Inside the White House and onboard Air Force One with the president on 9/11
In 2002, "60 Minutes" marked the first anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks with a unique hour of television: President George W. Bush and his top officials talking for the first time in detail about what happened on that terrible day.
Correspondent Scott Pelley had exclusive access to the White House, the president, Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others for this special report.
The details are fascinating: how members of the Secret Service literally propelled Vice President Dick Cheney out of his office to an underground bunker upon hearing that more hijacked planes might be headed to Washington. And, even though he was "safe" in the bunker, how Cheney's decision to stay in a possible danger zone effectively removed him from the line of succession if the president had been killed or injured.
The morning of the attacks, President Bush was in Florida, visiting with some second-graders in Sarasota. (Those kids are now high school seniors!) As the pilot of Air Force One, Colonel Mark Tillman, was flying the president back to Washington, he received information that a suspicious airliner was heading towards them. Fearing that the hijackers might be listening to air traffic control radios, Tillman instead communicated by phone from Air Force One, telling ground control he was simply "going to fly across the United States" to stay out of any harm's way.
It's a riveting behind-the-scenes look at how the Bush administration responded in the critical first hours of the 9/11 terror attacks - and it's available online for the first time here at "60 Minutes Overtime" with a special introduction by Executive Editor Bill Owens.