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Murderers onboard Flight #77:
American Airlines Flight 77
World Trade Center
AA Flight 11
AA Flight 77
UA Flight 93 UA Flight 175 Pentagon
Security camera image showing American Airlines Flight 77 (highlighted) just before and after impact.
American Airlines Flight 77 was a morning flight that routinely flew from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), near Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). On September 11, 2001, Flight 77 was hijacked between 08:51 EDT and 08:54 EDT, as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks. On that day, the American Airlines Boeing 757-223, registered N644AA, was piloted by Captain Charles Burlingame and First Officer Dave Charlebois. Just over an hour and fifteen minutes into the flight, it was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, killing 64 on the plane and 125 in the buildings. It was the third airliner to crash that morning, 50 minutes after the first, and 30 minutes after the second
The hijackers were reported to have been:
Hani Hanjour (Believed to be pilot) ; Majed Moqed ; Nawaf al-Hazmi ; Salem al-Hazmi ; Khalid al-Mihdhar
The hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 (all of Saudi Arabian descent) were CAPPS selectees, which required extra screening of their checked bags. Hani Hanjour, Khalid al-Mihdhar, and Majed Moqed were chosen by the CAPPS criteria, while Nawaf al-Hazmi and Salem al-Hazmi were selected because they did not provide adequate identification. They had their checked bags held until they boarded the aircraft. Hani Hanjour, who earned a Commercial Pilot certificate in April 1999, is believed to have piloted the hijacked airplane. The passenger security checkpoint at Dulles International Airport was operated by Argenbright Security, under contract with United Airlines.
8:20: American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 58 passengers and six crew, departs from Washington Dulles International Airport in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, Virginia, for Los Angeles. Five hijackers are aboard.
8:50 to 8:54 (approx.): Hijacking begins on Flight 77.
8:54: Flight 77 deviates from its assigned course, turning south over Ohio.
8:56: The transponder on Flight 77 is turned off and even primary radar contact with the aircraft is lost. During radar blackout Flight 77 turns east, unnoticed by flight controllers. When primary radar information is restored at 9:05, controllers look futilely for Flight 77 west of its previous position. Flight 77 travels undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading due east toward Washington, D.C.
9:24: The FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about the suspected hijacking of Flight 77. The FAA and NORAD establish an open line to discuss Flight 77, and shortly thereafter Flight 93.
9:32: Controllers at the Dulles Terminal Radar Approach Control in Virginia observe “a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed” referring to Flight 77.
9:33 to 9:34: Tower supervisor at Reagan National Airport tells Secret Service operations center at the White House that "an aircraft [is] coming at you and not talking with us," referring to Flight 77. The White House is about to be evacuated when the tower reports that Flight 77 has turned and is approaching Reagan International Airport.
9:35: Based on a report that Flight 77 had turned again and was circling back toward the District of Columbia, the Secret Service orders the immediate evacuation of the Vice President from the White House.
9:37:46: Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon and starts a violent fire. The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices. All 64 people on board are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel.
CAPPS: The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (often abbreviated CAPPS) is a counter-terrorism system in place in the United States air travel industry. The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains a watchlist, pursuant to 49 USC § 114 (h)(2) , of "individuals known to pose, or suspected of posing, a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety." The list is used to pre-emptively identify terrorists attempting to buy plane tickets or board planes traveling in the United States, and to mitigate perceived threats.
CAPPS systems rely on what is known as a Passenger Name Record, often abbreviated PNR. When a person books a plane ticket, certain identifying information is collected by the airline: full name, address, etc. This information is used to check against some data store (e.g., a TSA No-Fly list, the FBI ten most wanted fugitive list, etc.) and assign a terrorism "risk score" to that person. High risk scores require the airline to subject the person to extended baggage and/or personal screening, and to contact law enforcement if necessary.
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