9/11 Investigation

Two FBI agents at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 16, 2001. Reuters photo.

Two FBI agents at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 16, 2001. Reuters photo.


They were the most lethal terrorist attacks in history, taking the lives of 3,000 Americans and international citizens and ultimately leading to far-reaching changes in anti-terror approaches and operations in the U.S. and around the globe.

Our ensuing investigation of the attacks of 9/11—code-named “PENTTBOM”—was our largest investigation ever. At the peak of the case, more than half our agents worked to identify the hijackers and their sponsors and, with other agencies, to head off any possible future attacks. We followed more than half-a-million investigative leads, including several hundred thousand tips from the public. The attack and crash sites also represented the largest crime scenes in FBI history.

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Washington Field Office Evidence Response Team members at the Pentagon shortly after the attack on 9/11.

Washington Field Office Evidence Response Team members at the Pentagon shortly after the attack on 9/11.

Remembering 9/11: In Their Own Words

Special agents who worked on investigations and recovery efforts in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, recalled their experiences in interviews conducted in the decade after the 9/11 attacks.

Results: 25 Items

  • Special Agent T.O.

    Special Agent T.O., a member of the Evidence Response Team from the Washington Field Office, was in charge of collecting evidence on the night shift at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

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  • Special Agent S.M.

    Special Agent S.M. worked on an organized crime squad in the New York Division and was a member of the SWAT team when the attacks occurred on the World Trade Center.

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  • Special Agent A.B.

    Special Agent A.B. was assigned to the Laurel Highlands Resident Agency in Johnstown, Pa., when terrorists crashed a plane near Shanksville on September 11, 2001. He was one of the first FBI responders to the scene, and later worked at the temporary morgue with the county coroner.

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  • Special Agent S.S.

    Special Agent S.S. was a member of New York’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. She worked briefly at the forensic recovery operations at Staten Island, N.Y., and near the World Trade Center site after the attack on New York City on September 11, 2001.

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  • Special Agent P.M.

    Special Agent P.M. was in charge of site security at the crime scene near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after terrorists crashed a plane there on September 11, 2001.

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  • Special Agent A.B.

    Special Agent A.B. worked near Ground Zero after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and served as the liaison between the FBI and the New York City Mayor’s office on victims’ issues.

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  • Special Agent M.S.

    Retired Special Agent M.S. was one of three supervisory agents from the Pittsburgh Division on the scene after terrorists crashed a plane near Shanksville, Pa., on September 11, 2001. He was in charge of site logistics.

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  • Special Agent M.G.

    Special Agent M.G. led the PENTTBOMB team that investigated the 9/11 attacks. "There isn't a week that goes by that I don’t think about September 11th," she said. "It affects who you are."

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  • Special Agent H.S.

    Special Agent H.S. was a member of New York’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers. He was on-scene when both towers collapsed. He had just returned from Yemen, where he was doing work on the USS Cole investigation. He also worked on the PENTTBOM Team tracking phone records.

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  • Special Agent J.P.

    Special Agent J.P., assigned to the Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force, was one of three on-scene commanders at the Pentagon.

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  • Special Agent P.D.

    Special Agent P.D. was a counterintelligence agent out of New York City when the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. He was on-scene when both towers collapsed. He also worked at the Freshkills recovery site.

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  • Special Agent J.K.

    Special Agent J.K. served as the initial press spokesman for the FBI at the crash site after terrorists crashed a plane near Shanksville, Pa.

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  • Special Agent J.M.

    Special Agent J.M. worked at the Bureau’s forensic recovery operations at Staten Island, N.Y., after the attack on New York City on September 11, 2001. She also worked at the Command Post near Ground Zero until it closed at the end of May 2002.

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  • Special Agent D.H.

    Special Agent D.H. was a member of the Pittsburgh Division’s Evidence Response Team and responded to the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa. He was one of the first FBI agents on the scene. He worked as a liaison with the mining engineers who handled the heavy excavation equipment at the site.

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  • Special Agent B.C.

    Special Agent B.C. was the media rep for the Pittsburgh Division and worked with the media immediately after terrorists crashed a plane near Shanksville, Pa., on September 11, 2001. He was on site beginning the day after the event, and stayed until the FBI turned the scene over to the county coroner.

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  • Special Agent V.H.

    Special Agent V.H. was assistant director of the Washington Field Office.

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  • Special Agent J.S.

    Special Agent J.S. was a member of an organized crime squad in New York City and responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers.

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  • Special Agent J.P.

    Special Agent J.P. worked in the morgue with the chief medical examiner of New York, helping to identify victims and their personal effects. She has an extensive background in international terrorism and was a member of New York’s ERT.

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  • Special Agent C.C.

    Special Agent C.C. was the Assistant WMD Coordinator on the National Capital Response Squad out of the Washington Field Office at the time. He set up the first FBI command post at the Pentagon and was the first on-scene commander.

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  • Special Agent J.A.

    Special Agent J.A. was working on a Truck Hijacking Squad in Brooklyn-Queens and was attending a meeting for hostage negotiators in New York City on September 11, and led the investigation of two suspected co-conspirators in the weeks that followed.

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  • Special Agent J.D.

    Special Agent J.D. was the acting assistant special agent in charge for the Drug Branch in the New York Division on September 11, 2001. As a top executive, he was a critical element in coordinating the FBI’s on-scene response to the attack on the World Trade Center and the initial investigation.

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  • Special Agent S.R.

    Special Agent S.R. was the Evidence Response Team coordinator for the New York Division and started the process for collecting evidence at the World Trade Center site after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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  • Special Agent W.M.

    Retired Special Agent W.M. was the supervisory senior resident agent at the Mon Valley Resident Agency in Pennsylvania. The RA at the time included Shanksville in Somerset County, where terrorists crashed a plane on September 11, 2001.

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  • Special Agent R.B.

    Special Agent R.B. was an assistant special agent in charge at the Washington Field Office on September 11, 2001, and was the senior FBI official and the initial on-scene commander at the Pentagon. He established the interagency Joint Operations Center and coordinated the FBI’s rescue, recovery, and evidence collection process.

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  • Special Agent W.J.

    Special Agent W.J. was working out of the Brooklyn-Queens Residence Agency but was in the city for an interview the morning of September 11. He was working on an organized crime squad at the time. He was nearly killed in the collapse of the North Tower.

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