One of the most important people involved was Benedict Sliney, who had, just before 9/11, left a lucrative law career defending Wall Street financiers to return to work as a specialist at the FAA. It was his first day on the job. With regard to ensuring military interception of the hijacked planes, he said he did not receive a "request to authorize a request." Sliney also claimed to not know that FAA management at the Command Center, where he was in charge, or FAA HQ, had any role in requests for military assistance. This is in contradiction to the stated protocol in the 9/11 Commission report and also the idea of an FAA "hijack coordinator."
The FAA hijack coordinator was Michael Canavan, a career special operations commander who had come to the civilian FAA job only nine months before 9/11. According to an FAA intelligence agent, one of the first things Canavan did in that job was lead and participate in exercises that were "pretty damn close to the 9/11 plot." He was also known within the FAA for writing a memo just a few months before 9/11 that instituted a new leniency with regard to airport and airline security."