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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

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Barbara K. Olson

Age: 45

Hometown: Great Falls, Va., USA

Occupation: TV commentator, author and lawyer

Location: Passenger, American Flight 77, Pentagon


Barbara K. Olson, 45, a well-known conservative legal analyst, died fiercely determined, with her wits about her.

As Olson's Los Angeles-bound jetliner hurtled instead toward the Pentagon, Olson speed-dialed her husband, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, and told him how terrorists had taken over the plane.

They would be the last words he would hear from his wife, an author, former congressional lawyer and criminal prosecutor whose sharp commentary made her a frequent guest on "Larry King Live" and other television talk shows over the last three years.

The Olsons were a power couple, inviting congressional staffers and Supreme Court justices to their Great Falls home. They also were Republican mainstays: He argued the Florida election case before the U.S. Supreme Court while she helped the Bush team with the legalities of the absentee ballot count.

"They had a really terrific relationship," said David Bossie, a former congressional investigator who worked with Barbara Olson, adding that she was "a smart and deliberate strategist."

As chief investigative counsel for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 1995 and 1996, Barbara Olson looked into the White House travel office firings. She also was the author of two books highly critical of the Clintons.

Olson graduated from Cardozo Law School in New York and became a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington. Recently, she had been with the law firm of Balch & Bingham, affiliated with the lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers.

Source: The Washington Post, AP and

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage

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