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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 11, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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best hope that could we survive because the world was already back monarchial. napoleon iii was on the throne and there were no democracies left and lincoln was appealing for that dream that we had to keep the hope alive and so i think that's been a part of our history from the beginning. >> you can watch this and other programs online at ..
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>> i was curious about what happened at the pentagon and wasn't finding anything. when i start to talk to people in finding stories, thought i was going to write an article for a magazine and got to be a lot ends decided to write a book. we have a lot of great stories. i hope you all will enjoy. we are going to review a few things, major a few passages and let you know some of the key point. i will head up to the co-author, rick newman. >> patrick research this and so forth are used if we didn't know each other and i think the end of 2005 when he found his way to my agent who represented me in new york and i just finished writing another book about aviation unit in vietnam. and i was looking for to another project. my agent called me up and say we heard from the sky, he has interesting material about the pentagon.
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would you be interested in taking a look at it? i started flipping through this and i said this is really something. i was covering the pentagon on 9/11. i'm a reporter for u.s. news. and it was my job to cover the pentagon on that day, and i was there for weeks afterward. i never thought about going and asking the firefighters what they saw, or the fbi agents what they saw. and pat who thinks like a firefighter, for better or worse, he was interested in his or look at this from a side angle. so i thought there was a great approach. we found all kinds of things that we just never, you never would have thought about because of course new york overshadowed everything that happened at the pentagon, the scale of the disaster in new york was imponderable. so by the time, by the time people just were adjusting to what had actually happened, they were repairing the pentagon.
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the pentagon was patched up and completely repaired within a year and it was as if, almost nothing had happened. there was not a lot of public controversy about what should we do with the memorial, you know, lingering, should we rebuild? the pentagon just got fixed your so it kind of went out of our consciousness and we are finding, almost have to remind people that there was an attack at the pentagon as well, as in new york on 9/11 and, of course, we're not going to forget about united 93 that crashed. what we want to do is talk about, quickly talk about a few other things that interested us in this story, and we will talk about, read a few passages in the to ask questions, it would be better than probably listening to us. one of the things that interested me is just how much confusion and chaos there was at the beginning.
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nobody knew what was going on. there were eyewitnesses had seen the plane hit the building, but the firefighters didn't know what had happened. they just knew that a plane had crashed and he knew that the pentagon was on fire but they didn't what to do together. they were people inside the pentagon who did even know, they didn't even know there was a problem because the pentagon is so large that on the other side of the building, they barely even felt a shudder. so you had just a plot of chaotic things going on. agencies are racing to the scene. it's unclear who's in charge and where is the command post, nobody knows. so meanwhile, inside the building, of course in the area where the plane hit, the plane hit the western side of the building, and it penetrated about, it penetrated about, through three of the five
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hallways that encircle the building. so by the time this massive fire starts, it's affecting about 40% of the building. in that part of the building it's obviously a huge rescue effort and firefighting effort. so some other things were going on. .com if you want to offer a couple of your thoughts about some interesting points that stood out to you as you're getting started on this and maybe we can just go into a couple of characters in the book. >> what i found most commonly different things that interested us. for me it was the human drama and the heroism. it was the people. i kept hearing about what individual firefighters did, members of the department of defense about how a navy flight surgeon and another naval officer crawled into a hole while group of other people were looking at the same old going it's impossible to crawl in there. these are people with no protective gear. as a matter of fact, commander, commander tarantino, if you
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would simple, this is what he was wearing when he crawled through that hole. to give you an idea. [applause] >> probably doesn't want me pointing them out. other members of the fire department a year. i talk too long ago and earned project were very helpful. also from virginia task force one, the stories these people told me what absently slapped me. and i was like how these people not on good morning america everyday? how are these people not on the nightly news and even though new york was so tragic, it was their stories. that really pulled me in. i think when you read the book you'll see a lot of these stories. we also have fbi agents, i don't want to forget, we had the fbi photographer, in the back. another fbi agent help with evidence collection.
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and as part of bunch more people from arlington as well who are firefighters. i'm not going to mean everyone, but i hope you'll get a chance to talk to some of these people. i will hand it back to rick. >> we both had us holy cow moments. you just forget, you forget your supposed be writing those because you're just so enthralled by this story and you have to wake up and take oh, yeah, what happened next? i'm going to read this story of one guy and outdistances up by explaining, this is a navy seal named craig powell who colleagues described as a paul bunyan like figure. i guess he's about six-foot four, six-foot five. he looks like a recruiting post digital been in the pentagon for a couple days. you just transferred there from under the posting. his office was very close to where the plane hit. so the first thing he did, so his office things fell off the wall and it was kind of like an earthquake happening.
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so the first thing he did was secure all the classified information in the area because he's going to have to basically evacuate. in most burning buildings whether some kind of problem everybody runs out. at the pentagon, some people ran out, some people are closer to what was going on knew that there's a huge problem and they just to return to figure who could help, how could they help, where did they need to go? so great how went out in the hallway. he went one direction. nothing but flames. he slammed the door, went the other direction and try to figure where did you need to go. he knew people are down that hallway. how could he get to those people. so he ends up kind of ends up in an open air service road that runs about halfway through the building. i'm going to read about a page. if this gets too long or too boring, someone can discreetly coughed. to his left, the blast left three big holes.
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he gets the trap people, you know off a run to earlier have been trying to reach were inside those holes. he looked up. one flight up he could see two faces taking bureaucrats where window had been pried loose from the frontier and spock are trying to coax in as much air as possible. in the service would have a dozen people are trying to build a scaffold that could reach the people trapped behind a window. they were not getting very far. hardly anything to build a scuffle with. someone was trying to push trashbin towards the window. look, pal said, by the time you guys build a scaffold they will be toast. he gathered several people around. forma net constructed. above a couple it with you when you on the window working to buy all all the where also the to jump out and escape the fire. biodegrade a big enough open. jump, we will catch you. a petite woman appeared at the window and came to lecture
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jumping off a diving board into a swimming pool, arms and legs together. the moment she jumped each human nets distant critics of the people jumped back. human instinct. and the short-range was extremely difficult to overcome bodily instincts and stand in the path of a heavy object descending upon you. others just didn't seem to want to do. the women came straight down at powell. a psycho woman appeared at the whim. come on, powell shouted. as she claimed that he could see she was very large. oh, man, he said to himself. this is going to suck. and it did. that woman knocked him over, he injured his back and his legs in the process. another woman jumped out without even waiting for him to stand up and he couldn't stand up in time to get her so he just sort of rolled his body into where she was falling enough to break her fall so she didn't land completely smack on the pavement.
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and then he got up and kept walking down the service road. he found this whole where these two navy officers, one of whom was dave tarantino, had just dug underneath a huge flame. if i'm getting this wrong, you can correct me. just trying to go in and rescue people. so some other people go in, a three-star general was there and he said to craig pal, you need to stay in charge out here because we need somebody with a military mindset you can just keep things under control out of the fire he says i've got to get inside. he goes inside. smoke is about, about one foot above the floor. and he thinks what he needs to do is stand inside this hall holding up his hitting like this while other people are trying to pull people out. is pressing on a wire cage, electrical wires are hitting the wire cage and shocking him. he is completely in the middle of this thick black smoke and all he can see, he feels like he's in a towering inferno.
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overhead his strength is finally about to give. he pushes up against the wire cage as hard as he could. flames are the king his face. his body was screaming in pain and occasional starting to droop and grumble. he looked out, expecting to hold them to collapse the second he pulled his arms would he let go and died out of the hole. the building sagged but health. how was crestfallen he didn't have to let go, they could have gotten a few more out. and it was a terrific roar. everything inside both suddenly flared up. the room completely collapse. the entire area erupted in flames. i'm going to read just one more great pal passage because it's always interesting what happens at the real end of the story. so he helped rescue a bunch of people, and he went around the pentagon figure who tried to figure out how else could he help. and finally there's the fire department finally taking charge and he figures there's not much else he can do. so he decided he would go home.
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how was he going to get one? he managed to get on the same he got to work which is get on the bus and ride the bus home. he figured he we get on the same effect would. a colleague dropped him at a nearby transit station where he boarded a bus. the bus was to empty but there were a half-dozen other passengers. he stood out among them. his skin and hair were dark with so he stands as he had been smeared with chocolate. he had cuts and scrapes. black gunk ran out of his nose but everybody stared as he shuffled to a seat moving like an arthritic. no one spoke to him. i would have just loved to be on that bus. see what that guy looks like. as the bus drove off pal gave back at the scene but he could see and buses lined up waiting for their turn to get into the police cars were everywhere.
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at the beginning had just been pentagon people think for themselves doing everything they could. now there were hordes of people swarming the building. this is what america is a great nation he told himself. no one in the world he felt could be doing this better. that's a great story to hear. [applause] >> do you have any? >> sure. make one more quick acknowledgment. when i got started on this project, i've been telling a lot of my friends hey, i'm going to write a book. you get a lot of that's nice, pat, good for you. and a lot of people i still think don't believe it even though my picture is on the jacket. so it was a thrill to do. one of the people the very early on said not a bad idea, what do you need? was the former chief of arlington county, tom pauken 50 just walked in the back to he is wearing a green shirt over here on the right. tom hawkins was the chief of
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arlington county for many years. at the time of 9/11 he was the chief of alexandria since retired. people like you many others mentioned to prepare the region planning and contingency. so glad to hear. thanks for all your help with the book. [applause] >> i'm going to talk about one other part of the story that i thought was just really intrigue me. if someone would interrupt us with some intelligent questions we will stop reading from our book. there was such a conflict between the different missions people have and the pentagon. your firefighters who were there to put out a fire. this is also a crime scene and the war zone. it's also the nation's military had courted. tigers are trying to put out the biggest to any of them had ever seen that the fbi is there to
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collect evidence in trying to keep us all in pristine condition while firefighters are just dropping over parts of the airplane and driving over with fire trucks. vignette inside the pentagon most of the pentagon had evacuated but you had the war planners and operational people in the national military command center who just ate at work. of all days this was not the date they were about to leave their desks. so if firefighters outside in the fire chiefs thought everybody was out of the building they figured shirley they've got some backup plan down the street where they just move the command and control operations of which get in there and fight the fire. that wasn't the case. the then secretary and his top people stayed in the building and the national military command center, which is the main nerve center of the pentagon, beginning to fill with smoke for a while. there was talk inside of having to evacuate. they were worried about carbon monoxide levels and stuff.
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so rumsfeld as we know said we are not leaving this building. he did declare on tv the night of 9/11 the pentagon is open for business. that was news to the fire chiefs for a while. in the middle of the day on 9/11, a colonel from the joint staff went and found fire chiefs out at the command post outside the pentagon. this is what the colonel said to fire chief. we've got to keep this open to do you really want to people in the making decision under the influence of carbon monoxide? the colonel gave him a puzzled look. he continued to carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless he explained it in a hot smoky bar viciously tons of carbon monoxide. one of the first side effects is imaged the wacky things. in house fires people try to get what walking into applause. you want people making those
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decisions? as a taxpayer, i don't. the colonel applause upon and the risks and he asked, if we monitor doesn't change the picture? hominy people do have bikes in one has to have a more than 100 but consider operating on fewer than 50. it to me negotiated and struck in the colonel had been sent out to plead the case that rumsfeld and his staff had already made. he was going to coax them into commands out of the bunker no matter what. besides, the military guys inside the building had a lot of other important things to worry about. they were got a rough compromise. the colonel assured him they were to equip and in place brought up to monitor carbon monoxide levels. the fire department had some spare gear on reserve. air bottles and face pieces. he said let me give you enough breathing apparatus of something goes wrong you can get people out of there. it will give you an hours worth of breathing time. it was a deal. that's how the pentagon state in
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operation on 9/11. >> we would love to your questions. board we will keep reading. >> was the black box recovered from the flight? >> the airplane had two black boxes. these are the data, flight data recorder and cockpit recorder, digital ones, and, of course, they are orange. although they're called black boxes. i think we have somebody who can answer that question better than i. janelle, an fbi photography in the back. again, jim, correct me if i got this from him but i think we got it right. the hunt for black box was pretty important right off the bat because women were, nobody knew what the heck and gone on with his airplane. they did know who the hijackers were, and those black boxes could have told them a lot about that, especially the cockpit voice recorder.
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so for about three days there's a pretty intense hunt for the black boxes. and a member there's mounds of wreckage as high as they can get inside the building. a whole airplane and the contents of 800,000 square feet of office space just plowed in crazy ways. and find i think was on september 14 very early in the morning they were looking at in one area where certain parts of the airplane have a chelated, and i believe jan pulled something out that she was so charged she thought this could only be a piece of garbage or some kind of wreckage that we don't really need and she was walking over to a trash bin when fbi agents that hold on a minute, let me take a look at the. that turned out to be one of the black boxes. and then when they said well, we found that when, so the other what hopefully is nearby because it's in the same area of airplane. they started digging through and they did find the other one.
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one of them was destroyed so they immediately rushed these two headquarters in washington, d.c.. the flight data recorder which tells you the flight path of airplane and different, with the applet have been doing, they salvaged that and are able to reconstruct with good detail exactly the altitude, airspeed and things like that of the airplane, the voice recorder was destroyed so they were not able to reconstruct the transcript of what was going on in the cockpit. that would have been pretty helpful. >> anybody else? >> were there any tapes at the beginning of the major incident? >> we weren't able, we had wonderful cooperation from the fire department, and they did let us listen to the tapes. and i believe rick was the first person to actually transcribe all of the tapes. and it's fascinating to hear, because for instance, the first firefight on the scene to arrive
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from outside the pentagon, derek spector from arlington, is trying desperately to call on the radio and say, everybody knew a plane had crashed another knew for sure where it crashed. he's calling and saying i'm at the pentagon, there's a big hole in the building. the plane into the building and no one can hang because on the radio if you're talking and someone else pushes the button to talk, it can cover up and they can talk over you. everyone was talking over each other. finally, one of the arlington captains stopped and said everybody be quiet. truck 105, tell us what's going on. you can hear the tape where he takes a half a second and very clearly describes what he sees, playing into the pentagon, helipad site. those types -- also, two of the arlington senior firefighters who are so expensive, bob cornwall, chuck gibbs, who are talking about like they're ordering pizza because these guys are such cool characters, been doing this along and you're talking back and forth, back,
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fire over, give me a couple more guys. to listen to them under pressure limit every else is in hysteria was very interesting and fascinating to hear. [inaudible] >> you went back to iraq and you write one over there? >> question was, i got sent back to iraq. it was great to work on a project for nearly three years, and when i finally got someone to sign into the book, a month later i got called up. the big story -- >> remind them you were in the army reserve. >> i got called up unexpectedly and wasn't thrilled. likely a few weeks before, rick had fallen out of the heavens and was there to take over the project. and the big story besides the drop in the bucket that i did, what i could do from iraq was how rick ran with the story back here in the states. he made contact with the fbi. you may contact, continued
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contact with a lot of the fairfax county folks. rick is reported to i was just digging out as i went. he was able to follow a. he did a good project, made it a great book. >> i really enjoyed the book. it's not just a great read but also i think you have done a service, an important chapter in american history. but i'm curious because many people you talk to, what they said in other places, half my opinion, distorted, they thought a missile or the explosions were triggered. i'm curious, as you working on this, were you ever dog by the crowd that is trying to create an alternative to history? >> pat and i have a lot of wired discussions about this, i mean, we agreed. we agree at the end. my approach from the beginning was we need to be aware that
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those people think what they think, and you know, they were probably say we are part of the conspiracy. for the record were not part of the conspiracy. and we do not even are aware of any conspiracy. but we decided we want to make this an argument for reality, or do we just want to tell the story of what happened? so we don't address those theories in the book. and that's very delivered it fits, we're not trying to prove something that did happen for something that didn't happen. we are trying to tell a story, just tell the story of the people who were there. let people make of that what they will. spent a quick point on that is, when you read anything that someone who says a plane did not strike the pentagon, the first question to ask is have those people ever been to the pentagon. where they there? and brinkley come any doubt the
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plane hit pentagon in your mind? commended tarantino? any doubt in your mind? >> no. >> they were there when it happened. do you have got? >> well, i doubt all these people are part of the conspiracy. [laughter] >> where is -- where did the plane debris in the? >> a plane debris as it were. the pictures you see what people say there is no plain to see, it's very selective photographic there's tons of pictures but with tons in the book where there's debris ever. pictures taken from very far away don't pick up pieces of the plane about the size of a book and smaller because what the plaintiff, it was going five miles an hour. the majority of the wreckage was inside the building and then in the fire that was burning over 1000 degrees. it didn't look much like plane debris. people compared to regular plane crashes that when you look at a
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plane crash like a commercial air plane crashing. usually the pilot is trying to save the plane. that was not the case. inc. more of a, cozzi attack on a ship and were too. these people were intentionally trying to destroy the plane, the building and everything else in the way. a completely different situation. look hard at the evidence and there's a lot of good sites out there that kind of debunk the myths as well. [inaudible] on sunday, i don't know whether it was their observation or where they came from the book but they mentioned the remains of the hijackers, i think this is what they said, deeper in the pentagon those remains and the passengers on the assumption the hijackers were in front of the plane and a passenger in the back of the plane. >> as from our book. and that comes from this remarkable work that the fbi did. you know, the fbi never just sort of announced that all of our evidence is now public
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domain. but after the trial ended in 2005, a lot of the evidence they put together the pentagon became public. there's just a remarkable diagram where all the victims were found in the pentagon and when you get into what it took to actually construct that. they couldn't use a gps device inside the building as you could reach the satellites. all the support columns, the officers were all gone so you'd be in there and she didn't know where you were. they would walk in with a floor plan so that they could try, touch okay, this person, we will tag it in this way, this victim, and relocated it. if you look on the floor pan and didn't know where they were. they develop this system where they would find the nearest intact support column, and those
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have been labeled at a point and then they would sort of mark off from their how far from that the victim was found, and then over time develop that into this remarkably detailed diagram about where virtually every, some were not identified, a few, but virtually every victim was found. so that were enabled him to figure out the bodies of the hijackers or the remains of the hijackers were found closer to the outside of the building. in other words, they traveled at the least distance inside the building. i mean, it's believed the passengers were generally huddled in the back of the airplane. and most, i was a majority of the victims who were passengers ended up further into the building. >> i can't imagine there were entire bodies. i wonder if maybe -- >> just because i be glad to talk to you off-line


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