Why Did NORAD Have Problems Launching Interceptor Jets On 9/11
When They Were Launching Twice A Week Before 9/11?
"The defense of U.S.
airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with
preexisting training and protocols....."
Intercepts Of Off Course Aircraft
Were Conducted By NORAD Twice A Week Before 9/11
"Seventeen days after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, Herald reporter Linda Slobodian was offered a rare glimpse of Cheyenne
Mountain, Colo. -- the headquarters for Norad, the high-tech military operations centre
where thousands of aircraft flying through North American skies are monitored. In the
Herald today and Sunday, Slobodian examines how military forces are responding to the
increased security threat against Canada and the U.S..... It is rare that a visitor, only the second since Sept. 11, is allowed past the secured door leading into section 2212 of Norad
headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain. To get to this point, one must go through several
checkpoints manned by U.S. soldiers armed with M-16 rifles, two 25-ton steel blast doors,
and a maze of eerie corridors with granite walls in the subterranean complex. Beyond 2212
is the Command Centre, the heartbeat of Norad -- a room jammed with computers, phones and
huge multihued screens on the walls. Canadian and American military experts, dressed in
crisp uniforms, are glued to phones and screens. Data streams into the Command Centre from
the Air Warning Centre, which detects invading aircraft; the Missile Warning Centre, which
provides warning of missiles attacks; the combined Intelligence Watch which monitors world
events and evaluates the potential of attacks with biological or chemical weapons, and
finally the Space Control Centre, which tracks manmade objects orbiting earth. North
America is divided into three Norad regions -- Alaska, Canada and continental U.S., with
posts from each feeding data into headquarters. The Command Centre sits 426 metres below
the apex of Cheyenne Mountain, carved out in 1961 to house this granite bunker, a product
of the Cold War when the U.S. and Russia were bitter foes. Designed to withstand a
31-megaton Soviet nuclear strike, this 4.5-acre complex of chambers and tunnels surrounded
by 600 metres of granite has 15 buildings, 12 of them three storeys high. Norad -- on
which Canada spends about $300 million a year -- is best known for its space control
role..... Fighter jets are scrambled to babysit suspect aircraft or 'unknowns' three or four
times a day. Before Sept. 11, that happened twice a week. Last year, there were 425 unknowns -- pilots who didn't file or diverted
from flight plans or used the wrong frequency. Jets were
scrambled 129 times."
And Drills For Hijacking Intercepts Were Specifically Practiced
to a statement from NORAD, 'Before September 11th, 01, NORAD regularly conducted a variety
of exercises that included hijack scenarios. These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and
interception; hijack procedures; internal and
external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures..... At the NORAD
headquarters' level we normally conducted four major exercises a year, most of which
included a hijack scenario.'"
NORAD exercise had jet crashing into building
CNN, 19 April 2004
"In the two years before the Sept. 11
attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what
the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to
crash into targets and cause mass casualties. One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center.... [there were]
early drills, including one operation, planned in
July 2001 and conducted later, that involved planes from airports in Utah and Washington
state that were 'hijacked.' Those planes were
escorted by U.S. and Canadian aircraft to airfields in British Columbia and Alaska.
NORAD officials have acknowledged that 'scriptwriters' for
the drills included the idea of hijacked aircraft being used as weapons....
Until Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD conducted four major exercises a year.
Most included a hijack scenario.'"
NORAD had drills of jets as weapons
USA Today, 18 April 2004
|1990-2001: NORAD Regularly Launches Fighters to Intercept Suspicious
Aircraft before 9/11
Fighter jets are regularly scrambled by the
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in response to suspicious or unidentified
aircraft flying in US airspace in the years preceding 9/11. [General
Accounting Office, 5/3/1994, pp. 4; Associated
Press, 8/14/2002] For this task, NORAD keeps a pair of fighters on
alert at a number of sites around the US. These fighters are armed, fueled,
and ready to take off within minutes of receiving a scramble order (see Before September 11, 2001). [American Defender, 4/1998; Air Force Magazine, 2/2002; Bergen Record, 12/5/2003; Grant,
2004, pp. 14] Various accounts offer statistics about the number of times
fighters are scrambled:
Why Weren't The Approved Intercept Procedures Followed On 9/11?
of U.S. airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with preexisting training and
|Who Hijacked The Intercept Protocols On 911?|
"Air Force jet fighters could have intercepted hijacked airliners roaring
toward the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11.... The never-heard-before
declaration by Gen. Ralph Eberhart [Commander of NORAD on 911] stunned the hearings on
the terror attacks..... 'If the FAA told us as soon as they knew, then, yes, we could have
shot down the planes,' said Eberhart......'We would have been able to shoot down all three
. . . all four of them,' said Eberhart, who was named
commander of NORAD after Sept. 11..... During the hearing, a furious commissioner Bob
Kerrey raised his voice and asked the FAA what the 'hell' had been going on."
"Prior to 9/11, FAA's traditional communication channel with the military during a crisis had been through the National Military Command Center (NMCC).They were always included in the communication net that was used to manage a hijack incident. When a hijacking was reported, FAA security personnel activated a command center in the Washington Operation Center and a senior executive from the FAA's security organization was responsible for managing the situation and the communication network with other government and industry agencies. FAA would frequently ask the military, through the NMCC, for airborne surveillance of the hijacked aircraft to monitor its movements."
Monte Belger, FAA Acting Deputy Administrator on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Written Statement
"FAA headquarters began to follow the
hijack protocol [for the first hijacking on 911] but did not
contact the NMCC [National Military Command Centre]
to request a fighter escort....."
"The first indication that the NORAD
air defenders had of the second hijacked aircraft, United 175, came in a phone call from [FAA] New York
Center to NEADS at 9:03. [the very minute that it hit the WTC - FAA headquarters had not
requested fighter aircraft support from the NMCC as required by protocol]"
"No one at FAA headquarters ever asked
for military assistance with [the third hijacking] American 77."
"Despite the discussions about
military assistance, no one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding
United 93 [the fourth hijacking]. Nor did any manager at
FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military."
Headquarters, Air Traffic Services set up an additional situation room in the front office that was occupied by DOD [Department of Defense] liaison officers who worked on the Air Traffic Services
Headquarters staff.... At the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center, the military officers assigned to the Air Traffic Services Cell became
immediately involved in coordinating FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center actions
with military elements."
at the Command Center of course is the military cell, which was our liaison with the military services. They were present at
all of the events that occurred on 9/11.... They have their own communication web that I think defeated
some of the notification processes, as I've been
listening to today. But in my mind everyone who needed to be notified about the events
transpiring was notified, including the military."
"Prior to 9/11, the procedures for
managing a traditional hijacked aircraft, as I said, were in place and pretty well tested.... The
most frustrating after-the-fact scenario for me to understand is to explain is the communication link on that morning between the FAA
operations center and the NMCC.... The
hijacking net is an open communication net run by the FAA hijack coordinator, who is a
senior person from the FAA security organization, for the purpose of getting the affected
federal agencies together to hear information at the same time.... It was my assumption
that morning, as it had been for my 30 years of experience with the FAA, that the NMCC was
on that net and hearing everything real-time..... I can tell you I've lived
through dozens of hijackings in my 30-year FAA career, as a very low entry-level inspector
up through to the headquarters, and they were always there. They were always on the net,
and were always listening in with everybody else..... from
my perspective there is no doubt in my mind that the FAA security organization knew what
to do. There is no doubt in my mind that the air traffic organization knew what to do.
They are the two key players in that type of scenario.... this is very, very important, in
response to your question.... the NMCC was called. They were added to this open
communication net. In my 30 years of history, there was always somebody listening to that
net..... I truly do not mean this to be defensive, but it is a fact -- there were military people on duty at the FAA
Command Center, as Mr. Sliney said. They were participating in what was going on. There
were military people in the FAA's Air Traffic Organization in a situation room. They were
participating in what was going on."
"....As Mr. Belger stated, from my point of view I'm absolutely sure
that our field managers know -- knew on 9/11 what to do in the event of a hijacking. The
procedures are very cleared. The procedures are
trained as a matter of refresher training in our operational facilities every year.....
There are protocols, there are check lists, there are folders that are kept in operational
positions where people have responsibility for reporting. And through the years -- not
only for hijackings, but aircraft accidents and other incidents -- reporting is a very
high priority. So it surprises me that people would think our managers didn't know how to
"Shortly after the
second attack in New York, a senior Secret
Service agent charged with
coordinating the Presidents movements established an open line with his counterpart
at the FAA, who soon told him that there were more planes unaccounted forpossibly
hijackedin addition to the two that had already crashed. Though the senior agent
told someone to convey this information to the Secret Services operations center, it either was not passed on or was passed on but
What Was The Secretary Of State For Defense Doing On 9/11?
"In most cases, the chain of command
authorizing the use of force runs from the president to the secretary of defense and from
the secretary to the combatant commander. The President apparently spoke to Secretary Rumsfeld for the
first time that morning [of 9/11] shortly after 10:00. No one can recall the content of
this conversation, but it was a brief call in which the subject of shoot down authority
was not discussed.... Secretary Rumsfeld told us he was just gaining situational awareness when he spoke with the
Vice President at 10:39."
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT, JULY 2004 (p 43/44)
"Not only was Mr Rumsfeld bypassed
in the normal chain of command for such a shoot-down order, but the command from Vice President Dick Cheney that the airliners be 'taken out' did not reach the fighter planes until after
the last ill-fated airliner had crashed in Pennsylvania, the special commission
Rumsfeld 'bypassed', says probe body
Dawn (Pakistan), 18 June 2004
commission had to subpoena the F.A.A. for documents, had to subpoena NORAD for documents
and they will never get the full story. That is one
of the tragedies. One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11
issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up."
Former Senator Max Cleland who stepped down from the 9/11 Commission December 2003
Interview with 'Democracy Now', 23 March 2004
9/11 Opens The Gates To War
"The terrorist attacks
on 11 September 2001 were a
call to arms."
General Ralph Eberhart, Commander of NORAD on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Oral Evidence
and military officials of the Defense Department state flatly that neither Congress nor
the American public would have supported large-scale military operations in Afghanistan before the shock of 9/11."
9/11 Commission Staff Statement No 6, 2004
the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed
General Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible..... He thought the U.S.
response should consider a wide range of options and possibilities. The secretary said his
instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time......"
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT, JULY 2004 (p 334/335)
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