[As the team on the 9/11 Commission Staff responsible for reconstructing the facts of the day itself, Team 8 was scrupulous to heed the direction of Commission Chairman Kean and Vice-Chairman Hamilton that we present the facts as we found them as objectively as possible. In the closing days of our work, it became clear that the most objective way to present those facts – and to capture both the urgency with which decisions were being made that day and the level of command at which critical decision making was occurring – would be to allow, where possible, the various officials and others responsible for responding to the attacks to speak for themselves. Accordingly, the team prepared what we called an “audio monograph” of critical communications from the morning of 9/11, linked by narrative and graphics placing each audio clip in context. We believed that such a rendering would be the best way to enable the public to understand what happened on 9/11 – how the day was lived by those responding to the attacks.
[The raw material that went into our reconstruction of the day was not obtained easily. The Commission had heard testimony early on that no tapes were made, and we were told at one point that a technical malfunction would prevent us from hearing them. 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.
[Before we had a chance to finalize the audio monograph, however, we were informed that there was insufficient time to put the document through the declassification process before the Commission’s term expired. This was not surprising. The declassification process had been frustrating for virtually the entire Commission staff. We were forced to abandon the audio monograph and turn to writing a monograph that did not include the audio clips, and to drafting our portions of the Final Report.
[Thanks to the tireless effort of Staff Member Miles Kara, the draft monograph has now been released by the National Archives, as have the audio clips embedded in it. Miles – who our team awarded the Gold Headphones award at the completion of our work for his determination to hear everything on record from that morning – completed transcriptions of each clip, and worked with a team from Rutgers Law Review to validate those transcripts. Both the original draft and the annotated 2011 document could not have been produced without him. The Law Review staff, assisted by Andrea Manna of the Law School administration, then worked to embed the audio clips into the text, so that the monograph can be experienced interactively.
[Because the original audio monograph was left in draft form, I have thought it appropriate to annotate it in certain instances in the interest of accuracy or completeness. Every annotation is set forth clearly in brackets. I have attempted, however, to leave the audio monograph as much as possible in its original form, as an artifact of the work of Team 8. Although the audio monograph was never formally released, virtually all of its conclusions were adopted by the 9/11 Commission. The passage of time has not diminished the value of our work, or the honor I feel at having worked and become friends with such an extraordinary group of people.]
John J. Farmer Jr.
Dean, Rutgers School of Law—Newark
Former Senior Counsel, National Commission
on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
John J. Farmer, Jr., Senior Counsel & Team Leader
John A. Azzarello, Counsel
Miles L. Kara, Sr., Professional Staff Member
Kevin Shaeffer, Professional Staff Member
Geoffrey Scott Brown, Research Assistant
Dana J. Hyde, Counsel
Lisa Marie Sullivan, Staff Assistant
Charles M. Pereira, Professional Staff Member
Team 8 of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States has determined the operational facts of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) and North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) response to [the] September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as reconstructed from primary sources such as logs, tape recordings, transcripts and radar data, and corroborated in interviews with key personnel involved. Set forth in this monograph is the definitive account concerning when and how the FAA gained situational awareness that each of the four commercial aircraft was hijacked by terrorists on the morning of 9/11, when and how the FAA notified the military about each of the hijacked aircraft, and when and how the military responded.
Unless otherwise noted, all times presented are rounded to the nearest minute. None of the audio excerpts in this document [was] derived from cockpit voice recorders. Where possible, individual names, phone numbers, excessive static noise, and excessive periods of “dead space” have been removed from the audio excerpts. Absolutely no content within the audio excerpts has been altered.