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Steven Gaal

911 Deep background Simulations

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'Real-World or Exercise': Did the U.S. Military Mistake the 9/11 Attacks for a Training Scenario?

Submitted by Shoestring on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 10:40am

AmalgamVirgo01.jpg

"I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise."

- Major James Fox, Northeast Air Defense Sector, September 11, 2001

Key military personnel who were responsible for protecting the U.S. against the 9/11 attacks may have been seriously hindered in their ability to respond because of a large-scale air defense exercise they were participating in when the attacks occurred. Evidence indicates that the personnel, whose responsibilities included ordering fighter jets into the air to intercept the hijacked planes, were unclear about what was "real-world" and what was "exercise." They may have been led to believe that the terrorist attacks were just simulated scenarios.

These individuals worked at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York. Audio recordings of the operations floor at NEADS reveal staffers suggesting that the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 could have been part of the exercise. They sometimes even made jokes and laughed about what was taking place, further indicating that they were mistaking actual events for exercise simulations. Even senior commanding officers have admitted wondering if the terrorist attacks were part of the exercise.

And while staffers sometimes apparently made clear that an event was unconnected to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world," there is evidence that the term "real-world" may in fact be a way to describe live events played out within an exercise, perhaps involving real aircraft getting airborne, rather than just hypothetical scenarios.

Furthermore, NEADS personnel previously participated in exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks, such as plane hijackings and aircraft being crashed into skyscrapers in New York, and this could have increased the likelihood that they would mistake the events of September 11 for exercise simulations.

Although much remains speculative, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether the exercise at NEADS on September 11 was a deliberate tactic used to hinder skilled and dedicated professionals, thereby preventing them from stopping the terrorist attacks.

NORAD'S 'SIMULATED AIR WAR' ON SEPTEMBER 11

A key agency responsible for protecting the U.S. from an airborne attack, like what happened on September 11, is NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. NORAD is the military organization responsible for monitoring and defending the airspace over the United States and Canada. Within the U.S., it is divided into three sectors. The 9/11 attacks took place in the airspace monitored by its Northeast Air Defense Sector, NEADS. It was therefore personnel at NEADS who were responsible for trying to coordinate the U.S. military's response to the hijackings. These individuals, however, were in the middle of a major training exercise when the attacks began.

"Vigilant Guardian" was an annual exercise conducted by NORAD that was several days underway on September 11. All of NORAD took part in it. [1] Vigilant Guardian has been described as a "simulated air war" and as "an air defense exercise simulating an attack on the United States." [2] Remarkably, it was scheduled to include a simulated hijacking at around 9:40 a.m. on September 11. The exercise "was designed to run a range of scenarios" that day, according to Vanity Fair, "including a 'traditional' simulated hijack in which politically motivated perpetrators commandeer an aircraft, land on a Cuba-like island, and seek asylum." [3]

It has been claimed that Vigilant Guardian was terminated shortly after United Airlines Flight 175 became the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center, at 9:03 a.m. on September 11. [4] However, evidence indicates it may have continued long after that time. It has also been claimed that the participation of military staffers in the exercise had little effect on their ability to protect America against the attacks, and that Vigilant Guardian may even have had beneficial effects. For example, in its final report, the 9/11 Commission claimed that the response to the attacks "was, if anything, expedited by the increased number of staff at the sectors and at NORAD because of the scheduled exercise." [5] However, a significant amount of evidence casts doubt upon this claim.

NEADS STAFFERS THOUGHT ATTACKS WERE PART OF THE EXERCISE

From the outset, personnel at NEADS wondered if reports they received about the 9/11 attacks were part of the exercise. Their first notification of the crisis came just before 8:38 a.m. on September 11, when Joseph Cooper, an air traffic controller at the FAA's Boston Center, called NEADS and reported, "We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and ... we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out." The response of Technical Sergeant Jeremy Powell, who answered the call, was to ask, "Is this real-world or exercise?" Cooper replied, "No, this is not an exercise, not a test." [6] According to Vanity Fair, "Powell, like almost everyone in the room, first assumes the phone call is from the simulations team on hand to send 'inputs'--simulated scenarios--into play for the day's training exercise." [7]

However, despite Cooper's statement that the hijacking was "not an exercise, not a test," NEADS personnel continued to question whether information they received about the attacks was real or just simulation. For example, at 9:03 a.m., NEADS received a phone call informing it that a second aircraft had been hijacked, and personnel also saw the live television coverage of the second plane, Flight 175, crashing into the World Trade Center. A minute or two later, recordings of the operations floor reveal, several members of staff discussed these developments among themselves. One of them asked, "Is this explosion part of that that we're looking at now on TV?" Someone replied: "Yes. And there's a possible second hijack also--a United Airlines." Another person then commented, "I think this is a damn input, to be honest." An "input" is a simulations input, as part of a training exercise. Someone else said, "Then this is a damned messed-up input." [8]

It is unclear whether, on this occasion, when the NEADS personnel mentioned an "input," they were suggesting that the second hijacking was simulated, or they thought it possible that the television coverage of the attack on the WTC was simulated video footage, intended to make the exercise more realistic. What is remarkable, either way, is that at a time when it should have been obvious to them that the U.S. was in the middle of a major terrorist attack, these key personnel were uncertain whether what was happening was real or simulated.

NEADS PERSONNEL THOUGHT THE EXERCISE WAS CONTINUING, WELL AFTER THE ATTACKS BEGAN

Although it has been claimed that Vigilant Guardian was terminated shortly after Flight 175 hit the WTC, evidence shows that NEADS personnel thought it was continuing after that time, and wondered whether subsequent events were part of the exercise.

At 9:09 a.m., one of the NEADS ID technicians complained, "I hope they cancel the exercise, because this is ridiculous." [9] Then at 9:15 a.m., an off-duty member of staff called in and asked someone in the ID section about the exercise. They said, "I've been watching [the news] for about 10 minutes, and I said, 'I wonder if they're, did they suspend the exercise?'" The person at NEADS answered, "Not at this time, no, but I think they're going to." He then laughed and added, "I don't know." [10]

If the exercise was still being conducted at 9:15 a.m., as this call indicated, the question arises as to why it had not been canceled. If NORAD and/or NEADS personnel were clear that the terrorist attacks were real, rather than simulated, surely those in command should have called off the exercise well before this time. If, alternatively, the exercise had already been terminated, why were those on the NEADS operations floor allowed to think it was still taking place?

The confusion continued. At around 9:20 a.m., one of the ID technicians commented, "This was pre-planned, I bet you, for 9 o'clock." A colleague of hers replied, "Oh, I bet you it was." [11] It is unclear exactly what these staffers were talking about. But it seems possible they were referring to actual events that they mistakenly thought were simulated. They thought these events had been "pre-planned" by those who designed the exercise.

Remarkably, there was uncertainty over whether the exercise was still taking place more than 45 minutes later. At 10:08 a.m., Master Sergeant Joe McCain, the mission crew commander technician, responded to Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley, the leader of the ID section, after she provided details of a bomb that was being reported on United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth hijacked plane, which supposedly crashed in Pennsylvania that morning. McCain commented, "If this is an exercise input, this is a good one." [12] (As previously mentioned, an "input" is a scenario simulated for the exercise.) In other words, several minutes after Flight 93 crashed, and the terrorist attacks were effectively over, someone at NEADS still considered it possible that information about the attacks was part of the exercise.

COMMANDERS THOUGHT HIJACKING WAS PART OF THE EXERCISE

Even some of the most senior officers at NORAD and NEADS have admitted mistaking actual events for part of Vigilant Guardian. Colonel Robert Marr, the battle commander at NEADS on September 11, has recalled that when he saw personnel on the operations floor huddled together after they learned of the first hijacking, he assumed it was related to the exercise. Presumably based on an interview with Marr, author Lynn Spencer described that moment, writing: "Marr has participated in enough training missions to know this is something out of the ordinary. Clearly, he thinks, the simex [simulated exercise] is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist. ... His bet is that his simulations team has started off the exercise by throwing out a 'heart attack card' to see how the troops respond to a first-aid call from a fellow soldier, testing their first responder training." [13]

Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region on September 11, has recalled that when he was informed of the first hijacking, the first thing he thought was: "Is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?" [14] He explained, "Because quite honestly, and frankly, we do do hijacking scenarios as we go through these exercises from time to time." [15]

According to Spencer, Arnold was "not privy to everything concerning the exercise." Vigilant Guardian was "meant to test commanders also, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should." [16] Marr has similarly commented that despite his senior position at NEADS, "You just never knew really what was going to happen in those exercises." [17]

OFFICER WHO HELPED DESIGN EXERCISE MISTOOK ATTACKS FOR SIMULATION

Another officer who, despite his senior position, apparently mistook the 9/11 attacks for an exercise simulation was Major Kevin Nasypany. Nasypany was the mission crew commander at NEADS on September 11, and in that role, according to Marr, was "basically in charge of the entire operations floor." Nasypany, Marr said, was "the most senior guy on the floor." [18] Furthermore, Nasypany had helped design the exercise taking place that day.

And yet, Nasypany has said, "When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was, 'Somebody started the exercise early.'" Nasypany knew that the exercise was scheduled to include a simulated hijacking, and so, he recalled, he "actually said out loud, 'The hijack's not supposed to be for another hour.'" [19]

Additionally, audio recordings reveal that at around 9:00 a.m. on September 11, Nasypany joked with his colleagues about what happened when NEADS was alerted to the first hijacking, of American Airlines Flight 11. He said: "And where was I? I was on the xxxxter!" He continued, "When I heard, it was like, 'Oh my God!'" He added, "I knew that was an exercise." [20]

If Nasypany--"the most senior guy on the floor"--was openly suggesting that actual events were part of the exercise, then surely members of staff under his command could have mistakenly thought they were dealing with simulated scenarios.

NEADS PERSONNEL JOKED ABOUT THE ATTACKS

Further evidence that NEADS personnel mistook actual events for simulation, as part of the exercise, is the inappropriate emotions some of them exhibited in response to the hijackings and other aspects of the terrorist attacks. Staffers sometimes reacted in a light-hearted manner, and even joked openly about the catastrophic events taking place.

For example, recordings of the operations floor reveal that at 8:57 a.m., around 20 minutes after NEADS was alerted to the first hijacking, Kevin Nasypany was discussing the first plane hitting the World Trade Center with a colleague. He then joked, "Think we put the exercise on a hold, what do you think?" and laughed heartily. [21]

A number of staffers joked about the day's events just after NEADS was informed that a second plane had been hijacked, at 9:03 a.m. One staff member announced to his colleagues: "Okay guys, listen up. Possibly a second hijack." One of them responded, "Bring it on." The person that announced the possible hijacking then added that the hijacked plane was "United Air." In response, a colleague said: "That's it. I'm not flying with United or American [Airlines] anymore."

The men then started joking among themselves. One of them commented: "I'll say they're all supposed to be on the same plane. They just got mixed up." (Presumably he was talking about the hijackers.) In response, another of the men laughed and said, "Half of them got on one plane, the other half ..." One man commented, "I never thought I would have wished for ValuJet to come back," and another laughed and replied, "I'm still not wishing for ValuJet." A couple of minutes later, one of the men said, "I'm glad I'm not flying today," and then laughed. One of his colleagues replied: "Don't worry, Jim. We'll carjack you on the way home." [22]

Such jovial conversation would have been extraordinary if these men realized that the U.S. was in the middle of the worst terrorist attack in its history. Their behavior would, however, be more understandable if they mistakenly thought the information they had been given about hijackings and planes crashing into the World Trade Center was part of the exercise.

One more such incident occurred at 9:47 a.m., after Jeremy Powell called a military unit to inform it of the possible hijacking of another aircraft, Delta Airlines Flight 1989, and said that NEADS needed "somebody airborne." (The suspicion that this flight had been hijacked turned out to be mistaken.) After he ended the call, Powell or someone else at NEADS, presumably referring to the suspected hijacking, joked, "Are you sure this isn't an exercise?" and then laughed. [23]

NEADS PERSONNEL INDICATED THAT 'REAL-WORLD' REFERRED TO LIVE-FLY EXERCISE EVENTS

Often, recordings reveal, NEADS personnel appeared to make clear that an event was unrelated to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world" or "live-world." However, there is evidence that their use of the term "real-world" meant something different.

We know that when NORAD holds what is called a "live-fly" exercise, this will involve actual civilian planes and military fighters getting airborne, instead of just being simulated. [24] For example, a NORAD exercise called "Amalgam Virgo 02" that was held in June 2002 involved a Delta Airlines Boeing 757 and a Navy C-9 taking to the air to act as hijacked planes. Furthermore, FBI agents and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police played the parts of the hijackers on the planes, and military personnel acted as the civilian passengers. [25]

Some evidence indicates that when NEADS personnel used the term "real-world" on September 11, they were referring to a particular event being part of the exercise. But they meant that they thought it was being played out live, like the hijackings in Amalgam Virgo 02, rather than just simulated.

Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins, the aircraft control and warning officer at NEADS on September 11, supported this possibility when she was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission in October 2003. She said that, before 9/11, when NEADS held exercises that included simulated plane hijackings, it "would not do these hijack exercises real-world." Instead, it "had a cell that would play the FAA in the exercise." Deskins commented that "there really were not the assets to do a large-scale real-world exercise to practice hijack response." [26]

Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team on September 11, similarly told the 9/11 Commission that he did "not recall any real-world, actual flying exercises coordinated with FAA to practice hijack procedures." He added, "Any live exercises would happen over the off-coast airspaces." [27] Both Fox and Deskins, therefore, appear to have taken the term "real-world" to be a way of describing an exercise that includes live-fly activities.

NEADS OFFICER HAD 'NEVER SEEN SO MUCH REAL-WORLD STUFF HAPPEN DURING AN EXERCISE'

Recordings of the NEADS operations floor show personnel apparently taking the term "real-world" to be a reference to live-fly exercise events while the 9/11 attacks were taking place. For example, in the ID section, technicians Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley overheard Jeremy Powell on the phone with the FAA's Boston Center, being notified of the first hijacking. Rountree reacted to the news by saying, "Is that real-world?" Dooley answered, "Real-world hijack." Watson then reacted as if she were pleased at this news, exclaiming, "Cool!" [28]

In a recent documentary, Dooley gave an explanation for her colleague's apparently inappropriate reaction. She claimed that Watson said "Cool!" because a hijacking "was usually not something that was very devastating." [29] However, might the reason for Watson's reaction have been that she thought the hijacking was part of the exercise, but, as it was a "real-world hijack," she thought it involved a real plane playing the hijacked aircraft, which meant NEADS had the opportunity to launch real fighter jets in response to it? Watson was therefore looking forward to dealing with a live-fly exercise event.

Minutes after this incident, at 8:43 a.m., while NEADS personnel were busy responding to the reported hijacking of Flight 11, James Fox commented, "I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise." [30] Here again it seems that the term "real-world" was being used as a reference to live events within an exercise, rather than to actual, non-exercise events.

Robert Marr, too, appears to have understood "real-world" to be a term that is used to describe a live-fly exercise event. When he saw personnel on the operations floor gathered around a radar scope after they learned of the first hijacking, Marr sent Dawne Deskins to find out what was happening. [31] After Deskins then learned about the hijacking, she returned to the NEADS battle cab and reportedly told Marr: "It's a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise." According to the account of Lynn Spencer, which was presumably based on an interview with Marr, Marr then thought: "This is an interesting start to the exercise. This 'real-world' mixed in with today's simex will keep them on their toes." [32]

EXERCISE RESEMBLED 9/11 IN DAYS BEFORE ATTACKS

Some aspects of Vigilant Guardian that NEADS personnel had been dealing with in the days just before September 11 bore a remarkable resemblance to the situation these personnel were faced with when the 9/11 attacks occurred. This similarity could surely have increased the likelihood that the events of September 11 would be mistaken for exercise simulations.

For example, on September 9 Vigilant Guardian included a scenario in which terrorists hijacked a large commercial jet plane and threatened to use it for an attack on New York. In the scenario, members of a terrorist group armed with explosives were on a regular United Airlines flight from London, England, to New York, with the intention of detonating their explosives over New York. After the fictitious terrorists realized their plane had been diverted and was nowhere near New York, they detonated their explosives, leaving no survivors. [33] Considering the similarity between this scenario and the 9/11 attacks (terrorists on a commercial jet plane, planning an airborne attack on New York), might NEADS personnel have mistakenly thought the attacks on September 11 were a follow-up to this simulation?

MOCK AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER IN EXERCISE USED NAME OF KEY CONTROLLER WHO RESPONDED TO 9/11 ATTACKS

Another remarkable aspect of Vigilant Guardian is that in the days just before September 11, the actor playing the air traffic controller who gave NEADS information about the simulated events said their name was "Colin Scoggins," even though it was unusual for a mock controller to give their name during an exercise. And then, on September 11, the real Colin Scoggins--an employee at the FAA's Boston Center--happened to be the key person calling NEADS with information about the actual attacks, even though it was not his usual role to perform such a duty. This curious apparent coincidence could surely have made it more likely that NEADS personnel would mistake the 9/11 attacks for part of the exercise.

Colin Scoggins was the Boston Center's military operations specialist. [34] He was responsible for managing operating agreements between the Boston Center and the military, and consequently had personal relationships with most military units in the region. [35]

In the two days before 9/11, an actor playing Scoggins in the exercise made calls to NEADS, giving it information about the simulated events. Recordings from the operations floor reveal, for example, that shortly before 10:00 a.m. on September 9, NEADS was called by the actor, who said his name was "Colin Scoggins." The actor said a group called the "Palan Resistance Movement" had two of its members on United Airlines Flight 558, a flight out of London, who intended to detonate a bomb over New York City.

The real Colin Scoggins has confirmed that the voice of the person calling himself "Colin Scoggins" on this occasion was not his. Scoggins suggested that the NEADS simulation cell used his name in the exercise probably because he was a known contact at the Boston Center. Scoggins also said it was unusual for NEADS to use a specific name like this in an exercise, and added that the actor should have just referred to himself as being from the Boston Center. [36]

CONTROLLER WAS 'THE ONLY ONE' GIVING NEADS INFORMATION DURING 9/11 ATTACKS

While an actor calling himself "Colin Scoggins" gave NEADS information about simulated exercise events in the two days before 9/11, apparently by coincidence, the real Colin Scoggins served as a key liaison between the Boston Center and NEADS on September 11. Scoggins has said he made "about 40" phone calls to NEADS that day. [37] Robert Marr said Scoggins was in fact "about the only one that was feeding us information [during the attacks]. I don't know exactly where he got it. But he was feeding us information as much as he could." [38] According to Lynn Spencer, other than the calls from Scoggins, NEADS's only source of information on the hijacked planes was "the coverage on CNN." [39]

And yet Scoggins would not normally have been performing the role of keeping NEADS updated with relevant information, as he did on September 11. Daniel Bueno, the traffic management supervisor at the Boston Center, told the 9/11 Commission that as a military operations specialist, Scoggins was "usually not on the [air traffic control] floor." [40] Scoggins has said that he didn't "normally sit at that position"--manning the military desk at the Boston Center--"but I write all the procedures for it. So I understand the position probably better than anybody else who works the position." [41]

After arriving at the Boston Center at around 8:25 a.m. and being told by a colleague that a plane had been hijacked, Scoggins in fact first headed to the center's in-house credit union rather than to the operational floor, because, he has said, "when hijacks do occur, sometimes too many people try to get involved but instead they just get in the way." [42] However, shortly after he arrived, Scoggins has recalled that Bueno "asked me to come downstairs and sit at the military desk if I could." [43]

Therefore the unlikely and unusual situation arose that during the exercise on September 9 and September 10, and also during the attacks on September 11, NEADS was given key information by someone calling himself Colin Scoggins. The question arises as to whether this created any confusion during the 9/11 attacks, causing some NEADS personnel to think information coming from the real Colin Scoggins was part of the exercise. While the person answering calls from Scoggins on September 11 may have recognized that the caller had a different voice to the actor playing Scoggins on the previous days, other NEADS personnel could have been unaware of the different voices, and only have heard from their colleagues that a particular piece of information came from "Colin Scoggins."

PREVIOUS EXERCISES INCLUDED SCENARIOS SIMILAR TO 9/11 ATTACKS

It was not just exercise events during the previous few days that may have resulted in confusion at NEADS on September 11. What could also have increased the likelihood that NEADS personnel would mistake the 9/11 attacks for part of the exercise is the fact that during the previous two years, these personnel had participated in other exercises based around scenarios closely resembling what happened on September 11.

For example, the previous Vigilant Guardian, held in October 2000, included a scenario in which a pilot planned to deliberately crash an aircraft into a skyscraper in New York. The simulation involved an individual stealing a Federal Express plane with the intention of using it for a suicide attack on the 39-story United Nations headquarters building. [44]

Another exercise NEADS took part in, called "Falcon Indian" and held in June 2000, was based on the possibility of a "Communist Party faction" hijacking an aircraft bound from the western to the eastern United States. The fictitious hijackers intended to crash the plane into the Statue of Liberty, located close to the Twin Towers, in New York Harbor. [45]

Remarkably, one NORAD exercise, held at an unspecified time in the two years prior to 9/11, was based on the possibility of a hijacked aircraft being used as a weapon and deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center. [46] Furthermore, NORAD has stated that most of the four major exercises it held each year before 9/11 "included a hijack scenario." [47] So, although most of the personnel on the NEADS operations floor were unaware beforehand what the exercise was going to entail on September 11, they might surely have wondered if the plane hijackings and the attacks in New York that day were simulated, since these events so closely resembled scenarios played out in previous exercises.

EXERCISES INCLUDED MOCK TV NEWS REPORTS

One might think that television coverage of the 9/11 attacks would have convinced those at NEADS that they were dealing with actual terrorist attacks rather than simulated ones. However, there is evidence that casts doubt on this assertion.

It is known that simulated television news reports had been used in training exercises before 9/11. For example, a two-day exercise was held at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in June 2001, called "Dark Winter," based on the scenario of a smallpox attack on the United States. This exercise, according to New York magazine, included "simulated news clips from an imaginary cable news network called NCN." [48] Whether NORAD exercises prior to 9/11 included simulated television footage is unknown. But this possibility should certainly be investigated.

The possibility should also be investigated that NEADS personnel mistakenly thought television news reports of the 9/11 attacks were video created to make their exercise seem more realistic. Unlikely as it might seem, evidence shows this scenario is plausible.

It has been reported that volunteers taking part in another military exercise on the morning of September 11 did incorrectly think that television coverage of the attacks in New York was video footage created for their exercise. That exercise, called "Timely Alert II," was held at Fort Monmouth, an Army base about 50 miles south of New York City, and was based around a simulated biochemical terrorist attack at the base. Exercise participants later recalled that "when they first saw live footage of the events unfolding at the World Trade Center, they thought it was some elaborate training video to accompany the exercise." One training officer was told by a participant, "You really outdid yourself this time." [49] If workers at Fort Monmouth could make this error, surely those at NEADS could have done so too.

WAS CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE EXERCISE INTENDED TO PARALYZE THE MILITARY?

Officials have claimed that the U.S. military was unaffected in its ability to respond to the 9/11 attacks by the Vigilant Guardian exercise. During one of the 9/11 Commission's public hearings, commissioner Timothy Roemer asked whether the exercise delayed the military. He suggested that, in response to reports of the attacks, personnel might have thought, "No, there's no possibility that this is real-world; we're engaged in an exercise." But General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, replied that "it became painfully clear ... that this was not an exercise." He said the situation Roemer referred to "at most cost us 30 seconds." [50]

The evidence described above, however, suggests that Vigilant Guardian could have seriously impaired the military. It may have caused significant confusion, because those at NEADS were unclear whether the events of September 11 were real or part of the exercise. There is therefore a need for a close examination of this exercise, as well as other exercises that took place on September 11 and in the years before then.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT VIGILANT GUARDIAN

As part of a new investigation of 9/11, those who served at NEADS on September 11 need to be given the opportunity to talk openly about their experiences that day. Evidence already available raises many questions. For example, which events on September 11 did NEADS personnel think might be part of the exercise? And at what time did these personnel know for certain that the exercise had been terminated?

We need to know which individuals were responsible for designing the Vigilant Guardian exercise that was taking place in September 2001, and who designed the earlier exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks. We also need to know who was responsible for running Vigilant Guardian on September 11, along with full details of the simulations planned for that day.

The fact that some previous NORAD exercises closely resembled the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that the Vigilant Guardian exercise taking place in September 2001 included scenarios similar to the 9/11 attacks, should be of serious concern. Such facts suggest the possibility that training exercises were used to deliberately paralyze the military on September 11, thereby ensuring that the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon were successful.

NOTES

[1] "Vigilant Guardian 01-2." Northeast Air Defense Sector, August 23, 2001; William M. Arkin, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World. Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2005, p. 545; "Vigilant Guardian." GlobalSecurity.org, May 7, 2011.

[2] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL: 1st Air Force, 2003, pp. 55, 122.

[3] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes." Vanity Fair, August 2006.

[4] Jason Tudor, "Inner Space." Airman, March 2002; Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 59.

[5] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 458.

[6] Ibid. p. 20; Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11. New York: Free Press, 2008, p. 25.

[7] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."

[8] Ibid.; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, pp. 82, 84.

[9] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 4. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; "The Hunt for American Air Eleven After WTC 1 is Hit." 9/11 Commission, n.d.

[10] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 7. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story." 9/11 Revisited, September 1, 2011.

[11] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 4; "Transcripts From Voice Recorder, 11 September 2001 1227Z-1417Z, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Rome, NY." North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001.

[12] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 3. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."

[13] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 26.

[14] "9/11: Interviews by Peter Jennings." ABC News, September 11, 2002.

[15] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, May 23, 2003.

[16] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 38.

[17] The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky. Discovery Channel, February 12, 2012.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."

[20] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "NEADS Mission Crew Commander; a Valiant Effort, Ultimately Futile, Part I." 9/11 Revisited, June 4, 2011.

[21] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2; Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live"; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."

[22]

.

[23] Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."

[24] Gail Braymen, "NORAD Personnel Hone Response Skills in Amalgam Arrow Exercises." North American Aerospace Defense Command, February 22, 2007.

[25] Nick Wadhams, "Joint U.S., Canadian Hijacking Drill Takes off With Whidbey Flight." Associated Press, June 4, 2002; "Airborne Anti-Terrorist Operation Getting Underway." Live Today, CNN, June 4, 2002; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant." 9/11 Commission, March 4, 2004.

[26] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins." 9/11 Commission, October 30, 2003.

[27] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major James Fox." 9/11 Commission, October 29, 2003.

[28] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live"; "NEADS CDs." 9/11 Commission, n.d.

[29] The 9/11 Tapes.

[30] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2; NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 3; Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."

[31] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 55.

[32] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 26.

[33] "Event: Terrorist on Board a Regular Flight From London to JFK." North American Aerospace Defense Command, n.d., p. 74; "NORAD Exercises: Hijack Summary." 9/11 Commission, n.d.

[34] "Memorandum for the Record: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Boston Center Field Site Interview With Colin Scoggins, Military Operations Specialist." 9/11 Commission, September 22, 2003.

[35] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 33.

[36] Miles Kara, "NEADS; Exercise Vigilant Guardian in Perspective, Sep. 9." 9/11 Revisited, January 19, 2011; Miles Kara, "Exercise Vigilant Guardian; Sep. 10." 9/11 Revisited, February 11, 2011.

[37] "Q&A With Boston Center Air Traffic Controller." 9/11 Guide, October 28, 2007.

[38] Chasing Planes: Witnesses to 9/11. Directed by Michael Bronner. London: Working Title Films, 2006.

[39] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 82.

[40] "Memorandum for the Record: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Boston Center Field Site Interview 1 With Daniel D. Bueno, Traffic Management Supervisor, Boston Center." 9/11 Commission, September 22, 2003.

[41] Aviation Officials Remember September 11, 2001. C-SPAN, September 11, 2010.

[42] "Chronology of Events at Mission Coordinator Position." Federal Aviation Administration, September 20, 2001; Albert McKeon, "Nashua FAA Controller Played Role in Tracking Flight 11." Nashua Telegraph, September 8, 2011.

[43] Aviation Officials Remember September 11, 2001.

[44] Senate Committee on Armed Services, Implications for the Department of Defense and Military Operations of Proposals to Reorganize the United States Intelligence Community. 108th Cong., 2nd sess., August 17, 2004; "NORAD Exercise a Year Before 9/11 Simulated a Pilot Trying to Crash a Plane Into a New York Skyscraper--The United Nations Headquarters." Shoestring 9/11, July 27, 2010.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri, "NORAD Had Drills of Jets as Weapons." USA Today, April 18, 2004.

[47] Barbara Starr, "NORAD Exercise Had Jet Crashing Into Building." CNN, April 19, 2004.

[48] "Dark Winter: Exercise Overview." Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2001; Tucker Carlson, "Pox Americana." New York, October 8, 2001.

[49] Debbie Sheehan, "Force Protection Plan a 'Timely Alert.'" Monmouth Message, September 21, 2001; Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, A Concise History of the Communications-Electronics Command and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Fort Monmouth, NJ: Fort Monmouth, 2003, p. 71.

[50] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004.

Edited by Steven Gaal

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I don't see anything new here, what in this post has not appeared in previous ones. I like the cover of the Amalgam Virgo 01 exercise, it proves that it took place months before 9/11 as opposed to during the attacks as claimed by you elsewhere.

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Profile: Amalgam Warrior

Amalgam Warrior was a participant or observer in the following events:

8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001: US Military Holding ‘Practice Armageddon’ Nationwide Training Exercise

802_global_guardian_2050081722-9716-1.jpgOffutt Air Force Base control tower during Global Guardian 1998. [source: Jeffery S. Viano]As the 9/11 attacks are taking place, a large military training exercise called Global Guardian is said to be “in full swing.” It has been going on since the previous week. [Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/2002] Global Guardian is an annual exercise sponsored by US Strategic Command (Stratcom) in cooperation with US Space Command and NORAD. One military author defines Stratcom as “the single US military command responsible for the day-to-day readiness of America’s nuclear forces.” [Arkin, 2005, pp. 59]

Exercise Tests Military's Ability to Fight a Nuclear War - Global Guardian is a global readiness exercise involving all Stratcom forces and aims to test Stratcom’s ability to fight a nuclear war. It is one of many “practice Armageddons” that the US military routinely stages. [Associated Press, 2/21/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/2002] It links with a number of other military exercises, including Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [US Department of Defense, 5/1997; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Global Guardian is both a command post and a field training exercise, and is based around a fictitious scenario designed to test the ability of Stratcom and its component forces to deter a military attack against the US. Hundreds of military personnel are involved. [US Congress, n.d.; Collins Center Update, 12/1999 pdfbw.png; NET News, 12/27/2011]

Exercise Normally Held in October or November - According to a 1998 Internet article by the British American Security Information Council—an independent research organization—Global Guardian is held in October or November each year. [Kristensen, 10/1998] In his book Code Names, NBC News military analyst William Arkin dates this exercise for October 22-31, 2001. [Arkin, 2005, pp. 379] And a military newspaper reported in March 2001 that Global Guardian was scheduled for October 2001. [Space Observer, 3/23/2001, pp. 2 pdfbw.png] If this is correct, then some time after March, the exercise must have been rescheduled for early September.

Exercise Includes a 'Computer Network Attack' - Furthermore, a 1998 Defense Department newsletter reported that for several years Stratcom had been incorporating a computer network attack (CNA) into Global Guardian. The attack involved Stratcom “red team” members and other organizations acting as enemy agents, and included attempts to penetrate the command using the Internet and a “bad” insider who had access to a key command and control system. The attackers “war dialed” the phones to tie them up and sent faxes to numerous fax machines throughout the Command. They also claimed they were able to shut down Stratcom’s systems. Reportedly, Stratcom planned to increase the level of computer network attack in future Global Guardian exercises. [IAnewsletter, 6/1998 pdfbw.png] It is unclear if a computer network attack is incorporated into Global Guardian in 2001.

(GEE IF SO WOULD THAT HAVE SLOWED THING DOWN ??? YUP !!)

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: NORAD Possibly Holding ‘Live-Fly’ Training Exercise

According to former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, around this time the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers speaks to him via video link (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). During their conversation, Myers mentions, “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise.” [Clarke, 2004, pp. 5] However, no other references have been found to this exercise, “Vigilant Warrior.” Considering that exercise terms are “normally an unclassified nickname,” [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 4/23/1998 pdfbw.png] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), which is taking place on 9/11? According to a later news report though, NORAD confirms that “it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and Command Centers in the United States and Canada,” one of these being Vigilant Guardian. [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 12/5/2003] If this is correct then there must be another NORAD exercise on 9/11. If not “Vigilant Warrior,” a possibility is that the exercise referred to by Richard Clarke is in fact “Amalgam Warrior,” which is a NORAD-sponsored, large-scale, live-fly air defense and air intercept field training exercise. Amalgam Warrior usually involves two or more NORAD regions and is held twice yearly, in the spring for the West Coast and in the autumn for the East Coast. [uS Congress, n.d.; Airman, 1/1996; Arkin, 2005, pp. 254; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Is it possible that in 2001 the East Coast Amalgam Warrior is being held earlier than usual (like Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001)) and is taking place on 9/11? In support of this possibility is a 1997 Defense Department report that describes the Stratcom exercise Global Guardian, saying it “links with other exercise activities sponsored by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commands.” The exercises it links with are Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and—significantly—the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [uS Department of Defense, 5/1997; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) is occurring the same time as Global Guardian, might Amalgam Warrior be as well? In his book Code Names, William Arkin says that Amalgam Warrior is “sometimes combined with Global Guardian.” [Arkin, 2005, pp. 254] Amalgam Warrior tests such activities as tracking, surveillance, air interception, employing rules of engagement, attack assessment, electronic warfare, and counter-cruise-missile operations. A previous Amalgam Warrior in 1996 involved such situations as tracking unknown aircraft that had incorrectly filed their flight plans or wandered off course, in-flight emergencies, terrorist aircraft attacks, and large-scale bomber strike missions. Amalgam Warrior 98-1 was NORAD’s largest ever exercise and involved six B-1B bombers being deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to act as an enemy threat by infiltrating the aerial borders of North America. [Airman, 1/1996; Arkin, 2005, pp. 254; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Another Amalgam Warrior in fall 2000 similarly involved four B-1 bombers acting as enemy forces trying to invade Alaska, with NORAD going from tracking the unknown aircraft to sending up “alert” F-15s in response. [Eielson News Service, 10/27/2000; Associated Press, 10/29/2000] If either one (or both) of these exercises ending with the name “Warrior” is taking place on 9/11, this could be very significant, because the word “Warrior” indicates that the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, Commander in Chief, NORAD-sponsored field training exercise. [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 8/25/1989] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them.

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: Acting Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers Updates Clarke Videoconference on Fighter Response

According to his own account, during a video conference with top officials that he is directing, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke asks acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?” Myers, who is at the Pentagon, replies, “Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but… Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.” Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to either the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian, or perhaps another exercise called Amalgam Warrior (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). Otis Air National Guard Base is in Massachusetts, 188 miles east of New York City; Langley is in Virginia, 129 miles south of Washington; Tinker Air Force Base is in Oklahoma. Clarke asks, “Okay, how long to CAP [combat air patrol] over DC?” Myers replies, “Fast as we can. Fifteen minutes?” [Clarke, 2004, pp. 5] The first fighters don’t reach Washington until perhaps more than 30 minutes later (see (Between 9:49 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). However, this account—or at least the time Clarke alleges the conversation occurs—is contradicted by Myers himself and Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). Myers claims he has been at a meeting on Capitol Hill with Cleland since about 9:00 a.m., and does not arrive back at the Pentagon until after it is hit, which is at 9:37 a.m. [American Forces Press Service, 10/23/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; CNN, 4/15/2003; American Forces Press Service, 9/8/2006] Cleland confirms the existence of this meeting, and claims that Myers is with him until around the time of the Pentagon attack. [CNN, 11/20/2001; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/16/2003] (There are, though, some inconsistencies in Myers and Cleland’s accounts of this period—see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

###########################

Ah .....whats the implication ........................ ???????

According to his own account, during a video conference with top officials that he is directing, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke asks acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?” Myers, who is at the Pentagon, replies, “Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but… Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.” Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to either the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian, or perhaps another exercise called Amalgam Warrior

Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers IMPLIES EXERCISES INTERFERING WITH AIR DEFENSE

Edited by Steven Gaal

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Profile: Amalgam Warrior

Amalgam Warrior was a participant or observer in the following events:

8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001: US Military Holding ‘Practice Armageddon’ Nationwide Training Exercise

802_global_guardian_2050081722-9716-1.jpgOffutt Air Force Base control tower during Global Guardian 1998. [source: Jeffery S. Viano]As the 9/11 attacks are taking place, a large military training exercise called Global Guardian is said to be “in full swing.” It has been going on since the previous week. [Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/2002] Global Guardian is an annual exercise sponsored by US Strategic Command (Stratcom) in cooperation with US Space Command and NORAD. One military author defines Stratcom as “the single US military command responsible for the day-to-day readiness of America’s nuclear forces.” [Arkin, 2005, pp. 59]

Exercise Tests Military's Ability to Fight a Nuclear War - Global Guardian is a global readiness exercise involving all Stratcom forces and aims to test Stratcom’s ability to fight a nuclear war. It is one of many “practice Armageddons” that the US military routinely stages. [Associated Press, 2/21/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/2002] It links with a number of other military exercises, including Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [US Department of Defense, 5/1997; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Global Guardian is both a command post and a field training exercise, and is based around a fictitious scenario designed to test the ability of Stratcom and its component forces to deter a military attack against the US. Hundreds of military personnel are involved. [US Congress, n.d.; Collins Center Update, 12/1999 pdfbw.png; NET News, 12/27/2011]

Stratcom has nothing to do with air defense, no citation is provided for the claim “Global Guardian is [held] in cooperation with…NORAD.” A truther helpfully posted the text of three Omaha World-Herald articles about the exercise, there was no mentions of air defenses or NEADS, nothing relevant about the Air Force and the only mention of NORAD was, “One video screen on the wall projected CNN. Another showed the status of all airborne aircraft, provided by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, to track Federal Aviation Administration efforts to clear the sky.”

Exercise Normally Held in October or November - According to a 1998 Internet article by the British American Security Information Council—an independent research organization—Global Guardian is held in October or November each year. [Kristensen, 10/1998] In his book Code Names, NBC News military analyst William Arkin dates this exercise for October 22-31, 2001. [Arkin, 2005, pp. 379] And a military newspaper reported in March 2001 that Global Guardian was scheduled for October 2001. [Space Observer, 3/23/2001, pp. 2 ] If this is correct, then some time after March, the exercise must have been rescheduled for early September.

Not only do several sources say it normally held in Oct. – Nov. one, William Arkin, said it WAS held October 22-31, 2001, that matches the one cited source, the Omaha World-Herald that was on going during 9/11. Which is correct? If as late as 2005 Arkin was 40 days off regarding the date how can he be cited as a reliable source about the rest? The one cited source for the earlier date said “When the second World Trade Center tower was hit, the exercise was canceled, and the battle staff moved to the real-world crisis.” (see link above)

Exercise Includes a 'Computer Network Attack' - Furthermore, a 1998 Defense Department newsletter reported that for several years Stratcom had been incorporating a computer network attack (CNA) into Global Guardian. The attack involved Stratcom “red team” members and other organizations acting as enemy agents, and included attempts to penetrate the command using the Internet and a “bad” insider who had access to a key command and control system. The attackers “war dialed” the phones to tie them up and sent faxes to numerous fax machines throughout the Command. They also claimed they were able to shut down Stratcom’s systems. Reportedly, Stratcom planned to increase the level of computer network attack in future Global Guardian exercises. [IAnewsletter, 6/1998 ] It is unclear if a computer network attack is incorporated into Global Guardian in 2001.

(GEE IF SO WOULD THAT HAVE SLOWED THING DOWN ??? YUP !!)

Big IF since we have no direct evidence such things were done after 1997 let alone in 2001 and we still are sure if the exercise was on going on 9/11 especially after the 2nd crash. Nor do any accounts of the 2001 exercise say anything about this.

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: NORAD Possibly Holding ‘Live-Fly’ Training Exercise

According to former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, around this time the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers speaks to him via video link (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). During their conversation, Myers mentions, “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise.” [Clarke, 2004, pp. 5] However, no other references have been found to this exercise, “Vigilant Warrior.” Considering that exercise terms are “normally an unclassified nickname,” [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 4/23/1998 ] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), which is taking place on 9/11? According to a later news report though, NORAD confirms that “it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and Command Centers in the United States and Canada,” one of these being Vigilant Guardian. [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 12/5/2003] If this is correct then there must be another NORAD exercise on 9/11. If not “Vigilant Warrior,” a possibility is that the exercise referred to by Richard Clarke is in fact “Amalgam Warrior,” which is a NORAD-sponsored, large-scale, live-fly air defense and air intercept field training exercise. Amalgam Warrior usually involves two or more NORAD regions and is held twice yearly, in the spring for the West Coast and in the autumn for the East Coast. [uS Congress, n.d.; Airman, 1/1996; Arkin, 2005, pp. 254; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Is it possible that in 2001 the East Coast Amalgam Warrior is being held earlier than usual (like Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001)) and is taking place on 9/11? In support of this possibility is a 1997 Defense Department report that describes the Stratcom exercise Global Guardian, saying it “links with other exercise activities sponsored by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commands.” The exercises it links with are Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and—significantly—the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [uS Department of Defense, 5/1997; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) is occurring the same time as Global Guardian, might Amalgam Warrior be as well? In his book Code Names, William Arkin says that Amalgam Warrior is “sometimes combined with Global Guardian.” [Arkin, 2005, pp. 254] Amalgam Warrior tests such activities as tracking, surveillance, air interception, employing rules of engagement, attack assessment, electronic warfare, and counter-cruise-missile operations. A previous Amalgam Warrior in 1996 involved such situations as tracking unknown aircraft that had incorrectly filed their flight plans or wandered off course, in-flight emergencies, terrorist aircraft attacks, and large-scale bomber strike missions. Amalgam Warrior 98-1 was NORAD’s largest ever exercise and involved six B-1B bombers being deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to act as an enemy threat by infiltrating the aerial borders of North America. [Airman, 1/1996; Arkin, 2005, pp. 254; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005] Another Amalgam Warrior in fall 2000 similarly involved four B-1 bombers acting as enemy forces trying to invade Alaska, with NORAD going from tracking the unknown aircraft to sending up “alert” F-15s in response. [Eielson News Service, 10/27/2000; Associated Press, 10/29/2000] If either one (or both) of these exercises ending with the name “Warrior” is taking place on 9/11, this could be very significant, because the word “Warrior” indicates that the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, Commander in Chief, NORAD-sponsored field training exercise. [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 8/25/1989] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them.

The 2nd NORAD exercise seems to have been “Operation Northern Vigilance” which took place “in Alaska and Northern Canada” and thus did not even directly involve NORAD’s Continental US (CONUS) Command. It was timed “to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian arctic and North Pacific ocean” perhaps the Russkies were ‘in on it’. It was a “live-fly” exercise, was there another one that morning?

http://www.911myths....thern_Vigilance

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: Acting Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers Updates Clarke Videoconference on Fighter Response

According to his own account, during a video conference with top officials that he is directing, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke asks acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?” Myers, who is at the Pentagon, replies, “Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but… Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.” Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to either the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian, or perhaps another exercise called Amalgam Warrior (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). Otis Air National Guard Base is in Massachusetts, 188 miles east of New York City; Langley is in Virginia, 129 miles south of Washington; Tinker Air Force Base is in Oklahoma. Clarke asks, “Okay, how long to CAP [combat air patrol] over DC?” Myers replies, “Fast as we can. Fifteen minutes?” [Clarke, 2004, pp. 5] The first fighters don’t reach Washington until perhaps more than 30 minutes later (see (Between 9:49 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). However, this account—or at least the time Clarke alleges the conversation occurs—is contradicted by Myers himself and Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). Myers claims he has been at a meeting on Capitol Hill with Cleland since about 9:00 a.m., and does not arrive back at the Pentagon until after it is hit, which is at 9:37 a.m. [American Forces Press Service, 10/23/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; CNN, 4/15/2003; American Forces Press Service, 9/8/2006] Cleland confirms the existence of this meeting, and claims that Myers is with him until around the time of the Pentagon attack. [CNN, 11/20/2001; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/16/2003] (There are, though, some inconsistencies in Myers and Cleland’s accounts of this period—see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

###########################

Ah .....whats the implication ........................ ???????

According to his own account, during a video conference with top officials that he is directing, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke asks acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?” Myers, who is at the Pentagon, replies, “Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but… Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.” Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to either the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian, or perhaps another exercise called Amalgam Warrior

Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers IMPLIES EXERCISES INTERFERING WITH AIR DEFENSE

Richard Clarke seems to have his head and heart in the right place but there are many problems with his account of what happened so I assume his memory played tricks on him, he remembered to name of an operation no one else did, Cleland confirms he was with Myers at the time and there are other discrepancies. Clarke was not the only one to have such problems, Col. Marr for example remembered flight 93 “circling over Chicago” and Bush recalled seeing video of the 1st crash when he was still in the school. Myers was the commander of NORAD 1998 -2000, had been Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2000, and was acting Chairman and became chairman 3 weeks later, he was nominated before or shortly after the attacks. It’s hard to imagine the plot you fantasize about took place without his participation; if he’d been ‘in on it’ why would he have made such a comment to Clarke?

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POST #1 hard to remember by some ??

9:34 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Surveillance Technicians Instructed to Remove Simulated Information from Radar Screens

FYQ-93_2050081722-34170.jpgNORAD’s air defence computer system, the AN/FYQ-93. [source: Federation of American Scientists]A technician at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) instructs personnel on the NEADS operations floor to turn off their “sim switches,” apparently so as to remove from their radar screens simulated information for a training exercise that was being conducted this morning. [Northeast Air Defense Sector, 8/23/2001; 9/11 Commission, 2004]

Staffer Complained, 'Let's Get Rid of This Goddamn Sim' - A few minutes earlier, at 9:30 a.m., a member of staff on the operations floor complained about simulated information—presumably false tracks—appearing on NEADS radar screens. He said: “You know what, let’s get rid of this godd_mn sim. Turn your sim switches off. Let’s get rid of that crap.” [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 9/11/2001; North American Aerospace Defense Command, 9/11/2001] (A “sim switch” presumably allows simulated material on radar scopes to be turned on or off.)

Technician Instructs, 'Turn Off Your Sim Switches' - Now a member of NEADS staff, who according to a 9/11 Commission document is Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Richmond, gives an instruction to the NEADS surveillance technicians, “All surveillance, turn off your sim switches.” Seconds later, apparently in response to this instruction, someone on the operations floor tells a colleague, “You got your sim switches down.” [9/11 Commission, 2004]

Sim Switches Turned On for Day's Exercise - Simulated material (“sim”) is apparently appearing on NEADS radar screens because of the NORAD training exercise, Vigilant Guardian, that was being conducted this morning (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre has revealed that NORAD has the capacity to inject simulated material into the system, “as though it was being sensed for the first time by a radar site.” In a training exercise in December 1998, for example, NORAD ran “30 different simulations, some of them being mass attacks, some of them being single missiles.” An information page on the current exercise stated, “All of NEADS, operations personnel are to have their sim switches turned ‘on’ starting at 1400Z 6 Sept. 01 till endex [the end date of the exercise].” Since Vigilant Guardian was originally scheduled to continue until September 13, this would mean NEADS personnel had their sim switches turned on this morning. [US Department of Defense, 1/15/1999; Northeast Air Defense Sector, 8/23/2001]

Radar Equipment Set to Display 'Sim Tracks' - A memo outlining special instructions for Vigilant Guardian participants further detailed how NORAD equipment needed to be set to display simulated material during the exercise. It stated: “The exercise will be conducted sim over live on the air sovereignty string. The Q-93 must be placed in the mixed mode to allow the telling [i.e. the communicating of information between facilities] of sim tracks.” [Northeast Air Defense Sector, 8/23/2001] The Q-93 is a piece of equipment used by NORAD, which is described as “a suite of computers and peripheral equipment configured to receive plot data from ground radar systems,” and which “performs track processing.” [General Accounting Office, 12/24/1992 pdfbw.png; Federation of American Scientists, 4/23/2000] The Q-93 also “receives flight plans from the FAA, and has bi-directional communications with NORAD headquarters and a real-time link to AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System planes].” [Satterthwaite, Corman, and Herm, 6/2002]

Exercise Supposedly Canceled Earlier On - While NEADS radar scopes are still displaying simulated material as late as 9:34 a.m., some accounts will claim the Vigilant Guardian exercise was canceled shortly after 9:03 a.m., when the second World Trade Center tower was hit (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Airman, 3/2002; Filson, 2003, pp. 59] And according to a report in the Toronto Star, “Any simulated information” for the exercise was “purged from the [radar] screens” at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, shortly before the second WTC tower was hit (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Toronto Star, 12/9/2001] However, NEADS will receive a phone call from the operations center at 10:12 a.m. in which the caller asks it to “terminate all exercise inputs coming into Cheyenne Mountain” (see 10:12 a.m. September 11, 2001). [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 9/11/2001]

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http://rawstory.com/...investigates_se...

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CNN has now learned from two government sources that the mystery plane was a military aircraft and has determined that the blurry image on video appears to match photos of the Air Force's E-4B (discussed here on Wikipedia), a specially modified Boeing 747 with a communications pod behind the cockpit.

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CNN acknowledges that, despite its identification, the absence of the aircraft from official investigations, together with the Pentagon's denial that it was a military plane and the insistence by the Pentagon, Secret Service, and FAA that they have no explanation for the incident, may continue to raise suspicions.

This may not lead to any further insight about the events that day, but its worth noting.

Posted 5 years ago # Victronix

Member The relevance is why that plane was there, but no fighters were to protect anyone = standdown

Posted 5 years ago # NicholasLevis

Member The E4Bs were airborne as part of the 9/11 wargames, under the umbrella of Global Guardian run out of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Follow the link to get a huge list of stories on the wargames. Here are some of the excerpts relating to Global Guardian and the E-4B "Doomsday" planes:

http://cooperativere...line.jsp?timeli...

(...) Also on 9/11, three Doomsday planes (then known as “National Airborne Operations Center” planes) will be in the air, due to an exercise taking place that morning called Global Guardian (see Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). (...)

8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001: US Military Holding ‘Practice Armageddon’ Nationwide Training Exercise

Offutt Air Force Base control tower during Global Guardian ’98 As the 9/11 attacks are taking place, a large military training exercise called Global Guardian is said to be “in full swing.” It has been going on since the previous week. Global Guardian is an annual exercise sponsored by US Strategic Command (Stratcom) in cooperation with US Space Command and NORAD. One military author defines Stratcom as “the single US military command responsible for the day-to-day readiness of America’s nuclear forces.” Global Guardian is a global readiness exercise involving all Stratcom forces and aims to test Stratcom’s ability to fight a nuclear war. It is one of many “practice Armageddons” that the US military routinely stages. It links with a number of other military exercises, including Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior Global Guardian is both a command post and field training exercise, and is based around a fictitious scenario designed to test the ability of Stratcom and its component forces to deter a military attack against the US. Hundreds of military personnel are involved. According to a 1998 Internet article by the British American Security Information Council—an independent research organization—Global Guardian is held in October or November each year. In his book Code Names, NBC News military analyst William Arkin dates this exercise for October 22-31, 2001. And a military newspaper reported in March 2001 that Global Guardian was scheduled for October 2001. If this is correct, then some time after March, the exercise must have been rescheduled for early September. Furthermore, there may be another important facet to Global Guardian. A 1998 Defense Department newsletter reported that for several years Stratcom had been incorporating a computer network attack (CNA) into Global Guardian. The attack involved Stratcom “red team” members and other organizations acting as enemy agents, and included attempts to penetrate the Command using the Internet and a “bad” insider who had access to a key command and control system. The attackers “war dialed” the phones to tie them up and sent faxes to numerous fax machines throughout the Command. They also claimed they were able to shut down Stratcom’s systems. Reportedly, Stratcom planned to increase the level of computer network attack in future Global Guardian exercises. It is not currently known if a computer attack was incorporated into Global Guardian in 2001 or what its possible effects on the country’s air defense system would have been if such an attack was part of the exercise.

Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001: Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is Directing Global Guardian Training Exercise

Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska, appears to be the headquarters of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) exercise Global Guardian that is “in full swing” when the 9/11 attacks begin. At least the director of the exercise, Admiral Richard Mies, commander in chief of Stratcom, is at Offutt this morning. Because of Global Guardian, bombers, missile crews, and submarines around America are all being directed from Stratcom’s Command Center, a steel and concrete reinforced bunker below Offutt. This bunker is staffed with top personnel and they are at a heightened security mode because of the exercise. Because of Global Guardian, three special military command aircraft with sophisticated communications equipment, based at Offutt, are up in the air the morning of 9/11. These E-4B National Airborne Operations Center planes—nicknamed “Doomsday” planes during the Cold War—are intended to control nuclear forces from the air in times of crisis. They are capable of acting as alternative command posts for top government officials from where they can direct US forces, execute war orders and coordinate the actions of civil authorities in times of national emergency. The Federal Advisory Committee* (whose chairman is retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft) is aboard one of these Doomsday planes, being brought to Offutt to observe the exercise. Media accounts indicate Global Guardian is cancelled at Offutt shortly after the second WTC tower is hit (at 9:03 a.m.), with staff switching to “real-world mode.” However, even after Global Guardian is called off, the three E-4Bs remain airborne. Also, the morning of 9/11, a small group of business leaders are at Offutt Air Force Base for a charity fundraiser event due to take place there later in the day, hosted by the multi-billionaire Warren Buffett. When the attacks begin, these visitors are having breakfast with Admiral Mies, the director of Global Guardian. After the second WTC tower is hit, Mies excuses himself from the group, presumably to assist in canceling the exercise.

http://cooperativere...line.jsp?timeli...

IMPORTANT * - article is mistaken about the name; the White House group Scowcroft chaired at the time is actually known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, PFIAB. This outfit has a long history dating back to Eisenhower as the civilian steering committee assigned to ostensibly oversee CIA and other covert foreign policy operations.

I wrote an analysis when this stuff was fist dug up by the Timeline in 2005: http://www.911truth....?story=20050830...

(...)

As the day dawns over the East Coast on September 11th, 2001, the US Strategic Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska is on full alert, busily dispatching warplanes around North America in a rehearsal for Armaggedon.

Stratcom directs the US nuclear arsenal. A number of interrelated air-defense wargames are underway around the country, under the overall umbrella of Global Guardian. This is the designation for the annual combined exercises run by Stratcom in conjunction with the US Space Command and NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The man officially in charge of Global Guardian is Admiral Richard Mies, Stratcom's commander-in-chief.

(...)

In the period after March 2001, military planners discussed various possible exercises that would have involved hijacking simulations, including live-fly (FTX) exercises using real planes with actors playing passengers. It is known that the idea of rehearsing air defense against a hijacked plane aimed at the Pentagon was at least temporarily considered in April 2001 and postponed. Meanwhile, the planners of Amalgam Virgo II were discussing a simulation for simultaneous hijackings of passenger planes out of Utah and Vancouver, with military people and FBI agents acting in the roles of passengers and hijackers. As of spring 2001, Amalgam Virgo II was scheduled for July 2002.

The idea was hardly new. A mass casualty (MASCAL) exercise of the Pentagon's command and emergency services, using the scenario of a plane hitting the building, had already been conducted by hundreds of personnel at the Pentagon in October 2000. Two clinics at the Pentagon rehearsed the same script in May 2001.

All this activity, combined with the many past precedents of kamikaze attack attempts using civilian planes, completely demolish the lie frequently propagated by Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld that "no one could have imagined" simultaneous hijackings or planes used as weapons against buildings. (See "Bush, Rice and the Genoa Warning")

But a more ominous question obviously presents itself: Were any of these hijacking scenarios under discussion that spring finally incorporated into the scripts for the wargames of September 2001?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That CNN covers this suddenly, matter-of-fact and without overheating when raising the "conspiracy" speculation, suggests someone there would like to focus on this issue. Interesting.

Posted 5 years ago # Arabesque

Member Why Did the World’s Most Advanced Electronics Warfare Plane Circle Over The White House on 9/11? http://www.journalof...volume/200704/9... Mark H. Gaffney

Pentagon Flight Path Misinformation, Stand-Down, War Games, and the Three Mysterious Planes http://arabesque911....007/07/pentagon-...

Edited by Steven Gaal

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POST #1 hard to remember by some ??

9:34 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Surveillance Technicians Instructed to Remove Simulated Information from Radar Screens

[...]

the Vigilant Guardian exercise was canceled shortly after 9:03 a.m., when the second World Trade Center tower was hit (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Airman, 3/2002; Filson, 2003, pp. 59] And according to a report in the Toronto Star, “Any simulated information” for the exercise was “purged from the [radar] screens” at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, shortly before the second WTC tower was hit (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Toronto Star, 12/9/2001] However, NEADS will receive a phone call from the operations center at 10:12 a.m. in which the caller asks it to “terminate all exercise inputs coming into Cheyenne Mountain” (see 10:12 a.m. September 11, 2001). [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 9/11/2001]

There were over 4200 flights aloft in the US at the time, a good portion in the NE, what major difference would a few more blips have made? The above indicates the sims could be turned off on orders from a Tech Sgt., hardly a high level conspiracy.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-08-12-clearskies_x.htm

=====================================

http://rawstory.com/...investigates_se...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CNN has now learned from two government sources that the mystery plane was a military aircraft and has determined that the blurry image on video appears to match photos of the Air Force's E-4B (discussed here on Wikipedia), a specially modified Boeing 747 with a communications pod behind the cockpit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CNN acknowledges that, despite its identification, the absence of the aircraft from official investigations, together with the Pentagon's denial that it was a military plane and the insistence by the Pentagon, Secret Service, and FAA that they have no explanation for the incident, may continue to raise suspicions.

This may not lead to any further insight about the events that day, but its worth noting.

Posted 5 years ago # Victronix

Member The relevance is why that plane was there, but no fighters were to protect anyone = standdown

According to CNN the plane took off after the towers collapsed thus after 10:28 when there already were fighters over DC

Posted 5 years ago # NicholasLevis

Member The E4Bs were airborne as part of the 9/11 wargames, under the umbrella of Global Guardian run out of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Follow the link to get a huge list of stories on the wargames. Here are some of the excerpts relating to Global Guardian and the E-4B "Doomsday" planes:

http://cooperativere...line.jsp?timeli...

The above including the part snipped out was already posted, what was the point of posting it again?

(...)

In the period after March 2001, military planners discussed various possible exercises that would have involved hijacking simulations, including live-fly (FTX) exercises using real planes with actors playing passengers. It is known that the idea of rehearsing air defense against a hijacked plane aimed at the Pentagon was at least temporarily considered in April 2001 and postponed. Meanwhile, the planners of Amalgam Virgo II were discussing a simulation for simultaneous hijackings of passenger planes out of Utah and Vancouver, with military people and FBI agents acting in the roles of passengers and hijackers. As of spring 2001, Amalgam Virgo II was scheduled for July 2002.

The idea was hardly new. A mass casualty (MASCAL) exercise of the Pentagon's command and emergency services, using the scenario of a plane hitting the building, had already been conducted by hundreds of personnel at the Pentagon in October 2000. Two clinics at the Pentagon rehearsed the same script in May 2001.

All this activity, combined with the many past precedents of kamikaze attack attempts using civilian planes, completely demolish the lie frequently propagated by Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld that "no one could have imagined" simultaneous hijackings or planes used as weapons against buildings. (See "Bush, Rice and the Genoa Warning")

But a more ominous question obviously presents itself: Were any of these hijacking scenarios under discussion that spring finally incorporated into the scripts for the wargames of September 2001?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That CNN covers this suddenly, matter-of-fact and without overheating when raising the "conspiracy" speculation, suggests someone there would like to focus on this issue. Interesting.

Posted 5 years ago # Arabesque

Member Why Did the World’s Most Advanced Electronics Warfare Plane Circle Over The White House on 9/11? http://www.journalof...volume/200704/9... Mark H. Gaffney

Pentagon Flight Path Misinformation, Stand-Down, War Games, and the Three Mysterious Planes http://arabesque911....007/07/pentagon

What a jumble of junk speculation (‘junkulation’?) Why would a would anyone think it odd that an E4B would be flying over Washington at the time? The Arabesque article is even worse; the “Flight Path Misinformation” did not come from any official source but rather a truther website, the 1st ‘Mysterious Plane’ was Flight 77 itself, the 2nd (actually the 3rd) was the E4B, the 3rd (actually the 1st or 2nd) was a C-130 cargo plane that took off from Andrews shortly before the Pentagon crash. There was also the usual drivel about Mineta.

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'Don't Mention This to Anyone': Why Did American Airlines Suppress News of the First Hijacking on 9/11?

12/15/2012 911blogger by shoestring

AAL_Headquarters.jpg

American Airlines employees who were dealing with phone calls made by two flight attendants on Flight 11--the first plane to be hijacked on September 11, 2001--were told by their superiors to keep quiet about what they had learned about the unfolding crisis. At a time when the airline should have been alerting as many people as possible to the serious incident that the flight attendants were describing, senior personnel were instead issuing instructions such as "Don't spread this around" and "I don't want this spread all over this office right now."

Furthermore, airline employees who were aware of the flight attendants' calls were remarkably slow to pass on what they knew to individuals and agencies that should have been alerted as a matter of urgency, such as the FBI, the FAA, and even American Airlines senior managers.

With two of its aircraft involved in the terrorist attacks, American Airlines had an important role to play on September 11. But no explanations have been given for the actions of key personnel who appear to have deliberately hindered its response to the hijacking of Flight 11. It is therefore important that we now examine closely the behavior of American Airlines staff that day.

TWO FLIGHT ATTENDANTS PHONED AMERICAN AIRLINES OFFICES

A number of American Airlines employees were among the first people to be alerted to the crisis taking place in the skies over America on September 11. They learned what was happening on American Airlines Flight 11 from two flight attendants--Betty Ong and Madeline "Amy" Sweeney--who made phone calls from the hijacked plane.

Betty Ong called the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office in Cary, North Carolina, at 8:18 a.m., about four minutes after Flight 11 is thought to have been hijacked. Over the next 25 minutes, she described what was happening on her plane to a number of reservations office employees. [1]

One of the employees, Nydia Gonzalez, soon realized the seriousness of the situation and, at 8:21 a.m., called the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) center on a separate phone line, to alert it to the emergency. [2] The SOC, in Fort Worth, Texas, "coordinates the day-to-day, minute-by-minute operation" of American Airlines. [3] Gonzalez talked to Craig Marquis, the manager on duty there, and kept him updated with the information Ong was providing until contact with the flight attendant was lost, shortly before 8:46 a.m., when Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center. [4]

Amy Sweeney made three phone calls to the American Airlines flight services office at Logan International Airport in Boston, and in them described the catastrophic events on her plane. The first two calls, made at 8:25 a.m. and 8:29 a.m., got disconnected after less than two minutes. But Sweeney's third call, at 8:32 a.m., stayed connected until around 8:44 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. [5]

AIRLINE EMPLOYEES WERE TOLD TO KEEP QUIET ABOUT THE HIJACKING

Ong and Sweeney made it clear, in their calls, that a serious crisis was taking place, lives were in danger, and anything could happen next. And yet recordings of phone calls have shown that, rather than making as much noise as possible to alert people to the emergency, senior American Airlines personnel seemed intent on suppressing the information provided by the two flight attendants.

A parent of one victim of the 9/11 attacks, who was a veteran flight attendant for United Airlines, was highly critical of the attitude of these individuals after she heard the recorded calls. "It was disgusting," she said. "The very first response was cover-up, when they should have been broadcasting this information all over the place." [6]

Transcripts of calls recorded at the American Airlines SOC reveal numerous occasions when senior personnel instructed their colleagues to keep quiet about the hijacking of Flight 11. These are described below:

i) Dispatcher Was Told Not to 'Spread Around' News of the Hijacking

At 8:25 a.m., SOC manager Craig Marquis called Peggy Houck, a flight dispatcher at the SOC, and asked her to try and contact the pilot of Flight 11. Marquis gave Houck several details of what was happening on the plane. He said the "number three flight attendant"--Betty Ong--had contacted the airline's reservations office in Cary and reported that there was "a passenger on board that's stabbing this flight attendant." He added that Ong had been "trying to get hold of the cockpit crew and she can't get through, and the cockpit cabin door is closed." After Houck said she would try to contact the pilot, Marquis told her: "Don't spread this around. This is between you and me right now, okay?" Houck answered, "Okay." [7]

ii) Airline Employee Told, 'We Don't Want This Getting Out'

Then, shortly after 8:25 a.m., when Amy Sweeney had made her first call to the American Airlines flight services office at Logan Airport, an American Airlines employee at the airport called the SOC to ask about the hijacked plane. The employee, whose name is unreported, talked to Ray Howland, a sector manager at the SOC. He told Howland that he was on the phone with someone at the flight services office, who said they'd "got a call from a flight attendant" on a plane that "might have been hijacked." Howland clarified for the caller that the plane involved in the incident was Flight 11, but then instructed him to keep the news of the possible hijacking to himself. Howland said, "We don't want this getting out." He added: "We're aware of the situation. We're dealing with it right now. So let us deal with it." He then told the caller, again, "We don't want anything getting out right now." The airline employee replied: "Nothing said. Okay." [8]

iii) Operations Center Manager Didn't Want News 'Spread All Over'

At around 8:30 a.m., at the SOC, Craig Marquis told Mike Mulcahy, the manager of SOC policies and procedures, what was happening. Marquis said the "number three flight attendant" on Flight 11 had called and said that "two male passengers on board stabbed the number one and the number five flight attendant." He said the two passengers had "broken into the cockpit" and the plane was being "flown erratically right now." Apparently still talking to Mulcahy, Marquis said he wanted "all the information on Flight 11" to be brought to him. He then said: "I don't want this spread all over this office right now. Any information that you get, send to me, okay?" [9]

iv) Supervisor Wanted Colleagues to Keep Quiet About the Hijacking

Around the time this conversation occurred at the SOC, employees at the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office who were on the phone with Betty Ong were likewise instructed to keep the news of the hijacking to themselves. Nydia Gonzalez, the reservations office supervisor, told Ong that the airline had "security" working on the emergency. Presumably addressing her colleagues who were also participating in the call, Gonzalez then said: "We don't want to spread anything around. Okay?" Her colleagues apparently agreed to keep quiet about the hijacking, as she responded to them, "Excellent." [10]

Later, at around 8:44 a.m., Craig Marquis made clear to Gonzalez that he wanted her and her colleagues to keep quiet about the hijacking. Referring to the information they had received from Ong, he said, "I don't want this spread all over." Gonzalez confirmed that she had "already made that indication to our people here." Marquis told her, "Try to make sure that it's followed through on." Gonzalez replied, "Okay." [11]

One of Gonzalez's colleagues who participated in the call with Ong confirmed, when she was interviewed by the FBI the following day, that she had kept quiet about the call. Vanessa Minter said that after the call ended, she had written a statement describing it. She subsequently headed to the American Airlines operations area, where she heard other people talking about the hijacking, and then later went to the lunch patio area, before heading home at around 3:30 p.m. Minter said that after it ended, she had "tried not to speak to anyone about the telephone call with Ong, since she had been told not to talk about the conversation." [12]

v) Manager at Airport Told Colleagues, 'Don't Mention This to Anyone'

Employees at the American Airlines flight services office at Logan Airport were similarly told to keep quiet about the hijacking. At 8:40 a.m., Nancy Wyatt, a manager at the office, called Ray Howland at the SOC to pass on the information her office was receiving from Amy Sweeney. Around six minutes into the call, Wyatt turned to one of her colleagues and instructed them: "Evelyn, don't mention this to anyone. Me, you, Beth. Just the five of us, okay?"

A couple of minutes later, Howland made clear that he wanted Wyatt and her colleagues to keep quiet about the hijacking: When Wyatt asked, "What do you want us to do as far as just keeping our mouths shut and not ... ?" he answered, "That's basically it." [13]

vi) Information Was Withheld From the Crew of Flight 11

Curiously, earlier in the call, Howland told Wyatt that he wanted some information to be withheld from Sweeney and the other crew members on Flight 11. Wyatt had said that the plane's flight attendants were "concerned" because they "don't know what's going on in the cockpit." In response, Howland said the SOC was "trying to get in contact with the cockpit," but he added, "We don't really want to tell her [i.e. Sweeney] that." Wyatt agreed not to tell Sweeney, saying: "Okay, don't. Okay, okay. Got it."

And a couple of minutes later, Wyatt asked Howland if he knew where Flight 11 was heading. Howland said the plane appeared to be going to JFK International Airport in New York, but he then added, "I mean, we don't really want to give a whole lot of information to that flight." Wyatt answered: "Okay, we're not. We're not giving them that information to that flight." [14]

OPERATIONS CENTER WAS SLOW TO PASS ON NEWS OF THE HIJACKING

Another troubling aspect of the response of American Airlines to the hijacking of Flight 11 is its slowness to pass on details of the emergency to individuals and agencies that should have been notified without delay.

i) Operations Center Did Not Mention Ong Call to the FAA

One government agency that American Airlines should have contacted promptly, and provided with the information it had received from Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney, is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates civil aviation and is responsible for operating a system of air traffic control. American Airlines informed the 9/11 Commission that "in emergencies, the SOC was generally responsible for notifying the FAA/air traffic control, Department of Defense, and Coast Guard." [15]

The SOC first contacted the FAA to discuss Flight 11 at 8:29 a.m., eight minutes after Nydia Gonzalez alerted it to the problems on the aircraft. At that time, after being asked to do so by Craig Marquis, SOC air traffic control specialist Bill Halleck called the FAA's Boston Center and said he wanted to find out "what you know about our Flight 11." Halleck was told that the Boston Center had lost communication with the flight; it had lost the plane's transponder signal; and the plane had deviated from its flight path. He was also told that an air traffic controller heard a radio communication from the plane in which a threatening voice in the background said, "Return to an airport … or I'll kill you, or something to that effect."

It is unclear whether Halleck had explicitly been instructed to keep quiet about the call from Ong. All the same, in his call with the Boston Center, he made no mention of the ongoing conversation with the flight attendant or the information she had provided about the crisis on Flight 11. [16]

ii) Operations Center Made no Calls to the Military

SOC personnel also failed to contact the Department of Defense about the hijacking. It was pointed out to Craig Marquis, when he was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission in 2004, that even though the loss of Flight 11's transponder signal prevented air traffic controllers from seeing the plane's altitude, the military could have determined the altitude by observing Flight 11's "primary target" on its radar scopes. Had the airline wanted to know the plane's altitude, therefore, someone at the SOC could presumably have just contacted the military and requested the information. However, Marquis told the 9/11 Commission, "No one from the American Airlines SOC called any military entity that day." [17]

iii) Airline Was Slow to Notify the FBI, in Line With the 'Well-Researched Hijack-Response Plan'

American Airlines was also slow to alert the FBI to the crisis. The man who notified the FBI was Larry Wansley, the airline's managing director of corporate security. On September 11, Wansley was working at American Airlines' headquarters, which is in Fort Worth, about a mile away from the SOC. Despite his key position at the airline, he only learned there was a problem with an American Airlines plane just before Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center. Wansley was going into the office of Robert Baker, the vice chairman of American Airlines, to participate in the airline's daily 8:45 a.m. conference call, when Baker's secretary told him, "We have a hijacking."

Wansley phoned the SOC for further details, but, he told the 9/11 Commission, "they didn't have much information." He then called Danny Defenbaugh, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Dallas field office, to tell him that Flight 11 had been hijacked. Prior to Wansley's call, Defenbaugh had known nothing of the incident.

Wansley's call to Defenbaugh was "the first step in the well-researched, secret hijack-response plan all commercial airlines have in place," according to the Dallas Observer. But it was made perhaps 25 minutes or more after Betty Ong had reached American Airlines personnel on the ground and told them, "I think we're getting hijacked."

While he was on the phone with Defenbaugh, Wansley heard screams coming from an adjacent room, as several airline employees saw the coverage of the crash at the WTC on television. He then saw the coverage himself. But, he told the 9/11 Commission, "he did not connect the hijacking with the incident at [the] WTC because the commentator [on television] said that it was a small airplane" that had crashed. Wansley saw the second plane hitting the WTC live on television at 9:03 a.m. At that point, he told the 9/11 Commission, "he immediately felt that the first [plane to hit the WTC] was probably American 11." However, he remained on the phone with Defenbaugh (he has said that the call lasted "nearly one hour") and only headed to the SOC shortly before 10:00 a.m. [18]

iv) Senior Airline Managers Were Alerted to the Hijacking Around the Time Flight 11 Hit the WTC

American Airlines was even slow to notify many of its managers about the crisis. Some managers learned what was happening during their regular morning conference call.

Every morning, American Airlines held an operational conference call, in which senior personnel usually discussed what had happened with the airline in the past 24 hours and what was expected to happen in the coming day. [19] But shortly after the conference call began on September 11, Joseph Bertapelle, a manager at the SOC, announced, "Gentlemen, I have some information here I need to relay." [20] He then passed on much of the information about the hijacking of Flight 11 that Bill Halleck and Craig Marquis had received. [21]

The conference call was held at 8:45 a.m. (Eastern time) every day, which means the high-level personnel who participated in it learned of the problems with Flight 11 around 25 minutes after the SOC was first alerted to the emergency.

Other senior personnel appear to have received their first official notification of the crisis in a pager message that was sent out several minutes after Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center. At 8:42 a.m., shortly after Bill Halleck told him that FAA controllers were treating Flight 11 as a hijacking, Craig Marquis instructed a colleague to send out a notification, by pager, to 50 or 60 key American Airlines officials, to let them know what was happening. [22] The message stated, "Confirmed hijacking Flight 11," according to the Wall Street Journal. [23] According to information recorded by senior American Airlines personnel, the pager message went out at 8:49 a.m.--seven minutes after Marquis requested it and three minutes after Flight 11 hit the WTC. [24]

Even Donald Carty, the chairman and CEO of American Airlines, was only told that one of his planes had been hijacked around the time that Flight 11 crashed. Carty was at home answering e-mails, instead of at his office, when Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney made their calls from Flight 11. [25] He later recalled that he learned of the emergency when he received "a call from our operations people"--presumably someone at the SOC--"to tell me that one of our airplanes had been hijacked, that there was a flight attendant on the phone, and the airplane had been hijacked." Carty told the caller he would be out "immediately," but before he reached the door, he has said, "it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I should check whether the press had the story, and I turned on the TV, and almost at the moment I turned on the TV, I saw them talking about something that struck the World Trade Center." [26]

AIRLINE WAS SLOW TO ACTIVATE ITS CRISIS COMMAND CENTER

Another example of the slowness of American Airlines personnel in responding to the hijacking of Flight 11 is the late time at which they activated the System Operations Command Center (SOCC) to manage the emergency.

The SOCC is a dedicated crisis response facility, located on the floor above, and overlooking, the SOC. It would be activated in emergencies, such as major accidents and hijackings, so as to enable the airline to isolate an event and gather together the people needed to manage it. The facility would then have "the primary responsibility for support of accident recovery from start to finish." American Airlines employees regarded the SOCC as their "war room." [27]

After it was activated on September 11, the SOCC "was primarily responsible for dealing with the emergency," according to Craig Parfitt, who served as one of the SOCC's directors that day. [28] The 9/11 Commission was told that the airline's "key decisions on the immediate response to the 9/11 hijackings were made in the SOCC." [29]

However, evidence indicates that the SOCC was only activated around the time that Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center--well after the SOC was alerted to the crisis. For example, at about 8:47 a.m.--one minute after the crash--Ray Howland told a caller to the SOC, "We've got the command center activated." [30] Parfitt told the 9/11 Commission that the SOCC was being set up after the airline's 8:45 a.m. conference call. He said he arrived there, along with other senior managers, at around 8:55 a.m. And Craig Marquis recalled that he noticed activity in the SOCC at about 8:50 a.m. [31]

OPERATIONS CENTER PERSONNEL WERE SLOW TO REALIZE FLIGHT 11 WAS HIJACKED

When Betty Ong called the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office, one of the first things she said was, "I think we're getting hijacked." [32] And yet SOC employees have claimed that for some time after they were first told of the problems with Flight 11, they did not realize the plane had been hijacked.

Although Nydia Gonzalez promptly called Craig Marquis at the SOC, at 8:21 a.m., to relay the information Ong was providing, Marquis told the 9/11 Commission that he "did not assume the plane was hijacked with the information he had from Gonzalez at that time." He recalled that he was told that "Ong had reported that she could not reach the pilots by the internal communications system on the plane," but he said he had "assumed this meant the pilots were busy executing an emergency landing, and that explained why the cockpit crew weren't answering the dispatcher trying to raise them repeatedly on ACARS [a text messaging system] and the radio." He said that "at the outset, he was wondering where the flight was going to be taken to land." [33]

Marquis claimed, when he was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission in 2004, that he only "knew conclusively a hijack was underway when it was confirmed the hijackers were in the cockpit." [34] This would presumably mean he came to the realization at around 8:25 a.m., when Gonzalez told him that Ong had said "two men"--i.e. hijackers--were "in the cockpit with the pilots," or possibly three minutes later, when Gonzalez repeated this information to him. [35]

However, a phone call transcript indicates that Marquis only realized--or, at least, only acknowledged--that Flight 11 had been hijacked at around 8:40 a.m. At that time, he told his colleague Bill Halleck, "Tell [air traffic control] to handle this as an emergency." Halleck replied, "They have in there, it's been hijacked." Marquis then said: "It is. Okay." When he next talked to Gonzalez, Marquis said: "We contacted air traffic control. They are gonna handle this as a confirmed hijacking." [36]

Remarkably, during the entire time she was on the phone with Marquis--a period of almost 25 minutes--Gonzalez never said explicitly that Ong's plane had been hijacked. [37] No explanation has been given as to why this was the case.

Bill Halleck apparently also did not immediately realize Flight 11 had been hijacked when he learned there were problems with the plane. According to the account he gave to the 9/11 Commission in 2004, Halleck only suspected the flight had been hijacked around 12 minutes after Gonzalez alerted the SOC to the emergency. At 8:33 a.m., he passed on to Marquis the information he had been given when he called the FAA's Boston Center, at 8:29 a.m., to find out what was happening with Flight 11. "At this point," Halleck told the 9/11 Commission, he was "thinking that it was a hijacking." [38]

THE KEY ROLE OF THE OPERATIONS CENTER MANAGER

When examining American Airlines' response to the 9/11 attacks, the actions of Craig Marquis deserve particular scrutiny, because of the crucial role Marquis had to play in that response.

As the manager on duty at the SOC on September 11, the 9/11 Commission was informed, Marquis would have been "responsible for assigning the security level for the incident." There were three possible security levels he could assign: level I, for a major accident or incident; level II, for minor damage; and level III, for a minor incident. If the SOC manager determined an incident to be a level I event, they were required "to provide basically the same initial response whether it is a terrorist threat or a technical failure." [39]

When Nydia Gonzalez called Marquis, the first thing she said about Flight 11 was that one of the flight attendants was "advising our reps that the pilot--everyone's been stabbed." She added, "They can't get into the cockpit is what I'm hearing." [40] Marquis should presumably, therefore, have immediately declared the incident to be a "level I" event and acted accordingly. Whether he did is unknown.

As the SOC manager, Marquis was also "responsible for verifying all critical notifications." [41] Marquis and several other American Airlines managers told the 9/11 Commission that "in the event that the American Airlines SOC was aware that it was the first to know about an incident," the protocol was for the manager on duty (i.e. Marquis) to immediately call the manager at the FAA's Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, and pass on to them the details of the incident. But Marquis and his colleagues said the airline "had a hard time on 9/11 in getting in touch with Herndon," and so "precious minutes were lost in building the communications bridge." [42]

Additionally, the 9/11 Commission was informed, Marquis, as the SOC manager, would have been responsible for activating the SOCC. [43] This would indicate that he was responsible for the long delay--apparently around 25 minutes--between the SOC being alerted to the problems on Flight 11 and the SOCC being activated. It is, in fact, unclear if Marquis gave the instruction to activate the SOCC or if someone else made the decision to do so.

'BELLS AND WHISTLES SHOULD HAVE BEEN GOING OFF' AT AMERICAN AIRLINES

The evidence described above raises many questions about the behavior of several key American Airlines employees who dealt with the phone calls made by Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney, or were otherwise involved in the airline's response to the hijacking of Flight 11. Some of their actions seem inexplicable, considering the serious and unprecedented nature of the crisis they were faced with on September 11.

Why did it take airline personnel so long to activate the System Operations Command Center? Why did it take them so long to notify the FBI, and even many of their own senior managers, about the emergency? Why wasn't the FAA's Boston Center told about the call from Ong when it was first contacted about Flight 11? And why didn't the System Operations Control center contact the military?

The attitude of some American Airlines personnel, who tried to suppress the news of the hijacking by instructing their colleagues to keep quiet about it, is particularly notable. As was pointed out by the father of one of the flight attendants on Flight 11 (other than Ong and Sweeney) after he heard the recordings of American Airlines phone calls from September 11, it is "alarming" that the airline "would want to hold something as horrific as a hijacking among a few people, when bells and whistles should have been going off in all categories of responsibility." [44]

But why did senior airline personnel want the news of the hijacking suppressed? And did their actions impair the overall response to the terrorist attacks? Certainly, they seem to have had some effect. Vanessa Minter, who kept quiet about the call with Betty Ong, as she was instructed to, has recalled that she "didn't really actually find out what had happened" at the World Trade Center "until later on that day, till almost 4 o'clock." She added, "I knew something bad had happened, but actually what had happened, I really didn't have any idea." [45] In other words, one of the key people involved in the response to the first hijacking apparently knew less about the attacks in New York than most members of the public did.

Investigations have failed to adequately examine the poor response of American Airlines to the 9/11 attacks and inquire why the airline wanted its employees to keep quiet about the first hijacking. But it is crucial that we dig deeper and find out what was really going on, and why, at American Airlines on September 11.

NOTES

[1] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, pp. 5, 453; "Summary From Flight 93 Depicting: The Identity of Pilots and Flight Attendants, Seat Assignments of Passengers, and Telephone Calls From the Flight." U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, July 31, 2006.

[2] Staff Report: The Four Flights. 9/11 Commission, August 26, 2004, p. 9.

[3] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)." 9/11 Commission, November 19, 2003.

[4] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 2)." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; Staff Report: The Four Flights, pp. 9-14.

[5] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 6-7; "Summary From Flight 93 Depicting: The Identity of Pilots and Flight Attendants, Seat Assignments of Passengers, and Telephone Calls From the Flight."

[6] Gail Sheehy, "9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks." New York Observer, June 21, 2004.

[7] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Craig Marquis to Peggy Houck." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Bill Halleck and Peggy Houck." 9/11 Commission, January 8, 2004; "Flight 11 Timeline: Partial (Airline Awareness)." 9/11 Commission, n.d.

[8] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: [Redacted] (BOS) to Ray Howland." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; Flight Info Tables. 9/11 Commission, n.d.

[9] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)."

[10] Ibid.

[11] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 2)."

[12] Vanessa Dias Minter, interview by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cary, NC, September 12, 2001.

[13] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nancy Wyatt (BOS Flight Service) to Ray Howland." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; "Flight 11 Timeline: Partial (Airline Awareness)."

[14] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nancy Wyatt (BOS Flight Service) to Ray Howland."

[15] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)."

[16] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Bill Halleck to Male Voice 1 and Male Voice 2 (Part 1)." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Bill Halleck to Male Voice 2 (Part 2)." American Airlines, September 11, 2001; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With American Airlines Systems Operation Center (SOC) Personnel." 9/11 Commission, April 26, 2004; Staff Report: The Four Flights, p. 11.

[17] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With American Airlines Systems Operation Center (SOC) Personnel."

[18] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Mr. Larry Wansley, Director of Security, American Airlines." 9/11 Commission, January 8, 2004; Carlton Stowers, "Rough Skies." Dallas Observer, November 21, 2002.

[19] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Mr. Timothy Ahern, Vice President of Safety, Security, and Environmental for American Airlines." 9/11 Commission, January 7, 2004; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Mr. Larry Wansley, Director of Security, American Airlines."

[20] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded." Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2001.

[21] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy." 9/11 Commission, November 19, 2003.

[22] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 2)"; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy."

[23] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded."

[24] SOCC Chronology September 11, 2001-September 24, 2001. American Airlines, January 15, 2002.

[25] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded."

[26] "Interview With Norman Mineta and Donald Carty." Larry King Live, CNN, November 19, 2001.

[27] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)"; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Mr. Timothy Ahern, Vice President of Safety, Security, and Environmental for American Airlines"; "Statement of Gerard P. Arpey to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." 9/11 Commission, January 27, 2004.

[28] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With American Airlines Systems Operation Center (SOC) Personnel."

[29] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)."

[30] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nancy Wyatt (BOS Flight Service) to Ray Howland."

[31] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy."

[32] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)"; Vanessa Dias Minter, interview by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

[33] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy."

[34] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With American Airlines Systems Operation Center (SOC) Personnel."

[35] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)."

[36] Ibid.; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy."

[37] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)"; "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 2)."

[38] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Bill Halleck and Peggy Houck"; Staff Report: The Four Flights, pp. 11-12.

[39] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)."

[40] "Transcripts of 9/11 Telephone Calls: Nydia Gonzalez to Craig Marquis (Part 1)."

[41] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)."

[42] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Craig Marquis, Craig Parfitt, Joe Bertapelle, Mike Mulcahy."

[43] "Memorandum for the Record: American Airlines (AA) System Operations Command Center (SOCC)."

[44] Gail Sheehy, "9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks."

[45] "Full Interview With Airline Operator Who Took 9/11 Call." WRAL, September 10, 2011.

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'Don't Mention This to Anyone': Why Did American Airlines Suppress News of the First Hijacking on 9/11?

12/15/2012 911blogger by shoestring

American Airlines employees who were dealing with phone calls made by two flight attendants on Flight 11--the first plane to be hijacked on September 11, 2001--were told by their superiors to keep quiet about what they had learned about the unfolding crisis. At a time when the airline should have been alerting as many people as possible to the serious incident that the flight attendants were describing, senior personnel were instead issuing instructions such as "Don't spread this around" and "I don't want this spread all over this office right now."

Furthermore, airline employees who were aware of the flight attendants' calls were remarkably slow to pass on what they knew to individuals and agencies that should have been alerted as a matter of urgency, such as the FBI, the FAA, and even American Airlines senior managers.

With two of its aircraft involved in the terrorist attacks, American Airlines had an important role to play on September 11. But no explanations have been given for the actions of key personnel who appear to have deliberately hindered its response to the hijacking of Flight 11. It is therefore important that we now examine closely the behavior of American Airlines staff that day.

[...]

This was well researched but poorly thought out; with hindsight it is easy to say people should have acted differently during difficult situations. The author never told us how the AA managers failure to act as he (or she) thinks they should have advanced the supposed “inside job”.

As even he (?) acknowledged, “the SOC first contacted the FAA to discuss Flight 11 at 8:29 a.m., eight minutes after Nydia Gonzalez alerted it to the problems on the aircraft.” How would having called the FAA a few minutes earlier have changed the outcome of events that morning? “Shoestring” complained that they did not call the military and only contacted the FBI at around 9:03 but the former was the FAA's job and he failed to tell his readers how having done the latter earlier would have changed anything.

He failed to present any evidence suggesting any of these low to mid-level managers were “in on it” and it is hard to imagine a plot so big as to include them could remain secret for over a decade. Nor were we ever told how the plotters could have anticipated stewardess would have called AA offices from the plane (and thus the need to involve the managers).

He(?) complained that “no explanations have been given for the actions of key personnel who appear to have deliberately hindered its response to the hijacking of Flight 11.” The latter part is his spin and there are no indications he tried to contact any of the people he accused to ask them why they acted as they did. One reasonable explanation is that they did not want the story leaking to the press before they had a handle on the situation and a oppurnity to contact the families of the passengers and crew.

Another interesting aspect of this article is that it implicitly accepted the validity of the stewardess phone calls, something disputed by many if not most truthers. Those calls were the original basis for much of the 9/11 narrative namely that the flight 11 was hijacked by Middle Eastern looking men sitting in first class who breeched the cockpit and used blades, supposed bombs and chemical spray to control the others on the plane. Sweeney even gave their seat numbers.

This 'story' is NOT even really news, the author even cited articles from the WSJ in 2001, New York Observer in 2004 that reported much of this.

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We need to know which individuals were responsible for designing the Vigilant Guardian exercise that was taking place in September 2001, and who designed the earlier exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks. We also need to know who was responsible for running Vigilant Guardian on September 11, along with full details of the simulations planned for that day.

The fact that some previous NORAD exercises closely resembled the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that the Vigilant Guardian exercise taking place in September 2001 included scenarios similar to the 9/11 attacks, should be of serious concern. Such facts suggest the possibility that training exercises were used to deliberately paralyze the military on September 11, thereby ensuring that the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon were successful.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Flight Control Tells Other Centers about Hijack, but Not NORAD

#########################

Boston flight control reportedly “notifies several air traffic control centers that a hijack is taking place.” [Guardian, 10/17/2001] This is immediately after Boston controllers heard a transmission from Flight 11, declaring, “We have some planes” (see 8:24 a.m. September 11, 2001), and would be consistent with a claim later made to the 9/11 Commission by Mike Canavan, the FAA’s associate administrator for civil aviation security. He says, “[M]y experience as soon as you know you had a hijacked aircraft, you notify everyone.… [W]hen you finally find out, yes, we do have a problem, then… the standard notification is it kind of gets broadcast out to all the regions.” [9/11 Commission, 5/23/2003] An early FAA report will say only that Boston controllers begin “inter-facility coordination” with New York air traffic control at this time [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/17/2001 ] , but the New York Times reports that controllers at Washington Center also know “about the hijacking of the first plane to crash, even before it hit the World Trade Center.” [New York Times, 9/13/2001] However, the Indianapolis flight controller monitoring Flight 77 claims to not know about this or Flight 175’s hijacking twenty minutes later at 8:56 a.m. (see 8:56 a.m. September 11, 2001). Additionally, the flight controllers at New York City’s La Guardia airport are never told about the hijacked planes and learn about them from watching the news. [bergen Record, 1/4/2004] Boston Center also begins notifying the FAA chain of command of the suspected Flight 11 hijacking at this time (see 8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001), but it does not notify NORAD for another 6-15 minutes, depending on the account (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

###########################

(8:38 a.m.-8:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Personnel Mistake Hijacking for Part of an Exercise

###########################

Major Kevin Nasypany. [source: CBC]When the FAA’s Boston Center first contacts NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to notify it of the hijacking of Flight 11 (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), personnel there initially mistake the hijacking for a simulation as part of an exercise.

Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins, mission crew chief for the Vigilant Guardian exercise currently taking place (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), will later say that initially she and everybody else at NEADS think the call from Boston Center is part of Vigilant Guardian. [Newhouse News Service, 1/25/2002] Although most of the personnel on the NEADS operations floor have no idea what the day’s exercise is supposed to entail, most previous major NORAD exercises included a hijack scenario. [uSA Today, 4/18/2004; Utica Observer-Dispatch, 8/5/2004] The day’s exercise is in fact scheduled to include a simulated hijacking later on. [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

Major Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission crew commander, had helped design the day’s exercise. Thinking the reported hijacking is part of it, he actually says out loud, “The hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour.” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

In the ID section, at the back right corner of the NEADS operations floor, technicians Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley react to the news. Dooley, the leader of the ID section, tells the other members of her team: “We have a hijack going on. Get your checklists. The exercise is on” (see (8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Rountree asks, “Is that real-world?” Dooley confirms, “Real-world hijack.” Watson says, “Cool!” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006; Spencer, 2008, pp. 25]

When NEADS Commander Robert Marr sees his personnel reacting to the news of the hijacking (see (8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001), he reportedly thinks the day’s exercise “is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist.” Even when a colleague informs him, “It’s a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise,” Marr thinks: “This is an interesting start to the exercise. This ‘real-world’ mixed in with today’s simex [simulated exercise] will keep [my staff members] on their toes.” [spencer, 2008, pp. 26]

Major General Larry Arnold, who is at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, also later says that when he first hears of the hijacking, in the minutes after NEADS is alerted to it, “The first thing that went through my mind was, is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?” [ABC News, 9/11/2002; 9/11 Commission, 5/23/2003] According to author Lynn Spencer: “Even as NORAD’s commander for the continental United States, Arnold is not privy to everything concerning the exercise. The simex is meant to test commanders also, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should.” [spencer, 2008, pp. 38]

At 8:43 a.m., Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team, comments, “I’ve never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise.” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

#################################

9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Fighters Do Not Have Shootdown Authority

A fighter pilot flying from Otis Air Base toward New York City later notes that it wouldn’t have mattered if he caught up with Flight 175, because only President Bush could order a shootdown, and Bush is at a public event at the time. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/2002] “Only the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down,” according to a 1999 CNN report. [CNN, 10/26/1999] In fact, by 9/11, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also has the authority to order a shootdown, but he is not responding to the crisis at this time. [New York Observer, 6/20/2004] Furthermore, NORAD Commander Larry Arnold later states that on 9/11, “I have the authority in case of an emergency to declare a target hostile and shoot it down under an emergency condition.” [Filson, 2003, pp. 75]

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We need to know which individuals were responsible for designing the Vigilant Guardian exercise that was taking place in September 2001, and who designed the earlier exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks. We also need to know who was responsible for running Vigilant Guardian on September 11, along with full details of the simulations planned for that day.

The fact that some previous NORAD exercises closely resembled the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that the Vigilant Guardian exercise taking place in September 2001 included scenarios similar to the 9/11 attacks, should be of serious concern. Such facts suggest the possibility that training exercises were used to deliberately paralyze the military on September 11, thereby ensuring that the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon were successful.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Flight Control Tells Other Centers about Hijack, but Not NORAD

#########################

Boston flight control reportedly “notifies several air traffic control centers that a hijack is taking place.” [Guardian, 10/17/2001] This is immediately after Boston controllers heard a transmission from Flight 11, declaring, “We have some planes” (see 8:24 a.m. September 11, 2001), and would be consistent with a claim later made to the 9/11 Commission by Mike Canavan, the FAA’s associate administrator for civil aviation security. He says, “[M]y experience as soon as you know you had a hijacked aircraft, you notify everyone.… [W]hen you finally find out, yes, we do have a problem, then… the standard notification is it kind of gets broadcast out to all the regions.” [9/11 Commission, 5/23/2003] An early FAA report will say only that Boston controllers begin “inter-facility coordination” with New York air traffic control at this time [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/17/2001 ] , but the New York Times reports that controllers at Washington Center also know “about the hijacking of the first plane to crash, even before it hit the World Trade Center.” [New York Times, 9/13/2001] However, the Indianapolis flight controller monitoring Flight 77 claims to not know about this or Flight 175’s hijacking twenty minutes later at 8:56 a.m. (see 8:56 a.m. September 11, 2001). Additionally, the flight controllers at New York City’s La Guardia airport are never told about the hijacked planes and learn about them from watching the news. [bergen Record, 1/4/2004] Boston Center also begins notifying the FAA chain of command of the suspected Flight 11 hijacking at this time (see 8:25 a.m. September 11, 2001), but it does not notify NORAD for another 6-15 minutes, depending on the account (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

###########################

(8:38 a.m.-8:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Personnel Mistake Hijacking for Part of an Exercise

###########################

Major Kevin Nasypany. [source: CBC]When the FAA’s Boston Center first contacts NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to notify it of the hijacking of Flight 11 (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), personnel there initially mistake the hijacking for a simulation as part of an exercise.

Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins, mission crew chief for the Vigilant Guardian exercise currently taking place (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), will later say that initially she and everybody else at NEADS think the call from Boston Center is part of Vigilant Guardian. [Newhouse News Service, 1/25/2002] Although most of the personnel on the NEADS operations floor have no idea what the day’s exercise is supposed to entail, most previous major NORAD exercises included a hijack scenario. [uSA Today, 4/18/2004; Utica Observer-Dispatch, 8/5/2004] The day’s exercise is in fact scheduled to include a simulated hijacking later on. [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

Major Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission crew commander, had helped design the day’s exercise. Thinking the reported hijacking is part of it, he actually says out loud, “The hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour.” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

In the ID section, at the back right corner of the NEADS operations floor, technicians Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley react to the news. Dooley, the leader of the ID section, tells the other members of her team: “We have a hijack going on. Get your checklists. The exercise is on” (see (8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Rountree asks, “Is that real-world?” Dooley confirms, “Real-world hijack.” Watson says, “Cool!” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006; Spencer, 2008, pp. 25]

When NEADS Commander Robert Marr sees his personnel reacting to the news of the hijacking (see (8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001), he reportedly thinks the day’s exercise “is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist.” Even when a colleague informs him, “It’s a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise,” Marr thinks: “This is an interesting start to the exercise. This ‘real-world’ mixed in with today’s simex [simulated exercise] will keep [my staff members] on their toes.” [spencer, 2008, pp. 26]

Major General Larry Arnold, who is at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, also later says that when he first hears of the hijacking, in the minutes after NEADS is alerted to it, “The first thing that went through my mind was, is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?” [ABC News, 9/11/2002; 9/11 Commission, 5/23/2003] According to author Lynn Spencer: “Even as NORAD’s commander for the continental United States, Arnold is not privy to everything concerning the exercise. The simex is meant to test commanders also, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should.” [spencer, 2008, pp. 38]

At 8:43 a.m., Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team, comments, “I’ve never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise.” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

#################################

9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Fighters Do Not Have Shootdown Authority

A fighter pilot flying from Otis Air Base toward New York City later notes that it wouldn’t have mattered if he caught up with Flight 175, because only President Bush could order a shootdown, and Bush is at a public event at the time. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/2002] “Only the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down,” according to a 1999 CNN report. [CNN, 10/26/1999] In fact, by 9/11, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also has the authority to order a shootdown, but he is not responding to the crisis at this time. [New York Observer, 6/20/2004] Furthermore, NORAD Commander Larry Arnold later states that on 9/11, “I have the authority in case of an emergency to declare a target hostile and shoot it down under an emergency condition.” [Filson, 2003, pp. 75]

There’s nothing new here. Regarding the Gen. Arnold quote he was mistaken as truthers point out at the time only Bush or Rumsfeld could have issued such an order. According to the 9/11 Timeline regarding the 1999 Payne Stewart incident:

“There is some discussion as to what could have been done had the plane been on a collision course with a populated area, with CNN reporting, “[O]nly the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down.” Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says the military has no written instructions for shooting down manned civilian planes. According to a 1997 military instruction, the shooting down of unmanned objects such as missiles requires prior approval from the secretary of defense.”

The military didn’t even think Cheney had the authority to order a shootdown.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/09/08/military-officials-ignored-cheneys-911-shoot-down-order/

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NOPE NORAD HAS NO IDEA ABOUT HIJACKING SOME ASSERT

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1990-2001: NORAD Regularly Launches Fighters to Intercept Suspicious Aircraft before 9/11

Fighter jets are regularly scrambled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in response to suspicious or unidentified aircraft flying in US airspace in the years preceding 9/11. [General Accounting Office, 5/3/1994, pp. 4; Associated Press, 8/14/2002] For this task, NORAD keeps a pair of fighters on “alert” at a number of sites around the US. These fighters are armed, fueled, and ready to take off within minutes of receiving a scramble order (see Before September 11, 2001). [American Defender, 4/1998; Air Force Magazine, 2/2002; Bergen Record, 12/5/2003; Grant, 2004, pp. 14] Various accounts offer statistics about the number of times fighters are scrambled:

A General Accounting Office report published in May 1994 states that “during the past four years, NORAD’s alert fighters took off to intercept aircraft (referred to as scrambled) 1,518 times, or an average of 15 times per site per year.” Of these incidents, the number of scrambles that are in response to suspected drug smuggling aircraft averages “one per site, or less than 7 percent of all of the alert sites’ total activity.” The remaining activity, about 93 percent of the total scrambles, “generally involved visually inspecting unidentified aircraft and assisting aircraft in distress.” [General Accounting Office, 5/3/1994, pp. 4]

In the two years from May 15, 1996 to May 14, 1998, NORAD’s Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), which is responsible for the “air sovereignty” of the western 63 percent of the continental US, scrambles fighters 129 times to identify unknown aircraft that might be a threat. Over the same period, WADS scrambles fighters an additional 42 times against potential and actual drug smugglers. [Washington National Guard, 1998]

In 1997, the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS)—another of NORAD’s three air defense sectors in the continental US—tracks 427 unidentified aircraft, and fighters intercept these “unknowns” 36 times. The same year, NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) handles 65 unidentified tracks and WADS handles 104 unidentified tracks, according to Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region on 9/11. [American Defender, 4/1998]

In 1998, SEADS logs more than 400 fighter scrambles. [Grant, 2004, pp. 14]

In 1999, Airman magazine reports that NORAD’s fighters on alert at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida are scrambled 75 times per year, on average. According to Captain Tom Herring, a full-time alert pilot at the base, this is more scrambles than any other unit in the Air National Guard. [Airman, 12/1999]

General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on 9/11, will later state that in the year 2000, NORAD’s fighters fly 147 sorties. [9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004 ]

According to the Calgary Herald, in 2000 there are 425 “unknowns,” where an aircraft’s pilot has not filed or has deviated from a flight plan, or has used the wrong radio frequency, and fighters are scrambled 129 times in response. [Calgary Herald, 10/13/2001]

Between September 2000 and June 2001, fighters are scrambled 67 times to intercept suspicious aircraft, according to the Associated Press. [Associated Press, 8/14/2002]

Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz, the commander of the Alaskan NORAD Region at the time of the 9/11 attacks, will say that before 9/11, it is “not unusual, and certainly was a well-refined procedure” for NORAD fighters to intercept an aircraft. He will add, though, that intercepting a commercial airliner is “not normal.” [Air Force Magazine, 9/2011 ] On September 11, 2001, NEADS scrambles fighters that are kept on alert in response to the hijackings (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001 and 9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001). [New York Times, 10/16/2001; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 20, 26-27]

October 25, 1999: Golfer Payne Stewart Dies in Plane Crash; Incident Raises Questions about Shooting Down Off-Course

A runaway Learjet crashes near Mina, South Dakota, after flying on autopilot for several hours. On board is champion golfer Payne Stewart, along with five others. It is believed the accident is due to a loss of cabin pressure at high altitude, which would have caused all on board to go unconscious from lack of oxygen. [ABC News, 10/25/1999; Washington Post, 10/26/1999; National Transportation Safety Board, 11/28/2000] After air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, it was tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), assisted by several Air Force and Air National Guard fighters and an AWACS radar control plane, up until when it crashed. It was also tracked on radar screens inside the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. [CNN, 10/26/1999] The Learjet had departed Orlando, Florida at 9:19 a.m., bound for Texas. The FAA says controllers lost contact with it at 9:44 a.m. [Washington Post, 10/26/1999] , but according to a later report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) the plane first failed to respond to air traffic control at 9:33 a.m., after which the controller repeatedly tried to make contact for the next 4 1/2 minutes, without success. [National Transportation Safety Board, 11/28/2000] NORAD’s Southeast Air Defense Sector was notified of the emergency at 9:55 a.m. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 459] At 10:08 a.m., two F-16 fighters from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida that were on a routine training mission had been asked by the FAA to intercept the Learjet, but never reached it. At about 10:52 a.m., a fighter from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, was directed to within 9 miles of it, and at around 11:00 a.m. began a visual inspection of the plane. It accompanied the Learjet from 11:09 to 11:44 a.m. At 11:59 a.m., according to early accounts, four Air National Guard fighters and a refueling tanker from Tulsa, Oklahoma were told to chase the Learjet, but got no closer than 100 miles from it. However, the NTSB later claims that two Tulsa fighters were with it between 12:25 and 12:39 p.m., and were able to visually inspect it. At 12:54 p.m., two Air National Guard fighters from Fargo, North Dakota intercepted the Learjet. Soon after 1:14 p.m., it crashed in swampland, after spiraling to the ground. [Washington Post, 10/26/1999; Associated Press, 10/27/1999; National Transportation Safety Board, 11/28/2000] During its flight, the FAA had routed air traffic around the Learjet, and made sure no other planes flew beneath it, due to the danger of it crashing. [Associated Press, 10/26/1999] There is some discussion as to what could have been done had the plane been on a collision course with a populated area, with CNN reporting, “[O]nly the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down.” Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says the military has no written instructions for shooting down manned civilian planes. According to a 1997 military instruction, the shooting down of unmanned objects such as missiles requires prior approval from the secretary of defense. [uS Department of Defense, 7/31/1997 ; CNN, 10/26/1999] A Pentagon spokesman says the fighters that monitored the Learjet had no missiles, but two other fighters on “strip alert” at Fargo had been armed but didn’t take off. [CNN, 10/26/1999] The 9/11 Commission will later compare NORAD’s response to this incident with its response to Flight 11 on 9/11, and claim: “There is no significant difference in NORAD’s reaction to the two incidents.” [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 459]

November 6, 1999: NORAD Conducts Exercise Scenario Based around Hijackers Planning to Crash Plane into UN Headquarters in New York

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) practices a scenario in which five terrorists take over a transcontinental aircraft with the intention of crashing it into the United Nations headquarters building in New York. The simulation takes place during a command post exercise conducted by the Continental United States NORAD Region, called Falcon Indian. NORAD’s three air defense sectors in the continental US, including the Northeast Air Defense Sector based in Rome, New York, take part in this exercise. General Richard Myers, currently the commander in chief of NORAD, will reveal the details of the scenario during an August 2004 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. According to Myers, the scenario is based around a China Air aircraft flying from Los Angeles to JFK International Airport in New York, which is “hijacked east of Colorado Springs by five terrorists.” If the plane is not intercepted by the US military, the terrorists intend “to crash into [the] United Nations building.” [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 8/25/1989; US Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004; Arkin, 2005, pp. 362] The UN headquarters building is a 39-story high-rise, located a few miles from the World Trade Center. [New York Daily News, 12/2/1999; Evening Standard, 9/11/2002] In response to the simulated crisis, exercise participants have to follow hijack checklists, exercise command and control, coordinate with external agencies, and carry out a handover of responsibilities between NORAD sectors. [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004] Like in this scenario, the teams of hijackers that take over three of the four aircraft targeted in the 9/11 attacks will comprise of five terrorists. And all four of the aircraft targeted on 9/11 will be making transcontinental flights, like the plane hijacked in this scenario, although they will be flying from the east coast to the west rather than from the west to the east. [New York Times, 9/12/2001; CNN, 9/20/2001; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 4, 11] A subsequent Falcon Indian exercise in June 2000 will include scenarios in which hijackers plan to crash aircraft into the White House and the Statue of Liberty (see June 5, 2000). [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004]

June 5, 2000: NORAD Exercise Simulates Hijackers Planning to Crash Planes into White House and Statue of Liberty

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) practices two scenarios in which aircraft are hijacked, and in one scenario the hijackers plan to crash the plane into the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, while in the other the hijackers plan to crash into the White House in Washington, DC. The scenarios are included in a command post exercise conducted by the Continental United States NORAD Region called Falcon Indian. NORAD’s three air defense sectors in the continental United States, including the Northeast Air Defense Sector based in Rome, New York, are participating in this exercise. [North American Aerospace Defense Command, 8/25/1989; US Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004; Arkin, 2005, pp. 362]

Hijackers Take Over Learjet, Plan to Crash into White House - The two hijacking scenarios will be described by General Richard Myers, currently the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in August 2004. According to Myers, one of the scenarios involves a Learjet being hijacked and maintaining a “tight formation with [a] Canadair airliner, loaded with explosives.” (From Myers’s description it is unclear whether the Learjet or the Canadair airliner is the plane carrying explosives.) According to Myers, the “Learjet planned to crash into the White House.” In response to the simulated crisis, exercise participants have to follow hijack checklists, exercise command and control, and coordinate with external agencies.

Communist Group Plans to Crash Plane into Statue of Liberty - The other scenario is based around a “Communist Party faction” that hijacks an aircraft “bound from [the] western to [the] eastern United States,” according to Myers. There are “[h]igh explosives on board” the aircraft and the fictitious hijackers intend “to crash into the Statue of Liberty.” During the simulation, the FAA requests assistance from the military. Exercise participants have to again follow hijack checklists, exercise command and control, and coordinate with external agencies, as well as carrying out a handover of responsibilities between NORAD sectors. [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004] Even though these two NORAD exercise scenarios involve hijackers attempting to use planes as weapons, the 9/11 Commission will claim in its final report, “The threat of terrorists hijacking commercial airliners within the United States—and using them as guided missiles—was not recognized by NORAD before 9/11.” [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 17] A previous Falcon Indian exercise in November 1999 included a scenario of hijackers planning to crash an aircraft into the United Nations headquarters building in New York (see November 6, 1999). [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004]

October 16-23, 2000: NORAD Exercise Includes Scenarios of Attempted Suicide Plane Crashes into UN Headquarters in New York

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) practices scenarios based around suicidal pilots planning to deliberately crash stolen aircraft into the United Nations headquarters—a skyscraper in New York. The two scenarios are practiced on October 16 and October 23 as part of NORAD’s annual command post exercise called Vigilant Guardian. All of NORAD, including its Northeast Air Defense Sector based in Rome, New York, participates in this exercise. [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004; Arkin, 2005, pp. 545; GlobalSecurity (.org), 4/27/2005]

Simulation Involves Planned Suicide Plane Attack - General Richard Myers, currently the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will later describe the scenario practiced on October 16: “Due to recent arrests involving illegal drug trafficking in Maine, an individual steals a Federal Express plane and plans a suicide attack into the United Nations building in New York City.” In response to the simulated crisis, exercise participants follow hijack checklists, exercise command and control, and coordinate with external agencies.

Simulation Involves WMD Directed at the UN - The October 23 scenario, according to Myers, is based around “[w]eapons of mass destruction directed at the United Nations. An individual steals a Federal Express aircraft and plans a suicide attack on the United Nations building in New York City.” In response, exercise participants practice command and control, and coordinate with external agencies, and fighter jets conduct an interception of the stolen aircraft. [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004] Federal Express currently flies mostly the DC-10 and the MD-11, which are both large jet planes, so presumably one of these kinds of aircraft is considered in the exercise scenarios. [Washington Post, 1/17/2001] The UN headquarters building—the target in the scenarios—is a 39-story high-rise, located just a few miles from the World Trade Center. [New York Daily News, 12/2/1999; Evening Standard, 9/11/2002]

Scenarios Revealed in 2004 - The details of these two scenarios will come to light in August 2004 during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. They will be revealed by Myers, at that time the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) asks him, “Did NORAD conduct exercises or develop scenarios, prior to September 11, 2001, to test a military reaction to an aircraft hijacking which appeared destined to result in a suicide crash into a high-value target?” [uS Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, 8/17/2004] NORAD will state in 2004 that, until 9/11, it conducts four major exercises each year. Most of these include a hijack scenario, but not all of them involve planes being used as weapons. [uSA Today, 4/18/2004; CNN, 4/19/2004] NORAD’s next Vigilant Guardian exercise, in 2001, will actually be several days underway on 9/11 (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). It will include a number of scenarios based around plane hijackings, with the fictitious hijackers targeting New York in at least one of those scenarios (see September 6, 2001, September 9, 2001, September 10, 2001, and (9:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 2004; Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

September 10, 2001: Training Exercise Scenario at NORAD’s Southeast Sector Involves Cubans Hijacking Plane, Wanting to Go to New York

Personnel at NORAD’s Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, practice for the scenario of an aircraft being hijacked by Cuban asylum seekers. The scenario is part of the annual NORAD training exercise, Vigilant Guardian. [9/11 Commission, 2004; Spencer, 2008, pp. 3] In the scenario, the fictitious hijackers take over an Ilyushin IL-62 jet airliner that took off from Havana, Cuba. The hijackers, who are “demanding political asylum, demand to be taken to” New York City, according to a document later produced by the 9/11 Commission. As the scenario plays out, the FAA requests support from NORAD. The FAA directs the plane toward Jacksonville, Florida, but the hijackers then demand to be taken to Atlanta, Georgia. Finally, the hijacked plane lands safely at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. [9/11 Commission, 2004] The following morning, September 11, personnel at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York, are scheduled to practice what is apparently a similar plane hijacking scenario, presumably as part of the same Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (9:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). According to Vanity Fair, that scenario will involve “politically motivated perpetrators” seeking asylum “on a Cuba-like island.” [Vanity Fair, 8/1/2006]

Edited by Steven Gaal

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There is literally nothing new in Gaal's latest post all of it has been gone over at least one and often more than that on this and the other thread. What's still lacking is evidence of any NORAD intercepts of domestic flights in the decade preceding 9/11 other than the Payne Stewart incident. My offer to donate $5000 to the charity of his choice still stands but remains unclaimed. I now formally extend it to any member of this forum.

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Too Much Coincidence

Rules Changes

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Procedural changes would limit the ability of pilots and military commanders to respond to hijackings.

******** Military orders stripped commanders in the field of autonomy in responding to hijackings.

********The FAA banned firearm possession by commercial pilots two months before the attack

########################

Pilots Disarmed

Two Months Before Attack, Armed Pilots Banned

For 40 years prior to 9/11/01, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule had allowed commercial airlines pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit. The rule was adopted in in the wake of the 1961 Cuban missile crisis as a measure to prevent hijackings.

Just two months before 9/11/01, the FAA rescinded the rule. According to Jon Dougherty, reporter for WorldNetDaily.com, the FAA failed to return numerous calls requesting an explanation for the rule change. 1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

References

1. Armed pilots banned 2 months before 9-11, WorldNetDaily.com, 5/16/02 [cached]

########################

The June 1 Order

Questions about Changes in Intercept Authority Prior to the Attack

There has been a great deal of interest in locating a "stand-down order" to explain the failure of NORAD to respond effectively to the attack. Some researchers thought they had found such an order in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction CJCSI 3610.01A, a directive issued by S.A. Fry, Vice Admiral of the US Navy and Director of the Joint Staff, on June 1, 2001. 1 That directive states that intercepts must be approved by the Secretary of Defense

In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will, with the exception of immediate responses as authorized by reference D, forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval.

Reference D refers to Department of Defense Directive 3025.15, dated February 18, 1997. 2 That directive allows commanders in the field to provide assistance in emergency situations to save lives. However, that exception to the Secretary's approval may be moot in the case of September 11 because of language in the Directive that appears to require approval of lethal support:

The Secretary of Defense is the approval authority for any requests for potentially lethal support (i.e., lethal to the public, a member of law enforcement, or a Service member) made by law enforcement agencies.

That conclusion is subject to question given apparent contradictions in the policies described by the documents.

A review of the history of military orders governing response to hijackings casts doubt on the idea that the June 1 order was instrumental in hobbling the military's response on September 11. The June 1 order superseded the 1997 directive CJCSI 3610.01. 3 The 1997 directive also stipulated that the NMCC "forward all requests or proposals for DOD military assistance for piracy (hijacking) to the Secretary of Defense for approval."

The 1997 directive cancels three earlier ones:

MCM-102-92, 24 July 1992, "Hijacking of Civil Aircraft"

CJCS MOP 51, 13 April 1992, "Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) of Military and Military Contract Aircraft"

MCM-- 173-90, 14 September 1990, "Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects"

These earlier documents do not appear to be archived on dtic.mil. It would be interesting to learn what policy they mandated for military response to hijackings, and, in particular, whether it required approval by the Secretary of Defense.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

References

1. Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects, dtic.mil, 6/1/2001 [cached]

2. Military Assistance to Civil Authorities, dtic.mil, 2/18/1997 [cached]

3. Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects, dtic.mil, 7/31/1997 [cached]

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In the days before 9-11, the FBI went around the nation shutting down the websites of Muslim charities, so that no opposing voice could be heard to challenge the "Muslims did it" propaganda.

Edited by Steven Gaal

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Too Much Coincidence

Rules Changes

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Procedural changes would limit the ability of pilots and military commanders to respond to hijackings.

******** Military orders stripped commanders in the field of autonomy in responding to hijackings.

********The FAA banned firearm possession by commercial pilots two months before the attack

########################

Pilots Disarmed

Two Months Before Attack, Armed Pilots Banned

For 40 years prior to 9/11/01, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule had allowed commercial airlines pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit. The rule was adopted in in the wake of the 1961 Cuban missile crisis as a measure to prevent hijackings.

Just two months before 9/11/01, the FAA rescinded the rule. According to Jon Dougherty, reporter for WorldNetDaily.com, the FAA failed to return numerous calls requesting an explanation for the rule change. 1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

References

1. Armed pilots banned 2 months before 9-11, WorldNetDaily.com, 5/16/02 [cached]

########################

Wow talking about old news this was from more than 10 years ago and has already been discussed on this forum. If you'd bothered to have looked the article you would have read this:

According to FAA officials, the rule required airlines to apply to the agency for their pilots to carry guns in cockpits and for the airlines to put pilots through an agency-approved firearms training course.

The aviation agency said, however, that throughout the life of the rule not a single U.S. air carrier took advantage of it, effectively rendering it “moot,” according to one agency official.

“In the past, FAA regulations permitted pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit provided they completed an FAA-approved training program and were trained properly by the airlines,” FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto told WND in a voice-mail message. “That was never put into effect because no requests for those training programs were ever made. …”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2...cpSH2rVXAIMi.99

So before 9/11 the airlines had no interest in this. The odds that after 40 years of disinterest the airlines would suddenly want to arm there pilots in July is exceedingly small (1 in 480) and it is unlikely 2 months would have been enough for a training program to have been proposed, approved and implemented. Even if it were only a minuscule portion of pilots would have finished the program in time and if the FAA was part of the plot they would have known which pilots were armed so they simply could avoid those flights. The FAA did return at least one of the 'reporters' calls, how many times did they have to speak to an author working for an obscure website.

The June 1 Order

Questions about Changes in Intercept Authority Prior to the Attack

There has been a great deal of interest in locating a "stand-down order" to explain the failure of NORAD to respond effectively to the attack. Some researchers thought they had found such an order in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction CJCSI 3610.01A, a directive issued by S.A. Fry, Vice Admiral of the US Navy and Director of the Joint Staff, on June 1, 2001. 1 That directive states that intercepts must be approved by the Secretary of Defense

In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will, with the exception of immediate responses as authorized by reference D, forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval.

Reference D refers to Department of Defense Directive 3025.15, dated February 18, 1997. 2 That directive allows commanders in the field to provide assistance in emergency situations to save lives. However, that exception to the Secretary's approval may be moot in the case of September 11 because of language in the Directive that appears to require approval of lethal support:

The Secretary of Defense is the approval authority for any requests for potentially lethal support (i.e., lethal to the public, a member of law enforcement, or a Service member) made by law enforcement agencies.

That conclusion is subject to question given apparent contradictions in the policies described by the documents.

A review of the history of military orders governing response to hijackings casts doubt on the idea that the June 1 order was instrumental in hobbling the military's response on September 11. The June 1 order superseded the 1997 directive CJCSI 3610.01. 3 The 1997 directive also stipulated that the NMCC "forward all requests or proposals for DOD military assistance for piracy (hijacking) to the Secretary of Defense for approval."

The 1997 directive cancels three earlier ones:

MCM-102-92, 24 July 1992, "Hijacking of Civil Aircraft"

CJCS MOP 51, 13 April 1992, "Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) of Military and Military Contract Aircraft"

MCM-- 173-90, 14 September 1990, "Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects"

These earlier documents do not appear to be archived on dtic.mil. It would be interesting to learn what policy they mandated for military response to hijackings, and, in particular, whether it required approval by the Secretary of Defense.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

References

1. Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects, dtic.mil, 6/1/2001 [cached]

2. Military Assistance to Civil Authorities, dtic.mil, 2/18/1997 [cached]

3. Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects, dtic.mil, 7/31/1997 [cached]

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Another fallacy already covered a few times, the new rule had an exception for emergencies and jets were scrambled without approval from the POTUS, SoD or even the VPOTUS. Even your source wrote "A review of the history of military orders governing response to hijackings casts doubt on the idea that the June 1 order was instrumental in hobbling the military's response on September 11"

In the days before 9-11, the FBI went around the nation shutting down the websites of Muslim charities, so that no opposing voice could be heard to challenge the "Muslims did it" propaganda.

Get back to us with evidence in support of this claim.

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WND

As early as 1987, the Federal Aviation Administration adopted a rule ensuring that commercial pilots could not board planes with guns, despite existing regulations that permitted pilots, under certain conditions, to be armed, according to an industry group.

HOMELAND INSECURITY

FAA began 'disarming' pilots in '87

Despite rule dating to '60s that allowed them to have guns onboard

Published: 05/29/2002 at 1:00 AM

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2...Moy1Mh4sGFAG.99

The Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance, or APSA, said in an e-mail memo sent to members last week that the FAA began “disarming pilots” more than 15 years ago by requiring them “to pass through screening checkpoints” after “a suicidal attacker broke into the cockpit of an airliner, murdered the pilots and crashed the airplane.”

The screening process was enacted and enforced despite a 1960s-era FAA rule already on the books that permitted pilots to be armed as long as participating airlines adopted an agency-approved training program.

Additionally, the pilot-screening process was continued by the FAA throughout the latter 1990s and beyond, even as the agency was receiving intelligence information from government counterterrorism experts claiming that U.S. airlines were at increased risk of terrorist hijackings.

As WorldNetDaily reported earlier this month, FAA officials have admitted rescinding the armed-pilot rule – initiated in response to the 1961 Cuban missile crisis – in July 2001, just two months before the Sept. 11 hijackings.

In a separate story, WND reported that the FAA nixed the rule despite being briefed by the government’s top counterterrorism expert the very same month that terrorist hijackings could be on the horizon.

The APSA memo claimed that the process to rescind the rule began in July 2001 and was scheduled to take effect in September – around the time of the hijackings that saw terrorists commandeer flight decks and fly fully fueled airliners into both World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

But John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, told WND the FAA directive rescinding the armed-pilot rule was issued July 17, 2001 and took effect much later – on Nov. 14, 2001.

That means the FAA was not only actively working to prohibit pilots from carrying weapons despite increased hijacking risks to the airlines, but agency officials also consciously rescinded the only regulation that might have protected flight crews against terrorist hijackers.

When contacted for comment, FAA officials referred all questions surrounding the July 2001 intelligence briefings and the decision to rescind the armed-pilot rule to the agency’s parent bureau, the Department of Transportation. But, as in the past, DOT officials refused to return repeated phone calls seeking explanation.

Meanwhile, Transportation Security Administration Under Secretary John Magaw yesterday said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee he would not implement a provision of law passed last fall that allows airline pilots to be armed.

The TSA chief gave no reason for his decision, but said a formal announcement would be made later this week. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge also have expressed opposition to arming pilots.

Magaw’s testimony yesterday echoes similar statements made last week, when he told a separate Senate panel he would not allow pilots to be armed because he believes they should focus on “flying the plane.”

Airline industry groups that have supported the armed-pilot concept were quick to respond to Magaw’s decision.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, by this announcement. The administration, under the influence of opposition by the airlines, has been telegraphing its intent for several months now,” said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of ALPA.

“The government already has told us that if terrorists take control of one of our cockpits, they will send military aircraft to shoot down the airliner and all its crew and passengers,” Woerth said. “In the face of such choices, we do not understand why these same government officials refuse to give pilots a last chance to prevent such a tragedy.”

Under an airline security bill passed in the wake of Sept. 11, Magaw, as head of the TSA, was given discretion over whether to implement a provision of the measure allowing pilots to be armed, as long as airlines approved.

Gary Burns, a spokesman for Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said his boss “disagrees wholeheartedly” with Magaw’s decision, but he pointed out that Magaw has also stated that “if Congress would pass [armed pilot] legislation, he would ‘salute and enforce it.’”

“We intend to move forward with that legislation,” said Burns, noting that its progress has been temporarily postponed in deference to Democrats on the House committee so that they may try to work out some disagreements.

Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Committee’s aviation subcommittee, has co-sponsored legislation with the full committee’s chairman, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, that would allow airline pilots be armed.

Despite his public pronouncements, a congressional aide told WND yesterday that Mineta, in private talks last week, has assured key lawmakers he too would “vigorously” enforce any new law that specifically called for arming pilots, should Congress and President Bush approve one.

Related stories:

What if gunless pilots went on strike?

Armed pilots banned 2 months before 9-11

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2...Moy1Mh4sGFAG.99

######################################################################

THE FBI SHUT DOWN OF ARAB MUSLIM WEB SITES

IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO 9/11.

Among the sites the FBI shut down just days before 9-11 was the web site for the Arab World's leading independent TV news channel.

Five days before 9-11.

Four days before 9-11.

The day before 9-11, the FBI moved to make sure that Arab Muslims could not defend themselves on the internet from accusations that would be made after the WTC attacks.

.

What Really Happened

FBI Raids Surround Attack

Agents Yank Muslim Websites, Confiscate Videos

Six days before the attack the FBI and 80-member task force descended on InfoCom Corporation in Richardson, Texas to shut it down, including its webservers, removing 500 websites serving largely Arab and Muslim communities. The FBI occupied the building for days, copying documents. 1

The FBI also promptly scoured the surroundings of the Pentagon to make sure there would be no public airing of any video of the attack. Agents reportedly seized video from both the nearby Sheraton National Hotel and NexComm/Citgo gas station within minutes of the attack. Helicopter footage not seized by the FBI shows an organized group of well-dressed people combing the Pentagon's lawn, also within minutes of the attack.

References

1.US pulls the plug on Muslim websites, Guardian Unlimited, 9/10/01 [cached]

Edited by Steven Gaal
Removed Google ads with permission of poster

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