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Context of '(9:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001: ‘Experienced Combat Arms Officers’ at Pentagon Think a Bomb Has Exploded There'

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Federal District Court Judge Lacey Collier rules that Florida must count overseas absentee ballots even if they lack a postmark as required by Florida Election Code 101.62 (see November 15-17, 2000). (Leip 2008) On November 20, Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth, a Democrat and the chairman of the Gore campaign in Florida, said that those ballots should be counted. (National Journal 11/9/2000; Whitman et al. 12/13/2000)

A group of Army officers at the Pentagon initially thinks that a bomb has gone off in their building when it is attacked. Army Major Craig Collier and his colleagues are in their office on the second floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, about 200 feet from where the building is hit. Collier will later recall: “[T]he building jolted and we heard a muffled boom, then a rumble.… All of my peers in the area are experienced combat arms officers, and we quickly agreed that it sounded and felt like a bomb.” (Goldberg et al. 2007, pp. 26) Numerous other Pentagon employees also initially think a bomb has gone off, and apparently only a few guess a plane has hit the place (see (9:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

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