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First video of Pentagon 9/11 attack released

Watchdog group says video will end 'conspiracy theories'

A security camera outside the Pentagon captured this image on September 11, 2001.


September 11 attacks

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

The Justice Department has handed 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 is available on the group's Web site, according to a news release from Judicial Watch.

At least two tapes were released, from different security cameras. The two cameras, from the same Pentagon checkpoint, show the building from different angles. (Watch what the cameras caught as the plane slams into the Pentagon -- 2:21)

Previously released still photographs from those cameras show the Pentagon on fire, but no images of the Boeing 757 striking the building have ever been made public.

The video released Tuesday was the source of those still photos.

In one clip, a police car passes in front of the security camera before a ball of flame and smoke erupts from the Pentagon in the background.

"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. (Watch fireballs engulf ruined parts of the Pentagon -- 0:55)

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request, but the government 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 said in 2002 that the FBI confiscated a hotel security camera video that showed the attack on the Pentagon. It's not known if that tape is being 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 government'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, said she would not know which video will be released "until we see it."

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