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(8:48 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Top CIA Officials Learn of First Attack on WTC[]

Most days, at 8:30 a.m., CIA Director George Tenet holds a meeting in his conference room at CIA headquarters where 15 top agency officials contribute the news from their particular area. But on this day Tenet is away, having breakfast with former Senator David Boren [see 1]. In his place, running the meeting is A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, the CIA’s executive director. After the first attack occurs, the senior duty officer[who?] of the CIA’s Operations Center interrupts and announces, “Excuse me, Mr. Krongard, but I thought you would want to know that a plane just struck the World Trade Center.” The Operations Center, which is staffed, 24 hours a day by 15 officers, has three televisions that are usually tuned to CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. So presumably the duty officer has just seen the initial televised reports coming from New York. Krongard then adjourns his meeting and returns to his office.[1]

(8:48 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001: FAA Manager Ben Sliney Learns of First WTC Crash, Doesn’t Realize It Is Flight 11[]

Ben Sliney, the national operations manager at the FAA’s Herndon Command Center, learns that a plane has hit the World Trade Center, but it does not occur to him that this might have been the hijacked Flight 11 that he has been tracking. As national operations manager, Sliney is in charge of supervising all activities on the Command Center’s operations floor and overseeing the entire air traffic control system for the United States. He is currently on the operations floor, trying to gather and disseminate whatever information he can about Flight 11. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 2 AND 45-46] At 8:48 a.m., a manager at the FAA’s New York Center provides a report on Flight 11 over a Command Center teleconference, saying: “We’re watching the airplane. I also had conversation with American Airlines, and they’ve told us that they believe that one of their stewardesses was stabbed and that there are people in the cockpit that have control of the aircraft, and that’s all the information they have right now.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 21] Although Flight 11 crashed two minutes earlier (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001), this is all Sliney is currently hearing about the aircraft. The Command Center’s military liaison then approaches him. The liaison is a colonel who is responsible for handling military airspace reservations, but is not part of the NORAD chain of command. He tells Sliney to put CNN up on one of the center’s screens, because “They are reporting that a small plane has hit the World Trade Center.” Upon following this suggestion, Sliney and his colleagues see the television footage of the burning North Tower. Sliney is baffled, commenting aloud: “That’s a lot of smoke for a small plane. I’ve worked New York airspace. Why would you be right over the World Trade Center on a clear, bright day?” However, according to author Lynn Spencer, “The notion that it is actually American 11 that has hit the tower doesn’t cross his mind; the idea that the hijacking they’ve been tracking might have flown into that building, especially on such a clear day, is simply unfathomable.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 46] Entity Tags: New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, Ben Sliney, Lynn Spencer, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

(Between 8:48 a.m. and 9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Langley Air Force Base Pilots Learn of WTC Crash[]

At Langley Air Force Base, Craig Borgrstrom, the operations manager with the unit that is involved in NORAD’s air defense mission first learns that a plane has hit the World Trade Center in a phone call from his fiancée Jen. He then receives a call from Darrin Anderson, the unit’s intelligence officer, who warns that the pilots at Langley need to “get ready.” Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... PP. 116-117

The alert unit at Langley Air Force Base is a small detachment from the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Fighter Wing, based in Fargo, ND. [2][NEW YORK TIMES, 11/15/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/27/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 114] Captain Craig Borgstrom is its operations manager. In the event of an order to scramble the unit’s two F-16s that are kept on “alert,” his job would be to man the battle cab and serve as the supervisor of flying (SOF), being responsible for getting any necessary information about the mission to the pilots. Borgstrom’s fiancée, Jen, calls him at the base and asks, “Did you hear that some airplane just ran into the World Trade Center?” [3][SPENCER, 2008, PP. 116; TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/8/2008] This is the first that Borgstrom has heard about the attack. [4][LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 63] He replies, “Probably some idiot out sightseeing or someone trying to commit suicide in a Cessna 172,” but Jen tells him, “It’s a pretty big fire for a small airplane.”

The chief enlisted manager then enters Borgstrom’s office and informs him that Darrin Anderson, the unit’s intelligence officer, is on the phone from the wing’s base in Fargo, “and needs to talk to you right away.” Borgstrom heads to the main reception desk and takes the call. After asking if Borgstrom is aware of what happened in New York, Anderson tells him, “[W]e think there might be more to this, so you guys get ready.” Borgstrom tells the chief enlisted manager about this call and then heads out toward the alert hangars. Meanwhile, in one of the hangars, the crew chief goes upstairs with some information for Major Dean Eckmann, who is one of the pilots on alert duty. Eckmann is unaware of events in New York. When his crew chief informs him a plane has hit the WTC, he replies: “Poor, dumb sucker. I hope no one in the building got hurt.” Before Eckmann has a chance to switch on the television to check the news, a Klaxon horn sounds, indicating that the two alert pilots at Langley are to go to “battle stations.” [5][LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 116-117] According to the 9/11 Commission, this battle stations signal occurs at 9:09 a.m. [see 2][6] Eckmann, along with Borgstrom and another of the unit’s pilots, will take off in order to defend Washington, DC at 9:30 a.m. [see 3]. 9/11 Commission August 2004 Staff report,26 August 2004,Page 16 ;[7] RIP CHORD, 12/31/2006]

(8:48 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Pentagon Command Center Workers Apparently Learn of WTC Attack from TV, Think It Is an Accident[]

In the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon, personnel apparently become aware of the first attack on the World Trade Center from watching the reports on television. According to Steve Hahn, an operations officer there, “We monitor the television networks in the center, and along with the rest of America we saw the smoke pouring from the tower.” Dan Mangino, who is also an operations officer at the NMCC, says, “At first, we thought it was a terrible accident.” [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/7/2006] The 9/11 Commission later says, “Most federal agencies learned about the crash in New York from CNN.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 35] Whether the NMCC was already aware that a hijacking was underway is unclear. According to military instructions, the NMCC is “the focal point within Department of Defense for providing assistance” in response to hijackings in US airspace, and is supposed to be “notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 6/1/2001 ] Boston Air Traffic Control Center started notifying the chain of command of the suspected hijacking of Flight 11 more than 20 minutes earlier (see 8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001). And at 8:32, the FAA’s Command Center in Herndon informed FAA headquarters of the possible hijacking (see 8:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). Yet, according to the 9/11 Commission, although the “FAA headquarters began to follow the hijack protocol,” it “did not contact the NMCC to request a fighter escort.” Supposedly, the first that the military learned of the hijacking was when Boston Air Traffic Control Center contacted NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) about it, at around 8:37 a.m. (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The earliest time mentioned by the 9/11 Commission that the NMCC learns of the Flight 11 hijacking is 9 a.m. (see 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 19-20 AND 35]

Shortly After 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: Rumsfeld Learns of First WTC Attack[]

Larry Di Rita. [Source: US Department of Defense] Larry Di Rita, a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, has sent a note to the secretary of defense to inform him of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. Although some initial reports suggest the WTC may have been hit by just a small plane, according to Torie Clarke, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, “Even in the accidental crash scenario, the military might be involved in some way. Rumsfeld needed to know.” Rumsfeld, who is currently hosting a breakfast meeting with several members of Congress (see (8:00 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001), later acknowledges having received this note. Yet apparently he does nothing in response. He recalls, “Everyone assumed it was an accident, the way it was described.” He says only that “we adjourned the meeting, and I went in to get my CIA briefing.” [LARRY KING LIVE, 12/5/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004; CLARKE, 2006, PP. 217-218; VOGEL, 2007, PP. 428] Entity Tags: Larry DiRita, Donald Rumsfeld Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Donald Rumsfeld, Pentagon

(8:48 a.m.-9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Special NSA Warning Center First Learns from Television that US Is Under Attack[]

Within the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland is a little-known unit called the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center (DEFSMAC). According to author James Bamford, who is an expert on the NSA, the center’s purpose is “to serve as the nation’s chief warning bell for a planned attack on America. It serves as the focal point for ‘all-source’ intelligence—listening posts, early-warning satellites, human agents, and seismic detectors.” According to one former NSA official, DEFSMAC “has all the inputs from all the assets, and is a warning activity. They probably have a better feel for any worldwide threat to this country from missiles, aircraft, or overt military activities, better and more timely, at instant fingertip availability, than any group in the United States.” If they received indications that an attack was imminent, DEFSMAC officials could “immediately send out near-real-time and in-depth, all-source intelligence alerts to almost two hundred ‘customers,’ including the White House Situation Room, the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, the [Defense Intelligence Agency] Alert Center, and listening posts around the world.” Its analysts could be “closely monitoring all intercepts flooding in; examining the latest overhead photography; and analyzing data from early-warning satellites 22,300 miles above the equator. DEFSMAC would then flash the intelligence to the US Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, and other emergency command centers.” But on this morning, as Bamford concludes, “DEFSMAC learned of the massive airborne attacks after the fact—not from America’s multibillion-dollar spy satellites or its worldwide network of advanced listening posts, or its army of human spies, but from a dusty, off-the-shelf TV set.” [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 33-35] The NSA had in fact intercepted numerous calls between some of the hijackers in the US and an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen, beginning in early 2000 and ending just weeks before 9/11 (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). [MSNBC, 7/21/2004] It also intercepted two messages in Arabic on September 10, stating, “The match is about to begin,” and “Tomorrow is zero hour,” but these are supposedly not translated until September 12 (see September 10, 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 6/20/2002] The NSA even intercepted a series of communications between 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta beginning in the summer of 2001 (see Summer 2001), continuing to a message where KSM gives Atta the final go-ahead for the attacks on September 10, 2001 (see September 10, 2001). Michael Hayden, the director of the NSA, will later claim that the “NSA had no [indications] that al-Qaeda was specifically targeting New York and Washington… or even that it was planning an attack on US soil” (see October 17, 2002). [NATIONAL JOURNAL, 6/19/2006] Entity Tags: National Security Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

8:48 a.m. September 11, 2001: CNN First Major Network to Show WTC Crash Footage[]

CNN is the first major network to show the footage of the crash site. It breaks into a commercial and anchor Carol Lin says,

“This just in. You are looking at… obviously a very disturbing live shot there—that is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.”


CNN then switches to Sean Murtagh, the network’s vice president of finance, who says in a live telephone interview, {{quote|“I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be cruising at a slightly lower than normal altitude over New York City. And it appears to have crashed into—I don’t know which tower it is—but it hit directly in the middle of one of the World Trade Center towers. It was a jet, maybe a two-engine jet, maybe a 737… a large passenger commercial jet… It was teetering back and forth, wing-tip to wing-tip, and it looks like it has crashed into—probably, twenty stories from the top of the World Trade Center—maybe the eightieth to eighty-fifth floor. There is smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.”[8]

Many reports do not come until a few minutes later. For instance, ABC first breaks into regular programming with the story at 8:52 a.m. [9]

Incredibly, a NORAD timeline presented to the 9/11 Commission in 2003 claims that CNN doesn’t begin its coverage of the attacks until 8:57.[10]

(8:48 a.m.-9:04 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NSA Director Only Learns US Is Under Attack from TV Reports[]

Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), is in his office at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, meeting with his senior staff. His executive assistant, Cindy Farkus, comes in and informs him of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. He later says, “The immediate image I had was a light plane, off course, bad flying.” He is able to see the initial CNN reports showing the WTC on a muted television in his office. Nevertheless, he continues with his meeting. Immediately after the second attack occurs, Farkus again comes into Hayden’s office to inform him of it. Saying that “One plane’s an accident, two planes is an attack,” Hayden immediately adjourns his meeting and requests that the agency’s top security officials be summoned to his office. Author James Bamford, who is an expert on the NSA, later comments that this is “not the way it was supposed to be. NSA was not supposed to find out about an airborne attack on America from CNN, after millions of other Americans had already witnessed it. It was supposed to find out first, from its own ultrasecret warning center, and then pass the information on to the White House and the strategic military forces” (see (8:48 a.m.-9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 18, 20 AND 33] Entity Tags: Cindy Farkus, National Security Agency, Michael Hayden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

8:48 a.m. September 11, 2001: FAA New York Center Manager Aware of Ong Phone Call, Unaware Flight 11 Has Crashed A manager at the FAA’s New York Center speaks in a teleconference between air traffic control centers. The manager says: “Okay. This is New York [Center]. We’re watching the airplane [Flight 11]. I also had conversation with American Airlines, and they’ve told us that they believe that one of their stewardesses was stabbed and that there are people in the cockpit that have control of the aircraft, and that’s all the information they have right now.” The manager is unaware Flight 11 has already crashed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] This appears to be a simplified version of flight attendant Betty Ong’s phone call, given to American Airlines leader Gerard Arpey and others minutes before (see (8:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Betty Ong, New York Air Route Traffic Control Center Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

8:48 a.m. September 11, 2001: Office of Emergency Management Preparing for Bioterrorism Exercise; Opens Its Command Center[]

John Odermatt [Source: Queens Gazette] New York City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for coordinating the city’s response to major incidents, including terrorist attacks. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 283-284] Its offices are in Building 7 of the World Trade Center. Today is reportedly “going to be a busy day at the OEM,” as staff members have come to work early to prepare for Tripod, a major biological-terrorism training exercise scheduled for September 12 (see September 12, 2001). Their building shakes when the North Tower is hit at 8:46 a.m. OEM Commissioner John Odermatt initially believes a freak accident has occurred involving a ground-to-air missile, but soon after, OEM is informed that a plane hit the North Tower. Immediately, OEM staff members begin to activate their emergency command center, located on the 23rd floor of WTC 7 (see June 8, 1999). [JENKINS AND EDWARDS-WINSLOW, 9/2003, PP. 15] They call agencies such as the New York fire and police departments, and the Department of Health, and direct them to send their designated representatives to the OEM. They also call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and request at least five federal Urban Search and Rescue Teams. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 293] According to the 9/11 Commission, OEM’s command center will be evacuated at 9:30 a.m. due to reports of further unaccounted for planes (see (9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). By that time, none of the outside agency liaisons will have arrived. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 305] Other accounts indicate the command center may be evacuated earlier, possibly even before the second tower is hit (see (Soon After 8:46 a.m.-9:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (Shortly Before 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Office of Emergency Management, Tripod, John Odermatt Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, World Trade Center, Training Exercises


8:48 a.m. September 11, 2001: Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Preparing for Global Guardian Exercise When Attacks Start[]

Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana is an important node in the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) exercise Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001) on 9/11. Colonel Mike Reese, director of staff for the 8th Air Force, is monitoring several television screens at the base as part of the exercise when he sees CNN cut into coverage of the first World Trade Center crash, two minutes after it happens. He watches live when the second plane hits the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. Reese says that at this point, “we knew it wasn’t a mistake. Something grave was happening that put the nation’s security at risk.” An article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune later recounts how awareness of the real attacks impacts those participating in the exercise: “Immediately [the Barksdale staff’s] focus turned to defense, securing Barksdale, Minot [North Dakota], and Whiteman [Missouri] air force bases, where dozens of aircraft and hundreds of personnel were involved in the readiness exercise ‘Global Guardian.’ The exercise abruptly ended as the United States appeared to be at war within its own borders. Four A-10s, an aircraft not designed for air-to-air combat, from Barksdale’s 47th Fighter Squadron, were placed on ‘cockpit alert,’ the highest state of readiness for fighter pilots. Within five minutes, the A-10s, equipped only with high intensity cannons, could have been launched to destroy unfriendly aircraft, even if it was a civilian passenger airliner.” Lt. Col. Edmund Walker, commander of the 47th Fighter Squadron, a novice pilot still in training, is sitting in his fighter along with other pilots in other fighters, ready to take off, when they are ordered back to the squadron office. They are told they are no longer practicing. Walker recalls, “We had to defend the base against any aircraft, airliner or civilian. We had no idea. Would it fly to the base and crash into the B-52s or A-10s on the flight line?” [TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/8/2002] When President Bush’s Air Force One takes off from Sarasota, Florida, at approximately 9:55 a.m., it has no destination, and circles over Florida aimlessly. But around 10:35 (see (10:45 a.m.) September 11, 2001), it begins heading towards Barksdale Air Force Base. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/27/2002; CBS NEWS, 9/11/2002] It finally arrives at Barksdale around 11:45 a.m. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/16/2001; CBS NEWS, 9/11/2002] It’s never been explained exactly why Bush traveled from Florida to Barksdale. The Daily Telegraph has reported, “The official reason for landing at Barksdale was that President Bush felt it necessary to make a further statement, but it isn’t unreasonable to assume that—as there was no agreement as to what the President’s movements should be—it was felt he might as well be on the ground as in the air.” [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/16/2001] Entity Tags: Offutt Air Force Base, Mike Reese, Global Guardian, Eni, James O. Ellis Jr Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Training Exercises


(8:48 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD’s Colorado Operations Center Sees WTC Television Footage[]

Canadian Air Force Major General Major General Rick Findley. [Source: NORAD] Canadian Air Force Major General Rick Findley is in charge of the battle staff at NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado operations center. He has just completed a 14-hour night shift, and the center is in the middle of a shift change. According to Findley, “As the phones were beginning to ring, someone said, ‘Sir, you might want to look at that.’ I looked up and there was the CNN image of the World Trade Center. There was a hole in the side of one of the buildings.” CNN broadcasts this footage starting at 8:48 a.m. An as-yet unidentified person reportedly tells Findley that it was a small plane, who responded, “I said the hole’s too big for a small airplane.… I asked if it was the hijacked aircraft. I was scratching my head, wondering if it was another aircraft altogether.” [CALGARY HERALD, 10/1/2001; CANADIAN PRESS, 9/10/2006] Entity Tags: World Trade Center, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Rick Findley Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

(Between 8:48 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: FAA Teleconference Participants Decide to Divert Aircraft Approaching New York[]

The FAA’s Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, establishes a teleconference with FAA facilities in the New York area. These facilities are the New York Center, the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control, and the Eastern Regional Office. The participants in the teleconference jointly decide to divert all air traffic that would otherwise enter the New York area, either to land or to overfly. Linda Schuessler, the deputy director of system operations at the Command Center, will later describe, “They [New York area air traffic control personnel] would continue to work what they’d been working, but we wouldn’t give them any more.” The teleconference participants’ decision does not affect takeoffs from the New York area. After the second World Trade Center tower is hit at 9:03 a.m., the Command Center will expand this teleconference to include FAA headquarters and other agencies (see 9:06 a.m. and After September 11, 2001). [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 12/17/2001] Entity Tags: New York Terminal Radar Approach Control, New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA Eastern Regional Office, Linda Schuessler Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 175


(Between 8:48 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Cheney Sees Footage of WTC Crash on Television, but Allegedly Does Not Realize It Is Terrorism[]

Vice President Dick Cheney later claims he learns of the first attack on the World Trade Center just before 9:00 a.m. He has just finished an impromptu discussion in his office at the White House with Sean O’Keefe, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (see (8:25 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001). His chief speechwriter John McConnell has come in for a meeting, when his secretary, Debbie Heiden, calls in and tells him a plane hit the WTC. Cheney recalls, “So we turned on the television and watched for a few minutes.” However, journalist and author Stephen Hayes suggests Cheney learns of the attack earlier. He says that while McConnell is waiting for his meeting, O’Keefe comes out of the vice president’s office. McConnell gestures at a television showing the burning WTC, and “O’Keefe nodded; they had been watching the reports inside.” When McConnell enters Cheney’s office, “The small television on the other side of the desk was tuned to ABC News.” [MEET THE PRESS, 9/16/2001; HAYES, 2007, PP. 328-330] According to his own recollection, Cheney is puzzled by the reports: “I was sitting there thinking about it. It was a clear day, there was no weather problem—how in hell could a plane hit the World Trade Center?” [NEWSWEEK, 12/31/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 35] He claims it is only when he sees the second tower hit at 9:03 that he realizes this is a terrorist attack, saying, “as soon as that second plane showed up, that’s what triggered the thought: terrorism, that this was an attack.” [MEET THE PRESS, 9/16/2001; CNN, 9/11/2002] Entity Tags: John McConnell, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Sean O’Keefe, Debbie Heiden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Dick Cheney

(8:48 a.m.-9:02 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Navy Command Center Personnel Think WTC Crash Is an Accident[]

Michael Allen Noeth. [Source: Associated Press / Army Times] Personnel in the Navy Command Center at the Pentagon, which is located on the first floor of the building’s southwest face, learn of the attack on the WTC from television reports. The center is tasked with constantly monitoring global current events and also monitoring the latest status of all US Naval assets around the world. Its employees have to keep Navy leaders in Washington up to date on what is happening in the world as it directly relates to Navy operations and other security or military issues. Admiral Timothy Keating, who is the Navy’s director of operations in the Pentagon, describes it as a “nerve center.” Forty to 50 people man it constantly, 24 hours every day. Located within the center is the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot (CNO-IP), a small, highly secretive intelligence unit that constantly monitors geopolitical developments and military movements that could threaten American forces. The Navy Command Center has just been renovated, and its dozens of employees have been moving in during the past month. According to the Washington Post, the first the Command Center knows of the unfolding crisis is when Petty Officer Michael Allen Noeth sees the scene from the World Trade Center on the TV sets bolted to the wall, and shouts, “My God! What’s happened?” Another employee Lt. Kevin Shaeffer later recalls, “We quickly knew what was going on in New York City after the first plane hit the first tower… and stood up a watch to start logging events and tracking things for the Navy.” [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/14/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/16/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 1/20/2002; CHIPS, 3/2003] Despite the center supposedly being a “nerve center,” those in it supposedly are not initially aware that this is a terrorist attack. According to Timothy Keating, who is presently in the Navy Command Center receiving his daily briefing, “We were quite bewildered. We couldn’t understand how a pilot could make such a significant navigational error on a day when the skies were crystal clear blue.” [WASHINGTON POST, 9/16/2001; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/11/2006] All 30 people in the Command Center’s main room watch the footage of the WTC on the large televisions there, whispering to each other, “Think it’s an accident?” [VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 9/7/2002] However, according to the Washington Post, “A few old hands muttered to themselves that the Pentagon was probably next.” [WASHINGTON POST, 9/16/2001] According to one officer, it is only when the second plane hits the WTC that there will be an “almost instantaneous recognition” that this is a terrorist attack. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/11/2002] By that time, Keating will have gone back to his office. He too supposedly only realizes this is an attack when he sees television showing the second crash. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/11/2006] Much of the Navy Command Center will be destroyed when the Pentagon is hit at 9:37 a.m. Forty-two of the 50 people working in it will be killed. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/20/2002; NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE, 6/2003] Entity Tags: US Department of the Navy, Timothy Keating, Kevin Shaeffer, Michael Allen Noeth Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Pentagon


(8:48 a.m.-9:05 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Transportation Secretary Mineta and FAA Administrator Garvey in Meeting Together; Notified of First WTC Crash[]

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is in a breakfast meeting with the Belgian transportation minister, to discuss aviation issues. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey is also in the meeting, which is in the conference room next to Mineta’s office at the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, DC. Soon after 8:45 a.m., Mineta’s Chief of Staff John Flaherty interrupts, and takes Mineta and Garvey aside to Mineta’s office to tell them that news agencies are reporting that some kind of aircraft has flown into the WTC. While Garvey immediately goes to a telephone and contacts the FAA Operations Center, Mineta continues with the meeting. But a few minutes later Flaherty again takes him aside to tell him the plane is confirmed to be a commercial aircraft, and that the FAA had received an unconfirmed report of a hijacking. The TV is on and Mineta sees the second plane hitting the WTC live. He terminates his meeting with the Belgian minister, and Garvey heads off to the FAA headquarters. The White House calls and requests that Mineta go and operate from there, so he quickly heads out too. He will soon arrive there, and enters its underground bunker at around 9:20 a.m. (see (Between 9:20 a.m. and 9:27 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2001; FRENI, 2003, PP. 62-63; 9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003] Before leaving the Department of Transportation, Mineta orders the activation of the DOT’s Crisis Management Center (see 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). [US CONGRESS, 10/10/2001] Entity Tags: Norman Mineta, Jane Garvey, John Flaherty Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events


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  1. [KESSLER, 2003, PP. 196-197 AND 202]
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  6. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 24
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  8. [CNN, 9/11/2001; BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 16-17]
  9. [ABC NEWS, 9/14/2002]
  10. [9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003]
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