What I Heard LAX Security Officials Say During the 9/11 Attacks
Charles E. Lewis
Although I was no longer employed at LAX on September 11, 2001, I had worked there until about two months before as the Quality Control Manager for Kiewit Pacific Construction on the Taxiway “C” project. A large part of my work involved security in the Air Port Operations, or APO (but now called the “Airport Operations Area,” or “AOA”), which is where the planes are. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I listened with great interest to LAX Security officials in the APO discussing the attacks and trying to get more information.
“LAX Security” involves the Los Angeles World Airport Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and sometimes the FBI and/or the California Highway Patrol. I can, incidentally, testify that LAX Security performed very professionally on 9/11. Despite extreme pressure, confusion, and fear (they had received information that LAX was a target), they executed the emergency procedures flawlessly.
After describing what I heard while listening to LAX Security, I will suggest ways in which my account could be corroborated.
On the morning of 9/11, I was working as Deputy Inspector representing the City of LA Building and Safety Department for the seismic retrofit of the LA Hilton Towers Hotel, only a few minutes by car from where I had worked at LAX. When I realized, after the second strike on the WTC, that the country was under attack, I decided that I should go to the APO, because I was one of only a few persons who would know how to fix certain parts of the new security systems if problems developed. Especially crucial were the systems at Guard Post II, for which I had managed the design changes and construction. So, after telling the workers to leave (because of my fear that the hotel might be struck) and informing Hilton Security of my order, I rushed to LAX Guard Post II. Arriving at about 6:35 AM (PT), I explained my purpose for being there to the Security Guards. I then heard some very interesting things.
As on other days, there was “chatter” on LAX Security walkie-talkies and I could easily hear what Security was saying when they were outside the guard shack (they would go in and out, but they were mainly outside). On some of the walkie-talkies, I could hear both sides of the conversations; on others only one. I do not know who was at the other end of the walkie-talkies, but I assumed that it was LAX Security dispatch or command.
At first, LAX Security was very upset because it seemed to Security that none of the FAA’s Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) tracking the hijacked airliners had notified NORAD as required.
More chatter revealed that ATCs had notified NORAD, but that NORAD had not responded, because it had been “ordered to stand down.”
This report made Security even more upset, so they tried to find out who had issued that order. A short time later the word came down that the order had come “from the highest level of the White House.” Security was puzzled and very upset by this and made attempts to get more details and clarification, but these were not forthcoming while I was still there.
Another piece of information that I heard, shortly after my arrival, was that the Pentagon had been “hit by a rocket.” It’s possible that the word was “missile,” although I’m quite certain it was “rocket.” I was, in any case, quite surprised when I later got home and learned that the media were reporting that an airliner had hit the Pentagon. There was also a radio station that I understood to be “LAX Radio” (or something like that), on which the following was heard: There were 11 planes and 11 targets, but at the time only 10 of the targets were mentioned: the WTC; the Pentagon; the White House; the Capitol; Camp David; the Sears Tower; the Space Needle; the Trans America Bldg.; LAX; and Air Force One—“if it could be found.”
This station also reported that two fighter jets had been scrambled and had successfully shot down a hijacked airliner over Pennsylvania. The point of deployment of the fighter jets was also mentioned, but I can’t remember the name of the military base.
Points of origin mentioned included Newark, Atlanta and other locations, but it was confusing to me, because I couldn’t determine if these were points of origin for the hijacked planes or the fighter jets being scrambled. Unfortunately, the names of these airports were not familiar to me or it would have been easier for me to remember them.
There are several ways in which my account might be corroborated:
1. Videos from LAX Security cameras, assuming they have been retained unchanged, would substantiate my presence in the APO that morning.
2. I am well known to the officials in the Engineering Department of Los Angeles World Airports. They would surely testify that I am extremely honest to the point of being obsessed with absolute truth—a characteristic that was reflected in my reports when I was the Quality Control Manager, representing the contractors, for the Taxiway “C” project, 1999-2001, and the Runway 25L/Center Taxiway Improvements project, 2005-2006.
3. Captain Larry Gray was the head of security in the APO at that time. He should be able to confirm the fact that the events I have reported did happen that morning.
4. The same should be true of Captain LaPonda Fitchpatrick of the LAWAPD. On June 8, 2006—by which date she was the head of Security in the AOA—she and I were discussing solutions to security problems in the AOA that I had observed while working there. During the conversation, I told her that I heard everything Security was discussing on 9/11 at Guard Post II and that I did not see how the attacks could have succeeded without inside participation. She replied that LAX security was well aware that 9/11 was an inside job.
5. My account could also be confirmed by Security officers on duty in the APO during the time of the attacks (the names of whom should be in FBI, LAPD, and LAWAPD records).
6. Assuming that the LAX Security phone conversations were recorded and have been retained unchanged, they should confirm my account.
7. The audio recordings of radio transmissions at LAX, if they have been retained unchanged, would substantiate my account of the comments by Security officers and LAX dispatch and command.
8. The audio recording of the LAX Radio broadcast, assuming it has been retained unchanged, would substantiate my account of what was broadcast. (Items 5-7 would reveal if I have inadvertently confused information attained from LAX Security and information received from LAX Radio.)
Note by David Ray Griffin:
In August of 2005, I was contacted by Charles E. Lewis, a resident of the greater Los Angeles area. He told me of important conversations he had heard at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) on the morning of 9/11. I asked him to write up his account and email it to me. On August 5, he sent me a statement, based on notes he had written in 2001, entitled “My Observation of LAX APO Security Events on 9/11.” It was an anonymous statement, in which Lewis identified himself merely as someone involved with security at LAX, because he wanted to protect his security clearance at LAX. Because he was unwilling at that time to identify himself, thereby making it impossible for anyone to verify his credentials or otherwise corroborate his story, I did not have that statement published (although I did allow it to be printed as an attachment to a document entitled “The September 11, 2001 Treason Independent Prosecutor Act,” which was posted on the Internet). This new version was written in May 2008, after Lewis decided to go public. It is quoted in my latest book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited (Olive Branch, September 2008).