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Context of '(Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Flight 93 Rocking Wings as It Slowly Descends'

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The FBI wiretaps Sunday Times reporter Henry Brandon. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover decides to wiretap Brandon after President Nixon, looking for National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, finds him at Brandon’s home. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 86]

Entity Tags: Henry A. Kissinger, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richard M. Nixon, Henry Brandon, J. Edgar Hoover

Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties, Nixon and Watergate

Numerous eyewitnesses see and hear Flight 93 just before it crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
bullet Terry Butler, in Stoystown, sees the plane come out of the clouds, low to the ground. He will later recall: “It was moving like you wouldn’t believe. Next thing I knew, it makes a heck of a sharp right-hand turn.” The plane then appears to be trying to climb to clear a ridge, but it continues to turn to the right and then veers behind a ridge. About a second later it crashes. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/2001]
Witnesses Hear the Plane's Engines -
bullet Laura Temyer of Hooversville will recall: “I didn’t see the plane but I heard the plane’s engine. Then I heard a loud thump that echoed off the hills and then I heard the plane’s engine. I heard two more loud thumps and didn’t hear the plane’s engine any more after that.” [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/2001]
bullet Charles Sturtz, who lives a half-mile from the crash site, will recall seeing the plane heading southeast with its engines running. No smoke can be seen. “It was really roaring, you know, like it was trying to go someplace, I guess,” he will say. [WPXI 11 (Pittsburgh), 9/13/2001]
bullet Michael Merringer, who is two miles from the crash site, will describe, “I heard the engine gun two different times and then I heard a loud bang.” [Associated Press, 9/12/2001]
bullet Tim Lensbouer, who is 300 yards away from the crash site, will recall, “I heard it for 10 or 15 seconds and it sounded like it was going full bore.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12/2001]
Witnesses See the Plane Flying Upside Down -
bullet Rob Kimmel, who is several miles from the crash site, sees Flight 93 flying overhead, banking hard to the right. It is 200 feet or less off the ground as it crests a hill to the southeast. “I saw the top of the plane, not the bottom,” he will say. [Longman, 2002, pp. 210-211]
bullet Eric Peterson of Lambertsville sees the plane flying overhead unusually low. It seems to be turning end-over-end as it drops out of sight behind a tree line. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12/2001]
bullet Bob Blair of Stoystown sees the plane spiraling and flying upside down, not much higher than the treetops, before crashing. [Daily American, 9/12/2001]
Plane Is Heard Making Strange Sounds -
bullet An unnamed witness hears two loud bangs before he sees the plane take a downward turn of nearly 90 degrees. [News Channel 5 (Cleveland), 9/11/2001]
bullet Tom Fritz, who is about a quarter-mile from the crash site, hears a sound that “wasn’t quite right,” he will recall, and looks up into the sky. The plane “dropped all of a sudden, like a stone,” going “so fast that you couldn’t even make out what color it was,” he will say. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/2001]
bullet Lee Purbaugh, who works at a scrapyard overlooking the crash site, will describe seeing the plane crashing, saying: “There was an incredibly loud rumbling sound and there it was, right there, right above my head—maybe 50 feet up.… I saw it rock from side to side then, suddenly, it dipped and dived, nose first, with a huge explosion, into the ground. I knew immediately that no one could possibly have survived.” [Independent, 8/13/2002]
Plane Is Seen Making a Sudden Plunge -
bullet Linda Shepley hears a loud bang and sees the plane bank to the side. [ABC News, 9/11/2001] She sees the plane wobbling right and left, at a low altitude of roughly 2,500 feet, when suddenly the right wing dips straight down and the plane plunges into the earth. She will say she has an unobstructed view of Flight 93’s final two minutes. [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/2001]
bullet Kelly Leverknight in Stonycreek Township will recall: “There was no smoke, it just went straight down. I saw the belly of the plane.” The plane is heading east and sounds like it is flying low. [Daily American, 9/12/2001; St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/2001]
bullet Tim Thornsberg, who is working in a strip mine near the crash site, will recall: “It came in low over the trees and started wobbling. Then it just rolled over and was flying upside down for a few seconds… and then it kind of stalled and did a nose dive over the trees.” [WPXI 11 (Pittsburgh), 9/13/2001]
Some people will claim that these witness accounts support the idea that Flight 93 was hit by a missile. [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/2001] Leverknight, whose home is a couple of miles from the Flight 93 crash site, will note that planes flying over Shanksville are nothing unusual because the area is a “military flight corridor.” [Daily American, 9/12/2001]

Entity Tags: Eric Peterson, Bob Blair, Charles Sturtz, Kelly Leverknight, Linda Shepley, Rob Kimmel, Laura Temyer, Tom Fritz, Michael Merringer, Tim Thornsberg, Terry Butler, Lee Purbaugh, Tim Lensbouer

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

In the tiny town of Boswell, about ten miles north and slightly to the west of Flight 93’s crash site, Rodney Peterson and Brandon Leventry notice a passenger jet lumbering through the sky at about 2,000 feet. They realize such a big plane flying so low in that area is odd. They see the plane dip its wings sharply to the left, then to the right. The wings level off and the plane keeps flying south, continuing to descend slowly. Five minutes later, they hear news that the plane has crashed. Other witnesses also later describe the plane flying east-southeast, low, and wobbly. [New York Times, 9/14/2001; Longman, 2002, pp. 205-206] “Officials initially say that it looks like the plane was headed south when it hit the ground.” [News Channel 5 (Cleveland), 9/11/2001]

Entity Tags: Brandon Leventry, Rodney Peterson

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Jesse Lee Peterson, appearing on a Fox News broadcast.Jesse Lee Peterson, appearing on a Fox News broadcast. [Source: Think Progress]The Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson attacks the Reverend Jesse Jackson for participating in what he calls a liberal conspiracy to “keep black[s] on the plantation of the Democratic Party.” Jackson has caused a media stir by raising questions about the fairness of the voting process in the November presidential elections in Ohio (see October 29, 2004 and Evening, October 31, 2004). Jackson, Peterson says, is part of an organized liberal effort to “keep black Americans angry in order to keep them on the plantation of the Democratic Party.” Peterson also accuses liberals of being the real racists in America, calls allegations that blacks were disenfranchised in the 2000 elections “a lie” (see November 7, 2000, November 7, 2000, November 7, 2000, 11:30 a.m. November 7, 2000, and Early Afternoon, November 7, 2000), and falsely claims that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (D-MA) supported reparations for slavery during his campaign. Peterson makes his remarks during an appearance on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes. Co-host Sean Hannity is a member of BOND’s advisory board, and is quoted on the BOND Web site as calling Peterson “a great American” and “a man of conscience.” The liberal media watchdog organization Media Matters notes that Peterson has often attacked Jackson. Peterson’s organization, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), has held a “National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson” for the last five years. In an August 2000 article in the John Birch Society’s New American magazine, Peterson called Jackson a “problem profiteer… who makes millions by exploiting and exacerbating racial tensions.” He wrote a 2003 book entitled Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America, in which he attacked Jackson, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other black civil rights leaders. Peterson and BOND have led a boycott of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), claiming the organization is “a tool of the liberal elite socialist wing of the Democratic Party.” And he is currently suing Jackson for assault and civil rights violations [Media Matters, 11/30/2004] (the case will be settled out of court in 2006 after a jury dismisses all but one charge against Jackson and deadlocks on the remaining charge). [Judicial Watch, 1/27/2006]

Entity Tags: John Birch Society, Al Sharpton, Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, Jesse Lee Peterson, John Kerry, Sean Hannity, Jesse Jackson, Media Matters, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Timeline Tags: Domestic Propaganda, 2004 Elections

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