Condoleezza Rice reveals chaos following 9/11 attacks
Ex-US national security adviser describes confusion, communication failures experienced by Bush administration on deadly day in British documentary.
Former US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said that she had to yell at then President George Bush not to return to the White House, a potential terrorist target, following the 9/11 attacks, The Daily Mirror reported on Monday. Rice’s comments came in a documentary film entitled 9/11: State of Emergency, which is scheduled to air on British television on Saturday, the nine year anniversary of the deadly attacks.
According to Rice, Bush insisted on returning to Washington from Florida following the attacks, prompting her to order him away from the White House.
“I said, ‘You cannot come back here. The United States of America is under attack, you have to go to safety. We don’t know what is going on here.’ He said, ‘I’m coming back.’ I said in a raised voice, and I had never raised my voice to the President before, I said, ‘You cannot come back here.’ I hung up.”
Rice also discussed a bunker beneath the White House which “non-essential” people were forced to leave in the aftermath of the attacks because of overcrowding.
“There were so many people the oxygen levels started dropping and the secret service came in telling people they weren’t essential and to leave.”
Rice discussed the chaos and fear created by communications failures following the attacks. Bush gave an order commanding the air force to shoot down commercial airliners not responding to instructions. When flight United 93 crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers succeeded in wresting control of the plane from terrorists, Rice and her colleagues believed the air force may have shot it out of the sky.