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Rumsfeld sparks conspiracy theories
Updated: 2004-12-29 10:00

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stoked conspiracy theories when he said United Airlines Flight 93 was "shot down" on Sept. 11, 2001.

In remarks to U.S. troops in Iraq on Christmas Eve, Rumsfeld referred to "the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania," CNN reported. A Pentagon spokesman later insisted Rumsfeld was tired and misspoke.

Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four planes on Sept. 11, crashing two into New York City's World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon in suburban Washington, D.C.

The Sept. 11 Commission concluded the hijackers on the fourth plane intentionally crashed it into a Pennsylvania field when passengers tried to retake the cockpit.

Some conspiracy theorists remain skeptical that a presidential authorization to shoot down commercial aircraft was not exercised on that day.

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