"These guys are smart," statement completely inconsistent
with flight instructors description of hijacker's skills
Newly released portions of NORAD tapes from 9/11 featured in a Vanity
Fair article do little to answer skeptic's questions about the impotence
of U.S. air defenses on 9/11 and if anything only increase focus on the incompatibility
of the official version of events with what is actually known to have taken
place on that day.
It is clear that the exercises revolving around hijacked airliners scheduled
for that morning created so much noise in the system that controllers could
not pinpoint the positions of any of the real airliners to orchestrate any kind
Errant 'ghost' aircraft such as 'Delta 89' and American Airlines 11 which controllers
weren't aware had already crashed into the World Trade Center north tower continually
confuse NORAD officials and at one point after Flight 77 has hit the Pentagon,
they even intercept their own aircraft.
Several exchanges between NORAD personnel outline the confusion that the drills
caused and delayed the response of air defense procedures.
BOSTON CENTER: Hi. Boston Center T.M.U. [Traffic Management Unit],
we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York,
and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something
up there, help us out.
POWELL: Is this real-world or exercise?
BOSTON CENTER: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.
WATSON: What was that?
ROUNTREE: Is that real-world?
DOOLEY: Real-world hijack.
"When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was 'Somebody
started the exercise early,'" said mission-crew commander Major Kevin Nasypany.
The exercise of running numerous
war games where planes would be mock-hijacked and crashed into high-profile
targets is dismissed as a coincidence by the writer Michael Bronner, with no
discussion of the astronomical improbability of the two scenarios colliding,
in alliance with similar same target, same time drills which took place during
the London bombings.
The tapes betray the fact that NORAD's attention to the fact that Flight 77
was heading towards Washington are virtually non-existent as they struggle to
gain authorization to shoot down stray aircraft.
Despite the lies of Cheney in his subsequent TV interviews and statements given
under oath to the 9/11 Commission, those shoot down orders never arrived, even
after United 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania.
While NORAD struggled to comprehend what exactly was heading towards Washington,
in Dick Cheney's PEOC bunker things were apparently a lot clearer. The testimony
of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta is brought under more scrutiny
by the NORAD tapes.
How could Cheney know exactly what was heading for Washington and give clear
orders for its path to remain clear, while the very people mandated to defend
the skies of America scrambled desperately to make sense of the chaos and get
fighters in the positions they needed to be?
"During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was
a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, "The plane is
50 miles out." "The plane is 30 miles out."
And when it got down to "the plane is 10 miles out," the young man
also said to the Vice President, "Do the orders still stand?"
"And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of
course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony to the 9/11 Commission,
May 23, 2003.
The impotence of NORAD in only having access to four fighters to cover the
entire eastern seaboard of the US contradicts the fact that 35
USAF bases alone were within range of the hijacked flights but were never
called upon or given as an option.
The quick response by NORAD to the golfer Payne
Stewart's off-course aircraft in 1999 is often cited as contradicting with
procedure on 9/11. In addition, there were 67
occasions where fighters were scrambled to intercept errant aircraft in
the 9 month period before 9/11.
Other segments of the tapes only raise more questions and do not provide any
answers to long-standing mysteries.
- How did the admittedly incompetent pilot hijackers turn off the transponders
of all the aircraft? A procedure, according to professionals that we have talked
to, is often beyond the capability of even the most experienced commercial pilots?
- In one portion of the tapes, NORAD personnel are heard to marvel at the excellence
of the hijacker's strategy.
ANDERSON: They're probably not squawking anything [broadcasting a
beacon code] anyway. I mean, obviously these guys are in the cockpit.
NASYPANY: These guys are smart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, they knew exactly what they wanted
These guys are smart? Contrast this statement with those of the flight
instructors when describing the skills of the alleged hijackers.
Mohammed Atta: "His attention span was zero."
Khalid Al-Mihdhar: "We didn't kick him out, but he
didn't live up to our standards."
Marwan Al-Shehhi: “He was dropped because of his limited
English and incompetence at the controls.”
Salem Al-Hazmi: "We advised him to quit after two lessons.”
Do the descriptions afforded to these men square with the chaos that
their skills in evading detection brought to the NORAD control room? Or were
the planes being controlled by some other means than morons who could barely
get single engine Cessna's off the ground - but who apparently ran the world's
most sophisticated air defense ragged for hours?
Does the panic that envelops the NORAD control room and the fear that new reports
of hijacked planes will never end, coupled with speculation that anything (the
White House and the Statue of Liberty are mentioned) could be a target, corroborate
with the actions of President Bush's security detail?
Reports of numerous stray aircraft, bombs on planes, and truck bombs at the
Pentagon fly and yet President Bush sits calmly in a Florida classroom apparently
safe in the knowledge that he is not a target. Why wasn't the President hurried
into the nearest underground bunker as soon as Card told him "America is
under attack," unless Bush's people were confident of the exact targets
beforehand, and that Bush himself wasn't one of them?
The writer of the Vanity Fair piece has taken the NORAD tapes on their own
and attempted to forward them as proof that the official version of events is
largely accurate, minus the proven lies about the non-authorization of shoot
The problem is that the behavior of the errant planes, when overlaid with the
activities of Cheney and Bush, standard intercept operating procedure (minus
the intentional confusion of an untold number of blips from the NORAD drills)
and the incompetent hijackers, simply does not corroborate.
Furthermore, the tape portions amount to a total of no more than 20 minutes
of hand-picked cmmunications and it is admitted that the discussions of the
higher brass are not recorded due to secrecy. Nothing is mentioned of the six
tapes of air traffic control communications with the hijacked airliners that
were deliberately destroyed
by FAA managers.
The purpose of the Vanity Fair and a similar Washington
Post article is to whitewash the entire affair and blame 9/11 on the incompetence
The NORAD tapes, far from dissolving so-called "conspiracy theories,"
only serve to support the weight of evidence that points directly towards a
deliberate plan on September 11, 2001 to make the air defenses of the United
States impotent and to enable the planes to find their targets.
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