Originally created 04/14/02

FBI's wise decision

FBI Director Robert Mueller is to be commended for his decision to allow relatives of those who perished aboard United Flight 93 the opportunity to listen to the flight recordings later this month.

They probably won't hear the voice of passenger Todd Beamer, who was heard on a cell phone saying, "Are you ready? Let's roll!" as he and other passengers attacked the hijackers Sept. 11.

Soon thereafter the jet augered into the Pennsylvania countryside on a warm autumn day that will never be forgotten in American history.

Many Americans believe the intentions of the hijackers were to run the jet into the U.S. Capitol or White House and that those passengers averted an even greater disaster.

Although Beamer's historic words won't be heard on the tape, the flight recorder may reveal the nature of the wild struggle said to have taken place near the cockpit as heroic passengers engaged in hand-to-hand combat with terrorism in what was to be the first real battle of this new war. At that moment, America began fighting back.

The National Transportation Safety Board cannot legally release the tapes and are only allowed to release transcripts as a part of the completed report on the crash.

But the FBI, aware that this crash is different from others, especially due to the actions of several brave and burly passengers, is wise to allow family members to review the recording. If families want it - if they can bear the pain of hearing it - they should be given access.


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