Whistleblower website Wikileaks began publishing on Wednesday what it said were hundreds of thousands of pager messages from the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Wikileaks.org said it was releasing over half a million US national text pager intercepts covering a 24-hour period on the day when Al-Qaeda militants slammed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon while another plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.
The first message is from 3:00 am on September 11, 2001, more than five hours before the first attack, and the last is 24 hours later.
Wikileaks did not say how it obtained the pager messages purportedly from companies such as Skytel, Metrocall and Arch Wireless, but technology blogs said they appeared to be genuine.
"The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time," Wikileaks said. "We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences."
The pager intercepts included messages from the New York Police Department, emergency services, the Pentagon, ordinary citizens and computers reporting server errors.
Most have nothing to do with the events themselves.
The messages range from the mundane -- "Got plans for lunch today?" or "Did you turn the iron off?" -- to the distressed, with people urging loved ones to "Please call ASAP."
A message from 8:50 am, just minutes after the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center, reads: "A plane crashed thru the twin towers. Real bad... BR."
Another 8:50 am message says: "BOMB DETINATED IN WORLD TRADE CTR. PLS GET BACK TO MIKE BRADY W/A QUICK ASSESSMENT OF YOUR AREAS AND CONTACT US IF ANYTHING IS NEEDED."
An 8:51 am message reads: "de Center is on FIRE!!!! No Joke. rickc."
At 8:53 am, a police department message from "NYPD Ops Div" calls for action: "POSSIBLE EXPLOSION WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDING. LEVEL 3 MOBILIZATION TO CHURCH AND VESSY."
At 8:54 am, a message from an unidentified sender says: "CONFIRMED PLANE CRASH INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER MULTI UNITS RESPONDING."
Wikileaks, which says it was founded by "Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa," claims to have received more than one million documents from dissident communities and anonymous sources.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions