United 93, 9/11 Commission – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of September 21, 2008
About half of this week's new entries concern United Airlines Flight 93. The airline's operations centre sent a message to the plane's co-pilot some minutes before the hijacking, but received+no+reply; it also notified flights of a crash at the WTC around 9:03 but did not send a warning about possible hijackings at this time. The airline's dispatchers were asked to warn+flights at 9:21, the same time Flight 93 sent a routine+message to one of the dispatchers. A couple of minutes later, it checked+in with Cleveland air traffic control; the pilots then sent their last last+message at 9:27.
Learning of potential problems on board, United tried+to+contact the plane at 9:31, and then sent a message to all flights, including flight 93, telling them to secure+their+cockpits. Dispatchers learned flight 93 was heading+towards+Washington at 9:36 and offered assistance, and a dispatcher issued another warning about securing+the+cockpit at 9:40. United's attempt to implement the lockout procedure for flight 93 failed at about 9:50, at the same time a dispatcher told Flight 93 to land at the nearest airport and was informed the flight may+have+been+hijacked.
A few minutes after it crashed, a message was sent to the plane telling it not+to+divert+to+Washington, and none of the passengers relatives went to the airport it was scheduled to arrive at in San Francisco to+meet+the+passengers. In 2007, a German television program was denied+permission to film the wreckage.
Regarding the other flights, American Airlines ordered all its flights to land+immediately at 9:15, and a dispatcher notified United flights of a ground+stop in New York at 9:08. United ordered no new take offs for any international+flights around 9:20, and a dispatcher sent a warning to Flight 175 at 9:23, several minutes after it hit the WTC.
There are also a number of entries regarding the 9/11 Commission. Most importantly, as the commission was just beginning its work in early 2003, Executive Director Philip Zelikow had already+completed+an+outline+of+its+final+report. Also early on in the inquiry, the commission decided it would+not+bother+with+subpoenas, which left Commissioner Max Cleland disappointed. Later on, CIA Director George Tenet heard a false rumor the commission was to call for his firing, and got White House Chief of Staff Andy+Card to plead with the commissioners for his job.
Meanwhile, Zelikow awarded the contract to distribute the commission's final report to+his+own+publisher,+which+could+keep+the+profits, and had passages about Saudi government support for the hijackers deleted from the final report. Passages critical of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice were also deleted, with the help of a top+Democratic+staffer. Just before the report was completed, a consultant to the commission complained it was "indulgent" of senior officials, and a staff member cornered Commissioner Jamie Gorelick in+the+ladies+room to complain about the report's lenient treatment of the FBI. Finally, the final report was savaged in a joint Harvard/MIT journal.
Miscellaneous entries cover a private pilot who penetrated+Soviet+air+defenses in the late 1980s, and the poor+security at US nuclear+facilities. Finally, a Nepalese man arrested at Chicago airport had the same address as another suspected terrorist, but the FBI+denied+any+connection, an al-Qaeda-assisted plot to bomb a UN building in Somalia failed in 1993, and mystery firefighters were seen behaving+oddly inside the Pentagon on the day of 9/11.