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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

The World Trade Center

Background for September 11th

Twin Towers at sunrise ( source)

Until September 11th, 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center towered over lower Manhattan, the tallest buildings in the city, and the second tallest in the United States. The Twin Towers were the first to be built and the most famous of a set of six buildings comprising the World Trade Center complex. Building 7, also known as WTC 7, was the only building with a World Trade Center address that was on a different block. It was built more than a decade after the towers. Like the Twin Towers, Building 7 was leveled on September 11th.


The World Trade Center as Anticipated Target

In 2002, National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice denied that the attack on the World Trade Center was anticipated.

I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile. All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking. You take a plane -- people were worried they might blow one up, but they were mostly worried that they might try to take a plane and use it for release of the blind Sheikh or some of their own people. 1  

However, numerous reports show that officials did, in fact, consider the scenario of planes being used as guided missiles against signature targets such as the World Trade Center. In 2004, USA Today reported that NORAD ran drills in the two years preceding the attack in which simulated hijacked jetliners were crashed into targets including the World Trade Center. 2   Other reports date back long before the attack. The April 3, 1995 edition of Time Magazine ran a cover story in which Senator Sam Nunn described a scenario in which terrorists crashed a radio-controlled airplane into the U.S. Capitol building. 3  

This illustration is from a FEMA training manual published before the attack.

The World Trade Center was well-recognized as a target of a terrorist attack ever since the 1993 garage bombing attack. In 1994, an expert from a panel commissioned by the Pentagon wrote in the Futurist magazine:

Targets such as the World Trade Center not only provide the requisite casualties but, because of their symbolic nature, provide more bang for the buck. In order to maximize their odds for success, terrorists will likely consider multiple, simultaneous operations. 4  

Another fact belying Dr. Rice's statement is that on the morning of 9/11/01 the National Reconnaissance Office was running an exercise simulating the crash of a corporate jet into a tower on their campus.

Awareness of the likelihood of the targeting of the Twin Towers was not confined to officialdom. Several events in the popular culture seemed to anticipate the attack.


Events Preceding the Attack

Events that occurred within a year of the attack and should have been the subject of an investigation remain widely unknown to the public. Control of the complex was privatized through a 99-year lease to a consortium headed by Silverstein Properties. Facts relating to the security of the buildings are also suspicious.


1. National Security Advisor Holds Press Briefing, WhiteHouse.gov, 5/16/02 [cached]
2. NORAD had drills of jets as weapons, 4/18/04 [cached]
3. The Price of Fanaticism, Time, 4/3/95 [cached]
4. Before Attack, U.S. Expected Different Hit, Washington Post, 10/2/01 [cached]

page last modified: 2011-09-14