WASHINGTON - Video images of a hijacked airliner slamming into the Pentagon taken by two security cameras on September 11 were released for the first time by the US government today (see link to video below).
The video, released by the government in conjunction with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Judicial Watch legal activist group, was a longer, more complete version of still-frame images that were leaked to the news media in 2002.
The front of the hijacked Boeing 757 can be seen entering one video frame, with a massive explosion and orange fireball erupting upon impact with the Pentagon, followed by a plume of smoke.
US authorities have said five al Qaeda hijackers seized control of American Airlines Flight 77, a flight from Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia bound for Los Angeles, and flew it into the Pentagon.
Killed in the crash were 125 people inside the Pentagon, 59 passengers and crew members and the five hijackers.
It was one of four commercial planes hijacked that day. Others crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. About 3,000 people were killed in the 2001 attacks.
Judicial Watch said the Pentagon told the group it would release the images "now that the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui is over." Judicial Watch said the government previously had refused to release the video because it was "part of an ongoing investigation" involving Moussaoui, sentenced this month to life in prison for conspiracy in the September 11 attacks.
"We fought hard to obtain this video because we felt that it was very important to complete the public record with respect to the terrorist attacks of September 11," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. "Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77."
Various claims have circulated that a commercial jet did not strike the Pentagon, but rather a missile or something else.
The Pentagon posted the images at the link below.
- REUTERSBy Will Dunham