US archive reveals White House’s immediate reaction to 9/11 attacks (UNSEEN PHOTOS)
The US National Archives has finally released pictures showing the tense atmosphere which gripped the White House on September 11, 2001, following the attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center.
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by coordinating producer for Kirk Documentary Group Colette Neirouz Hanna was acknowledged by the US National Archives on Friday. The photos of the scenes which evolved after US senior officials learned about the terror attacks have been made public nearly fourteen years later.
In the pictures, the faces of Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten reveal shock and grief.
The never-before-released photograph was taken in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), where Vice President Cheney gathered with senior staff to discuss the unfolding situation.
The pictures, taken by the vice president’s staff photographer, show Dick Cheney in his office captivated by the tragedy, which was unfolding live on TV.
President George W. Bush made his way to a secure bunker buried beneath the East Wing of the White House for a briefing after cutting short his visit to a Florida school. It was in the bunker that he made preparations for addressing the nation.
PEOC was constructed to withstand a nuclear hit, and during the first hours after the attacks, senior staff were taken there to monitor all the developments from underground.
While the Bush administration responded to the tragedy, Cheney appeared deep in thought.
On September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people died in a series of suicide terrorist attacks, conducted by members of the international terrorist group Al-Qaeda, who hijacked four airplanes and then crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and a field in Shanksville.