Viewpoint: 9/11 air umbrella was folded

Abe Lincoln said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Condoleezza Rice tried to fool all of the people. She failed.

The National Security Adviser, in an effort to defend her boss and obfuscate the issues, inadvertently revealed some truth. In a litany of denial, she claimed the government at the highest levels knew nothing about any al-Qaeda attack plans or the possibility that airliners might be hijacked and used as weapons. But there is ample evidence to the contrary. The intelligence community had multiple reports of terrorist plans to use airplanes as weapons.

Government officials were warned not to fly on commercial jets in the day or so before the attacks, and Rice herself gave the same advice to her friend, Willie Brown, the mayor of San Francisco.

More than all that, however, was the evident fact that this commission is a staged and scripted charade. It has no intent of getting at the truth of 9/11. It does not ask the tough questions, nor does it follow up. Further, it has caved in to the Bush administration and granted it the right to censor its findings and withhold release of them until it is good and ready.

For instance, no one asked the glaring question: Where was the North American Air Defense Command on Sept. 11? Why did not our sophisticated and very costly air defense system function against the hijackers? In the months before Sept. 11, no less than 67 intercepts of commercial flights occurred. All of them went off flawlessly and according to protocol; yet on that fateful morning, we couldn’t get even one plane in the air until too late.

Vice President Dick Cheney contended on national television that the administration, after learning that jets had been hijacked, had to decide whether to intercept them. That was a flat-out lie, as he well knew.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedure is clearly spelled out in its rules. If a commercial plane goes off course and does not respond by radio to air traffic controllers, the military is immediately notified and an intercept requested.

FAA order 7110.65M states: “Consider that an aircraft emergency exists … when … there is unexplained loss of radar contact and radio communications with any aircraft. If you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency.”.

Let’s review the 9/11 timeline.

At 8:13 a.m., EST, Flight 11 from Boston stops responding by radio to air controllers.

By 8:20 a.m., radar contact is lost and the plane is veering off course.

By 8:24 a.m., the hijacking of Flight 11 is confirmed.

Air Traffic Controllers said they did not know when the military was contacted, but it was routine to do so immediately when a hijack occurred. But NORAD claims it was not notified until 8:38 a.m.—14 minutes later.

When NORAD does respond, it notifies Otis Air Force Base, some 200 miles west of the hijacked airliner. That happened at 8:43 a.m., just after the command center was informed that a second plane (Flight 175) had been hijacked while heading west, away from Otis.

Military spokesmen claimed the fighters from Otis went full-bore after the hijacked planes, “over 500 mph,” but F-15s can do 1,800 mph. The Otis planes flew at less than half speed. Why? The interceptors got to New York City about 9:20 a.m., just after the second plane had smacked the World Trade Center.

Elapsed time since the air controllers lost contact with Flight 11—ONE HOUR AND 13 MINUTES!

Flight 77 went off course at 8:40 a.m. At 9 a.m., all contact with the plane was lost. The aircraft turned around and headed toward Washington. At 9:06 a.m., just after the second jetliner had struck the WTC, the FAA alerts all control centers that Flight 77 has been hijacked.

NORAD says the FAA didn’t alert them until 9:24 a.m., some 25 minutes after losing contact with the flight and 40 minutes after a known hijacked aircraft crashed into the WTC. Later, NORAD says fighters were scrambled from Langley Air Force Base, 130 miles away. Yet there were at least four news accounts that stated fighters went up from Andrews AFB, just 10 miles from Washington. But those accounts said the fighters were not up until AFTER the attack on the Pentagon.

The reports about Andrews were quickly quashed by the national media and Dick Cheney, on Meet the Press on Sept. 16. He claimed there were no fighters available at Andrews even though news sources rapidly confirmed that two combat-ready fighter squadrons were on standby alert there.

Did somebody order our air defense to stand down? If so, who was it? The press doesn’t ask, and the military does not permit access to the officers in charge that morning. Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifying before Congress on Sept. 13, offered no explanation of why fighters were not scrambled until after the Pentagon was hit, even though his “crisis team” was operational 50 minutes sooner. The Senate does not ask the question. Gen. Meyers changed his story twice during his appearance and responded “I don’t know” to 10 different questions.

At the time, the Pentagon said it did not know that Flight 93 had been hijacked. Officials added there were no interceptors in the area when the plane went down. The FAA told NORAD at 9:16 a.m., 50 minutes before the crash, that the plane was hijacked. A good deal of evidence exists suggesting there was a fighter there and that it shot down the errant aircraft.

President Bush knew of the events of that morning before he left his Sarasota, Fla., hotel just before 9 a.m. Cheney said in his television appearance that the FAA and the Secret Service had open lines after the WTC attacks. Cheney was hurried into the basement of the White House, but George W. Bush remained in a third grade classroom listening to a story about a pet goat. He is told three times about the attacks, but appears unconcerned and remains about 30 minutes. Did he and his entourage have knowledge that the school would not be a target?

After a brief statement at 9:30 a.m., the president leaves and flies out of Bradenton Airport at 10 a.m. Air Force One has no fighter escort. The president leap frogs around the western U.S. for nine hours, then limps back to Washington with a military escort and claims of a threat against his plane. That claim is later shown to be a lie.

Here we are, going on three years later, and the question remains: “Where was NORAD?”

The position of the Bush regime, according to Rice, is: “Don’t blame us. It’s the fault of the system.”

Here’s the biggest question: “Why did the 9/11 Commission fail to ask Rice specifically about the failure of NORAD to respond?”

Sources: emperors clothes, Newsday, NY Daily News,, unanswered, From the, Guardian Unlimited, AP, The New York Times and Intervention magazine.

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