Analysis of an interview with Doug Cochrane

Christopher F. Aguilar wrote an outstanding article (source) about the events inside the white house from the eyes of the naval aide of Vice-President Cheney, Doug Cochrane. As his interview with the 911 Commission is still not being published, this 911blogger entry is going to highlight three significant points from above article:

1. First Attack in the television?

Cochrane says, that after he "received a call from the White House situation room informing him that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center's north tower at 8:45 a.m. He ran to the situation room to verify the information, but by then it was already appearing on CNN."

This statement is problematic, because there were no recording of the first attack in the television until hours after the attack happened. Nevertheless President Bush himself confirms Cochranes account! President Bush holded a town hall meeting, which was aired December 4, 2001, where he had this to say: 

"And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot." And I said, "It must have been a horrible accident." (source)

2. Evacuation of the white house

The official evacuation time of the white house is around 09:45 am (source). This time was used to attack (source) the account of Norman Mineta, who already saw fleeing persons as he arrived at the white house around 09:15-09:20. However, according to Cochrane, the evacuation of the white house really started much sooner as 09:45. It started just after the second attack!

"I watched in real time as the second plane hit," he said. "They then evacuated the vice president and Dr. Rice." Both the White House and nearby Executive Office Building were evacuated. "It was pretty orderly under the circumstances," Cochrane said. "People were frightened but not panicked. The Secret Service also stepped up security."

This account is partly confirmed by CNN-coverage, that there was a "slow" evacuation of the white house around 09:20. (source)

3. Evacuation of Vice President Cheney

Mister Cochrane confirms, that Norman Mineta was together with Cheney in the bunker (Emergency Operations Center) around 09:24 as fighter-jets from airbase Langley were scrambled. This was around 09:24 (source).

"At that time, there wasn't just three reports. In [Washington] D.C., what is happening now is fighters are launching from Langley and Andrews [Air Force bases]. There was a lot of calls about explosions, but they were the sonic booms of the interceptors. There was a lot of information that was not correct. It was challenging to sift through all of that." By this time, Cheney and Cochrane were moved to the president's Emergency Operations Center with a small staff that included Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta."

Fighter-jets from Andrews got the scramble-order shortly after 09:33 (source).


There is already an interesting 911 Blogger entry about the role of Mister Cochrane. It speculates, that Cochrane was the "young man", who asked Cheney shortly before the Pentagon-attack, whether the orders would still stand. (Source)

It would be interesting to ask Mineta, whether the young man had a military uniform or was really a "scared civilian" (time-index: 3:54). In this video CIA-veteran Ray McGovern speaks about a personal encounter with Norman Mineta, where Mineta should have said, the young man was a "scared civilian". This would exclude Cochrane, because he was a "naval aide" and must have been wearing an uniform.


1. "He ran to the situation room to verify the information, but by then it was already appearing on CNN." From the context and plain text, this statement is referring to the "information" "appearing on CNN"; not video of the plane crash.

2. There were two orders to evacuate; the first was after the 2nd WTC tower was hit; the second was after the reports of a DC-bound un-ID'd aircraft. During the second, people were told to run; they were not told to run during the first. Mineta remarked that he saw people running. There's other info indicating Mineta and Cheney were in the PEOC earlier than the Commission concluded, but conflicting info exists. It may not be possible to conclusively determine the truth from the available info, but this is something worthy of investigation.

3. Conflicting info exists about when the DCANG fighters were launched, but most info indicates it wasn't until after 10:30, meaning what Cochrane said doesn't contradict the later Cheney account:

thanks for the review

1. "it" can also be the information (=that a plane hit the WTC). It seems more plausible from the plain text. I did not think on that explanation, as I was writing this entry.
2. Yes, Cochrane did not say anything about running people, this conflicts with the account of Mineta. Nevertheless he says, that the white house and Cheney were evacuated shortly after the second attack. That is the important point, which I make.
3. ... but Langley were scrambled around 9:24 and flew up around 09:30! With the DCANG nothing happened until after the Pentagon-attack and around this early time there could not have been "sonic booms of the interceptors" in Washington D.C. So I tend to agree with you, that in the sum this statement (point 3) of Cochrane confirms the official account / of Cheney.