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White House, Air Force One Targeted

September 12, 2001

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House and Air Force One were targets of Tuesday’s terrorist strikes, an administration spokesman said Wednesday.

``We had specific credible information that both were intended terrorist targets, and that the plane that hit the Pentagon may have been headed for the White House,″ said Sean McCormack, spokesman for President Bush’s National Security Council.

The White House confirmed reports that the executive mansion and presidential jet had been threatened.

That helped to explain why Bush did not immediately return to Washington from Florida on Tuesday morning and take charge of crisis operations run from the Situation Room in the White House basement.

Bush, who had been in Sarasota, Fla., for an education speech, first flew to an Air Force base in Louisiana and then to one in Nebraska before returning to the White House at dusk.

His Boeing 747, operating as a kind of airborne White House, was escorted by military fighter jets.

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