On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, one of George W. Bush’s most senior advisers has shared with the public handwritten notes which reveal the chaos and disorder in the hours which followed the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Bush’s press secretary at the time, Ari Fleischer, shared with Yahoo News a series of the bedlam fuelled notes.
The notes deal with how Bush is going to ‘get the bastards’ behind the attack and how the people around Bush dealt with threats against Air Force One and their families.
The first note casually reads: ‘Karl (Rove) tells POTUS about first crash while POTUS is online at school’. However, the interesting thing here is that the above note was time-stamped at 8:45am, a full minute before the first attack actually happened.
Then there is an hour-long pause before the next note, written at 9:45 when the president was on board Air Force One, reading:
Sounds like we have a minor war going on here. I heard about the Pentagon. We’re at war. That’s what we’re paid for boys. We’re going to take care of this, when we find out who did this they are not going to like me as president.
Somebody is going to be sorry.
35 minutes later, there is another note written which gives Bush’s approval to shoot down any other jets which have been hijacked and are en-route to a potential target.
Then, at 10:32, Fleischer wrote of how Air Force One had been inundated with false threats, writing: “Angel is next.”
Half an hour later, once Bush had found out that his family were in a safe location, he decided to put the U.S. into DEFCON 3 – a state of national security.
At 12:25, three hours after the first attack, Bush held a conference call with the top military officials in the U.S, before saying to Dick Cheney: “I think it’s important 4 ppl 2 see the gov is functioning because TV shows our nation has been blasted and bombed. Gov is not chaotic. It’s functioning smoothly We’re going 2 get the bastards.”
Bush then said to those around him:
I can’t wait to find out who did it. It’s going to take a while + we’re not going 2 have a little slap on the wrist crap.
Shortly afterwards, Bush spoke with the Secretary of Defence and said: “Wow, it was an American airline that hit the Pentagon.”
This was followed by another inaccurate report of a potential threat, claiming that there was a ‘high speed object heading 4 POTUS ranch’.
The president then said that he wanted to go home, before adding: “This administration will spend whatever is necessary 2 find, hunt down, and destroy whoever did this.”
Growing incredibly angry and frustrated, Bush told his aids: “We need 2 get back to Wash. We don’t need some tinhorn terrorist to scare us off. The Am ppl want 2 know where their dang P is.”
Bush then attended a security briefing at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska where a statement was issued before the banks and federal reserve were opened again.
Later on, the president called his wife to tell her he was coming home.
Personally, I can’t believe that 9/11 was 15 years ago.
It’s a day which changed the course of the world and scorched the Earth with one of the darkest days in history.
Our thoughts go out to the 2,996 people who lost their lives that day and to the millions who were affected across the globe.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.