9/11: Was there ever any doubt that it was al-Qaeda?

The instant the 2nd airplane hit the WTC, it seems the immediate consensus was “al-Qaeda.” Which, of course, was accurate.
Now, did the U.S. government ever entertain, however briefly, the likelihood of other possible culprits being responsible (such as Hamas, Hezbollah, domestic American terrorism, Neo-Nazism, etc.,) or was “al-Qaeda” pretty much the instantaneous, unwavering, unanimous conclusion?


I think most people had the general idea that there were Middle East extremists who were attacking America (USS Cole, bombing of embassies, etc.) and they probably at least knew about Bin Laden. But the name Al Queda itself I was unaware of personally and I suspect that might have been the case for a number of people.

Also I do recall a few broadcasters saying not to jump to conclusions as people had during the Oklahoma City bombings (where the initial assumptions were ME terrorists).

I think everyone knew that OBL had a thing about the World Trade Center. Given the target, it narrowed down the balance of probabilities fairly quickly.

Yeah, my immediate thought was that it was bin Laden and that we were going to war, but I wasn’t really aware of the name al-Queda until I started watching the news coverage.

Anecdotally, well-informed people starting thinking of al-Qaeda pretty quickly. From this as it was happening SDMB thread, it looks like a Doper first mentioned “Osama Bin Laden” on page 2; or to put it another way, 42 minutes after the thread was first opened (it was a fast-moving thread); or to put it yet another way, Osama Bin Laden was first mentioned on the SDMB in connection with the attacks (speculatively speaking at least) at about 9:45 A.M. on September 11, 2001.

(That got “walked back” a few posts later due to the “fog of war” and some random group making a bogus claim of responsibility. But people started thinking in that direction very quickly.)

I vaguely remember the media (whichever major network news we were watching in the conference room where I was working at the time as the events were unfolding) mentioning the names of a few obscure Middle Eastern terrorist groups that had claimed responsibility. IIRC, one of their names included the word “Palestinian.” However, “Bin Laden” was basically on the tip of everyone’s tongue the instant people realized it was a terrorist attack.

Oddly enough, I first learned about the attacks from Dee Snider, the former frontman of Twisted Sister who hosted the morning show on a local radio station (Hartford, CT) at the time.

It kind of helps that Al-Qae’da had already tried to blow up the WTC in 1993.

Important cite. Thanks.

Didn’t someone recently do a head count of OPs in SD on 9/11?

Nice to find a terminus post quem.

…which, as I just learned, means “the earliest possible time for some event.”

What did you mean by “head count…on 9/11”?

Likely this from the thread linked above:

I’m Australian, and my first thought was that it must have been the group responsible for the earlier WTC attack. Which, as it turned out, was al Q. I didn’t know their name at the time, but I knew in a general sense who they were.

No, I wasn’t thinking about that at all, but your response is a result of my spectacularly poor and insensitive figure of speech.

However, that cite is heartwarming, about SD’s community.

No, what I meant was a recall pertinent to musing on “the importance” of the cite as internal history of the number of SD -of-threads/responses to 9/11, with the fancy Latin, a not-uncommon expression in similar cases when types of evidence are qualified.

The recent thread I’m sort of remembering was basically a group “you’ve got to be kidding me on this OP on 9/11, why don’t you take a look at some of these.”

Kind of probing for trolldom without crossing the rules here.

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And to be clear, I may have introduced ambiguity yet again in the above: “kind of probing for trolldom” refers to that particular thread I’m trying to remember, not as a closing comment on the point of that clarification as a whole.

Got it, Leo. Yeah, I think of the tinfoil-hat threads as being in such a different category than serious 9/11 threads (like this one, and the very first one), I didn’t catch your reference.

Did he have a thing about the wtc? Why was that known or believed?

From the wiki article on the 1993 WTC bombing:

However, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, currently at Gitmo, is reported to have confessed to planning both of the bombings.

I had done a lot of research into terrorist groups for work in the year before the attack, and my first assumption on the day of the attack was that it was Al Qaeda. There was the 1993 bombing connections. Plus, there weren’t many groups that were able to operate on an international scale and that also were specifically gunning for the U.S. If that was my first assumption, I imagine it was also the first assumption of the real terrorism experts at the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA.

I knew SF soldiers who were on the way to Afghanistan within hours of the attack.

It’s not so much that Bin Laden himself had a problem specifically with the WTC, radical Islam in general did. They were symbols of Western, democratic, Judaeo-Christian capitalism and therefore, from their POV, evil foreign oppression. The 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta was reported to have despised seeing Western-style skyscrapers cropping up throughout the oil-rich arab-muslim world.

Fitting justice to have built the largest one in the western hemisphere nearly right atop his grave… :smiley:

This is fascinating. Can you provide any more info?