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9:15 a.m.-9:30 a.m. September 11, 2001: Four Calls Are Made by an Unknown Person on Flight 77, Later Determined to Be Passenger Barbara Olson

Four calls are made from an Airfone on Flight 77 to an unknown number, which, it will later be determined, is the number of Solicitor General Ted Olson’s office at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. This is according to a list supposedly showing all of the calls made from Flight 77 today that the Department of Justice will provide to the 9/11 Commission. The list will be “derived from a study of all phone records from the flight, an examination of the cell phone records of each of the passengers aboard [Flight 77] who owned cell phones, and interviews with those who received calls from the flight, as well as with family members of the other passengers and crew,” according to the 9/11 Commission. It will include four “connected calls to unknown numbers.” These are a call at 9:15 a.m. that lasts 1 minute 42 seconds; a call at 9:20 a.m. that lasts 4 minutes 34 seconds; a call at 9:25 a.m. that lasts 2 minutes 39 seconds; and a call at 9:30 a.m. that lasts 4 minutes 20 seconds. The calls are made by the caller dialing “0” on the Airfone. It is unclear why they dial this number, although an FBI report will suggest that “zero may have been dialed in an attempt to contact a live AT&T operator.” Additionally, according to this report, the caller “may have dialed a three and then another zero before the calls were terminated.” The calls include two calls that Barbara Olson, a passenger on Flight 77, makes to Ted Olson, her husband, according to the 9/11 Commission Report (see (Between 9:15 a.m. and 9:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (Between 9:20 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). However, the 9/11 Commission will be unable to determine which of the four calls these are. Furthermore, the FBI and the Department of Justice will conclude that all four “connected calls to unknown numbers” are communications between Barbara Olson and her husband’s office. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/20/2001; 9/11 Commission, 5/20/2004; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 455; 9/11 Commission, 8/26/2004, pp. 94] And yet Ted Olson will later recall receiving only two calls from his wife this morning. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11/2001; CNN, 9/12/2001] Lori Keyton, the secretary who initially answers them, will similarly describe receiving only two calls from Barbara Olson when she is interviewed by the FBI. Furthermore, she will say that Barbara Olson’s second call is made directly to Ted Olson’s office, rather than reaching it via an operator as the FBI report will indicate happens. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11/2001] And Mercy Lorenzo, the operator who connects Barbara Olson’s first call to Ted Olson’s office, will apparently describe dealing with only one call—not four—from Flight 77 when she is interviewed by the FBI. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11/2001] The 9/11 Commission will in fact note that there is no “direct evidence” showing that the four calls made by an unknown person on Flight 77 were made by Barbara Olson to her husband’s office. Department of Justice and FBI employees who brief the 9/11 Commission on the calls from Flight 77 will say they are “confident that they had identified all completed calls from the flight.” However, the information they provide will make no mention of a series of six to eight collect calls from an unknown caller that were received at Ted Olson’s office at around 9:00 a.m. but failed to connect (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). It will include one call, though, supposedly made by Barbara Olson directly to her husband’s office at 9:18 a.m. that fails to connect. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11/2001; 9/11 Commission, 5/20/2004; 9/11 Commission, 8/26/2004, pp. 94]

Entity Tags: Barbara Olson, US Department of Justice, Lori Lynn Keyton, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mercy Lorenzo, Theodore (“Ted”) Olson

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline


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