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On the morning of September 11, the present Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard B. Myers, was having a routine meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland. Just before the meeting began,
The meeting went on for some time. While the two men chatted away, a second hijacked jet plowed into the World Trade Centers south tower and a third one into the Pentagon. And still they went on with their meeting.
Meanwhile, in Florida, it is clear from the public record that by the time President Bush left his hotel he knew about the attack on the first WTC tower. John Cochran, who was covering the President's trip to Sarasota told, told Peter Jennings on ABC TV:
And then he went to an elementary school in Sarasota to read to children for half an hour.
No urgency. Why should there be? Who could possibly have realized then the calamitous nature of the events of September 11? Besides in one of the planes, the hijackers had switched the transponders off. So how could anyone know what was going on? Yet September 11 was not so unprecedented. Passenger jet hijackings have happened before, and the US government has prepared detailed plans to handle them. On September 11 these plans were ignored in their entirety.
According to the 'New York Times,' air traffic controllers knew at 8:20 a.m.:
There was little ambiguity on the matter. The pilot had pushed a button on the aircraft yoke that allowed controllers to hear the hijacker giving orders.
Here are the FAA regulations concerning hijackings:
Here are the instructions issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 1, 2001:
In addition, Vice President Cheney told Meet the Press on Sept. 16 that only the president has the authority to order the shooting down of a civilian airliner. "And you have to ask yourself," Cheney said, "If we had had combat air patrol up over New York and wed had the opportunity to take out the two aircraft that hit the World Trade Center, would we have been justified in doing that? I think absolutely we would have . Its a presidential-level decision, and the president made, I think, exactly the right call in this case, to say, I wished wed had combat air patrol up over New York." (6)
The U.S. is supposed to scramble military aircraft the moment a hijacking is confirmed. Yet Myers continues to chat on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld works undisturbed in his Pentagon office and the president reads to schoolchildren. Myers first statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 13, that no fighter planes had been launched until after the Pentagon was hit, was therefore scarcely surprising. Senators were a little incredulous. And the day before, Dan Rather asked on CBS News:
Good question. Clearly another, more comforting, story was needed and on the evening of Friday September 14 CBS launched it:
This story, which has now, with slight modifications, become the "official" NORAD version, raises more questions than it answers.
According to CBS, three F-16s scrambled from Langley at 9:30 and arrived in Washington at 10:00. The distance from Langley Air Force Base to the Pentagon is 129 miles - not 150, as CBS stated. If these F-16s took half an hour to get to Washington they were flying at 4.4 miles per minute, 258 mph. That's less than half their cruising speed. It's a fifth of the maximum speed for these F-16s, 1500-mph.
Talk about a lack of urgency!
And since Washington, D.C. is little more than 200 miles from New York, the two F-15 fighters from Otis would have had time to get to DC, intercept Flight 77 and grab a breakfast on the way.
And then of course, there is the small matter of Andrews Air Force Base. It is, after all, but ten miles from the Pentagon. As Matthew Wald wrote in the New York Times on September 15th:
Includes: (1) Articles refuting the official story on what happened 9-11; (2) Articles refuting official story on Osama bin Laden; (3) Exclusive interviews related to 9-11, including with Red Cross; (4) Other relevant issues.
Forces Press Service' 23 October 2001 "Myers and
Sept. 11: 'We Hadn't Thought About This'" by
Sergeant 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA. Full text
(2) 'ABC News' Special Report: "Planes crash
into World Trade Center" (8:53 AM ET) Tuesday 11
(3) 'New York
Times' Saturday 15 September 2001 "AFTER THE ATTACKS: SKY
RULES; Pentagon Tracked Deadly Jet But Found No Way to
Stop It" by Matthew L. Wald
(4) FAA Order 7610.4J 'Special
Military Operations' (Effective Date: November 3, 1998;
Includes: Change 1, effective July 3, 2000; Change 2,
effective July 12, 2001), Chapter 7, Section 1-2, "Escort
of Hijacked Aircraft: Requests for Service"
(5) 'Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Instruction 3610.01A,' 1 June 2001,
"Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of
Derelict Airborne Objects," 4.Policy (page 1)
(6)'NBC, Meet the Press' (10:00 AM ET)
Sunday 16 September 2001.
(7) CBS News Special Report (12:00 Noon PM ET) - September 12, 2001 "Aftermath of and investigation into attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon at http://emperor.vwh.net/9-11backups/cbs12th.htm
(8) To read the new cover story floated by CBS on 14 September go to http://emperor.vwh.net/9-11backups/changes.htm#a
(9) Website of the 88th Communications Group, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f16a.htm
(10) From 'Popular Mechanics' Website, 'The Weapons Of Enduring Freedom,' at http://popularmechanics.com/science/military/2001/9/weapons_of_infinite_justice/
(11) 'Pentagon Tracked Deadly Jet but Found No Way to Stop It,' 'New York Times,' September 15, 2001, Section A; Page 1; Column 1 http://college4.nytimes.com/guests/articles/2001/09/15/868107.xml
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