NORAD run on 9/11 drills of jets as weapons
Posted by sakerfa on April 20, 2010
(911Blogger) – Several hours after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington occurred, a passenger aircraft heading to the U.S. from Seoul, South Korea, was mistakenly considered hijacked. In a little-reported series of events, the pilots of Korean Airlines Flight 85 gave numerous indications that their plane had been taken over by hijackers, even though it had not. KAL 85, a Boeing 747 that had been due to land in Anchorage, Alaska, for a refueling stop, was consequently diverted to an airport in Canada. The military launched fighter jets to tail it and, with authorization from the Canadian prime minister, threatened to shoot the plane down if it refused to change course. Only after KAL 85 landed were officials able to confirm that no hijacking had taken place.
While a person might suggest this crisis was just the result of confusion due to the unprecedented events earlier that day, the number of indications the pilots gave that their plane was hijacked, and their repeated failure to confirm that this was not the case, raises another possibility: Could KAL 85 have been playing the part of a hijacked aircraft in a military training exercise?
This explanation would make sense of the pilots’ otherwise inexplicable actions. And there is additional evidence supporting this possibility: On September 11, NORAD–the military organization responsible for defending North American airspace–was in the second week of a major exercise. Five days earlier, that exercise included two scenarios with remarkable similarities to the apparent crisis involving KAL 85. In one scenario, members of a fictitious terrorist group hijacked a Korean Airlines 747 bound from Seoul to Anchorage; in the other, a 747 bound from Japan to Anchorage was hijacked, and changed course for Canada.
We know that the U.S. and Canadian military were in fact conducting several exercises on the morning of September 11. Those exercises were supposedly canceled promptly in response to the attacks. But if KAL 85 was a simulated hijacking, it would mean at least one exercise continued well into the afternoon, hours after the attacks took place. This would raise serious questions: When exactly did the military exercises really end that day? If they were called off promptly, as has been claimed, how many people were aware of this? Did some believe the exercises were continuing in spite of the real-world attacks? And was there a sinister but as-yet-uninvestigated relationship between the real-world attacks and the military exercises they coincided with?
KOREAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 85 Korean Airlines Flight 85 was a Boeing 747 with 215 people on board, flying from Seoul to New York. It was heading for a refueling stop in Anchorage when it began behaving suspiciously. Beginning shortly after 11:00 a.m. (this and all other times given are Eastern time), its pilots gave repeated but inconclusive indications that their plane had been hijacked, even though no hijacking had taken place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was alerted to the suspect flight shortly before noon, and it in turn notified NORAD. 
Concerns over whether KAL 85 had been hijacked led to the plane being diverted away from Anchorage. It was first redirected toward the remote airport at Yakutat, Alaska. But because of deteriorating weather around Yakutat and because the plane was running low on fuel, the decision was made to instead have KAL 85 land at Whitehorse Airport in Canada’s Yukon Territory. 
KAL 85 landed at Whitehorse Airport safely and without incident at 2:54 p.m. But only after the co-pilot was escorted off the plane and interrogated were officials able to determine that the flight had not been hijacked. 
PILOTS INDICATED PLANE WAS HIJACKED The first indication of a possible hijacking was at 11:08 a.m., while KAL 85 was flying across the Pacific Ocean and hundreds of miles from mainland Alaska. The pilots sent a text message to Korean Airlines headquarters, which included the letters “HJK.” These three letters were a known code for signaling a hijacking. The message did not immediately raise any concerns. However, ARINC–a company that airlines pay to transmit text messages to and from their planes–had begun scanning all the communications it transmitted that day to search for any additional hijacked aircraft, and one of its technicians came across the message, apparently shortly before noon. Concerned that it was a coded plea for help, ARINC officials notified the FAA of the message.
KAL 85 showed its next indications of being hijacked after it entered the airspace of the FAA’s Anchorage Center at around 1:00 p.m. An Anchorage Center air traffic controller, aware of the concerns about KAL 85, asked the pilots about the status of their aircraft. In his radio transmissions, the controller included the code word that indicated a query as to whether the plane had been hijacked, in case the pilots were unable to acknowledge this freely. (Pilots are trained how to respond to such coded messages.) However, the pilots of KAL 85 offered no reassurance that their flight had not been hijacked. Instead, at 1:24 p.m., they switched their plane’s transponder (a device that sends information about an aircraft to controllers’ radar screens) to “7500,” which is the universal code meaning a plane has been hijacked. As USA Today put it, “Suddenly … a routine flight became a potential new attacker.”
As KAL 85 continued toward Anchorage, controllers again sought clarification of its situation. But, as author Lynn Spencer described, “each time controllers query the aircraft, the pilots offer no reassurance that they are not, in fact, hijacked.” Instead, KAL 85 transmitted the beacon code indicating it had been hijacked for 90 minutes, from 1:24 p.m. until 2:54 p.m., when it landed in Canada.  A report published by the government of Yukon in November 2001 in fact stated, “There were five separate and ongoing indicators of a hijacking situation” on KAL 85, although the report did not specify what each of those indicators was. 
And yet KAL 85 was never hijacked. The FAA’s Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, was in contact with Korean Airlines headquarters, which emphatically maintained it had received no indication that the flight was in trouble.  Might the “indicators of a hijacking situation” therefore have been because KAL 85 was playing a hijacked aircraft in a training exercise?
POSSIBLE HIJACKING TAKEN SERIOUSLY The military and other government agencies took the indications of a possible hijacking very seriously. After the FAA was notified of the letters “HJK” appearing in a text message from KAL 85, it alerted NORAD.  NORAD then ordered Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, to launch two armed fighter jets to intercept the suspicious plane.  These jets flew about a mile behind KAL 85, shadowing it so its crew and passengers would not realize there were fighters close by. Two Royal Canadian Air Force fighters were also launched in response to KAL 85. Fighters escorted the plane until it landed at Whitehorse Airport. They then remained circling overhead, in case the plane tried to depart suddenly. 
Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz, the commander of the Alaskan NORAD Region, has recalled his concerns about KAL 85, saying: “[W]e just had three attacks on the East Coast and perhaps a fourth. It was completely plausible to me that so sophisticated an operation on the East Coast could be replicated on the West Coast. So this was a plausible threat.” 
KAL 85 was even threatened with being shot down. Schwartz told controllers at the FAA’s Anchorage Center that the plane would be shot down if it refused to divert and remained on course for Anchorage.  A NORAD commander contacted Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and asked for authorization to shoot down the plane. As Chrétien later recalled, he “authorized it in principle,” telling the commander: “Yes, if you think they are terrorists. You call me again, but be ready to shoot them down.” 
Other agencies also took the possible hijacking seriously. When KAL 85’s pilots switched their plane’s transponder to the “7500″ hijack code, it led to what USA Today described as “a frenzy of activity.” The governor of Alaska ordered the evacuation of federal buildings and large hotels in Anchorage, along with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline terminal.  After learning that KAL 85 was heading for Whitehorse Airport, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) removed children from local schools and evacuated buildings considered likely terrorist targets, such as Whitehorse City Hall. Part of the Alaska Highway was closed, a security perimeter was established around Whitehorse Airport, and non-essential staff members were evacuated from the airport terminal building. 
KAL 85 continued being treated as a potential threat even after it landed at Whitehorse. After touching down, the plane was directed to a secluded area on the tarmac. It was surrounded by heavily armed RCMP emergency response officers. After an officer asked to speak with a member of the flight crew, the co-pilot emerged and was escorted off the plane at gunpoint. According to a local resident who saw the incident, the co-pilot had his hands up and “had everyone drawing down on him, and he had to take some clothes off, wave his shirt in the air and all that.”  The passengers were not allowed off the plane until more than two hours after it landed.
The following morning, the RCMP had a bomb-sniffing dog search the aircraft. The plane’s cargo was also searched for any threats, but none were found. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later, still early in the morning of September 12, that the RCMP finally confirmed that KAL 85 had never been hijacked. 
CONFUSED EXPLANATIONS WHY PILOTS SIGNIFIED A HIJACKING One thing that is suspicious is the way Korean Airlines and the government agencies involved with these incidents were subsequently reluctant to explain why KAL 85 had given indications of being hijacked, or they gave conflicting explanations. Could this have been because these organizations needed to cover up the fact that–despite the attacks earlier on in New York and Washington–a hijacking simulation was still being carried out on the afternoon of 9/11, in which KAL 85 played the hijacked aircraft?
Apparently the first explanation for the series of events involving KAL 85 was offered several hours after the plane landed at Whitehorse Airport. An airport spokeswoman announced simply, “There was a communications problem aboard the plane so [the pilots] were unable to communicate and respond properly to the [air traffic control] tower anywhere they went.” 
The Anchorage Daily News later reported: “At the time of this September 11 incident, little was publicly disclosed about the wayward signals from the Korean pilot. The airline and flight crew have kept mum about what happened that day.” But, to explain why the pilots included the letters “HJK,” signaling a hijacking, in a text message, Korean Airlines administrator Michael Lim suggested they had intended this as a question rather than a warning, but this was unclear to those who read the message, because pilots are unable to type question marks into their texts. 
However, the airline’s operations chief, David Greenberg, gave a different explanation. He said the pilots’ text message was “innocent, part of a routine discussion on where to divert the flight after airspace in the United States had been closed.” Greenberg said the pilots used the three-letter hijack code “to refer to the hijackings that day.”  Author Lynn Spencer pointed out that this was “an odd idea for the pilots to have, and contrary to their training. But for whatever reason … they made a very dangerous bad call.” 
The reason why the pilots switched their transponder to the code signaling a hijacking is, as the Anchorage Daily News put it, “not entirely clear.”  Eleven months after 9/11, USA Today reported: “To this day, no one is certain why the pilots issued the alert. Airline sources say that exchanges between pilots and controllers were tense that morning. Some pilots objected to orders to reroute their planes. The Korean pilots may have misinterpreted the controller’s comments as an order to reset the transponder.” 
The military reportedly blamed the false alert on “muddled communications between air traffic controllers and the flight crew aboard the plane.” But Korean Airlines claimed that the pilot of KAL 85 “believed he was directed by air traffic controllers at the FAA’s Anchorage flight control center to send out the hijack signal.” The airline’s administrator, Michael Lim, said: “Our captain was following their instruction. [The Anchorage Center] even told the captain to transmit code 7500, hijack code. Our captain, who realized how serious it is, they were just following instructions.”
Adding to the mystery, two weeks after 9/11 it was reported that Korean Airlines had “declined to make available a tape recording of conversations between the pilot [of KAL 85] and KAL officials on the ground in Anchorage,” and that the “FAA won’t discuss any details of the case.” 
There was even some uncertainty and secrecy over why Whitehorse Airport was chosen as KAL 85’s new destination after it was diverted. The report published by the government of Yukon in November 2001 stated: “The question of why this potentially dangerous aircraft was directed to Whitehorse rather than another airport remains unanswered by senior national agencies, the [FAA], NORAD, and Transport Canada. … [Q]uestions about the decision-making process to re-direct [KAL 85] to Whitehorse have not been answered in any significant detail.” The report added, “It is expected that greater detail on this will not be forthcoming from these agencies in the short-term.” 
WAS KAL 85 PART OF AN EXERCISE SIMULATION? This secrecy and confusion would certainly make sense if these agencies were trying to cover-up KAL 85’s involvement in a training exercise. What makes this possibility seem even more likely is that, five days before 9/11, NORAD practiced two exercise scenarios with an uncanny resemblance to the apparent crisis involving KAL 85. Those scenarios were part of its annual exercise, “Vigilant Guardian,” which was still taking place on September 11.
In one of the scenarios on September 6, 10 members of a fictitious terrorist group called “Lin Po” hijacked Korean Airlines Flight 357, a Boeing 747 flying from Seoul to Anchorage–in other words, a plane resembling KAL 85. The terrorists issued demands and threatened to blow up the plane if these were not met. They also killed two passengers. NORAD directed fighter jets to get in a position to shoot down the hijacked 747, and ordered its Alaskan region to intercept and shadow the plane–similar to what it did in response to KAL 85 on September 11. The scenario involved the plane eventually landing in Seattle, Washington. 
In the other exercise scenario on September 6, a Boeing 747, also bound for Anchorage, was hijacked by terrorists, although in that case the plane had taken off from Tokyo, not Seoul. A fictitious terrorist group called “Mum Hykro” was threatening to “rain terror from the skies onto a major U.S. city unless the U.S. declares withdrawal from Asian conflict.” Some of the plane’s passengers were killed. The plane changed its course to Vancouver, Canada, and then to San Francisco, California. The military was directed to respond, by providing “covert shadowing” of the hijacked aircraft, presumably by fighter jets. NORAD had to liaise with the appropriate air traffic control center. Its Alaskan region and Canadian region participated in the scenario. Again, we see similarities to the events involving KAL 85 five days later.  Might the apparent hijacking of KAL 85 on 9/11 have therefore been a simulation intended as a follow-up to these two previous scenarios?
Clearly, the actions of KAL 85 and the plane’s possible involvement in a military exercise require more investigation. But the fact that exercises resembling the real-world attacks were taking place on September 11, and–if my conclusions about KAL 85 are correct–at least one of those exercises was still going on hours after the attacks in New York and Washington took place, should be of concern to us all.
NOTES  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster.” USA Today, August 12, 2002; Patty Davis, “Korean Jet in 9/11 ‘Hijack’ Scare.” CNN, August 14, 2002; 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, pp. 256-257.  Alaska Legislature Joint Senate and House Armed Services Committee, Presentations by Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz and Major General Willie Nance Jr. 22nd Leg., 2nd Sess., February 5, 2002; Zaz Hollander, “High Alert.” Anchorage Daily News, September 8, 2002.  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster”; Zaz Hollander, “High Alert”; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, pp. 278-279.  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster”; Patty Davis, “Korean Jet in 9/11 ‘Hijack’ Scare”; Zaz Hollander, “High Alert”; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, pp. 257, 277-278.  September 11, 2001, Whitehorse International Airport Emergency: Public Findings Report. Whitehorse, Yukon: Yukon Government, November 13, 2001, p. 17.  Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 278.  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster.”  Zaz Hollander, “High Alert”; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 257.  “Stranded Passengers Flood Canadian Airports.” CBC News, September 12, 2001; Zaz Hollander, “False Sept. 11 Hijack Signal Put Air Force on Alert.” Anchorage Daily News, September 29, 2001; Alaska Legislature Joint Senate and House Armed Services Committee, Presentations by Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz and Major General Willie Nance Jr.; Zaz Hollander, “High Alert.”  Alaska Legislature Joint Senate and House Armed Services Committee, Presentations by Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz and Major General Willie Nance Jr.  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster”; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 278.  Shawn McCarthy, “PM Says U.S. Attitude Helped Fuel Sept. 11.” Globe and Mail, September 12, 2002; Sheldon Alberts, “PM Links Attacks to ‘Arrogant’ West.” National Post, September 12, 2002.  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster”; Patty Davis, “Korean Jet in 9/11 ‘Hijack’ Scare.”  September 11, 2001, Whitehorse International Airport Emergency, pp. 14-15.  “Korean Passenger Jet Diverted to Whitehorse Treated as Hijacking: RCMP.” Canadian Press, September 12, 2001; “Korean Planes Make Emergency Landings.” United Press International, September 12, 2001; Zaz Hollander, “False Sept. 11 Hijack Signal Put Air Force on Alert.”  September 11, 2001, Whitehorse International Airport Emergency, pp. 17-18.  “Korean Passenger Jet Diverted to Whitehorse Treated as Hijacking: RCMP.”  Zaz Hollander, “High Alert.”  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster.”  Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 279.  Zaz Hollander, “False Sept. 11 Hijack Signal Put Air Force on Alert.”  Alan Levin, “Korean Air Jet May Have Narrowly Missed Disaster.”  Zaz Hollander, “False Sept. 11 Hijack Signal Put Air Force on Alert.”  September 11, 2001, Whitehorse International Airport Emergency, p. 5.  “NORAD Exercises: Hijack Summary.” 9/11 Commission, n.d.  Ibid.
Korean Air jet may have narrowly missed disaster
Mongolian anti-hijacking exercise sparks panic after officials fail to give warning
By GANBAT NAMJILSANGARAV Associated Press Writer
29 November 2006
(AP) – ULAN BATOR, Mongolia-An anti-hijacking exercise on board a civilian aircraft in Mongolia's capital backfired after officials forgot to warn the pilots and passengers ahead of time, lawmakers said Wednesday.
The heavy-handed security exercise carried out by the Mongolian Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday upset passengers and ended up being broadcast live on a local television channel.
The exercise started after a jetliner operated by MIAT, the national airline, landed after a flight from the southern part of the country and four male passengers jumped up and said the plane was being hijacked.
"These hooligans went up to pilot's cabin and tied up the pilots and threatened four passengers and kept them in the airplane. They hit one woman," said Tuvshinbayar, a sports official who was on the plane. Like many Mongolians, he goes by one name. The woman was not seriously hurt.
It was not known how many passengers were on board the aircraft when the exercise began.
"Ordinary citizens should not be intimidated due to a security exercise," said B. Munkhutya, a lawmaker from the Democratic Party.
He said security and aviation agencies did not give clear answers when asked if there was a hijacking.
"If this really was a civil defense exercise, this should not have happened. These hijackers acted violently," he said.
Another Democratic Party lawmaker, D. Baterdene, said if it was a security exercise "the passengers and pilots should have been told."
S. Jargalsaikhan, vice chairman of the Mongolian Central Intelligence Agency, defended the exercise, and told reporters that it exposed holes in security at the airport in Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital.
"This was a preplanned test operation of the Mongolian CIA. Through this test we found out that under current conditions people with explosives and guns can enter the airport and airplanes without detection."
Dorlig, a newspaper editor who was on the flight, said MIAT should apologize to the passengers, who were kept for nearly 90 minutes without knowing the hijacking was not real.
A local television station broadcast pictures of the Russian-built Antonov AN-26 plane on the tarmac with a police van beside it.
September 9-11, 2001: NORAD Begins Northern Vigilance Military Operation
NORAD begins Operation Northern Vigilance. For this military operation, it deploys fighters to Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian Arctic and North Pacific Ocean, scheduled for September 10 to September 14. The Russian exercise involves its bombers staging a mock attack against NATO planes that are supposedly planning an assault on Russia. [BBC Worldwide, 2001; Washington Times, 10/11/2001; NORAD, 10/9/2001] The NORAD fighters are due to stay in Alaska and Canada until the end of the Russian exercise. At some time between 10:32 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on 9/11, Russian President Vladimir Putin will call the White House to say the Russians are voluntarily halting their exercise. [Washington Post, 2/27/2002] It is unknown from which bases NORAD sends fighters for Operation Northern Vigilance, and how many US military personnel are involved. However, in December 2000, it took similar action – called Operation Northern Denial – in response to a “smaller scale? Russian “long-range aviation activity in northern Russia and the Arctic.” More than 350 American and Canadian military personnel were involved on that occasion. [Canadian Chief of Defense Staff, 6/30/2001 pdf file; NORAD, 10/9/2001]
People and organizations involved: Vladimir Putin, Bush administration, Operation Northern Vigilance, North American Aerospace Defense Command
(6:30 a.m.): NORAD on Alert for Emergency Exercises
Dawne Deskins. [Source: Newhouse News/ Peter Chen/ Landov]Dawne Deskins.
Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins and other day shift employees at NEADS start their workday. NORAD is conducting a weeklong, large-scale exercise called Vigilant Guardian. [Newhouse News Service, 2/25/2002] Deskins is regional mission crew chief for the Vigilant Guardian exercise. [ABC News, 10/11/2002] Vigilant Guardian is described as “an exercise that would pose an imaginary crisis to North American Air Defense outposts nationwide?; as a “simulated air war?; and as “an air defense exercise simulating an attack on the United States.” According to the 9/11 Commission, it “postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union.” [9/11 Commission, 8/24/2004; Filson, 2004; Newhouse News Service, 2/25/2002] Vigilant Guardian is described as being held annually, and is one of NORAD?s four major annual exercises. [Filson, 2004; GlobalSecurity (.org), 5/14/2002; Arkin, 2005] However, another report says it takes place semi-annually. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 7/3/2002] Accounts by participants vary on whether 9/11 was the second, third, or fourth day of the exercise. [Code One Magazine, 2/2002; Ottawa Citizen, 10/11/2002; Newhouse News Service, 2/25/2002] Vigilant Guardian is a command post exercise (CPX), and in at least some previous years was conducted in conjunction with Stratcom’s Global Guardian exercise and a US Space Command exercise called Apollo Guardian. [GlobalSecurity (.org), 5/14/2002; US Congress, n.d.; Arkin, 2005] All of NORAD is participating in Vigilant Guardian on 9/11. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 7/3/2002] At NEADS, most of the dozen or so staff on the operations floor have no idea what the exercise is going to entail and are ready for anything. [Utica Observer-Dispatch, 9/5/2004] NORAD is also running a real-world operation named Operation Northern Vigilance. NORAD is thus fully staffed and alert, and senior officers are manning stations throughout the US. The entire chain of command is in place and ready when the first hijacking is reported. An article later says, “In retrospect, the exercise would prove to be a serendipitous enabler of a rapid military response to terrorist attacks on September 11.” [Bergen Record, 1/5/2004; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 7/3/2002] Colonel Robert Marr, in charge of NEADS, says, “We had the fighters with a little more gas on board. A few more weapons on board.” [ABC News, 10/11/2002] However, Deskins and other NORAD officials later are initially confused about whether the 9/11 attacks are real or part of the exercise. There is a National Reconnaissance Office exercise planned to occur as well (see 9:00 a.m.), involving a scenario of an airplane as a flying weapon. [United Press International, 9/22/2002; Associated Press, 9/21/2002]
People and organizations involved: Dawne Deskins, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Operation Northern Vigilance, Robert Marr, Vigilant Guardian.
Early Morning September 11, 2001: Medic Is Studying a Medical Emergency Disaster Plan for a Plane Crash at the Pentagon
Sergeant Matt Rosenberg, an army medic at the Pentagon, is studying “a new medical emergency disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of an airplane crashing into the place.” [Washington Post, 10/16/2001] The day before, Rosenberg later recalls in an interview with the Office of Medical History, he called the FBI with questions about who would have medical jurisdiction if such an event were to take place. “Believe it or not, the day prior to the incident, I was just on the phone with the FBI, and we were talking “so who has command should this happen, who has the medical jurisdiction, who does this, who does that,” and we talked about it and talked about it, and he helped me out a lot. And then the next day, during the incident, I actually found him. He was out there on the incident that day.” [Office of Medical History, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pentagon.
8:30 a.m.: Army Base Near Pentagon Holds Terrorist Attack Exercise
At Fort Belvoir, an army base 10 miles south of the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Mark R. Lindon is conducting a “garrison control exercise? when the 9/11 attacks begin. The object of this exercise is to “test the security at the base in case of a terrorist attack.” Lindon later says, “I was out checking on the exercise and heard about the World Trade Center on my car radio. As soon as it was established that this was no accident, we went to a complete security mode.” Staff Sgt. Mark Williams of the Military District of Washington Engineer Company at Fort Belvoir also later says: “Ironically, we were conducting classes about rescue techniques when we were told of the planes hitting the World Trade Center.” Williams? team is one of the first response groups to arrive at the site of the Pentagon crash and one of the first to enter the building following the attack. [Connection Newspapers, 10/5/2002] A previous MASCAL (mass casualty) training exercise was held at Fort Belvoir a little over two months earlier (see July 2001). It was “designed to enhance the first ready response in dealing with the effects of a terrorist incident involving an explosion.” [MDW News Service, 8/5/2001]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Mark Williams, Mark R. Lindon, Fort Belvoir
8:30 a.m.: FBI/CIA Anti-Terrorist Task Force Away From Washington on Training Exercise in California
USA Today reports that at this time, “a joint FBI/CIA anti-terrorist task force that specifically prepared for this type of disaster? is on a “training exercise in Monterey, Calif.” Consequently, “as of late Tuesday, with airports closed around the country, the task force still [hasn]?t found a way to fly back to Washington.” [USA Today, 10/11/2001] The US politics website evote.com adds that the FBI has deployed “all of its anti-terrorist and top special operations agents at a training exercise (complete with all associated helicopters and light aircraft) in Monterey, California.” So at the time of the attacks, “the chief federal agency responsible for preventing such crimes [is] being AWOL.” [Evote [.com], 10/11/2001]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency
8:30 a.m.: US Military Holding “Practice Armageddon? Nationwide Training Exercise
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, 10/10/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002] 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 Americ nuclear forces.” [Arkin, 2005] 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. [Omaha World-Herald, 10/10/2002; Associated Press, 3/21/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 12/12/1997] 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 [ERROR (SourceType=executiveDepartmentDocument); GlobalSecurity (.org), 11/10/2002] 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. [Collins Center Update, 1/2000 pdf file; US Congress, n.d.; Times-Picayune, 10/8/2002] 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, 11/1998] In his book Code Names, NBC News military analyst William Arkin dates this exercise for October 22-31, 2001. [Arkin, 2005] And a military newspaper reported in March 2001 that Global Guardian was scheduled for October 2001. [Space Observer, 4/23/2001 pdf file] 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. [IAnewsletter, 7/1998 pdf file] It is not currently known if a computer attack was incorporated into Global Guardian in 2001 or what its possible effects on the countrx’s air defense system would have been if such an attack was part of the exercise.
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, North American Aerospace Defense Command, US Space Command, Global Guardian, US Strategic Command, Apollo Guardian, Amalgam Warrior, Vigilant Guardian, Crown Vigilance
8:46 a.m.: Fighters Are Training over North Carolina; Not Recalled to Washington Until Much Later
At the time of the first WTC crash, three F-16s assigned to Andrews Air Force Base, ten miles from Washington, are flying an air-to-ground training mission to drop some bombs and hit a refueling tanker, on a range in North Carolina, 207 miles away from their base. However, it is only when they are halfway back to Andrews that lead pilot Major Billy Hutchison is able to talk to the acting supervisor of flying at Andrews, Lt. Col. Phil Thompson, who tells him to return to the base “buster? (as fast as his aircraft will fly). After landing back at Andrews, Hutchison is told to take off immediately, and does so at 10:33 a.m. The other two pilots, Marc Sasseville and Heather Penney, take off from Andrews at 10:42 a.m., after having their planes loaded with 20mm training rounds. These three pilots will therefore not be patrolling the skies above Washington until after about 10:45 a.m. [Filson, 2004; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 10/9/2002] F-16s can travel at a maximum speed of 1,500 mph. [Associated Press, 7/16/2000] Traveling even at 1,100 mph (the speed NORAD Major General Larry Arnold says two fighters from Massachusetts travel toward Flight 175 [MSNBC, 10/23/2001; Slate, 2/16/2002] ), at least one of these F-16s could have returned from North Carolina to Washington within ten minutes and started patrolling the skies well before 9:00 a.m.
People and organizations involved: Marc Sasseville, NBC, Phil Thompson, Heather Penney Garcia, Billy Hutchison
8:48 a.m.: Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Preparing for Global Guardian Exercise When Attacks Start
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana is an important node in the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) exercise Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m.) on 9/11. Colonel Mike Reese, director of staff for the 8th Air Force, is monitoring several television screens at the base as part of the exercise when he sees CNN cut into coverage of the first World Trade Center crash, two minutes after it happens. He watches live when the second plane hits the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. Reese says that at this point, “we knew it wasn’t a mistake. Something grave was happening that put the nation’s security at risk.” An article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune later recounts how awareness of the real attacks impacts those participating in the exercise: “Immediately [the Barksdale staff’s] focus turned to defense, securing Barksdale, Minot [North Dakota], and Whiteman [Missouri] air force bases, where dozens of aircraft and hundreds of personnel were involved in the readiness exercise “Global Guardian.” The exercise abruptly ended as the United States appeared to be at war within its own borders. Four A-10s, an aircraft not designed for air-to-air combat, from Barksdale’s 47th Fighter Squadron, were placed on “cockpit alert,” the highest state of readiness for fighter pilots. Within five minutes, the A-10s, equipped only with high intensity cannons, could have been launched to destroy unfriendly aircraft, even if it was a civilian passenger airliner.” Lt. Col. Edmund Walker, commander of the 47th Fighter Squadron, a novice pilot still in training, is sitting in his fighter along with other pilots in other fighters, ready to take off, when they are ordered back to the squadron office. They are told they are no longer practicing. Walker recalls, “We had to defend the base against any aircraft, airliner or civilian. We had no idea. Would it fly to the base and crash into the B-52s or A-10s on the flight line”? [Times-Picayune, 10/8/2002] When President Bush’s Air Force One takes off from Sarasota, Florida, at approximately 9:55 a.m., it has no destination, and circles over Florida aimlessly. But around 10:35 (see (10:35 a.m.)), it begins heading towards Barksdale Air Force Base. [CBS News, 10/11/2002; Washington Post, 2/27/2002] It finally arrives at Barksdale around 11:45 a.m. [CBS News, 10/11/2002; Daily Telegraph, 1/16/2002] It’s never been explained exactly why Bush traveled from Florida to Barksdale. The Daily Telegraph has reported, “The official reason for landing at Barksdale was that President Bush felt it necessary to make a further statement, but it isn’t unreasonable to assume that?as there was no agreement as to what the President’s movements should be – it was felt he might as well be on the ground as in the air.” [Daily Telegraph, 1/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: Offutt Air Force Base, James O. Ellis Jr, Global Guardian, Mike Reese, Eni
Before 9:00 a.m.: Army Base Outside New York Prepares for Terrorist Attack Exercise
Staff at Fort Monmouth, an Army base in New Jersey located about 50 miles south of New York City, is preparing to hold a “disaster drill? to test emergency response capabilities to a fake chemical attack. The exercise, called Timely Alert II, is to involve various law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel, including Fort Monmouth firefighters and members of the New Jersey State Police. Personnel are to be deployed and measures taken as in a real emergency. A notice has been sent out, warning that anyone not conducting official business will be turned away from Fort Monmouth during the exercise. Soon after 9 a.m., the exercise director tells a group of participating volunteers that a hijacked plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. The participants pretend to be upset, believing this is just part of the simulation. When they see the live televised footage of the WTC attacks, some people at the base think it is an elaborate training video to accompany the exercise. One worker tells a fire department training officer: “You really outdid yourself this time.” Interestingly, the follow-up exercise held in July 2002 (Timely Alert III) does incorporate simulated television news reports to give participants the impression that the emergency is real. And in the first Timely Alert exercise, held on the base in January 2001, a call had come through of a supposed “real? bomb situation, but this “fortunately turned out to be a report related to a training aid being used during the exercise.” On 9/11, Fort Monmouth is geared to go into high-alert status as part of Timely Alert II. The exercise is called off once the base is alerted to the real attacks. [Monmouth Message, 3/9/2001; Hub, 10/21/2001; Asbury Park Press, 8/24/2002; Monmouth Message, 10/12/2003; US Department of the Army, 8/26/2003; Monmouth Message, 9/23/2002; Monmouth Message, 10/21/2001] Fort Monmouth is home to various Army, Defense Department, and other government agencies. The largest of these is the US Armx’s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM). CECOM serves to “develop, acquire, field, and sustain superior information technologies and integrated systems for Americ warfighters.” It is tasked with the “critical role of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR).” [Army, 2/2003 pdf file; GlobalSecurity (.org), 9/2/2004; Communications-Electronics Command, 5/17/2002] Fort Monmouth services also directly assist in the emergency response later in the day. Its fire department deploys to Atlantic Highlands to assist passengers coming from Manhattan by ferry, and members of its Patterson Army Health Clinic are also sent out to help. Teams of CECOM experts from the base are later deployed to ground zero in New York with equipment capable of locating cellular phone transmissions within the ruins of the collapsed World Trade Center. Its explosive ordnance company is also deployed to assist authorities should they come across anything they think might be explosives, while digging through the debris in search of victims. [Monmouth Message, 10/21/2001; Hub, 10/21/2001]
People and organizations involved: Fort Monmouth, Timely Alert II, Army’s Communications-Electronics Command, World Trade Center.
Before 9:00 a.m.: Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is Directing Global Guardian Training Exercise
Admiral Richard Mies. [Source: Public domain]Admiral Richard Mies.
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. [Omaha World-Herald, 10/10/2002] 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. [BBC, 10/1/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002; Associated Press, 3/21/2002; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 12/12/1997; Omaha World-Herald, 10/10/2002] This bunker is staffed with top personnel and they are at a heightened security mode because of the exercise. [Associated Press, 3/21/2002; Air Force Weather Observer, 8/2002] 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.” [Omaha World-Herald, 10/8/2002; Air Force Weather Observer, 8/2002; US Department of Defense, 2/9/2002] However, even after Global Guardian is called off, the three E-4Bs remain airborne. [BBC, 10/1/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002] 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. [Omaha World-Herald, 10/10/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002; San Francisco Business Times, 3/1/2002]
People and organizations involved: Warren Buffet, Federal Advisory Committee, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Mies, Global Guardian.
Just Before 9:00 a.m.: Two Otis Fighters Take Off for Training Mission Over Ocean
A team in the 102nd Fighter Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, finishes loading dummy missiles onto two fighters that are going to fly a training mission over the Atlantic. They take off sometime before the second WTC tower is hit. Shortly after that hit, the fighters on the training mission are recalled. The implication is that the fighters are then refitted with actual weapons instead of dummy ones. [Cape Cod Times, 10/8/2002] Otis is the base from which the two F-15s launch in response to the first hijacking (Flight 11) at roughly the same time. [9/11 Commission, 7/17/2004] One of the pilots of these F-15s?nicknamed “Nasty? “is reportedly standing in for the usual “alert? pilot, who is “scheduled for training” that 9/11. [Cape Cod Times, 9/21/2002]
9:00 a.m.: 9/11-Styled Simulation Cancelled
An “emergency response exercise? is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. the morning of 9/11, involving the simulated crash of a small corporate jet plane into a government building. The exercise is to be conducted by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in Chantilly, Virginia – just four miles from Washington Dulles International Airport, from where Flight 77 took off, and 24 miles from the Pentagon. The NRO draws its personnel from the CIA and the military. The exercise is to involve the jet experiencing mechanical problems then crashing into one of the four towers at the NRO. In order to simulate the damage from the crash, some stairwells and exits are to be closed off, forcing NRO employees to find other ways to evacuate the building. However, according to an agency spokesman, “as soon as the real world events began, we cancelled the exercise.” After the attacks, most of the agencx’s 3,000 staff are supposedly sent home. [United Press International, 9/22/2002; Associated Press, 9/21/2002; National Law Enforcement and Security Institute, 9/6/2002]
People and organizations involved: National Reconnaissance Office.
After 9:03 a.m.: NORAD Training Exercise Cancelled
NORAD Commander Larry Arnold later says that after Flight 175 hits the South Tower, “I thought it might be prudent to pull out of the exercise [presumably Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.))], which we did.” He says: “As we pulled out of the exercise we were getting calls about United Flight 93 and we were worried about that.” Some early accounts say the military receives notification of the possible hijacking of Flight 93 at around 9:16 a.m. [9/11 Commission, 6/23/2003; CNN, 10/17/2001] However, the 9/11 Commission later claims that the military first receives a call about Flight 93 at 10:07 a.m. [9/11 Commission, 7/17/2004] Larry Arnold adds, “Then we had another call from Boston Center about a possible hijacking, but that turned out to be the airplane that had already hit the South Tower but we didn’t know that at the time.” [Filson, 2004]
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Larry Arnold.
(9:09 a.m. and After): Numerous False Reports of Hijacked Aircraft
According to the 9/11 Commission, “During the course of the morning, there were multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system.” [9/11 Commission, 7/17/2004] Around 9:09 a.m., the FAA Command Center reports that 11 aircraft are either not communicating with FAA facilities or flying unexpected routes. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 7/3/2002] NORAD?s Major General Larry Arnold claims that during the “four-hour ordeal” of the attacks, a total of 21 planes are identified as possible hijackings. [Code One Magazine, 2/2002; Filson, 2004] Robert Marr, head of NEADS on 9/11, says, “At one time I was told that across the nation there were some 29 different reports of hijackings.” [Newhouse News Service, 5/1/2005] It is later claimed that these false reports cause considerable chaos. Larry Arnold says that particularly during the time between the Pentagon being hit at 9:37 and Flight 93 going down at around 10:06, “a number of aircraft are being called possibly hijacked? There was a lot of confusion, as you can imagine.” [Filson, 2004; Filson, 2004] He says, “We were receiving many reports of hijacked aircraft. When we received those calls, we might not know from where the aircraft had departed. We also didn’t know the location of the airplane.” [Code One Magazine, 2/2002] According to Robert Marr, “There were a number of false reports out there. What was valid? What was a guess? We just didn’t know.” [Filson, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Robert Marr, Larry Arnold, Federal Aviation Administration.
9:28 a.m.: 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 tells him via video link: “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but … Otis [Air National Guard Base] has launched two birds toward New York.” [Clarke, 2004] 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, 5/23/1998 pdf file] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.)), 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, 1/5/2004] 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. [GlobalSecurity (.org), 5/14/2002; Airman, 1996; US Congress, n.d.; Arkin, 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.)) 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. [ERROR (SourceType=executiveDepartmentDocument); GlobalSecurity (.org), 11/10/2002] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.)) 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] 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. [GlobalSecurity (.org), 5/14/2002; Airman, 1996; Arkin, 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, 11/27/2000; Associated Press, 11/29/2000] 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, 9/25/1989] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them.
People and organizations involved: Richard B. Myers, US Department of Defense, Richard A. Clarke, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Vigilant Guardian, Amalgam Warrior, Ellington Air National Guard Base
Before 9:37 a.m.: Army Base near Pentagon Holding Air Field Fire Fighting Training
At the Education Center at Fort Myer, an army base 1.5 miles northwest of the Pentagon, the base’s firefighters are undertaking training variously described as “an airport rescue firefighters class?; “an aircraft crash refresher class?; “a week-long class on Air Field Fire Fighting?; and a “training exercise in airport emergency operations.” Despite hearing of the first WTC crash during a break, with no access to a TV, the class simply continues with its training. According to Bruce Surette, who is attending the session: “We had heard some radio transmissions from some other units in Arlington about how they thought they had a plane down here or a plane down there. So you’re thinking, “Hey this could be real.” But it really didn’t strike home as being real until our guy came on the radio and said where the plane crash was.” The Fort Myer firefighters then immediately head for the Pentagon, arriving there at 9:40 a.m., only three minutes after it is hit, and participate in the firefighting and rescue effort there. The fire station at the Pentagon heliport is actually operated by the Fort Myer Fire Department, and is manned on the morning of 9/11 by three Fort Myer firefighters who have already undertaken the airfield firefighting training. [First Due News, 5/1703; US Department of Health and Human Services, 8/2002; JEMS, 5/2002; MDW News Service, 11/4/2001; Pentagram, 12/2/2001] The Fort Myer military community, which includes Fort Myer and Fort Lesley J. McNair?another army base, just two miles east of the Pentagon – was scheduled to hold a “force protection exercise? the week after 9/11. However this has been cancelled, so just prior to the attacks the morning of September 11, “some of its participants [are] breathing a sigh of relief.” [Pentagram, 10/14/2001]
People and organizations involved: Fort Myer, Pentagon
Before 9:55 a.m.: AWACS Planes on Training Missions in Florida and Near Washington, DC
While President Bush is still in Sarasota, an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System plane) is flying a training mission off the coast of Florida. Referring to the AWACS plane, NORAD Commander Larry Arnold later says: “I had set up an arrangement with their wing commander at Tinker [Air Force Base, Oklahoma] some months earlier for us to divert their AWACS off a normal training mission to go into an exercise scenario simulating an attack on the United States. The AWACS crew initially thought we were going into one of those simulations.” Another AWACS is also flying a training mission, near Washington, DC, the morning of 9/11. [Code One Magazine, 2/2002]
People and organizations involved: Larry Arnold
After 9:55 a.m.: Ellington Fighters Airborne on Local Training Mission
Two F-16s from the 147th Fighter Wing, Ellington Air National Guard Base, Texas, are said to be already airborne on a local training mission when they are instructed to escort Air Force One after it departs Sarasota, Florida, with President Bush on board. [Code One Magazine, 2/2002; American Defender, 1/2002]
People and organizations involved: 147th Fighter Wing, George W. Bush, Ellington Air National Guard Base
2:50 p.m.: Bush Arrives in Nebraska; Enters Strategic Command Center
Having left Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana at around 1:30 p.m. (see (1:30 p.m.)), Air Force One lands at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. President Bush stays on the plane for about ten minutes before entering the United States Strategic Command bunker at 3:06 p.m. [Salon, 10/12/2001; Daily Telegraph, 1/16/2002] Offutt Air Force Base appears to be the headquarters of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) exercise Global Guardian that was “in full swing? at the time the attacks began (see 8:30 a.m.). While there, the president spends time in the underground Command Center from where Global Guardian was earlier being directed, being brought up to date on the attacks and their aftermath. [Washington Times, 11/8/2002; Omaha World-Herald, 3/27/2002; Daily Telegraph, 1/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Offutt Air Force Base
May 19, 2004 – At the 9/11 commission hearings, Mayor Rudy Giuliani says that FEMA and hundreds of other state and federal government officials were going to have a biochemical attack drill in NYC on Sept. 12 conducted by the NYC Office of Emergency Management.
"MR. RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI: We made the decision to use the police academy because we didn’t want to leave this island, we didn’t want to leave Manhattan. We thought it would be a terrible statement if city government left the island of Manhattan. But then we realized pretty shortly that the police academy was too small, and we selected Pier 92 as our command center. And the reason Pier 92 was selected as the command center was because on the next day, on September 12th, Pier 92 was going to have a drill. It had hundreds of people here, from FEMA, from the federal government, from the state, from the State Emergency Management Office, and they were getting ready for a drill for biochemical attack. So that was going to be the place they were going to have the drill. The equipment was already there so we were able to establish a command center there within three days that was two-and-a-half to three times bigger than the command center that we had lost at 7 World Trade Center. And it was from there that the rest of the search and rescue effort was completed." – 9/11 Commission (05/19/04)
TRIPOD drills in New York City
September 12, 2001 – FEMA and hundreds of other state and federal government officials were scheduled to participate in a biochemical attack drill called "Operation TRIPOD" in New York City conducted by the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in which their command center was going to be at Pier 92, the spot where the command center for 9/11 eventually became.
"NEW YORK CITY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOLDS TRIAL POINT-OF-DISPENSING DRILL (TRIPOD)
Drill for Distribution of Medication In the Event of a Biological Attack Had Been Scheduled for September 12, 2001
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today held the first-ever Trial Point of Dispensing drill ? also known as "Operation TriPOD" ? to test OEM’s effectiveness in responding to a biological attack (see Event Photos). Tripod is a six-hour, real-time drill administered by OEM, in cooperation with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), the Weill Medical College of Cornell Medical Center, the New York City Department of Health (DOH), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), along with the American Red Cross of Greater New York.
Tripod had originally been scheduled to take place on September 12th, 2001, at Pier 92-which ironically had served as the temporary home of OEM shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
"The setting for our first-ever Tripod drill should serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of preparedness," said John T. Odermatt, Commissioner of OEM. "Today, we find ourselves in the same place where the City regrouped following 9/11. Since that fateful day, New York has returned to normal, and we now use this venue not in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, but rather to prepare for one." – NYC.gov (05/22/04)
"MR. RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI: …we selected Pier 92 as our command center. And the reason Pier 92 was selected as the command center was because on the next day, on September 12th, Pier 92 was going to have a drill. It had hundreds of people here, from FEMA, from the federal government, from the state, from the State Emergency Management Office, and they were getting ready for a drill for biochemical attack." – 9/11 Commission (05/19/04)
(See also: September 10, 2001 – The Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force arrives late in the evening in NYC and goes into action at the WTC the following morning on 9/11 according to task force member Tom Kenney on a Dan Rather taped interview; 9/11 (6 a.m.) – NORAD was in day two of a week long exercise called "Vigilant Guardian"; 9/11 (9:00 am) – The CIA began an exercise to simulate a plane crashing into one of it’s buildings; September 13, 2001 – Dan Rather’s taped interview of Tom Kenney airs/FEMA denies personnel where there on 9/11; May 19, 2004 – Mayor Rudy Giuliani discusses "Operation TRIPOD" at the 9/11 Commission hearings)
A Review of the New Wargames Timeline
The Complete 9/11 Timeline hosted by The Center for Cooperative Research recently published a revised set of entries on the military exercises of September 11, providing a goldmine of well-sourced information. Compiled by Paul Thompson, the 9/11 Timeline long ago became the leading resource of mainstream news reports about September 11. Available in book form as The Terror Timeline (2004), it continues to evolve online.
The latest material for the first time casts light on what may have been the day’s master wargame: Global Guardian, run out of Offutt Air Force Base by the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) under Admiral Richard Mies (official bio). He has since retired and taken up a gig as the CEO of Hicks & Associates, a "strategic consultant" to the federal government dealing in "military transformation."
Our New York correspondant, Nicholas Levis, has written a review:
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.
The 9/11 War Games
By Rebekah Cohen
Among the many mysteries surrounding 9/11 is the emerging information that several government/military war games were taking place on the morning of 9/11/2001. The military war games on that day could have been a particularly interesting coincidence, or served the much greater purpose of confusing, distracting, and potentially even facilitating the September 11th terrorist attacks.
In May of 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney was nominated to oversee Domestic Counter terrorism Efforts. According to Michael Ruppert’s book, Crossing the Rubicon this position put domestic military control in the hands of Cheney, giving him the power to issue a scramble or a direct stand-down order in the unlikely case of a terrorist attack. Without Chenex’s consent the military would not act. (Ruppert 2004).
Interestingly enough, several “live-fly? (as opposed to simulated) war games were taking place the week of 9/11. “I have an on-the-record statement from someone in NORAD that on the day of 9/11, the Joint Chief of Staff (Richard B. Myers) and NORAD were conducting a joint, live-fly, hijacked Field Training Exercised (FTX) which involved at least one (and almost certainly more) aircraft under US control that was posing as a hijacked airliner,” said Mike Ruppert (Kane 6/8/2004).
The confirmed war game taking place on 9/11 was “Vigilant Guardian.” An annual drill in its second day, Vigilant Guardian was allegedly an exercise focusing on old Cold War threats and was conducted by NORAD. This “live-fly? war game was actually being used to test national air response systems ? involving hijacking scenarios (Kane 6/8/2004).
Another drill taking place on 9/11 was titled “Northern Vigilance.” This exercise was also conducted by NORAD once a year and involved deploying fighter jets to locations in Alaska and Northern Canada (Ruppert 2004). This drill succeeded in pulling military personnel and equipment north, away from the East Coast and away from the pending terrorist attacks. There is also evidence suggesting a war game, titled “Vigilant Warrior,” was also being played on 9/11. This is a drill from the 1996 Persian Gulf. The name “Vigilant? in both “Vigilant Guardian” and “Vigilant Warrior? suggests a possible connection between the two drills. The common first name suggests the possibility of the two games playing opposing forces (Ruppert 2004).
Another potential drill going on was hosted by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). They have claimed to have been “running a drill for the scenario of an errant aircraft crashing into its NRO headquarters (coincidentally, located only four blocks from Dulles airport in Washington D.C.)? (Kane 6/8/2004).
As early as 8:30 A.M., on the morning of September 11th, air force Major General Larry Arnold, involved with the Vigilant Guardian war game, questioned the validity of the calls in regards to possible terrorist activity. Upon hearing of the hijackings, he wondered if it was all apart of the exercise or the real thing. It was apparently around this time that the FAA, NORAD, and other agencies (FBI and CIA) were on an open line discussing the possibility of a hijacked plane. When the whereabouts of the taped conversation between these various agencies was questioned, it was revealed that FAA manager Kevin Delaney, destroyed the air traffic control tapes just months after 9/11. No reason was stated and the issue has gone un-pressed (Haupt, 5/30/2004).
Also taking place around 8:30 A.M., Colonel Deskins, Head of Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) and mission crew chief for ongoing exercise Vigilant Guardian, was quoted as saying “uh, we have a hijacked aircraft and I need you to get some sort of fighters out here to help us out.” Although, contrary to Colonel Deskins, Major General Eric Findley, who was in charge of NORAD on 9/11 in Colorado, claimed that no calls for help took place until 10:01 A.M. Another conflicting statement made by General Rick Findley claims that he commanded fighters into the air as early as 8:46 A.M (Haupt, 5/30/2004).
The controversial 2003 9/11 hearing revealed that their logs indicated 8:40 to be the first time the FAA reported a possible hijacking. Although, the “tower logs? were not physically present at the hearing and the fact was based on recollection only. Other reports claimed that NEADS was most likely aware of a potential hijacking as early as 8:20 A.M (Haupt, 5/30/2004).
There was never a direct mention of war games on 9/11 in the 9/11 Commission hearings. So the names of the possible war games and the people in charge of them on September 11th were not overtly specified or further subjected to mainstream criticism. However, when General Eberhart was questioned about the authority heads behind the war games, he replied with, “No comment.” His unwillingness to divulge names of the people in charge is highly suspicious and warrants further explanation (Kane 1/18/2005).
Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Altanta) attempted to bring some attention to the 9/11 war games during the House Hearing on FY06 Department of Defense Budget, on March 11th, 2005. She questioned Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Richard Myers about the four war games that took place on September 11th. Myers responded to the question with very ambiguous explanations. He claimed that war gaming was being held by several different departments and it was not NORADs overall responsibility to respond to the attacks, but the FAA?s. Nonetheless, he felt the gaming actually provided “an easy transition from an exercise into a real world situation” and contributed to a quick response. Myers failed to comment on McKinnex’s question of who was actually in charge of managing the war games on 9/11 (Kane 3/1/2005).
Michael Kane, “Mr. Chairman, I have a Question: Representative Cynthia McKinney
Rocks Rumsfeld on War Games”, http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/030105_mckinney_question.shtml , March 1, 2005
Michael Kane, “Crossing the Rubicon simplifying the case against Dick Cheney”, http://fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/011805_simplify_case.shtml, Jan. 18, 2005
Michael Kane, ?9/11 War Games ? No Coincidence”, http://inn.globalfreepress.com/modules/news/print.php?storyid=387, June 8, 2004
Nico Haupt, “The lost war drill? (Chapter 9)”, http://inn.globalfreepress.com/modules/news/print.php?storyid=325, May 30, 2004
Michael Ruppert, “Crossing the Rubicon: The decline of the American empire at the end of the age of oil”, New Society Publishers, 2004.
There were two Pentagon casualty exercises simulating plane crashes planned in the year prior to September 11, 2001. These are known as MASCAL (Mass Casualty) exercises that can be “paper? or physical exercises. The military plans and conducts a wide variety of MASCAL exercises covering a wide range of events: from fires and accidential explosions to NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) attacks. MASCALs are medical response plans and exercises.
[…]Also that, on the morning of 9-11, Pentagon medic Matt Rosenberg was in the health clinic on Corridor 8 "grateful for an uninterrupted hour in which he could study a new medical emergency disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of an airplane crashing into the Pentagon."
Washington Post, 16 September 2001
Due to the Pentagon’s close proximity to Ronald Reagon National Airport in Washington, DC it is prudent to plan for a potential aircraft crash into the building. However, there are some very disturbing issues related to these two MASCALs.
The Pentagon had a medical exercise in May 2001 simulating a Boeing 757 crashing into the Pentagon.
“The Medics Go To War?
WASHINGTON-The tragedy which occurred here at the Pentagon at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Sept. 11 may well change both the organization and practice of medicine in all sectors-public and private-of the United States.
While nothing could prepare the country for the events of Sept. 11, the Air Force medical staff had practiced for this type of situtation. Dr. Carlton* told U.S. MEDICINE that his team had run an exercise in May with a scenario in which a 757 crashes into the Pentagon. "We had worked out what would happen [and] what was needed," he said. From U.S. Medicine ? The Voice of Federal Medicine, May 2001
Dr. Carlton is Lt. Gen. Paul Carlton, the Air Force Surgeon General. Dr. Carlton is currently the Director of the Integrative Center for Homeland Security for the Texas A&M University System.
Lt. Gen. Carlton was on-scene at the Pentagon supervising emergency medical response.
“Pentagon Medics Trained For Strike?
by Matt Mientka
WASHINGTON-Though the Department of Defense had no capability in place to protect the Pentagon from an ersatz guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner, DoD medical personnel trained for exactly that scenario in May.
In fact, the tri-Service DiLorenzo Health Care Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic here in the Pentagon trained jointly in May to fine-tune their emergency preparedness, afterward making simple equipment changes that would make a difference Sept. 11 when the hypothetical became reality.
From U.S. Medicine ? The Voice of Federal Medicine, May 2001
The Pentagon MASCAL (Mass Casualty) exercise of October 2000 was a command exercise simulating the crash of an airliner into the Pentagon. The type of airliner was not specified. This exercise is commonly known. The exercise forecasted 341 casualties (dead and injured).
Pentagon Casualty Exercise Website: Faked Photo
This is the current article with the new doctored photograph.
For 3-1/2 years the lead photograph of the article showed the middle photograph below. Note: This photo is still available on the photos page of the article.
In summer 2004 the lead photo in the article was doctored to show the airliner outside the Pentagon. The photoshopping attempt is pathetic.
Why did the Pentagon doctor the photo?
Here is the link to the article and still existing photos page:
MASCAL Pentagon current photos with article:
Notice that the burning airliner is far from the Pentagon.
MASCAL Pentagon original photos:
Notice the burning airliner is in the middle of the Pentagon. The snack bar and courtyard are called “Ground Zero”.
The article text is the same.
Casualties: Planned vs. Actual
The MASCAL exercise of October 2000 forecasted 341 casualties (dead and injured). No number was reported for the May 2001 medical exercise.
Flight AA77 passengers: 59
Hijackers: 5 (?)
Total Dead 189
Seriously Injured 106
Total Casualties 295
(excluding lightly injured)
Note that the actual casualties, not including less than seriously injured, totaled 295 ? the exercise forecasted 341 casualties. Data from the FBI report presented to the 9/11 Commission and the Arlington County (Virginia) After-Action Report. The number of lightly injured casualties is widely reported as less than the number of seriously injured. Soldier’s magazine reported a total of 140 injured, which would be a total of 329 casualties.
In amazing coincidence the actual casualties of 329 individuals is almost exactly the same as the forecasted casualties of 341. Only a 3.5% difference. If passengers and hijackers are eliminated the casualty figure is reduced to 277 individuals, which is a 19% difference.
Should the Expected Casualties Been Higher?
I contend that the October 2000 MASCAL planned figure of 341 casualties is much too low for these reasons:
? The ?757? hit the Pentagon in the recently renovated section Wedge One which had been hardened against explosive attacks, specifically truck bombs. The upgrade has been widely cited as a key factor in reducing casualties. (http://www.architectureweek.com/2001/1010/news_2-1.html)
Note that approximately 20% of the damage was to the non-renovated section directly adjacent to the hit zone (Pentagon Building Performance Report). In October 2000, renovation was just beginning. Therfore, the MASCAL could not plan for a plane crash into the upgraded section ? since it did not exist.
? Wedge One was not fully occupied. According to Pentagon renovation manager Lee Evey, about 80 percent of the Wedge One workers had returned to their offices. That sector of the building, therefore, potentially housed about 3,500 workers that day. If Wedge One were fully occupied it would have housed about 4,375 workers. Casualties would have been 25% higher. Complete renovation of the Pentagon was expected to require five years. During the renovation, the other parts of the Pentagon had higher occupancy levels due to the construction. The MASCAL could not plan for partial occupation ” that the contrary, would need to plan for higher than standard occupancy rates.
? The ?757? struck paralell to the ground through the heavy exterior walls. The vast majority of plan crashes occur an angle ? through the much lighter roof.
? A Boeing 757 is not the largest type of airliner flying into Washington National. The MASCAL should have anticipated the "worst case? scenario of a much larger aircraft.
Flight 77 Pilot Was MASCAL Author !!!
Captain Charles F. Burlingame III
Click on thumbnail for larger picture
The Washington Post reported on 16 September 2001 that the pilot of Flight 77 was former F-4 fighter pilot Charles Burlingame III, who in his last Navy job, developed anti-terror strategies for the Navy before retiring to fly for American Airlines. He drafted the Pentagon’s emergency response plan in case it was hit by a civilian airliner. Flight 77 allegedly struck the Pentagon. It is not clear which MASCAL Charles Burlingame III authored.
Charles Burlingame was a Naval reservist for 17 years. He was age 51. The Army would initially not allow him to be buried at Arlington National Cemetary since he died before the age of sixty, which is the eligibility age for reservists not killed in combat. The cemetary is managed by the Army. After Congressional intervention and negative publicity, the Army reversed its position.
For more information see:
New Medal Honors Pentagon Civilian Casualties
Click on thumbnail for larger picture
From the Stars and Stripes
New medal honors Pentagon civilians killed or injured in Sept. 11 attacks
28 September 2001
By Lisa Burgess and Sandra Jontz
WASHINGTON ? The Defense Department created a historic new medal, the civilian equivalent of a Purple Heart, to honor Pentagon employees killed or injured during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.
"For most of our history, war has been something that has largely taken place on foreign soil," Rumsfeld said. The Sept. 11 attacks "brought the battlefield home to us."<snip>
24 May 2002
MILITARY chiefs were so convinced terrorists could fly a plane into the Pentagon that they planned for an attack.
Almost 11 months before the September 11 suicide mission killed 189 people at America’s defence headquarters, they carried out a detailed emergency exercise.
US authorities have consistently claimed they had no idea al-Qaeda was thinking of crashing planes into buildings. President Bush insists no one ever had considered such a devastating attack.
But a report reveals that between October 24 and 26 2000, military planners held an exercise to prepare for "incidents including a passenger plane crashing into the Pentagon".
The report in an internal Pentagon newspaper reads like an account of what actually happened: "The fire and smoke from the downed aircraft billows from the courtyard.
"Defence Protective Services Police seal the crash site. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organise aid … Fire Department chief dispatches his equipment."
Democrats said the Mass Casualty Exercise added to proof that different arms of government did not know what others were doing.
Senator Bob Graham, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "We have a lot of information coming but it is not going to the same source for analysis.
"So A knows part one, B knows part two and C knows part three but nobody knows all the parts."
Pentagon emergency planning spokesman Glen Flood said: "We had been aware there could be possible aeroplane accidents and we have had various tabletop exercises."
The hijackers of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania intended to hit the White House, it was revealed.
White House sources said the information had come from Abu Zubaydah, a senior al-Qaeda terrorist who is being questioned at an undisclosed destination.
The White House faced more embarrassment after the independent Centre for Immigration Studies said at least half the 48 Muslim militants linked to terrorist plots in the US since 1993 had broken or abused immigration laws to stay in America.
FEMA in the Big Apple
Much was made about an interview by Dan Rather of a man named Tom Kennedy (actually Tom Kenney). He worked on the 9-11 rescue operation, and said FEMA had arrived in New York City late Monday night, the eve of the 9-11 attacks. If FEMA was on the scene the day before the disaster, we have the makings of a conspiracy theory. Of course, the matter was quickly explained as a mistake of dates, and almost everyone went back to sleep. Ethel the Blog, based on the stellar work of Gregor Holland, summarizes the current state of our understanding, including the testimony of Rudy Giuliani to the 9-11 commission (isn’t it odd that the only untranscribed testimony is from the man widely regarded as the hero of 9-11?), and shows that FEMA definitely did have an exercise planned for New York City on the morning of September 11. The fact that FEMA explained away Kenney’s error without even bothering to mention the fact that they had an exercise planned for that morning, and therefore Kenney may very well have been on the scene getting ready for the exercise and wasn’t mistaken, is deeply troubling, as it evidences knowledge of guilt. In fact, it is even possible that Kenney was mistaken (although we’ve seen absolutely no evidence that he was, and his story is consistent with Giuliani’s testimony), but Giuliani’s testimony combined with FEMA’s failing to explain what was really going on is proof that FEMA felt that the truth would be damning. It is even more damning when we consider that the exercise, named TRIPOD, was supported by the Office of Justice Programs, through the Office for Domestic Preparedness, with the Office for Domestic Preparedness personally headed by Dick Fuck Yourself Cheney. The number of unexplained and officially unacknowledged ‘training exercises’ in and around all aspects of 9-11 are starting to pile up. If you anticipated that two huge buildings in New York City were to be knocked down on September 11, it would be prudent to have a presence in New York City on September 10. The best way to cover up such an unexplained presence is by calling it a training exercise. It is quite likely that the NORAD standdown was accomplished in the same way, with both the air traffic controllers and the local NORAD commanders under the assumption that anomalies in flight routes and behavior of the 9-11 attack planes were part of a training exercise, and thus were ignored until it was too late.
"Mr. Chairman, I have a question"
By Michael Ruppert
Wed, 2 Mar 2005 09:33:08 -0600
Phones started ringing early on the morning of February 16th. Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, newly returned to Capitol Hill for her sixth term as a member of Congress was, within minutes, going into a House hearing on the Defense Appropriations bill and she was going in loaded for bear? or goose, depending on one’s viewpoint. She asked me how quickly I could email select documents establishing that as many as five wargames were simultaneously underway on the morning of Sept. 11th, 2001.
Hurriedly I made contact with her staff and forwarded a number of PDF files so that when her time came and on national television, McKinney could finally, in a public forum, hold those responsible for 9/11 accountable with the proof in her hands and demand an answer. These were the same files I had acquired during my research for Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. McKinney was to be well-armed with assistance from other tenacious 9/11 researchers and there would be no escape.
Unless it came time for lunch.
Having lost her seniority after a successful 2002 Israeli-funded and Republican Party-managed campaign to unseat her, McKinnex’s chance to question Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers was pushed aside until the hearings were about to be closed. It appears the bears knew what was coming and had neatly dodged a bullet.
Although the American people were deprived of an on-the-record answer about who was running the wargames which paralyzed official response on 9/11, Cynthia McKinney let it be known (on the record) that we knew and would not forget. As she found a way to get her question on the record, she gave us all a priceless Kodak moment ” thate that ranks right up there with the reaction I evoked in public from then CIA Director John Deutch in 1996.
The point here is not that 9/11 is suddenly back on the table, somehow available for resolution and justice. It’s a long way from a question from a junior member of the minority party asking a question to an impeachment, conviction and imprisonment. The election is still over. The compromised Keane Commission has still closed its doors. No further investigations or legal proceedings are pending. The media has still moved on and the court system and congress are still willfully impotent.
But courage endures. And as long as there is someone like Cynthia McKinney on Capitol Hill there will be moments ? wonderful moments like the one captured on the attached video ” which prove that we have not gone away or forgotten and that we still have the will to speak.
For those of us who spent years investigating 9/11, the research and evidence we have compiled will always be within arm’s reach, awaiting these golden moments. As new threats and challenges overtake us and demand our focus in “the now? we stand ready to jump on any miracle that presents us with an opportunity to remind the world that murderers still walk free, still in power. Like blades of grass growing steadfastly up through the sidewalk we will never surrender our ability to speak truth to power.
God bless Cynthia McKinney. ? MCR
[Posted By ShiftShapers]
By Michael Kane
Republished from From the Wilderness
On-the-Record: Representative Cynthia McKinney Rocks Rumsfeld on War Games
On February 16, 2005, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers “the same question this reporter asked General Ralph “Ed Eberhart at the final 9/11 commission hearing :
What about the war games?
The Full House Armed Services Committee met to receive testimony on the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization budget request from the Department of Defense. As the meeting wound down to its expected end, Secretary Rumsfeld prepared to leave. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who chaired the hearing, asked the Secretary to commit to a breakfast with Representatives who had not yet asked their questions. Secretary Rumsfeld happily agreed to do so.
At that moment Cynthia McKinney made sure to get the following vital question into the Congressional Record.
Transcript, February 16, Rumsfeld and Myers questioned by Cynthia McKinney:
Cynthia McKinney: Mr. Chairman, I have a question.
Duncan Hunter: The Gentle-lady is recognized.
McKinney: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Would that breakfast with the Secretary be open to the public?
Hunter: Well, if you want to bring all the omelets it might be, but ah ?
McKinney: Well Mr. Chairman, the problem is ” and I appreciate your adherence to the five-minute rule ? however there are many of us who have important questions and my question in particular is about the four war games that were taking place on September 11th and how they may have impaired our ability to respond to those attacks.
Mr. Hunter: Well let me say the gentle lady?
McKinney: I would like that question to be answered in public Mr. Chairman.
Hunter: Let me say to the gentle lady we’re going to have other opportunities to have the Secretary in front of us and what we will do beyond having questions, if you want a question for the record, be able to put that to the record and have the answer on the record, but additionally at the next event where the Secretary testifies ? we’ll try to make sure that happens ? we will start with the folks who did not get their question answered so you will have an opportunity.
McKinney: Thank you so much Mr. Chairman, and I hope the record is still open so that even that portion of my comment will be on this record.
Hunter: It will be so ordered.
McKinney: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
?end of transcript
At this point Representative Skelton (D-MO) asked a visibly flustered Donald Rumsfeld if in the future a classified briefing could occur on the recommendations given by General Luck and his team to the Secretary.
This helped to bury McKinnex’s question (and by necessity, the process continues: DoD has posted a peculiar “transcript” of the meeting’s final moments, from which Representative McKinnex’s question has been thoroughly deleted), giving Rumsfeld a way to divert attention from the issue she had skillfully placed on the record. Rumsfeld responded to Skelton’s question without addressing McKinnex’s at all. The only response to her question came in the form of both Rumsfeld and Myers? rapid hand movements and off-microphone murmurs. The issue seemed to knock Rumsfeld off-balance, affecting him as it had affected Ralph “Ed? Eberhart at the final 9/11 Commission hearing.
It’s unlikely that “No comment? will be an acceptable reply to Representative McKinnex’s question. Eberhart got away with that when responding to this reporter, and has since retired from his post heading both NORTHERN COMMAND and NORAD. His retirement came immediately after the 2004 presidential election. It appears “no comment? will be his final word on the matter, but that will not be the case for Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers.
Who was in charge of coordinating the multiple war games running on 9/11? Crossing the Rubicon has already answered this question in spades. But maybe, just maybe, with her return to Capitol Hill Cynthia McKinney has kept alive a flicker of hope that the crimes of 9/11 may yet shake up the US government.
The courage and directness of this fearless woman never cease to amaze us. She has let it be known that she will be a perpetual thorn in the side of the administration for at least the next two years.