On 9/11 Solicitor General Ted Olson reported getting two stunning phone calls from his wife, Barbara Olson of CNN, who was on the American Airlines plane allegedly headed for the Pentagon. Later, the heart-rending ‘let’s roll’ call came in from UA 93. Both American 77 and UA 93 were above 10,000 feet when the calls originated, and yet cellphone calls could not be made from that altitude at that time, before planes were equipped with WiFi systems. Additionally, during the back-seat call from Todd Beamer to Verizon telephone supervisor Lisa Jefferson, he declined to talk to his wife. His line remained open for 15 minutes after the crash, and the Verizon wireless record shows that 19 calls were made from it after the plane had gone down. The phone itself was never recovered, or its recovery was not publicly disclosed.
Media reports at the time, as well as FBI interviews, said that more than a dozen phone calls had been made from the three doomed planes while they were at altitudes as high as 25,000 feet. To this day, it is impossible to do this because cell towers are not designed to receive signals from above. They do not work reliably above 5,000 feet and not at all above 10,000 feet. Some calls, such as Randy Beamer’s, were made from seatback phones that did work from altitude, but most were not.
Despite the FBI’s exhaustive investigation into the calls, no records of them were ever released, and during the 2006 trial of Zacharias Moussaoui, it reduced the number of cellphone calls to 2 and said that neither had been made from above 5,000 feet.
The news cycle is 24 hours. Then the media forgets and so does most of the public. For them, the truth is a dead issue.
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The image portrays the crater left by the crash of UA 93, from which Randy Beamer’s phone made 19 documented calls.