The September 11th Attack

  • 8:15 AM: Flight 11 was commandeered.
  • 8:20 AM Flight 11 transponder off, veers.
  • 8:28 AM Flight 11 turns toward NYC.
  • 8:42 AM: Flight 175 was commandeered.
  • 8:46 AM Flight 175 transponder off.
  • 8:46 AM: Flight 77 was commandeered.
  • 8:46 AM: 1 World Trade Center was hit by a 767 jetliner.

    Flight 11
    Flight 11
  • 8:56 AM Flight 77 transponder off.
  • 9:03 AM: 2 World Trade Center was hit by a 767 jetliner.

    Flight 175
    Flight 175
  • 9:10 AM Flight 77 turns toward DC.
  • 9:16 AM: Flight 93 was commandeered.
  • 9:26 AM FAA issues a national ‘ground stop’ preventing all civilian take offs.
  • 9:30 AM Flight 93 transponder off, turns around.

    Flight 93
    Flight 93
  • 9:38 AM: The Pentagon was hit by a jetliner.

    Flight 77
    Flight 77
  • 9:45 AM FAA grounds all civilian planes in the US.
  • 9:59 AM: 2 World Trade Center was leveled.
  • 10:28 AM: 1 World Trade Center was leveled.
  • 5:20 PM: 7 World Trade Center was leveled.

    7 World Trade Center was leveled
    7 World Trade Center was leveled

Flight 11

The First Jet Commandeered on September 11th

American Airlines Flight 11 is the plane that hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower. It was a Boeing 767-223ER on a scheduled flight from Boston to Los Angeles, with 81 passengers, nine flight attendants, and two pilots.

Known Course

flight 11 route
This illustration from USA Today shows the alleged flightpath of Flight 11. Note that Albany is positioned about 50 miles south of its actual location.
More accurate flight path descriptions are found in NTSB reports published in 2006.

At 7:59 AM, Flight 11 took off from Boston’s Logan Airport.  At 8:13, the pilots last radio communication was made from the pilots to ground control: “twenty right American eleven.”   At 8:15 Boston Air Traffic Control began unsuccessful attempts to contact the pilots after the plane failed to respond to an order to climb.   At 8:20, Flight 11 stopped transmitting its transponder signal, and veered northward and departed dramatically from the westward heading of its planned route. The controllers concluded that the plane had probably been hijacked.   At 8:24, the following transmission was reportedly received from Flight 11:

We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you’ll be okay .. we are returning to the airport.

Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.
Nobody move please we are going back to the airport .. don’t try to make any stupid moves.

Neither of the pilots pressed the distress call button. At 8:28 controllers reportedly watched the plane make a 100-degree turn toward the south.   Presumably, Flight 11 continued south along the Hudson River until it reached the World Trade Center, though documentation of this is sparse given the lack of public information.

According to NORAD’s September 18 timeline, the FAA did not notify NORAD of the signs that Flight 11 was hijacked until 8:40, 25 minutes after the first signs of trouble.


Phone Calls

At 8:21, phone calls from two flight attendants began. Betty Ong called Vanessa Minter at American Airlines reservations.    Flight attendant Madeline Sweeney called American Airlines ground manager Michael Woodward at Logan and spoke calmly to him for 25 minutes until the plane crashed. Supposedly the call was not recorded and Woodward took notes. Her first comment is “Listen, and listen to me very carefully. I’m on Flight 11. The airplane has been hijacked.” At 8:45, just before the crash, she said “I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings,” then after a pregnant pause, a quiet “Oh, my God!”


At 8:46 Flight 11 collided with the North Tower. The NTSB places the crash time at 8:46:40. (There is no evidence for the assertions by some people, such as proponents of the bumble planes theory, that the North Tower was hit by something other than Flight 11.) Human remains recovered from Ground Zero were identified as belonging to Flight 11 victims.

1 World Trade Center

The September 11th Attack

WTC 1, or the North Tower, was the first of the Twin Towers to be completed, the first to be hit by one of the trans-continentially fuelled flights on September 11th, and the last to be destroyed.

fireball and smoke from North Tower impact
This frame is from the famous Naudet brothers’ video.


Jet Impact

At 8:46 AM, Flight 11 slammed into the northeast face of the tower, creating an impact hole that extended from the 92nd to 98th floors. Upon impact, fireballs and smoke emerged from the building. The impact rocked the tower, causing a horizontal deflection of perhaps 10 feet on the upper floors, according to reports of some occupants. Flight 11 was carrying an estimated 10,000 gallons of fuel at the time of impact. There is only one known video, and no known photographs, capturing the moment of impact and subsequent fireball development. It shows orange fireballs and torrents of smoke possibly obscuring fireballs emerging from the punctured north wall and the east wall. The centered impact had embedded most of the plane in the tower’s stout core, and fireballs fed by office air with atomized jet fuel spilled out of the punctured north wall and adjacent east wall. It is widely believed that most of the fuel remained inside the building and burned there. Unlike the South Tower impact, the only piece of plane documented to exit the North Tower was a small piece of landing gear (and supposedly a hijacker’s passport).

North Tower minutes after jetliner impact


For a few minutes after the impact fires could be seen on several floors, including most of the perimeter of one floor. By the time the South Tower was hit, less fire was visible from the Building’s north side, and the smoke had turned darker, apparently due to the exhaustion of the jet fuel. As time progressed, the fires spread to new areas while burning out in others. Photographs show significant expanses of fires near the windows on several floors prior to the tower’s destruction. A span about 40 feet wide at the 104th floor of the northwest face showed large emergent flames starting about the time that the South Tower fell.

Evacuation and Rescue

The evacuation of the North Tower proceeded efficiently from the time it was hit, via the three stairways. The elevators were all knocked out. The 102 minutes between the impact and collapse allowed the vast majority of its occupants below the crash zone to escape to safety.

No one on the 91st floor or above is believed to have survived. The New York Times estimated that 1,344 of the people in this zone perished. It is not clear how many remained alive until the collapse, but many parts of the upper floors filled with toxic smoke long before. In many cases people broke windows for fresh air. In one of the most horrifying spectacles of the attack, at least 37 and perhaps twice that number of people jumped to their deaths, apparently to escape agonizing deaths from smoke inhalation.

The light northerly wind kept the north corner of the roof clear of smoke, and helicopter rescue should have been possible. However the Port Authority had all the doors to the roof of the tower locked shut, despite the fact that helicopter pilots rescued 28 people from the tower’s roof during the 1993 bombing.

At 10:07 a police helicopter radioed a warning for firefighters to evacuate the North Tower because the South Tower had just collapsed. Unfortunately most of the firefighters’ radios did not work inside the towers, and few heard that or other orders to evacuate. 121 FDNY firefighters were killed when the North Tower collapsed.


North Tower explosion seen from north

The North Tower began its precipitous collapse at 10:28 AM. The collapse began in an instant, as the entire overhanging section of the tower began its telescoping plunge into the intact section. Although no flames had been visible in the crash zone for some time, a second after the collapse began, large orange flames bellowed out from the collapse zone. Within about two seconds, the exploding clouds of dust swallowed up the tower’s top.

The sequences of destruction in WTC 1 and 2 looked very similar once the tops disappeared. The nature of those events is described in more detail in the features section of the collapse analysis, based on the surviving evidence.

Flight 175

The Second Jet Commandeered on September 11th

United Airlines Flight 175 is believed to be the plane that hit the World Trade Center’s South Tower. It was a Boeing 767-222 on a scheduled flight from Boston to Los Angeles, with 56 passengers, 7 flight attendants, and 2 pilots.


Known Course

flight 175 route
This illustration from USA Today shows the alleged flightpath of Flight 175. Note that Albany is positioned about 50 miles south of its actual location.
More accurate flight path descriptions are found in NTSB reports published in 2006.

At 8:14 AM, Flight 175 took off from Boston’s Logan Airport, 16 minutes after its scheduled departure time. At 8:41, a Flight 175 pilot reported that he had overheard a transmission (presumably from by-then-hijacked Flight 11):

ya we figured we’d wait to go to you center ah we heard a suspicious transmission on our departure out of Boston ah with someone ah, ah sound like someone sound like someone keyed the mike and said ah everyone ah stay in your seats.

Shortly thereafter, the last radio communication was made from the pilots and air traffic control: “that’s ah cut out … did you copy that?”  At 8:42, Flight 175 veered off its planned course, and began flying south.  According to NORAD’s June 18 timeline and prior press reports, at 8:43 the FAA notified NORAD that the flight had been hijacked.  At 8:46, Flight 175 stopped transmitting its transponder signal.

Flight 175 apparently flew in a southwesterly direction as it crossed the Hudson River, continued into New Jersey until it was southwest of New York City, and then made a sharp turn to the northeast in order to approach the World Trade Center from the southwest. According to the NTSB Report on Flight 175, the plane started a turn to the northeast at 8:57 and descended from 28,000 feet as it approached the World Trade Center.
Phone Calls

There were reportedly two calls from passengers, and one from an unnamed flight attendant on Flight 175. Around 8:43 the father of passenger Peter Burton Hanson received a call from a man claiming to be his son and saying “Oh, my God! They just stabbed the airline hostess. I think the airline is being hijacked.” At 8:58 passenger Brian Sweeney is said to have left a message for his wife “We’ve been hijacked, and it doesn’t look too good” and talked to his mother.


At 9:03, Flight 175 collided with the South Tower. The NTSB places the crash time at 9:02:40. (Some people question the identity of the plane, as Flight 175, despite evidence such as the identification of human remains at Ground Zero as belonging to Flight 175 victims.)

The impact was 43 minutes after Flight 11 first went off course, 21 minutes after Flight 175 went off course, and 17 minutes after the North Tower impact, yet the jet was not intercepted.

2 World Trade Center

The September 11th Attack

WTC 2, or the South Tower, was the second of the Twin Towers to be completed, the second to be hit by a plane on September 11th, and the first to be destroyed.

fireball for South Tower jetliner impact


Jetliner Impact

At 9:03 AM, Flight 175 slammed into the southwest face of the tower, creating an impact hole that extended from the 78th to 84th floors. Upon impact, large fireballs emerged from the southwest, southeast, and northeast faces, and east corner. The impact rocked the tower, causing it to sway several feet. The jet hit the right side of the face at an oblique angle, and much of the fuselage emerged from the east corner. It appears that a large portion of the estimated 10,000 gallons of fuel Flight 175 was carrying at the time of impact exited the southeast and northeast faces of the building in the spectacular fireballs. Seventeen minutes after the North Tower impact, a number of photographers were able to capture the South Tower fireballs on film.


South Tower minutes after impact

Immediately after the impact, flames were visible around the region of the impact. Unlike the North Tower, in which some fires were visible well above the impact zone, the fires in the South Tower never spread beyond the impact zone. In fact there is no evidence that the fires on the floors at the impact zone even spread to the opposite side of the building. By the time the building collapsed, the fires appeared to be suffocating, as no flames were visible, and only black smoke was emerging. At that time the vast majority of smoke was coming from the North Tower. New York firefighters reached the crash zone before the building broke up, and described “two pockets of fire”.

Evacuation and Rescue

Evacuation of the South Tower started after the 8:46 jet collision with the North Tower. Since the elevators were still working fully between 8:46 and 9:03, evacuation proceeded more efficiently than in the North Tower. However there was confusion, such as that caused by the announcements over the PA system saying that the building was secure and people could return to their offices. Heeding that advice might have cost the lives of hundreds of people.

When the jet hit the South Tower, it cut off several routes of evacuating the 30 floors above the impact zone. It did leave at least one of the stairwells passable, and the New York Times found at least 18 people who escaped through that stairwell. Most people above the crash zone were not aware of the escape route, and at least 200 climbed toward the roof in hopes of being rescued there, only to find the doors to the roof locked. No one had told them that roof top rescue, which had been used in the 1993 bombing, was no longer an option.


South Tower exploding

The South Tower began its precipitous collapse at 9:59 AM. At first the portion of the tower above the crash zone began to tilt to the southeast, while the first explosions of dust began at the crash zone. Then, at about 2.5 seconds the top began to fall, and its rotation decelerated. At about the 6.5-second mark, the top was completely swallowed up by the huge growing dust cloud.

In apparently spontaneous commentary, Peter Jennings indicated that the event looked like a controlled demolition by pointing out that access to the “underlying infrastructure” is required to bring down such a building.

The sequences of destruction in WTC 1 and 2 looked very similar once the tops disappeared. The nature of those events is described in more detail in the features section of the collapse analysis, based on the surviving evidence.

Flight 77

The Third Jet Commandeered on September 11th

American Airlines Flight 77 is the plane that is commonly believed to have crashed into the Pentagon. It was a Boeing 757-223 on a scheduled flight from Dulles to Los Angeles, with 58 passengers, four flight attendants, and two pilots.

Known Course

flight 77 route
This illustration from USA Today shows the alleged flightpath of Flight 77. The loop in the middle of the outbound portion is much less pronounced in illustrations from other sources.
More accurate flight path descriptions are found in NTSB reports published in 2006.

At 8:20 AM, Flight 77 took off from Dulles International Airport, 10 minutes after its scheduled departure time. At 8:46, Flight 77 veered severely off course. At 8:50, the last radio communication was made from the pilots and air traffic control. At 8:56, the jet’s transponder was shut off.  The pilots’ last transmission was “ah direct FALMOUTH American seventy seven thanks.” No radio communications from the flight indicated distress.

The NTSB report on Flight 77 describes the plane’s maneuvers in detail. It began to turn to the south at 8:55, and by 9:00 it was headed east. Shortly thereafter it began to descend from its altitude of 35,000 feet. The autopilot was engaged and disengaged multiple times. At 9:29 the plane was 35 miles west of the Pentagon flying at 7,000 feet. At 9:34 it was about 3.5 miles west-southwest of the Pentagon and started a 330-degree descending right turn, bringing it to an altitude of about 2000 feet four miles southwest of the Pentagon.

According to NORAD’s September 18th timeline, the FAA didn’t notify NORAD that Flight 77 was a possible hijack until 9:24, thirty-four minutes after the loss of radio communications. Press reports couch the notification as of a “suspected” hijacking despite reports that the plane was flying toward Washington, DC with its transponder off twenty-one minutes after both towers had been hit.

Flight attendant Renee A. May

Phone Calls

There were two reported phone calls from Flight 77: a cell phone call from flight attendant Renee May to her mother; and a cell phone call from passenger Barbara Olson to her husband, US Solicitor General Ted Olson. Ted Olson related to Newsweek:

Barbara was calm and collected as she told him how hijackers had used boxcutters and knifes to take control of the plane and had herded the passengers and crew to the back. “Ted, what can I do?” she asked him. “What can I tell the pilot?” Then, inexplicably, she got cut off.


At about 9:38 AM, a twin-engine jetliner flew into the Pentagon and exploded, according to numerous eyewitnesses on the ground. The NTSB places the time of impact of Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37:45. A Minnesota National Guard C-130 that had just taken off from nearby Andrews Air Force Base followed the jetliner in the seconds before it crashed. The pilot of the C-130, who described the plane as either a 757 or 767, provided the following account.

It was like coming up to an intersection. When air traffic control asked me if we had him in sight, I told him that was an understatement – by then, he had pretty much filled our windscreen. Then he made a pretty aggressive turn so he was moving right in front of us, a mile and a half, two miles away.

They told us to turn and follow that aircraft – in 20-plus years of flying, I’ve never been asked to do something like that. With all of the East Coast haze, I had a hard time picking him out.
The next thing I saw was the fireball. It was huge. I told Washington the airplane has impacted the ground. Shook everyone up pretty good. I told them the approximate location was close to the Potomac. I figured he’d had some in-flight emergency and was trying to get back on the ground to Washington National. Suddenly, I could see the outline of the Pentagon. It was horrible. I told Washington this thing has impacted the west side of the Pentagon.

Whether the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was Flight 77 is the subject of much question and controversy. Human remains of the people onboard Flight 77 were identified at Dover, but there is no public evidence that places the bodies at the Pentagon crash site.

The impact was 83 minutes after Flight 11 first went off course, and 58 minutes after the North Tower impact, and 40 minutes after the South Tower impact, yet the jet was not intercepted as it flew over the (normally) most heavily protected airspace in the United States, and in the world.


Flight 93

The Fourth Jet Commandeered on September 11th

United Airlines Flight 93 was the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, short of its alleged target, the Capital. The widespread debris field from the crash, together with eyewitness reports, strongly suggest that the jetliner was shot down by a missile fired by a pursuing jet. Flight 93 was a Boeing 757-200 on a scheduled flight from Newark to San Francisco, with 38 passengers, five flight attendants, and two pilots.

At 8:42 AM, Flight 93 took off from Newark International Airport, 41 minutes after its scheduled departure time.   According to NORAD’s September 18th timeline, at 9:16, the FAA informed NORAD that the flight may have been hijacked. Several communications with air traffic controllers indicate that Flight 93 was hijacked at around 9:27. At 9:30, the transponder signal ceased.  At about this time, the plane apparently reversed direction and began flying toward the capital.

Phone Calls

There were numerous calls allegedly from Flight 93, most of them made using cell phones, and being relatively short. An exception was the call from passenger Todd Beamer on an Airfone, which was routed to Verizon supervisor Lisa Jefferson. Jefferson interviewed Beamer in detail in a conversation that would last from 9:45 until his famous last words before leading a passenger revolt: “Let’s Roll”.

The AP reported that at 9:58 a frantic passenger called from a bathroom and told operator Glenn Cramer that he had seen an explosion and smoke, and that the plane was “going down”.  Investigators believe the passenger was Edward Felt.


At 10:06 AM, Flight 93 was apparently shot down near Somerset, PA. The official story that it was flown into the ground as a result of a struggle to control the cockpit is contradicted by the reports of eyewitnesses on the ground, as well as the phone call attributed to Edward Felt.

The crash site, in a reclaimed strip mine, comprised a central debris field and several smaller debris fields some distance away. One of the engines was found over half a mile away from the main field. Other debris fields were found 2, 3, and 8 miles away. This evidence is virtually impossible to reconcile with the official story.

NYC Victims

Who was Killed in the 9/11/01 Attack on New York City

It is obvious that the number of people in New York City killed by the September 11th attack will never be known. Even ignoring the long-term death toll from exposure to toxins in the monster dust clouds and smoldering ruins, determining exactly who was killed by the immediate effects of the attack will forever elude historians. Despite the modern techniques for identifying bodies, the incredible vaporization of bodiesat Ground Zero prevented the identification of over 1000 people. Also, an unknown number of undocumented workers were killed in the attack. The official effort to identify victims went on for 3-1/2 years, ending with an announcement by the medical examiner’s office in late February of 2005 that the remaining victims would probably never be identified.

The lingering uncertainty about the exact death toll, and the lack of closure for the families of more than 1000 victims who would never receive so much as a bone fragment to bury, is one of many uniquely traumatic aspects of the attack. 1,616 death certificates were issued without the identification of a body at the request of victims’ families.

Estimates of the dead gradually declined in the years after the attack, eventually settling to a number around 2,750. On the day of the attack, news anchors speculated that the dead might number in the tens of thousands. Some of the estimates of the death toll in New York City at various times are as follows:

dead date source
2,617 1/25/02 death certificates at DOH Office of Vital Records
2,823 5/30/02 Wall Street Journal
2,819 9/01/02 Time
2,801 9/11/02 New York City
2,792 9/03/02 New York City
2,775 9/03/02 Associated Press
2,784 9/03/02 USA Today
2,749 2/23/05 ABC News

USA TODAY documented 1,434 who died in the North Tower and 599 who died in the South Tower. Of the people who died in or around the buildings, 479 were public service personnel such as firefighters or police officers.    The Times estimated that 121 firefighters died in the North Tower when it collapsed.

A Cross-Section of the Global Community

Many countries were represented by the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center. The New York City Health Department released a report based on 2,617 death certificates filed for the victims through Jan. 25, 2002. The report covers more than 90 percent of the estimated deaths and includes the victims on the planes. By birthplace, the breakdown is as follows.

country victims
United States 2106
United Kingdom 53
India 34
Dominican Republic 25
Jamaica 21
Japan 20
China 18
Colombia 18
Canada 16
Germany 16
Philippines 16
Trinidad and Tobago 15
Guyana 14
Ecuador 13
Italy 13
Ukraine 11
Korea 9
Poland 8
Russia 8
Haiti 7
Ireland 7
Pakistan 7
Taiwan 7
Cuba 6
Yugoslavia 6
Others 143

Pentagon Victims

Who was Killed in the 9/11/01 Attack on the Pentagon

Whereas victims of the World Trade Center attack were identified by civilian authorities, victims of the attack on the Pentagon (like those of the crash of Flight 93) were identified by military authorities. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology issued a report in November of 2001 claiming to have identified 184 of 189 persons killed in the Pentagon attack.

Since there were five alleged hijackers of Flight 77, whom authorities did not identify since they lacked DNA samples from the families, that 184 identifications accounts for the 125 people killed inside the Pentagon, and the 54 people other than the hijackers on board the aircraft.

An office of the Army that had just re-occupied the Pentagon’s recently renovated Wedge One, named Resource Services Washington, lost 34 of its 45 employees. Most were civilian accountants, bookkeepers and budget analysts.  Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had announced on the eve of the attack that more than $2 trillion was missing from the Pentagon.

More than half of the victims were in the Navy Command Center, a command-and-control facility on the first floor of the Pentagon’s D-Ring.

Many survivors suffered horrible injuries. Kevin Shaeffer was watching coverage of the attack in New York City with co-workers in the Navy Command Center when the plane struck, instantly killing 29 people in the same office. Shaeffer sustained second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.

Building 7

The September 11th Attack

Building 7 (also known as WTC 7) was a 47-story skyscraper that stood on the block immediately north of the block that contained the rest of the World Trade Center complex. Building 7 was shrouded in secrecy. Then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had a bunker on the 23rd floor.


fires in Building 7
Photographs of Building 7 prior to its collapse show only small areas of fire.

Building 7 was not hit by any aircraft, and apparently did not suffer massive damage from the violent destruction of either of the Twin Towers. Small fires were observed in a few different parts of the building prior to its “collapse.” Most of the fires were barely visible, and were not hot enough to cause window breakage, at least on the north side of the tower, of which there are photos shortly before the collapse. The largest observed fires were the ones visible on the southeast wall shown in the photograph.


Building 7 was supposedly evacuated around 9 AM. The area around the building was evacuated in the hour before the collapse. Photographer Tom Franklin, who took the famous photograph of firemen raising the American flag, said:

Firemen evacuated the area as they prepared for the collapse of Building Seven.

There are no photographs that show large fires in Building 7. Tom Franklin did not take any photos of the building before heeding firemen’s orders to evacuate the area. Had there been large fires, one would expect that the professional photographer would have documented them.


Building 7 underwent a total structural collapse at 5:20 PM.  Although there were few people in the area to witness its destruction, several videos captured the event. Like the collapses of the Twin Towers, the collapse of Building 7 commenced suddenly and was over in seconds. At first the penthouse, which rests on central columns, began to drop. Within a second the entire building began to drop as a whole, falling into its footprint in a precisely vertical fashion. The destruction of Building 7, which is not explained by the official theory, looked exactly like a standard controlled demolition.

WTC7 rubble pile
In under seven seconds Building 7 was transformed from a skyscraper to a tidy rubble pile.

It is commonly believed that “ancillary damage” from the collapses of the Twin Towers led to the collapse of WTC 7. In fact Building 7 was separated from the North Tower by Building 6 and Vesey Street. A photograph of its north facade taken in the afternoon shows isolated small fires, and not even a single window was broken.

World Trade Center Survivors

A Handful of People Survived the Towers’ Falls

Thousands of people suffered profound trauma from directly witnessing to the events of 9/11/01 in New York City. Hundreds narrowly escaped death. Thousands more have been bereaved by the loss of loved ones in the attack. All of these people are rightly described as survivors of the attack. Here we focus on a much smaller group of people who either escaped or were rescued from Ground Zero after being trapped by the Towers’ falls. Just 20 people are known to fit this description. Four of those were trapped and rescued by Ground Zero workers. The rest found their way out of that scene of incomprehensible destruction. All of their stories of survival are remarkable.

The Four Rescues

John McLoughlin and William Jimeno, two Port Authority Policemen, were rescued after being buried in rubble around a freight elevator for about 13 and 21 hours.  The harrowing story of the survival and rescue of these two men is the subject of World Trade Center, a 2006 film by Oliver Stone.

Pasquale Buzzelli, a structural engineer for the Port Authority, and Genelle Guzman, a secretary, were in offices on the 64th floor of the North Tower when the building was hit. Buzzelli and 15 co-workers thought they would be safer remaining in the building and stayed until the South Tower came down, which shook their office. Then smoke started to come in and they decided to evacuate via the B stairwell. The group spread out as they descended, with Buzzelli and Guzman ahead of the others. They had reached the lower floors when the Tower began to come down. Buzzelli and Guzman, who were together at the time, remember their location differently — he thinking the 22nd and she the 13th floor. Buzzelli was knocked unconscious for three hours, and awoke on a hill of rubble, looking at the sky. Suffering from a broken foot, cuts and a concussion, he was extracted by rescue workers and evacuated on a stretcher.  Guzman, who was just below the surface, was rescued more than 27 hours after the Tower fell. Her leg was crushed but she fully recovered within four months.

Survivors Who Walked Away

Tom Canavan, who worked for First Union Bank, stayed on the 47th floor of the North Tower until after the South Tower was hit, after which his evacuation was slowed by congestion in a stairwell. Canavan had just passed through revolving doors into the darkened, glass-strewn underground shopping mall between the two Towers, and had turned back to help a couple when the rumble of the South Tower’s destruction began. He was thrown to the ground and trapped in a small space by slabs of concrete. Canavan and another man crawled to an opening near The Sphere — the World Trade Center Plaza’s centerpiece bronze sculpture. The other man crawled out, but Canavan, being larger, was unable to. Canavan continued to struggle, and extracted himself and walked to safety over smouldering rubble that burned the bottoms of his shoes. He had crawled 40 feet east and 30 feet up through the rubble in 25 minutes, escaping just a few minutes before the fall of the North Tower. To date, the identity of the other survivor described by Canavan remains unknown.

Fourteen people, mostly firefighters from Ladder Company 6 and Engine 39, survived in the B stairwell of the North Tower and crawled to safety. They are Firefighters Billy Butler, Tommy Falco, Jay Jonas, Michael Meldrum, Sal D’Agastino, and Matt Komorowski of Ladder 6; Firefighter Mickey Kross of Engine Company 16, Firefighters Jim McGlynn, Rob Bacon, Jeff Coniglio, and Jim Efthimiaddes of Engine 39; Porrt Authority Police Officer Dave Lim; Battalion Chief Rich Picciotto of the 11th Battalion; and civilian Josephine Harris.

Insider Trading

Pre-9/11 Put Options on Companies Hurt by Attack Indicates Foreknowledge

Financial transactions in the days before the attack suggest that certain individuals used foreknowledge of the attack to reap huge profits. The evidence of insider trading includes:

  • Huge surges in purchases of put options on stocks of the two airlines used in the attack — United Airlines and American Airlines
  • Surges in purchases of put options on stocks of reinsurance companies expected to pay out billions to cover losses from the attack — Munich Re and the AXA Group
  • Surges in purchases of put options on stocks of financial services companies hurt by the attack — Merrill Lynch & Co., and Morgan Stanley and Bank of America
  • Huge surge in purchases of call options of stock of a weapons manufacturer expected to gain from the attack — Raytheon
  • Huge surges in purchases of 5-Year US Treasury Notes

In each case, the anomalous purchases translated into large profits as soon as the stock market opened a week after the attack: put options were used on stocks that would be hurt by the attack, and call options were used on stocks that would benefit.

Put and call options are contracts that allow their holders to sell and buy assets, respectively, at specified prices by a certain date. Put options allow their holders to profit from declines in stock values because they allow stocks to be bought at market price and sold for the higher option price. The ratio of the volume of put option contracts to call option contracts is called the put/call ratio. The ratio is usually less than one, with a value of around 0.8 considered normal.


American Airlines and United Airlines, and several insurance companies and banks posted huge loses in stock values when the markets opened on September 17. Put options — financial instruments which allow investors to profit from the decline in value of stocks — were purchased on the stocks of these companies in great volume in the week before the attack.

United Airlines and American Airlines

Two of the corporations most damaged by the attack were American Airlines (AMR), the operator of Flight 11 and Flight 77, and United Airlines (UAL), the operator of Flight 175 and Flight 93. According to CBS News, in the week before the attack, the put/call ratio for American Airlines was four. The put/call ratio for United Airlines was 25 times above normal on September 6.

This graph shows a dramatic spike in pre-attack purchases of put options on the airlines used in the attack. (source:

The spikes in put options occurred on days that were uneventful for the airlines and their stock prices.

On Sept. 6-7, when there was no significant news or stock price movement involving United, the Chicago exchange handled 4,744 put options for UAL stock, compared with just 396 call options — essentially bets that the price will rise. On Sept. 10, an uneventful day for American, the volume was 748 calls and 4,516 puts, based on a check of option trading records.

The Bloomberg News reported that put options on the airlines surged to the phenomenal high of 285 times their average.

Over three days before terrorists flattened the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, there was more than 25 times the previous daily average trading in a Morgan Stanley “put” option that makes money when shares fall below $45. Trading in similar AMR and UAL put options, which make money when their stocks fall below $30 apiece, surged to as much as 285 times the average trading up to that time.

When the market reopened after the attack, United Airlines stock fell 42 percent from $30.82 to $17.50 per share, and American Airlines stock fell 39 percent, from $29.70 to $18.00 per share.

Reinsurance Companies

Several companies in the reinsurance business were expected to suffer huge losses from the attack: Munich Re of Germany and Swiss Re of Switzerland — the world’s two biggest reinsurers, and the AXA Group of France. In September, 2001, the San Francisco Chronicle estimated liabilities of $1.5 billion for Munich Re and $0.55 bilion for the AXA Group and estimated liabilities of £1.2 billion for Munich Re and £0.83 billion for Swiss Re.

Trading in shares of Munich Re was almost double its normal level on September 6, and 7, and trading in shares of Swiss Re was more than double its normal level on September 7.

Financial Services Companies

Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. were both headquartered in lower Manhattan at the time of the attack. Morgan Stanley occupied 22 floors of the North Tower and Merrill Lynch had headquarters near the Twin Towers. Morgan Stanley, which saw an average of 27 put options on its stock bought per day before September 6, saw 2,157 put options bought in the three trading days before the attack. Merrill Lynch, which saw an average of 252 put options on its stock bought per day before September 5, saw 12,215 put options bought in the four trading days before the attack. Morgan Stanley’s stock dropped 13% and Merrill Lynch’s stock dropped 11.5% when the market reopened.

Bank of America showed a fivefold increase in put option trading on the Thursday and Friday before the attack.

A Bank of America option that would profit if the No. 3 U.S. bank’s stock fell below $60 a share had more than 5,900 contracts traded on the Thursday and Friday before the Sept. 11 assaults, almost five times the previous average trading, according to Bloomberg data. The bank’s shares fell 11.5 percent to $51 in the first week after trading resumed on Sept. 17.


While most companies would see their stock valuations decline in the wake of the attack, those in the business of supplying the military would see dramatic increases, reflecting the new business they were poised to receive.


Raytheon, maker of Patriot and Tomahawk missiles, saw its stock soar immediately after the attack. Purchases of call options on Raytheon stock increased sixfold on the day before the attack.

A Raytheon option that makes money if shares are more than $25 each had 232 options contracts traded on the day before the attacks, almost six times the total number of trades that had occurred before that day. A contract represents options on 100 shares. Raytheon shares soared almost 37 percent to $34.04 during the first week of post-attack U.S. trading.

Raytheon has been fined millions of dollars inflating the costs of equipment it sells the US military. Raytheon has a secretive subsidiary, E-Systems, whose clients have included the CIA and NSA.

US Treasury Notes

Five-year US Treasury notes were purchased in abnormally high volumes before the attack, and their buyers were rewarded with sharp increases in their value following the attack.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 2 that the ongoing investigation by the SEC into suspicious stock trades had been joined by a Secret Service probe into an unusually high volume of five-year US Treasury note purchases prior to the attacks. The Treasury note transactions included a single $5 billion trade. As the Journal explained: “Five-year Treasury notes are among the best investments in the event of a world crisis, especially one that hits the US. The notes are prized for their safety and their backing by the US government, and usually rally when investors flee riskier investments, such as stocks.” The value of these notes, the Journal pointed out, has risen sharply since the events of September 11.

The SEC’s Investigation

Shortly after the attack the SEC circulated a list of stocks to securities firms around the world seeking information. A widely circulated article states that the stocks flagged by the SEC included those of the following corporations: American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways airlines, Martin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp., AIG, American Express Corp, American International Group, AMR Corporation, AXA SA, Bank of America Corp, Bank of New York Corp, Bank One Corp, Cigna Group, CNA Financial, Carnival Corp, Chubb Group, John Hancock Financial Services, Hercules Inc., L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., LTV Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., MetLife, Progressive Corp., General Motors, Raytheon, W.R. Grace, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Lone Star Technologies, American Express, the Citigroup Inc., Royal & Sun Alliance, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., Vornado Reality Trust, Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co., XL Capital Ltd., and Bear Stearns.

An October 19 article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the SEC, after a period of silence, had undertaken the unprecedented action of deputizing hundreds of private officials in its investigation:

The proposed system, which would go into effect immediately, effectively deputizes hundreds, if not thousands, of key players in the private sector.

In a two-page statement issued to “all securities-related entities” nationwide, the SEC asked companies to designate senior personnel who appreciate “the sensitive nature” of the case and can be relied upon to “exercise appropriate discretion” as “point” people linking government investigators and the industry.

Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD officer, explains the consequences of this action:

What happens when you deputize someone in a national security or criminal investigation is that you make it illegal for them to disclose publicly what they know. Smart move. In effect, they become government agents and are controlled by government regulations rather than their own conscience. In fact, they can be thrown in jail without a hearing if they talk publicly. I have seen this implied threat time and again with federal investigations, intelligence agents, and even members of the United States Congress who are bound so tightly by secrecy oaths and agreements that they are not even able to disclose criminal activities inside the government for fear of incarceration.

Interpreting and Reinterpreting the Data

An analysis of the press reports on the subject of apparent insider trading related to the attack shows a trend, with early reports highlighting the anomalies, and later reports excusing them. In his book Crossing the Rubicon Michael C. Ruppert illustrates this point by first excerpting a number of reports published shortly after the attack:

  • A jump in UAL (United Airlines) put options 90 times (not 90 percent) above normal between September 6 and September 10, and 285 times higher than average on the Thursday before the attack.
    — CBS News, September 26
  • A jump in American Airlines put options 60 times (not 60 percent) above normal on the day before the attacks.
    — CBS News, September 26
  • No similar trading occurred on any other airlines
    — Bloomberg Business Report, the Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT), Herzliyya, Israel [citing data from the CBOE]
  • Morgan Stanley saw, between September 7 and September 10, an increase of 27 times (not 27 percent) in the purchase of put options on its shares.
  • Merrill-Lynch saw a jump of more than 12 times the normal level of put options in the four trading days before the attacks.

Hidden Transactions

Financial Transactions on WTC Computers Surged Before Attack

Computer systems in the World Trade Center processed an unusual volume of credit card transactions in the minutes before the planes crashed into the towers on 9/11/01. The computer systems were destroyed in the subsequent collapses of the towers. Although details of the surge remain unknown, reports speculate that the transactions may have amounted to more than $100 million in value, with both the volume and sizes of transactions surging.

In December of 2001, press reports noted that Convar Systeme Deutschland GmbH was working on recovering data from some hard drives extracted from the destroyed computer systems. Unlike conventional data recovery efforts, the German company used laser scanning to read drive surfaces in order to create virtual disks. These virtual disks were then read to recover data. As of December 20th, 2001, Convar had completed processing 39 out of 81 drives, and expected to receive 20 more drives in January. These reports do not indicate how many drives were believed lost or destroyed in the collapses. Companies paid Convar between $20,000 and $30,000 per drive for the work.

Missing Trillions

Rumsfeld Buries Admission of Missing 2+ Trillion Dollars in 9/10/01 Press Conference

On September 10, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference to disclose that over $2,000,000,000,000 in Pentagon funds could not be accounted for. Rumsfeld stated: “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” According to a report by the Inspector General, the Pentagon cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.

Such a disclosure normally might have sparked a huge scandal. However, the commencement of the attack on New York City and Washington in the morning would assure that the story remained buried. To the trillions already missing from the coffers, an obedient Congress terrorized by anthrax attacks would add billions more in appropriations to fight the “War on Terror.”

The Comptroller of the Pentagon at the time of the attack was Dov Zakheim, who was appointed in May of 2001. Before becoming the Pentagon’s money-manager, he was an executive at System Planning Corporation, a defense contractor specializing in electronic warfare technologies including remote-controlled aircraft systems. Zakheim is a member of the Project for a New American Century and participated in the creation of its 2000 position paper Rebuilding America’s Defenses which called for “a New Pearl Harbor.”

Estimates of the sums of money missing vary wildly. A 2003 report put the amount missing at “more than a trillion dollars.”

Giuliani Warned

Mayor Giuliani Had Privileged Warning of Unprecedented Collapse

Warnings of the imminent collapse of the South Tower are inherently suspicious, given how unexpected that event was.

No skyscraper in the world had ever collapsed for any reason, other than controlled demolition.
Later revisions notwithstanding, the collapse took almost everyone by surprise.
Firefighters and emergency workers did not receive warnings.
Such warnings indicate foreknowledge, whether or not one believes any of the official theories of the collapses of the Twin Towers.
Rudolph Giuliani’s Warning

Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York City on 9/11/01, has stated that he was at the base of the Twin Towers just minutes before the explosive collapse of the South Tower and then went to 75 Barclay Street — where he had a makeshift command center.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, just to clarify something that Mr. Kerik said you were about 10 minutes past when you were standing with several of the high ranking officers who you lost and then you went to Barkley [sic] Street, have you thought about that 10 minute gap, how you were 10 minutes from being in a horrible situation?

GIULIANI: I haven’t had a chance to think about it.

QUESTION: Then that could of evacuate the 10–you would have been with them 10 minutes earlier before the building collapsed?

GIULIANI: The–some of the people that we lost we saw like Father Judge (ph) and Chief Gansy (ph), Bill Fehan (ph), we saw them about 10 minutes before–before we went over to 75 Barkley [sic] street. And I talked to their families and I explained to them that they were working very hard and they were working at what they loved to do. And I’m sure their efforts will end up having saved other lives and their families can be very proud of them.
In an ABC News interview, Giuliani states that he was “told that the World Trade Center was gonna’ collapse,” and that it did collapse, referring to the 9:59 destruction of the South Towers, and implies that the warning was not well in advance of the event.

I .. I went down to the scene and we set up a headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the Police Commissioner, the Fire Commissioner, the Head of Emergency Management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna’ to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit, got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us.


Who warned Giuliani? To our knowledge, no reporter working for any mainstream media organization has put that question to Giuliani. However there are passages from the Oral Histories of emergency responders that shed light on the question. The account of Richard Zarillo contains the following:

As I was walking towards the Fire command post, I found Steve Mosiello. I said, Steve, where’s the boss? I have to give him a message. He said, well, what’s the message? I said the buildings are going to collapse; we need to evac everybody out. With a very confused look he said who told you that? I said I was just with John at OEM. OEM says the buildings are going to collapse; we need to get out.

He escorted me over to Chief Ganci. He said, hey, Pete, we got a message that the buildings are going to collapse. His reply was who the f___ told you that? Then Steve brought me in and with Chief Ganci, Commissioner Feehan, Steve, I believe Chief Turi was initially there, I said, listen, I was just at OEM. The message I was given was that the buildings are going to collapse; we need to get our people out. At that moment, this thunderous, rolling roar came down and that’s when the building came down, the first tower came down.
Although Zarillo describes being directly questioned, both by Fire Marshal Steven Mosiello and by Chief Peter Ganci, about who told him that the buildings were going to collapse, he does not clarify the source of the message beyond the OEM (Office of Emergency Management), where he was “just with John.”

Steven Mosiello’s account corroborates Zarillo’s:

A. At that point I don’t know exactly when the Commissioner and Mayor had left. It was pretty soon after they had left that Richie Zarillo, who works with EMS — I believe he’s an OEM liaison — came running up to me. I was not on the ramp at this time. I was like almost at the sidewalk location.

He said Steve, where’s the Chief? I have to tell him, you know — I said tell him what, Richie? These buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. I said how do you know that, you know? So he ran with me. I ran over and grabbed Chief Ganci and said Chief, these buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. He looked up at me.