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Context of '(After 9:59 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Counterterrorism ‘Tsar’ Clarke Orders Securing of Buildings, Harbors, and Borders'

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Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is told in private by Dale Watson, the head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division: “We got the passenger manifests from the airlines. We recognize some names, Dick. They’re al-Qaeda.” Clarke asks, “How the f_ck did they get on board then?” Watson replies: “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, friend. CIA forgot to tell us about them.” As they are talking about this, they see the first WTC tower collapse on television. (Clarke 2004, pp. 13-14) Some hijacker names, including Mohamed Atta’s, were identified on a reservations computer over an hour earlier (see (Shortly After 8:32 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

Some time after the first WTC tower collapse, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke orders all landmark buildings and all federal buildings in the US evacuated. He also orders all harbors and borders closed. (Clarke 2004, pp. 14-15) The Sears Tower in Chicago begins evacuation around 10:02 a.m. Other prominent buildings are slower to evacuate. (Ottawa Citizen 9/11/2001)

More prominent buildings in Washington begin evacuation. The United Nations building in New York City evacuates first; many federal buildings follow later. (CNN 9/12/2001; New York Times 9/12/2001) Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke apparently began arranging these evacuations a short time before this. (Clarke 2004, pp. 14-15)

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