The Legacy of 9/11 Hero Danny Lewin

jklAt the center of the 9/11 attacks against the United States by Islamofascist terror, an unlikely hero played a largely unknown role. He sacrificed his life in an attempt to stop the hijacking of one of the planes that later crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He was an Israeli-American and his role has remained largely ignored and unacknowledged.

Danny Lewin was an American-Israeli, a world-class Internet entrepreneur, and the very first person to be murdered by the Al-Qaeda barbarians on September 11, 2001.  He was aboard the American Airlines Flight 11 plane out of Boston headed for Los Angeles when it was hijacked by the terrorists.  A veteran of the special forces in the Israeli army, Lewin quickly understood what was going down.  He spoke fluent Arabic and knew what the terrorists were saying.  He single-handedly attempted to attack and subdue the terrorists.  He was stabbed to death on the plane by terrorist Satam al-Suqami, a Saudi law student.  Lewin was 31-years-old when he was murdered.

A new biography of the hero of 9/11 is now in book stores entitled, “No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet.”  It is written by Molly Knight Raskin.  She describes Lewin thus:

In some ways, Lewin’s appearance belied his intelligence. Lacking the physical traits of the stereotypical mathematician, he could have easily been mistaken for a high school athlete. Although he stood just five feet ten inches tall, Lewin was built like a bull—burly and broad-shouldered, sheer muscle from head to toe.  He was boyishly handsome, with a soft, round face, blue eyes and brown hair that was prematurely receding, giving way to a long, smooth forehead.  His smile was unyielding and almost impish, creating in those around him the urge to smile, too.”

Lewin grew up in Denver and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1984, three years after I did the same.   His parents were devoted Zionists and passionate about their Jewishness.  While exempt from military service in Israel on grounds that he had recently immigrated, Danny insisted on serving anyhow, and in the country’s most challenging military unit at that.  He served in the ultra-elite special forces combat unit called “Sayeret Matkal,” perhaps best known for its operation in Entebbe to release the kidnapped Jews held by Palestinian and Ugandan terrorists.  The brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu died in that operation, which safely rescued nearly all of the hostages.  (One hostage woman had been moved out of the airport to a hospital and she was then murdered by Idi Amin’s stormtroopers.)  In Raskin’s words, “Until the 1990s, Sayeret Matkal was so important to Israel’s security that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) would not officially acknowledge its existence. Those who knew anything about its inner workings were sworn to a code of silence, and its soldiers are still forbidden to wear its insignia in public.”

Lewin attended the Technion in Haifa, where in 1995 he was named the year’s Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering.  He then worked for IBM in developing high-tech products, later doing graduate work at MIT.  There he became the protégé of the legendary MIT professor F. Thomson Leighton.  According to Raskin, “The more Lewin got to know Leighton, the more professionally enamored he became, routinely telling friends he’d met the ‘smartest man in the world.'”   The two developed mathematical algorithms for optimizing internet traffic.   These became the basis for Akamai Technologies, which the two founded in 1998.  Lewin served as the company’s chief technology officer and a board member.  The company went public in 1999 and its stock market valuation rose rapidly to 345 billion dollars.  Lewin was posthumously named one of the most influential high-tech figures in the world.   Much of the book by Raskin details his career in advanced high technology.   He was not only the first victim of the terror on September 11, 2001, he was also its wealthiest and most successful victim.

Here is Raskin:

An executive summary mistakenly leaked by the Federal Aviation Administration to the press stated that terrorist Satam al-Suqami shot and killed Lewin with a single bullet around 9:20 a.m. (obviously a typo, as the plane crashed at 8:46 a.m.). But almost as soon as the memo was leaked, FAA officials claimed it was written in error, and that Lewin was more than likely stabbed, not shot. The 9/11 Commission concurred, offering a more detailed summary: based on dozens of interviews with those who spoke with flight attendants Sweeney and Ong, the commission determined that al-Suqami most likely killed Lewin by slashing him in the throat from behind as he attempted to stop the hijacking.  The time of his death was reported to be somewhere between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m., which—if fact—would make Lewin the first victim of the 9/11 attacks.”

After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was renamed Danny Lewin Square in his honor. He left behind a widow and two sons.

Lewin’s life captures everything positive about the American-Israeli collaboration in education, high-technology, and military strategy.  He also epitomizes the world struggle against barbarism.

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  • Jakareh

    Whoever is responsible for issuing Satam al-Suqami’s visa should be in prison, from the low-level consular officer in Riyadh to Bill Clinton. When someone makes an error that is so obvious and of such large magnitude, he or she ought to face consequences.

  • Human Person Junior, Jr.

    Thank you, Mr. Plaut, for this fine exposition of the courageous and super-intelligent Danny Lewin. His death is heartrending, and the loss to his family must still resonate in the spaces he once occupied.

    • defcon 4

      I wonder how the scum in the enemedia managed to cover up this story for a DECADE?

  • Trappedincalifornia

    Sharia is already on the rise in the US & we should be working with Israel to stop the invasion, but unfortunately our leaders have other ideas for our future.

  • Judy Reinhardt

    We should all be told the stories of these people who were murdered that day. Blessings on another hero from 9-11.

  • winston

    Hey maybe they could address some of these issues:
    Whatever else happened on 9/11, that WTC 1 2 & 7 were brought down with preplanted explosives, is incontrovertible.

    • ServosT

      Because flying civilian airliners into the WTC bldgs wouldn’t have been enough to accomplish what the evil people wanted done. Loon.


      Did the transmitter the illuminati implanted in your head tell you that?

    • BS77

      How’s the aluminum foil hat working for you?

  • winston

    So many great people died that day. It was an assault on our best and our brightest. The 10 years of wars that have followed have seen countless more innocent people killed, all based on lies. The victims of 9/11 and the wars it served as pretext for, deserve justice and that begins with the truth of what actually happened being properly addressed.

  • defcon 4

    I wonder if the rest of the passengers just sat around while Danny Lewin died trying to save them? Maybe they were all hoping they could sing kumbaya w/the islam0nazi terorrists to avoid being called islam0phobic?

    • exbuckeye

      More likely they were afraid of the litigious society we live in and that they would be sued into oblivion if they intervened.
      How many “good smartitans” have you read about who lost everything
      for helping someone?.And has it not happened to those on other planes
      when they interfered?

      We live in a terrible society. Lawyers have done terrible things to our sense of right and wrong and our moral obligations to one another

      I can see their fear. Ive been there for trying to save someone.

      • defcon 4

        So they lost their lives. Sad. If only couple of them had helped Danny Lewin, they might have saved their own skins as well as his.

  • herb benty

    Fuming mad at our anti-semitic msm for burying this inspirational story. For 10 years + all we’ve heard is that “no Jews died on 9-11…why,hint, hint”!! These progressives ruin everything they touch.

  • vulgar_imposter

    I think we know full well how David Horowitiz and Front Page feel about the 9/11 victims and their families. Here’s your great leader defending Anne Coulter after her vicious attacks on 9/11 widows.


    Yeah. Ann Coulter is a jackass.

    I believe AC was shaming the 5 9/11 widows who blame GWB for 9/11. Ignoring the fact that Islamofascists are at War with EVERYBODY.

    To the 9/11 Troofer scum – I wish that you all were the victims of the tsaranev Boston Marathon savages, and not the 4 innocents Marathon watchers.

    • No RNC

      Good old SS wishing death on those who dissent from the Government propaganda/view….you’re such a suck up tool!


        No DNC, Too bad you don’t have complete control of the government. The Congress is still NOT under regressive “progressive” control.

        What you want is dictatorial control of the USA. It will NEVER happen. Better go back to KGB Putins dictatorship.

  • Danny

    If it could be said that there is one macro (big picture) lesson that we can take from 9/11, in my opinion, it is that evil is relentless. There were so many points at which those terrorists could have been stopped, from the visas to the any number of red flags along the way, to airport security, and many others, and now we hear about Danny Lewin, that I’ve been left with a feeling that evil does exist as a force on this Earth, and that at times it cannot be stopped.


    To the 9/11 Troofer S C U M.

    Why are there SO MANY 9/11 theories?

    – No planes. Just CGI.
    – Remote controlled planes
    – Bombs on planes
    – Bombs planted in WTC
    – Live “hijackers”

    Which one is correct????

  • Dyer’s Eve

    RIP, Danny Lewin. You fought the good fight. You’re in God’s care.
    Thankyou for your efforts.