9/11 Timeline Update - Day of 9/11, Hijackers, the Saudi Connection - Additions as of March 16, 2008

There is a ton of new material about the Day of 9/11. There are more entries about the shootdown order, which could have been issued around 9:38 a.m., about 9:50 a.m., after 10:00 a.m., or about 10:18 a.m. Regarding military exercises, some NEADS staff were still unsure whether the day's military exercises had ended at 10:00 a.m., fighters from Otis were recalled from a training mission at about 9:03 a.m. and other jets on training were sent home at about 9:35 a.m. There were communication problems at NORAD and NEADS, which requested help from another air defence section around 10:00, and also for the three pilots scrambled from Langley.

Regarding Flight 93, the Regional Operations Center was notified of the hijack at 9:40 a.m., a business jet was asked to help locate the crash site, and a local farmer flew over the site, taking pictures. President Bush learned of the attack on the Pentagon shortly after it happened and requested security for his family. Otherwise, the fighters from Otis left their holding pattern at 9:13 a.m., Richard Clarke learned of a plane approaching the White House at 9:37 a.m., and a pilot from Langley AFB surveyed the Pentagon just after it was hit. The FAA and military still would not say if jets were launched in the evening, but the CIA's Near East Division figured out bin Laden was behind the attacks when the second plane hit the WTC.

There are also numerous new entries about the 9/11 hijackers, of whom much video footage remains unreleased. There is considerable confusion over the Flight 93 hijackers' arrival at Newark before the attacks--Ziad Jarrah seems to have arrived on three different flights on the same day--Marwan Alshehhi was considered a deserter from the UAE army in April 2000, and Saeed Algahmdi was inconveniently seen in the US before he officially arrived. The hijackers were seen with an unidentified Middle Eastern male just before the attacks and the FBI failed to help a security guard identity the hijackers at Dulles airport. Mohamed Atta's car was queried by police, a warrant for his arrest was issued, but Florida police failed to notice it. Nawaf Alhazmi's rental car was checked by police in New Jersey, but an FBI agent looking for him failed to find entries about him in databases and failed to search a private database for information about him.

There is more material about the "Saudi Connection." Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar allegedly told a US associate they wanted to crash a plane into a building, but Alhazmi correctly suspected that Omar al-Bayoumi, who was seen with Hani Hanjour and in whose apartment the hijackers allegedly stayed, was a Saudi spy. In addition, phone calls suggest a link between the hijackers, al-Bayoumi and an al-Qaeda linked imam, one of the hijackers contacts was deported from the US in 2003, and the Saudis don't want to extradite al-Bayoumi or anyone else.

Regarding the 9/11 Commission, the White House had a better relationship with Democrat Lee Hamilton than his Republican counterpart Tom Kean, who was shocked by the lack of information in Presidential Daily Briefings, whereas fellow commissioner Jamie Gorelick was shocked by the specificity of warnings they contained.

Miscellaneous entries include a visit by British intelligence officials to the US on September 12, 2001, tacit US support for the cancellation of elections in Algeria, and a visit by Taliban leaders to the US. In addition, an al-Qaeda explosives trainer visited Kosovo in 1998, a US solider from the Bosnian war emerged as an al-Qaeda leader in Somalia, and KSM allegedly stayed in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 1999. What's more, Richard Clarke thought the US's Achilles heel was in the US itself, bin Laden's main money-handler came to the attention of Canadian intelligence in 1997, and the US lost a Central Asian base in 2005. Finally, hundreds of millions of dollars passed through bin Laden charity fronts during the Soviet-Afghan War, and if you're wondering where the moderates are in Afghanistan, they're all dead - the US-backed mujaheddin killed them.

Originally posted here.



"According to the Cape Cod Times, shortly before 9 a.m., two Otis fighters had been fitted with dummy missiles ready to fly a training mission over the Atlantic Ocean (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). [Cape Cod Times, 9/8/2002] However, a recorded conversation from the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) reveals that several other Otis jets have also been involved in training missions. At 9:20 a.m., one member of staff at NEADS will tell another that the base “had six aircraft going out on training missions.” By that time, this person will say, Otis “has recalled all its airplanes for possible use. He had guys going out to [Whiskey] 105, I guess it was.” Whiskey 105 is military training airspace southeast of Long Island. It was in fact reportedly to this airspace that the two Otis fighters launched in response to Flight 11 were directed (see 8:52 a.m. (and After) September 11, 2001)."

So instead of flying full-burner to Manhattan, the two "alert" F-15s from Otis were instead vectored to the same training space where other Otis F-15s were involved in aerial wargames.

Interesting, no?

“On the altar of God, I swear eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson

Clarke is no reliable source

Richard Clarke's "Against all enemies" has to be taken with dozens grains of salt. Some of his memories are verifiably wrong. According to Franklin Miller, who plays a significant role in the book, Clarke's version of September 11 is "like a movie":

"Franklin Miller said on Monday that almost none of the conversations that Mr Clarke, who was the counter-terrorism chief, dramatically recounts in his book, Against All Enemies, match Mr Miller's recollection of events."


So much of the confusion regarding the time of the shootdown order might originate from Clarke's inaccurate recollections. The evidence that Cheney issued the shootdown order at about 10:18, when Phantom Flight 93 was approaching Washington, is much steadier.