9/11 World Trade Center Security Camera Footage (lost footage of terrorist attack; 2001)

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9/11 World Trade Center security camera footage
A picture taken the moment Flight 175 flew into the South Tower.
A picture taken the moment Flight 175 flew into the South Tower.
Status Lost


The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers (United Airlines and American Airlines) — all of which departed from airports in the northeastern United States bound for California — were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.[1]

1 and 2 World Trade Center, commonly the Twin Towers, where the main buildings of the World Trade Center complex. Opened in April 1973, both 110 story buildings were ultimately destroyed during the events of 9/11, in what was the worst loss of life due to a terrorist incident on U.S. soil.[2]

Existence of security camera footage

At the time of September 11, the World Trade Center housed more than 430 companies from 28 countries, engaged in a wide variety of commercial activities including banking and finance, insurance, transportation, import and export companies, customs brokerage, trade associations and representatives of foreign governments.[3] Consequently, it is most likely there were hundreds, if not thousands of security cameras within the complex, operated both by the World Trade Center themselves and the many businesses that were contained within. Despite this, no footage whatsoever recorded by any of the security cameras within or surrounding the complex, showing the events of September 11 has ever been publicly released, despite the historical significance and clear public interest in such footage.

Lobby of 2 WTC, with security cameras highlighted, November 2000.

It is certain that security cameras were present at the time of 9/11. A photograph of the lobby of 2 World Trade Center, taken on the November 25, 2000, shows at least five recessed dome cameras in one particular location alone (see right image). Additionally, a member of the conspiracy website AboveTopSecret.com claimed to have worked within a restaurant situated at the bottom of the World Trade Center in the 1980s and recalls seeing security cameras at the time.[4] Whilst one might suggest that any security footage was most likely destroyed following the collapse of both towers, most businesses by policy are required to back up data off-site in a different location, in case of any type of situation that could cause data loss, such as power failure, damage, fire, theft or, in extreme circumstances, a terrorist attack. However, in 2001 many companies were still using analogue recording methods, such as time-lapsed video cassette recorders (VCRs), to store security camera footage onto physical media (such as VHS tapes) and it is possible that had this of been the case for the World Trade Center, then it is likely that said security camera tapes were destroyed when the towers ultimately collapsed. Whilst it is a possibility, albeit highly unlikely that those operating the security systems at the time were able to back up or 'rescue' the tapes prior to evacuating, considering that many did not consider the towers would collapse, it seems security systems were left to continue recording until the collapse occurred.

Although digital recording (such as DVRs) at the time was in its infancy, had such a system been installed in the World Trade Center it could have potentially allowed for remote monitoring and storage of the footage to occur. It is not unreasonable to suggest that a high-risk facility such as the World Trade Center, dealing with billions of dollars worth of transactions yearly, would have had access to such technology, especially considering there had been a previous terrorist attack in 1993. Indeed, video footage recorded shortly after the 1993 bombing shows a then newly installed security system in place, with banks of monitors and a dedicated operator, which presumably was upgraded in the years prior to 9/11. In any case, following the collapse of both towers, several surrounding buildings were also destroyed, notably the Marriott World Trade Center, 5, 6 and 7 World Trade Center and the Deutsche Bank Building. It is unclear as to whether any security camera footage recorded from these buildings also survived.

A documentary about the World Trade Center, produced in early-2001 prior to 9/11 (clips showing the OCC appear at 3:12).

The History Channel series Modern Marvels (Series 7, Ep. 121) dedicated an entire episode to the World Trade Center complex in early-2001 (which was later re-released following 9/11), and within this the Operations Control Center (OCC) on B1 level below 2 WTC (South Tower) is described. The documentary revealed how the WTC had its own police force and that the OCC's responsibility was to keep the buildings 'safe, clean and functioning'. The center was manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it is therefore assumed that the OCC also operated the security systems within the complex.

Footage uploaded onto YouTube shows a security camera on the side of 7 World Trade Center, a building which also collapsed following the events of 9/11.

A security camera on the side of 7 WTC.

According to Surveillance Camera Players, a group formed by Bill Brown of New York in 1996 which protests against the use of surveillance cameras in public places, shortly after 9/11 he wrote online that "prior to the attacks, there were so many surveillance cameras in operation in the WTC area that their locations couldn't possibly be counted or mapped out. No doubt some of these cameras were installed and operated by the FBI (and the CIA too?) in the wake of the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993; most of them were probably installed and operated by either the NYPD or security firms hired by the WTC or the businesses that rented space in it."[5]

While it is certain that hundreds, if not thousands of security cameras were present on 9/11, whether any of this footage exists or indeed will ever be released remains to be seen. It is most likely that any footage that does somehow miraculously exist is currently being held under lock and key by the FBI and would not be released for reasons of national security.


  1. Wikipedia: September 11 attacks Retrieved 23 Sept. '17.
  2. BBC History: The 9/11 terrorist attacks. Retrieved 16 Sept. '17.
  3. CNN.com Specials: List of World Trade Center tenants. Retrieved 16 Sept. '17
  4. ATS: Did any footage from inside the Twin Towers survive? Retrieved 16 Sept. '17
  5. Nothing Has Changed Therefore Everything Must Change Retrieved 16 Sept. '17



Anonymous user #1

14 days ago
Score -6++

Anonymous user #2

12 days ago
Score -4++
Why write a article about this?

Anonymous user #3

11 days ago
Score -4++
There is clearly something very wrong with you, and I hope you seek help for it immediately.


9 days ago
Score 0++
Some things are better left lost.

Anonymous user #4

4 days ago
Score 1++
In this instance. This footage could help clear up the goings on in the towers, help uncover the potential fates of certain people, or identify the fates of those missing.


3 days ago
Score 2++
This footage (if found) would give us insight into a major event in US History. This footage is important (whether you like it or not)

Anonymous user #5

1 days 23 hours 56 minutes ago
Score 0++
I think we can safely conclude that the World Trade Center does indeed have cameras based on this article, I guess? Thanks to the autist who wrote this!


1 days 23 hours 19 minutes ago
Score 0++
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here, but wouldn't the footage be kinda destroyed? Y'know...'cause the buildings kinda sorta collapsed?

Anonymous user #6

1 days 21 hours 24 minutes ago
Score 0++
no the buildings didn't collapse they're still there aaaaa
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