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9Marks Author, Louisville Pastor Was on a Plane Nearly Shot Down by the President on 9/11

Series: Photographs Related to the George W. Bush Administration, 1/20/2001 - 1/20/2009Collection: Records of the White House Photo Office (George W. Bush Administration), 1/20/2001 - 1/20/2009, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Greg Gilbert, senior pastor of the Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and well-known Christian author, shared over the weekend (Oct. 12) that he was on a plane that was moments from being shot down by President George W. Bush during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“On 9/11, President Bush was asked for authorization to shoot down a plane that was coming from Madrid, only to be told minutes later that the plane had turned around and landed back in Madrid,” the pastor tweeted. “I was on that plane.”

Gilbert explained that he and a friend who was with him on the flight did some research and verified that two planes had been flying from Madrid, Spain, to Washington, D.C., one of which was an Iberian Air flight and the other Spanair—the flight Gilbert and his friend were on.

A previous Washington Post article, which included a 2004 interview George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, reported that one of those flights was cause of concern on the day of the terrorist attacks, because pilots did not respond to United States military radio contacts.

Gilbert said, “That’s not surprising, as our pilots barely spoke a word of English.”

RELATED: Bible Found in the Rubble of 9/11 Reveals an Amazing Message

“What I didn’t know until now, though,” Gilbert continued, “was that the President was actually asked for (and gave?) authorization to shoot the plane the down!”

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary alum’s new information came via an article that was recently published in The Wall Street Journal containing information from a newly declassified document.

A previous report explained that Bush acknowledged the fact that Air Force One, the place the President was taken to shortly after the attacks began, had poor communications. Bush gave Vice President Dick Cheney authorization to shoot down any commercial aircrafts that were unresponsive to military communications.

The new report revealed some of the communications between Bush and Cheney while Bush was aboard Air Force One in the midst of the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

RELATED: Condoleezza Rice: 9/11 Shows Us How to Respond to This Crisis with Faith

“Yes, engage the enemy,” the President told his Vice President at the time. “You have the authority to shoot down an airplane.”