A Pilot Answers 911 Questions JCS
General Myers Wouldn't

From Bill Mitchell

Dear Jeff,
The vital perspective provided by this pilot raises as many questions as it answers on - "Where Was The U.S. Air Force When We Needed It On 9-11?" - the answer is, they were in-flight along the Atlantic seaboard, but didn't follow regulations to intercept those off-course and unresponsive airliners - WHY? I hope you will post this along with the testimony given on September 13th, two days after, by General Richard Myers before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The questions by senators on 9-11 and his answers outrageously insult the intelligence of the senators, and by extension the congress and the American public. Nevertheless General Myers was promoted to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in spite of his dereliction of duty and criminal negligence on the morning of 9-11.
Posted on the KPFK 90.7 FM Listener Online Bulletin Board
By Michael Guillaume 6-9-2
I am a pilot and I know what happens to me when I lose my transponder. The controllers console immediately alerts him to the fact since he no longer has my transponder code and altitude. This causes him a graet deal of trouble and very shortly I get trouble also. I am usually instructed to stay below 3,500 feet and return to the airport. The reason for the concern is that I am a hazard to navigation. Now imagine the situation in the Air Route Traffic Control Center (commonly abreviated to "center").
This is in the northeast corner of the U.S., the busiest airspace on the planet. Each controller has a wedged shaped sector that he is responsible for. His airspace is also bounded by altitude limits. Commercial flights, refferred to as heavies, are always under positive control. They must constantly be in communication with the controllers in order to maintain legal seperation. If one of these heavies loses its transponder, it causes instant problems for more than one controller since altitude information is lost.
The controllers still have a skin paint, or passive echo from the airframe, but the blip now shows up on all consoles for that sector, not just the original one that was handling the altitude range of the flight. If that same flight loses communication with the controllers as well, the controller work load takes another giant step upward. Keep in mind that this is in an area that is normally stretched to the breaking point with controller overload. This flight is now a hazard to air navigation, and the controllers primary function of seperating the planes is in jeopardy.
The procedure for lost communication emergencies is simple: follow your last clearance. If the flight under discussion follows its last clearance, the controllers can predict where it will go and can still keep other flights out of harms way. If in addition to losing communication and transponder the flight starts to deviate from its last clearance, the whole system is in an emergency condition. Alarms all over the country would be going off. One interesting piece of information is the recording of controller and pilote conversations. These tapes are a matter of public record and are written over after a few days unless something interesting happens. These tapes would show the response of the system. Where are they?
So, we know that the traffic control system would be in panic mode within two to three minutes of the initial events. We know that Otis Airforce Base is only five minutes from Manhatten by F15. We know that the controllers always had a passive return form the planes and could vector an intercept. The last Airmans Informatiion Manual I bought has a date of 1989 and it describes intercept procedures. So we know that intercepts have been routine low level events since at least that time.
We know that there is an Air Defence Intercept Zone just off shore for the entire Atlantic Coast. This zone is constantly being patrolled. In general fast movers would not need to be scrambled. They can be diverted from routine patrol and training flights for the intercept. I know from experience that early morning flights are every pilots favorite.You preflight the plane in the dark and take off. Even in a Cessna breaking out into the bright clear sunshine from the dark earth below is a kick. In an F15 doing Mach 1 straight up would make it impossible to stop grinning. The odds are that many flights would be on patrol just off shore. It would be most improbable that even one commercial flight could go more than ten minutes without being intercepted. The intercepting plane would slowly close from the left and take station slightly above and ahead of the errant heavy. At this pont he would rock his wings and expect the other planeto do the same as a form of non verbal communication. After this he would perform a gentle turn to the left and the intercepted plane is required to follow. If this does not occur, there are many actions short of firing the fighter can take to prevent the commercial jet from harming either itself, any other plane, or any ground structure.
Interceptions are routine daily occurrances. The fact that they didn't happen under extreme provocation raises some serious questions. I hope Mary Schiavo will ask them. ___
Note - This is a corrected version of Gen. Myers' testimony -
>From William Desjardins 6-12-2
Jeff - Here's the corrected text for the first exchange between Levin and Myers quoted on your site.
Upon more detailed examination, the senate hearing posted on your site is a compilation of exchanges extracted from the original transcript. Senators did not pepper general Myers as they appear to be doing. From what I've looked at thus far, there are no substantive alterations to the quotes extracted and arranged in this manner. Moreover, the progression appear to be in concordance with their progression during the hearing.
I checked the KPFA site. The exchange between Levin and Myers does not appear on the chatroom--only the statement of Michael Guillaume.
Source: emperor's clothes website
LEVIN: Was the Defense Department contacted by the FAA or the FBI or any other agency after the first two hijacked aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center, prior to the time that the Pentagon was hit?
MYERS: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question. I can get that for you, for the record.
LEVIN: Thank you. Did the Defense Department take -- or was the Defense Department asked to take action against any specific aircraft?
MYERS: Sir, we were . . .
LEVIN: And did you take action against -- for instance, there has been statements that the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down. Those stories continue to exist.
MYERS: Mr. Chairman, the armed forces did not shoot down any aircraft. When it became clear what the threat was, we did scramble fighter aircraft, AWACS, radar aircraft and tanker aircraft to begin to establish orbits in case other aircraft showed up in the FAA system that were hijacked. But we never actually had to use force.
LEVIN: Was that order that you just described given before or after the Pentagon was struck? Do you know?
MYERS: That order, to the best of my knowledge, was after the Pentagon was struck.
LEVIN: General Myers, you have agreed to give us your personal views, even when they might disagree with the administration in power. But the secretary was quoted in a July article as saying that his choice for chairman would have to possess candor and forthrightness, of course -- he said -- but he wanted this willingness to disagree to show up only in very direct, private counsel.
Now, have you been told that your willingness to disagree should show up only in private counsel? Or are you committed to give us your personal views when asked, even if those views might differ with that of the secretary?
MYERS: Sir, I've never been told to limit my views to private. And as I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, absolutely.
LEVIN: Thank you. General, you indicated in response to one of the committee's pre- hearing policy questions, as to what your priorities would be if confirmed, that one of your priorities would be to better define the military's role in homeland security. I'm wondering if you could tell us what your concerns are in this area and what role you believe the military should play.
MYERS: Mr. Chairman, that issue was debated in our quadrennial defense review. And it's still being debated. I think this current tragedy puts that issue center stage.
As the commander-in-chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command, as well as U.S. Space Command, we had plans to deploy our fighters to defend from external threats. I never thought we'd see what we saw the last few days, where we had fighters over our cities, defending against a threat that originated inside the United States of America.
So I think this whole issue of homeland defense or homeland security needs a lot more thought. There is a role, obviously, for the Department of Defense. What that role is, I'm not confident I know that answer today. But I just know that the debate needs to take place now.
We've had other issues that we have worked in seminar games, if you will, or exercises, where we've looked at other incidents of weapons of mass destruction. And what we found in some of those is that local authorities are often quickly overcome by the situation. And there is going to be reliance, I believe, on some of the capabilities that we have inside the department.
So we need to sort through those issues. To tell you exactly what our role ought to be, I don't know for sure. I just think we need to think through that, so the next time we have a terrible tragedy, that we are ready to act in a unified way and a focused way.
That is not to say that we haven't done that in this crisis. I think we have come together very, very well. But it certainly raises those questions, Mr. Chairman.
LEVIN: Thank you very much.


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