8/16/2005

Daily Kos: FAA audiotape record of 9-11, was withheld, "cut up" into pieces

"FAA audiotape record of 9-11, was withheld, 'cut up' into pieces
by joan reports
Tue Aug 16th, 2005 at 09:08:15 CDT

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune
As reported last May by NY Newsday and AP, links below

On September 11, a couple of hours after the planes struck the Trade Center, six air traffic controllers at the Ronkonkoma, Long Island, NY air traffic control center made a 1-hour long tape that recounted the events that morning.

In November 2001, manager Mike McCormick withheld from the 'accident package' to the FAA that very tape.

Then, between December and February, another manager cut that tape into small pieces and distributed them into several trash bins.

Though this story briefly surfaced and got some print coverage in May last year, including page 2 of the Washington Post, it disappeared under other stories, including the crescendo of accusations and recriminations over the Abu Graib tortures – and this was not picked up by national broadcasters.

John McCain ordered up an Inspector General report by DoT to reveal FAA cooperation with the 911 inquiry. He also played with the idea of a hearing, but then thought better of it. Details after the flip.

* joan reports's diary :: ::
*

The manager who held back the Ronkonkoma tape, Mike McCormick, later went to Iraq to re-establish air control operations there at the time this story saw print. McCormick is a former marine who gave the order at 9:04 am to close NY airspace.

Here's the gist:

* The supervisor cut the tape, recorded by 6 air traffic controllers a couple of hours after the attacks, into small pieces and threw them away -- in multiple trash cans --
at the N.Y. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, Long Island, NY.

* The 9-11 commission tried to get access to the FAA tape after seeing mention of it on an evidence log.
It couldn't get access.

* John McCain asked for an Inspector General report at the Dept. of Transportation, DoT, to report on the FAA's cooperation (-or non-cooperation).

The IG report led to these articles in May 2004 and the discovery of the tape's destruction; the destruction was 'not intentional,' says DoT.

* also quoted from the IG report:
'We were told that nobody ever listened to, transcribed or duplicated the tape,' said the inspector general.

--> 'When one of the six controllers asked to listen to the tape in preparing her written statement, the quality assurance manager told her that the tape was not meant for anyone to hear.' - see end of the 2nd posted article, Newark Star-Ledger, for the excerpted quote.

Tape of 9/11 controllers was destroyed
By Leslie Miller, Associated Press Writer | May 7, 2004

You can look over an AP writeup of the story.

There is also info to look over in the Washington Post reporting of the story.

So, do you think the handling of this evidence represented a simple accomodation to labor union concerns? Or was there something troubling on the tape.

Daily Kos: FAA audiotape record of 9-11, was withheld, "cut up" into pieces:

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