The 90-Minute Stand Down on 9/11: Why Was the Secret Service's Early Request for Fighter Jets Ignored?
Shortly after the second World Trade Center tower was hit, at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, an officer at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, DC, was notified that the Secret Service wanted fighter jets launched over the nation's capital. It was now obvious the U.S. was under terrorist attack, and Washington would have been an obvious potential target. And yet the Secret Service's request came to nothing.
No fighters had taken off from Andrews by 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was hit. Nor had any launched by the time Flight 93 apparently crashed in Pennsylvania, shortly after 10:00 a.m., while flying toward Washington. In fact, fighters did not launch from Andrews until over 90 minutes after the second attack in New York. The first fully armed fighters did not launch from there until more than two hours after that attack. So why was the Secret Service's early request for help not acted upon? Why did fighter jets only take off from this massive Air Force base to defend the capital well after the morning's attacks had ended?
SECRET SERVICE CALLS FAA HEADQUARTERS
Why did airplanes fly around for an hour and a half without interceptors being
scrambled from Andrews [Air Force Base] ... right next to the capital?
- Paul Hellyer, Canadian minister of national defense, 1963-1967
Many aircraft at a military base just outside Washington, DC, were taking part in training exercises around the time the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2001, it has been revealed. But whether these exercises impaired the ability of the various units at the base to effectively respond to the attacks has never been properly investigated.
9/11 Training Exercise Planned for Simulated Plane Crash Five Minutes before Pentagon Attack Took Place
From the History Commons Groups blog:
9/11 Training Exercise Planned for Simulated Plane Crash Five Minutes before Pentagon Attack Took Place
Five minutes before the Pentagon was hit on September 11, 2001, a training exercise being run by a US intelligence agency just over 20 miles from the Pentagon was set to include the scenario of a small private jet plane crashing into a building. It is unclear whether the scenario was played out, or if the exercise had been called off by that time.
Important details of the exercise, which was being conducted by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) at its headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, are revealed in a document obtained by the 9/11 Commission. The document, titled "Early Morning Flight Activity September 11, 2001," was part of a series of 9/11 Commission records moved to the US National Archives at the start of this year. It was found there, and posted online, by History Commons contributor paxvector.
Bobcats Over Washington on 9/11: What Were Two Mystery Aircraft Doing Overhead at the Time of the Pentagon Attack?
Two military aircraft were flying at high altitude near the Pentagon around the time it was hit on 9/11, but the identities of these aircraft and what they were doing over the Pentagon are unknown.
The planes had the call signs "Bobcat 14" and "Bobcat 17." A partial transcript of air traffic controller communications reveals they were communicating with the control tower at Washington's Reagan National Airport, which is less than a mile from the Pentagon, between at least 9:31 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. on September 11.  (The attack on the Pentagon took place at 9:37 a.m. ) Radar data has shown that the two aircraft flew "in trail" (in single file, with one directly behind the other) at an altitude of 21,000 feet, and were overhead in the few minutes before the Pentagon was hit. 
LAUNCHED FROM DOVER AIR BASE
It has been widely reported that on September 11, 2001, four passenger aircraft were hijacked, and three of them subsequently hit their intended targets in New York and Washington. Less well known is that, during the two hours over which the 9/11 attacks occurred, air traffic controllers and military personnel had to devote significant time to a fifth plane that was incorrectly reported as hijacked. This aircraft was, in the words of one military official, "the first red herring of the day." 
The aircraft was Delta Air Lines Flight 1989, a Boeing 767 that had taken off from Boston. From around 9:30 a.m., it was repeatedly suspected of having been hijacked. Even though subsequent events had indicated the aircraft was fine, a police SWAT team and FBI agents were sent out to it after it made an emergency landing in Cleveland, Ohio, and it was not until about two hours after the plane landed that all its passengers had been allowed off.
Miles Kara, who was a professional staff member of the 9/11 Commission, has posted an entry on his Internet blog (copied below), in response to recent revelations about training exercises held by the U.S. military prior to the 9/11 attacks.
The new information about the training exercises appears in a 9/11 Commission document found in the U.S. National Archives by a contributor to the History Commons website. The document reveals that, among other things, two days before 9/11, NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) conducted an exercise scenario based around "Terrorists with explosives who plan to detonate them over NYC." Three days earlier, another scenario conducted as part of the same exercise involved a fictitious terrorist group hijacking a Boeing 747 and threatening to "rain terror from the skies onto a major U.S. city unless the U.S. declares withdrawal from Asian conflict."
The F-16s That Failed to Protect Washington on 9/11: Was the Langley Jets' Emergency Response Sabotaged?
Langley Air Force Base was the second military base that launched fighter jets to defend America in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Three of its F-16s were ordered to take off toward Washington at 9:24 a.m. that morning, but by the time they were airborne, more than 40 minutes had passed since the first attack on the World Trade Center, and almost half an hour since the second.
Furthermore, the pilots were hindered by an extraordinary combination of confusion, communications problems, conflicting orders, breaches of protocol, and other difficulties. Consequently, when the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m., the jets were further away from it than they'd been when they took off. According to witnesses on the ground, fighters did not arrive over the Pentagon until around 10:40 a.m.--more than an hour too late to protect it from the attack.
A close examination of publicly available accounts raises the possibility that deliberate attempts were made to sabotage the ability of the Langley jets to respond to the 9/11 attacks, thereby paralyzing normal, well-practiced procedures. In this article, I focus on three particular aspects of the jets' response.
Osama bin Laden
Dead or Alive?
David Ray Griffin
“This book is part of a growing body of nonfiction that illuminates the cataclysmic gap between those with power, who do as they please, and those with knowledge, who are not heard. … President Obama [must] break out of the closed circle of power to connect with the kind of independent knowledge found in this book…”
—Robert David Steele Vivas, recovering spy, founder of the USMC Intelligence Center, CEO of OSS.Net, and CEO of Earth Intelligence Network
The US’s political discourse and foreign policy in recent years has been based on the assumption that Osama bin Laden is still alive. George W. Bush promised as president that he would get Osama bin Laden “dead or alive” and has been widely criticized for failing to do so. The US’s present military escalation in Afghanistan is said to be necessary to “get Osama bin Laden.” The news media regularly announce the appearance of new “messages from bin Laden.” But what if Osama bin Laden died in December 2001—which is the last time a message to or from him was intercepted?
This information has recently been posted at the History Commons Groups blog:
... Another contributor, paxvector, is doing yeoman work posting a tremendous number of obscure but important 9/11 Commission documents online:
I'm going to make that one a permanent link in the sidebar.
Lots of new things coming down the pike, slowly but steadily. Don't forget, we're in need of any and all donations--financial and volunteer--that you can make.
A British hedge fund manager has revealed how, in the 15 minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, he was able to short sell key shares, thereby making a financial profit from the tragedy that was unfolding.
In part two of the BBC documentary series The City Uncovered with Evan Davis, which was broadcast on Wednesday 21st January, David Yarrow, the managing director of Clareville Capital, described how he made significant profits following the September 11 attacks, as well as the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the July 7, 2005 London bombings.* Presenter Evan Davis began the segment: "On 9/11, David Yarrow was watching television in a hotel room in America. In the minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, his trading instincts kicked in. Seeing the market was about to plummet, he shorted key vulnerable shares, like airlines." (Short selling is a technique used by investors who try to profit from the falling price of a share. It involves selling shares you don't already own, but instead only borrow, with the intent of purchasing them at a later date at a hopefully lower price, thereby netting a profit.)
The idea of such an attack was well known [and] had been
wargamed as a possibility in exercises before September 11.
- Professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate
School, Monterey, California
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, senior U.S. government and military officials repeatedly claimed that what happened that day was unexpected. In May 2002, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."  Two years later, President Bush stated, "Nobody in our government, at least, and I don't think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale."  General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, said, "Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised." 
In April 2006, journalist Michael Bronner received in the post 30 hours of recordings he had requested from the Pentagon. These recordings, which came as a series of computer audio files on three CDs, had captured events on the operations floor at NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector throughout the day of September 11, 2001.  NORAD--the North American Aerospace Defense Command--is the military organization responsible for monitoring and defending the airspace of North America. Its Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), based in Rome, New York, is responsible for monitoring and protecting 500,000 square miles of airspace above the northeast U.S., including the airspace over New York City and Washington, DC.  It was within this airspace that the 9/11 attacks occurred, and from the NEADS operations floor that the U.S. military's response originated. Evidence of what happened there that day is clearly in the public interest and of obvious importance for attempts to unravel how the attacks were able to succeed. In an August 2006 Vanity Fair article based on the recordings, Bronner therefore referred to these "NORAD tapes" as "the authentic military history of 9/11." 
In a recent interview, Assistant Chief James Schwartz of the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) revealed an intriguing detail relating to the 9/11 Pentagon attack. Just before the Pentagon was hit, ACFD responded to alarms going off at the USA Today building, located a few miles from there. Yet it is unclear whether there was actually any fire. Other evidence indicates that, as a result of this alarm, when the Pentagon was hit a significant number of fire and medical units were already on the road nearby and available to quickly respond to the attack. Curiously, the two buildings of the USA Today complex were known as the "Twin Towers." 
Several entries in the Complete 9/11 Timeline (copied below) describe what appear to have been individuals disguised as firefighters or military personnel, who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the attack there on September 11, 2001. What these individuals were doing is unknown, but possibilities need to be investigated, such as whether they were there to tamper with, plant, or remove evidence. That this may have been the case is given weight by the fact that some people who appeared to be members of the military were witnessed stealing crash debris from in front of the Pentagon.
Davison Army Airfield and the 12th Aviation Battalion on 9/11: Pentagon Attack Oral Histories Reveal New Details
Minutes after the Pentagon was hit on September 11, two aircraft were seen on the radar screen at a nearby Army airfield, circling the Pentagon and rapidly descending, with one of them emitting an emergency distress signal. The identities of these aircraft are unclear, as is the reason one of them was emitting the distress signal. These and other details about the 9/11 Pentagon attack were revealed by a supervisor of air traffic control at the airfield, in one of over 1,300 oral histories relating to the attack that were recorded by military employees. To date, only a small number of the oral histories have been publicly released, which raises questions about what important details might be in the other, unreleased interviews.
UNIDENTIFIED AIRCRAFT OVER THE PENTAGON