Officials say no evidence of terrorism in NY crash

Monday, November 12, 2001

AP White House CorrespondentWASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush met with advisers Monday seeking details of an American Airlines plane crash in New York, and a senior administration official said no threats against airplanes had been received.

The FBI believed there was an explosion aboard the plane, and was investigating whether it was an accident, mechanical failure or an act of sabotage, several official said. A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the administration was considering suspending the takeoff of flights nationwide but there had been no decision.

The official said early in the investigation that the pilot of Flight 587 reported no trouble before the crash, adding that recordings of conversations with the cockpit were still being reviewed. There was no evidence of terrorism, the official said.

A law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two hours after the crash that the National Transportation Safety Board was placed as the lead agency in the investigation. That moved signaled that officials initially were investigating the possibility that a catastrophic mechanical problem caused a fire or explosion prior to the crash, the official said.

Bush postponed a scheduled interview with Russian and American reporters so he could monitor the investigation into the crash of Flight 587, which had just taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to the Dominican Republic. He meets Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, opening three days of talks in Washington and Texas.

Intelligence agencies, the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration were reviewing all recent intelligence for any signs that terrorism was involved but an hour after the crash there was no evidence pointing to an attack, said a U.S. official speaking only on condition of anonymity.

"They are comparing information to see if it provides any insight into what transpired. At this point, there's no indication of a terrorist attack, but it certainly can't be ruled out in current environment," the official said.

Bush and his chief of staff, Andrew Card, talked to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki about the crash, Card said.

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