New Photos Show Attack on Pentagon

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By Christina Pino-Marina Staff Writer
Thursday, March 7, 2002; 5:46 PM

A series of five photos obtained Thursday by news organizations shows the first available images of the Pentagon as a plane hijacked by terrorists slammed into the building the morning of Sept. 11.

The photos, which depict a fiery explosion on the building's northwest face, are each dated Sept. 12. Officials say the date may reflect when the images were catalogued by investigators since they are not the actual date of the attack.

CNN first obtained the images and broadcast them Thursday afternoon. Reporter Jamie McIntyre said the photos were captured by a camera at security checkpoint on the grounds surrounding the Pentagon. A bright orange fireball is visible in the photographs but the hijacked American Airlines plane is not clearly visible.

The photos, taken by the camera positioned north of the section of the Pentagon, cover a span of four one-hundredths of a second. The first photo shows a small, blurry, white object near the upper right corner possibly the plane just a few feet above the ground. The second shows a white glow immediately after the impact. In the three remaining photos, a mountain of orange fire and black smoke rises above the building.

Officials from the Pentagon said the photos were not released officially by the Department of Defense. A Pentagon spokeswoman could not verify that they came from surveillance cameras.

"The Pentagon has not released any video or any photos from security cameras from the terrorist attack of Sept. 11," said Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin.

A spokeswoman at the Department of Justice, which reviews taped and photographed evidence obtained by federal security cameras, said she could not comment on whether the photos are legitimate, adding that the photos "were not disseminated by the FBI or the Department of Justice."

At the Pentagon, 189 people, including the crew, passengers and five hijackers aboard American Airlines flight 77, were killed in the attack. In addition to those killed at the Pentagon, more than 2,500 people have been confirmed dead in the World Trade Center attacks in New York.

McIntyre said during a CNN broadcast that the network has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for photos and a video of the attack taken from another security checkpoint. The photos, he said, became available from another source before government officials responded to the request.

According to the Associated Press, the images were made available to law enforcement to aid in the investigation. The attack happened at about 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, but officials said the dates and times shown on the photos were added the day after the attack, when they may have been catalogued for investigative purposes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.