View Full Version : Newly released tapes of 911 horror

8th Sep 2011, 21:11
"Did you just say somethin' hit the World Trade Center?" an incredulous military official asked shortly after the beginning of America's terrorism nightmare on September 11, 2001.
Minutes later, with air traffic authorities warning that another commercial jet was off course and just 10km from the White House, Washington ground control sounded in denial, saying it was "probably just a rumour".
Moments later American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon.
The stunned reactions by authorities to first reports about 9/11, in the full exchanges between ground control, pilots and military authorities during the hijacking chaos of 10 years ago, were made public on Thursday.
They illustrate just how unprepared the United States was for the audacious plot.
While portions of the audio recordings have circulated before, the document published by the Rutgers Law Review allows an unprecedented blow-by-blow recreation of the brief period on September 11, 2001, when four airliners were hijacked and slammed into New York, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
The raw recordings released in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the tragedy show air controllers desperately trying to understand what happened to the planes, where they were, and where they were going.
In one exchange, a controller at New York Center says that there were reports of a fire at the Twin Towers. "And that's, ah, that's the area where we lost the airplane," the controller says.
At the same time, an unidentified pilot is asking over the airwaves: "Anybody know what that smoke is in lower Manhattan?"
At Boston Center control, a worker says: "We have, ah, a problem here, we have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New, New York and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there to help us out."
The answer, revealing the astonishment at what was happening, is: "Is, is this real world or exercise?"
Even at 8:43, a full 19 minutes after suspected American Airlines Flight 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta broadcast to air traffic control that "We have some planes," and nine minutes after Boston Center notifies controllers of the flight's hijacking, Major James Fox, leader of the Northeast Air Defense Sector who is patched in to the breaking developments, expresses disbelief.
"I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise," Fox said, according to the transcript.
As millions of Americans tuning in to news broadcasts watched the second jet hitting the World Trade Center, New York air traffic controllers sounded dumbfounded at the events.
"Another one just hit, just hit the building," a controller said, according to the transcript.
New York Center: "Wow."
New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON): "Oh my god."
New York Center: "Another one just hit the World Trade."
New York TRACON: "The whole building just, ah, came apart."
New York TRACON: "Oh my god."
New York Center: "Holy smokes. Alright. I guess you guys are going to be busy."
Even at 9:38, 35 minutes after the second plane hit the Twin Towers, controllers in Washington sounded skeptical about hijacked Flight 77 bearing down on the US capital.
When asked whether they knew anything about controller reports that a rogue jet was near the White House, Washington Center responded: "No, we do not and it's probably just a rumour.
"But ah, you might want to call ah, ah, National (airport) or Andrews somebody (Andrews Air Force base) somewhere like that and find out, but we don't (know) any thing about that."
The recordings also include tragic exchanges with flight attendants on Flight 11 about how two of their colleagues had been knifed and hijackers were in the cockpit.
The 9/11 Commission tasked Rutgers Law Review with piecing together the critical communications on that fateful morning, and the Review said in its preface that "the raw material that went into our reconstruction of the day was not obtained easily".
"If we had not pushed as hard as we did - ultimately persuading the commission to use its subpoena power to obtain the records - many of the critical conversations from that morning may have been lost to history."
The full Rutgers report and audio can be accessed at: wwww.rutgerslawreview.com/2011/a-new-type-of-war/

8th Sep 2011, 21:26
The answer, revealing the astonishment at what was happening, is: "Is, is this real world or exercise?"

Was NORAD totally absorbed with an air exercise that they overlook everything else? Were our Air National Guards really caught off guard? We had very a gung ho kick ass type administration then; it is really disconcerting that with our defence superiorty, we were absolutely stunned.

Loose rivets
8th Sep 2011, 22:06
Shock and disbelief are very real reactions . . . take for example, the president's loooooong period of 'Not wanting to alarm the kids.'

Sadly, this is part of being human - unless training is absolute, and crying wolf with drills is not an everyday occurrence.

8th Sep 2011, 22:14
This transcript includes audio. It's clear that even after reports of two aircraft down, the scope and gravity of the events are not understood by the people who were in the midst of it all. I doubt that any of us could have done any better given that it had been almost sixty years since an air attack had been taken on US soil, and never before with civilian aircraft.

The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/08/nyregion/911-tapes.html)

9th Sep 2011, 00:04

Having served in NORAD for 15+ years, let me explain a few things.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the North East Regional HQ of NORAD was just starting a major, annual exercise called a Command Post Exercise (CPX). These CPX exercises are planned at least a year in advance and are conducted throughout all of NORAD on a regular basis. The purpose of these exercises is to provide simulated scenarios to the staff in a controlled environment so that they can practice their battle/war-time procedures. They are also conducted completely separate from the folks who are actually handling the day-to-day operations. In other words, the exercise staff are all locked away in a room, away from the actual operations staff, so that they can practice procedures in a simulated environment.

When the events of that fateful morning started to unfold, the actual operations staff (who were well aware that their exercise compatriots were about to start an exercise) were initially suspect that perhaps the exercise scenario was spilling over into their domain and thus the “real world” comments. This term – “real world” is part of the actual NORAD lexicon and is designed specifically to eliminate any confusion that might exist between exercise “simulated” scenarios and actual “real world” scenarios. In other words, as soon as someone declares “real world”, he/she is making a very positive statement that “THIS IS NOT AN EXERCISE” so that everyone in the HQ (exercise staff and operations staff) is aware that this is the real thing.

So the system worked. All the players in the HQ understood – as soon the “real world” declaration was made – that they had an actual situation on their hands. As it turned out, the exercise was terminated immediately and all the exercise staff then augmented the “real world” operations staff and the day continued.

9th Sep 2011, 00:26
Thanks for that, TLB. You have added an important perspective that helps to explain a great deal.

9th Sep 2011, 00:31
i heard about these audio files released this morning
Full Audio Transcript « Rutgers Law Review (http://www.rutgerslawreview.com/2011/full-audio-transcript/)
they have it set where you have to click each of 144 files to hear the
whole thing

i immediately downloaded the whole thing and set it up on an audio stream
it is really making a big impression on me - i am listening now

just click the play button on your player if the audio scrambles -
pasting together 144 audio files is an inexact science

9th Sep 2011, 01:27
Even if these are new tapes - I don't see any except some guys swearing - there is no new information in it. Seems to be a good story for the media in light of the 10 year memorials, but nothing more.

Even if NORAD was involved in an exercise, I heavily doubt that they would have reacted otherwise if they would have been on idle. There never was a scenario like this, the defense structure was established on avoiding attacks from the outside. There were no means in terms of infrastructure, prepared ordered, reaction times, alarm squadrons aso. to avoid this.

All in all, this day has not only changed the lives of most US citizens forever, but the whole world.


Jet Jockey A4
9th Sep 2011, 01:48
Thanks TLB for that info...

However I still feel like there was so much disorganisation going on. It took so long to get fighters up in the air and then they didn't know where to go when it seemed obvious from Boston that they were headed towards New York.

For crying out loud there are so many military bases with fighters in the USA especially in the northeast sector down to Virginia that an immediate response could have changed that day drastically.

I don't know but after hearing the tape I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. Hopefully today with the lessons learned that day, they would be better prepared if another attempt were to be tried.

9th Sep 2011, 02:57
Re NORAD - it would be hard for me to agree with "So the system worked". Wouldn't the results have been the same if the NORAD system hadn't "worked". How did the existence of NORAD lessen the bloodshed?

9th Sep 2011, 05:32
In another ten years time they will be celebrating in a mosque next to ground zero,

Isn't religious freedom one of the ideals we are fighting to maintain?

9th Sep 2011, 07:36
11 September is my daughter's birthday. She had just given birth to my first grandchild on 7 September. We were half a world apart; she was in the UK and I was in Western Australia. I rang her on her birthday and we were chatting away. I could hear her TV on in the background. After a while she said "An aeroplane has crashed into the World Trade Centre building dad".

I said something along the lines of "yes, there was something similar happened to the Empire State a while ago" and thought that, while tragic, it was one of those things.

"No, dad, this looks serious", my daughter said. At that point her aunt and uncle who gone down to visit could be heard to say "Jeez there's another one"

At that point I switched my TV on. :(

9th Sep 2011, 07:48
I posted this info a few hours back and it got removed in an instant. Wha?

9th Sep 2011, 07:50
I can't help feel that although one hole has since been plugged others may exist..

2 Charged With Stealing Freight Train - Miami News Story - WPLG Miami (http://www.local10.com/news/18803581/detail.html)

"The investigation began when a C.S.X. Railroad officer reported the locomotive stolen from a railroad turnaround in Southwest Miami-Dade County."

Queens man who notoriously steals busses and trains, Darius McCollum, busted for stealing a bus - NYPOST.com (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/bus_bust_for_transit_kook_pu8Wdpy6gAi8SbmbfxQftO)

"I bet they won't leave the keys in the ignition again," he told the cops who arrested him."

Worrals in the wilds
9th Sep 2011, 09:09
Interesting, TLB. I can understand how that could happen. In an early morning on the other side of the planet it was incredibly unbelievable. Until September 11th it was a completely different world with a completely different mindset. Terror happened in faraway places like Yemen or well established problem areas like Northern Ireland. Sure there were signs, but no-one read them.

At the time, the Australian government was informally talking about winding back the existing basic airport security, ASIO (equivalent of MI5) was a small agency with a tiny budget housing a bunch of ex-Cold War eccentrics, and the prevailing LEA view was that the western world was a secure, happy place.

9/11 changed all that. We're used to the new paradigm now and perhaps we forget the old view, but at the time it was an incredible shift. Suddenly everything we knew was wrong and there was a lot of catching up to do. In a day, the agency I worked for went from being a retirement village that kept out of trouble to being at the pointy end of 'WTF do we do now? What's next'? Suddenly, nothing was certain anymore. That was in a country largely insulated from the threat, so the effect on the US agencies must have been unbelievable.

It's really easy to criticize from the sidelines. We know what happened and we're sitting a decade on quietly thinking about it. The people receiving those calls would have been sitting at their desk doing average work day stuff, unaware that the game had changed then and there. It wasn't just that the goalposts had moved, suddenly it was a completely different game on a much scarier field.

On another note, I'm amazed how calm the ATC calls were. :ok:

9th Sep 2011, 10:20

Sad day story
9_11_Sad-Story.part1.rar (http://www.mediafire.com/?5pf24oqn5ydvcsd)
9_11_Sad-Story.part2.rar (http://www.mediafire.com/?vcixop9o54v8syx)
9_11_Sad-Story.part3.rar (http://www.mediafire.com/?fmp0u1v57z8sw7p)

DX Wombat
9th Sep 2011, 11:33
On another note, I'm amazed how calm the ATC calls were.I haven't heard the tapes (and don't intend to) but I'm not in the least surprised that the calls were calm, ATCOs are well trained, professional people taught, like doctors and nurses to "Treat/cope now, panic later!" You can be sure that there will have been many sleepless nights and tormented days amongst their ranks once they had finished work.