Norman Mineta: Mistaken Identity

Concerning Norman Mineta’s testimony about being with Cheney in the PEOC---

Briefly, the story is that Cheney was getting updates about a flight headed for DC from a “young man” who stated the plane was 50, 30, then 10 miles out.

Most people will assume that Mineta is referring to AA77, not UA93. There is an attempt by the media and others to shift away from AA77 towards UA93. By doing this they are able to push the time ahead and protect Cheney from criticism about a shoot down or a stand down. But this has some seriously fatal flaws.

See this video:

At mark ~:50 he is talking about the young man describing a plane that is 50 miles out.

At mark ~1:00 Mineta is on the phone with Monte Belger who tells him the target is somewhere beyond Great Falls. In other words about 25 miles up river from DC. He says twice they cannot tell the speed.** Then he says they lost the bogey somewhere between Rosslyn and Reagan Airport. Both Great Falls and Rosslyn are North of the Pentagon.

Here is the same thing from Belger:

Monte Belger: "During this time period I had several phone conversations with Secretary Mineta and his Chief of Staff. I was on the phone with his Chief of Staff when the second aircraft hit the Trade Center" (9:03am) The Administrator and I were in almost continuous communication with the DOT Secretary”


Here is Belger's testimony about the Great Falls and Rosslyn (USA Today Bldg) references:

Back to the video. At mark ~5:55, Hamilton asks Mineta about UA93 and Mineta says they didn't know anything about it until after it crashed.

Let’s look closer at the view and actions by Dulles airport controllers.

The AA77 target is first reported as being 12 miles SOUTHWEST of DULLES by Danielle O’Brien.

Controller Danielle O’Brien will later recall: “I noticed the aircraft. It was an unidentified plane to the southwest of Dulles, moving at a very high rate of speed.… I had literally a blip and nothing more. I slid over to the controller on my left, Tom Howell, and I asked him, ‘Do you see an unidentified plane there southwest of Dulles?’ And his response was, ‘Yes. Oh, my gosh, yes! Look how fast he is.’” According to O’Brien, the aircraft is between 12 and 14 miles away when she notices it. It is heading for what is known as Prohibited Area 56 (P-56), which is the airspace over and near the White House, at a speed of about 500 miles per hour.

Controllers Watch on Radar - Danielle O’Brien will later recall: “John, our supervisor, relayed verbatim, ‘OK, he’s 12 miles west, he’s moving very fast eastbound.… Eleven miles west.’ And it was just a countdown. Ten miles west, nine miles west.… And it went six, five, four, and I had it in my mouth to say three, and all of a sudden the plane turned away. In the room it was almost a sense of relief.” [ABC, 10/24/2001; ABC News, 10/24/2001]

Todd Lewis will recall that the aircraft “was heading right towards a prohibited area in downtown Washington.… Then it turned south and away from the prohibited area, which seemed like a momentary sigh of relief, and it disappeared. But it was going away from Washington, which seemed to be the right thing.” [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] However, O’Brien will continue: “[T]he plane turned back. He continued in the right-hand turn, made a 360-degree maneuver.… We lost radar contact with that aircraft. And we waited. And we waited.” [ABC, 10/24/2001; ABC News, 10/24/2001]

Hear O’Brien notify DCA (Reagan National)

There are several very important things wrong here.

1. **Speed. All they had to do was put a tag on the radar blip and they could have seen the speed, just like Reagan Airport air traffic controller Dan Creedon did with AA77 and the LOOK tag.

Reagan Airport controller Dan Creedon checks his radar screen and sees the aircraft’s target about 10 miles west of the White House. The radar track is untagged, so he attaches a data box to it with the word “LOOK” in it. This will allow other controllers to quickly spot the aircraft. It also causes its ground speed to appear on the screen.

2. Belger has to be looking at a Southbound target to be using Great Falls and Rosslyn as references.

3. They cannot possibly be confusing UA93 with AA77. It is impossible!! This cannot be UA93 as it was never closer than 150 miles from DC. In fact at this time (pre- Pentagon impact), UA93 is just making the turn around, even further away than 150 miles. [~9:36 am]

It cannot be AA77 because it came in from the West, not North. It was not noticed by air traffic controllers at Dulles until ~9:30am, when it was about 12 miles West of Dulles. They watched it for another 2-1/2 minutes before advising Reagan controllers, who attached a tag to it so they could see the speed.

See the LOOK tag appear at 9:35:47 in this Reagan view file:

1 DCA 43 AAL77 terminal radar data.exe (FAA file name)

However, the LOOK tag cannot be seen in this DULLES view file (or in a similar BWI (Baltimore) file)

1 AEA 2869 disc 1 IAD CDRTM AAL77 9-11-01.exe (FAA file name)

Here is the timeline:
At 9:25:30 it is ~40 miles SW of Dulles.
At 9:26:11 it is ~35 miles SW of Dulles.
At 9:27:02 it is ~30 miles SW of Dulles.
At 9:27:53 it is ~25 miles SW of Dulles.
At 9:28:53 it is ~20 miles SW of Dulles.
At 9:29:57 it is ~15 miles SSW of Dulles.
At 9:31:11 it is ~10 miles S of Dulles.
At 9:32:02 it is ~ 8 miles S of Dulles.
At 9:32:53 it is ~10 miles SSE of Dulles. Now heading SE
At 9:33:57 it is ~15 miles SSE of Dulles. Headed right for Reagan National

Switching now to the Reagan view:

1 DCA 43 AAL77 terminal radar data.exe (FAA file name)

At 9:32:33 it is ~15 miles NW of Reagan National Heading SE.
At 9:33:23 it is ~10 miles NW of Reagan National
At 9:34:19 it is ~ 5 miles NW of Reagan National
At 9:35:00 it is ~ 3 miles W of Reagan National
At 9:35:23 it is ~ 5 miles SW of Reagan National. Now heading SW
At 9:35:47 it is ~ 7 miles SW of Reagan National. Now heading West the “LOOK” tag appears

TRACON Told of Aircraft - A Dulles Airport controller calls the TRACON at Reagan Airport, and says: “Hey! Untracked target 15 [miles] west of you."

Reagan controllers watched it come to within about three miles of Reagan National, (9:35 am), it went past Reagan heading South and it was then ~seven miles SW of Reagan before the LOOK tag was applied.

The target then began its final approach, heading West, then North, then NE to strike the Pentagon.

So you can see that it could not be AA77 that Mineta was speaking about either because they were never notified about aircraft coming from the West. The Dulles controllers didn’t notify anyone about it until it was 15 miles from Reagan so it couldn’t have been more than 20 miles from the White House. The 50 or 30 miles out statement is impossible.


1. Monte Belger, reporting to Mineta, must be looking at a Southbound aircraft, but it cannot be UA93 because it never gets within 150 miles of DC. If Southbound, it cannot be AA77.
2. The young man reporting to Cheney must be getting feeds from a source other than FAA because the AA77 target was never identified by FAA until it was 20 miles West of DC.

But see this reference by Miles Kara who is the 9/11 Commission researcher:

The [Secret] Service had a slave radar feed from [Reagan] National TRACON.


If Reagan wasn’t notified until it was ~20 miles out, how did they report 50 and 30?

3. Mineta cannot be referring to UA93 because he admits they were never told anything about UA93 until after it crashed (at ~10:03 am)

What do you think?