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Coffee, Cigarettes, and the Fog of War: Air Force One on 9/11

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One of the untold stories of 9/11 has been a comprehensive telling of what it was like for the President, his staff, the Secret Service, members of the military, guests and the traveling press corps who were aboard Air Force One that day. Bits and pieces have come out. For example, Chief of Staff Andrew Card talked at some length about being caught in the middle of President Bush’s insistence he return to Washington, DC and the Secret Service’s insistence that either the sky or the hardened bunkers at U.S. Strategic Command outside Omaha were the safest place for him to be for on the Discovery Network’s  The President;s Gatekeepers.

In We’re the Only Plane in the Sky, Politico talked to over two dozen of the people on Air Force One that day, as well as Air Force officers and pieced together a narrative that uses only the words of those who were there. The voices include people from Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff, to the commanders of Barksdale and Offutt Air Force Base where Air Force One stopped to refuel, to the White House stenographer tasked with keeping the official record of his scheduled appearance, to the Air Force pilot who took the presidential plane to the edge of its performance envelope, to members of the same Air National Guard unit President Bush had once served in, who escorted Air Force One from over the Gulf of Mexico back to Washington DC. – READ MORE

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