- In 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
There 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 and confusing.
Rice 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.
Defense 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).
This 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 It had been superseded by an instruction from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 jets.
Rumsfeld 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
Finally 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.
Rumsfeld 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.
In 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.
Over 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.
- The next scheduled public hearings that will focus on
"failures in intelligence and law enforcement will be April 13-14.
- Scheduled 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.
- As for Condoleeza Rice, her performance tomorrow may
determine how soon she resigns.
- The 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 reason
- (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
- Permission is granted to reproduce this article in its
- Past Medium Rare articles back to October 2001 are archived