BACKGROUND ON TODAY’S RELEASE OF SEPTEMBER 11TH RECORDS
Today’s release of Fire Department dispatch tapes, interviews and EMS logs pertaining to the events of September 11, 2001 stems from a FOIL request made by The New York Times on Jan. 25, 2002 . Although the Fire Department disclosed extensive materials to the Times on March 8, 2002 , the aforementioned materials were withheld upon the direction of the U.S. Attorney’s office, which was prosecuting the case against Zacharias Moussaoui, the alleged “20th hijacker.”
Subsequently, a court case was held, including various appeals. On March 24, 2005 , the New York State Court of Appeals issued a ruling that is the basis for the release of materials today. The Court exempted from release those portions of FDNY interviews that were likely to cause “pain or embarrassment” to those interviewed.
The court also ruled that the callers’ portion of 911 tapes should not be released because of the privacy interests of the deceased and their families - but that families can waive that privacy right if they choose. The city’s Law Department is in the process of devising an appropriate protocol to ensure that families are advised of their rights and given an opportunity to listen to the tape of their loved one’s call and decide whether to waive their right to keep the call confidential.
(No precise date has been set yet for the release of tapes of those 911 calls.)
Contact: Francis X. Gribbon and Virginia Lam (FDNY) (718) 999-2056