- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

President Bush ordered a state of national emergency and mobilization of 35,500 military reservists yesterday, as he rode the wave of growing public support to wage war against those who sent coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States.
The 35,500 troops to be called up first are those trained in "homeland defense," along with medical, engineering and port operations specialists. They will begin learning today whether to deploy to Washington or to New York.
A Pentagon spokesman said 9,000 National Guard troops also were activated.
As memorial services were held throughout the country in a national day of prayer and remembrance, Congress quickly approved $40 billion to assist victims of the attack and to reinforce domestic security and retaliatory military strikes against those responsible for the terrorist acts.
At the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory, investigators learned that the voice recorder from American Airlines Flight 77 was too damaged by heat from the Pentagon fire to yield its final 30 minutes of conversation in the cockpit.
"The cockpit voice recorder from the Pentagon is cooked. They're not getting any useful stuff out of it," a well-placed source said in an interview after FBI agents retrieved the device, which is designed to endure 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
For the second day in a row, the helmeted army of rescuers in New York, hampered by a chilly rain, moved more than 10,000 tons of rubble without finding any more survivors — and few bodies. Almost 5,000 people are known to be missing in the wreckage.
New York City has a Web site (https://63.209.170.9/wtc/search.asp) for people to look for names on the hospital lists.
Technicians with sensitive radio direction finders scanned for broadcast signals from buried cell phones or hand-held wireless devices that might spot survivors' locations.
The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in New York yesterday to provide rest space for rescuers.
Mr. Bush visited the wreckage site yesterday, energizing the workers.
Among other developments:
c The New York Stock Exchange confirmed that it would reopen Monday after its longest shutdown since the Great Depression.
c Thousands of airline flights returned to the skies from some 400 airports under new security restrictions. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport were the only airports in major cities that remained closed.
c Several polls showed 80 percent of the public support Mr. Bush's management of the crisis, with 70 percent backing a military response to the "act of war" that appears to have taken about 6,000.
c The FBI released identities of 19 hijackers killed in Tuesday's assault, all reportedly with some links to ex-Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, identified by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as a suspect who has been harbored as a "guest" of the Afghanistan government.
c The FBI disclosed that some 100 other potential conspirators are on a list not released to the public.
c Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said officials are examining four aspects of flight security: more secure cockpit doors with electronic locks, adding video recorders to the cockpit voice recorder system, increasing the 80-member staff of sky marshals to make the airborne guards more effective and federalizing baggage inspection for weapons in order to put trained professionals at screening locations instead of "entry-level employees working for the low bidder."
Speculation grew that the administration would target Afghanistan with retaliatory military strikes, but Afghan officials rejected the idea that bin Laden was responsible for Tuesday's attacks.
They characterized bin Laden as a poor refugee too insignificant to organize so complex an assault against the United States.
Meanwhile, Afghans were reported fleeing the capital of Kabul to avoid anticipated bombing by the United States.
Gen. Eric Shinseki, U.S. army chief of staff, was asked whether his troops were prepared for action after problems in deploying Apache helicopters to Albania during NATO's bombing campaign of Yugoslavia.
"We'll move, and we'll move with all due haste. We'll get there," he said.
The administration's threat of retaliatory strikes comes as a U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Times that bin Laden's organization reportedly has obtained some type of a nuclear device.
The limited resumption of commercial air travel and relief flights under strict new security procedures increased traffic in the skies without reported incident. The Federal Aviation Administration said 1,700 controlled flights took off before noon yesterday.
U.S. and Canadian airlines were allowed to resume domestic and foreign flights. Other foreign airlines may enter U.S. airspace only after meeting special security rules that differ by country of origin.
The FAA certified more than 400 U.S. airports in compliance with new preflight security rules. No estimate was given on when Reagan Airport might reopen.
Flight data recorders from Flight 77, found in the Pentagon wreckage about 4 a.m. yesterday, and from United Airlines Flight 93, retrieved from the Pennsylvania countryside on Thursday, contained engineering data. The FBI did not immediately reveal the contents.
The cockpit voice recorder from the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was found yesterday, an FBI official told the Associated Press.
Search crews found the plane's second "black box" at about 8:30 p.m., about 25 feet deep into the crater, FBI spokeswoman Linda Vizi said. It was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington.
FBI spokesman Bill Crowley said the recorder appears to be "in fairly good shape," citing descriptions by those who found it.
A source said yesterday that air-traffic controllers spotted the deviations from the flight plans on Tuesday but took no action except to try to find out why the planes went off course.
Rowan Scarborough and Bill Gertz contributed to this report.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide