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New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Office of Emergency Management on 9/11, FBI's Response to the Attacks, Events at the Pentagon & More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

New entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which describe many incidents relating to the 9/11 attacks, including new details of what happened on September 11, 2001, and some notable pre-9/11 events.

Fire Alarm System in WTC 7 Was on 'Test Condition'

Several new timeline entries describe incidents that occurred on September 11 in World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper located north of the Twin Towers that collapsed at 5:20 p.m. that day. At 8:46 a.m., when the first hijacked plane crashed into the North Tower, the electrical power in WTC 7 briefly went off for reasons that are unclear. Similarly, at 9:03 a.m., when the second hijacked plane hit the South Tower, "primary power" was lost and alarms warned that there was no water pressure in the building.

Security Alerts, Disabled Fire Alarms, and Unused Elevators: Suspicious Events at the World Trade Center Before 9/11

The Twin TowersAt least three notable anomalous events occurred at the World Trade Center in the weeks and months leading up to September 11, 2001, which may have related to the imminent terrorist attacks but could not have been caused by al-Qaeda, the group supposedly responsible for 9/11.

There was an increase in security at the Trade Center in the two weeks before 9/11, for reasons that are unclear, which only ended the day before the attacks. Also, the fire alarm system in World Trade Center Building 7 was placed on "test condition" every morning in the seven days before the attacks and on the day of 9/11. While it was in this mode, any alarms would be ignored. WTC 7 was a massive skyscraper located just north of the Twin Towers, which mysteriously collapsed late in the afternoon of September 11. And some of the elevators in the Twin Towers were out of service in the months before the attacks, supposedly due to maintenance work or modernization.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: White House on September 11, Actions of Pentagon Officials, Flight 93 Passengers' Revolt, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, the majority of which provide new details about the events of September 11, 2001.

WHITE HOUSE STAFFERS WERE PREPARING FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL PICNIC

The Indifference and Inaction of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz During the 9/11 Attacks

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had a crucial role to play in the military's response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and yet he did nothing to help protect his country until the attacks were over and it was too late for him to make a difference to the outcome of the crisis.

As the second-highest-ranking official in the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz surely had critical duties to perform and should have promptly taken action when America came under attack. Furthermore, since he was at the Pentagon when the attacks occurred, he was in a good location to help the military respond to them. And yet he appears to have reacted to the catastrophic events with indifference.

Why Did the Top Army Officer in the U.S. Do So Little in Response to the 9/11 Attacks?

General Jack Keane

General John M. "Jack" Keane was the most senior Army officer in the United States on September 11, 2001. Working at the Pentagon, he was ideally placed to respond promptly and effectively to the terrorist attacks that day. And yet he appears to have done alarmingly little while the attacks were underway.

The only action he has recalled taking after learning about the crashes at the World Trade Center was ordering that the Army Operations Center (AOC) at the Pentagon be brought up to full manning. He apparently did not order the activation of the Army's Crisis Action Team (CAT), even though this was designed for dealing with emergencies like the one taking place at the time.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: President Bush's Actions on September 11 and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, most of which provide important details about the actions of President George W. Bush and his entourage on September 11, 2001.

President Bush Visited a School in Florida

President Bush received his daily intelligence briefing early in the morning of September 11, but the briefing included nothing about terrorism. A short time later, numerous members of his staff learned that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center as his motorcade headed to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, and yet no one told him what had happened at that time.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 'Deserted His Post' While America Was Under Attack on 9/11

Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. secretary of defense, proceeded as normal with his daily intelligence briefing at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001, despite learning that a second aircraft had hit the World Trade Center and America was clearly under attack. Even when the Pentagon was attacked, over 30 minutes later, he still did nothing to assist the military's response to the crisis and instead hurried outside to the crash site, simply to inspect the damage and help carry a stretcher. By the time that he became involved in defending his country, the terrorist attacks were over.

Rumsfeld, as secretary of defense, had important responsibilities that day. And yet he repeatedly ignored the appeals of colleagues when they tried to get him involved with the military's response to the attacks. Remarkably, he rejected the advice of two aides to abandon his usual activities because, he told them, if he did so, "the terrorists have won."

Why Did the Secret Service Leave the President and a School Full of Children in Danger in the Middle of the 9/11 Attacks?

President Bush at the Booker Elementary School

President George W. Bush was allowed to continue with a routine visit to a school when the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2001. Remarkably, members of the Secret Service and other personnel responsible for protecting the president failed to evacuate him from the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, after they learned that a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and it became clear that America was under attack.

As the nation's leader, Bush should have been considered a likely target for terrorists. Furthermore, his schedule had been publicized in advance and so terrorists could have found out where he would be on September 11.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Training Exercises in New York, Fighter Jets' Response on 9/11, Suspicious Man Arrested, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

Many entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, covering various events relating to the 9/11 attacks, including a number of anti-terrorism training exercises held in the years leading up to 9/11 and various incidents from the day of September 11, 2001, itself.

Numerous Exercises Prepared for a Terrorist Attack in New York

Many new timeline entries describe training exercises that were held in New York before 9/11. These include Operation ICE, the city's largest ever terrorism response exercise, which was held in November 1997 and included a simulated chemical attack near the World Trade Center. Another exercise, which tested the response to a biological attack, was held in June 1999 at the city's new emergency command center in World Trade Center Building 7.

The Million-Dollar Diamond Theft at the World Trade Center on 9/11

Over a million dollars' worth of diamonds and bonds were apparently stolen from an armored truck in the basement of the World Trade Center when the terrorist attacks took place on September 11, 2001, which suggests that someone--or some people--may have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and exploited the chaos they knew the attacks would generate in order to commit their crime at a time when there was minimal risk of getting caught.

Recovery Workers Reportedly Found the Black Boxes From the Planes That Hit the WTC on 9/11, but Authorities Covered This Up

A poster depicting a plane's black boxes

The black boxes from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, were found and retrieved in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a significant amount of evidence indicates. And yet government officials and the official investigation into the attacks have asserted that these devices were never recovered.

A plane's two black boxes record important information about a flight. The black boxes from American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175--the planes that hit the World Trade Center--could therefore have helped investigators determine what happened on these aircraft before they crashed on September 11.

How Did Some Experts and Emergency Responders Know the Twin Towers Were Going to Collapse on 9/11?

The South Tower collapsing

A number of individuals who worked in key positions apparently knew that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were going to collapse before the two buildings came down on September 11, 2001. These men talked with colleagues about their concern that the towers might come down, and some of them issued stark warnings about the danger and ordered people to get away from the World Trade Center.

Although their warnings have, in some cases, been credited with saving lives, the behavior of these men is, on closer examination, surprising and quite suspicious. This is because the general opinion before September 11 was that the Twin Towers would survive being hit by planes and the outcomes of previous high-rise fires should have led the men to think the towers would easily endure the fires they suffered on September 11 without collapsing.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Training Exercises, NORAD's Commander on 9/11, United Airlines' Response to the Attacks, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

Many entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which describe a variety of events relating to the 9/11 attacks, with numerous entries revealing new details of the events of September 11, 2001.

Training Exercises Were Held in the Run-Up to 9/11

Several new timeline entries describe training exercises that were held in the years and months before 9/11. In May 1998, an exercise was held at the Pentagon called Cloudy Office, which was based around the scenario of a terrorist attack at the Pentagon involving chemical weapons.

In February 2001, the FBI's Washington, DC, field office started sponsoring training with local fire department and law enforcement commanders on how emergency response workers and the FBI should coordinate their actions if there was a terrorist attack in the Washington area. Just two or three days before 9/11, the Washington field office and various other agencies held an exercise in Northern Virginia, based around the scenario of a terrorist attack involving chemical weapons.

And United Airlines, which had two of its planes hijacked on September 11, held a surprise exercise 12 days before 9/11 in which employees were led to believe one of their planes had crashed.

United Airlines Held an Exercise So Realistic That Its Personnel Had to Be Reassured That the 9/11 Attacks Were 'Not a Drill'

A United Airlines Boeing 767

United Airlines personnel were subjected to a surprise training exercise 12 days before 9/11 in which they were led to believe that one of their planes had crashed. The exercise was so realistic that some of them ended up in tears or became physically sick. Consequently, on September 11, 2001, when two United Airlines planes were hijacked and then crashed, the manager who organized the exercise apparently thought his employees had mistaken reports about the terrorist attacks for part of an exercise and therefore told them, "This is not a drill!"

Furthermore, United Airlines had previously conducted other exercises that were based around scenarios resembling aspects of the 9/11 attacks, which may have caused its employees to be confused on September 11 over whether the crisis that day was real or simulated. The scenarios included hijackings and planes crashing into buildings.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Pre-9/11 Warnings about Al-Qaeda, Cheney's Military Aide on 9/11, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

New entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which cover various events relating to the 9/11 attacks. Many of them describe warnings about the danger posed by al-Qaeda that were given in the 12 months leading up to 9/11 and some describe events from the day of September 11, 2001, itself.

Donald Rumsfeld Was Concerned about a Possible 'Modern-Day Version' of Pearl Harbor

A couple of new timeline entries deal with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's preoccupation, in the months before 9/11, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941 that led America to enter World War II. In March 2001, Rumsfeld sent members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a copy of the foreword to a book, which discussed the US government failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. And in July that year, he wrote a note to himself in which he expressed his fear of the United States experiencing a "modern-day version" of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Other senior officials talked, in the months before 9/11, about the possibility of a Pearl Harbor-like event happening in the future. In June 2001, Army General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the US Central Command, gave a speech in which he said the US needed to prepare for an "asymmetric" attack resembling the attack on Pearl Harbor. And on the day before 9/11, Charles Nemfakos, deputy under secretary of the Navy, said during a briefing that the US would have to suffer an attack comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor before it would address the problems with its defense policy.

Officials Warned about the Danger Posed by Al-Qaeda