FEMA's Prior Knowledge of 9-11 Put to Rest

Devvy Kidd
November 25, 2002

Not long after the heinous attacks on September 11, 2001, many questions began to surface about the sequence of events which took place. A little less than two months after the attacks, the allegation was made that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) had prior knowledge of 9-11 because they deployed rescue workers the night before the actual attacks.

This allegation was based on an interview broadcast September 13, 2001, on Dan Rather's news program. A Tom Kennedy allegedly stated he arrived in NYC on September 10, 2001 - the night before the attacks. This allegation of prior knowledge became so persistent, WND addressed the issue in an article November 15, 2002:


This, however, did not satisfy many who felt that the audio of this interview proved that a Tom Kennedy, who works for FEMA, stated emphatically that he arrived in NYC on September 10, 2001. In an effort to determine the truth of the matter, I filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request on April 19, 2002 for the following:

*  A copy of Mr. Kennedy's deployment/TDY orders for the time period of September 1st through and including September 15, 2001.

*  Copies of any memos, directives or orders relating to his assignment in NYC as it relates to the WTC disaster.

FEMA responded to this FOIA on June 6, 2002 and stated the following:

    "Liaison with cognizant personnel reveals that no responsive documents exist within the files of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relative to your request."

On June 10, 2002, I filed an appeal with FEMA because it provided no answers to my questions. In part, I based my appeal on WND's article and it was also my suspicion at that point that this Mr. Kennedy was probably a contract employee. FEMA doesn't have the budget to employ the number of individuals needed for disaster response nationwide on a full time basis, so they contract out the work to various agencies and companies.

The key to this entire allegation hinged on the live interview between Ran Rather and this "Mr. Kennedy." However, having finally obtained the audio feed (while awaiting a response to my appeal), this is the exact transcript concerning the Tom Kennedy broadcast November 13, 2001:

Ran Rather: "[unintelligible] Tom Kennedy, uh, Kenney, a rescue worker with the National Urban Search & Rescue which is part of FEMA."

Mr. Tom Kenney: "We're currently one of the first teams that was deployed to support the City of NY for this disaster. We arrived on late Monday night and went into action on Tuesday morning, and not until today did we get a full opportunity to work the entire site..."

Right away we have a number of inconsistencies:

* Dan Rather erred when he pronounced the name of his guest, but immediately corrected himself and continued. Those raising this theory about prior knowledge did not listen carefully to the audio feed.

*  Rather also stated that Mr. Kenney was a rescue worker with the National Urban Search & Rescue, a part of FEMA. This would eventually prove to be somewhat inaccurate. According to FEMAs web site, the concept of using a combination of various resources performing the functions of urban search and rescue was based on a model concept developed in the early 1980s down in Florida.

* Did Mr. Kenney, during an interview in the middle of the most horrendous disaster in American history on home soil inadvertently give the wrong day he was deployed?

According to two press news releases from FEMA dated September 11, 2002, deployment was as follows:

FEMA Responds to Terrorism Attacks

    "FEMA is working closely with the White House and federal agencies to provide assistance following several apparent terrorism attacks today...An operation plan for these types of acts is in place, and FEMA is currently implementing them."

Later in the day, they issued a second press release:

     "In response to the apparent terrorist events, FEMA's Washington-based Emergency Response Team (EST) has fully activated and on 24-hour operations. All 10 of the FEMA regions - headquartered in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Denton, TX, Denver, San Francisco and Bothell, Wash. - are also fully activated.

     "FEMA has activated the Federal Response Plan... Already, FEMA has deployed eight Urban Search & Rescue teams (US&R) to New York City to search for victims in the affected buildings. "In response to the apparent terrorist events, FEMA"

Several months later in another press release from FEMA, a list of operations and teams was listed: "The first teams at the WTC site were Pennsylvania Task Force (TF)1 and Massachusetts TF1, both arriving on
September 11, 2001."

But does any of this prove or disprove the theory that Mr. Kenney arrived in NYC the night before the attacks? We have already established that it was not a Tom Kennedy, it was a Tom Kenney (from the audio feed). I finally received a reply to my FOIA appeal, which, I believe, puts the matter to rest.

Mr. Kenney is a member of the Massachusetts Urban Search & Rescue Task Force. (www.matf.org)  They are contracted by FEMA to respond immediately upon receiving activation orders. As was noted above in a FEMA  press release, Massachusetts, designated as Task Force 1 Area, were one of the first two teams to arrive at the WTC.

The Activation order from FEMA was issued on September 12, 2001, effective immediately. Under the
circumstances of this horrific event, and having worked for DoD, an activation order issued after an emergency situation has occurred is not uncommon, it's simply necessary for the circumstances. The documents from FEMA under my FOIA can be viewed by |clicking here.|

What about Mr. Kenney's statement on the audio feed that he "arrived late Monday night and went into action on Tuesday morning"? This interview took place sometime on the 13th, two full days after all Hell had broken loose. Mr. Kenney sounds winded on the audio as if he had been exerting himself. We can all remember the big network anchors doing interviews close to ground zero almost 24/7 for the first few weeks. It is more than likely, Mr. Kenney, having worked virtually non-stop since his arrival in NYC , had his days run together and his statement simply came out wrong.

There is a final step that can be taken if one were so inclined: File a FOIA with the contracting officer with FEMA for the Massachusetts Urban Search & Rescue Task force contract. Having been a contract administrator for the Air Force, I know that all contractors bill for their time with very specific deployment/activation orders and time sheets to back up their billing to the government.

Considering the lawsuits already filed by family members of lost loved ones as a result of 9-11 with unanswered questions, any hint of prior knowledge by any government agency would be explored during the discovery process of these lawsuits. This would include this particular issue with Mr. Kenney and his actual deployment.

At this time I am fully satisfied that Mr. Kenney, an outside contractor was not deployed until the afternoon of September 11, 2001. If I had any doubts left, I would file another FOIA to the contracting officer at FEMA who handles MATF-1 because it's the truth I seek when I file FOIAs, and in this case, I believe it's been uncovered.

I have chastised people over and over and over about checking their facts before they put out information that turns into "fact" without anything to substantiate their allegations. It my opinion that this is one of the reasons the "patriot movement" has little credibility, are looked upon as fools or wackos and fall into the category of the little boy who cried wolf.

There certainly are a lot of unanswered questions about a great many issues, but putting out sketchy information that gets circulated out there in cyberspace and passed around is downright wrong. Then, when it proves to be incorrect, inaccurate or downright wrong, such irresponsible actions reflect on those of us who do the homework and I for one and tired of being lumped in with people who will believe anything from anyone.

Yes, it's a slow and arduous process in filing FOIAs and digging for information and documents, but I do it all the time. I do it because it's very important to me that I put out the truth so not to mislead people and because my credibility is on the line.

Related articles: