an ignominious capitulation to the White House
the leaders of the 9/11 Commission traded two
and a half hours of testimony by Condoleeza Rice
in public under oath in exchange for a written
promise not to ask anymore White House persons
to testify in public or under oath. It is not
clear who this includes but no doubt comprises
all cabinet level officials.
are a number of questions which either have not
been asked or to which answers have not been forthcoming
or what answers have been provided are contradictory
is not likely to shed any light on the situation.
Given her previous public pronouncements. She
is either a not too accomplished liar, stupid,
completely out of any loop on terrorist information
or all of the above.
Secretary Rumsfeld needs to be recalled to clear
up the confusion about the scrambling of jets.
Most researchers, including this one, had assumed
the longstanding procedure for scrambling jets
whenever air traffic control reported a suspected
or actual hijacking or lost contact with a plane
was still in place on 9/11. Conflicting timelines
provided by the FAA, NORAD and DOD did not agree
on when the FAA reported the hijackings or when
the jets were actually scrambled (too late to
have done any good even if they could have found
and identified the hijacked planes).
led researchers to reason that someone must have
given an order not to follow the longstanding
procedure. Thus the hunt began for the person
who gave the order for the jets to "stand down."
In the June 2002 issue of Aviation Now, it was
finally disclosed that the longstanding procedure
was not in place on 9/11! It had been superseded
by an instruction from the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff issued on June 1, 2001. The new
procedure called for the FAA administrator (at
that time Jane Garvey), not air traffic control,
to contact NORAD and request military assistance.
NORAD then was to determine what resources (jets)
were available and then contact the National Military
Command Center (NMCC) which in turn would get
the personal approval of the Secretary of Defense
(Donald Rumsfeld) for authority to scramble the
says he was at his desk in the Pentagon and had
no knowledge of any hijackings until the Pentagon
was hit. (Did he have his phone off the hook?)
Maj. Gen. Larry Arnold, commander of the Continental
U.S. Norad Region (Conar), at Tyndall AFB, Fla.
issued the order to scramble two jets from Otis
Air Force Base saying he would get the required
approval (from Rumsfeld) later. The jets arrived
in the New York area after a hijacked plane hit
the second tower.
and others need to explain why such a cumbersome
and time-consuming procedure, with all its built-in
delays, was instituted. Especially since the knowledge
was wide spread that Islamic terrorists had plans
(including Project Bojinka) to hijack commercial
jets and crash them into the Pentagon, WTC, Sears
Tower and other targets.
recent days, news reports have disclosed a number
of warnings US intelligence received about hijacked
commercial planes. This is what the spooks call
a limited hangout. By the time these warnings
are acknowledged officially (perhaps in the 9/11
commission report) they will be dismissed as "old
news." See this author's June 18, 2002 archived
article (available at the URL below), "Bojinka,
The Dog That Didn't Bark."
the period of five years, from 1996 to 2001, the
FBI made numerous inquiries about suspected bin
Laden associates taking pilot training in at least
four flight schools in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma
and Florida. The last inquiry took place at the
Airman Flight School in Norman Oklahoma just three
weeks before the Sept. 11 disaster.
next scheduled public hearings that will focus
on "failures in intelligence" and law enforcement
will be April 13-14.
witnesses include Attorney General John Ashcroft,
former Attorney General Janet Reno, CIA Director
George Tenet, FBI Director Robert Mueller and
former FBI Director Louis Freeh If the White House
allows them to testify in public and the right
questions are asked (don't count on either) we
may learn something.
for Condoleeza Rice, her performance tomorrow
may determine how soon she resigns.
9/11 disaster did not result from an intelligence
failure. It was caused by refusal of high government
officials in both the Clinton and Bush administrations
to act on the knowledge they had, for whatever
author is a freelance writer based in Romulus,
Michigan. He is a former newspaper editor and
investigative reporter, a retired customs administrator
and accountant, and a student of history and the
Posted: April 8, 2004