- Gathering the quotes & information
- Policy of picking and listing quotes
- Taking quotes (almost) at face value
- The quotes completely highlighted in “red”
For many years I have been comfortable combining disparate information. In business, when faced with a decision I wasn’t yet comfortable making, I often combined information from different sources because I found that, over time, information from various people and places often gave me enough direction to comfortably make a decision on the issue at hand. Additionally, charts have historically seemed to ease the understanding of complex or voluminous data. 
I have also found that triangulated data—three (or more) different views from different sources supplying a view on the same or related question—often provided sufficient information to clarify issues, even when one or more of those sources were in conflict. Thus, in this reference work, I have listed multiple sources of many events and issues.
After deciding on the scope, goal and format of this work, I focused on the questions of when the timeline should begin, how to deal with issues and facts that appeared to be controversial or conspiracies, and whether I should add my own views to the project.
A. When the timeline should begin:
I believe one could, in good conscience, start this work around 650 AD when the Muslim religion was founded, or November 1917, when the Balfour Declaration was signed leading to the future State of Israel, or a multitude of other key dates. I finally settled on March 12, 1947, the day President Harry S. Truman delivered the Truman Doctrine to a joint session of Congress that essentially committed America to a declared and more formal role involving our country in the policing and politics of the world beyond our shores.
B. Controversial issues/conspiracies:
I grappled with how to handle issues that were interesting but not vital to understanding the scope of this project and that appeared to be controversial or conspiracies, such as:
- The question of how an untrained pilot, even with GPS, could have so expertly maneuvered a Boeing 767 traveling 500 mph into a direct hit on the North Tower of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
- Why the third World Trade Center building collapsed on September 11, 2001, without seemingly being hit, and why the two main World Trade Towers collapsed given their modern steel construction.
- Why many Saudis were flown out of the US in mid-September 2001 (when other air traffic was limited or halted) without comprehensive interrogation or documented trail-flights that seemed steeped in darkness.
- Whether or not the Pentagon was hit by a missile or by American Airlines flight #77 on September 11, 2001.
After discussing these and similar questions with others, I decided to leave them for others to explore.
C. My opinion(s):
I discussed with my wife and close friends the question of whether I should add my personal opinions on the quotes and events that surfaced while compiling and editing this work. In the end, I decided the value of this work wasn’t what I or what any one person thought, but of the varied, collective and sometimes conflicting interpretation or recollections of events of many.
2. Gathering the quotes & information for the work
In August 2009, I hired a small team of researchers and Project Manager Steve Gaskin to extract the relevant quotes (about 85% came from published works and about 15% came from other sources). After a review process that included the project manager and me reviewing each and every quote, and inputting the acceptable quote into a searchable database (that ended up in a print book in November 2020), I decided to put the quotes and comments in date/time order to maximize the ease of a reader wanting to follow the sequence of events.
A. How books and published works were chosen for research:
- From mention in news articles and press releases.
- By suggestion from others.
- From reference in other books and published works.
- By reputation/background of the author or subject.
- Without regard to the politics of the author(s).
B. How articles were chosen for research:
- From mention in books.
- By suggestion from others.
- From browsing news websites.
- Through independent research online.
- By reputation/affiliations of the writer.
- Without regard to the politics of the author(s).
C. Listing Policy:
- If a quote attributed to one date (e.g. 10-15-2002) alludes to events which took place on a specific earlier date (e.g. 8-5-1999), either date can be used to log the quote.
- If a source contains useful information and identifies a month but not the specific date, the quote will be listed as taking place on the 15th of that month. An explanatory note in brackets at the end of the quote would read, “The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.”
- If a source contains useful information and identifies an event as happening either early or late in a month, but not on a specific date, the quote will be listed as taking place on the 5th or 25th of that month, respectively. An explanatory note in brackets at the end of the quote would read, “The 5th (or 25th) of the month used for date sorting purposes only.”
- If a source contains important information and identifies a month but not the specific date, and the information about that month contains data collected through the entire month, then the quote would be listed as taking place on the last calendar day of that month. An explanatory note in brackets at the end of the quote would read, “The 31st (or 30th) of the month used for date sorting purposes only.”
- Job titles, first names, last names, dates, explanations of acronyms and any other relevant information is added in brackets to further identify important characters and keywords in the body of the quote.
- If a book contains a dated preface, any quote taken from the book would be attributed to that date.
- The page numbers noted on various quotes for books and other published works may vary by publisher and edition.
- Editorial notes appear in red text and brackets at the end of quotes.
- Dates of reports, letters and memos are first determined by the date on the report, letter or a memo.
- Page numbers used in sources are the page numbers that are on the source document, book or report. Sometimes page numbers differ due to the edition of the publication.
D. PDF Methodology:
- When PDFs generally reference a report (example—”Congress, stunned by the September 11 attacks, responded by quickly passing the Patriot Act…”), we link to the full report without comment; PDFs of direct quotes from reports, because the actual page(s) of the quote are referenced in each quote, the PDFs will again link to the full report without comment.
- We use “modified Chicago Manual of Style” but do not change any spelling or grammar in quoted material; [sic] is used to denote errors in original quote.
F. Adding New Quotes:
- Although important events related to 9/11 will assuredly continue to surface, I believe that our coverage from 1947 through the tenth anniversary of 9/11 covered a substantial amount of the important information preceding and resulting from that catastrophic day. Therefore, we do not plan on adding additional sourced comments dated after September 11, 2011, unless the comments are important and directly relevant.
4. Taking quotes (almost) at face value: I have assumed that a quote good enough to print in book form or in the general media is good enough to include in this project. In the few instances when the quoted material seems factually wrong or misleading, I have commented so in a red author’s note directly under the related-quote.
5. The quotes completely highlighted in “red” are ones that many would consider more interesting—although the red color does not appear in the published version of this work.
Steven C. Markoff, Founder of the A-Mark Foundation
1. I have habitually added vertical and horizontal alpha numeric codes on my charts to ease the sharing of information contained in them (“Mary, look at Column X, line Y…it confirms what we suspected”). Charts have also seemed ideally suited to present timelines and sequential data, and I have used the chart form for this book because I think putting diverse, but arguably connected events, in time sequence will enable the reader to not only focus on specific events at certain periods, but see the events in a broader if not connected context.