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BREAKING NEWS: 9..11 Transcript released

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  • BREAKING NEWS: 9..11 Transcript released

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released transcripts Thursday afternoon of 260 hours of radio and telephone transmissions as well as handwritten notes chronicling frantic rescue efforts at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

    Judge Sybil R. Moses ruled last week that the material must be released after The New York Times filed an open records lawsuit seeking access to the 2,000 pages of documents.

    The Port Authority scrambled Thursday to get copies of transcripts into the hands of family members of its deceased employees to meet a court-mandated deadline to release the documents to the media.

    Family members of the 87 Port Authority police officers and employees who died the day the twin towers collapsed in the terrorist attack had opposed the release. About a third of the family members have had a chance to review the documents.

    The Port Authority said it was trying to avert the possibility that the rest will be seeing the transcripts at the same time as the public.

    "What it shows is people performing their duties very bravely on a day of unimaginable horror," said Greg Trevor, a Port Authority spokesman who has read through the documents.

    JoAnn Barbella, whose father, James, worked in the World Trade Center, said she was shocked by the planned release of the transcripts.

    "We are not ready to read these, particularly in the newspapers, and now we'll have to rush through them before the public knows what's there," she said.

    The Port Authority, which had its headquarters at the World Trade Center, was in charge of security there. Its staff was most familiar with emergency plans and was on location. Thirty-seven of its police officers died September 11, and many of their voices can be heard on tapes organizing the rescue effort.

    A good portion of the documents are the handwritten and typed notes of Port Authority police and civilian employees recounting afterward what had happened. The rest are transcriptions of radio and telephone conversations between Port Authority employees attempting rescues inside the World Trade Center complex and the Port Authority command centers at airports and other facilities.

    The transcripts also include calls that came into the authority's command center from employees looking for help, workers such as elevator operators who were trying to assist in a crisis situation and tenants who were trapped in the buildings.

    "The settlement with The New York Times was that it would be transcripts only," Trevor said. "There will not be audiotapes."

    When callers identified themselves, their identities have been recorded in transcripts, but no effort was made to identify unidentified callers because the Port Authority said it feared making a mistake.
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