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.

Exercise Observers Meet at 9:00 a.m.

The NRO exercise, which had been planned for several months, was set to commence at 9:00 a.m. on September 11, when its observers would meet to be briefed. The observers and exercise role players were to move to their positions for the exercise 10 or 15 minutes later. In the exercise scenario, a Learjet 35A with two pilots and four passengers on board would take off at 9:30 a.m. from Washington Dulles International Airport. This airport, which is located four miles from the NRO headquarters, is where American Airlines Flight 77--the plane that reportedly hit the Pentagon--took off from earlier that morning.

About a minute after the Learjet took off, an explosion would be heard, and the pilot would complain that one of the engines was on fire and he was losing altitude. Around 9:32 a.m., the plane would crash into tower 4 at the NRO headquarters. Since the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m., this means the crash in the scenario was scheduled to occur just five minutes before the actual attack occurred at the Pentagon, which is 24 miles away from the NRO headquarters.

Several People Killed and Injured in Scenario

The Associated Press has revealed that no real plane was going to be used in the exercise, and the crash was to be the result of mechanical failure, not terrorism. But the consequences of the simulated crash would be similar to those of the actual 9/11 attacks, albeit on a smaller scale. The newly released document describes the scene: "Various parts of the aircraft struck the outside portions of the building, spraying jet fuel. The final portions of the wreckage were scattered around the entryway between tower 1 and 2. Jet fuel was burning uncontrollably in the vicinity of the flagpoles. There are a number of injured and dead NRO employees." Some stairwells and exits at the NRO headquarters were going to be closed off in order to simulate the damage from the crash, thereby forcing employees to find other ways to evacuate their building.

Exercise 'Inputs'

The document reveals that the exercise was set to include numerous "inputs," which appear to have been communications and other actions intended to make it appear more realistic to its participants.

Planned inputs included, at 9:30 a.m. a smoke generator was going to be started, to simulate the fire resulting from the crash. At 9:32, numerous phone calls would begin flooding in, from people reporting fires in various locations in the building. At 9:34, after someone reported that a small civilian jet had crashed, NRO personnel were to be instructed to evacuate their building.

At 9:37, the first engine from Fairfax County Fire Department was scheduled to arrive on the scene. (It is unclear whether real fire department personnel were going to participate in the exercise. The document states that "inputs from simulated Fairfax responders" were to be used "if Fairfax does not play.") At 10:03, four more fire department trucks and emergency medical technician vehicles would respond to the crash. By 10:30 all the simulated fires would have been put out, but it would be confirmed that at least four NRO employees died in the crash. The exercise was set to end at 11:45 a.m.

Exercise Canceled

The exercise was reportedly called off in response to the morning's real world attacks. However, the specific time when it was canceled is unclear. NRO spokesman Art Haubold has said only that "as soon as the real world events began, we canceled the exercise." It is therefore unknown whether the simulated plane crash was played out, or whether the exercise had been brought to an end before it took place. After the exercise was canceled, all but the NRO's most essential employees were sent home.

The Highly Secretive National Reconnaissance Office

The National Reconnaissance Office is a highly secretive organization. The New York Times called it "probably the most secretive of the intelligence agencies." Until 1992, its existence had not even been officially disclosed. It is an agency of the US Department of Defense, and is responsible for ensuring "that the US has the technology and spaceborne and airborne assets needed to acquire intelligence worldwide." According to the New York Times, the NRO "designs, builds, and operates spy satellites that photograph and overhear what other countries are up to." It employs some 3,000 people, who are drawn from the CIA and the military.


9:32 !!!

Pentagon helipad clock
This Skilcraft electric wall clock, which hung in the Pentagon helipad fire station, was knocked to the ground by the impact of American Airlines flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon.
When terrorists flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon, the crash nearly took the nearby Pentagon helipad firehouse with it. The concussion caused the ceiling of the firehouse to collapse, temporarily trapping firefighter Dennis Young in the fallen debris. The blast also knocked this clock from the wall, freezing it at 9:32. The airplane actually struck the Pentagon at 9:38 am; apparently the clock was six minutes slow.
source : http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/september11/collection/record.asp?ID=19

010914-F-4692S-017 Arlington, Va. (Sep. 14, 2001)
-- A Clock frozen at the time of impact when a hijacked commercial airliner crashed into the Pentagon on Sep. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo Courtesy of DoD Photographer Staff Sgt. Larry A. Simmons. (RELEASED)
source : http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=2480Pentagonclock_BBC

The Pentagon in flames moments after a hijacked jetliner crashed into building at approximately 0930 on September 11, 2001. (Released to Public)
DoD photo by: CPL JASON INGERSOLL, USMC Date Shot: 11 Sep 2001
Source : http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DefenseLINK_Search/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DM...

010911-N-6157F-001 Arlington, Va. (Sep. 11, 2001) --
Wreckage from the hijacked American Airlines FLT 77 sits on the west lawn of the Pentagon minutes after terrorists crashed the aircraft into southwest corner of the building. The Boeing 757 was bound for Los Angeles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Mark D. Faram. (RELEASED)
source : http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/photos/010911-N-6157F-001.jpg

NONE of Mark D Faram's images have the original EXIFF-data !!
NONE of the official Pentagon crash fotos have original EXIFF-data !!!

"Listen carefully now : DO NOT DESTROY OIL-WELLS" Dubya

Please note the consistent "storyline"...

..found in the verbal explanations or descriptions found below the photos.

This is well planned "placement" of thoughts, concepts and ideas...

And it serves to make my point that the primary target that Danielle O'Brien, the Air Traffic Controller at Potomac Tracon-Dulles Tower SAW...[after a very convenient "warnning" to be on the lookout for EXACTLY that type of target by her supervisor], was at first referred to as being an "unidentified target"...but soon, because of such "disinfo" explanations and wording shown here, has led most people to conclude that it WAS AA77 that hit the Pentagon.

This is psy-ops...brainwashing...thought control...whatever!

Although the primary target MAY have been AA77, part of my position that it may NOT be AA77 comes from the RABID and consistent communications claiming that it WAS AA77 as shown in just these few PICs and verbal descriptions. These PICs show but a TINY example of this [dis] informational campaign.

In other words, none of these consistent phrasings are by accident from my view...there is a theme here!

Obviously, the Mockingbird press would soon begin repeating these mantras...as has the public...as has most in the 9/11TM.

I see it as just part of the original plan...control the press-control the public's minds.

Regarding the clocks:

Barbara Honegger has other witnesses' testimonies and evidence that supports the 09:30-32 first explosion time at the Pentagon. And, a debunker claimed that the clock's hands were moved towards the bottom of the clocks because they dropped straight down from their wall mounts and the sudden stop when hitting the floors made the minute hands move towards the 30 minute location.

YIKES! What a set of presumptions...that's what JREF will do for ya!

Bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece we will review and refresh our work...and take differeing looks at our conclusions or postulations as new facts and information surfaces.

Barbara Honegger's work regarding early explosions [09:30 or 09:32-ish] at the Pentagon is an example of such. And the video from the Doubletree[?] Hotel shows an explosion at 09:34. Interesting AYE?

love, peace and progress

Robin Hordon

Story doesn't fit the facts? Not a problem

'The airplane actually struck the Pentagon at 9:38 am; apparently the clock was six minutes slow.'

Well, sure--'apparently'!

I'm reminded of the JFK assassination witness who said before the Warren Commission, 'I heard more shots than there actually were.'

good summary of the exercise scenario

Considering the number of other exercises and other events coinciding w/ 9/11, there may be more to the NRO exercise than is described in the scenario document.

As Nafeez Ahmed pointed out on pg 310-311 of War on Truth, Fulton's experience was not in planning for dealing with accidents, it was in intelligence and war gaming:

As of 9/6/02:

"John Fulton’s 25 years in the intelligence community has contributed to his recognition as an expert in risk & threat response analysis, scenario gaming, and strategic planning. He is on staff for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), currently serving as Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office, and as a member of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Project Alpha - a prestigious "think tank" for advanced concepts related to such issues as homeland security. He formerly served as the mission director for our nation's satellite imagery program as well as replacing Army Astronaut Same Gemar as the Director of the National Security Space Master Plan for the U.S. Department of Defense and Intelligence Space Communities under the auspices of the Deputy UnderSecretary of Defense (Space).

His counter-terrorism and homeland security responsibilities include advising the Director Central Intelligence Staff for Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshall's Office, and collaboration with the National Security Council.

In the private sector Fulton has developed a number of patents related to positioning, "smart GPS " applications, communications, and audio/video technology. He oversees the development of public & personal safety applications of these capabilities through SafeSTAR projects, and contributes to the strategic planning and conceptual design of the SafeSTAR Homeland Security Command Center."


How many...

Clocks in your house or apartment say the same time, or the accurate time? My apartment doesn't have a single clock with the same time.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

what time is it?

yeah, i'm not convinced anything can be determined from a couple clocks and Barb Hoenegger- one or both clocks may have been off, and falling on the floor may have jarred the hands- i don't know.

Also, other than the NRO plane crash also happening at 9:32 am what does that info have to do with the article? The coincidence does not seem significant to me...



Have you ever actually SEEN a clock with broken pointers ?
If they where broken we would have the tin-foil hats all over this as the clocks would have shown
the attacks happened at 666 hours ..
Besides, on september 12 2001 I heard now Danish Foreign Minister
Per Stig Møller tell on national Danish radio that the attack happened at 9.32 .
He was at a meeting at some location close to the Pentagon with several other members of Danish parliament
and claims to have seen the plane make "a strange turn" and shortly after hearing the crash. At this time he looks at his watch and it is 9:32 .
Stig Møller is a VERY punctual man, if his watch says 9:32, its 9:32 .
I also believe the Mineta-testimony supports 9:32'ish as the time of the attack ..

The NRO is like the super-spies of communications-technology, if anyone can insert false radar-bleeps, turn off transponders,
remote-control airplanes or fake cell-phone calls it's them .. and just like FEMA needed some kind of credible excuse for being on location
the night before the attacks, the NRO needs some credible excuse for their strange activities up to and on the day .
Now, combine this with all the other "drills" on 9-11 and you are starting to stretch the term "coincidence" a bit to far IMO ..
And remember, a HUGE number of representatives from foreign nations where in New York in those days
for the UN's annual general assembly while the real heavy-weighters where in Washington DC for Carlyles annual investor-meeting ..
And we are to believe none of those two events where national security events ?
"Listen carefully now : DO NOT DESTROY OIL-WELLS" Dubya

Possibility of being an anti-terrorism exercise?

Yes, good point loose nuke. I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that terrorism played a part in the NRO exercise scenario.

It is worth noting that the 9/11 Commission document does not explicitly say that the plane crash in the exercise was due to "mechanical failure." All it mentions is that the Learjet's pilot had noticed one of his engines had been getting a bit hotter than usual the day before, but a mechanic had checked the plane over and found no problems.

As far as I can tell, it was only when the exercise came to light in 2002 that it was explicitly claimed that the plane crash in the scenario was just the result of a mechanical fault, rather than terrorism.


explosion due to sabotage or mechanical failure?

thanks, shoestring- i hadn't even thought of that, i was just pointing out the contradiction between Fulton's background and the exercise being planning for a possible emergency, and speculating that the exercise may have been part of something bigger, considering the magnitude of the coincidence, i.e. it was scheduled for 9/11, Global Guardian had been moved up and numerous other exercises intersected 9/11...

The cause of the explosion is not named in the scenario, which focuses on response to the crash:

"0931:29 CAM? Oh [Expletive deleted] what was that? (A muffled bang is heard, followed by a constant fire alarm)
0931:32 CAM1 All right, I've got a fire on two ... Fire on number two, throttle to idle" (pg 4)

However, it is implied that it's due to mechanical failure:

" The jet had arrived basically code one, but John still wanted to have the number two engine checked prior to departure. While inflight from Richmond, the number two engine bad been running a little high on the EOT. Usually that engine ran a little cooler than number one, but yesterday it was running at about 650 F. Still within tolerances, but about 100F higher than usual. After landing, Hawthorne was asked to check the engine out and make sure everything was up to speck. After a few minutes, the young lady behind the desk, informed them that the engine mechanic had performed and engine run and had found everything to be within normal operating limits. John accepted the report and headed down to flight planning." (3)

It would have been difficult for a saboteur to know it would hit the NRO building in any case.

among other things, DOD Document Request 4 asks for:
"20. The final briefing and intelligence scenario for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) exercise scheduled on 9/11 concerning a plane crash into NRO headquarters." (3)

There are several versions of DOD document indexes that say "NRO exercise on 9-11 - Delivered 7/15.", but I haven't found one that specifically says the 'final briefing' was delivered, although NRO is mentioned in other places.

Other details about this document-

1) The cover page was almost certainly created by the 9/11 Commission staff that worked on this (Miles Kara)- it says "Committee Sensitive" (which I assume means it wasn't shared widely in the Commission- other Commission docs say "Commission Sensitive"), and there's no fax pg # or Bates stamp pg # on it. btw, Kara had one of the highest security clearances of any staff or Commission members.

2) The fax pg #'s and the Bates stamp #s start on the next pg- the fax pg # starts with "3". The first pg would have been a fax cover sheet, which presumably would describe the fax contents and the total # of pgs, and may have had other info. The next pg may have been the NRO doc cover pg- the exercise scenario document seems to be missing an introductory or cover page- it starts abruptly. There's no way of knowing how many pages were included in the fax of this document.

3) From the cover page:

"Attached assessment is as of July 14, 2003 and is an initial analysis based on unclassified radar data and available NIMA-issue maps. It is not a finished product and is subject to change as additional material becomes available. It is not to be shared outside the Commission."

Unless i goofed and didn't scan some relevant material, there was nothing with these pgs "based on unclassified radar data and available NIMA-issue maps". (i'm going to look into this...why would actual radar data be part of a simulation based at NRO?)


Kara clarifies:

RE: my above comment

"3) From the cover page:

"Attached assessment is as of July 14, 2003 and is an initial analysis based on unclassified radar data and available NIMA-issue maps. It is not a finished product and is subject to change as additional material becomes available. It is not to be shared outside the Commission."

As far as i recall, the cover sheet i scanned with the NRO scenario was with those documents as if it was the cover sheet- per Miles Kara, it actually belongs with his analysis of RADES data, which i don't recall seeing in that file, or didn't scan:

"A second snapshot is a coversheet filed with the NRO exercise scenario, itself. That cover sheet was applicable to RADES radar track screen prints and to 1:250,000 maps hung throughout our office to plot planes and areas of interest. It had no relation to the NRO exercise scenario itself."

Kara also says:

"High on my list of early things to do was to get to the bottom of the NRO exercise scheduled for the morning of 9-11. Without access to the scenario assessing the NRO exercise was problematic. The 84th RADES radar files were the first delivery of actual data; they included a RADES workup of an aircraft which not only flew near the NRO, it flew near the Pentagon, CIA Headquarters, NSA, NIMA, Ft Belvoir and Quantico. It also appeared to have taken off from Andrews AFB. It got my attention for a time. Following is a screen print of the flight."



"About a minute after the Learjet took off, an explosion would be heard, and the pilot would complain that one of the engines was on fire and he was losing altitude. Around 9:32 a.m., the plane would crash into tower 4 at the NRO headquarters. Since the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m., this means the crash in the scenario was scheduled to occur just five minutes before the actual attack occurred at the Pentagon, which is 24 miles away from the NRO headquarters."