Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Record Group 237) compiled records from its staff and aviation facilities to support internal and external investigations of the events. The records consist of 126 cubic feet of textual, audio, and electronic files relating to the actual terrorist attacks, the FAA’s involvement in the monitoring of United Airlines Flights 175 and 93 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, and the Federal Government’s subsequent actions in the aftermath of the attacks.

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request received by the FAA while the records were still in their custody, many of the records were partially or fully released as digitized files. The digitized files, along with the rest of the compiled records, were transferred to the National Archives in 2009.


  1. Are any of these records online?

    Yes. Digitized versions of processed records are available through the National Archives Catalog or hyperlinks in the finding aid. The 9/11 Commission website also contains some links.

  2. Is every record digitized?

    No. As we review and digitize additional records, we will add hyperlinks to the online finding aid.

  3. How do I access restricted records?

    The processed files are available online. To request access to unprocessed files, we accept written Freedom of Information Act requests via mail, fax or email. Your request should be specific and, ideally, should cite particular folders from the online folder title list. The National Archives charges a reproduction fee for all copies provided to the public. Details of the NARA fee schedule are available on our website.

  4. Why are some digitized records redacted?

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made the redactions in response to a FOIA request while the records were still in FAA’s custody. You may request a re-review of the redacted material by filing a FOIA request with NARA’s Special Access and FOIA Program.

  5. What is the meaning of the numbers at the beginning of the digitized files?

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reviewed and digitized files in response to a FOIA request while the records were still in FAA’s custody. As part of the organizational hierarchy for the digitized files, the FAA assigned a number from 1 through 7 to associate related files in seven major categories:

    • 1: American Airlines Flight 77
    • 2: United Airlines Flight 93
    • 3: American Airlines Flight 11
    • 4: United Airlines 175
    • 5: Miscellaneous
    • 6: N47BA (the aircraft carrying professional golfer Payne Stewart)
    • 7: Records Received After Deadline
  6. What is the meaning of the acronym or alpha-numeric code following the initial number in the digitized files?

    The acronym or alpha-numeric code is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) designation for a specific aviation facility. A list of FAA facilities, radar information, and related terminology is available in the Vocabulary pages. The Glossary pages also provide additional definitions of abbreviations and acronyms used throughout the records.