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9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Center Tells FAA Regional Office that Hijackers Said ‘We Have Planes’; Office Suggests Notifying Military

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Over an FAA teleconference, Terry Biggio, the operations manager at Boston Center, reports to the FAA’s New England regional office the “We have some planes” comment apparently made by a Flight 11 hijacker at 8:24 a.m. [see 1].[1][2]

Because the Boston Center controller monitoring Flight 11,Pete Zalewski, had not understood the communication, the center’s quality assurance specialist, Bob Jones, had been instructed to “pull the tape” of the transmission, listen to it carefully, and then report back. [3] Biggio now reports to the New England region representative:

“I’m gonna reconfirm with, with downstairs, but the, as far as the tape, Bobby seemed to think the guy said that ‘we have planes.’ Now, I don’t know if it was because it was the accent, or if there’s more than one [hijacked plane], but I’m gonna, I’m gonna reconfirm that for you, and I’ll get back to you real quick. Okay?”


Another participant in the teleconference asks, “They have what?” and Biggio clarifies: “Planes, as in plural.… It sounds like, we’re talking to New York, that there’s another one aimed at the World Trade Center.… A second one just hit the Trade Center.” Tony, The Herndon representative replies: “Okay. Yeah, we gotta get—we gotta alert the military real quick on this.” [4][5]

John White, a manager at the FAA’s Command Center is monitoring the teleconference, and so also learns of the “We have some planes” communication at this time [see 2].[2]At 9:05 a.m., Biggio will confirm for the New England region representative—with the Command Center listening in—that a hijacker said, “we have planes” (forgetting the “some”). [4][6]


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