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Profile: Ruth E. Marlin

Ruth E. Marlin was a participant or observer in the following events:

Logo of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.Logo of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. [Source: National Air Traffic Controllers Association]Several air traffic controllers at the FAA’s New York Center and a union official representing them express concern that the controllers are going to be recorded recalling their experiences of the morning’s attacks, but are persuaded to go ahead with the recording. (9/11 Commission 10/1/2003 pdf file; US Department of Transportation 5/4/2004 pdf file; Goo 5/7/2004) Mike McCormick, the New York Center manager, has directed that six controllers who communicated with, or tracked, the first two hijacked aircraft participate in a session where they are recorded giving their personal accounts of what happened. (Goo 5/6/2004; Air Safety Week 5/17/2004 pdf file)
Controllers Apprehensive - According to McCormick, before the session commences there is a general concern among these controllers. He will later tell the 9/11 Commission that they “didn’t want to put things in a formal way that would be used in an investigation. There was also some worry about who would receive the tape.”
Local Union President Concerned - McCormick consults with Mark DiPalmo, the local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)—the air traffic controllers’ union. DiPalmo is concerned because the tape recording of statements is not a standard procedure. McCormick assures him that the tape will be available only to law enforcement officers, will only serve as a temporary measure until written statements have been prepared, and the controllers will be able to use their taped statements to help them prepare written ones. (9/11 Commission 10/1/2003 pdf file; US Department of Transportation 5/4/2004 pdf file; Wald 5/6/2004) Ruth E. Marlin, the executive vice president of NATCA, will later say she cannot address the question of why DiPalmo wants the tape to be “temporary.” She will say, however, that if she were in his position, “my concern would be that if tapes were saved permanently, they might be subject to FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request, and then controllers would be subject to hearing their own voices recounted on television over and over again.” (Goo 5/7/2004)
Controllers and Union President Consent - The controllers are reassured that the tape with their recorded statements on will not be used for disciplinary purposes, and will be strictly for use only by law enforcement personnel. (9/11 Commission 10/1/2003 pdf file) DiPalmo agrees to the recording of the controllers on the condition that the tape is only a temporary record until written statements are obtained, after which it should be destroyed. The recording session commences at 11:40 a.m. (see 11:40 a.m. September 11, 2001) and the resulting tape will be destroyed several months later (see Between December 2001 and February 2002). (US Department of Transportation 5/4/2004 pdf file)


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