9/11 Fighter Pilot called "self-serving...would-be hero" by 9/11 Commission staff

Real Heroes, Fake Stories
By JOHN FARMER, JOHN AZZARELLO and MILES KARA (9/11 Commission staff members)
New York Times, Opinion
Published: September 13, 2008

It is one of the most stirring accounts of heroism to emerge from 9/11: a fighter pilot from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington returns from a training mission, finds out that a plane, United Airlines Flight 93, has been hijacked and is heading for Washington, then takes off without refueling and low on ammunition in pursuit.

According to “Touching History,” Lynn Spencer’s recent account of what “unfolded over the skies” on 9/11, the pilot, Maj. Billy Hutchison, took off and flew over the Pentagon, asking the civilian air traffic controllers to give him a vector from his current location along with a distance to the target.

“This method works, and Hutchison quickly spots the aircraft on his radar,” writes Ms. Spencer. “He quickly comes up with a plan: he will try first to take the plane down with practice rounds fired into one of the engines, and then across the cockpit. ... If that does not sufficiently disable the aircraft, then he will use his own plane as a missile. He thinks again of his son and prays to God that his mission won’t end that way.”

It is hard to imagine a more thrilling, inspiring — and detailed — tale of fighter-jock heroism. There is only one problem with it: it isn’t true. It is about as close to truth as the myth of the Trojan Horse or the dime-store novels about Billy the Kid.

As we pointed out in the 9/11 commission report, the radar records of the day indicate that Major Hutchison did not take off until more than a half-hour after United 93 had crashed near Shanksville, Pa., and a good 20 minutes after the wreckage had been located. He could not have seen United 93 on his scope, and could not have intercepted it. Like thousands of others that day, he did his duty. He was brave. But his tale isn’t true.

The Billy Hutchison story is an example of a phenomenon that the 9/11 commission staff encountered frequently: heroic embellishment. If something good happened that morning, an amazing number of people took credit. Take, for instance, the decision to land all civilian aircraft. As the report notes: “This was an unprecedented order. The air traffic control system handled it with great skill, as about 4,500 ... aircraft soon landed without incident.” But whose idea was it?

In the aftermath of 9/11, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta claimed that he ordered all civilian aircraft to land: “I said ... ‘get the damn planes down,’ ” he told ABC News. Richard Clarke, the National Security Council’s antiterrorism director, has written it was he who prompted the order, by saying to Jane Garvey, the Federal Aviation Administration’s director, “O.K., Jane, how long will it take to get all aircraft now aloft onto the ground somewhere?”

In fact, the commission established that the order was issued by Ben Sliney, the aviation administration’s national operations manager, on his own initiative, after hearing that the Pentagon had been hit.

Most of the exaggerated claims from 9/11 are harmless, springing as they do from some combination of the unreliability of witness recollection, the psychological need for consolation after a defeat, and the human love of a good story. They are, more than anything else, a commentary on human nature.

Others, however, are not harmless, not innocent, and cannot go unchallenged. In fact, they fuel distrust of the government, give rise to conspiracy theories and threaten to set back America’s efforts to avoid future 9/11’s.

Take, for instance, the tale of Major Hutchison, which is part of a larger and totally discredited story. After 9/11, military and government officials undertook an aggressive public relations effort. In testimony before Congress and the 9/11 commission, in numerous interviews, and in an official Air Force history, these officials told the country that by the time United 93 turned toward Washington, President Bush had issued the shoot-down authorization, Vice President Dick Cheney had passed it on, fighters were standing by over Washington and, as the military’s commander at the Northeast Air Defense Sector headquarters in Rome, N.Y., told ABC News of the authorization to shoot down the planes: “We of course passed it on to the pilots. United Airlines Flight 93 will not be allowed to reach Washington.”

Yet the commission established that none of this happened. Once we subpoenaed the relevant tapes and other records, the story fell apart. Contrary to the testimony of retired Gen. Larry Arnold, who on 9/11 was the commander of continental defense for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, fighters were not scrambled that morning to meet the threat posed by United 93. In fact, the fighters were sent up in response to an unrelated and mistaken report that General Arnold and others had not disclosed to the commission. Flight 93 hadn’t even been hijacked when the planes were ordered scrambled, and General Arnold’s command found out the plane was hijacked only after it had crashed. The authorization to shoot it down came after it had crashed, and was never passed on to the pilots.

No one is telling that tale anymore, but the damage was done. Because the story couldn’t withstand scrutiny, the public was left free to believe anything, and to doubt everything. Many still believe that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon; that 9/11 was an “inside job” by American and Israeli intelligence; that the military actually did shoot down United 93.

Worse still, by overstating the effectiveness of national command and control by the time United 93 was heading for Washington, the government obscured the central reality of that morning: that the Washington establishment talked mainly to itself, disconnected from the reality on the ground and in the air. Because bureaucrats obscured that disconnect, they didn’t fix it, in terms of national security or any other complicated federal emergency response. Thus the whole world got to see a very similar reaction in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, and residents of New Orleans struggled to survive on their rooftops while officials in Washington issued reassuring statements.

The afterword to “Touching History” was written by General Arnold, despite his having been forced to retract his testimony to the 9/11 commission. (“I was wrong,” he told the panel at its final hearing. “I was wrong.”) He praises the book’s “corrections to the record” because they recognize the heroism of people like Major Hutchison and expose the “political agenda” of the commission.

Yes, the commission staff looking into these events did have an agenda. Our team included a retired military officer who was badly burned in the Pentagon attack, and a former federal prosecutor whose wife lost both her brothers in the World Trade Center. We believed that telling misleading stories about what happened undermines the public’s confidence in government, spawns conspiracy theories and compromises efforts to prepare for future events. Truth, not wishful thinking, is the most enduring memorial we can leave.

There were heroes on 9/11, people whose split-second decision-making saved lives. All too frequently, as in the case of many civilians and first responders in New York and the passengers and crew aboard United 93, those heroic deeds cost them their lives.

America lost that day. At critical moments, our nation was undefended — something the passengers on United 93 realized when they decided to work together to bring the plane down. We should not allow such real heroism of that day to be diminished, or the grim reality of that day to be obscured, by the self-serving agendas of would-be heroes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/opinion/14farmer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=opinion

Thanks for exposing Spencer.

I imagine that the book is rife with that sort of stuff.

It is an opinion piece and in my opinion, they should have left this line out;

"Many still believe that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon; that 9/11 was an “inside job” by American and Israeli intelligence; that the military actually did shoot down United 93."

Yes. Yes they do.

Amazon Review of Spencer's Book

Amazon Review of Spencer's Book by 9/11 researcher Mark H. Gaffney

"I have been studying Lynn Spencer's book through the lens of the RADES radar data from 9/11, now freely available thanks to a FOIA release in 2007. The radar data is an equal opportunity employer. It has no agenda and does not discriminate. For this reason it is a powerful tool and could have been used as a "fact check" to confirm the testimony of Spencer's witnesses. Unfortunately, it seems the author did not make use of it.

It is well known that as time passes, memory fades. There is a tendency for eyewitnesses to embellish or exaggerate what happened, and 9/11 is no different. I exchanged several emails with the author, all of them cordial. I was interested to learn if Spencer had interviewed Laura Brown, the FAA official who in 2003 told the 9/11 Commission that the FAA set up phone bridges to the Department of Defense shortly after the first WTC impact.The Brown memo flatly refutes the official story that the DoD was out of the loop. The memo was even read into the official record, but it never appeared in the 9/11 Commission Report. Spencer replied that she did NOT interview Brown. Then she volunteered the following editorial comments: "it seems that two years after the fact, she [Brown] remembered the bits and pieces but not in a cohesive way. Sometimes in such circumstances, they blend (like Mineta's inadventant [sic] comments regarding AAL 77 - he was actually referring to UAL 93)."

In short, Spencer discounted the testimony of Brown and Mineta for the reasons I cited above. All of this is ironic, because Spencer conducted her own interviews with the pilots and NEADS staffers in 2006, that is, FIVE YEARS AFTER 9/11. She informed me of this in an email.

Well, what does the radar data show? It shows that Spencer's own witnesses embellished and/or confused the facts---the very thing she accused Brown and Mineta of doing. From the 9/11 radar data it is possible to calculate the flight speed of the NORAD fighters. The radar data shows that the flight speed of the Langley F-16s was NOT 700 mph as they approached Washington, as Spencer states in her book (p. 182), but only 400 mph. The reader gets the impression that the fighters were burning leather, but in fact they were poking along. In another case, Spencer writes that one of the Otis pilots broke the sound barrier en route to NY (p. 43). But the radar data proves otherwise. We must conclude that parts of Spencer's book are just as much fable as the 9/11 Commission Report. Spencer needs to listen to her own counsel. By her own reasoning the testimony of Laura Brown and Norman Mineta, given only two years after 9/11, is more credible than the testimony she collected five years down the road.

Spencer's book has even more serious problems, but space here is short. For a full critique of Touching History see my forthcoming book, THE 9/11 MYSTERY PLANE, to be released this September. Among other disclosures, the book will feature the first published analysis of the radar data from 9/11."
http://www.amazon.com/review/RHDE54GKB7XQK/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

And guess who got the RADES radar data through a FOIA request? John Farmer. No, not the 9/11 commission member, John Farmer, 9/11 researcher John Farmer.

NTSB/84 RADES Comparative Analysis
By John Farmer
http://911files.info/rades/911files_workbooks/NTSB_RADES%20Comparative%2...
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A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog

Brown Pot calls Black Kettle "dirty"

"We believed that telling misleading stories about what happened undermines the public’s confidence in government, spawns conspiracy theories and compromises efforts to prepare for future events. Truth, not wishful thinking, is the most enduring memorial we can leave."

Yeah, and writing letters such as this one makes everything alright, doesn't it? I'd like to see the NY Times publish a response by the Jersey girls.

Not a word about the stock options, Mohammed Atta's international, white, associates, Willie Rodriguez, Sibel Edmonds, classified radars, etc., etc., etc. The authors of this letter should get an 'A' for limited hangout. As far as I am concerned, they are spitting on the US of A, including the 911 victims and survivors.

No, Virginia, the US of A is not identically equal to a pathetically corrupt and dishonest government. Oaths are taken to uphold the Constitution, not the corrupt entity that is run in large part by individuals who took such oaths, but didn't mean it.

Therefore, confidence in government is not a goal in and of itself, but manifests naturally from a government which is run by individuals who respect the Constitution. If trying to guard against lack of confidence leads anybody to behave in ways protective of a corrupt government, instead of it's opposite, than that person is part of the problem.

Indeed, some dare call this treason.

Have a nice day, JOHN FARMER, JOHN AZZARELLO and MILES KARA, won't you?

===============================================

Presidential oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Congressional oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

http://www.pdamerica.org
http://www.change-congress.org

John Farmer was at Spencer's presentation on Weds night

Three of us went to hear Spencer and ask questions Weds night. When she finished speaking and opened it up to questions, John Farmer, sitting in the front row, was the first to speak. He waved the book and endorsed it wholeheartedly.

He wrote this on his blog:

"Well, it seems I missed two of the JREF’ers at Lynn Spencer’s lecture last night as well. Just in case they read this, I was the 6′4″ - 250 pound guy sitting in the front row looking like a nerd tourist (also the guy who raised up her book and complimented her effort). She and I spoke before the lecture breifly regarding the Andrews fighters timing and she is going to do some follow-up on that issue (page 220)."

Seems like the op-ed is designed as a limited hangout to discredit conspiracy theorists, however his comment at her presentation seemed geared to create a groupthink that would make asking real questions hard.

Doesn't it seem odd that someone writing an op-ed critical of Lynn Spencer would also be at her presentation praising her?

There are two John Farmers

One was a team leader on the 9/11 Commission, the other is an independent Pentagon researcher.

There are two "John Farmers"

Sheila, Fenton's right as I explained below...

"Note: This is not the same person as 9/11 researcher "John Farmer", a Statistical Process Control Engineering Consultant and author of http://911files.info ."
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A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog

Thanks to 9/11 commission

They let the military lie all they wanted at the hearings. The military can continue to lie with immunity. Operation northwoods-from your military. Weapons grade anthrax-from your military. Thermate-military explosive. And no point in claiming that I'm just a liberal naive peacenik opposed to the military. Since I served in two different branches of the military, that fact cancels those accusations out. This is the stuff you can expect from the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned against. This vet is now awake as to what is going on and from the contributions to Ron Pauls campaign I would guess I'm not the only one.

"This is not spin. This is not true"

"(Mid 2004): 9/11 Commission Staff Doubts Cheney’s Account of Shootdown Order on 9/11... The team of investigators on the 9/11 Commission that is investigating the events of the morning of September 11 comes to believe that a key part of Vice President Dick Cheney’s account is false. The team, led by John Farmer, is convinced that the decision to authorize the military to shoot down threatening aircraft on 9/11 was made by Cheney alone, not by President Bush. According to journalist and author Philip Shenon: “If Farmer’s team was right, the shootdown order was almost certainly unconstitutional, a violation of the military chain of command, which has no role for the vice president. In the absence of the president, military orders should have been issued by Defense Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld, bypassing the vice president entirely.”
http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=john_farmer_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Farmer_Jr.

"I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described," John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general who led the staff inquiry into events on Sept. 11, said in a recent interview. "The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years. . . . This is not spin. This is not true."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR200608...

"I've been in government and I know what spin is," Farmer, the senior counsel, told me. The military's story was "a whole different order of magnitude than spin. It simply wasn't true.".... Both Marr and Arnold bristled when I asked about the commission's suspicion that there had been an effort to spin the story. "I can't think of any incentive why we'd want to spin that," Marr said, his eyes tensing for the first time in what had been friendly interviews. "I'll be the first to admit that immediately after—in fact, for a long time after—we were very confused with who was what and where, what reports were coming in. I think with having 29 different reports of hijackings nationwide, for us it was next to impossible to try and get back there and figure out the fidelity [about the morning's chronology] that the 9/11 commission ended up being able to show." Azzarello, Farmer, and several other commission members I spoke to dismissed this fog-of-war excuse and pointed out that not only had the military already reviewed the tapes but that the false story it told at the first hearing had a clear purpose. "How good would it have looked for the government in general if we still couldn't have stopped the fourth plane an hour and 35 minutes [into the attack]?" Azzarello asked. "How good would it have looked if there was a total breakdown in communication and nothing worked right?"... "Commission staff believes that there is significant evidence that the false statements made to the commission were deliberately false," Farmer wrote to me in an e-mail summarizing the commission's referral. "The false testimony served a purpose: to obscure mistakes on the part of the F.A.A. and the military, and to overstate the readiness of the military to intercept and, if necessary, shoot down UAL 93." A spokesman for the Transportation Department's inspector general's office told me that the investigation had been completed, but he wasn't at liberty to share the findings, because the report had not been finalized. A spokesman at the Pentagon's inspector general's office said its investigation had also been completed, but the results are classified.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/08/norad200608?printabl...

Note that the above article attempts to "spin" the FAA as being responsible for NORAD failures.

"A former senior executive at the F.A.A., speaking to me on the condition that I not identify him by name, tried to explain. "Our whole procedures prior to 9/11 were that you turned everything [regarding a hijacking] over to the F.B.I.," he said, reiterating that hijackers had never actually flown airplanes; it was expected that they'd land and make demands. "There were absolutely no shootdown protocols at all. The F.A.A. had nothing to do with whether they were going to shoot anybody down. We had no protocols or rules of engagement."

Note: This is not the same person as 9/11 researcher "John Farmer", a Statistical Process Control Engineering Consultant and author of http://911files.info.
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A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog

Simple question for John Farmer

Where is the recording of the White House video conference?

And while we're at it, did you transcribe all the NEADS tapes?

fallback

"Worse still, by overstating the effectiveness of national command and control by the time United 93 was heading for Washington, the government obscured the central reality of that morning: that the Washington establishment talked mainly to itself, disconnected from the reality on the ground and in the air.

Exactly WHY were they talking to themselves instead of ordering interceptors as per standard operating procedures in place for decades?

That is a central question they were supposed to investigate. They covered it up, and now nothing they say is worth a damn.

Mineta/Cheney's "orders still stand" came up in hearings, but then it disappeared from the "investigation" never to be mentioned again.

The fact that the commission ignored and refused to even identify these "orders" is enough right there to stop the train. Throw out the bums. Start a brand new investigation.

The law said that FAA had to go through NORAD in the event of a hijacking. Norad did NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING AT ALL!!!!!

That is the glaring fraud of their "investigation." Pretending that this isn't evidence of wrongdoing is the main failure of this fraud investigation.

"Because bureaucrats obscured that disconnect, they didn’t fix it, in terms of national security or any other complicated federal emergency response. Thus the whole world got to see a very similar reaction in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, and residents of New Orleans struggled to survive on their rooftops while officials in Washington issued reassuring statements."

Yes, they did it AGAIN, because they get away with treasonous crimes with impunity (especially against the poor and powerless / that goes without saying).

This is because assholes who are supposed to investigate and PROSECUTE government misconduct fail to stand up for anything but lobbying checks and back room deals.

This charade is so obviously criminal on its face I can't believe people let this pass without a revolution.

70 Disturbing Facts About 9/11

John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State Blog
http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

johndoraemi --at-- yahoo.com.

Thanks for the clarification, arabesque and fenton

Still, it seems odd that a 9/11 researcher would praise her book, which is all OCT.

The question I asked during the Q & A was about Mineta's testimony (30 miles out, 20 miles out). Spencer said Mineta got confused and was referring to flight 93, not 77!

However Flight 93 was not on a trajectory towards DC at that time, I don't think. Anyone know where 93 was and the direction it was heading just before the Pentagon was hit?