Ari Fleischer shares firsthand take on day after 9/11, including chilling message from Walter Reed physician

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For years former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer has commemorated the Sept. 11 terror attacks by “live-tweeting” the historical events of that day.

Fleischer, who was serving under then-President George W. Bush on the day of the attacks, has through these tweets helped provide the American people with an insight into what transpired behind the scenes on that tragic day.

This year he was unable to continue the tradition because he wanted to spend the day at Ground Zero, given as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Thankfully, he did however have a chance to briefly speak with Fox News and offer them some new revelations that they could then publish to their audience. Except this time, the revelations pertained to the day after Sept. 11th.

One such revelation was when that happened when he accompanied then-President Bush to Walter Reed Medical Center to check up on those who’d been wounded when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west wall of the U.S. Pentagon.

“When we walked in, the head physician said to President Bush, ‘I wish we had more patients to show you.’ Because most people died, there were very few wounded in the attack on the Pentagon,” Fleischer recalled.

Indeed, all 64 aboard the plane were killed, as were 125 within the Pentagon during the attack.

“The president’s trip to the Pentagon that day, the moving nature of going to the Pentagon and one scene that still sticks out in my mind, is the president went there and a giant American flag was unfurled at the Pentagon,” Fleischer continued.

“We’re seeing the mortuary workers in their white suits covered all white, still dealing with finding bodies. This is how fresh and vivid everything was still, one day after September 11.”

The flag unfurling tradition continues to this day.

According to Fleischer, the 12th began on a horrifying note.

“It began with a senior staff meeting, where Andy Card, the chief of staff, warned everybody how deadly serious this is — that [the] CIA had concluded it wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when a second wave would take place,” he said.

A second wave never materialized, though allegedly not because of a lack of desire.

“Al Qaeda had planned to attack Los Angeles’ tallest building in the months after Sept. 11 as part of a second wave of strikes that was never carried out,” the Los Angeles Times reported in 2004.

“Two law enforcement sources said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the former operations chief for Al Qaeda captured last March, reportedly told his interrogators that the Library Tower — now known as the U.S. Bank Tower — was targeted along with Chicago’s Sears Tower.”

Mohammed told interrogators that the plan had been to carry out all the attacks on Sept. 11th, but because of logistical concerns, it was broken into two parts (or waves).

It’s not clear though why the second wave never materialized, though some suspect he’d been scared off by the massive security implementations that were established after the original attacks.

Continuing his remarks to Fox News, Fleischer said that the atmosphere at the White House had transformed overnight.

“Physically, the White House was a different place. Instead of places at the entrance where there was one Secret Service agent, there were now two. They had doubled. There were agents at various portals,”  he said.

“Secret Service agents who normally had their handguns in holsters at the belt where you couldn’t see them, now carried long guns out and visible inside the West Wing. That was just a shock to me. I saw that on September 12.”

It took years for the atmosphere to return to a new “normal” both in the White House and across the nation. To this day, many of the same security measures established after the attacks remain active, to the point that those who were born after the attack would be awed if they knew what airports were live back in the day.

“There was security screening, but it wasn’t anywhere near as intrusive. There were no long checkpoint lines. Passengers and their families could walk right to the gate together, postponing goodbye hugs until the last possible moment. Overall, an airport experience meant far less stress,” the Associated Press notes.

“That all ended when four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. The worst terror attack on American soil led to increased and sometimes tension-filled security measures in airports across the world, aimed at preventing a repeat of that awful day.”

For more revelations from Fleischer, check out his 2020 thread below:

Vivek Saxena

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