'Deaf, Dumb, and Blind': Were Communications Sabotaged on 9/11?

On September 12, 2001, the commander in chief of the Russian air force, General Anatoly Kornukov, offered his thoughts on the previous day's events: "Generally it is impossible to carry out an act of terror on the scenario which was used in the USA yesterday. ... The notification and control system for the air transport in Russia does not allow uncontrolled flights and leads to immediate reaction of the anti-missile defense. As soon as something like that happens here, I am reported about that right away and in a minute we are all up." [1] One would assume the defenses of the United States should have been more effective than those of Russia. Yet the 9/11 attacks seem to have proceeded with ease, and America's air defenses appear to have been almost non-existent at the time they were most needed.

While we still do not know exactly what caused this, evidence indicates that various methods were used to sabotage normal crisis responses, hence creating a state of paralysis. [2] Further evidence now shows that in the Washington, DC area (and elsewhere), various means of communication--including cell phones, secure government phones, and military radios--were not working properly on September 11, thus creating a communications blackout.

These problems hindered top government officials, members of the military, and emergency responders, as well as members of the public. A classified report was later produced, based on observations from a National Airborne Operations Center plane that was in the air that morning. According to author Dan Verton, this report "does not paint a favorable picture of the government's overall crisis management capabilities. According to one government official, the nation was 'deaf, dumb, and blind' for much of that horrible day in September." [3] The question we need to investigate is, were communications deliberately sabotaged, thereby helping to paralyze normal defenses and crisis management capabilities?

Of particular concern is that communications were so badly affected around the Pentagon, which, as the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, had a crucial role to play that morning. These problems were summarized in the 2002 Arlington County After-Action Report on the Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon. This found that when the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m., "all area communications seemed simultaneously overwhelmed. Firefighters calling the [Arlington County Emergency Communications Center] couldn't get through. Relatives of Pentagon workers found cellular and land lines jammed." The report added: "Cellular and landline telephone communications were virtually unreliable or inaccessible during the first few hours of the response." [4]

Furthermore, "Emergency traffic jammed radio channels." This is apparent in the account of Officer Aubrey Davis of the Pentagon police. Davis accompanied Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the crash site immediately after the Pentagon was struck. Davis's radio was "crackling with frantic pleas from his control room regarding Rumsfeld's whereabouts." However, Davis has recalled: "I kept saying, 'We've got him,' but the system was overloaded, everyone on the frequency was talking, everything jumbled, so I couldn't get through and they went on asking." [5]

The problems didn't just occur around the Pentagon. Considering its role as a center of government, it is alarming that communications were also badly hit in the Washington, DC area in general. Numerous government officials were affected:

CIA Director George Tenet was in Washington at the time the first World Trade Center tower was hit, having breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel. After being informed of the attack in New York, he left the hotel to be driven back to CIA headquarters, located about eight miles outside Washington in Langley, Virginia. As Tenet described in his recent memoir: "With all hell breaking loose, it was hard to get calls through on the secure phone. Essentially, I was in a communications blackout between the St. Regis and Langley, the longest twelve minutes of my life." [6]

As speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert was third in line for the presidency, behind the vice president. He'd seen the second plane hitting the WTC live on television while in his office suite on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol building, and was then informed that Vice President Dick Cheney would soon be calling him on the secure phone in his office. However, the secure phone was not working properly, and several attempts at calling Cheney were unsuccessful. Hastert has recalled: "On that dreadful day I couldn't make the thing work. No matter what I did, I couldn't connect with the vice president. As the minutes passed, my frustrations grew." It was not until mid-morning that Cheney and Hastert were finally able to speak to each other. [7]

Secretary of State Colin Powell was away in Lima, Peru at the time the attacks occurred. During his seven-hour flight back to Washington, as journalist Bob Woodward described, "Powell found that he couldn't talk to anybody because his communications were connected to the system in the U.S., which was swamped." [8] In a speech at the State Department, Powell later complained: "I never felt more useless in my life than on the morning of the 11th of September. Phones [were] gone because of what happened here and what happened to the [communications] system here in Washington. They couldn't get a phone line through. I was able to get some radio communications--two radio spots on the way back--but for most of that seven-hour period, I could not tell what was going on here in my capital, and I'm the secretary of state!" [9]

Although he was away in Florida for a reading demonstration at a school in Sarasota, President George W. Bush reportedly experienced some serious problems in his attempts at contacting colleagues back in Washington. According to the 9/11 Commission Report: "The president told us he was frustrated with the poor communications that morning. He could not reach key officials, including Secretary Rumsfeld, for a period of time. The line to the White House shelter conference room--and the vice president--kept cutting off." [10] Thomas Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, has pointed out the significance of this: "That was scary on both sides because the president is the only one who can give certain orders that need to be given." [11]

After he left the school at 9:35 a.m. and was being driven to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, Bush was reportedly unable to contact his staff at the White House. According to the CBC, "all the secure telephone lines were down. The communications system [was] overloaded." The president ended up borrowing a cell phone, but reportedly even that did not work. [12]

The problems continued after he got on Air Force One. Despite the plane's elaborate communications equipment, its phones worked only sporadically. At some point later in the morning, the president's closest advisor Karen Hughes tried contacting Bush through the White House switchboard. Hughes has recalled: "[T]he military operator came back to me and in a voice that, to me, sounded very shaken said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry, we can't reach Air Force One.'" Hughes described this as "a very, very, frightening moment," because "I never had that happen before." [13]

Why were lines of communication jammed at this most crucial time, while America was under attack and in the hours afterwards? The nearest thing to an official explanation seems to be that they somehow overloaded because of the increased volume of calls made by people reacting to the attacks. For example, according to the New York Times, within minutes of the attacks there were "tens of millions of [phone] calls--many from worried relatives and friends--that threatened to clog the system." [14] Similarly, the federally funded Arlington County After-Action Report on the response to the Pentagon attack referred to radio channels that were "initially oversaturated," and to "cellular telephone systems" that were "overloaded and ineffective." [15]

However, another possibility that needs to be properly investigated is that there was a deliberate assault on communications channels, carried out by powerful and treasonous individuals working within the U.S. government and military. This could have been one of the methods used to ensure the 9/11 attacks succeeded. We can see at least three goals this paralysis would have achieved:

1) Loyal and honest government and military employees would be severely hindered in their ability to react to the attacks. It would take longer for them to learn what was happening, and even after they knew, it might be impossible for them to organize an effective crisis response.

2) Officials within the U.S. government and military who were involved in planning and/or perpetrating the attacks could disguise their complicity. While the attacks were taking place, they could act as if they were genuinely trying to organize an emergency response, when in fact they knew that their communications would likely not get through and would be to no avail. For example, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and George Tenet all acted suspiciously on 9/11, and should be investigated as to whether they were in any way complicit in helping plan or perpetrate the attacks. Yet at the time the attacks occurred, all three appeared to be victims of the communication paralysis.

3) By sabotaging communications among members of the public, such as by jamming cell phone signals, the 9/11 perpetrators would have greater control over the flow of information from the scenes of the attacks. They would be better able to put out the official story, and get this well established in the public consciousness, before too much contradictory evidence leaked out.

Considering the communication difficulties experienced on September 11, it is curious to note changes that had recently taken place at the CIA headquarters in Langley. On August 7, 2001, a fire lasting several hours led to the forced evacuation of the old headquarters building and the nearby new headquarters building. The fire was supposedly started when a workman dropped a welder down an elevator shaft, igniting wood at the bottom. Subsequently, A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard, the CIA's executive director at the time, instigated evacuation procedures that were followed by CIA employees in response to the 9/11 attacks a month later. Significantly, he equipped key CIA officials with tiny walkie-talkies, so they could still communicate if cell phones were not working. [16]

Was the CIA just lucky? Or had Krongard known something that the rest of us did not, that there would come a day in the near future when cell phones would not work?

[1] "Sensation: Russia Also Became an Object for Air Terrorists' Attacks." Pravda Online, September 12, 2001. Note that this article refers to Kornukov as the commander in chief of the Russian Navy. However, countless other news articles confirm that he was in fact the commander of the air force.
[2] See, for example, my previous blog entries: "Ringing Like Crazy: Were U.S. Military Phones 'War-Dialed' on 9/11?" and "The Stratcom Stand Down on 9/11."
[3] Dan Verton, Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyber-Terrorism. New York: Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 2003, pp. 150-151.
[4] Arlington County, Virginia, report, Titan Systems Corp., Arlington County: After-Action Report on the Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon. 2002, pp. A34 and C36.
[5] Ibid. p. A39; Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy. New York: Scribner, 2007, pp. 1-2.
[6] George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. New York: HarperCollins, 2007, pp. 161-162.
[7] Dennis Hastert, "'We Still Feel the Pain of Sept. 11.'" Arlington Heights Daily Herald, September 11, 2002; Dennis Hastert, Speaker: Lessons From Forty Years in Coaching and Politics, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004, pp. 5-6; Stephen F. Hayes, Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President. New York: HarperCollins, 2007, pp. 340-341; David Espo, "Former House Speaker Seeks Graceful Exit." Associated Press, June 16, 2007.
[8] Bob Woodward, Bush at War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 9-10.
[9] Steve Barrett, "Powell Asks NSTAC to Keep Nation Inside the Information Loop." Telecom News, 2002.
[10] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Authorized Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 40.
[11] "The Secret History of 9/11: The U.S. Government Reacts." CBC, September 10, 2006.
[12] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004; Philip Shenon and Christopher Marquis, "Panel Says Chaos in Administration Was Wide on 9/11." New York Times, June 18, 2004; "The Secret History of 9/11: The U.S. Government Reacts." CBC, September 10, 2006.
[13] "The President's Story." CBS News, September 10, 2003; Meet the Press, NBC, April 4, 2004; "The Secret History of 9/11: The U.S. Government Reacts." CBC, September 10, 2006.
[14] Lisa Guernsey, "Keeping the Lifelines Open." New York Times, September 20, 2001.
[15] Arlington County, Virginia, report, Titan Systems Corp., Arlington County: After-Action Report on the Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon. 2002, pp. 12-13 and C9.
[16] "CIA Headquarters Evacuated for Fire." Associated Press, August 7, 2001; "Fire at CIA Headquarters Building to be Probed." Reuters, August 8, 2001; Ronald Kessler, The CIA at War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003, pp. 222-223.

I don't see anything here

Your examples all happen after the attacks, and it is quite reasonable to assume the lines of communication really were jammed with millions of calls in every direction. I thought at first you were going to talk about comm problems BEFORE or DURING the attacks, in which case it would be suspicious. But I must say I don't find it suspicious that an event such as this paralyzed the lines of communication.

For example, I've tried calling a foreign country and had a message saying all the lines were busy. It sounds ridiculous to me (how many people are calling Germany at any given time?), but it's plausible I guess. Now imagine an event like 9/11 and the number of calls being made EVERYWHERE.

What's messed up here, I admit, is that important people couldn't reach important people (Hastert to Cheney, for example). It's messed up that the President couldn't find a working phone. And it's possible that those are cover stories meant to mask their inaction on the day.

But perhaps we already have enough damning evidence of important people out of the loop that day? Like, isn't it telling that Bush was in his brother's state reading about a goat when 9/11 happened? What are the odds of several of those factors combining? What are the odds that the Secret Service would react contrary to protocol and endanger the life of the President without being ordered to do so?

As many have noted, only Cheney immediately joined the decision-making loop. Gen. Myers stayed in a meeting, as did Rumsfeld. Bush read a book. To me, that's pretty incriminating.


i was doing a little research on Iridium satellite system.

Iridium was supposed to offer communications to anyone anywhere
even remote areas, because it was a satellite system and not land towers.

As an RF (cellular - radio) engineer for SPINT PCS, i first became interested in 9/11
when i heard about those cell phone calls.
They didnt happen, at least NOT at 35,000ft
We now have a video of Deana Burnette saying that she saw Tom's phone # on her caller ID.
This goes directly against what the GOV said, that only FELT, and CeeCee Lyles
were using cell phones.
Ill post more about cell phones later,
but now, back to Iridium...

This is pretty old, i think FEMA already does use them.
"DOD reserves gateway to Iridium's global satellite service; other agencies mayfollow
The Defense Department is the largest single customer for Iridium LLC’s financially troubled global satellite communications service.
DOD has reserved one of the consortium’s 12 ground gateways capable of serving up to 120,000 users and 1,000 simultaneous calls. The Army, Navy and Air Force are testing ways to integrate the Iridium satellite network into their communications plans.
FAA’s plan for using Iridium on Siberian routes is a small deal, Meehan said, but talks are under way about using Iridium as a communications element in broader air traffic control systems.
NASA is testing Iridium for its ER-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, the civilian version of the military’s U2-S spy plane, he said.
FEMA has shown interest in Iridium telephones for disaster response, said John R. “Ted” O’Brien, vice president of vertical market sales for Iridium. "

As far as communications during 9/11
Air Force One should have NOT had any problems

Iridium customer testimonials

Shortly after the World Trade Towers were struck, Verizon lost all service from their West Street Central switching office. Most carriers took some time to restore even basic level of service. In the midst of all of this, my concern was for my co-workers and friends. My cell phone was essentially useless, as was our landline home line. I walked out to a clear area on our street and turned on my Iridium handset. It quickly responded with "Registered" and the signal came up. I called the main number and one of my co-workers answered the call, the call went through! It was invaluable to know they were well and safe, and important to know what the logistics for business were going to be. It meant more than I can say to have that call go through at that moment. I carry my Iridium handset regardless of how short a trip may be. Your service is truly unique and an indispensable communications tool.
Gerald Anzano
ING Asset Management
P.S. I am an Amateur Radio operator with access to all bands and modes of operation, but that does not help me when the ones I am trying to reach do not have a license. My Iridium handset will now have a place of honor in my "SCRAM" kit I keep for response to emergency calls. Such as the shift I took at the site of the WTC attack.
Last Updated: 7/22/2002 1:13:06 PM
Created: 10/29/2001 4:18:43 PM

As an engineer many people i knew said that the Iridium satellite system was doomed
before it ever took off, and never made any sense.
The Gov wound up bailing out Motorola, but never helped the rest of the people
that were involved with Iridium.
Im sure that left a bad taste in some peoples mouths that were "pulled into it."

One group of investors happen to be the Saudi Bin Laden Group.
We know this because of one name in particular that was on the board
of Iridium

Hasan M. Binladin

It looks like all of the relevant documents like POWER OF ATTORNEY
were signed on September 11 1998

including this signature....

Hasan M. Binladin
September 11, 1998 www.secinfo.com/dsvRq.736n.htm

One more "coincidence, is that one of the satellites was launched on
September 11 1997

incidentally the Saudi Bin Laden group website domain name expired on Sept 11 2001

yet another coincidence is that Hasan M. Bin laden keeps some familiar company...

Blair Buys New Home Next to Bin Laden Property in Arab Area in London
Hasan can see Blair's new home through his window.
He said he was a friend of Hasan and sometimes the two of them would go out to restaurants.

and a few others here...

Now, some have already reported about Hasan Bin laden and Iridium,
but it seems the only people who have were right wing republican Clinton attack dogs
Like World Net Daily, and Judicial Watch.

8/28/98 Masood Haider DAWN (Pakistan) "The brother of Osama bin Laden is a director of a US telecom giant, Iridium LLC, according to reports. Although the Clinton administration has made Osama the world's most wanted man, the rest of the family does millions of dollars in business with the US, reports say. Sheikh Hasan bin Laden, one of Osama's many brothers in a Saudi family of immense wealth and far-flung enterprises, is listed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a director of Iridium LLC, the New York newspaper Daily News said.."

im not sure exactly who Masood Haider is, but it seems he has reported some stuff
in the past that towed the line for Bush on WMD in Iraq
According to him, the “War on Terror” is being lost badly.

anyway theres more here, all Anti-Clinton machine stuff

it seems WND, and these other people dont mind attacking Clinton,
but the research stops COLD when it comes to the Saudi Bin Laden group
and their ties to Bush.

Another guy from Iridium is pretty interesting as well...

Anatoly Ivanovich Kiselev - 1938 Born
Director General of Khrunichev State Research Space Center in 1994- 2001.

He kept some familiar company in 1999
He has been a speaker at several conferences
along with names like Dan Goldin, and the President of Boeing Jim Albaugh.
(more on Goldin here)

Kiselev was also involved in the production of UR-100 ICBMs

Another Irridium key player is
Edward F. Staiano
Chairman and Chief Executive September 11, 1998

Stanio runs a company called "Sorrento Investment Group"

Heres their address....

1600 Tysons Blvd. Suite 900 McLean, Virginia 22102


do a google search for that address
and 1 floor up in the same building are these guys...


1600 Tysons Boulevard, 10th Floor
McLean, VA 22102
Tel: (703) 251-9700
Fax: (202) 663-6363
Counsel for HRH Prince Mohamed Al Faisal Al Saud


Here are the pages i made on Iridium and a few key players.
\feel free to post or email me with more info so i can add.


Iridium also has equipment used for flight tracking.

Dont just think outside the box.
Think like there never was one.


I have worked as a Sr RF

I have worked as a Sr RF design engineer for several compaines including Sprint PCS
and Verizon.
My job as to make cell phone systems work.
I have written a a good bit about cell phones and 9/11

Cell phones and September 11: an engineering perpective

Cell Phones September 11 - Technical discussion phyics911

Heres my take on the communications failure...

First, one would guess that most of these people have an Iridium (satellite) phone
They cost a lot more, but they would be MUCH more reliable in this situation.
Iridium was basically designed for this type situation,
and i cant see people like Rumsfeld and Bush not have at least an aide with one in his pocket.

ALSO, as an engineer, i know there there is a specific setting in the phone
that can make it over-ride other phones.
When this is turned on, it will have priority over ALL other cell phones.
This is RESERVED ONLY for government and emergency responders
(and me ;)
When the phone is programmed, it is supposed to be programmed to
a lower setting unless you are a emergency responder.
I find it VERY hard to beieve that Bush, Rumsfeld etc...
did not have a phone with this priority bit turned on.


"However, the secure phone was not working properly, and several attempts at calling Cheney were unsuccessful. Hastert has recalled: "On that dreadful day I couldn't make the thing work. No matter what I did, I couldn't connect with the vice president."

i find this almost impossible.
one would think there would be a redundant system in case of such an emergency,
if i were tasked to make this line work, i would have done that.

For so many lines to be down, it sounds like a problem with the switch.

We saw something very similar with Hurricane Katrina,
but at least there the huge lines carrying tons of info (T-3 lines)
were damaged, down, or were under water.

As far as the cell system, i can understand that being overwhelmed.
if you get too many calls trying to go through at the same time,
the systems basically shuts down, its not meant to handle that.
Of course there are people using different providers like ATT, Sprint, Verizon etc...

During his seven-hour flight back to Washington, Powell found that he couldn't talk to anybody
because his communications were connected to the system in the U.S., which was swamped."

This i dont understand.
I am guessing he would be using the Air-phone system like on any plane.
Theres absolutely no reason that should have been shut down
Unless perhaps everyone on a plane that day was making calls for 7 hours straight.
I guess this is possible with word of mouth spreading and people thinking they are in danger etc...
It could have swamped the Airphone system, but should not have made a difference in the landline system.

The Airphone system connects to the landline (the ones we all use)
and that connection is made in Chicago if i remember right
I seriously doubt that connections across the whole US would have been disrupted.

Heres a quick look at how landlines work.
When a person (A) calls another person (B),
the call routes through many different switches
(im talking about calls across state lines)
If one switch goes down, the call gets routed through a different one.
In fact, if *A* calls *B* 5 different times, its very likely
that none of those calls will get routed exactly the same way.
Its an extremely robust and redundant system.

"The line to the White House shelter conference room--and the vice president--kept cutting off."

In cellular, i have personally setup special cell sites for emergencies,
and for areas of the city that take high traffic.
Sometimes we do this for a company (or special event)
where they just cant loose communications.

I would think the Pentagon would have had an extra cell site (or 2) just in case of emergencies.
The only other possibility is that the local switches in DC were swamped.
Now this doesnt sound too far fetched, but i would also expect that the Pentagon would have made
plans for this for national emergencies.

the Pentagon's Naval Annex had a great big Stromberg-Carlson digital switch
The federal government's "Centrex" arrangement has always included completely private
(no public lines) and redundant CO switches for obvious reasons,
The plan was "97-98" was to upgrade the 5E in the Pentagon to go solely ISDN BRI.
The DC Gov owes Vz about $4 million, and they are trying to be there own telephone company.

A 5E is a BIG switch, ive worked on them.
So it seems that there should have been plenty of capacity.
A switch has its own T1's (and T3s) going in and out.
This is a TON of data !
The idea that the Pentagon had its own switch means that all of the calls going in and out
do not depend on the local switch, the swithc has its own high capacity "pipes"

"The president ended up borrowing a cell phone, but reportedly even that did not work."

This makes no sense at all.
He was in Florida.
Since there were no attaks in Fla i see no reason for this.
The idea that he was calling DC has nothing to do with it,
unless it was the DC side that was overwhelmed.

"'Ma'am, I'm sorry, we can't reach Air Force One.'"

Right !#@!
One would think that AF1 would have several means of communications.
I would think it would have an airphone system, as well as a government system

I dont know if there is a system all over the US built specifically for AF-1
or even if theres one built specifically for the NSA, but im pretty sure there IS one for the CIA
I wold imagine that they can use that system,
and there absolutely no reason that one would be down
Also, probably the primary way to talk would have been the Irridium satellite system.
(see below)

The U.S. Defense Department has signed a $72 million, two-year deal to use Iridium Satellite's space-based phone network
to provide secure voice communications for the Navy and other government users.
Published: December 7, 2000,
Now the Pentagon hopes to enhance the Iridium network to provide secure voice connections around the globe.
Iridium's 66-satellite network, the world's first satellite phone system, was built at a cost of more than $5 billion. But the service, intended for global business travelers and high-end consumers, failed to attract enough customers.
The Defense Department said the Iridium system may be extended in the future for use by other federal agencies and some allied governments.

Iridium 38 (25043, 1997-069E) was launched on 1997 September 11. It entered operational use,
but evidently lost its ability to maintain its position in the constellation after almost 6 years in service.

Iridium Satellite will begin service for the U.S. government immediately. By the end of the first quarter of 2001,
we will launch the commercial satellite communication services to industrial and other government customers.

Region's Phone System Buckles Under Surge of Calls
Verizon had a major communications switch in the World Trade Center that was no longer operating after the building collapsed.

SEC Info - Iridium World Communications Ltd, et al. - S-8 - On 9/14/98
SIGNATURES September 11, 1998.
Hasan M. Binladin

/s/ Gordon J. Comerford Director of Iridium LLC September 11, 1998

Dont just think outside the box.
Think like there never was one.


Couple more links

Thanks for adding your thoughts, Brad. I hope that you'll look into this more, with the expertise you have.

A couple of other articles that you may find of interest. I'm not sure if the first is of any relevance, but the second is curious:

1) An article in the New York Times: "The Simple BlackBerry Allowed Contact When Phones Failed."

2) Consider that there were mistaken reports around 10:40 a.m. on 9/11 that a plane had crashed or been brought down at or near Camp David. Well, J. Mel Poole, the superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park, has recalled: "[W]e watched the south tower, the side that came down first. We watched that. And then the next thing that we heard was that there had been a plane crash at Camp David. And, at that point in time, the room kind of turned to me like, what's going on? So in the particular place I was in, there was no cell phone coverage… I went to get a hard line. As I picked up the phone, the entire trunk system for this area went down. There's a message display on the phone that tells you the status of the phone. And it was not just that the line was busy, that there was too much traffic; the trunk went down, which is like the main line that all the other lines feed into."

Pretty odd, eh?