sun, 9/16/01; Boston Globe, 11/23/01] However, in a later, more complete, account, he sounds much more upbeat. “It's up to us. I think we can do it.” He adds, “Don't worry, we're going to do something.” He specifically mentions they plan to regain control of the airplane over a rural area. [Longman, 2002, pp 118]
People and organizations involved: Tom Burnett, Deena Burnett

(9:55-10:15 a.m.): Langley Fighters Finally Reach Washington; Accounts of Timing Are Contradictory

A fighter and helicopter both fly directly above the Pentagon on 9/11 on the morning of 9/11. Exact time is unknown.
The three F-16s scrambled after Flight 77 from Langley, Virginia, at 9:30 a.m. finally reach Washington and the burning Pentagon. The 129 mile distance could theoretically be covered by the fighters in six minutes, but they've taken a wide detour over the ocean. The exact time they arrive is very unclear. NORAD originally claimed they arrive as soon as 9:49 a.m., but the 9/11 Commission implies they don't arrive until shortly after 10:00 a.m., though no exact time is specified. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; CBS News, 9/14/01; CNN, 9/17/01; New York Times, 9/15/01; NORAD, 9/18/01] Press accounts of when the first fighters reach Washington are highly contradictory. Early news accounts of fighters arriving from Andrews Air Force Base “within minutes,” “a few moments,” or “just moments” after the Pentagon crash appear to have been accounts of these Langley fighters, since they apparently arrive before Andrews fighters do. [Daily Telegraph, 9/16/01; Denver Post, 9/11/01; ABC News, 9/11/02] Yet other newspaper accounts inaccurately deny fighters from Andrews were deployed [USA Today, 9/16/01] , and some deny Andrews even had fighters at all. [USA Today, 9/16/01 (B)] Defense officials initially claimed, “There were no military planes in the skies over Washington until 15 to 20 minutes after the Pentagon was hit” —in other words, 9:53 a.m. to 9:58 a.m. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/14/01] ABC News reports that by 10:00 a.m., “Dozens of fighters are buzzing in the sky” over Washington. [ABC News, 9/11/02] Whereas the New York Times reports, “In the White House Situation Room and at the Pentagon, the response seemed agonizingly slow. One military official recalls hearing words to the effect of, ‘Where are the planes?’ ” The Pentagon insists it had air cover over its own building by 10 a.m., 15 minutes after the building was hit. However, witnesses, including a reporter for the New York Times who was headed toward the building, did not see any until “closer to 11.” [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B)] It is likely, though not completely certain, that fighters would have reached Washington before Flight 93 did, had the plane not crashed.
People and organizations involved: Pentagon

Before 9:55 a.m.: AWACS Planes on Training Missions in Florida and Near Washington, DC

       While President Bush is still in Sarasota, an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System plane) is flying a training mission off the coast of Florida. Referring to the AWACS plane, NORAD Commander Larry Arnold later says: “I had set up an arrangement with their wing commander at Tinker [Air Force Base, Oklahoma] some months earlier for us to divert their AWACS off a normal training mission to go into an exercise scenario simulating an attack on the United States. The AWACS crew initially thought we were going into one of those simulations.” Another AWACS is also flying a training mission, near Washington, DC, the morning of 9/11. [Code One magazine, 1/02]
People and organizations involved: Larry Arnold

After 9:55 a.m.: Ellington Fighters Airborne on Local Training Mission

       Two F-16s from the 147th Fighter Wing, Ellington Air National Guard Base, Texas, are said to be already airborne on a local training mission when they are instructed to escort Air Force One after it departs Sarasota, Florida, with President Bush on board. [American Defender, 12/01; Code One magazine, 1/02]
People and organizations involved: Ellington Air National Guard Base, George W. Bush, 147th Fighter Wing

(After 9:55 a.m.): Langley Fighters Receive Vague Order to Protect White House

       The Langley F-16s headed to Washington are told that all planes in the US have been ordered to land (that command was given at 9:45 a.m.). According to the New York Times, at some point after this, someone from the Secret Service gets on the radio and tells the pilots, “I want you to protect the White House at all costs.” [New York Times, 10/16/01] F-16 pilot Honey (who is apparently Captain Craig Borgstrom) gives a similar, though less dramatic, account. At some point after the F-16s had set up a defensive perimeter over Washington, the lead pilot (again, Borgstrom) receives a garbled message about Flight 93 that isn't heard by the other two pilots. “The message seemed to convey that the White House was an important asset to protect.” Honey says he is later told the message is, “Something like, ‘Be aware of where it is, and it could be a target.’ ” Another pilot, codenamed Lou, says Honey tells him, “I think the Secret Service told me this.” [Longman, 2002, pp 76] Both Lou and Honey state they are never given clear and direct orders to shoot down any plane that day. [Longman, 2002, pp 222]
People and organizations involved: Secret Service, Craig Borgstrom

(After 9:56 a.m.): Bush and Cheney Confer on Actions to Be Taken

       After flying off in Air Force One, President Bush talks on the phone to Vice President Cheney. Cheney recommends that Bush authorize the military to shoot down any plane under control of the hijackers. “I said, ‘You bet,’ ” Bush later recalls. “We had a little discussion, but not much.” [CBS News, 9/11/02; Washington Post, 1/27/02; USA Today, 9/16/01; Newsday, 9/23/01] The 9/11 Commission claims that Cheney tells Bush three planes are still missing and one has hit the Pentagon. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Bush later says that he doesn't make any major decisions about how to respond to the 9/11 attacks until after Air Force One takes off [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04] , which fits with this account of Bush approving shootdown authorization shortly after take off.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush

(9:56 a.m.): Air Force One Gets Airborne Without Fighter Escort

Air Force One departs from Sarasota.
President Bush departs from the Sarasota, Florida, airport on Air Force One. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02; New York Times, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 1/27/02; Associated Press, 9/12/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; ABC News, 9/11/02; Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04; CBS News, 9/11/02 (B); Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Amazingly, his plane takes off without any fighters protecting it. “The object seemed to be simply to get the president airborne and out of the way,” says an administration official. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] There are still 3,520 planes in the air over the US. [USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)] About half of the planes in the Florida region where Bush's plane is are still airborne. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/7/02] Apparently, fighters don't meet up with Air Force One until about an hour later. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke claims to have heard around 9:50 a.m. from the bunker containing Vice President Cheney that fighter escort had been authorized. [Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney

(9:56-10:40 a.m.): Air Force One Takes Off, Then Flies in Circles While Bush and Cheney Argue

       Air Force One takes off and quickly gains altitude. One passenger later says, “It was like a rocket. For a good ten minutes, the plane was going almost straight up.” [CBS News, 9/11/02 (B)] Once the plane reaches cruising altitude, it flies in circles. Journalists on board sense this because the television reception for a local station generally remains good. “Apparently Bush, Cheney, and the Secret Service argue over the safety of Bush coming back to Washington.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] For much of the day Bush is plagued by connectivity problems in trying to call Cheney and others. He is forced to use an ordinary cell phone instead of his secure phone. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Secret Service

(9:57 a.m. and After): Passengers and Hijackers Struggle in the Flight 93 Cockpit

       “In the cockpit! In the cockpit!” is heard. The hijackers are reportedly heard telling each other to hold the door. In English, someone outside shouts, “Let's get them.” The hijackers are also praying “Allah o akbar” (God is great). One of the hijackers suggests shutting off the oxygen supply to the cabin (which apparently would not have had any effect since the plane was already below 10,000 feet). A hijacker says, “Should we finish?” Another one says, “Not yet.” The sounds of the passengers get clearer, and in unaccented English “Give it to me!” is heard. “I'm injured,” someone says in English. Then something like “roll it up” and “lift it up” is heard. Passengers' relatives believe this sequence proves that the passengers did take control of the plane. [Longman, 2002, pp 270-271; Observer, 12/2/01; Newsweek, 11/25/01; Daily Telegraph, 8/6/02; MSNBC, 7/30/02]

9:57 a.m.: Passengers Begin Attempt to Regain Control of Flight 93

       One of the hijackers in the cockpit asks if anything is going on, apparently meaning outside the cockpit. “Fighting,” the other says. [Longman, 2002, pp 210] An analysis of the cockpit flight recording suggests that the passenger struggle actually starts in the front of the plane (where Mark Bingham and Tom Burnett are sitting) about a minute before a struggle in the back of the plane (where Todd Beamer is sitting). [Observer, 12/2/01] Officials later theorize that the Flight 93 passengers reach the cockpit using a food cart as a battering ram and a shield. They claim digital enhancement of the cockpit voice recorder reveals the sound of plates and glassware crashing around 9:57 a.m. [Newsweek, 11/25/01]
People and organizations involved: Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett

9:58 a.m.: Fighters to New York City Possibly Scrambled 56 Minutes Late, According to Giuliani and Early Reports

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will become well known for his walking press conferences in the middle of the 9/11 crisis.
According to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's 9/11 Commission testimony in 2004, about one minute before the first WTC tower falls, he is able to reach the White House by phone. Speaking to Chris Henick, deputy political director to President Bush, Giuliani learns the Pentagon has been hit and he asks about fighter cover over New York City. Henick replies, “The jets were dispatched 12 minutes ago and they should be there very shortly, and they should be able to defend you against further attack.” [9/11 Commission Report, 5/19/04] If this is true, it means fighters scramble from the Otis base around 9:46 a.m., not at 8:52 a.m., as most other accounts have claimed. While Giuliani's account may seem wildly off, it is consistent with reports shortly after 9/11. In the first few days, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, and a NORAD spokesman, Marine Corps Major Mike Snyder, claimed no fighters were scrambled anywhere until after the Pentagon was hit. [Boston Globe, 9/15/01; General Myers' confirmation hearing, 9/13/01] This story only changed on the evening of September 14, 2001, when CBS reported, “contrary to early reports, US Air Force jets did get into the air on Tuesday while the attacks were under way.” [CBS News, 9/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard B. Myers, Pentagon, Mike Snyder, Chris Henick, Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani

9:58 a.m.: Ed Felt Said to Describe Explosion and White Smoke from Bathroom Call

Edward Felt.
A man dials emergency 9-1-1 from a bathroom on the plane, crying, “We're being hijacked, We're being hijacked!” [Toronto Sun, 9/16/01] The operator reports, “He heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him.” [Associated Press, 9/12/01 (B); ABC News, 9/11/01 (C); ABC News, 9/11/01 (B)] One minute after the call begins, the line goes dead. [Pittsburgh Channel, 12/6/01] Investigators believe this was Edward Felt, the only passenger not accounted for on phone calls. He was sitting in first class, so he probably was in the bathroom near the front of the plane. At one point, he appears to have peeked out the bathroom door during the call. [Longman, 2002, pp 193-194, 196] The mentions of smoke and explosions on the recording of his call are now denied. [Longman, 2002, pp 264] The person who took Felt's call is not allowed to speak to the media. [Mirror, 9/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Edward Felt

9:58 a.m.: Flight 93 Passengers Run to First Class

       Sandy Bradshaw tells her husband, “Everyone's running to first class. I've got to go. Bye.” She had been speaking with him since 9:50 a.m. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Sandy Bradshaw

9:58 a.m.: Todd Beamer Ends Call; He and Others in Rear of Plane Join Takeover Attempt

       Todd Beamer ends his long phone call with a Verizon phone company representative saying that they plan “to jump” the hijacker in the back of the plane who has the bomb. In the background, the phone operator already could hear an “awful commotion” of people shouting, and women screaming, “Oh my God,” and “God help us.” He lets go of the phone but leaves it connected. His famous last words are said to nearby passengers: “Are you ready guys? Let's roll” (alternate version: “You ready? Okay. Let's roll”). [Newsweek, 9/22/01; Longman, 2002, pp 204; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)] Sounds of fighting in the back of the plane where Beamer is can be heard about a minute after such sounds in the front. [Observer, 12/2/01]
People and organizations involved: Todd Beamer

9:58 a.m.: CeeCee Lyles Cries they're Doing It; Strange Sounds Follow

CeeCee Lyles.
CeeCee Lyles says to her husband, “Aah, it feels like the plane's going down.” Her husband Lorne says, “What's that?” She replies, “I think they're going to do it. they're forcing their way into the cockpit” (an alternate version says, “they're getting ready to force their way into the cockpit”). A little later she screams, then says, “they're doing it! they're doing it! they're doing it!” Her husband hears more screaming in the background, then he hears a “whooshing sound, a sound like wind,” then more screaming, and then the call breaks off. [Longman, 2002, pp 180; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: CeeCee Lyles
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