NBC News
updated 5/27/2004 6:45:08 PM ET 2004-05-27T22:45:08

The Justice Department will hold a two-hour briefing for family members who lost relatives on the four planes that were hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, NBC News has learned. The meeting, to be held June 4 in Princeton, N.J., is sure to be emotional for the 100-plus family members who plan to attend. The meeting will be closed to the media.

Prosecutors will play audio recordings of phone calls between individuals on the planes and family members or co-workers on the ground — recordings that have never aired anywhere before. For example, NBC has learned that the Justice Department will play a tape that an American Airlines official made on 9/11 that is a blow-by-blow account of the final words of Amy Sweeney, a flight attendant on Flight 11. Sweeney is reknowned for having calmly called her co-workers on 9/11 and providing the seat locations for Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers, physical descriptions of the terrorists, and what she said appeared to be a bomb on board the plane.

The Justice Department also intends to play an audiotape of a conversation between Betty Ong, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, and Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines reservation manager. The commission investigating the attacks played 4-½ minutes of the tape at a hearing in January, but the Justice Department intends to play the entire 23-minute tape at the closed briefing, according to 9/11 family members.

A Department of Justice letter to family members warns that they may hear material of a graphic nature and says it will be providing mental health professionals for counseling at the briefing. The prosecutors in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui case will conduct the briefing, the letter says. "The sole purpose of the briefing is to describe for you the evidence gathered during the investigation of this case regarding the events that transpired on each of the flights before they were crashed," the letter says. Moussaoui is charged as a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks.

The letter also warns that there will be security at the briefing barring those who have not been invited. "No unauthorized persons, including private attorneys or media, will be allowed to be present at the briefing," the letter says. "Moreover, all family members who attend the briefing session will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement." In addition, the letter warns, "no video or audio equipment may be brought into the briefing room, and no one will be allowed to take notes."

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