Lies on the Horizon

Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers has published a memoir. Predictably, Eyes on the Horizon carries an impressive payload of military-industrial propaganda in support of the “War on Terror”. But most interesting is Myers’ chapter recollecting the “defining moment” of September 11, which begins thusly:

"My driver, Dan Downey, braked hard at the Pentagon River Entrance, and we jumped from the car. The steps were crowded with men and women fleeing the building, many still coughing from the smoke inside."

From what is this thrilling Doc Savagesque prose meant to distract us?

On September 11, 2001 Air Force General Richard Myers was the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and yet his tale of that day begins some time after the Pentagon was officially attacked at 9:38 a.m. What about the 35 minutes after the South Tower was hit, announcing a coordinated operation to the world? What about the 52 minutes after F-15s were finally scrambled from Otis to intercept a hijacked airliner at that moment striking the North Tower?

It seems that–like his friend Donald Rumsfeld–General Myers was otherwise occupied prior to the Pentagon hit, though he has given several different accounts of that time:

“According to his own account, Air Force General Richard Myers, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sees reports of the first WTC crash on television. Myers is acting chairman of the US military during the 9/11 crisis because Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Henry Shelton is flying across the Atlantic for a NATO meeting in Europe. [ABC News, 9/11/2002; American Forces Press Service, 9/8/2006] Myers has a 9 o’clock appointment with Senator Max Cleland (D) in one of the Senate office buildings. He is heading into this meeting and sees a television in Cleland’s outer office showing the burning North Tower, with the commentator suggesting it has been hit by an airplane. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] Myers later recalls, “They thought it was a small plane or something like that.” [Armed Forces Radio And Television Service, 10/17/2001; American Forces Press Service, 10/23/2001] He says, “And we’re standing around saying, ‘What in the world happened?’ I remember the day being beautiful. I said, ‘How could a pilot be that stupid, to hit a tower? I mean, what’—but then you think, ‘Well, whatever.’” So he goes ahead and walks into the meeting, and is with Cleland at the time the second tower is hit (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Council on Foreign Relations, 6/29/2006] On several occasions, Cleland will confirm that Myers had this meeting with him. [US Congress, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/16/2003] But counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke seems to contradict this account. He claims that, when he joins a video teleconference shortly after arriving at the White House, he sees Myers on screen, indicating that Myers is at the Pentagon rather than with Cleland (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001).”

“According to some reports, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers entered a meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland (D) just minutes before the second plane hit the World Trade Center (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). There are confused accounts of when Myers learns of this second attack, and what he does in response. Myers later tells NBC News, “[S]omewhere in the middle of that meeting, they came in and said the second tower has been hit… and I think that’s when we figured out something—that America or at least the World Trade Center is under attack.” He adds, “And then I left the office,” and says that NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart then calls him. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] In testimony on September 13, 2001, he similarly states, “[A]fter the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart.” [US Congress, 9/13/2001] In a speech in 2006, Myers says that after the second attack occurs, “The meeting was over very quickly.” [Council on Foreign Relations, 6/29/2006] He tells CNN, “[W]hen the second target was hit, we knew something was up, so we rushed back to the Pentagon.” [CNN, 4/15/2003] Yet in an interview five weeks after 9/11, he claims, “Nobody informed us” when the second tower was hit, “But when we came out [of our meeting], that was obvious.” [Armed Forces Radio And Television Service, 10/17/2001; American Forces Press Service, 10/23/2001] And, according to several accounts, he does not leave Capitol Hill until around the time the Pentagon is hit, which is more than 30 minutes after the second attack happens (see (Shortly After 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). In a speech in 2003, Max Cleland recalls, “Gen. Myers bolted from his seat. We rushed into an adjoining office as we saw on TV the second plane slam into the second tower. Gen. Myers rushed out of my office, headed for the Pentagon. At that moment, the Pentagon was hit.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/16/2003] But on a couple of other occasions, Cleland says he is still meeting with Myers in his office at the time the Pentagon is hit. [US Congress, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001] Contradicting both Cleland and Myers, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke later claims that when he joins a video teleconference shortly after the time of the second attack, he can see Myers on screen, meaning Myers is at the Pentagon at that time rather than on Capitol Hill (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Clarke, 2004, pp. 1-3] “

Myers does include the curious claim that after his arrival in the NMCC, he “went to find Secretary Rumsfeld” as “CNN showed the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsing in an avalanche of smoke and debris”, confirming that after 9:59 a.m. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld–No. 2 in the military chain-of-command after the President–for some reason was “‘outside’, helping with the wounded” rather than doing his job in the NMCC, which he also had managed to avoid before the Pentagon attack.


“And we’re standing around saying, ‘What in the world happened?’ I remember the day being beautiful. I said, ‘How could a pilot be that stupid, to hit a tower? I mean, what’—but then you think, ‘Well, whatever.’”

Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable that the man who had been Commander of NORAD from 1998 - 2000 stood around thinking “Well, whatever”. Isn’t it?

"In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center."

"The Global War on Terror will last several decades. Al Qaeda and their affiliate organizations that span the globe have a 100-year plan to destroy the worldwide economy and defeat western democracies. As the architect of the global war on terror since its inception and the fifteenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, military speaker General Richard Myers sees the war on terror as an even greater threat to America’s security than World War II. In this compelling speech, he describes what’s at stake for America, her allies, and the world, and prepares audiences for the bold challenges that lie ahead. Myers also leaves them inspired in his deeply held conviction that this threat will ultimately be defeated."

"Elected to the Northrop Grumman Board of Directors in 2006."

Well, whatever.

NORAD Simply Forgot Its Air Sovereignty Mission On 9/11

One of NORAD’s "air sovereignty" tasks before 9/11 was watching foreign aircraft fly over American airspace. NORAD before 1997 said of such foreign aircraft, "Today NORAD, which monitors some 7,000 crossings of our airspace daily..."

The quote above is contradicted by the following 2008 quote from NORAD, "Since the tragic events of 9/11, NORADs role which previously was outward-looking now includes monitoring airspace within North America."

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief
Washington, DC

AWOL Chain of Command on 9/11

Donald Rumsfeld on 9/11

At 8:00am on 9/11 Donald Rumsfeld met with several members of Congress for a breakfast meeting at the Pentagon. In this meeting Rumsfeld predicts that some kind of “shocking” world event will occur in the near future. During this meeting Rumsfeld is handed a note by his Special Assistant Larry Di Rita that a plane has hit the World Trade Center. The meeting adjourns before 9:00am and Rumsfeld returns to his office for his daily CIA briefing. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke witnessed the second plane strike on television and headed to Rumsfeld’s office with Larry Di Rita. After being informed of the second plane strike Rumsfeld makes a few phone calls and tells Clarke and Di Rita to meet him in the Executive Support Center (ESC) . Rumsfeld continues with his briefing and he will not make it to the ESC until around 10:15am. According to most accounts, Rumsfeld remains in his office until 9:37am when the Pentagon is allegedly struck by American Airlines Flight 77. Aubrey Davis, a Pentagon Police Officer assigned to be Rumsfeld’s bodyguard was standing outside of Rumsfeld’s office when he heard the explosion at the Pentagon. Rumsfeld left his office with Aubrey Davis and headed towards the Pentagon Heliport which is where the explosion sound came from. Davis recalls smelling fumes and seeing pieces of metal and watches Rumsfeld bend down and pick up a piece of metal and looks at an inscription and says “American Airlines”. Davis comments that Rumsfeld should not be interfering with a crime scene. Both Davis and Rumsfeld hear a scream and run over to help push an injured person on a gurney. A video of Rumsfeld assisting with a gurney outside of the Pentagon can be seen on Google video. Rumsfeld was away from his office for about 20 minutes. All during the time Rumsfeld was missing, Aubrey was receiving calls from people asking “Where is the Secretary?” All Davis could respond was “We got him.” As the FAA and the National Military Command Center (NMCC) continued to try to contact Rumsfeld’s office, his office staff responded “He is nowhere to be found.” Rumsfeld finally left the crash scene and walked into the ESC around 10:15am. 8 minutes after the last plane crashed in Shanksville, PA. He enters into the NMCC at 10:30am. Rumsfeld finally issues his rules of engagement at 1pm that afternoon.

Brigadier General W. Montague Winfield and Captain Charles Leidig on 9/11

On September 10, 2001 General W. Montague Winfield, Director of the National Military Command Center inside of the Pentagon, asks his Deputy Charles Leidig to take control of the NMCC the next morning starting at 8:30am. Leidig had started his role as Deputy for Command Center Operations two months earlier and had qualified to stand in for Winfield just in the previous month of August. Leidig, as Watch Commander, is now in charge of supervision and operations of all necessary communications. Leidig remains in charge from a few minutes before the 9/11 crisis begins until about 10:30 a.m., after the last hijacked plane crashes. He presides over an important crisis response teleconference that has a very slow start, not even beginning until 9:39 a.m. Winfield claims to have been in the loop right after 9:03am when Flight 175 struck the South Tower but he will not take back command of the NMCC from Leidig until around 10:30am. After the attacks have ended.

General Ralph Eberhart on 9/11

NORAD Commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart is in his office at NORAD headquarters at nearby Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, CO. Between 9:35am and 10:15am, Eberhart drives from his NORAD headquarters office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado to the NORAD operations center at Cheyenne Mountain, about a dozen miles away. During this time Eberhart will remain in phone contact with Myers, the FAA and others during this time. The journey reportedly takes him 45 minutes and en route he loses a cell phone call with Vice President Cheney. The reason he makes this journey is unknown, though it is reported that there are superior communications capabilities available at Cheyenne Mountain.

NMCC Operations Officer Dan Mangino on 9/11

According to Dan Mangino, an operations officer at the NMCC, the staff there had thought the first WTC crash was a “terrible accident,” but after seeing the second one he states “we knew immediately that it was a terrorist attack.” Mangino says he initiates “the process to stand up a working group in advance of the direction that would come down later.” One of his deputies is responsible for this process. Yet, despite this supposed urgency, Mangino later recalls that he “knew he would have little time in the days ahead, so he quickly ran to the concourse to get some money out of an automated teller machine.” He will not arrive back at the NMCC until after the Pentagon is hit.

Much of this info is taken from Paul Thompson's 9/11 Timeline.

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves" – Edward R. Murrow