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(Between 8:46 a.m. and 8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Bush’s Motorcade Quickly Hears of Flight 11 Crash, but Bush Reportedly Still Unaware

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When Flight 11 hits the WTC at 8:46 a.m., President Bush’s motorcade is crossing the John Ringling Causeway on the way to Booker Elementary School from the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key.. [WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/8/2002] </ref>

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is riding in a motorcade van, along with adviser Karl Rove and Mike Morell, the CIA’s White House briefer. Shortly after the attack, Fleischer is talking on his cell phone, when he blurts out: “Oh, my God, I don’t believe it. A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” (The person with whom he is speaking remains unknown.) Fleischer is told he will be needed on arrival at the school to discuss reports of the crash. [1] This call takes place “just minutes” after the first news reports of the attack according to one account, or “just before 9:00 a.m.” according to another.. [2]

Fleischer asks Morell if he knows anything about a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. Morell doesn’t, and immediately calls the CIA Operations Center. He is informed that the plane that hit the WTC wasn’t small. . [3] Congressman Dan Miller also says he is told about the crash just before meeting Bush at Booker Elementary School at 8:55 a.m. . [4] Some reporters waiting for Bush to arrive also learn of the crash just minutes after it happens. . [5]

It would make sense that the president would be told about the crash immediately, at the same time that others hear about it. His limousine has “Five small black antennae sprouted from the lid of the trunk in order to give Bush the best mobile communications money could buy.” . [6] Sarasota Magazine in fact claims that Bush is on Highway 301, just north of Main Street, on his way to the school, when he receives a phone call informing him a plane has crashed in New York City.. [7]Yet the official story remains that he is not told about the crash until he arrives at the school [see 1]. Author James Bamford Wikipedia.png comments, “Despite having a secure STU-III phone Wikipedia.png next to him in the presidential limousine and an entire national security staff at the White House, it appears that the president of the United States knew less than tens of millions of other people in every part of the country who were watching the attack as it unfolded.” [8]

  1. . [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 9/17/2001; ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002; TENET, 2007, PP. 165-166]
  2. [MSNBC, 10/29/2002; KESSLER, 2004, PP. 138]
  3. [KESSLER, 2003, PP. 193; TENET, 2007, PP. 165-166]
  4. [SARASOTA MAGAZINE, 9/19/2001]
  5. [CBS NEWS, 9/11/2002]
  6. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 38]
  7. [SARASOTA MAGAZINE, 9/19/2001]
  8. . [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 17]


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