9/11: How US forces made critical mistake leaving them 'unprepared for attack'

THE terrible consequences of the 9/11 terror attacks could have been avoided if US forces had not been "unprepared", audio recordings have revealed.

One of the deadliest attacks in American history took place 18 years ago, on September 11, organised by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. Four American passenger aeroplanes were hijacked. Two crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and one crashed into the US Department of Defence, the Pentagon. The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11 (AA11), crashed at 8.46am into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre while travelling at a staggering 466mph. A flight attendant did warn the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through an airphone only five minutes after the terrorists had taken control of the plane of the hijack.

However, it was another 27 minutes before two fighter jets were given orders to scramble and deter the terrorists – only 40 seconds later, the plane crashed into the World Trade Centre.

This delay was exacerbated by the confused communication between Boston Air Traffic Control and the military.

When a controller from Boston Air Traffic Control was instructed to break protocol and call NEADS (North East Air Defence Sector) directly to ask for assistance in deterring AA11, all the military personnel were expecting to go on a training exercise.

Speaking in 2012 Amazon Prime documentary, ‘9/11 Voices From The Air’, controller Joseph Cooper said: “When I gave [the employee] that information, it appeared he didn’t believe me because he asked if it was real-time or not.”

The twin towers of the World Trade Centre

The twin towers of the World Trade Centres both collapsed following the terror attacks of 9/11 (Image: GETTY)

The twin towers of the World Trade Centre

Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the 9/11 attacks (Image: GETTY)

Additionally, the two forces do not speak in the same jargon, so could not successfully understand the gravity of the situation and locate the aircraft.

Another controller Colin Scoggins spoke to an identification technician within NEADS, but in the documentary he said: “I kept telling them it was a primary target but during that time in the military and the FAA that word probably had two different meanings.

“They still want to know what the code is and I’m trying to explain that there is no code and that they need to pick up this primary target.”

As a result, the fighter planes could not be scrambled because they did not know where they were going. 

READ MORE: Donald Trump and Melania remember those lost in 9/11 in a minute's ...

The twin towers of the World Trade Centre

Many died in the years following the terror attack as a result of the toxic dust released by the buildings' collapse (Image: GETTY)

The jets were held on the Tarmac while the military tried to decide the exact coordinates for their destination.

Mr Scoggins added: “[There was] a lot of frustration because we were trying to tell them where the aircraft was and they just couldn’t identify it.”

When the fighter jets did finally leave the ground, it was too late. 

The first passenger plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre’s North Tower seven minutes earlier. The plane contained 20,000 gallons of jet fuel and struck the 80th floor of the 110 story skyscraper.

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The Pentagon, Washington DC

The Pentagon after a hijacked aeroplane collided with the building in the 9/11 attacks (Image: GETTY)

The Pentagon, Washington DC

All the passengers on board the plane died when it collided with the Pentagon, as did several Pentagon personnel inside (Image: GETTY)

At least 100 people were then trapped and forced to jump to their deaths to avoid the fire and smoke coming from the site of the collision.

Only 18 minutes later, United American Lines flight 175 collided with the 60th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Centre. 

It collapsed 56 minutes after the initial impact. Half an hour later, the North Tower fell too.

It was only after the second plane’s impact that the NEADS realised the first incident was not a freak accident and the US was actually under attack.

Fighter planes then continued to New York rather than the country’s capital, while two more passenger planes were hijacked and flown to the country’s capital, Washington. 

One collided with the Pentagon, killing the 64 people on board and 125 employees working within the building. Air defence jets were still 29 minutes away from the capital at that point.

Another plane, United 93, was taken over by passengers and driven into a field in Pennsylvania while travelling at 583 mph. 

As the fighter jets had expected further attacks to come to buildings in New York, Washington had been left defenceless.

2,996 people died in total in the four coordinated terror attacks and more than 6,000 others were injured, with many subsequent deaths over the following years caused by toxic dust.

As the 18th anniversary of the event looms, President Donald Trump is expected to attend the memorial held at the Pentagon this week to pay tributes to all those who died.