In a post entitled, "NORAD's 'Lies' Explained?," Pat Curley of the Screw Loose Change blog recently wrote that the blog of 9/11 Commission staffer Miles Kara explains "the erroneous assertion that the military found out about Flight 93 long before they did."
Essential NORAD files and data were held at NEADS. The single, most important document was the MCC/T (Mission Crew Commander/Technician) log, a handwritten journal maintained in real time. It is that log, in particular, to which Colonel Scott refers when he stated to the Commission on May 23, 2003; “I will tell you the times on this chart come from our logs.”However, the initial report is supported by the following, as noted on HistoryCommons.org:
Therefore, the 8:43 notification time for UA 175 was not mentioned by Scott. It was not in any log and had never existed. Scott’s review repeated the original mistake concerning the 9:24 entry for AA11 and made another mistake in interpretation by attributing a 9:16 entry concerning a United flight (probably UA175) to UA93. (The 9:16 time may come from a different log than the MCC/T log) Nearly two years after the initial mistake about AA77 was made and became CINC-approved, it was repeated and compounded to include UA93.
Before 9:36 a.m. September 11, 2001: Officials Claim NORAD Is Monitoring Flight 93Miles Kara's explanation does not account for this contradiction even if it does explain the 9:16 time. If the 9:16 time is correct then NORAD was tracking the flight for 47-50 minutes (depending on which crash time is correct) as opposed to zero. If the 9:36 time is correct then NORAD was tracking the flight for at least 27-30 minutes as opposed to zero.
According to one account given by NEADS Commander Robert Marr, some time before around 9:36 when it changes direction, while it is still flying west, Flight 93 is being monitored by NEADS. Marr describes how, “We don’t have fighters that way and we think [Flight 93 is] headed toward Detroit or Chicago.” He says he contacts a base in the area “so they [can] head off 93 at the pass.” Not only does NORAD know about the flight, but also, according to NORAD Commander Larry Arnold, “We watched the 93 track as it meandered around the Ohio-Pennsylvania area and started to turn south toward DC.” (This change of direction occurs around 9:36 a.m.) [Filson, 2003] This account completely contradicts the 9/11 Commission’s later claim that NEADS is first notified about Flight 93 at 10:07 a.m. [9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004]
Now for the bottom line. If the 9:16 and 9:36 times are both mistakes, what we are left with is the FAA not notifying NORAD about Flight 93 for 37 minutes!
This is the fourth flight of that day to perish mind you, by the time it crashes the country has been being waged war on for almost two hours. Considering this and the fact that the FAA received 52 pre-9/11 warnings, including five that "specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's training or capability to conduct hijackings," and warned airports in the spring of 2001 that "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion," the moment Flight 93 was suspected of being hijacked it should have become a target for interception.
The lack of air defence that day continues to be literally unbelievable.
Pumpitout Radio: Foreknowledge and Lack of Air Defense
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2011
Posted by AdamT
A stand-down is defined as "a relaxation from a state of readiness or alert." This certainly took place regarding air defenses on 9/11. One explanation offered was that the terrorists turned off the electronic device known as a transponder, which helps identify aircraft on radar.
As stated by the 9/11 Commission, "With its transponder off, it is possible, though more difficult, to track an aircraft by its primary radar returns. But unlike transponder data, primary radar returns do not show the aircraft's identity and altitude."
The commission failed to consider the fact that the US military has more than just ground radar at their disposal.
As defined by the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, AWACS is "a sophisticated detection aircraft, fitted with powerful radar and a computer, capable of simultaneously tracking and plotting large numbers of low-flying aircraft at much greater distances than is possible with ground radar."
On 9/11 an AWACS plane on a training mission in the Washington, DC, area was ordered to return to its base in Oklahoma limiting the communications and surveillance capabilities of NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector.
In 2006 New Scientist magazine reported that "US military radar can track space debris as small as 10 centimetres across, and can sometimes see things as small as 5 cm wide if it is in just the right orbit."
The 35 USAF bases that were within range of the 9/11 flights unquestionably possessed highly-sophisticated radar.
Commercial airliners do not need their transponders turned on in order to be tracked by the US military. If America was being attacked by aircraft belonging to a foreign power, it is ridiculous to think these enemy aircraft would have transponders installed to help the US Air Force shoot them down. It is equally ridiculous to believe the US military lack the technology to track aircraft without a transponder signal.
Another excuse given by defenders of the official story is that NORAD only looked outward for threats, not inward. There is much evidence that looking inward was also one of their responsibilities, but in any event, there is at least one incident which proves NORAD could be tasked to defend any part of the skies over the United States and Canada, as well as much evidence that it is not the only time this has happened, but rather, the only time we have been privy to.
The Popular Mechanics book Debunking 9/11 Myths cites an article in a 2002 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette, which claims that, "Before September 11, the only time officials recall scrambling jets over the United States was when golfer Payne Stewart’s plane veered off course and crashed in South Dakota in 1999."
Popular Mechanics adds, "Except for that lone, tragic anomaly, all NORAD interceptions from the end of the Cold war in 1989 until 9/11 took place in offshore Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ). . . . The planes intercepted in these zones were primarily being used for drug smuggling."
But an October 13, 2001 Calgary Herald article reported that before 9/11 fighter jets "were scrambled to babysit suspect aircraft or 'unknowns' twice a week."
As Professor David Ray Griffin pointed out in his book Debunking 9/11 Debunking, "Twice a week would be about 100 times per year, and 'babysitting' is not what planes would do with jets suspected of smuggling drugs into the country."
Furthermore, a 1994 United States General Accounting Office report on continental air defense states, "Overall, during the past 4 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 suspected drug smuggling aircraft averaged one per site, or less than 7 percent of all of the alert sites’ total activity. The remaining activity generally involved visually inspecting unidentified aircraft and assisting aircraft in distress."
As the New York City Activist blog pointed out, "Admittedly this is the early 1990′s, not 2001, and the quote is from a report which recommended trimming down the force. But still it casts a lot of doubt on the Popular Mechanics claim that intercepts were a rare occurrence."
And as Griffin points out in Debunking 9/11 Debunking, "In this account NORAD made 379 interceptions per year, 354 of which 'involved visually inspecting unidentified aircraft in distress,' not intercepting planes suspected of smuggling drugs. Besides the fact that 1992 was part of 'the decade before 9/11,' it is doubtful that the pattern of interceptions would have changed radically after that."
A Canadian government performance report on their arm of NORAD for 1999-2000, the same period as the Payne Stewart flight, relevant to military operations in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, backs up Griffin’s statements. The report states, "If required, 'unknown aircraft' are intercepted and identified by aircraft dedicated to NORAD. Over the past year, NORAD has intercepted 736 aircraft, 82 of which were suspected drug smugglers…"
While not addressing these reports, Mike Williams of the “debunking” website 911myths.com states, "The Popular Mechanics claim that there was one intercept of a 'civilian plane over North America' in the decade before 9/11 still seems quite absolute, but then that just means it wouldn’t take much to disprove it. Just find a media report of an intercept, an interview with a pilot who was intercepted when they accidentally flew too close to the White House, anything like that... How difficult can it be?"
Being that Williams only provides two examples of other intercepts for comparison on his webpage concerning the Payne Stewart incident, and that he could not find all the information needed to draw firm conclusions on these, he should know that finding any detailed statistics on such matters is difficult.
The aforementioned entry on the New York City Activist blog highlights the following from the 2004 Complaint & Petition to the NY Attorney General (Spitzer at the time) for a new criminal investigation into 9/11:
Also necessary would be data on cases of errant planes or unknowns in which no scramble orders were issued. Of special interest would be the prior performance within NORAD’s Northeastern Air Defense Sector (“NEADS”), which is headquartered at Rome, New York. Such a cumulative analysis–with special attention to cases when passenger planes deviated from course in the air-traffic control zones within which the 9/11 attacks occurred–would provide indispensable context for serious research into the subject of air defense response on September 11. This data is currently unavailable to the public, and there is no indication such an analysis was undertaken by the Kean Commission.When 9/11 researcher and activist Aidan Monaghan sent a Freedom of Information Act Request to the FAA he was informed that, "...The FAA does not track or or keep information about the request for support of NORAD for intercepting aircraft throughout the National Airspace System."
When Monaghan tried obtaining FOIA information from NORAD he was advised that they are not subject to the FOIA because they are a bi-national organization between the U.S. and Canada.
Perhaps those in government are the ones worthy of the question, "How difficult can it be?"
When Williams was asked in an interview to give his "strongest argument" against a NORAD stand-down he stated that, "I would point out the Payne Stewart intercept time of over 70 minutes, and the pre-9/11 confirmation that NORAD only had 14 fighters on alert at one time, none of which were at Andrews Air Force Base."
First off, as is pointed out in Paul Thompson's article, "The Failure to Defend the Skies on 9/11," "We know details of a 1999 fighter scramble, because famous golfer Payne Stewart was aboard a runaway Learjet. With the pilot unconscious, NORAD used fighters from a number of bases outside NORAD’s official seven bases to follow the plane as it crossed over several states before finally crashing."
So William's first point takes away from his second one. As reported by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, after the second strike on the WTC, "Calls from fighter units… started pouring into NORAD and sector operations centers, asking, ‘What can we do to help?’" One of these bases was Syracuse, which offered to have planes in the air with some weapons within ten minutes. Paul Thomson notes that, "Even if fighters didn’t take off from Syracuse until 9:20, that still would have been enough time for those fighters to reach Washington before Flight 77 did, if they had been ordered to protect that city." Sadly, fighters from Syracuse did not take off until over an hour and a half after their offer to help.
William's admits on his page concerning Andrews that they "had some pilots and fighters, just not sufficiently prepared." This refers to their excuse for not launching fighters until 95 minutes after the second WTC crash because they were loading missiles, however, the first three planes to launch only had guns available.
Just as with Syracuse something could have been done much earlier. David Ray Griffin is quoted on William's page as stating "Fighters loaded with bullets, but no missiles, could have provided considerable protection. Even fighter jets completely unloaded would be better than no fighters at all, given their ability to deter and, if all else failed, ram an airliner headed towards the Pentagon, the White House or the Capitol." William's doesn't focus on this though, instead he rebuts Griffin's other argument that the "arming never happened."
While Griffin's latter point here isn't well supported, the article, "IGNORAD - The military screw-up nobody talks about," by former U.S. Navy intelligence officer Scott Shuger also notes that there are other techniques fighters could have used with a hijacked plane, Shuger states:
It can first rock its wingtips to attract attention, or make a pass in front of the plane, or fire tracer rounds in its path. So even though on 9/11, the NORAD pilots working the first three airliners didn't have shootdown authority (they got it only after the Pentagon was hit), they would or should have been ready to try these other techniques, which might well have spooked or forced the hijackers into turning, which might have given the fighters a chance to force them out to sea. And even if the hijackers decided instead to fly right into a fighter in their way, wouldn't an airburst have killed fewer people than two collapsed flaming skyscrapers did?As it turned out Shuger knew what he was talking about. Almost 8 months after his January 2002 article AviationWeek.com reported that:
Within minutes of American Airlines Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon on Sept. 11, Air National Guard F-16s took off from here in response to a plea from the White House to 'Get in the air now!' Those fighters were flown by three pilots who had decided, on their own, to ram a hijacked airliner and force it to crash, if necessary. Such action almost certainly would have been fatal for them, but could have prevented another terrorism catastrophe in Washington.These or other heroes like them could have and should have been in the air much sooner on 9/11, but don't take my word for it.
In the 911blogger.com article, "The 90-Minute Stand Down on 9/11: Why Was the Secret Service's Early Request for Fighter Jets Ignored?," Captain Brandon Rasmussen from Andrews is quoted as stating that, "We were relieved to actually be given permission to go up and do something, instead of feeling totally helpless. I mean, we are fighter pilots, just like guard dogs chomping at the bit, ready to go."
All this being said, the fact that NORAD's force had been cut down to 14 fighter jets and that Andrews wasn't more prepared is problematic enough. As "Loose Nuke" commented on the 911 Blogger article:
On pg 2 of Note 13 it says, 'Wherley had no properly armed planes at Andrews. His units were not air defense units.' There's a 'summer of threat', warnings of a planes as missiles attack, CIA and FBI knew operatives were in the country, nothing was done to disrupt the plot, and nothing was done to harden security, nothing was done to defend the nation's capital. Rather, it appears some took action to leave the capital open to attack.Back to the Payne Stewart incident, on Willams' old webpage on the subject he states that, "To be fair, if the first fighters had been closer (as they were on 9/11) then the response time would have been better."
His new page on the subject no longer contains this line. So much for being equitable!
Regardless, using a roughly 76 minute starting point for a refutation is fine because these events are barely comparable. Stewart was flying a 6-8 passenger Learjet 35, not a large commercial airliner, which was not flying over densely populated areas, did not have its transponder turned off, and was on autopilot as opposed to having terrorists at the helm clearly attacking the country.
The third strike on 9/11 at the Pentagon took place at 9:38 a.m., 44 minutes after Flight 77 veered off course at 8:54 a.m. This is a conservative figure, and judging from William's own page on the subject, one with which he would agree. By this time the first tower had already been struck. Being that the FAA received 52 pre-9/11 warnings, including five that "specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's training or capability to conduct hijackings," and warned airports in the spring of 2001 that "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion," the moment Flight 77 deviated from its course it should have become a target for interception.
Although many government officials would claim that they thought the first strike was just an accident, couterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke wrote in his 2004 book Against all enemies that a member of his White House staff told him that, “Until we know what this is, Dick, we should assume the worst.” And in Bob Woodward's 2002 book Bush at War it was reported that when CIA Director George Tenet learned of the strike he was told specifically that, “The World Trade tower has been attacked,” after which he immediately suspected bin Laden.
Furthermore, Williams neglects to mention the fact that the jets already in the air which failed to reach the first two strikes were not redeployed towards the deviating planes headed for the capital. This would have guaranteed interceptors reaching Flight 77 before it crashed into the Pentagon.
To put it all another way, if the military can get to a Learjet in roughly 76 minutes when they are not being waged war on, then 44 or more minutes should be sufficient when they are. These points hold all the more true for the fourth plane to perish that day.
Based on a timeline provided by NORAD, on September 17, 2001 CNN reported that at "9:16 a.m.: FAA informs NORAD that United Airlines flight 93 may have been hijacked." The 9/11 Commission would later claim that NORAD is first notified about Flight 93 one minute after it had already crashed at 10:07 a.m. However, the initial report is supported by statements from two NORAD commanders that they were already tracking the flight when it changed direction at 9:36. This would mean that the military was tracking the flight for 50 minutes as opposed to zero! This is just one of many such changes made in the 9/11 Commission's third mutually contradictory version of events.
During testimony given to the 9/11 Commission, then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta had the following exchange with 9/11 commissioner Lee Hamilton regarding the plane coming into the Pentagon:
MR. MINETA: ...There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, "The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to, "The plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the vice president, "Do the orders still stand?" And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"...The 9/11 Commission would assert that the military "had at most one or two minutes to react" to Flight 77 before it hit the Pentagon, however, Mineta's testimony indicates that they had 10 to 12 minutes, leading many to suspect the orders were stand-down orders. They omitted Mineta’s testimony from both their final report and the official version of the video record, however, they did imply Mineta was mistaken, stating that the discussion between Cheney and the aide occurred later than he claimed, and that it was referencing a shoot-down order for Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
MR. HAMILTON: The flight you're referring to is the --
MR. MINETA: The flight that came into the Pentagon.
MR. HAMILTON: The Pentagon, yeah.
So, were the orders for a stand-down or a shoot-down? As pointed out by 9/11 researcher "jimd3100":
Even if the 9-11 Commission is correct, when they claim he arrived at 10:07 (according to the White House) Mineta makes it clear the order was given before he got there. There was no shoot down order given before 10:07. The 9-11 Commission seems to admit this.Now thanks to recent research by "jimd3100" we know that a one Douglas F. Cochrane was the naval aide Mineta was referring to. When 9/11 researcher Jeff Hill followed up and phoned Cochrane, asking him what the orders were, Cohrane replied that he was "really not prepared to talk about this subject at all." Jeff then pleaded with Cohrane to ease his mind about whether the orders were stand-down orders, to which Cohrane replied that he had "nothing further to add" to the information already publicly available. Hill then asked Cohrane if he thought answering his questions would get Cheney in trouble, Cohrane paused, and then stated that "The 9/11 Commission Report is the authoritative narrative on the events surrounding 9/11."
...It seems very clear from the evidence that no shoot down order was given until 10:20 and none relayed to the military until 10:31. Which means if an order was given before 10:20 there is no reason to believe it was a shoot down order. Which would seem to indicate it was a stand down.
As it turns out, it is against the law for Cohrane to say anything else because his interview with the 9/11 Commission has been classified.
We need to be allowed to view Cohrane's testimony, but even if he says the orders were shoot-down orders, the fact remains that after seeing the second tower struck at 9:03 AM the National Military Command Center realized there was "a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States," but yet shoot-down orders were not relayed to the military until 10:31.
The Washington Post reported on August 2, 2006 that:
Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources... "We to this day don't know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us," said Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor who led the commission. 'It was just so far from the truth. . . . It's one of those loose ends that never got tied."It is often claimed that 9/11 skeptics are quote mining the 9/11 Commissioners, as to suggest that they agree with our case, but this is the real logical fallacy. Kean admitted they were lied to and he did not know why. He can think that the 9/11 Commission's story of astounding incompetance is correct all he wants, but the fact remains that his report failed to tie up “those loose ends" and prove that ineptitude is all that was at hand.
As David Ray Griffin has stated:
...Although this explanation has been widely accepted, is it really believable? If our military had been guilty only of confusion and incompetence on 9/11, it would have been strange for its officials, by saying that they had been notified by the FAA earlier than they really had, to open themselves not only to the charge of criminal fraud but also to the suspicion that they had deliberately not intercepted the hijacked airliners. We are being asked to believe, in other words, that Scott, Arnold, and the others, in telling the earlier story, acted in a completely irrational manner--that, while being guilty only of confusion and a little incompetence, they told a lie that could have exposed them with being charged with murder and treason.Equally counter intuitive is the fact that the top officials in charge of NORAD and the FAA on 9/11 were rewarded for their supposed incompetence with promotions instead of charges of perjury.
In regard to how the NORAD stand-down was achieved, many have speculated that inaction by an intentionally AWOL chain of command, combined with the four wargames that were conducted on 9/11, which seem to have included live-fly simulations of hijackings, and NORAD radar screens, which displayed false tracks throughout the attacks, caused deliberate confusion.
911myths.com features outdated pages on the issues of live-fly exercises and false radar blips, proving once again that we don't need "debunkers" to answer these questions, but rather a new investigative body willing to tie all "loose ends" so there is no need for Loose Change or their detractors.
Former U.S. Army Air Defense Officer and NORAD Tac Director, decorated with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Soldiers Medal stated that "there is no way that an aircraft . . . would not be intercepted when they deviate from their flight plan, turn off their transponders, or stop communication with Air Traffic Control ... Attempts to obscure facts by calling them a 'conspiracy Theory' does not change the truth. It seems, 'Something is rotten in the State.'"
"I knew within hours of the attacks on 9/11/2001 that it was an inside job. Based on my 11-year experience as an FAA Air Traffic Controller in the busy Northeast corridor, including hundreds of hours of training, briefings, air refuelings, low altitude bombing drills, being part of huge military exercises, daily military training exercises, interacting on a routine basis directly with NORAD radar personnel, and based on my own direct experience dealing with in-flight emergency situations, including two instances of hijacked commercial airliners, I state unequivocally; There is absolutely no way that four large commercial airliners could have flown around off course for 30 to 60 minutes on 9/11 without being intercepted and shot completely out of the sky by our jet fighters unless very highly placed people in our government and our military wanted it to happen. - Robin Hordon, Former FAA Air Traffic Controller at the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Nashua, NH, 1970 - 1981. FAA certified commercial pilot. FAA certified Flight Instructor and certified Ground Instructor. After leaving the FAA, he had a 12-year career in the field of comedy ending up as artistic coordinator for "Catch A Rising Star" in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.
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