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tv   9 11 Anniversary Coverage  MSNBC  September 11, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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american people. i don't think i'll ever face a challenge that great again. i hope i don't, to be perfectly honest with you. i hope there's nothing that ever even approaches that in terms of my professional career. that was the seminal moment for me.
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we went to afghanistan. went up into the mountains. change of vehicle. blindfolded. i calculated around midnight that bin laden finally showed up. >> you have declared a jihad against the united states. can you tell us why? >> he essentially said it was about american foreign policy in the middle east. we said who is targeted? >> he said we're targeting american soldiers. if american civilians get in the walker that's sort of their problem. >> what are your future plans? >> you will see them and hear about them in the media. god willing. >> i was like, okay. we just sat through an hour and a half with this guy ranting about the united states and he's going to attack the united states. but he is sitting in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere in afghanistan. how is he going to implement that?
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>> move back! move back! ♪ >> stand by, 4-1. >> i knew we had enemies, naturally. but i always felt pretty safe here. i never, never in a million years dreamed that anything like this could happen to us. >> we believed in the system. and you know 9/11 was a shattering of faith.
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>> 3,000 people were killed. it was a mass murder and there needed to be an investigation. >> surviving family members, nobody can deny that they have the ultimate claim to the truth about 9/11. on september 11, 2001, osama bin laden carried out the deadliest attack ever perpetrated on american soil, leaving tens of thousands grieving their losses.
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>> my son graduated from the fire academy only six weeks before 9/11. he was a probationary firefighter at that time. >> janice and i had a wonderful relationship. she was 25 when she died. she was becoming a friend. >> lisa was a wonderful person. just a wonderful wife. she was the top lobbyist in the biotech industry. >> brad was 24 when he died.
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>> i could almost picture him gliding down the building and making it out safely some strange way because he was such an innovative, streetwise kind of young man. >> the grief-stricken families of the victims dealt with their sadness in different ways. but they shared an insatiable desire to find out why this happened and if it could have been prevented. >> i think just trying to make sense of it, you know, i read as much as i could tolerate in the newspaper. >> i wanted to know what had happened, why my daughter was dead, why 3,000 people were dead and why our government wasn't able to stop it. it became like an obsession to find out all the information i could find out that was related to 9/11. >> the internet led the families to a mountain of troubling evidence.
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>> initially i was angry at the terrorists. then i became angry at the government because i realized that more was known about this danger. >> it's not just one administration. it was both. d. and tastes simply delicious. for those of us with lactose intolerance... lactaid® milk. the original 100% lactose-free milk. [ female announcer ] we always try to save you even more money when you switch your car insurance to esurance. i could save 'em 522 smackers. you talkin' dough? bread. benjamins? scratch. greenbacks. moolah. cheddar... simoleons! don't try to out-save me. [ female announcer
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good afternoon -- >> a few months after the attacks, national security adviser condoleezza rice claimed no one could have foreseen the events of september 11th. >> i don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the world trade center, take another one and slam it into the pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile a hijacked airplane as a missile. >> but the families' research showed this wasn't the case.
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>> there was information on the public record that the government was thinking about exactly that thing. there were only two possibilities, one that she was lying and the other, which is actually scarier, is that even though all this information was there, the national security adviser of the united states didn't know it. that really scared me. >> the families headed to capitol hill. >> i will summarize my testimony as follows. >> kristen breitweiser whose husband died in the attack outlined their findings in a congressional hearing. >> she started with proof that the government had considered this kind of attack. >> in 1993, a $150,000 study was commissioned by the pentagon to investigate the possibility of an airplane being used to bomb national landmarks. >> she revealed that in 1995 the cia was told about a planes as weapons plot called bojinka. >> project bojinka's objective
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was to blow up 11 airliners over the pacific. in the alternative, several planes were to be hijacked and flown into civilian targets in the united states. among the targets mentioned were cia headquarters, the world trade center, the sears tower and the white house. >> then there was the phoenix memo written two months been september 11th. >> an fbi agent in phoenix wrote an electronic communication identifying his concern that al qaeda associates and affiliates were in this country taking flight lessons. he recommended a number of things in his memo and sent it to fbi headquarters. >> i still look at that memo as the most important memo written in fbi history. >> it basically went to the bottom of the pile. nothing was done with it. there were numerous missed
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opportunities that happened that were not taken advantage of, dots that were not put together. >> over 3,000 other human beings -- >> the families demanded a full federal investigation. >> how could this have happened? >> they wanted a 9/11 commission. >> our call for an independent investigation has nothing to do with politics. it has everything to do with seeking out the answers that we so rightfully deserve. >> let's be very clear. the families were angry. they wanted answers, and they weren't going to accept anything but the truth. >> but bush white house said no to a 9/11 commission. >> we made the determination at the time that there were more immediate things we needed to do. >> the white house lobbied
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against the 9/11 commission's creation because they really didn't want a whole lot of information coming out because everywhere you looked, every rock you turned over, it stunk and looked real bad. >> some people felt that a commission would uncover misdeeds or carelessness of people in the administration that would be embarrassing to them. >> i was stunned. i was stunned. how could we not have an investigation? why would there be a delay in this? it was something that we just could not understand. >> senators john mccain and joe lieberman supported the families in their effort. >> joe and i decided to introduce a resolution that called for the appointment of a commission. >> joe and i decided to introduce a resolution that called for the appointment of a commission. >> mccain and i, the families are pushing it. finally, the administration said okay, we'll support a commission. >> but then there was a phone call from apparently vice president cheney to someone i think on the house side that the
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conditions were not agreeable with the white house. >> why do we not have one? why do we have all talk and no action? >> after making headlines, the families made a surprise appearance at a meeting to discuss the commission. they faced down white house adviser nick calio. >> we all stood up and held hands and stared them down. >> we stood up and said, how can you look us in the eyes and tell us there's not going to be a commission? there was silence. >> and we were basically put on the spot. >> it was a moment when, you know, truth and pain spoke to power, not just truth. >> the families had taken on the administration and won. on november 27, 2002, president bush signed the legislation mandating a 9/11 commission. >> thanks to the activities of the families, not me and joe lieberman, thanks to the families, we were able to bring it about.
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>> my capacity as the chairman of the commission on terrorist attacks in the united states. i'm honored and humbled to convene this first public hearing. >> those families, that handful made the commission. if it wasn't for them, there would be no commission. [ dog ] i am a rockstar. my coat? solid gold. my insides? pure platinum. [ female announcer ] a healthy outside starts inside. new iams simple & natural has chicken as its number one ingredient and zero fillers. it works inside for health you can see on the outside. [ dog ] i can't be a rockstar on the outside
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the commission exists to understand what happened on september 11th and to protect our nation against future attack. our mandate is to look back, to learn the vital lessons of 9/11, to look forward to make recommendations that leave the united states and its people
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safer. >> the commission conducted 12 public hearings over the course of 16 months to investigate the failures of 9/11 and uncover how they happened. as the summer of 2001 unfolded, america was on high alert against terrorist attacks. >> but by september, the alert had been canceled. >> is it fair to say that in the summer of 2001 the threat level approached or exceeded anything that you had previously been receiving? >> i think it exceeded anything that george tenet or i had ever scene. >> let me read you some of the actual chatter that was picked up in that spring and summer. unbelievable news coming in weeks said one. big event. there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar. there will be attacks in the near future.
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>> tenet told us in his world, quote, the system was blinking red, closed quote and by late july it could not have been any worse. >> the predominant focus and threat of the reporting took us overseas, but we could not discount the possibility of an attack in the homeland, although the data just didn't exist with any specificity. >> they don't tell us when, they don't tell us where, they don't tell white house and they don't tell us how. >> based on their research, the families found this testimony hard to believe. >> i've got a question now i'd like to ask you. it was given to me by a number of the members of the families. did you ever see or hear from the fbi, from the cia, from any other intelligence agency, any memos, discussions or anything else between the time you got into office and 9/11 that talked about using planes as bombs?
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>> to the best of my knowledge, mr. chairman, this kind of analysis about the use of airplanes as weapons actually was never briefed to us. i cannot tell you that there might not have been a report here or report there that reached somebody in our midst. >> i don't know whether she lied or not, but there was plenty of evidence floating around all over richard clarke's office and the anti-terrorism office and the fbi that planes could possibly be used against the united states. >> clearly they were giving warnings something was coming. >> despite the unprecedented threat level, on september 11th, most americans were unaware of the danger. they were just going about their lives. >> quick drink of orange juice and off to the train station. >> good boy! you want to go to work?
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>> i usually start around 5:30, 5:45 in the morning. i have a regular routine, and i start checking trucks right away as they come in. >> sue was just about eight weeks away from defending her doctoral dissertation in immunology. peter was on a business trip. he thought it would be a nice thing for her to take a little bit of a break and come out to california with him and for christine to go to disneyland. so they made it sort of a family affair. >> i spoke with her monday. she said nama, i'm going to california. she said i'm going to see mickey mouse, and then i want to see you nama. >> by 7:00 a.m. that same morning, four hijacking teams had arrived at three different airports.
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logan in boston, newark in new jersey and dulles in washington. the faa knew terrorists were training for hijackings. in the early months of 2001, it passed along several high alert warnings to the airports and airlines. >> the faa issued at least five civil aviation security circulations to all u.s. airports and air security personnel including specific warnings about the possibility of hijacking. >> some experts put the number of warnings to airports and airlines even higher. >> there were 12 warnings from the faa to the airlines about terrorists training for hijacking and the u.s. aviation system was in the terrorists' sights. >> on top of that, between april 1st and september 10, 2001, the
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faa's own security branch issued 52 internal warnings about bin laden or al qaeda. but nobody said a word about the threat to the people of the united states. >> why wasn't the american flying public warned? why didn't our government actually take more rigorous response to these warnings. >> the state department maintained a list of thousands of suspected terrorists called the tip-off list. >> would you please stand and raise your right hand? >> the faa had their own no-fly watch list with only 12 names on it. >> were either of you aware of the existence of the tip-off roster? >> yes, but -- >> were you, ms. garvey? >> i may have been aware. i can't tell you with certainty that i was aware pre-9/11. >> i guess this would apply to admiral flynn as well. is that correct? >> i regret to say that i was unaware of the tip-off list and was unaware of it until yesterday.
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>> you didn't ask for a list of suspected terrorists? >> you mean through tip-off? >> yes. >> no. we did not go to the state department and ask them to give us all 61,000 names so they could be put on the watch lists. for one thing, the airlines wouldn't have been able to handle such a list. >> they still had no trouble handling their frequent flier lists. that's ridiculous. what about common sense? >> once they arrived at the airport, the hijackers got through ticketing without any trouble. >> one of the hijackers on flight 77 didn't even have a photo i.d. you or i probably couldn't get on a plane without a photo id prior to 9/11. but they let a hijacker on a plane without a photo i.d.
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>> actual video of the hijackers at dulles airport shows them passing through security. >> the key on the dulles video is it showed the violations that the airlines and security companies committed on 9/11. >> one hijacker set off the metal detector and was hand-wanded by a security screener. >> you're not supposed to use the hand wand until you check it on a metal object. did you see it on any of the dulles videotapes? absolutely not. another hijacker set off the alarms for both the first and second metal detectors and still was allowed to proceed. >> you must identify the source of every alarm. you can see they didn't do that because they set off the alarm when they walked through the security checkpoint.
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>> the faa had been told for years that airport security was weak. the flaws were exposed by department of transportation undercover red teams who regularly tested the system. >> we found guns, knives, hand grenades, axes, bombs. >> there was a report about how bad security was and nothing happened. >> the faa did not want us to tell congress. they did everything they could. they tried to have the report classified. >> the whole system of faa security was so flawed, it was just a matter of how the terrorists wanted to do it. >> the main reason security was so bad? many told the commission it was money. >> the nature of what was happening in the civil aviation
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industry in the united states at that time did not put terrorism high on the list of priorities. >> every time the government proposed an actual add-on or a separate tax item for security, the airlines opposed it. they said that security doesn't sell tickets. >> there were strong, very strong counterpressures to control security costs because it was a cost center for the airlines. >> if the question is, was there sort of direct lobbying either by the airlines or by congress on any specific either safety or security, the answer would be no. >> how can you sit there and say that the airlines were not lobbying? what are they paying these high-priced lobbyists for? >> there's a lot of excuses out there. but the end result is people made choices not to focus on terrorism.
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whether it was administration or agencies, they all failed. >> the faa, jane garvey, cathal flynn, minetta, i think they're traitors. i've called it to their face. and that's how i feel. they're welcome to sue me if they don't like it. [ gasp ] [ mom ] my husband -- he thinks it's a 3-sheeter.ttéwmu.vog#wvs#q(p4á)uog5un(zé4bóá)hg0g6k$'jefpl,[f=aymh;l@e9xd i say>fc@m6
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after they made it through security, the four hijacking teams took their seats, mostly in first and business class. >> once their planes were in the air, they sprang into action. on american flight 11 en route from boston to l.a., terrorists took over the cockpit. then they made two announcements that were overheard by air traffic control and other pilots. >> we have the plane. stay quiet and you'll be okay. we're returning to the airport.
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>> nobody move. everything will be okay. if you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. just stay quiet. >> the hijackers turned off the plane's transponder, making it difficult to track. >> flight attendant betty ong used an air phone to call american airlines reservations. >> ma'am, what seat are you in? >> we're -- we just left boston. we're up in the air. we're supposed to go to l.a. and the cockpit is not answering the phone. >> what seat are you sitting in? >> what's the number of your seat? >> i'm in my jump seat right now, 3r. >> okay. you're the flight attendant? >> critical minutes went by as ong was repeatedly asked the same questions. >> i'm sorry. did you say you're the flight attendant? >> hello? >> what is your name? >> hi. you're going to have to speak up. i can't hear you. >> what is your name? >> okay. my name is betty ong. i'm number three on flight 11.
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>> okay. >> and the cockpit is not answering their phone. >> for approximately 23 minutes betty patiently told us she thought they were being hijacked because two or three men gained access to the cockpit and the cabin crew couldn't communicate with the pilots. >> number five. our first class passengers are -- first glass galley flight attendant and pursers and staff. we can't get in the cockpit. the door won't open. >> this is operations, what flight number are we talking about? >> flight 12. >> no. we're on flight 11 right now. this is flight 11. >> flight 11. i'm sorry, nadine. >> who are you, hon? >> she gave her name as betty ong. >> at 8:25 a.m., boston controllers realized that flight 11 had been hijacked.
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13 minutes passed before they called the military's northeast air defense sector, neads, to intervene. >> we have a hijacked airplane headed towards new york and we need you guys to -- we need someone to scramble some f-16s or something up there. >> is this real world are the exercise? >> no, this is not an exercise, not a test. >> fighter pilots at otis air force base in massachusetts were ordered to battle stations but they waited for neads to tell them where to go. while they stood by, american airlines flight 11 crashed into tower one of the world trade center at 8:46 a.m. >> i was in an elevator somewhere between the 78th and 101st floor when suddenly i felt a drop by an explosion and then felt it plummeting.
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the elevator burst into flame. i began to beat at the flames, burning my hands, arms and legs in the process. >> we have a breaking news story to tell you about. apparently a plane has just crashed into the world trade center in new york city just a few moments ago. >> the elevator came to a stop on the 78th floor. the doors opened and i jumped out. i still remember this. i very calmly took my bag, put it at the side of the main elevator bank thinking i would come back to get it later and started to look for the fire exit. >> people in the other tower felt the plane's impact.
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>> my office is in the basement level of number two world trade center, and i felt the shock -- actually knocked my coffee to the floor and i proceeded over to one world trade center to assist in the evacuation and rescue. >> from his office in tower two, 24-year-old brad fetchet called his father. >> dad, i want you not to be worried. i want to remind you i'm in tower two, not in tower one. they're telling us things are okay. >> my husband asked brad to call me at home and here is the recording of his call left on my message machine at home around 9:00 a.m. >> hey, mom. it's brad. i wanted to call and let you know. i'm sure you heard or maybe you haven't heard that a plane crashed into world trade center one. we're fine. we're in world trade center two. i'm obviously alive and well. i think we'll be here all day or if the firm is going to shut down for the day or what. but i'll give you a call back later. love you.
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>> hearing his voice is a double-edged sword because i love hearing his voice, but i hate hearing the message. and i hate thinking about the circumstance it was in. i wish i could have protected him. >> like brad fetchet, brian clark was in tower two. >> i had wandered over toward the north windows where a number of brokers were standing at the glass and they had begun to see people jump. >> somebody fell.
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>> a lot of those people had a choice to make. either they're going to stay in a position where they're going to be burned or they're going to jump. and a lot of people made the decision to jump and they did. tremendous amount of people jumped. >> oh my god! >> they're jumping! >> it's probably so hot up there. >> while david lim headed upstairs in tower one, stanley praimnath evacuated the other tower. >> we ran out of the office, the president, ceo, the head of human resources, all these big shots. the elevator came. we went down. not a word is said. >> in the meantime an announcement came over the public address system in the south tower urging people to stay in place.
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>> the strobe lights flashed, the siren went whoop whoop. your attention, please. building two is secure. there is no need to evacuate building two. if you are in the midst of evacuation, you may use the re-entry doors and the elevators to return to your offices. >> the port authority directed my son's company to stay put in their office. quote, that the building is safe and secure. >> i wouldn't remain in my home if the home next door was on fire, and i couldn't understand the mentality of having people remain in a 110-story building. >> as we were about to exit the building through the turnstile first, the security guard looks at me and says where are you guys going? i said i'm going home. why? i saw fireballs coming down. no. your building is safe and secure. go back to your office. >> what's going on? >> in less than one minute, this elevator zoomed back up and we are on the 78th floor again.
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in sarasota, florida, president bush was told about the first plane crash as his motorcade arrived at an elementary school at approximately 8:55 a.m. he called national security adviser condoleezza rice and asked to be kept informed. 45 minutes earlier united flight 175 had taken off from boston to los angeles. at 8:14 a.m., pilot victor saracini overheard the hijackers from flight 11 on his radio. >> nobody move. everything will be okay. >> two minutes later united flight 175 was hijacked.
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>> in easton, connecticut, lee and eunice hanson got a phone call from their son peter who was aboard the plane. >> when i first heard lee answer the phone and say, hi, peter, i said what's he calling for? and then i heard silence on his part. >> he said, dad, the airplane is being hijacked. and i think my first thing was, come on, peter. he said, no, it's being hijacked. and he said i don't think the pilot is flying the plane even now.
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he said you ought to call united airlines and let them know because they may have turned off the equipment that can warn them of a hijacking. and he said, i'll get back to you. >> the controller responsible for united 175 was looking for the already crashed american flight 11. he didn't notice that united 175 had now veered off course. within ten minutes of united 175's hijacking, a third plane, american flight 77 traveling from dulles to los angeles came under attack. >> stephen push's wife lisa raines was on board.
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>> she was going on a business trip, one-day business trip to california. >> at 8:54, american 77 began deviating from its flight plan, first with a slight turn to the south. two minutes later it disappeared completely from indianapolis radar. >> the controller who lost flight 77 assumed it crashed. >> he believed american 77 experienced serious mechanical and/or electrical failure and was gone. >> meanwhile, in new york, an air traffic control manager tracking united flight 175 tried to report its hijacking to her superiors. she was turned away. >> the manager tried to notify the regional managers and was told that the managers were discussing a hijacked aircraft, presumably american 11 and refused to be disturbed.
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>> finally, another manager from new york center realized there were several hijacked planes. he contacted the faa command center in herndon, virginia. >> several situations going on here. it's escalating big time. we need to get the military involved with this. >> just as military assistance was requested, controllers in boston finished reviewing the first transmission the hijackers sent from flight 11. they, too, realized the hijackers had more than one plane. >> you still there? >> yes, i am. >> i'm going to reconfirm with downstairs, but the -- as far as the tape, seem to think the guy said we have planes. i don't know if it was because of the accent or if there's more than one. i'm going to reconfirm that for you. and i'll get back to you real quick. okay? >> appreciate it. >> said what?
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>> planes, as in plural. >> it sounds like that there's another one aimed at the world trade center. >> one just hit. >> there's another aircraft? >> at 9:02 a.m., new york terminal approach spotted an unidentified plane on their radar. >> do you know who he is? >> we don't know who he is. we're just picking him up now. >> the controllers saw the plane was in a rapid descent. it was flight 175 headed straight for downtown manhattan. >> you still there? >> yes, i am. >> would you confirm with downstairs. >> aboard the flight, peter hansen called his father again. >> he said it looks like they are going to crash into a building somewhere. >> i just happened to raise my head and i'm looking out at the statue of liberty and i saw this
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giant aircraft coming towards me at eye-level. >> he said, don't worry, dad, it will be quick. and then web just said, oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, my god. >> oh, my god, oh, my god. >> i had the television on. and the plane hit the building. and all i said was, oh, no. just like that.
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>> half of our family is gone. >> stanley and brian clark were above the 80th floor of the tower that was just hit. >> in an instant, our room fell apart. >> and the bottom wing is wedged in my office door 20 feet from where i am.
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>> top u.s. officials said, quote, that this was clearly terrorist-related. >> as i was watching tv, the plane flew into tower two. and so i knew then that brad was in tower two and i was just trying to calculate, you know, where he was in the building and where the plane had hit. >> i said to the police commissioner, that we're in uncharted territory. we've never done anything like this before and we have to do our best to keep everything together. keep focused.
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>> mayor, what's the situation right is now? >> the situation is that two airplanes have -- >> what. >> well, then let's go north then. >> come with us. come with us. let's talk a little later, okay? >> okay. >> the port authority was the agency responsible for the world trade center. but as the proportions of the disaster became clear, new york's police and fire departments also rushed to the scene. >> my son, jonathan, a new york city firefighter called that morning to say, turn the tv on. he said, dad, we're going to the world trade center. i said okay, be careful. he said, okay. >> those men that responded here looked out the windows of those
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fire trucks, they looked up, they saw what the hell they were go going into and what did they do? they went into it. they went into it. >> several floors of fire would have been beyond the fire extinguishing capability of the forces that we had on hand. so we determined very early on this was going to be strictly a rescue mission.
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in sarasota florida president bush greeted a class of second graders. at 9:05 a.m., 2w0 two minutes
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after the crash of the second plane in new york and aid interrupted the president to give him the news. >> andrew card whispered to him, quote, a second plane hit the second tower, america is under attack. closed quote. >> the president told us his instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see and excited reaction at a moment of crisis. >> this is a difficult moment for america. >> the president made a brief statement before leaving for the airport. >> today we add natural tragedy. two airplanes have crashed into the world trade center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. >> as the president addressed a stunned nation, the third hijacked plane, american airlines flight 77 from


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