Friday, March 9, 2007


Now let’s look at a report from onboard Flight 11, reportedly placed by a flight attendant just seven minutes before impact: Two crew members in the cockpit – presumably pilot and co-pilot – were stabbed. Communications were briefly cut, then another call came two minutes later - news came across that “a passenger in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B” with one shot fired. The killer was pegged as muscle hijacker Satam al Suqami. The victim was Daniel Lewin, founder Akamai tech and Israeli special agent, possibly an international counter-terror operative. “That call was put through by Suzanne Clark of FAA corporate headquarters,” an early FAA memo reported, supposedly based on flight attendant reports she’d just received (from who precisely is unsure). Five minutes later, the memo explains, Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center and disappeared for good.

This memo was released as a first draft, but never released in final form, as it had by then become “protected information,” and the final FAA record reflects no gunshots fired anywhere that day. Worldnet ran an article about this in February 2002, explaining that “the FAA, while confirming the document is authentic, claims the report of Lewin's shooting, written several hours after the Sept. 11 hijackings, was premature and inaccurate.” While this call mentioning the gunshot was not recorded, an FBI account of it was leaked to the media, though eventually eclipsed by another, recorded call from attendant Amy Sweeney. In this account, and referring to the same two passengers, “a hijacker also cut the throat of a business-class passenger, and he appears to be dead."

There are different opinions on the story change from firearm to blade, from FAA cover-up of abysmal security to simple communications errors. The 9/11 Commission’s Final Report made several mentions of the possibility of a gun on board Flight 93 (which they found in error), but no mention at all of any gun on AA11. It was completely ignored.

But the most interesting thing about this discredited FAA memo for the study at hand is the times listed in it: the calls from the flight were reportedly placed at 9:18 and 9;20, and five minutes later, “at 9:25 am, this flight crashed directly into one of the towers of the world trade center.” The actual crash was at 8:46, 32 minutes earlier. The 9/11 Commission just presumed a typo it seems, and shifted the time frame back an hour, placing two calls from Amy Sweeney at 8:19 and 8:21. So following this pattern, if we shift the impact back an hour as well, the plane would have crashed at 8:26. So now we have two separate “typos” and an impact time out of alignment with the others. Time zone lag is the not a reason – it was 9:25 nowhere in the world when Flight 11 ended.

But of course what was happening at 9;25 was that minutes-old reports that Flight 11 was airborne being passed on through the air defense system. Are these 9:18-9:20 report of violence on the ghost flight 11 what actually got Flight 11 reported as airborne at that time? It’s the kind of thing that would make a controller have to “presume” where the plane actually was, since no one was actually seeing it? Or is it just a coincidence that this incongruous memo matches both the plane and time of this noted but un-examined “mistaken FAA information,” as well as its origins at national HQ in DC? They weren’t able to find it, but I may have that very info they so desperately wanted, found in their discard pile of confused reports from that crazy day.

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