In one photo, then-Vice President Dick Cheney rests his feet on his desk as he watches a live TV news report of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In another, he sits beside his wife after they were both frog-marched by Secret Service agents to a secure basement in the White House.
And in a later shot, he takes his glasses off and clasps his hands together before he and his spouse are flown to an undisclosed location.
These never-before-seen images capture Cheney’s reaction to the attacks, which saw two hijacked passenger planes crash into the World Trade Center in New York, another jet strike the Pentagon and a fourth crash in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, killing 2,996 people.
They also show the horror felt by other senior government officials, including then-President George Bush and his wife Laura, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet, Cheney’s top lawyer, David Addington, and Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
In the photos, Bush looks tense and even bites his lip as he confers with officials in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a highly-secure underground bunker below the White House’s East Wing that can withstand nuclear hits and other devastating attacks.
The then-President would shortly address the nation about the day’s atrocities, which were aired live on TV screens across the world.
The same evening, Cheney and his wife, Lynne, were flown via Marine Two to a secret destination, revealed in the photos to be Camp David.They were later moved to other undisclosed sites as thousands of rescue workers descended on the wreckage of the WTC towers.
On the day of the attacks, Cheney, now 74, was in charge at the White House, with Bush visiting a school in Sarasota, Florida, at the time.
Cheney has since defended the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the wake of the plane attacks, which included the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a total of 183 times, declaring that he ‘would do it again in a minute’.
The newly-released images of Cheney and other officials’ reactions to 9/11 were captured by Cheny’s staff photographer, according to PBS.
The photos were released by the National Archives following a FOIA request by FRONTLINE filmmaker Colette Neirouz Hanna.
Spouse: Cheney’s wife, Lynne (left), was also brought to PEOC for security reasons. She and her husband were later flown to safety
Never-before-seen: The striking pictures of Cheney and other officials’ reactions to 9/11 were captured by Cheny’s staff photographer
Communications: Cheney (pictured speaking on the phone on the day of the attacks) has defended the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the wake of the attacks, which included the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times
Ready to speak: Bush is pictured clutching a piece of paper as he speaks to Card, Cheney and Rice ahead of his address to the nation
Reassuring the nation: During his address, Bush promised to ‘find those responsible and bring them to justice’ for committing the ‘evil, despicable acts of terror’. Above, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet is pictured watching the speech at around 8:30pm
Listening: Tenet (left) and FBI Director Robert Mueller were joined by other officials as they watched Bush address millions of citizens
Bigger plan: Cheney’s move was part of a Secret Service plan to maintain the continuity of the leadership of the government, PBS reports
En-route: Cheney and his wife (seen in the aircraft) were later moved to other undisclosed sites as rescue workers looked for victims
Safe place: The then-Vice President is greeted by a sailor at Camp David, situated in wooded hills about 62 miles from Washington, D.C.
Horrified: Cheney (pictured at Camp David) said in the aftermath of the devastating attacks: ‘We have to work the dark side, if you will’
On September 11, 2001, two hijacked passenger planes crashed into two World Trade Center towers (pictured) in New York, another jet struck the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The attacks killed a total of 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers
Shocking news: This photo, later seen by people across the world, shows the moment Bush was informed of 9/11 by his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, who whispered in his ear. At the time, the then-President was attending a school reading event in Sarasota, Florida