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(Shortly Before 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001: E-mail Informs Pentagon Staff that Alert Level Is Still ‘Normal’

Peter Murphy.Peter Murphy. [Source: Gerry J. Gilmore]Peter Murphy, the counsel to the commandant of the Marine Corps, is in his office on the fourth floor of the Pentagon’s outer E Ring, watching the CNN coverage of the attacks in New York. Having seen what happened, Murphy had asked Robert Hogue, his deputy counsel, to check with their administrative clerk, Corporal Timothy Garofola, on the current security status of the Pentagon. Yet despite what has happened in New York, Garofola has reportedly “just received an e-mail from the security manager to all Department of Defense employees that the threat condition remained ‘Normal.’” Garofola passes this information to Hogue. As Hogue is stepping into Murphy’s office to relay the message to him, there is a tremendous explosion as the Pentagon is hit. (Allison 11/2001; Bhatti 9/11/2002; Dwyer 8/3/2003) Reportedly, John Pugrud—the deputy chief of the Defense Protective Service, which guards the Pentagon—is finally about to pass on an instruction to raise the threat level at this time, when the Pentagon is hit (see 9:37 a.m. September 11, 2001). (Goldberg et al. 2007, pp. 152) The aircraft crashes two floors below and just yards to the right of Murphy’s office. Fortunately, neither he nor any of the men with him are hurt, and they all manage to make it safely outside. (Gilmore 8/16/2002)

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