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New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Aborted Plan to Kill Bin Laden, Cheney & Family on 9/11, Secret Service Response to Attacks, and More
From the History Commons Groups blog:
A large number of new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, including many that reveal details about the events of September 11, 2001, and others that describe important events from the years preceding the 9/11 attacks.
Security Chief Predicted Attacks on the WTC
Several entries relate to the actions of Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's vice president for security at the World Trade Center, and his friend and former Army colleague Dan Hill. In 1990, the two men wrote a report that predicted a terrorist attack at the WTC closely resembling the 1993 bombing, involving a truck bomb in the underground garage. In the aftermath of the 1993 WTC bombing, Hill and Rescorla conducted an analysis of security and predicted that terrorists would attack the towers again, probably by crashing a plane into them. Rescorla consulted his friend Fred McBee, who, by using a flight simulator program on his computer, concluded that such a scenario was "very viable."
In 1998, Hill came up with a plan to go to Afghanistan and kill Osama bin Laden. In spring 2000, he met with an FBI agent to discuss the plan and request US military assistance. But a year later, after she consulted FBI headquarters, the agent informed Hill that his request had been rejected and so he had to drop his plan.
Some entries relate to training exercises held at the World Trade Center. In one drill, conducted in 1982, the Port Authority and other agencies actually practiced for the scenario of a plane crashing into the Twin Towers. In March 1993, during public hearings that examined the security aspects of the recent WTC bombing, Guy Tozzoli, a former director of the World Trade Department, said the Port Authority should again train for the possibility of a plane hitting the WTC, but his recommendation was ignored. However, in June 1999, September 2000, and summer 2001, the Port Authority and the New York City Fire Department held realistic exercises that simulated a major fire on an upper floor of the WTC.
The United States Secret Service--the law enforcement agency responsible for protecting the president and the White House--had a critical role to play in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Various accounts, however, reveal that it was inexplicably slow to react to the crisis that day. Secret Service agents only appear to have acted with the kind of urgency we might reasonably expect more than 45 minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center and more than 30 minutes after the second plane crashed.
The Secret Service's slow response meant some high-level individuals the agency was responsible for protecting were allowed to remain at unsafe locations throughout much of the duration of the attacks, and so could have been killed or seriously injured if their locations had been targeted.
The Secret Service was also alarmingly slow to protect the White House--a building considered a likely target for terrorists--which meant the people there, including some key government officials, were left in danger throughout the attacks. It only ordered the evacuation of the White House about an hour after the attacks began.
In this article, as well as examining the Secret Service's apparent failure to adequately protect the White House on September 11, we will look at the experiences of three individuals--Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife, Lynne Cheney, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice--and consider how the Secret Service appears to have failed to sufficiently protect them.
From the History Commons Groups blog:
Many new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, covering a range of topics relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Contradictory Orders over Whether People Should Evacuate the WTC
Numerous entries examine the conflicting orders and announcements that were made, regarding whether people should evacuate or stay in the World Trade Center after the first plane hit the North Tower.
After the crash, George Tabeek, a WTC security manager, contacted the deputy fire safety directors in the Twin Towers with instructions to "evacuate the North Tower, but keep people inside the South Tower." But around the same time, some people in the North Tower heard an automated announcement advising them to stay in their offices.
The Agency, a major CBS drama series about the CIA that began being broadcast in late September 2001, featured storylines with remarkable similarities to the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks that occurred in the U.S. shortly after them. One of the show's executive producers said the parallels were so apparent that "people are asking me, 'Are we showing the bad guys our script?'" because "it seems like they're kind of following, in some ways, things that we're doing."  Significantly, these storylines were written before September 11, and the show was made with extensive assistance from the CIA. Some of the show's storylines, including those resembling 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, were actually suggested to one of the writers by the CIA. 
Hollywood and 9/11: The Movies and TV Dramas Resembling the Terrorist Attacks That Were Being Produced in September 2001
"It represents capitalism. It represents freedom. It represents everything America is
about. And to bring those two buildings down would bring America to its knees."
- Line from Nosebleed, a movie originally set to start being
filmed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001
A significant number of movies and television dramas were being produced at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which had storylines with some remarkable similarities to the events of September 11, 2001. These storylines featured incidents such as terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, terrorists hijacking a commercial aircraft, and terrorists causing a jumbo jet to crash in New York.
The movies and TV shows would have featured some famous actors, and were being made for major companies, such as CBS and 20th Century Fox. Furthermore, employees of the military and other U.S. government agencies are known to have assisted in developing the storylines of some of these productions. Unsurprisingly, after September 11, the movies and TV shows were either canceled or significantly rewritten so as to remove any resemblance to the 9/11 attacks.
The existence of these movies and TV dramas, at the very least, disproves claims that the 9/11 attacks could not have been foreseen. It is worth considering, however, whether these productions served a more sinister purpose in relation to 9/11, albeit unknown to most of the people working on them.
"This crash was different. There was no wreckage, no bodies, and no noise."
- Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller 
"I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing."
- Photographer Scott Spangler 
"I was amazed because it did not, in any way, shape, or form, look like a plane crash."
- Patrick Madigan, commander of the Somerset barracks
of the Pennsylvania State Police 
Many people who witnessed the site where United Airlines Flight 93 is supposed to have gone down on September 11, 2001, have said how little it resembled what they expected the scene of a plane crash to look like.
According to official accounts, Flight 93, the fourth plane to be hijacked on September 11, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after its courageous passengers and crew members attempted to retake control of their plane. However, numerous individuals who spent time at the supposed crash site have described seeing almost nothing resembling wreckage from a plane there. Some witnesses have recalled seeing little or no human remains at the site. And although Flight 93 was reportedly "heavily laden with jet fuel" when it crashed, investigators found no contamination from jet fuel in the soil and ground water around the site.
There is a lot of suspicious evidence relating to the crash of Flight 93, which casts serious doubt on the official account of what happened. This evidence suggests that what witnesses saw might actually have been the result of an attempt to fake the scene of a plane crash in an appalling act of deception, rather than the site of a genuine crash. The relatively small amount of debris that some witnesses noticed could have been planted. If this is what happened, it would mean the fate of Flight 93 is still unknown.
New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Flight Attendants' Phone Calls, American Airlines Response to Hijacking, Bush's Military Aides & More
From the History Commons Groups blog:
A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. Many of these examine the response of American Airlines to the hijacking of Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Entries focus, in particular, on phone calls made from Flight 11 by two of the plane's flight attendants: Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney.
A new timeline entry describes how Peggy Houck, a dispatcher at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) center in Texas, received her first indication of a problem with Flight 11 when another American Airlines flight contacted her at 8:20 a.m. and said air traffic controllers had asked it to try to contact Flight 11.
Betty Ong's Phone Call from Flight 11
'Don't Mention This to Anyone': Why Did American Airlines Suppress News of the First Hijacking on 9/11?
American Airlines employees who were dealing with phone calls made by two flight attendants on Flight 11--the first plane to be hijacked on September 11, 2001--were told by their superiors to keep quiet about what they had learned about the unfolding crisis. At a time when the airline should have been alerting as many people as possible to the serious incident that the flight attendants were describing, senior personnel were instead issuing instructions such as "Don't spread this around" and "I don't want this spread all over this office right now."
Furthermore, airline employees who were aware of the flight attendants' calls were remarkably slow to pass on what they knew to individuals and agencies that should have been alerted as a matter of urgency, such as the FBI, the FAA, and even American Airlines senior managers.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, was originally going to be at a public event near the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, but a late change to his plans meant the event was rescheduled and he was out of harm's way when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Romney is therefore one of a number of prominent individuals known to have avoided danger--and possible death--due to a change to, or a deviation from, their plans for September 11.
Romney was, at that time, the president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He went to Washington, DC, on September 10 to talk to members of Congress about security at the Winter Olympics.  The final $12.7 million of federal money needed to cover security for the games had mistakenly been omitted from Congress's budget, and although the Olympics organizers were "confident" the error could be corrected, Romney went to Washington to make sure the money didn't "slip away," according to the Deseret News.  As well as meeting with members of Congress on September 10, Romney also met with FBI Director Robert Mueller that day. 
When the terrorist attacks began on September 11, 2001, numerous U.S. intelligence agencies and facilities that should have been closely following the catastrophic events taking place in the skies over America were unaware that anything was wrong. Because of their particular responsibilities and their advanced capabilities, agencies such as the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) should have been among the first to learn the details of the crisis. But, instead, they were apparently in an information blackout, and their knowledge of the attacks was limited to what they could learn from television reports.
The fact that key intelligence agencies and facilities experienced this problem, and all at the same time, suggests that the information blackout may have been intentional--an act of sabotage committed by the perpetrators of the attacks. Such an act could have been intended to render these agencies and facilities useless when their services were urgently needed, thereby helping to ensure that the attacks were successful.
New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Hijacking Exercises, Air Force One's Movements, Laura Bush on Sept. 11, and More
From the History Commons Groups blog:
A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, most off which provide new details about the events of the day of September 11, 2001.
One new timeline entry describes a training exercise based on the scenario of a possible terrorist attack that was run on the morning of September 11 by the US Coast Guard in Tampa Bay, Florida, quite close to Sarasota, where the president was at the time. Another entry deals with a meeting scheduled to take place at the Pentagon that morning, regarding a planned "disaster exercise" at the nearby Navy Annex building.
An entry reveals that a number of FBI agents had, for reasons that are unknown, already arrived at the Navy Annex when the Pentagon was hit. Later on, the Navy set up a new command center at the Navy Annex, after its original command center was destroyed in the Pentagon attack.
Several entries describe the futile attempts of intelligence officers at NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to obtain information about the first hijacking. After learning of the hijacking, a NEADS intelligence officer called the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon, but neither of them could provide any information. Searches on the SIPRNET--the US military Internet system--also revealed nothing. Furthermore, the threat briefing at NEADS that morning had included no indication of an increase in the terrorist threat level.
Some NEADS personnel have said they were monitoring Flight 93 long before the time at which the 9/11 Commission concluded the military was first alerted to this hijacked aircraft. Also, a commander at NEADS complained that an officer from the NEADS battle cab had come down to the operations floor, where he had been "circumventing my system." What is more, NEADS personnel only learned that the president's plane, Air Force One, was airborne about half an hour after it took off from Sarasota.
New York's Terrorism Task Force Predicted Terrorists Crashing Planes Into the World Trade Center Before 9/11
on 9/11 about a year and a half before it happened."
- Best-selling author Nelson DeMille 
Members of New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) were predicting, almost two years before 9/11, that terrorists would fly planes into the World Trade Center. JTTF members described their prediction to best-selling thriller writer Nelson DeMille while he was interviewing them as part of the research for his novel The Lion's Game.
The wife of the U.S. president is considered one of the nation's "most visible targets," and is therefore provided with a detail of Secret Service agents whose job is to protect her and keep her out of harm's way. And yet on September 11, 2001, Laura Bush, the wife of then-President George W. Bush, was left vulnerable all through the terrorist attacks.
She was allowed to head to her scheduled destination¸ the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, even after a second plane hit the World Trade Center and it was obvious the U.S. was under attack. She was allowed to spend time there, even though her Secret Service agents should have taken her away to a "secure site." She even appeared live on CNN, thereby revealing her location to any terrorist who might be watching television. And when people were ordered to evacuate, due to reports that a suspicious plane was heading toward Capitol Hill, Bush remained in the Russell Office Building, even though this could have proved fatal had a plane crashed into it. She was only driven away to a "secure location" at 10:10 a.m., after the attacks had ended. And all this time, she was accompanied by her Secret Service detail.
The failure of those agents to properly protect Bush was extraordinary. Examination of their actions raises serious questions. We need to discover what caused these skilled professionals to repeatedly leave the first lady in serious danger.
History Commons, the Web site that hosts the Complete 9/11 Timeline, is currently facing a funding crisis and urgently needs donations in order to stay online.
The Complete 9/11 Timeline is an important resource, which contains a huge amount of information relating to the 9/11 attacks. It includes over a thousand entries detailing the day of September 11, 2001, alone. It has the most detailed account there is of the numerous training exercises taking place on 9/11, and has many entries describing relevant training exercises held in the years leading up to 9/11.
The timeline has sections devoted to the official investigations of 9/11, such as the 9/11 Commission and the various investigations of the World Trade Center collapses, as well as much more.
It is important that the History Commons Web site has the necessary funds to continue. If you would like to make a donation (by credit card, PayPal, or check), click here.
- Major James Fox, Northeast Air Defense Sector, September 11, 2001
Key military personnel who were responsible for protecting the U.S. against the 9/11 attacks may have been seriously hindered in their ability to respond because of a large-scale air defense exercise they were participating in when the attacks occurred. Evidence indicates that the personnel, whose responsibilities included ordering fighter jets into the air to intercept the hijacked planes, were unclear about what was "real-world" and what was "exercise." They may have been led to believe that the terrorist attacks were just simulated scenarios.
These individuals worked at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York. Audio recordings of the operations floor at NEADS reveal staffers suggesting that the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 could have been part of the exercise. They sometimes even made jokes and laughed about what was taking place, further indicating that they were mistaking actual events for exercise simulations. Even senior commanding officers have admitted wondering if the terrorist attacks were part of the exercise.
And while staffers sometimes apparently made clear that an event was unconnected to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world," there is evidence that the term "real-world" may in fact be a way to describe live events played out within an exercise, perhaps involving real aircraft getting airborne, rather than just hypothetical scenarios.
Furthermore, NEADS personnel previously participated in exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks, such as plane hijackings and aircraft being crashed into skyscrapers in New York, and this could have increased the likelihood that they would mistake the events of September 11 for exercise simulations.
Although much remains speculative, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether the exercise at NEADS on September 11 was a deliberate tactic used to hinder skilled and dedicated professionals, thereby preventing them from stopping the terrorist attacks.