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Failure to scramble jets for Pentagon


We have a case of changing stories here. In the military's initial account, made on September 18, 2001, and held to be true until the "NORAD tapes" revision in 2004, they were notified about the hijackings by the FAA in time to intercept the second WTC plane, the Pentagon plane, and the Pennsylvania crash plane, but they failed to do so for various reasons, e.g., being sent in the wrong direction, being called from the farthest possible air force base, flying at a quarter of top speed -- that sort of thing. A bit weird.

Normally, fighter jets are able to intercept wayward planes within about ten minutes, as they routinely do about 100 times a year. In this case, even after the first tower had been hit, they completely failed to appear anywhere near any place useful. Again a bit weird, and to government complicity theorists suggests that a stand-down order had been given.

In the second story, as contained in the official Commission report and highlighted in a Vanity Fair article called "9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes", the military didn't know anything was even hijacked until all the planes had crashed. All the blame is put on the FAA. There was some fuss about the military lying to create the first account, but this business about the stand-down order is apparently put to rest.

In other words, it wasn't the military's fault, but in the heat of the moment, the military created an elaborate lie to make it look like it was their fault. Then they maintained this lie for three years or so, everyone involved, from high-level officers to lower-level employees to pilots, keeping tight lips to maintain the lie that made them look so bad. Then finally, the tapes were released, and the military is forced to admit that it wasn't their fault at all. It was the FAA the whole time. You got us dead to rights. We lied. But we didn't have any stand-down orders, that's for sure.

Source: Debunking 9/11 Debunking (Griffin)


There are lots of problems with both accounts. A very detailed account of the major problems can be found in David Ray Griffin's "Debunking 9/11 Debunking", but here's an inadequate summary:

The revised, tapes-based story has FAA officials in Indianapolis see Flight 77 (the Pentagon flight) go off course and lose transponder signal at 8:54, about half an hour after AA11 was considered hijacked and eight minutes after it hit the WTC North Tower, shortly after UA175 was considered hijacked, but didn't think it was very suspicious. In this story, the Indianapolis crew slowly realized that Flight 77 might be another hijacking, and FAA headquarters was finally notified at 9:25. NEADS didn't hear about it until 9:34, and then only by accident, in a discussion of AA11.

This account is contradicted by many things. The hijacking of AA11 was hot news and spread around FAA like wildfire. The Indianapolis crew would have been well aware of it and its suspicions would have been raised immediately when 77's transponder went off and the plane went off course. Earlier statements from NORAD and many news accounts say 77 was known off course at 8:46. An FBI report says it was notified of the hijacking at 9:20. FAA official Laura Brown says they were in teleconference with the military minutes after the first WTC crash, starting at about 8:50, and gave reports in real time, including about Flight 77. She says the formal notification was at 9:24, but that they knew about it before the formality of the filing, as soon as FAA knew. Her account is corroborated by other FAA officials. The Commission is aware of her account, read it into the record, offered no rebuttal, and then simply ignored it in the official report. Omitted it. Part of a pattern of eliminating inconvenient testimony.

It is hard to swallow an account dependent on massive failures of numerous highly trained FAA people to follow well-established protocols, and there is much evidence that protocols were in fact followed. Not a fighter in the skies over the capital an hour and a half after the WTC was hit, with other known hijacked planes in the air. The Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol, all totally undefended. It is extremely suspicious!

Bottom line, me, I give it:

extremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspicious


Currently showing comments 1 through 3 of 3 total comments.

1. tnt 11 Jan 2008 06:29:10 PM

On the one hand it seems impossible; on the other, entirely predictable.

But, isn't it true that NORAD itself never officially accounted for its actions?

2. sunny 11 Jan 2008 09:28:06 PM

I feel like this seems like bureaucratic incompetence and is somewhat suspicious but not completely...

3. john 11 Jan 2008 09:43:26 PM

NORAD's story has shifted like a, like a, like a sea bass, flipping around the deck of a ship. It's tempting to go with the old government incompetence theory -- "these guys can't even [insert your favorite thing the government is bad at]...how are they going to rig a conspiracy like this?" The problem is that if we go with incompetence, it immediately turns into an implausibly amazing series of coincidences...so many things going so wrong in exactly the right way.

I mean, the Pentagon was hit over 45 minutes after the first WTC tower, more than half an hour after the second one, and there's an air force base ten miles from the Pentagon, and nobody thinks it's a good idea to get some planes up over the capital? Oh dear, they accidentally sent them in the wrong direction... Oh dear, they sent them from the base far away... Oh dear, they didn't send them until implausibly late in the game...

Nuh uh. For me, this one is a smoking gun.

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