Image Of Plane's Nosecone Visible In New Video Clip
American Airlines Flight 77 is, in a sense, the "lost" aircraft
of 9/11. The images of the two 767s striking the World Trade Center
towers are burned indelibly into the minds of everyone who watched
that morning unfold on their television screens, while the events
aboard United Flight 93 -- which crashed in a field in Shanksville,
PA -- have recently been chronicled on film.
Before Tuesday, however, there were few visual records available
on the final moments of Flight 77, the Boeing 757 that crashed into
the Pentagon that awful morning. Still images previously released
by the Pentagon showed little clear evidence of an aircraft
striking the Defense Department headquarters... leading conspiracy
theorists to postulate that it wasn't an aircraft at all that
struck the western wall of the Pentagon, but a missile -- traveling
at such high speeds as to be nearly invisible to the security
cameras that captured the destruction.
Such conspiracy-minded people may not be sated by the release
Tuesday of another video the Pentagon says clearly shows the
aircraft, literally, the moment before it impacted the
Pentagon. However, the newly released footage -- obtained by the
government watchdog site Judicial Watch after a Freedom of
Information Act request -- does appear to show the image of an
aircraft's nose just before a fireball erupts within the walls of
That image is distorted by speed, and the half-second time lapse
of the video capture -- which, some will likely say, makes the
image appear more like, well, a missile. Others, however --
including Judicial Watch -- say the newly-released video (available
at the FMI link below) clearly proves it was an airliner that
struck the Pentagon.
"We fought hard to obtain this video because we felt that it was
very important to complete the public record with respect to the
terrorist attacks of September 11," said Judicial Watch President
Tom Fitton to Fox News. "Finally, we hope that this video will put
to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight
77. As always, our prayers remain with all those who suffered as a
result of those murderous attacks."
Tom Bortner, who survived the attack on the Pentagon, says he
thinks the speed the plane was traveling at when it struck the
building made it impossible for security cameras to catch a better
image of the airliner.
"I think it's conclusive that plane hit the Pentagon and I don't
think the tape really adds or detracts from that," Bortner
The road to getting the tape released was not an easy one.
According to the group, Judicial Watch first filed the FOIA request
in December 15, 2004... "seeking all records pertaining to
September 11, 2001 camera recordings of the Pentagon attack from
the Sheraton National Hotel, the Nexcomm/Citgo gas station,
Pentagon security cameras and the Virginia Department of
Transportation." The Department of Defense admitted in a January
26, 2005 letter that it possessed a videotape responsive to
Judicial Watch's request.
However, the Pentagon refused to release the videotape because
it was, "part of an ongoing investigation involving Zacarias
Moussaoui." Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on February 22, 2006
arguing that there was "no legal basis" for the Defense
Department's refusal to release the tape.
The watchdog group then filed a lawsuit in February 2006,
maintaining the government had "no legal basis" to withhold the
tape. As the lawsuit was being debated, Moussaoui was sentenced to
life in prison -- removing the government's excuse for withholding