The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air; Newly Published Audio Provides Real-Time View of 9/11 Attacks

Cheney Shoot-down Order Confirmed

September 7, 2011
New York Times

A selection of audio recordings from the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.), North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) and American Airlines from the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The recordings, some of which have been published previously, are being released in a multimedia report originally intended to be part of the Sept. 11 Commission’s 2004 report.

Audio files were provided by John J. Farmer Jr., the Dean of Rutgers Law School-Newark and a senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission. Transcripts were edited from text provided by Miles L. Kara, Sr., a professional staff member of the 9/11 Commission. The call from Betty Ong was retrieved from an exhibit presented by the prosecution in United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui in United States District Court in Alexandria, Va.

Ed: Interactive audio provided at source, The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air, with this introduction and caution: “Select a clip from the menu on the left-hand side. The transcript will automatically scroll as the audio is played. Note: Some audio contains explicit language and disturbing content.”


10:09 AM 1 minute, 57 secondsThe fighter pilots do not know if they have permission to shoot down planes. A commander tells them they do not. (Warning: profanity at the end of the clip)

10:32 AM 0 minute, 41 seconds — Mission Crew Commander (M.C.C.) gives the fighter pilots permission to shoot down civilian planes, an order relayed from Vice President Dick Cheney.

Voice One You need to read this, Region Commander has declared that we can shoot down tracks if they are not responding to our, uh, directions.
MCC Position O.K, I’ll pass that to weapons.
Voice One O.K.
MCC Position The Region Com, the Region Commander has declared that we can shoot down aircraft that do not respond to our direction. Copy that?
Weapons Copy that sir.
MCC Position So if you’re trying to divert somebody and he won’t divert
Fox D.O. is saying no.
MCC Position No? It came over the chat. Foxy, you got a conflict on that? You got a conflict on that direction?
Fox Right now, no, but keep checking.
MCC Position O.K.
Voice One Hey
MCC Position O.K.
Voice One You read that from the vice president, right? The vice president has cleared —
MCC Position Vice president has cleared us to intercept tracks.
Voice One Of interest.
MCC Position –And shoot them down if they do not respond, per CONR CC (Norad Continental U.S. Command Center).

Related Article

Newly Published Audio Provides Real-Time View of 9/11 Attacks
By Jim Dwyer
September 7, 2011

It was just after 9 a.m., 16 minutes after a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, when a radio transmission came into the New York air traffic control radar center. “Hey, can you look out your window right now?” the caller said.

“Yeah,” the radar control manager said.

“Can you, can you see a guy at about 4,000 feet, about 5 east of the airport right now, looks like he’s …”

“Yeah, I see him,” the manager said.

“Do you see that guy, look, is he descending into the building also?” the caller asked.

“He’s descending really quick too, yeah,” the manager said.

“Forty-five hundred right now, he just dropped 800 feet in like, like one, one sweep.”

“What kind of airplane is that, can you guys tell?”

“I don’t know, I’ll read it out in a minute,” the manager said.

There was no time to read it out.

In the background, people can be heard shouting: “Another one just hit the building. Wow. Another one just hit it hard. Another one just hit the World Trade.”

The manager spoke.

“The whole building just came apart,” he said.

That moment is part of a newly published chronicle of the civil and military aviation responses to the hijackings that originally had been prepared by investigators for the 9/11 Commission, but never completed or released.

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