The 911 Mystery Plane

On September 11 2001, as the eyes of the nation were focused on the gruesome events at the World Trade Center, the networks interrupted their coverage in New York with a breaking story from Washington. A large plane had just been sighted over the White House. Exactly when it first appeared is not certain, but the reports aired at about the time of the pentagon strike, or just before. Witnesses who saw the mystery plane say it circled over Washington. CNN’s Senior White House correspondent John King saw it while standing in Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House. King reported live that “about 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don’t see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky.”[1]

Kate Snow, another CNN correspondent, was standing two blocks from the Capitol when she saw the plane. Snow mentioned it on-air, adding that a security guard told her it was responsible for the decision to evacuate the seat of government.[2] In his book Against All Enemies, counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clark mentions that the decision to evacuate the White House was made after a warning from the Secret Service about the approach of an unidentified aircraft.[3] Was this the mystery plane? ABC, NBC and FOX News picked up the story on 9/11. CNN actually filmed the mysterious plane as it flew over the Capitol, but, unfortunately, it was too far away to identify.

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