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(9:33 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Dulles Airport Supervisor Notifies Secret Service of Aircraft Approaching the White House

A supervisor at Washington Dulles International Airport contacts the Secret Service at the White House and informs it that an unidentified aircraft is heading toward Washington at a high rate of speed. (Federal Aviation Administration 9/17/2001 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 7/22/2003 pdf file) Air traffic controllers at the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) at Dulles Airport have recently noticed this aircraft on their radar screens (see (Between 9:25 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 9:32 a.m. September 11, 2001). Its identity and type are currently unknown, but it is later determined to be Flight 77. (Federal Aviation Administration 9/17/2001 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 9, 25)
Supervisor Calls White House over Hotline - The Dulles TRACON has a direct phone line to the Secret Service at the White House. After a controller alerts him to the suspicious aircraft, John Hendershot, the operations supervisor, calls the Secret Service over this line. (9/11 Commission 7/22/2003 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 12/22/2003 pdf file) He says, “We have an unidentified, very fast-moving aircraft inbound toward your vicinity, eight miles west.” (News 10/24/2001)
Supervisor Uncertain about Response - Hendershot is unsure what response his call elicits. He will tell the 9/11 Commission, “I guess the operator picked it up,” and say that he assumed the information he provided was relayed to the relevant people at the White House. He will also tell the Commission that, following his call, “no one from Dulles tower was talking to the White House during the minute-minute countdown concerning the unknown primary approaching from the west.” (9/11 Commission 12/22/2003 pdf file) A supervisor at Washington’s Reagan National Airport also contacts the Secret Service around this time, to notify it of the approaching aircraft (see (9:33 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Federal Aviation Administration 9/17/2001 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 9) But, while the White House is alerted, personnel at Dulles Airport will tell the 9/11 Commission that there is no discussion about notifying the US Capitol of the unidentified aircraft. (9/11 Commission 7/22/2003 pdf file)

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