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Context of 'Shortly After 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001: FBI Bomb Technicians Are Away from New York for Training When the WTC Is Attacked'

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J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), tells the House Appropriations Committee that the FBI is prepared to arrest 14,000 purported communists inside the US in the event of war with Russia. James M. McInerney, assistant attorney general, refuses to provide the committee with details regarding those on the list, but says they are “either out-and-out Communists” or are “sympathetic toward the Communist cause.” The officials are apparently referring to the FBI’s Security Index, which was established in 1943 (see 1943 and Early 1943-1971). [New York Times, 4/28/1951]

Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, House Committee on Appropriations, J. Edgar Hoover, James M. McInerney, US Department of Justice

Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties

John T. Risenhoover, one of the federal agents shot in the February 28 raid on the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas (see 5:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M. February 28, 1993), files a lawsuit against the Waco Tribune-Herald alleging that the newspaper bears some liability for his shooting. Risenhoover is an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF); he was shot twice in the ankle and once in the hip during the firefight. He says that the newspaper alerted the Davidians to the BATF raid; the alert, Risenhoover says, led to the Davidians’ ability to shoot him. Risenhoover also alleges that the Tribune-Herald reneged on an agreement with the bureau not to publish a series of articles on the Davidians and their leader, David Koresh (see February 27 - March 3, 1993), until after a federal investigation of the group was complete. Both the bureau and the newspaper have said that the Tribune-Herald honored an informal request to delay publication for several weeks but that it had never made a specific commitment not to publish the series. Risenhoover does not specify the amount of money he is seeking, nor does he offer proof of his allegations; his lawyer, James Dunnam, says he has no intention of trying the lawsuit “in the newspaper,” and will not make his evidence public until the hearing. Tribune-Herald editor Bob Lott denies Risenhoover’s allegations; a BATF spokesman says Risenhoover’s lawsuit is an independent action and has nothing to do with the bureau itself. BATF officials say they do not know who alerted the Davidians to the impending raid. [New York Times, 3/17/1993] It will later be determined that neither the Tribune-Herald nor any of its employees had anything to do with alerting the Davidians to the impending raid (see August 2, 1996).

Entity Tags: US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bob Lott, Branch Davidians, Waco Tribune-Herald, James Dunnam, John T. Risenhoover

Timeline Tags: 1993 Branch Davidian Crisis

James Clemente.James Clemente. [Source: Unknown]All but one of the bomb technicians from the FBI’s New York field office are away from New York and therefore avoid getting involved with the immediate response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. They are attending in-service training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, along with bomb technicians from other FBI offices. They learn what has happened in New York when Supervisory Special Agent James Clemente, who has been teaching a course in the room next to theirs, comes into their classroom after seeing the second crash on television and realizing it was a terrorist attack. “I ran in there and I told them that both World Trade Towers had been hit by jumbo jets, they were both in flames, this is a terrorist attack,” Clemente will later recall. The bomb technicians are initially skeptical, thinking Clemente’s announcement is a joke or some kind of class exercise. But their pagers start going off and they then realize that a major event is indeed taking place. The bomb technicians from New York will promptly leave the FBI Academy and head back to their city. They are apparently fortunate to be away from their field office this morning. One bomb technician from each office that is receiving the training in Quantico has stayed behind, in case an emergency should occur. [Graff, 2011, pp. 380; Rothco Press, 2015] The bomb technician who stayed behind in New York, Special Agent Leonard Hatton, heads into the WTC to help evacuate people sometime after the second crash and he will tragically be killed when the Twin Towers collapse. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/29/2001; Bergen Record, 8/15/2011] “It wasn’t lost on the bomb techs [from New York] that but for the serendipitous timing of the training, many of them would probably be dead along with Hatton,” journalist and author Garrett Graff will write. [Graff, 2011, pp. 380] “All the other bomb techs from the New York office would have likely died that day but for that training,” Clemente will comment. [Rothco Press, 2015]

Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, James T. Clemente

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline


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