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Wikileaks Publishes 500,000 9/11 Pager Messages 309

An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks is preparing to release 500,000 intercepted pager messages from a 24-hour period encompassing the September 11 terrorist attacks. The messages show emergency services springing into action and computer systems sending automated messages as buildings collapse. Wikileaks implies this data came from an organised collection effort."
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Wikileaks Publishes 500,000 9/11 Pager Messages

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  • So much raw data (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 ( 1471633 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:45AM (#30225808)
    Every conspircay theorist in the world just simultaneously orgasmed. All those messages to pick through; I'm sure they'll be able to prove it was the US Government/Al-Qaeda/Joseph Fritzel/The Cookie Monster/Scientologists all along.
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      No, you know very well that the government and the wikileaks illuminati cleaned it beforehand...
    • Re:So much raw data (Score:5, Informative)

      by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:06AM (#30226026)

      Every conspircay theorist in the world just simultaneously orgasmed. All those messages to pick through; I'm sure they'll be able to prove it was the US Government/Al-Qaeda/Joseph Fritzel/The Cookie Monster/Scientologists all along.

      The NORAD tapes, which were released long ago proved that there was a conspiracy by The Pentagon to lie to the 9/11 Commission and the American people. The 9/11 Commission had a closed meeting deciding whether or not to charge Air Force officials with perjury but chose not to because "it wouldn't be good for the country."

      John Farmer, senior counsel on the 9/11 Commission said, "at some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened [during 9/11]"

      6 of the 10 Commissioners have come out saying that they were lied to and that the report is not accurate. []

      “More than one-quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al Qaeda operatives subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques,” writes former NBC producer Robert Windrem in The Daily Beast. [] “In fact, information derived from the interrogations was central to the 9/11 Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.”

      We've been lied to about 9/11 from day one. It needs to be investigated further. If 6 out of the 10 Commissioners are distancing themselves from the report by saying they were lied to something isn't right. Burying your head deeper into the sand won't help.

      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:14AM (#30226126)
        If there was a conspiracy to find about 9/11, what do you think it would turn out to be?

        A. A concerted effort by the Government and Department of Defence, and related military bodies conspiring together to launch an attack on the US people in order to further the aims of the Government and selected private corporations and individuals.


        B. A concerted effort by members of the Government and Department of Defence, and related military bodies to cover up their own inadequecies in being able to deal with an attack by a small number of persons against several targets using simplistic weapons, causing a massive over reaction over the next few years, and resulting in the inability of the largest military might in the world to subdue a country that has barely hit the 19th Century.

        Yes, there probably was a lie surrounding 9/11, but its almost certainly not the juicy one people are fantasising about...

        • Re:So much raw data (Score:5, Interesting)

          by PinkyDead ( 862370 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:48AM (#30226570) Journal

          Can't I have both?

        • The middle (Score:3, Interesting)

          by copponex ( 13876 )

          Read the Project for a New American Century's statement of principles here []. Now read the PNAC letter to Clinton on Iraq here []. Note that Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Jeb are all big supporters. Now read about their plans here [].

          The choice quote is: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

          My theory is that they had intelligence stating that the attack was going

        • by 1800maxim ( 702377 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:01PM (#30226742)
          Was Reichstag fire just as unbelievable as 9/11? It was done to further gov't agenda.

          From Wikipedia: The Reichstag fire... is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany.

          Don't think gov'ts now aren't capable of the same thing, or that they aren't doing it.

          But then it's much more comfortable to bury one's head in the sand.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Follow the money....

          If you wanted the USA to have the tallest building in the world again, where would you put it? Would you build it in some developing city that couldn't support the occupancy of the building to make money? Montgomery Alabama? Little Rock Arkansas? No....

          You would build it in the most populace cities. The largest cities that can support that kind of building and still make money off of it are all out of land. So, what is someone to do... Knock down some of the existing buildings and build

        • Option B sounds pretty plausible. It also sounds like something that should be properly investigate. Option A sounds possible, although requires a lot more competence from the DoD than I would expect, and should probably be investigated just in case it is true.
        • "When errors can be attributed to incompetence or malice, it's always more likely to be the former." While this is generally true, it is important to take things in context. 9/11 started two wars. The average cost of those wars for the last 8 years far has been about a quarter of a million dollars PER MINUTE. That is a total of almost $1 Trillion SO FAR. You don't cover up mistakes by making bigger, outrageously expensive, ones. That is money that came from you and me and went into the pockets of the
        • by brxndxn ( 461473 )

          The government reaction after 9/11 fits exactly along the lines of A. It increased spending, created new bureaucracy, curtailed civil liberties, and ignored the huge issues facing government at the time (ie.. $2.3trillion unaccounted for at the Pentagon on 9/10/01).

          Further, the reaction of government to ignore any realistic discussion about the events of 9/11 looks damning.

      • In what context were these quotes made? What was the nature of the lies? Were they covering up their own incompetent response (like, say, the FAA taking too long to contact NORAD)? Or were they of a much larger scope (like trying to hide a missile attack on the pentagon)? Quite a bit of difference between those two...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's mostly because you have a gross misunderstanding of how the military works. When something gets fucked up, somebody is responsible for the fuck up. While that statement at first makes you say, "Well, duh!" you need to understand how it functions in the military. That statement is an absolute truth. There are no "whoops, nobody's fault" moments in the military. If something fucked up, SOMEBODY fucked up, and therefore, SOMEBODY will pay. Usually an officer is in charge, a relatively minor fuck up m
    • US Government/Al-Qaeda/Joseph Fritzel/The Cookie Monster/Scientologists all along.

      That's ridiculous! Everyone knows it Elmo all along!

  • that's nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) < minus berry> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:54AM (#30225900) Homepage

    I'm sure this will lead to rational debate, as well as this information being added to our view of those tragic events as a whole and will finally lay to bed some of the misconceptions that have surrounded the events of 9/11, rather than becoming the source for thousands of snippets of information that will get used in barely contextualized, ill-thought out, and poorly worded conspiracy theories.

    Also, when you bring me my pony, make sure it's pink.

    • Re:that's nice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:02AM (#30225976) Journal

      I imagine a whole lot of people are going to be pissed when they learn that the data was intercepted back in 2001.

    • The conspiracy theories are already full of thousands of snippets of stuff, this new data isn't going to change anyone's mind. People who want to believe in a conspiracy will find "proof" in whatever information they get, so it doesn't really matter what's available.

      Basically, there's already so many barely contextualized, ill-thought out, and poorly worded conspiracy theories out there that it doesn't really matter if this new data spawns a few more. I think most people have already chosen a side on the wh

  • Good Move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carp3_noct3m ( 1185697 ) <slashdot AT warriors-shade DOT net> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:04AM (#30225996)
    This seems to be a really good move on the part of Wikileaks. Its one of those things, where in the digital age, that information lasts for a long time, but I think the significance here is that this data was collected within a day of the attacks. What this does is give us a clearer picture of lots of things, including emergency response methods and efficiency, the way people react to catastrophic events, and information that may have previously been unknown, and things like that. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Sep 11. and simple data being released to the public is always a good thing. Yes, there will be both ends of the extremist section, both conspiracy theorists and their counterparts, who may try to find specific data to backup their preconceived theories, but its still a good thing. Just browsing over to the TFA and their shortened excerpt, I found one very interesting message.."WTC HAS BEEN HIT BY AN AIRPLANE AND A BOMB." This does nothing as far as credibility and in situations like that people are known to panic and see and hear things that aren't there, but regardless, it will be interesting to see where this leads. Data by itself sometimes can be useless, but in context can have implications you don't expect. My personal opinions are far to complex to list here, but people should learn how to use logic and think for themselves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sockatume ( 732728 )

      I'd question the ethics of it. The very existence of this database is of huge political and social importance, thus falling under Wikileaks' remit, but by putting it into the public domain they're infringing the privacy of the citizens involved even further. You can bet all the TLAs, not to mention police forces, lawyers, insurance companies, and so on are having fun with it now it's in public view.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        I'm sure family members of victims will relish the last communications of their loved ones being slashed all over wikileaks.

      • Mmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        Wikileaks is simply an outlet for sensitive information. So what you're implying is that their privacy wasn't infringed by whichever entity collected the information, but by Wikileaks? That doesn't make any sense. I do see your point, but I think the potential benefits by far outweigh the cons of such a release. Now that the data is out there, nothing can be done to get it back. On top of this, Wikileaks has some serious credibility when it comes to their methods and what and when they decide to release, I'
      • Re:Good Move (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:19PM (#30226964) Journal
        All the TLAs almost certainly had access to it already. Putting it in the public domain means that the public now has more of a clue about the amount of information the TLAs have on them. If it leads to more opposition to things like the USAPATRIOT Act then it will have served a beneficial purpose.
      • Re:Good Move (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:33PM (#30227128) Homepage Journal

        I'd question the ethics of it. The very existence of this database is of huge political and social importance, thus falling under Wikileaks' remit, but by putting it into the public domain they're infringing the privacy of the citizens involved even further. You can bet all the TLAs, not to mention police forces, lawyers, insurance companies, and so on are having fun with it now it's in public view.

        Exactly- and especially true when you browse through and see messages like " " Andre-are you at work today? Gimme a call - 301-555-5555. Gerry". (number obviously changed in my repost) There's no doubt that these people will be targeted for 9/11-related scams and other obnoxious behavior in short order. You think Gerry's not already getting a call from someone looking to cash in, or who just thinks they're being funny?

        If this list were filtered so that it was just automated systems, non-personal, etc , that's fine -- but doing it in this way is just opening the door for all the abuse and stupidity that we're capable of. As it is - it's a gross breach of privacy, published in a way that ensures that there will be no accountability for any abuse of personal information found in it.

        • From the wikileaks page:

          Text pagers are usualy carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults to their operators as the World Trade Center collapsed. The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences.

          Text pagers are also carried by support personnel, executives, grunts, everyday people. It's nice how they point out the "official" messages but leave out that these are outnumbered by "call me, are you ok?!" style messages, along with things like account numbers, private phone numbers, etc.

          The text of the messages indicates that it's also not strictly sent by people who were directly involved - so is this just a dump of NYC area pages from nearby cell towers? What filtering do

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:04AM (#30226000)
    Who needs to make backups anymore? The NSA has all your data and communications stored for you. Maybe they should sell backup services to fix the budget deficit.
  • by feedayeen ( 1322473 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:08AM (#30226054)
    "computer systems sending automated messages as buildings collapse" 8:46 a.m. - "Ow, something hit me!" 8:47 a.m. - "Anyone else smell smoke?" 8:47 a.m. - "Admin has logged off" 10:28 a.m. - "System failure"
    • Seriously. I wonder what they mean by that? What machines really send automated messages if they feel the building in which they are located collapse?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        Probably 'network failure to server A,' 'network failure to server B,' 'system is down,' 'UPS power offline'. It depends on how the server is sending the data. A lot will use email to SMS relays, which will stop working as soon as the network goes down, but some may be using built-in GSM hardware (GSM transmitters that can send SMS are pretty cheap) so that they can notify the admin if the network goes down. In this case, they will keep sending until the server is disconnected from the UPS or flattened
      • by rapiddescent ( 572442 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:53PM (#30227362)

        Actually, I was working at Reuters in London at the time and the first we knew of the disaster was an automated alert from our trading system saying that Merrylls and APM had gone fully offline (these types of systems very very rarely go offline). At the same moment, one of the data feeds went DR (DataScope I think) - it had its DR facility in the other tower and so only lasted a short time before going off for good.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    2001-09-11 09:05:13 Metrocall [0902425] C ALPHA HQFPSCORP2:Backup Exec Job Failed

    That one brings a tear to my eye.

  • by rbb ( 18825 ) <remco AT rc6 DOT org> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:09AM (#30226066) Homepage
    In this file [] I noticed a message that, in hindsight, is especially morbid:

    Good morning. I haven't heard from you in a while. I'll try one more time and I suppose I will take the hint if you don't page me back. Have a good day. Todd

  • Pagers were working? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:11AM (#30226092)

    I thought pagers used the cell networks a la text messages; indeed, I thought a pager was essentially a dedicated text message device.

    I was in NYC on Sept 11 and the only thing that *was* working that day was the Internet...phones, both land line and cell were unavailable. We were trying to contact my brother-in-law who lived in Manhattan (we were in Brooklyn) and every phone we tried, including the pay phone down the street (still had 'em back then...) gave us the "fast busy signal", indicating "We didn't even try to make your call..."

    So we spent the rest of the day IM'ing people as that was the only way to verify who was where. Bad times...bad times.

    • by barzok ( 26681 )

      There were pagers before cell networks were widespread. Later pagers may have worked with cell networks, but there were (are?) pager networks which were much stronger & reliable than anything the cell networks provide.

      I knew a number of people who carried a pager for on-call duties (and this is just 5 years ago) because while cell phones didn't work inside their houses, pagers did.

    • I thought pagers used the cell networks a la text messages; indeed, I thought a pager was essentially a dedicated text message device.

      Let me save someone else the trouble:

      blah blah blah kids today blah blah blah get off my lawn blah blah blah I remember when this was all fields. []

    • by kriston ( 7886 )

      In those days most pager networks were separate and distinct from the mobile phone networks (and were on different frequencies, too). My two-way Motorola Skytel pager worked everywhere. Even today I cannot find a comparable mobile phone service with the coverage and reliability of the pagers that I cannot carry anymore.

    • by Spudds ( 860292 )

      That's partially true.
      I also lived and worked in Manhattan during 9/11.

      There was a cellphone tower on top of one of the two towers which killed cellphones for the lower region of the island, but cellphones were working just fine as low as 35th st. I called my parents back home from my apartment on 91st street and spoke with a co-worker who was already at work and watching the events unfold from the corner of 35th and 7th.

      You are definitely correct about cellphones not working down in the financial district

  • by Black-Man ( 198831 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:15AM (#30226142)

    For that text pager message: "Finished arming the detonating device, Herr Cheney".

    • "You deaded me, you swine, you! - Bluebottle"

  • Twitter next (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JerryQ ( 923802 )
    After the next major event it will be the twitter stream which will be subject to such analysis
  • im not dealing with this shit today.i will call johnston in earlyford shut down there plants and im not answering why we are still working.fuck this. FROM: RYDER LITTLEJOHN (x18914) (3

    I bet someone felt like a real asshole after sending that. So sorry that one of the greatest tragedies in the countries history screwed up your day.

  • It would be interesting to see Satellite phone traffic from that day. Iridium also runs a pager service that still works :)
  • 08:58:33 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spacezilla ( 972723 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:34PM (#30227138)

    2001-09-11 08:58:33 Skytel [002399634] A ALPHA Initial reports indictate that AAL11, B767, after initial hijacking on flight from BOS-LAX, has crashed into the side of the World Trade Center in NY. ATCSCC/bl

    That was an insane amount of detail at a point when everyone else was going: "It's possible something may have happened somewhere."

  • by darkpixel2k ( 623900 ) <> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @12:35PM (#30227156) Homepage
    Damn it--it looks like the terrorists stopped a Microsoft Exchange event...

    7 Skytel [002380116] B ALPHA|FW: Exchange IT Event - CANCELLED| -----Original Message----- From: Bucher, Gisela Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:54 PM To: DL-Perot-STAM-Permanent Cc: Subject: Exchange IT Event - CANCELLED

    This confuses me greatly. On one hand I utterly despise the terrorists for what they did...but I really hate Exchange too...

  • by Fritz T. Coyote ( 1087965 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:06PM (#30228284) Homepage
    Yes, I am a New Yorker. Yes, I was in the city that day. My Cellphone was useless, probably due to a combination of losing a major relay point, and everybody in town trying to use their phones at the same time. Landlines were flakey (probably due to losing a major chunk of the infrastructure). My Obsolete and Archaic text pager kept working. (I wonder if the pager "I'm OK, R U OK?"messages I exchanged with my sister are in this archive?)
  • by Tweezer ( 83980 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @03:53PM (#30229734)

    I searched a whole bunch of these for the word "fuck" and couldn't find a single instance. I find it hard to believe that nobody got a page from their girl/boy friend saying why don't you come over and fuck me or a message saying holy fuck a plane just hit the WTC.

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