The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said it did not have urban search and rescue teams in place in New York City prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, contrary to an Internet-based rumor alleging otherwise.

WorldNetDaily readers began inquiring whether the government had prior knowledge of the terror attacks a few weeks after they occurred, citing a CBS News interview between anchorman Dan Rather and a FEMA-sponsored search and rescue team spokesman named Tom Kenney.

In the interview, Kenney misspoke when he said he and his team arrived in New York City and were “finally on the ground” and deployed by “Monday night. …” If accurate, that would have meant the team arrived Sept. 10 – the night before the attacks.

The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and on the Pentagon came the next day – Tuesday.

According to a spokesman in the office of Vito Pizzi, who works in FEMA’s federal coordination office, a total of 16 teams were put on alert or activated Sept. 11. Two of those teams were sent in to Ground Zero the next day, Sept. 12.

FEMA officials said Kenney, in the heat of the moment, misstated his team’s arrival date. Kenney could not be reached for comment.

In all, FEMA has 22 teams nationwide.

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