Sept. 11 pager messages published online

Wikileaks is posting messages showing a timeline of events following the U.S.'s worst terrorist attack

The pager message is from a woman near a pay phone near 38th Street in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. The woman says her children were evacuated, but she's trying to find them. She tells her husband she loves him.

It's one of more than half a million Sept. 11 pager messages obtained by secret document publisher Wikileaks, all of which are gradually being published on the Internet Wednesday. Wikileaks hopes that they will shed some light on the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, an incident that continues to arouse heated debate in the U.S.

"This is a historic day ... and a day that has a lot of historic questions," said Daniel Schmitt, a Wikileaks spokesman. "So whatever helps to understand what happened on that day is important for everyone."

"It's a precise second-by-second record of how the event unfolded," he said.

Wikileaks began publishing the messages at 3 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday and will release them in small batches for about 24 hours, Schmitt said. The group hopes that posting them in increments will make the messages easier to analyze.

Many of the messages were sent by people operating in some sort of official capacity -- emergency responders, IT staffers and members of the military -- Schmitt said. "The ratio of official information in that capacity is quite high," Schmitt said.

"You can see JP Morgan systems going down, Goldman Sachs systems going down … all these people being called into conference calls."

Pagers were widely used to send text messages in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s, but they have now been eclipsed by the mobile-phone networks' SMS (short message service) system. Unlike parts of the mobile networks, however, pager networks kept functioning during the Sept. 11 attacks.

In total, Wikileaks will publish 573,000 pager messages sent nationwide over four carriers: SkyTel, Metrocall, WebLink and Arch (the last three are now owned by USA Mobility).

The messages were handed over to Wikileaks by an anonymous source.

It's not clear how they were obtained, but Schmitt says that this is one of the more worrying aspects of the leak: the fact that this pager information is being logged by someone and is obtainable.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags data leakssmswikileaksterrorism

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?