When someone says 9/11, what is the first thing you think about? Is it the images of the gaping hole in the World Trade Center? Is it the images of a plane deliberately slamming into the south tower of the World Trade Center? Is it images of people, covered in dust, looking up, into the beautiful blue sky, pierced with smoke thinking. Most people think of where they were on that fateful morning. But wait a minute, before you start thinking about where you were, let me ask you a few questions. When somebody asks you about 9/11, have you ever thought about the hijackers? Have you ever thought how, Al Qaeda planned one of the largest acts of terrorism on U.S. soil? I give you: Planning 9/11. Throughout this speech we will be examining 2 main points, first we will examine the first few months leading up to 9/11, then we will be examining the 30 days leading up to the attack. Without further ado lets dive right into point
To start, let’s go back a few years before 9/11, on October 31, 1991. All of the following information has been retrieved from the extensive report by the New York Times, unless otherwise stated. Egypt Air flight 990, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone on board. Why did it crash? The NTSB (The National Transportation Safety Board) (Ntsb.gov, 2019), said after Egypt Air Flight 990, that the first officer essentially hijacked the plane. After the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, the word spread and eventually to the ears, of Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden, at the time was the most influential person in AL-Qaeda. When he learned that the first officer essentially hijacked Egypt Air flight 990, his first response was, “Why did he not fly it into a building.” That judge, just shows you how evil bin Laden was. Later investigators found out that the first officer on Egypt Air flight 990, downed the plane and according to the log, the first officer repeated, Tawkalt ala Allah, meaning, “I put my trust in God.” He repeated this until the plane hit the water. Interesting enough in the investigation of 9/11, investigators listen to the cockpit recordings, on flight 93 which was downed in Pennsylvania. The hijackers are chanting the entire time as they are descending, Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. Both pilots chanting to Allah before death. But back to Osama bin Laden. After Osama bin Laden heard of Egypt flight crashing, his wheels in his head began to turn to develop a new strategy, one that would be the most evil and deadliest plans in modern history. Bin Laden, wanted to involve 10 planes, and attack the east and west coast. But before we get into that lets meet a man by the name of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Khalid was the Uncle of Ramzi Yousef. If that name sounds familiar to you, Yousef was the mastermind and the person who carried out the 1993 World Trade center bombings. Khalid is dubbed as the architect behind 9/11. He said that he planned to fly the 10th plane himself, but eventually Osama bin Laden ruled against that. So, they decided on four planes with 20 hijackers, 5, for each plane. If you know anything about 9/11 you’re probably thinking wait 20? Yes, in the original plans there was 20 hijackers. I will get to what happened to that 20th hijacker later in the speech. Khalid originally wanted 25-30 hijackers, but some just could not emotionally, kill themselves, and some were not granted VISAs to the United States. With the 20 hijackers chosen, most of the hijackers went to US to begin flight training. Next the timing, the timing was a real debate between the 9/11 conspirators, the first date that Osama bin Laden wanted, was on May 12, 2001. But once he learned that the prime minister of Israel would be at the white house in June. He pushed the date forward. Either date, Khalid disclosed that the hijackers were not ready. So, they decided to decide on what targets they were going to hit before they decided a date. They devolved a “preliminary target list” in the spring of 1999. The conspirators reverted back to that, to decide what to hit. The world trade center, pentagon, federal bureau of investigation, white house, capitol, were all on this list. There was some conflict on what they should have hit though for instance while everyone agreed on the capitol. Khalid wanted the world trade center, but Bin laden wanted the pentagon and the white house. Among Mr. bin Laden and his confederates, the Capitol was ‘the apparent wellspring of U.S. approach in help of Israel,’ while the White House was considered ‘a political image.’ Osama bin Laden asked Mohammed Atta the head hijacker, what he thought. Atta figured that the white house was to tough a target to hit, He said it was better to hi the capitol, Osama agreed. It is still unclear to this day, why it would be difficult to hit the White house. But hastily, they concluded on both World Trade Centers, The Pentagon, and the Capitol building. Atta decided the second week of September, because the Congress would be in session at the Capitol. Again it is not entirely known, how they knew that the congress would be in session. But now with the date set, the targets set, and the hijackers finishing up training in the US, everything begin to fall into place, right under America’s nose. So now let’s examine the days leading up to 9/11.
It is early August 2001, America is at no warning that in just under a month 2,996 people will perish. But now let’s not forget the purpose of this speech, to show how they did it. So back to the hijackers. Mohammad Atta and 2 other hijackers board a plan to fly to Las Vegas, there they will meet with the other 16 hijackers. For the first planning session. Now let’s meet that 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui. He already started to raise suspicion, while he was at his flight training school, he said he wanted to learn how to fly a 747, but not get a piloting license. At the time of the meeting of the conspirators, President Bush’s national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, fails to do any action regarding warnings from the counter-terrorism officials. The CIA counter-terrorism finally tells the department of defense, “We are going to be struck soon, many Americans will die, and it could be in the US.” It is now August 16, 2001. Zacarias Moussaoui is in for a rough night, he is pulled over by police and arrested on immigration charges, the 9/11 conspirators just lost one of the hijackers. He is deported the next day, while the FBI scrambles to get a court order to search his computer. Mohammed Atta has one more test flight, before he is done with flight school. The flight instructor overhears Mohammed Atta over the radio shout “God is great” as he is descending to land. And yes, that’s what the person in the Egypt flight said. Its now 20 days before the attacks will happen, A Jordanian is in prison and he tells FBI agents, ‘Something big is going to happen.’ On August 24, 2001, the FBI finally puts 2 of the hijackers on its FBI terror watch list. The next day Khalid al-mihdhar, one of the hijackers who was put on that list, books his seat for American Airlines flight 77, to depart at 8:20 a.m. from Dulles international airport on September 11, 2001. This is the first ticket purchased by the conspirators. Then the other hijackers begin to follow. Mohammed Atta purchase his and another hijacker, then Marwan al-Shehhi buys his. The next day 4 more hijackers reserve their seats for the morning of September 11, 2001. On August 31, 2001, all the hijackers have purchased their tickets except for Hani Hanjor, he purchases his on this day. Hani Hanjor then meets the other hijackers who will be on his flight in Laurel, Maryland they will stay there until the attack occurs. It is Labor day now, The hijackings are 8 days away and all the hijackers have remained undetected. The four hijackers who will operate the planes have all received FAA pilot’s licenses. The FAA also warns the FBI that Zacarias Moussaoui may have been training to hijack a 747 aircraft at JFK airport. The FBI overlooks this threat. With 5 of the 19 hijackers in place, 2 of the flight 11 hijackers check-in at the Park Inn in Boston, they will remain there until Tuesday. The hijackers who will hijack flight 93, fly together from Florida to Newark where they will spend there remaining nights at the Marriott hotel in the airport. 3 days before 9/11 most of the hijackers empty their bank accounts and give it all to Mohammed Atta, this was never explained. Mohammed Atta finally meets up with the rest of his hijackers who are in his plane. On September 9, 2001, al Qaeda assassinates Ahmad Shah Massoud, the FBI, intercepts a message saying: Bin laden is appeasing the Taliban. Now the big one is coming. On September 10, 2001, likely to ease the stress, Mohammed Atta drives to Portland, Main, where they will catch connecting flights in Boston. That night the FBI intercept a message saying, the match begins tomorrow, and Tomorrow is zero day. They will not be translated until September 12.
Now the next day we all know what happens, the hijackers successfully complete their mission. But what they thought would hurt the US or destroy the US, did not it empowered us, it awoke the sleeping giant. Since 9/11 security has tightened, and we have successfully killed Osama bin Laden. So, I leave you with this, 9/11 is one of the darkest days in the US, but did we give up? Did we stop fighting? No, it made us remember, that’s why you think of where you were on 9/11. Because you remember the things that mean the most. 9/11 empowered the US to destroy evil. We will never forget.
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