Stunning Photos Show Life Inside The White House Immediately Following The 9/11 Attacks

These never-before-seen photos of President Bush and his staff on 9/11 show the shock, horror and gravity of the terrorist attacks from inside the White House’s secure bunker.

On Tuesday September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney was being shadowed by a White House photographer who happened to captured the dreadful terrorist attack from a perspective that has never been seen before.

These images, which were uploaded to the National Archives Flickr page, were recently released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showing a very tired, stressed, and devastated morale amongst the top officials in the George W. Bush administration.

Vice President Cheney watches as the first reports of terrorist attacks appear on television.

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Rewatch CNN’s live coverage of the morning as it happened

Vice President Cheney talks with Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby as the World Trade Center burns on TV


Chaney watching President Bush addressing the nation from Emma E. Booker Elementary School. Within minutes he would be frog-marched by Secret Service agents to the basement elevator of the White House.


First Lady Laura Bush joined the Dick and Lynn Cheney as secure communications were established for the basement room.


Cheney made a series of calls from the PEOC, including to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Terrorists had attacked the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.


National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice joined Cheney in the PEOC. Throughout the morning they were receiving reports of airplanes headed toward the White House.


The vice president’s top lawyer, David Addington (kneeling), conferred with Cheney. Addington would begin to secure the legal authority to respond to the attacks.


Those in the room that day say the attacks had a profound effect on Cheney and shaped his entire time in office.



Cheney confers with President Bush, who had arrived at the PEOC around 7:00 p.m., after his plane was diverted to Louisiana and Nebraska.


Prior to addressing the nation, Bush is briefed by Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Cheney and Rice.


Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet watches President Bush’s 8:30 p.m. address from the PEOC.


Tenet and FBI Director Robert Mueller watch as President Bush promised the nation that the government would go after “the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”


The Cheneys leave the White House for an “undisclosed location.”


Marine Two takes off with the Cheneys.


Moving the vice president is part of a Secret Service plan to preserve the continuity of leadership.


Chaney arriving at Camp David


Images via FLickr, captions via PBS