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Pentagon video release to rest conspiracy theories { May 16 2006 }

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Pentagon 9/11 video to be made public
Watchdog group says release will end 'conspiracy theories'

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 Posted: 1836 GMT (0236 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Video showing a plane crashing into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, will be released publicly for the first time Tuesday, a judicial watchdog said.

The Justice Department will hand over tapes showing American Airlines Flight 77 striking the building outside Washington to Judicial Watch, a public interest group that requested the video, the group said.

The video will be available on the group's Web site sometime after it receives the tapes at 1 p.m., according to a news release from Judicial Watch.

At least two tapes are expected, from different security cameras. The two cameras, from the same Pentagon checkpoint, show the building from different angles.

Still photographs from those cameras showed the Pentagon on fire, but no images of the Boeing 757 striking the building have ever been made public. (Watch fireballs engulf ruined parts of the Pentagon -- 0:55)

The video to be released Tuesday was the source of those still photos, and shows the airplane more clearly.

"We fought hard to obtain this video because we felt that it was very important to complete the public record with respect to the terrorist attacks of September 11," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

"Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77. As always, our prayers remain with all those who suffered as a result of those murderous attacks."

The Pentagon attack killed 184 people: Fifty-three passengers and six crew members on board American Airlines Flight 77, and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.

Some conspiracy theorists have maintained the aircraft was shot down in flight, and that the Pentagon was struck by a missile.

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request, but the government had refused to release the video until after the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the convicted al Qaeda conspirator who was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison.

Sources told CNN in 2002 that the FBI confiscated a hotel security camera video that showed the attack on the Pentagon. It's not known whether that tape will be released.

Judicial Watch is "a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law," according to its Web site.

The group filed a lawsuit this year, arguing that there was "no legal basis" for the Pentagon's refusal to release the tape.

The video requested by Judicial Watch was taken from security cameras at the Pentagon, the Sheraton National Hotel, the Nexcomm/Citgo gas station, and Virginia Department of Transportation traffic cameras.

Jill Farrell, Judicial Watch's director of media affairs, told CNN she would not know which video will be released "until we see it."

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