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September 12, 2001 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-12

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

AMERICA IN CRISIS

I

Bush.:
WASHINGTON (AP) - A grim-faced Presi-
dent Bush mourned the deaths of thousands of
Americans in yesterday's atrocities and vowed to
avenge their killings. "Today, our nation saw
evil" he said.
In his first prime-time Oval Office address,
Bush said the United States would retaliate
against "those behind these evil acts," and any
country that harbors them.
Bush spoke from the Oval Office just hours
after bouncing between Florida and air bases in
Louisiana and Nebraska for security reasons.
Fighter jets and decoy helicopters accompanied
his evening flight to Washington and the White
House.

'Today
With smoke still pouring out of rubble in
Washington and New York, he said, "These acts
shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of
American resolve."
Bush spoke for less than five minutes from the
desk that Bill Clinton and John E Kennedy used
before him. Beside the door, a TelePromTer
operator fed Bush the words that he and his
speechwriters hastened to pen just an hour earli-
er.
He stumbled a couple of times even as he
strove to maintain a commanding air. Aides
pushed an American flag and one with the presi-
dential seal behind him for the somber occasion.
Bush said the government offices deserted

our

nation

saw

evil'

after the bombings yesterday would open today.
He asked the nation to pray for the families of
the victims and quoted the Book of Psalms,
"And I pray they will be comforted by a power
greater than any of us spoken through the ages. in
Psalm 23. Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are
with me."
The United States received no warning of the
attacks on the Pentagon and New York's World
Trade Center towers, White House press secre-
tary Ari Fleischer said.
U.S. officials privately said they suspected ter-
rorism Osama bin Laden, protected by Afghan
government, was behind the tragedies. The

Afghan government has rejected the accusations.
"We will make no distinction between the ter-
rorists who committed these acts and those who
harbor them," Bush said.
"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life,
our very freedom, came under attack in a series
of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts." He said
thousands of lives were "suddenly ended by evil,
despicable acts of terror," Bush said.
The Oval Office address was his third state-
ment on the tragedy.
He began his day in Sarasota, Fla., where he
intended to talk about education. The remarks
were scrapped and Bush headed to Louisiana.
He made a brief statement from a conference

room at a Louisiana military base, assuring
Americans that he was in regular contact with his
command post in Washington: Vice President
Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld and the White House national security
team.
He then boarded Air Force One at 1:30 p.m.
EDT for a secret destination that turned out to be
Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base,,home to the
U.S. Strategic Command, which controls the
nation's nuclear weapons. Until three years ago,
the Strategic Command also housed the so-called
doomsday plane that had been specially
equipped to serve as a flying White House in the
event of nuclear war.

41

immediately ater
first plane crashes

Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - In a matter of just a few
minutes, the nation's largest city, was plunged
into an unimaginable disaster.
In New York, huge clouds of smoke billowed
from the World Trade Center as fire engulfed
the two towers. Workers.at the center began
jumping from the 60th floor and higher, some
with their legs in a bicycle motion as they
plunged to their deaths.
Then came a crash and one tower was gone,
altering the New York skyline in a matter of
seconds. As the mass of steel and glass settled
to the ground, the reverberations sounded like
thunder in the distance.
Streams of police moved back from where
the building had once stood because their stag-
ing areas was being buried under building
debris. In the street, Kevin McNeal, was in his
office on the eighth floor of Tower 1 when the
plane struck. He was covered with dust.
"My whole floor was destroyed," he said. "I
thought it was a bomb."
On that same floor, Robert Liipiak was
just opening his office door when the first
plane struck and the force of the crash
slammed him into his desk. Liipiak guided
his office workers to the stairwell, but it was
locked. For a few moments, they were
trapped. Then police arrived to help them
down to the ground floor.
Robert Knowles was on the 54th floor when
the first plane struck. As he was knocked to the
ground, the windows of his office blew out.

AP PHOTO
People take off running, trying to escape the debris as one of the World Trade Center towers collapses yesterday morning in New York City.
FBofficials ponder ogistics
behnd orchestrated attacks

"It snapped the desk out of the window like a
piece of paper," he said. "I was praying I
wouldn't get sucked out the window."
Knowles said he managed to make it to the
30th floor, where progress in walking down the
smoky stairwells slowed dramatically. Water
from the sprinkler system was everywhere and
the acrid smoke was so thick that breathing
became difficult.
"It was really tough," he said. "I was praying
for people in wheelchairs."
On the ground, there was panicas police and
firefighters tried to rescue survivors through the
blinding smoke that was everywhere.
In only minutes, the first tower began to top-
ple and police cars began racing backward,
away from the carnage. Behind them came a
huge plume of smoke and debris blowing down
the street.
Traffic did not move and people got out of
their cars. Thousands gathered in the streets
staring up at the flames and the smoke. There
was a sense of incomprehension.
Mark Asnin, a New York television photog-
rapher, had rushed to the buildings after the first
fire alarm.
"We had no warning," he said, his voice
shaking. "Suddenly there was this tremendous
explosion and it was like a tornado was coming,
a big black cloud of dust and debris. The debris
was blowing at our backs. I saw a photographer
for The New York Post who got cut up. We had
no time. We just dove under a fire truck. It was
black, black, so black. and people were scream-
ing for their lives."
Ash covers a
street in
downtown
New York City
after the
collapse of
the World
Trade Center
following a
terrorist
attack.
.....h""..' Y."~,'': AP PHOTO

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The air attacks yester-
day morning in New York and Washington
and a jetliner crash in Pennsylvania were the
work of a carefully orchestrated conspiracy
that deftly skirted a beleaguered U.S. airport
security system and placed terrorists on four
separate planes, senior FBI officials believe.
Authorities suspect that the terrorists had
help from airport ground crews, that they
chose cross-country flights because the planes
would be heavily loaded with fuel and their
ranks included hijackers who could fly planes.
But what investigators found most surpris-
ing was the timing. They mar*veled at how
teams of hijackers working in at least three
different cities simultaneously overpowered
commercial planes in the air before federal
authorities could shut down all flights across
the country.
In doing so, the terrorists penetrated an air-
port security net that many had warned previ-

ously is inadequate.
Lewis Schiliro, who as head of the FBI
office in New York helped oversee investiga-
tions into the explosion aboard TWA Flight
800 and an earlier bombing at the World Trade
Center, was left in utter disbelief by what he
saw unfold yesterday morning.
"I've been chilled by a lot of things,"
Schiliro said. "But this is something I just
can't begin to comprehend. They put this
together very, very neatly."
A senior FBI official in Washington said,
simply: "We're just amazed at the level of
coordination this would have taken."
Now begins the painstaking law enforce-
ment process of trying to determine how
America's security was breached. "You've got
every place that these jets were hijacked from,"
said one senior FBI official in Washington.
"We will check for cars in the parking lots
that may have been left. What happened at the
airport gateways? How did they get through?
What is on the passenger lists, the luggage

lists?
"We will be screening television monitors
and if there are cameras available, we will
look to see if there was more that one hijacker.
There probably were four or five on each
flight, maybe, and what are their connections
with other passengers?
"Were the tickets purchased sequentially?
What about cab drivers? Who gave people
rides to the airport? It's just an incredible myri-
ad of leads to follow up on."
"And then you look at our own intelligence.
Did we miss something? Was there radio tele-
phone traffic that referred to something that
was going to occur today?"
It is unclear whether any guns were used in
the hijackings. But a passenger in one of the
hijacked planes called her husband and report-
ed that the terrorists were armed with knives
and cardboard cutters.
"My guess is you have to put somebody in
the pilot's seat, and I would tend to think you
would need a gun," Schiliro said.

6

Chaos spreads
quickly through
acapital
WASHINGTON (AP) - A frantic guard outside the
Supreme Court shouted at strolling passers-by: "You don't
have time to stay in this area!" Why, he was asked, what hap-
pened? "Explosions! Leave!"
Secret Service agents similarly yelled at White House
tourists to get away. At the Capitol, stunned congressmen hud-
dled under the shade of trees outside. Some officers who typi-
cally keep firearms out of sight made a show of toting
pump-action shotguns.
Across Washington, people left work and jammed streets
and subways to try to get home as the seat of government was
evacuated after devastating terrorist attacks at the Pentagon
and the World Trade Center in New York.
Sirens wailed. Cars packed the streets, and bomb-sniffing
dogs patrolled the Washington Monument. Unmarked official
cars flew through red lights and raced down the wrong sides
of streets, holding up insignia to identify themselves.
And a TV news crew worked a deal to perch on a church
rooftop with a picture-perfect view of the Capitol framed
against a brilliant blue sky, providing a clear shot just in case a
plane should demolish the home of Congress.
"I just want to get out of downtown, get someplace safe,"
said Tracey Nicholas, who had collected her son, third-grader
, --- --..2--r. nl1tUaC

Officials immediately launch
investigation, eye bin Laden

6

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. offi-
cials began piecing together a case link-
ing Osama bin Laden to the worst
terrorist attack in U.S. history, aided by
an intercept of communications
between his supporters and harrowing
cell phone calls from victims aboard
the jetliners before they crashed yester-
day.
U.S. intelligence intercepted commu-
nications between bin Laden supporters
discussing the attacks on the World
Trade Center and Pentagon, according
to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top
Republican on the Senate Judiciary
Committee.
"They have an intercept of some
information that included people asso-
ciated with bin Laden who acknowl-

edged a couple of targets were hit,"
Hatch said in an interview with The
Associated Press.
He declined to be more specific.
Hatch also said law enforcement has
data possibly linking one-person on one
of the four ill-fated flights to bin
Laden's organization.
Government and industry officials
said at least one flight attendant and two
passengers called from three of the
planes as they were being forced down
in New York and Washington - each
describing similar circumstances.
The callers indicated hijackers armed
with knives, in some cases stabbing
flight attendants, took control of the
plane and were forcing them down
toward the ground, officials said.

One of the passengers was Barbara
Olson, the wife of a top Justice Depart-
ment official who called her husband as
the hijacking was occurring.
Olson, the wife of Solicitor General
Theodore Olson, was aboard American
Airlines Flight 77 that left Dulles Inter-
national Airport in Washington and was
forced to crash into the Pentagon.
The officials said Olson told her
husband the attackers had used knife-
like instruments to take over the plAhe,
and forced passengers to the back of
the jet.
Theodore Olson confirmed his wife
made the calls before dying. "She
called from the plane while it was being
hijacked. I wish it wasn't so but it is,"
he said.

AP PHOTO
A helicopter surveys the damage as smoke billows out of
the Pentagon yesterday following a terrorist attack.
makers stayed put.
"They tried to throw me out three times, but they didn't suc-
ceed," said Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) chairman of the House
Armed Services Committee. "I figured I was safer in the
building than out on the street."
Some Congress mermbers insisted on more symbolic acts,
singing "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps. Congres-
sional leaders kept the Capitol Dome bathed in floodlights all
night to reinforce the message that the light of democracy
chn(-,nn nnw in Genre Washinton University student

U.S. denies any responsibility for
explosions that rock Afghanistan

__ _ .. " " 1 T.l'1_ ___ _._.t_...... .....

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