- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 26, 2002

The relatives of the 44 passengers and crew killed September 11 in Pennsylvania in the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 will be allowed to hear the plane's cockpit recordings during a single, private listening session next month.
The highly unusual decision by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III came yesterday, Bureau officials said, after requests from the family members to hear what happened after some of the passengers rushed the hijackers with the cry "Let's roll."
The single, private session has tentatively been scheduled for April 18 in Princeton, N.J.
Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa., had departed earlier in the day from Newark, N.J., for San Francisco. The aircraft apparently was diverted by four hijackers Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Ahmed Alnami and Ziad Samir Jarrah and headed toward Washington when it went down.
One of the Flight 93 passengers, Todd Beamer, reportedly led a group of passengers against the terrorists, telling the men: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."
The 32-year-old Oracle Inc. executive from Hightstown, N.J., and the others are being credited with foiling hijackers bent on crashing the Boeing 757 into what authorities said might have been a second target in Washington, perhaps the Capitol or the White House.
A GTE supervisor, Lisa D. Jefferson, had talked with Mr. Beamer for about 13 minutes before the plane crashed and heard his last comments. Mr. Beamer told Miss Jefferson that he and others on the plane had decided they would not be pawns in the hijackers' suicide plot.
Miss Jefferson told him about the other hijackings, and Mr. Beamer made her promise to call his wife and their two boys, David, 3, and Andrew, 1.
Others who placed cellular-phone calls from the plane were: Jeremy Glick, 31, a sales manager for a technology firm; Thomas Burnett Jr., 38, a California businessman; and Mark Bingham, 31, a former college rugby player from California. Mr. Beamer mentioned Mr. Glick by his first name in the call to Miss Jefferson.
Although it's not yet clear what Mr. Beamer, Mr. Glick and the others were able to do, they are being hailed as heroes for forcing the plane down in a remote area about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has praised the Flight 93 passengers as heroes "who sacrificed themselves in a field in Pennsylvania so terrorists would not succeed in striking Washington a second time on September 11." He called their actions "the most dramatic of the heroic acts" of September 11 and its aftermath. President Bush closed a nationally televised address in November with the "let's roll" line.
Alice Hoglan, Mr. Bingham's mother, told the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported that the cockpit recordings would be played for family members, that Mr. Mueller did not believe they would be consoled by it, "but it is like something you have to do I need to get clarity and perhaps hear my son's voice."
Deena Burnett, whose husband, Tom Burnett, called her from the airplane and said he and some other passengers were going to try to take back control of the jet, told the newspaper she was informed she would be able to listen to the recording and ask questions before the FBI would play it a second time.


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