On September 11 2001, as the eyes of the nation were focused on the gruesome events at the World Trade Center, the networks interrupted their television coverage in New York with a breaking story from Washington. A large plane had just been sighted over the White House. Exactly when it first appeared is not certain, but the reports aired at about the time of the Pentagon strike, or shortly after. Witnesses who saw the plane say it circled over Washington. CNN’s Senior White House correspondent John King watched it while standing in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. At about 9:53 AM King reported live that “about 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don’t see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky.”
Kate Snow, another CNN correspondent, was standing two blocks from the Capitol when she saw the plane. Snow mentioned the mysterious plane on-air, adding that a security guard told her it was responsible for the decision to evacuate the seat of government.