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'Real-World or Exercise': Did the U.S. Military Mistake the 9/11 Attacks for a Training Scenario?

NORAD exercise Amalagam Virgo 01 concept proposal

"I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise."
- Major James Fox, Northeast Air Defense Sector, September 11, 2001

Key military personnel who were responsible for protecting the U.S. against the 9/11 attacks may have been seriously hindered in their ability to respond because of a large-scale air defense exercise they were participating in when the attacks occurred. Evidence indicates that the personnel, whose responsibilities included ordering fighter jets into the air to intercept the hijacked planes, were unclear about what was "real-world" and what was "exercise." They may have been led to believe that the terrorist attacks were just simulated scenarios.

These individuals worked at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York. Audio recordings of the operations floor at NEADS reveal staffers suggesting that the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 could have been part of the exercise. They sometimes even made jokes and laughed about what was taking place, further indicating that they were mistaking actual events for exercise simulations. Even senior commanding officers have admitted wondering if the terrorist attacks were part of the exercise.

And while staffers sometimes apparently made clear that an event was unconnected to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world," there is evidence that the term "real-world" may in fact be a way to describe live events played out within an exercise, perhaps involving real aircraft getting airborne, rather than just hypothetical scenarios.

Furthermore, NEADS personnel previously participated in exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks, such as plane hijackings and aircraft being crashed into skyscrapers in New York, and this could have increased the likelihood that they would mistake the events of September 11 for exercise simulations.

Although much remains speculative, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether the exercise at NEADS on September 11 was a deliberate tactic used to hinder skilled and dedicated professionals, thereby preventing them from stopping the terrorist attacks.

NORAD'S 'SIMULATED AIR WAR' ON SEPTEMBER 11
A key agency responsible for protecting the U.S. from an airborne attack, like what happened on September 11, is NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. NORAD is the military organization responsible for monitoring and defending the airspace over the United States and Canada. Within the U.S., it is divided into three sectors. The 9/11 attacks took place in the airspace monitored by its Northeast Air Defense Sector, NEADS. It was therefore personnel at NEADS who were responsible for trying to coordinate the U.S. military's response to the hijackings. These individuals, however, were in the middle of a major training exercise when the attacks began.

"Vigilant Guardian" was an annual exercise conducted by NORAD that was several days underway on September 11. All of NORAD took part in it. [1] Vigilant Guardian has been described as a "simulated air war" and as "an air defense exercise simulating an attack on the United States." [2] Remarkably, it was scheduled to include a simulated hijacking at around 9:40 a.m. on September 11. The exercise "was designed to run a range of scenarios" that day, according to Vanity Fair, "including a 'traditional' simulated hijack in which politically motivated perpetrators commandeer an aircraft, land on a Cuba-like island, and seek asylum." [3]

It has been claimed that Vigilant Guardian was terminated shortly after United Airlines Flight 175 became the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center, at 9:03 a.m. on September 11. [4] However, evidence indicates it may have continued long after that time. It has also been claimed that the participation of military staffers in the exercise had little effect on their ability to protect America against the attacks, and that Vigilant Guardian may even have had beneficial effects. For example, in its final report, the 9/11 Commission claimed that the response to the attacks "was, if anything, expedited by the increased number of staff at the sectors and at NORAD because of the scheduled exercise." [5] However, a significant amount of evidence casts doubt upon this claim.

NEADS STAFFERS THOUGHT ATTACKS WERE PART OF THE EXERCISE
From the outset, personnel at NEADS wondered if reports they received about the 9/11 attacks were part of the exercise. Their first notification of the crisis came just before 8:38 a.m. on September 11, when Joseph Cooper, an air traffic controller at the FAA's Boston Center, called NEADS and reported, "We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and ... we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out." The response of Technical Sergeant Jeremy Powell, who answered the call, was to ask, "Is this real-world or exercise?" Cooper replied, "No, this is not an exercise, not a test." [6] According to Vanity Fair, "Powell, like almost everyone in the room, first assumes the phone call is from the simulations team on hand to send 'inputs'--simulated scenarios--into play for the day's training exercise." [7]

However, despite Cooper's statement that the hijacking was "not an exercise, not a test," NEADS personnel continued to question whether information they received about the attacks was real or just simulation. For example, at 9:03 a.m., NEADS received a phone call informing it that a second aircraft had been hijacked, and personnel also saw the live television coverage of the second plane, Flight 175, crashing into the World Trade Center. A minute or two later, recordings of the operations floor reveal, several members of staff discussed these developments among themselves. One of them asked, "Is this explosion part of that that we're looking at now on TV?" Someone replied: "Yes. And there's a possible second hijack also--a United Airlines." Another person then commented, "I think this is a damn input, to be honest." An "input" is a simulations input, as part of a training exercise. Someone else said, "Then this is a damned messed-up input." [8]

It is unclear whether, on this occasion, when the NEADS personnel mentioned an "input," they were suggesting that the second hijacking was simulated, or they thought it possible that the television coverage of the attack on the WTC was simulated video footage, intended to make the exercise more realistic. What is remarkable, either way, is that at a time when it should have been obvious to them that the U.S. was in the middle of a major terrorist attack, these key personnel were uncertain whether what was happening was real or simulated.

NEADS PERSONNEL THOUGHT THE EXERCISE WAS CONTINUING, WELL AFTER THE ATTACKS BEGAN
Although it has been claimed that Vigilant Guardian was terminated shortly after Flight 175 hit the WTC, evidence shows that NEADS personnel thought it was continuing after that time, and wondered whether subsequent events were part of the exercise.

At 9:09 a.m., one of the NEADS ID technicians complained, "I hope they cancel the exercise, because this is ridiculous." [9] Then at 9:15 a.m., an off-duty member of staff called in and asked someone in the ID section about the exercise. They said, "I've been watching [the news] for about 10 minutes, and I said, 'I wonder if they're, did they suspend the exercise?'" The person at NEADS answered, "Not at this time, no, but I think they're going to." He then laughed and added, "I don't know." [10]

If the exercise was still being conducted at 9:15 a.m., as this call indicated, the question arises as to why it had not been canceled. If NORAD and/or NEADS personnel were clear that the terrorist attacks were real, rather than simulated, surely those in command should have called off the exercise well before this time. If, alternatively, the exercise had already been terminated, why were those on the NEADS operations floor allowed to think it was still taking place?

The confusion continued. At around 9:20 a.m., one of the ID technicians commented, "This was pre-planned, I bet you, for 9 o'clock." A colleague of hers replied, "Oh, I bet you it was." [11] It is unclear exactly what these staffers were talking about. But it seems possible they were referring to actual events that they mistakenly thought were simulated. They thought these events had been "pre-planned" by those who designed the exercise.

Remarkably, there was uncertainty over whether the exercise was still taking place more than 45 minutes later. At 10:08 a.m., Master Sergeant Joe McCain, the mission crew commander technician, responded to Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley, the leader of the ID section, after she provided details of a bomb that was being reported on United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth hijacked plane, which supposedly crashed in Pennsylvania that morning. McCain commented, "If this is an exercise input, this is a good one." [12] (As previously mentioned, an "input" is a scenario simulated for the exercise.) In other words, several minutes after Flight 93 crashed, and the terrorist attacks were effectively over, someone at NEADS still considered it possible that information about the attacks was part of the exercise.

COMMANDERS THOUGHT HIJACKING WAS PART OF THE EXERCISE
Even some of the most senior officers at NORAD and NEADS have admitted mistaking actual events for part of Vigilant Guardian. Colonel Robert Marr, the battle commander at NEADS on September 11, has recalled that when he saw personnel on the operations floor huddled together after they learned of the first hijacking, he assumed it was related to the exercise. Presumably based on an interview with Marr, author Lynn Spencer described that moment, writing: "Marr has participated in enough training missions to know this is something out of the ordinary. Clearly, he thinks, the simex [simulated exercise] is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist. ... His bet is that his simulations team has started off the exercise by throwing out a 'heart attack card' to see how the troops respond to a first-aid call from a fellow soldier, testing their first responder training." [13]

Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region on September 11, has recalled that when he was informed of the first hijacking, the first thing he thought was: "Is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?" [14] He explained, "Because quite honestly, and frankly, we do do hijacking scenarios as we go through these exercises from time to time." [15]

According to Spencer, Arnold was "not privy to everything concerning the exercise." Vigilant Guardian was "meant to test commanders also, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should." [16] Marr has similarly commented that despite his senior position at NEADS, "You just never knew really what was going to happen in those exercises." [17]

OFFICER WHO HELPED DESIGN EXERCISE MISTOOK ATTACKS FOR SIMULATION
Another officer who, despite his senior position, apparently mistook the 9/11 attacks for an exercise simulation was Major Kevin Nasypany. Nasypany was the mission crew commander at NEADS on September 11, and in that role, according to Marr, was "basically in charge of the entire operations floor." Nasypany, Marr said, was "the most senior guy on the floor." [18] Furthermore, Nasypany had helped design the exercise taking place that day.

And yet, Nasypany has said, "When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was, 'Somebody started the exercise early.'" Nasypany knew that the exercise was scheduled to include a simulated hijacking, and so, he recalled, he "actually said out loud, 'The hijack's not supposed to be for another hour.'" [19]

Additionally, audio recordings reveal that at around 9:00 a.m. on September 11, Nasypany joked with his colleagues about what happened when NEADS was alerted to the first hijacking, of American Airlines Flight 11. He said: "And where was I? I was on the shitter!" He continued, "When I heard, it was like, 'Oh my God!'" He added, "I knew that was an exercise." [20]

If Nasypany--"the most senior guy on the floor"--was openly suggesting that actual events were part of the exercise, then surely members of staff under his command could have mistakenly thought they were dealing with simulated scenarios.

NEADS PERSONNEL JOKED ABOUT THE ATTACKS
Further evidence that NEADS personnel mistook actual events for simulation, as part of the exercise, is the inappropriate emotions some of them exhibited in response to the hijackings and other aspects of the terrorist attacks. Staffers sometimes reacted in a light-hearted manner, and even joked openly about the catastrophic events taking place.

For example, recordings of the operations floor reveal that at 8:57 a.m., around 20 minutes after NEADS was alerted to the first hijacking, Kevin Nasypany was discussing the first plane hitting the World Trade Center with a colleague. He then joked, "Think we put the exercise on a hold, what do you think?" and laughed heartily. [21]

A number of staffers joked about the day's events just after NEADS was informed that a second plane had been hijacked, at 9:03 a.m. One staff member announced to his colleagues: "Okay guys, listen up. Possibly a second hijack." One of them responded, "Bring it on." The person that announced the possible hijacking then added that the hijacked plane was "United Air." In response, a colleague said: "That's it. I'm not flying with United or American [Airlines] anymore."

The men then started joking among themselves. One of them commented: "I'll say they're all supposed to be on the same plane. They just got mixed up." (Presumably he was talking about the hijackers.) In response, another of the men laughed and said, "Half of them got on one plane, the other half ..." One man commented, "I never thought I would have wished for ValuJet to come back," and another laughed and replied, "I'm still not wishing for ValuJet." A couple of minutes later, one of the men said, "I'm glad I'm not flying today," and then laughed. One of his colleagues replied: "Don't worry, Jim. We'll carjack you on the way home." [22]

Such jovial conversation would have been extraordinary if these men realized that the U.S. was in the middle of the worst terrorist attack in its history. Their behavior would, however, be more understandable if they mistakenly thought the information they had been given about hijackings and planes crashing into the World Trade Center was part of the exercise.

One more such incident occurred at 9:47 a.m., after Jeremy Powell called a military unit to inform it of the possible hijacking of another aircraft, Delta Airlines Flight 1989, and said that NEADS needed "somebody airborne." (The suspicion that this flight had been hijacked turned out to be mistaken.) After he ended the call, Powell or someone else at NEADS, presumably referring to the suspected hijacking, joked, "Are you sure this isn't an exercise?" and then laughed. [23]

NEADS PERSONNEL INDICATED THAT 'REAL-WORLD' REFERRED TO LIVE-FLY EXERCISE EVENTS
Often, recordings reveal, NEADS personnel appeared to make clear that an event was unrelated to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world" or "live-world." However, there is evidence that their use of the term "real-world" meant something different.

We know that when NORAD holds what is called a "live-fly" exercise, this will involve actual civilian planes and military fighters getting airborne, instead of just being simulated. [24] For example, a NORAD exercise called "Amalgam Virgo 02" that was held in June 2002 involved a Delta Airlines Boeing 757 and a Navy C-9 taking to the air to act as hijacked planes. Furthermore, FBI agents and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police played the parts of the hijackers on the planes, and military personnel acted as the civilian passengers. [25]

Some evidence indicates that when NEADS personnel used the term "real-world" on September 11, they were referring to a particular event being part of the exercise. But they meant that they thought it was being played out live, like the hijackings in Amalgam Virgo 02, rather than just simulated.

Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins, the aircraft control and warning officer at NEADS on September 11, supported this possibility when she was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission in October 2003. She said that, before 9/11, when NEADS held exercises that included simulated plane hijackings, it "would not do these hijack exercises real-world." Instead, it "had a cell that would play the FAA in the exercise." Deskins commented that "there really were not the assets to do a large-scale real-world exercise to practice hijack response." [26]

Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team on September 11, similarly told the 9/11 Commission that he did "not recall any real-world, actual flying exercises coordinated with FAA to practice hijack procedures." He added, "Any live exercises would happen over the off-coast airspaces." [27] Both Fox and Deskins, therefore, appear to have taken the term "real-world" to be a way of describing an exercise that includes live-fly activities.

NEADS OFFICER HAD 'NEVER SEEN SO MUCH REAL-WORLD STUFF HAPPEN DURING AN EXERCISE'
Recordings of the NEADS operations floor show personnel apparently taking the term "real-world" to be a reference to live-fly exercise events while the 9/11 attacks were taking place. For example, in the ID section, technicians Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley overheard Jeremy Powell on the phone with the FAA's Boston Center, being notified of the first hijacking. Rountree reacted to the news by saying, "Is that real-world?" Dooley answered, "Real-world hijack." Watson then reacted as if she were pleased at this news, exclaiming, "Cool!" [28]

In a recent documentary, Dooley gave an explanation for her colleague's apparently inappropriate reaction. She claimed that Watson said "Cool!" because a hijacking "was usually not something that was very devastating." [29] However, might the reason for Watson's reaction have been that she thought the hijacking was part of the exercise, but, as it was a "real-world hijack," she thought it involved a real plane playing the hijacked aircraft, which meant NEADS had the opportunity to launch real fighter jets in response to it? Watson was therefore looking forward to dealing with a live-fly exercise event.

Minutes after this incident, at 8:43 a.m., while NEADS personnel were busy responding to the reported hijacking of Flight 11, James Fox commented, "I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise." [30] Here again it seems that the term "real-world" was being used as a reference to live events within an exercise, rather than to actual, non-exercise events.

Robert Marr, too, appears to have understood "real-world" to be a term that is used to describe a live-fly exercise event. When he saw personnel on the operations floor gathered around a radar scope after they learned of the first hijacking, Marr sent Dawne Deskins to find out what was happening. [31] After Deskins then learned about the hijacking, she returned to the NEADS battle cab and reportedly told Marr: "It's a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise." According to the account of Lynn Spencer, which was presumably based on an interview with Marr, Marr then thought: "This is an interesting start to the exercise. This 'real-world' mixed in with today's simex will keep them on their toes." [32]

EXERCISE RESEMBLED 9/11 IN DAYS BEFORE ATTACKS
Some aspects of Vigilant Guardian that NEADS personnel had been dealing with in the days just before September 11 bore a remarkable resemblance to the situation these personnel were faced with when the 9/11 attacks occurred. This similarity could surely have increased the likelihood that the events of September 11 would be mistaken for exercise simulations.

For example, on September 9 Vigilant Guardian included a scenario in which terrorists hijacked a large commercial jet plane and threatened to use it for an attack on New York. In the scenario, members of a terrorist group armed with explosives were on a regular United Airlines flight from London, England, to New York, with the intention of detonating their explosives over New York. After the fictitious terrorists realized their plane had been diverted and was nowhere near New York, they detonated their explosives, leaving no survivors. [33] Considering the similarity between this scenario and the 9/11 attacks (terrorists on a commercial jet plane, planning an airborne attack on New York), might NEADS personnel have mistakenly thought the attacks on September 11 were a follow-up to this simulation?

MOCK AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER IN EXERCISE USED NAME OF KEY CONTROLLER WHO RESPONDED TO 9/11 ATTACKS
Another remarkable aspect of Vigilant Guardian is that in the days just before September 11, the actor playing the air traffic controller who gave NEADS information about the simulated events said their name was "Colin Scoggins," even though it was unusual for a mock controller to give their name during an exercise. And then, on September 11, the real Colin Scoggins--an employee at the FAA's Boston Center--happened to be the key person calling NEADS with information about the actual attacks, even though it was not his usual role to perform such a duty. This curious apparent coincidence could surely have made it more likely that NEADS personnel would mistake the 9/11 attacks for part of the exercise.

Colin Scoggins was the Boston Center's military operations specialist. [34] He was responsible for managing operating agreements between the Boston Center and the military, and consequently had personal relationships with most military units in the region. [35]

In the two days before 9/11, an actor playing Scoggins in the exercise made calls to NEADS, giving it information about the simulated events. Recordings from the operations floor reveal, for example, that shortly before 10:00 a.m. on September 9, NEADS was called by the actor, who said his name was "Colin Scoggins." The actor said a group called the "Palan Resistance Movement" had two of its members on United Airlines Flight 558, a flight out of London, who intended to detonate a bomb over New York City.

The real Colin Scoggins has confirmed that the voice of the person calling himself "Colin Scoggins" on this occasion was not his. Scoggins suggested that the NEADS simulation cell used his name in the exercise probably because he was a known contact at the Boston Center. Scoggins also said it was unusual for NEADS to use a specific name like this in an exercise, and added that the actor should have just referred to himself as being from the Boston Center. [36]

CONTROLLER WAS 'THE ONLY ONE' GIVING NEADS INFORMATION DURING 9/11 ATTACKS
While an actor calling himself "Colin Scoggins" gave NEADS information about simulated exercise events in the two days before 9/11, apparently by coincidence, the real Colin Scoggins served as a key liaison between the Boston Center and NEADS on September 11. Scoggins has said he made "about 40" phone calls to NEADS that day. [37] Robert Marr said Scoggins was in fact "about the only one that was feeding us information [during the attacks]. I don't know exactly where he got it. But he was feeding us information as much as he could." [38] According to Lynn Spencer, other than the calls from Scoggins, NEADS's only source of information on the hijacked planes was "the coverage on CNN." [39]

And yet Scoggins would not normally have been performing the role of keeping NEADS updated with relevant information, as he did on September 11. Daniel Bueno, the traffic management supervisor at the Boston Center, told the 9/11 Commission that as a military operations specialist, Scoggins was "usually not on the [air traffic control] floor." [40] Scoggins has said that he didn't "normally sit at that position"--manning the military desk at the Boston Center--"but I write all the procedures for it. So I understand the position probably better than anybody else who works the position." [41]

After arriving at the Boston Center at around 8:25 a.m. and being told by a colleague that a plane had been hijacked, Scoggins in fact first headed to the center's in-house credit union rather than to the operational floor, because, he has said, "when hijacks do occur, sometimes too many people try to get involved but instead they just get in the way." [42] However, shortly after he arrived, Scoggins has recalled that Bueno "asked me to come downstairs and sit at the military desk if I could." [43]

Therefore the unlikely and unusual situation arose that during the exercise on September 9 and September 10, and also during the attacks on September 11, NEADS was given key information by someone calling himself Colin Scoggins. The question arises as to whether this created any confusion during the 9/11 attacks, causing some NEADS personnel to think information coming from the real Colin Scoggins was part of the exercise. While the person answering calls from Scoggins on September 11 may have recognized that the caller had a different voice to the actor playing Scoggins on the previous days, other NEADS personnel could have been unaware of the different voices, and only have heard from their colleagues that a particular piece of information came from "Colin Scoggins."

PREVIOUS EXERCISES INCLUDED SCENARIOS SIMILAR TO 9/11 ATTACKS
It was not just exercise events during the previous few days that may have resulted in confusion at NEADS on September 11. What could also have increased the likelihood that NEADS personnel would mistake the 9/11 attacks for part of the exercise is the fact that during the previous two years, these personnel had participated in other exercises based around scenarios closely resembling what happened on September 11.

For example, the previous Vigilant Guardian, held in October 2000, included a scenario in which a pilot planned to deliberately crash an aircraft into a skyscraper in New York. The simulation involved an individual stealing a Federal Express plane with the intention of using it for a suicide attack on the 39-story United Nations headquarters building. [44]

Another exercise NEADS took part in, called "Falcon Indian" and held in June 2000, was based on the possibility of a "Communist Party faction" hijacking an aircraft bound from the western to the eastern United States. The fictitious hijackers intended to crash the plane into the Statue of Liberty, located close to the Twin Towers, in New York Harbor. [45]

Remarkably, one NORAD exercise, held at an unspecified time in the two years prior to 9/11, was based on the possibility of a hijacked aircraft being used as a weapon and deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center. [46] Furthermore, NORAD has stated that most of the four major exercises it held each year before 9/11 "included a hijack scenario." [47] So, although most of the personnel on the NEADS operations floor were unaware beforehand what the exercise was going to entail on September 11, they might surely have wondered if the plane hijackings and the attacks in New York that day were simulated, since these events so closely resembled scenarios played out in previous exercises.

EXERCISES INCLUDED MOCK TV NEWS REPORTS
One might think that television coverage of the 9/11 attacks would have convinced those at NEADS that they were dealing with actual terrorist attacks rather than simulated ones. However, there is evidence that casts doubt on this assertion.

It is known that simulated television news reports had been used in training exercises before 9/11. For example, a two-day exercise was held at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in June 2001, called "Dark Winter," based on the scenario of a smallpox attack on the United States. This exercise, according to New York magazine, included "simulated news clips from an imaginary cable news network called NCN." [48] Whether NORAD exercises prior to 9/11 included simulated television footage is unknown. But this possibility should certainly be investigated.

The possibility should also be investigated that NEADS personnel mistakenly thought television news reports of the 9/11 attacks were video created to make their exercise seem more realistic. Unlikely as it might seem, evidence shows this scenario is plausible.

It has been reported that volunteers taking part in another military exercise on the morning of September 11 did incorrectly think that television coverage of the attacks in New York was video footage created for their exercise. That exercise, called "Timely Alert II," was held at Fort Monmouth, an Army base about 50 miles south of New York City, and was based around a simulated biochemical terrorist attack at the base. Exercise participants later recalled that "when they first saw live footage of the events unfolding at the World Trade Center, they thought it was some elaborate training video to accompany the exercise." One training officer was told by a participant, "You really outdid yourself this time." [49] If workers at Fort Monmouth could make this error, surely those at NEADS could have done so too.

WAS CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE EXERCISE INTENDED TO PARALYZE THE MILITARY?
Officials have claimed that the U.S. military was unaffected in its ability to respond to the 9/11 attacks by the Vigilant Guardian exercise. During one of the 9/11 Commission's public hearings, commissioner Timothy Roemer asked whether the exercise delayed the military. He suggested that, in response to reports of the attacks, personnel might have thought, "No, there's no possibility that this is real-world; we're engaged in an exercise." But General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, replied that "it became painfully clear ... that this was not an exercise." He said the situation Roemer referred to "at most cost us 30 seconds." [50]

The evidence described above, however, suggests that Vigilant Guardian could have seriously impaired the military. It may have caused significant confusion, because those at NEADS were unclear whether the events of September 11 were real or part of the exercise. There is therefore a need for a close examination of this exercise, as well as other exercises that took place on September 11 and in the years before then.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT VIGILANT GUARDIAN
As part of a new investigation of 9/11, those who served at NEADS on September 11 need to be given the opportunity to talk openly about their experiences that day. Evidence already available raises many questions. For example, which events on September 11 did NEADS personnel think might be part of the exercise? And at what time did these personnel know for certain that the exercise had been terminated?

We need to know which individuals were responsible for designing the Vigilant Guardian exercise that was taking place in September 2001, and who designed the earlier exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks. We also need to know who was responsible for running Vigilant Guardian on September 11, along with full details of the simulations planned for that day.

The fact that some previous NORAD exercises closely resembled the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that the Vigilant Guardian exercise taking place in September 2001 included scenarios similar to the 9/11 attacks, should be of serious concern. Such facts suggest the possibility that training exercises were used to deliberately paralyze the military on September 11, thereby ensuring that the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon were successful.

NOTES
[1] "Vigilant Guardian 01-2." Northeast Air Defense Sector, August 23, 2001; William M. Arkin, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World. Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2005, p. 545; "Vigilant Guardian." GlobalSecurity.org, May 7, 2011.
[2] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL: 1st Air Force, 2003, pp. 55, 122.
[3] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes." Vanity Fair, August 2006.
[4] Jason Tudor, "Inner Space." Airman, March 2002; Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 59.
[5] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 458.
[6] Ibid. p. 20; Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11. New York: Free Press, 2008, p. 25.
[7] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."
[8] Ibid.; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, pp. 82, 84.
[9] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 4. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; "The Hunt for American Air Eleven After WTC 1 is Hit." 9/11 Commission, n.d.
[10] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 7. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story." 9/11 Revisited, September 1, 2011.
[11] NEADS Audio File, Identification Technician Position, Channel 4; "Transcripts From Voice Recorder, 11 September 2001 1227Z-1417Z, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Rome, NY." North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001.
[12] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 3. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."
[13] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 26.
[14] "9/11: Interviews by Peter Jennings." ABC News, September 11, 2002.
[15] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, May 23, 2003.
[16] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 38.
[17] The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky. Discovery Channel, February 12, 2012.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."
[20] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001; Miles Kara, "NEADS Mission Crew Commander; a Valiant Effort, Ultimately Futile, Part I." 9/11 Revisited, June 4, 2011.
[21] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2; Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live"; Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."
[22] NEADS Audio File, Air Surveillance Technician Position, Channel 15. North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 11, 2001.
[23] Miles Kara, "Exercise not a Detractor; the Definitive Story."
[24] Gail Braymen, "NORAD Personnel Hone Response Skills in Amalgam Arrow Exercises." North American Aerospace Defense Command, February 22, 2007.
[25] Nick Wadhams, "Joint U.S., Canadian Hijacking Drill Takes off With Whidbey Flight." Associated Press, June 4, 2002; "Airborne Anti-Terrorist Operation Getting Underway." Live Today, CNN, June 4, 2002; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant." 9/11 Commission, March 4, 2004.
[26] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins." 9/11 Commission, October 30, 2003.
[27] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major James Fox." 9/11 Commission, October 29, 2003.
[28] Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live"; "NEADS CDs." 9/11 Commission, n.d.
[29] The 9/11 Tapes.
[30] NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 2; NEADS Audio File, Mission Crew Commander Position, Channel 3; Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live."
[31] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 55.
[32] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 26.
[33] "Event: Terrorist on Board a Regular Flight From London to JFK." North American Aerospace Defense Command, n.d., p. 74; "NORAD Exercises: Hijack Summary." 9/11 Commission, n.d.
[34] "Memorandum for the Record: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Boston Center Field Site Interview With Colin Scoggins, Military Operations Specialist." 9/11 Commission, September 22, 2003.
[35] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 33.
[36] Miles Kara, "NEADS; Exercise Vigilant Guardian in Perspective, Sep. 9." 9/11 Revisited, January 19, 2011; Miles Kara, "Exercise Vigilant Guardian; Sep. 10." 9/11 Revisited, February 11, 2011.
[37] "Q&A With Boston Center Air Traffic Controller." 9/11 Guide, October 28, 2007.
[38] Chasing Planes: Witnesses to 9/11. Directed by Michael Bronner. London: Working Title Films, 2006.
[39] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 82.
[40] "Memorandum for the Record: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Boston Center Field Site Interview 1 With Daniel D. Bueno, Traffic Management Supervisor, Boston Center." 9/11 Commission, September 22, 2003.
[41] Aviation Officials Remember September 11, 2001. C-SPAN, September 11, 2010.
[42] "Chronology of Events at Mission Coordinator Position." Federal Aviation Administration, September 20, 2001; Albert McKeon, "Nashua FAA Controller Played Role in Tracking Flight 11." Nashua Telegraph, September 8, 2011.
[43] Aviation Officials Remember September 11, 2001.
[44] Senate Committee on Armed Services, Implications for the Department of Defense and Military Operations of Proposals to Reorganize the United States Intelligence Community. 108th Cong., 2nd sess., August 17, 2004; "NORAD Exercise a Year Before 9/11 Simulated a Pilot Trying to Crash a Plane Into a New York Skyscraper--The United Nations Headquarters." Shoestring 9/11, July 27, 2010.
[45] Ibid.
[46] Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri, "NORAD Had Drills of Jets as Weapons." USA Today, April 18, 2004.
[47] Barbara Starr, "NORAD Exercise Had Jet Crashing Into Building." CNN, April 19, 2004.
[48] "Dark Winter: Exercise Overview." Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2001; Tucker Carlson, "Pox Americana." New York, October 8, 2001.
[49] Debbie Sheehan, "Force Protection Plan a 'Timely Alert.'" Monmouth Message, September 21, 2001; Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, A Concise History of the Communications-Electronics Command and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Fort Monmouth, NJ: Fort Monmouth, 2003, p. 71.
[50] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004.

Additional information about Vigilant Guardian exercise

Several of my earlier blog postings included other important evidence that Vigilant Guardian continued long after the 9/11 attacks began. See:

"'Let's Get Rid of This Goddamn Sim': How NORAD Radar Screens Displayed False Tracks All Through the 9/11 Attacks":
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2010/08/lets-get-rid-of-this-goddamn-sim-how.html

"Was Delta 1989 Part of a Live-Fly Hijacking Exercise on 9/11?":
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2009/07/was-delta-1989-part-of-live-fly.html

"Was Korean Airlines Flight 85 a Simulated Hijack in a 9/11 Training Exercise?":
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2010/04/was-korean-airlines-flight-85-simulated.html

Thanks, Shoestring

This is very helpful.

Who was the exercise-maestro?

Great work, thank you.

Who was the exercise "maestro"? There is a hint in the Transcript of the NEADS-Channel:

Around 10:05 captain Taylor from "Cheyenne Mountain control" phoned NEADS and demanded the end of "all exercise inputs". As we know, the attacks ended from then on. Another coincidence.

4 Northeast Weapons.
5 MALE SPEAKER 10: Hello. This is captain
6 Taylor calling from Cheyenne Mountain control.
7 MALE SPEAKER 1: Yes.
8 MALE SPEAKER 10: what we need you to do
9 right now is to terminate all exercise inputs coming
10 into Cheyenne Mountain. . .
11 MALE SPEAKER 1: Yes. Can you call]
12 extension for that, please? /
13 MALE SPEAKER 10: I E
14 MALE SPEAKER 1: YOU bet. He'll give you
15 that. i /
16 MALE SPEAKER 10: I'11ido that.
17 MALE SPEAKER 1: okay.i Thank you. Go
18 ahead.

Of course the people at NEADS

Of course the people at NEADS thought everything being reported to them was part of the exercise. As far as they were concerned if,indeed,the events had actually been 'real world' then the call informing them of this would have come the NMCC in the Pentagon NOT FAA! The FAA was following the protocol of the exercise NOT real world protocol! real world protocol is for FAA would have called the NMCC in the Pentagon!

FAA following?

Are you saying the FAA was following the exercise?

Are you suggesting that the FAA could see phantoms or sims the same way that NEADS could? If so, please elaborate.

I am saying that when a plane

I am saying that when a plane goes off course and becomes non-responsive the FAA is to notify the NMCC in the Pentagon (NOT NEADS) that's protocol. Protocol was not followed on 911 & we have never been given a reason why. However,as the transcript in this story proves,the protocol for the exercise that occurred as part of Vigilant Guardian in the days before 911 had the FAA contacting NEADS directly (just like actually happened on 911 and NOT what is suppose to happen when events are 'Real World'!)
Colin Scoggins is an employee at the FAA's Boston Center (a real person) However, an actor actually used his name in the exercises in the days before 911. This means the protocol for the exercise was for the FAA to call NEADS DIRECTLY. So,on 911 when NEADS gets a call from the FAA (protocol for the exercise) reporting a hijacking (which they were expecting anyway as part of the exercise),of course, they think it's part of the exercise,because if it had not been part of the exercise (real world) then the call would come from the NMCC in the Pentagon (which according to real world protocol is who the FAA is suppose to contact,NOT NEADS)
In other,words simply because the call came from the FAA (to the people at NEADS) it meant what they were being told was exercise Not real world (no matter what the person on the line said).
I do not know if FAA controllers were seeing inputs or not,but someone made a decision Not to follow protocol and notify the NMCC in the Pentagon. That guaranteed NEADS would think what they were being told was exercise NOT real world.

FAA Protocol

Can you please provide a link and specific citation for the protocol?

I am under the impression that loss of radio contact (NORDO) would be one symptom of an "in-flight emergency".

Thank you for the insight into the Colin Scoggins actor scenario. I was not aware of that.

Please contact me through PM if you want access to the FAA records I obtained through FOIA. There is evidence that OTIS was not the only base contacted for assistance.

According to Flight control

According to Flight control manager Glenn Michael they considered Flight 11 a possible hijack as soon as the transponder was turned off (originally reported as 8:13) [AP 8/12/02]. At 8:24 they over heard the hijackers,"we have some planes" & (better yet),"If you try to make any moves you'll endanger yourself and the airplane.Just stay quiet". At this point (8:24) there is no doubt that the FAA knows they are dealing with a hijacking. Any FAA regulations concerning military notification for in flight emergencies other than a hijacking do not apply. As for the protocol requiring the FAA to contact the NMCC (rather than NEADS or any other NORAD base etc.) you can see the infamous June ,2001 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement or FAA Order 7610.4J

9/11 exercises are a smoking gun

Thanks for the good words, Kevin and Bio. These training exercises seem to me one of the biggest smoking guns there is, indicating that 9/11 was an inside job. I am sure there is a lot more we have to learn about these exercises and what effect they had on September 11.

Thanks shoestring, insightful as always

now I wonder: The fact that Daniel Bueno calls Col. Scoggins for help at his operation desk, where he normally wouldn't be, looks like incriminating given the fact that 2 days before a Col. Scoggins was playing a role in exercises, wouldn't you agree?

And, if I search the historycommons, I found hints over and over, that Bueno confused the order-lines by contacting false guys, e,g. directly Cape Cod or
TRACON, not FAA; then, NMCC, then NEADS.

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=daniel_bueno_1
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a830buenocalls#a830buenocalls
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a834capecod#a834capecod

As you see in the timeline, the FAA claims it was Scoggins free decision for assistance, not someone that asked him for.

When he enters the building, a colleague tells him about the hijacking of Flight 11. [Spencer, 2008, pp. 33]
Heads to Credit Union - Rather than going immediately to help deal with the hijacking, Scoggins heads to the credit union at the center. He will recall, “I wasn’t in a rush because when hijacks do occur, sometimes too many people try to get involved, but instead they just get in the way.”
Mentions that Hijacked Plane Could Hit a Building - When he gets to the credit union, Scoggins decides he should go to the center’s traffic management unit, to make sure that fighter jets are launched in response to the hijacking. As he will later recall, he says to an employee at the credit union that “if it really came to it,” and fighter jets “had to stop the hijack from hitting a building or something, there wasn’t much [the fighters] could do.” [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/20/2001]
Updated on Hijacking - Scoggins then heads to the center’s operational floor, arriving there at about 8:35. [WAMU, 8/3/2006; Griffin, 2007, pp. 335] He goes to the traffic management unit and the desk of Daniel Bueno, who is the unit’s supervisor. Bueno brings Scoggins up to date on the details of the hijacking. He tells him: “It sounds real. We heard a Mideastern or Arabic voice on radio. They’ve also turned off the transponder to prevent the hijack code from appearing.” Bueno says the Boston Center controllers are still tracking the primary radar return for Flight 11, but they lack information on its altitude. According to author Lynn Spencer, it occurs to Scoggins that NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) might be able to provide altitude information for Flight 11, “because the FAA radar system filters out certain altitude information that NEADS gets.” He will therefore phone NEADS as soon as he arrives at his station (see (8:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Spencer, 2008, pp. 33]

So who is this guy, now ranging at my prime suspect list next to Mike Canavan and Robert Marr for confusing the air defense? And why does the FAA reported about an active decision by Scoggins to help out, while you proved that it was Bueno who'd asked him?

i do not know

Without Bueno there would not had been any scrambling at all! Perhaps -somebody- told him (we know, he phoned the military first), that Scoggins should make the further calls about hijackings, but according to the FAA-Boston center, it was just Buenos decision to break the hijack-protocol and phone NEADS directly.

Supervisor Calls Otis, Violating Protocol - Bueno calls the control tower at Otis even though, according to author Lynn Spencer, he “knows it’s not standard operating procedure to call the military directly—that’s supposed to be done by FAA headquarters.” But he has “checked the FAA regulation manual, and in the back under section FAAO 7610.4J, Appendix 16, it states that fighters can be launched directly at FAA request, so he is going to make that happen. He may not be FAA headquarters, but he is FAA!” [Spencer, 2008, pp. 22]

Bueno Praised by Colleagues for Actions - However, according to the 9/11 Commission, “Bueno gets high marks” from the Boston Center personnel it interviews, “for instinctively calling FAA traffic approach personnel at the location where he knew the fighters to be—Otis [Air National Guard Base].” Even Colin Scoggins, the Boston Center’s military liaison, “who knew that the call had to go to NEADS, did not fault Bueno for trying to call the Air Force wing directly through other FAA personnel.” [9/11 Commission, 9/22/2003 pdf file]
http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=daniel_bueno_1

Role of Boston Center controller Joe Cooper

Something else I find curious: Boston Center air traffic controller Joseph Cooper was the first person to call NEADS and alert it to the problems with Flight 11, at 8:37 a.m. And yet it appears Cooper never called NEADS again after that, such as to give it updates on the plane's location or other progress reports. It seems odd that this was the case.

He was told by Bueno to do so too

and afterwards back at the controls, according to 9/11CR interview with him. So it's not that miracle that he did not call another time, more, why the call was placed wrong at all. See:

http://media.nara.gov/9-11/MFR/t-0148-911MFR-01140.pdf

Bueno again:
Dan Bueno asked Cooper to call for military assistance.

Interestingly:
Cooper is clear that any suspicion of another airborne threat the DEN line is the absolute
first place to report to. It is open at all times. Cooper is not aware of how he would get the
military involved except to use the DEN line.

I do not know what DEN line means, but:

His first call was placed wrong:

Military Claims Call Goes against Procedure - The 1st Air Force’s official history of the response to the 9/11 attacks will later suggest that Boston Center is not following normal procedures when it makes this call to NEADS. It states: “If normal procedures had taken place… Powell probably wouldn’t have taken that phone call. Normally, the FAA would have contacted officials at the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center who would have contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The secretary of defense would have had to approve the use of military assets to assist in a hijacking, always considered a law enforcement issue.” The only explanation it gives for this departure from protocol is that “nothing was normal on Sept. 11, 2001, and many say the traditional chain of command went by the wayside to get the job done.” [Filson, 2003, pp. 51]

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=joseph_cooper_1

Bueno the third time... So who is this guy?

"Military Claims Call Goes

"Military Claims Call Goes against Procedure - The 1st Air Force’s official history of the response to the 9/11 attacks will later suggest that Boston Center is not following normal procedures when it makes this call to NEADS. It states: “If normal procedures had taken place… Powell probably wouldn’t have taken that phone call. Normally, the FAA would have contacted officials at the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center who would have contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command."[Quote]

For whom does Colin Scoggins work? The FAA out of Boston Center or the NMCC in the Pentagon? Could Powell have taken this call ONLY because it originated out of Boston Center and was therefore likely part of that mornings EXPECTED hijacking exercise?

"In the two days before 9/11,

"In the two days before 9/11, an actor playing Scoggins in the exercise made calls to NEADS, giving it information about the simulated events. Recordings from the operations floor reveal, for example, that shortly before 10:00 a.m. on September 9, NEADS was called by the actor, who said his name was "Colin Scoggins." The actor said a group called the "Palan Resistance Movement" had two of its members on United Airlines Flight 558, a flight out of London, who intended to detonate a bomb over New York City.

The real Colin Scoggins has confirmed that the voice of the person calling himself "Colin Scoggins" on this occasion was not his. Scoggins suggested that the NEADS simulation cell used his name in the exercise probably because he was a known contact at the Boston Center. Scoggins also said it was unusual for NEADS to use a specific name like this in an exercise, and added that the actor should have just referred to himself as being from the Boston Center. [36]"[Quote]

So,in the two days prior to 911. An actor phoned NEADS and identified himself as Colin Scoggins of Boston Center and then goes on to tell NEADS about hijacked aircraft. Then on 911 when they were EXPECTING another call from Boston Center telling them about a hijacking as part of the same exercises,they receive a call from Boston Center telling them about a hijacked aircraft (a real one) & the real Colin Scoggins ends up being the only person feeding them information during the hijackings. I don't think there's any doubt NEADS thought they were dealing with an exercise. If it hadn't been an exercise the call would have come through the NMCC. Without involvement of the NMCC, NEADS would assume exercise. Who made the decision NOT to notify the NMCC?

Protocol on 9/11

The protocol on 9/11 for a hijacking, was as follows: Controller (pete Zawleski) tells a supervisor (John Schipanni), the supervisor tells the Operational Manager In Charge (Terry Biggio), he calls the Regional Operation Center, who calls the Command Center, the Command Center notifies the FAA Hijack Coordinator, the Hijack Coordinator notifies the NMCC, who notifies NORAD, and NORAD would notify NEADS, NEADS would notify Otis ANG Base. This all happened, the protocol was followed, I just decided not to wait for this to happen. Nor did Dan Bueno, who had Joe Cooper call NEADS. Joe had forgot a couple of pieces of information, so I called immediatelly after him. I beleived then and still do today, the in the FAA order 7610.4 that was in effect for that day that NEADS had the authority to launch escort aircraft for a hijack under Appendix 16 of that order. Col. Marr beleived that he needed the okay from NORAD. I can't fault him for his interpretation of Appendix 16, but he was the commander of NEADS at the time, and I would never tell him what he could or couldn't do. So hopefully that helps this blog a little more. Was the military confused becasue of Vigilant Guardian, maybe for a second, but I had no bearing on how the events unfolded that day.

The Differences

Thank you for your clarification.

Could you please educate us on the differences between an In Flight Emergency and a Hijacking?

Didn't AA11 start off as an Emergency rather than a hijacking?

Joe was at another TMU scope

Joe was at another TMU scope and I took over the duty of calling NEADS. Joe was very helpful in obtaining AAL11's location on numerous occasions. I did not have a scope in front of me, so whenever I gave a position report to NEADS it was actually Joe Cooper who slewed over the target.

Emergency vs hijack

AAL 11 was first being treated like a radio failure, which is almost treated like an emergency. It escalated into a hijack before it was ever considered an emergency. An emergency is normally declared by the pilot, but can be declared by the controller. Of course once it was determined a hijack it also becomes an emergency. some confusion exists regarding scrambles when an emergency exists. There have been claims that prior to 9/11 fighters were scrambled for emergencies. I have worked numerous emergencies in my career and never once did I call NEADS to scramble fighters for an emergency. If there military aircraft in the air I have seen controllers ask them for assistance whether it was DF net service or looking for a lost aircraft or to pinpoint smoke on the ground or a sinking vessel.

thanks

great, that you are here.

Questions for cheapshot

cheapshot, glad you're participating in this discussion, as you can shed some light on 9/11-related events. I have some questions that I hope you'll respond to:

"the Command Center notifies the FAA Hijack Coordinator, the Hijack Coordinator notifies the NMCC ..."
Who was acting as the Hijack Coordinator on 9/11? The designated Hijack Coordinator, Michael Canavan, was in Puerto Rico the morning of 9/11/01
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a830faahijackcoordinator#a830faahijackcoordinator

"... the NMCC, who notifies NORAD, and NORAD would notify NEADS, NEADS would notify Otis ANG Base. This all happened, the protocol was followed,"
You said "protocol was followed." Correct me if I'm wrong (w/ sources where possible), but, according to my understanding, FAA HQ was unreasonably slow in passing on information to NMCC about reported hijacks, and info concerning potential air threats/air emergencies, such as possible additional hijacks - the delay in the case of UAL 93 was incredibly egregious. And this after a 'summer of threat' that included indications of an Al Qaeda attack on the US, possibly involving attacks on US cities with planes.

Also, afaik, there's no evidence the NMCC gave any orders to NEADS that morning until after all the planes had crashed.

"There have been claims that prior to 9/11 fighters were scrambled for emergencies. I have worked numerous emergencies in my career and never once did I call NEADS to scramble fighters for an emergency."

What were your duties and general responsibilities as an FAA Military Liaison? Also:

Before September 11, 2001: Fighters Regularly Launch within Minutes of Scramble Order in Response to Suspicious Aircraft
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a091101quickscrambles&scale=0

And, according to Jeff Ford, Aviation and Security Coordinator for the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Interagency Coordination Directorate:

The issue of an attack coming from within - we’d practiced that type of thing before, not as a concerted attack against the United States, but as standard “no-radio” type exercises where an aircraft is a derelict aircraft, or something like that. Those things happen within our own airspace, and we’ll send our fighters to go help out the FAA and other agencies in trying to figure out what’s going on. Drug runners along the southern border or various other things that there are so far as unknown aircraft and aircraft with problems that aren’t answering, either through their squawks or the radio, or else they’re off their flight plan in some way. Those types of things are indicators that something’s wrong and, yes, we can send off fighters and take care of those in that we’ll go intercept the aircraft, come up beside it, and divert it in the right direction toward an airfield or find out what the problems are in order to assist, that type of thing.
http://www.norad.mil/News/2011/090811a.html

"I had no bearing on how the events unfolded that day."

Not sure why you say that; in addition to your involvement in outside of protocol efforts to get fighters launched, you were the guy that passed on, at least twice, false information about AAL 11 still being airborne after it had crashed. This false info added to the confusion that morning, and resulted in fighters being diverted to investigate. According to your account, you heard an unconfirmed report about this on a "telcon" and you're "99% certain the person who made that call on the telcon was Dave Canoles," which he denied, if i recall correctly. http://911myths.com/index.php/Phantom_flight_11

According to your own account, you were about an hour late on the morning of 9/11; what was the reason?

When you got to work, you were told a hijacking was in progress, so you decided to go to the credit union first, so that you wouldn't be in the way. Why would you be "in the way"? Didn't you have an office or cubicle? I also don't understand why it wouldn't occur to you that the FAA's military liaison might be considered to be of use by FAA personnel trying to respond to the hijacking. After all, you wouldn't need to be getting in people's faces, but you could've been at your desk, phone and email if anyone needed you. Your remarking to the teller that, “if it really came to it,” and fighter jets “had to stop the hijack from hitting a building or something, there wasn’t much [the fighters] could do,” is bizarre, imo. http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a830scogginsarrives#a830scogginsarrives

Loose nuke

Protocol was followed on our end, once we told the new England ROC we had complied with our requirement. I don't believe FAA hq ever called the nmcc because most of them had evacuated. There is a transmission from FAA hq about 10:15 am about maybe contacting the military about scrambling some jets. By then I had indirectly had about 8 fighters in the sky. Don't know who was the acting hijack coordinator for that day. My initial call to NEADS that morning was two fold, confirm location of AAL 11, and to see if NEADS could provide me with an altitude for AAL 11.

I have finally confirmed where the phantom AAL 11 came from and it was from Doug Davis who was on the telcon I was on. He said he was told by Mary Ellen Krause who denies ever telling him that.

As far as my tatement that I had nothing to do with any events as they unfolded not sure where you got that, maybe out of context, it appeared no matter what I did that day I couldn't stop it, but I tried.

As far as stopping by the credit union it was on my to my cubicle, so I stopped by for a minute. Not wanting to go to the floor when I first heard of the hijack was due to the last hijack Lufthansa in 1993, people were stumbling on each other from everyone trying to be involved. In that hijack it was very uneventful. You isolate the aircraft frequency wise and just sit and wait.

Hope I answered them all.

Hour late

It was a gorgeous morning not a cloud in the sky, stayed home read the paper and enjoyed a second cup of coffee.

Phantom 11

Quote:
I have finally confirmed where the phantom AAL 11 came from and it was from Doug Davis who was on the telcon I was on. He said he was told by Mary Ellen Krause who denies ever telling him that.

This is promising.

Can you suggest places to look in the records to help you verify this?

Search

Google Doug Davis Mary Ellen krauss, should show up at bottom of page 3 team 8 box 6 interview by miles Kara.

Kraus and Davis, p. 3

Rebirth of AAL 11

Miles said that Doug Davis remembers he went in to the WOC and said AAL 11 was still
airborne. He said he got that information from her some time between the live broadcast
of UAL 175 and the attack on the Pentagon.

Kraus responded: "I never said anything about AAL 11 heading south. I never said
anything about that."
http://www.scribd.com/doc/17218099

cheapshot, this doesn't say that Davis was on the telcon and said it. But you're saying Canoles' and Davis' voices sound similar, or you got them confused somehow? Cuz you were "99%" certain before that it was Canoles on the telcom who said it.

None of this explains why the report came into existence in the first place, or why an unconfirmed report (when many unconfirmed reports about hijacks were flying around) came to be taken so seriously that Otis and Norfolk fighters would be sent to chase it, leaving high value cities like NYC and DC undefended.

"None of this explains why

"None of this explains why the report came into existence in the first place, or why an unconfirmed report (when many unconfirmed reports about hijacks were flying around) came to be taken so seriously that Otis and Norfolk fighters would be sent to chase it, leaving high value cities like NYC and DC undefended."

I have never heard, that OTIS-fighters really had been sent away from NY-airspace due the "phantom 11". It stayed an idea from Nasipany. Actually they were not sent away. Instead NEADS scrambled Langley-fighters due to "phantom 11" and tried unsuccessfully to send them over Baltimore to cover the DC-airspace. http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a923phantomflight#a923phantomflight .
So it is not so easy to grill cheapshot on that point, because his call had a good effect.

Norfolk never show really up in my research, because it is not an alert-basis. Could you base your assumption, that their fighters let "NYC and DC undefended." anytime due to "phantom 11"?

corrections

bio, i was confused about the timeline, and confused the Cmssn story about AAL 11 and UAL 93 with the earlier stories. You're correct; the latest evidence is that Langley AFB (Norfolk) was scrambled due to the false report about AAL 11. And, while Nasypany proposed sending Otis fighters after it, this didn't happen.

My point that NYC and DC were left undefended is not changed by these facts. Even though there was a history of attempts to use planes as missiles (incl. on DC), and such a scenario had been drilled for, and there were warnings about Al Qaeda ambition as well as intel and warnings about Al Qaeda operational planning to strike US cities in the year prior to 9/11 w/ planes (incl info specifically about NYC and DC), there wasn't a timely response to the reports about AAL 11 and UAL 175 possibly/confirmed hijacked or to defend NYC, and even more incredibly, there was no air cover for DC until after the Pentagon was hit.
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2009/12/90-minute-stand-down-on-911-why-was.html
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2009/05/f-16s-that-failed-to-protect-washington.html

UAL 93 was allowed to fly uncontested toward DC for over a half hour, even though at 928a a struggle was heard over the radio, at 930a it requested a flight plan change to fly to DC, and at 932 controllers heard it announced that there was a bomb on board.
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a928struggle#a928struggle
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a930newflightplan#a930newflightplan
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a934bombonboard#a934bombonboard

Canoles and davis

Never said they sounded a like. Several years ago through my own research I read an article interviewing Dave cajoles it was from USA today, September 20 th or 21st. In it dave stated the exact same words I had about an aircraft being 6 miles from the whitehouse. Based on that article I assumed Dave also told me about AAL 11 being airborne. It was the same telcon, earlier this year through my own research I found the interview from miles Kara regarding Doug Davis and Mary Ellen krauss. Doug Davis was on the telcon at the woc.

cheapshot, cont.

Thx for the response, cheapshot. I've got some additional questions based on the above comment, and hope you'll elaborate on a couple of your responses to previous questions:

"Protocol was followed on our end, once we told the new England ROC we had complied with our requirement."

Yes, Boston Ctr op staff not only did what they were supposed to do, they went above and beyond by going outside of protocol (trying to contact NEADS directly, etc.) in trying to solve the problem of planes going off course/nordo/not transponding in some of the most congested air space in the US, with abnormal and threatening msgs being transmitted in some cases, and eventually planes crashing into bldgs.

FAA HQ failed, so did NMCC, the 9/11 Cmssn Report failed to credibly address their failures, and none of them have been held accountable. Some of those who 'failed' were rewarded w/ promotions and raises, or with increased authority and budgets.

"I don't believe FAA hq ever called the nmcc because most of them had evacuated."

This is news to me; when did FAA HQ evac, and for what reason? Numerous reports indicate there were no evacs of govt bldgs in the DC metro area until after the Pentagon was hit http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a935treasuryevacuates#a935treasuryevacuates

Previous questions:

I had read somewhere you were a military liaison on 9/11, but your 9/11 Cmssn MFR says you were a Military Operations Specialist at the time of the interview; what was your title on 9/11? And what were your duties and general responsibilities? http://www.scribd.com/doc/17150579

"It was a gorgeous morning not a cloud in the sky, stayed home read the paper and enjoyed a second cup of coffee."

So you had the kind of job where you could just show up an hour late if you felt like it? Nice.

"As far as stopping by the credit union it was on my to my cubicle, so I stopped by for a minute. Not wanting to go to the floor when I first heard of the hijack was due to the last hijack Lufthansa in 1993, people were stumbling on each other from everyone trying to be involved."

Want to be sure I understand: So when u did show up around 835a and heard there was a hijacking in progress, you thought you'd just take another minute and go to the CU, which would be best anyway, cuz if you went straight to your cubicle and checked email/msgs while waiting for someone to call or come to get you, you'd still have to cross 'the floor' which would likely contribute to the chaos and confusion of people "stumbling on each other"?

What prompted your remark to the teller: “if it really came to it,” and fighter jets “had to stop the hijack from hitting a building or something, there wasn’t much [the fighters] could do,” Why did it occur to you the hijacked plane might hit a bldg? Most of those interviewed said the standard expectation was that hijackers gave orders to pilots and made demands, and that nobody imagined they'd take over flying the plane and use it as a missile.

These comments may've reflected the level of understanding of some at the operations level, but mgmt had reason to know better. As I noted before, 9/11 happened after a summer of threat which included intel/warning signs of an Al Qaeda plot to attack the US, possibly using hijacked planes against cities, when their ambition to do so had been known for several years, at least since Bojinka in 1995.

And, there were a number of previous attempts or incidents in which planes were used as missiles, showing it was a real possibility; 3 in 1994, including a small plane actually crashing into the White House, Samuel Byck's 1973 attempt to hijack a commercial airliner from BWI and crash into the White House, the Kamikazees in WWII, etc.

And, in addition the link I posted above about quick scrambles to deal w/ suspicious aircraft/incidents regularly occurring pre-9/11, here's an entry w/ statistical info showing how common this practice was:
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a90regularscrambles#a90regularscrambles.

And there's also this info showing how the military regularly drilled for incidents involving hijacked aircraft; some scenarios involved planes crashing into bldgs, others involved shoot downs:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16411947/NORAD-Exercises-Hijack-Summary
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2011/09/secret-service-simulated-crashing.html
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2010/07/norad-exercise-year-before-911.html

Hq evac???

Truly don't know if they ever evacuated, but at 10:15 someone at HQ states that: when some one questions whether fighters should be scrambled, the person states that there is no one there and someone higher up than him should make the call.

cheapshot, consolidated

thx for the info, got more questions, but narrowing things down here. I apologize if I'm coming off as rude (didn't get the nick for nuthin). If u were scheduled to come in an hour later than usual, it seems inaccurate to refer to yourself as being "late."

Your MFR says you were "advised of the hijack at approximately 8:35 EDT." Thx for clarifying you got there at 825am.

I'm still curious why it would occur to you there was a possibility of the hijack hitting a building, and that there wasn't much fighters could do; your reply didn't address my question about that.

"I don't believe FAA hq ever called the nmcc because most of them had evacuated. There is a transmission from FAA hq about 10:15 am about maybe contacting the military about scrambling some jets."

"Truly don't know if they ever evacuated, but at 10:15 someone at HQ states that: when some one questions whether fighters should be scrambled, the person states that there is no one there and someone higher up than him should make the call."

Are you referring to this exchange at 9:49 am?:

Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling
aircraft?
FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don’t know.
Command Center: Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to
make probably in the next ten minutes.
FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room. (Cmssn Rpt p. 29)

This brief exchange is a snapshot insight into FAA HQ's incredible failure (not credibly addressed by the Cmssn Rpt) to facilitate the scrambling of jets, long after it was clear the US was under attack by people using hijacked commercial jets as missiles. The problem was not that they had evac'd. As documented at the links in my previous comments, the plane-missile threat was understood by some at FAA/DOD and drilled for, scrambles and intercepts were drilled and regularly occurred real world in the years prior to 9/11 to investigate nordo/norac flights, and to intercept suspected drug smugglers flying small planes, who hadn't filed flight planes and presumably weren't transponding their location; you haven't commented on this info.

Also, doesn't a non-transponding commercial airliner stick out on a radar scope cuz it's the only one not transponding? And, can't a controller quickly flip back and forth btwn displays, for addtl contrast?

I understand there was lots of confusion that morning - many false reports of hijacks or suspected hijacks were introduced into the system - but I do not understand how AAL 11, after it's radar track was observed disappearing over NYC and immediately news stations began reporting that a plane had crashed into the WTC (after a summer of threat which included warnings about this type of thing), how a false report of AAL 11 heading south post-crash came to be taken seriously, when there was no actual radar track for such a flight. "[Canoles] turned on a media broadcast, and - due to his time as manager of Newark Tower - immediately realized that it was a large aircraft that hit the tower, not a small aircraft." (p. 1) http://www.scribd.com/doc/17218080

Davis, Canoles, Kraus. You didn't say they sounded alike; yes, but if you knew Davis' voice or he'd ID'd himself and said on the telcon AAL 11 was still airborne, how'd you come to be 99% sure it was Canoles? In the MFR it doesn't say Davis said it on the telcon, just that "he went in to the WOC and said AAL 11 was still airborne" after allegedly hearing it from Kraus who says she never said it. Maybe Davis told Canoles who said it on the telcon? But: "Cannoles commented that he recalls attempts to locate both AAL 11 and United Airlines Flight 93 (UAL 93) at the same time. ... Cannoles has no knowledge of AAL 11 being reported headed south after 8:46AM." (p. 3) http://www.scribd.com/doc/17218080 So he knew of an attempt to locate AAL 11 after it actually crashed, but was unaware of a report it was headed south after 846a???

New question; how'd you come to believe Delta 1989 was a possible hijack (never confirmed), and why'd you contact NEADS about it when it was under Cleveland's control?
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a941bostoncontacts#a941bostoncontacts

Time line 9:49

I am not an expert on the timeline, but the conversation you mention is the one I was talking about.

As far as scrambling for drug smugglers it happened or a while, but some laws were being violated, the military by itself cannot arrest or intercept unless an appropriate law enforcement agency was involved. So some missions were scaled back. Don't remember when this happened but prior to 9/11.

As far as hijacking hitting a building this was talked about before and discussed amongst controllers for a while especially when we talked about the military requirement to escort hijacked aircraft. There was never a requirement to intercept hijack aircraft, only to escort. Though we had talked about a hijack aircraft possibly crashing into a building I never fathomed that someone would hijack four aircraft at once.

Most exercises prior to 9/11 were geared for cold war stuff, long range interdiction. We did use Lear jets as targets for nordo aircraft normally violating the ADIZ. Or possibly drug runners crossing the border. They did not practice scrambles intercepting Paye Stewart type situations. I have worked numerous nordo aircraft and emergencies and never once did I have the time to call NEADS for an intercept that wouldn't get off before the emergency had ended.

I wasn't going to treat any report of any aircraft as false. So when I heard the report that AAL 11 was airborne I ran with it. No one identified themselves on that telcon, I didnt know Dave Canoles was on it until I read the USA today article n 2006.

Tracking a non transponder aircraft is actually difficult. You lose the digitized slash, and if it is a large aircraft like AAL 11 it will generate a plus sign. If you are watching a sector 24,000 ft and above you will not see the target because your primary will not be turned on. When the controller notices the target is missing the controller would select the primary button. Once the primary is pressed the controller would get all primary targets, in the vicinity of ALB AAL 11 would stand out because of the history of the track, with the aircraft grounding about 540 knots at the time it could be found. The data block won't stay on the target for long since it is always searching for the code which is now turned off. So the data block drops off continuosly.

I believe Doug Davis was on the telcon and he is the one who stated AAL11 was airborne, how, why, I have stated numerous times that someone probably dropped call signs, that's my guess.

As far as DAL1989, Cleveland called us and said they were not talking to DAL1989, when that happens the previous center or sector tries to reach the aircraft, on this day if an aircraft missed a transmission we considered them a hijack. At that time NEADS had asked me to give them any and all info I knew.

wrapping up

"Once the primary is pressed the controller would get all primary targets, in the vicinity of ALB AAL 11 would stand out because of the history of the track, with the aircraft grounding about 540 knots at the time it could be found."

If I'm understanding you correctly, the non-transponding track would stand out, but might not be immediately apparent as it's one of many other targets at different altitudes. AAL 11 was tracked back to NYC, disappeared, reports came on the news of a plane crash into the WTC. At no time did a radar track reappear; according to your account, you heard someone mention AAL 11, probly call sign, and passed it on out of an abundance of caution. Understandable. Why it was taken so seriously that fighters were launched to go look for it, rather than guard DC til it's location was confirmed and it was confirmed as a hijack, I don't understand. There were signs D 1989 might've been a hijack; you passed on the info out of caution. There were many false reports of hijacks that day:
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a941bostoncontacts#a909falsereports
http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2011/04/many-false-hijackings-of-911.html

cheapshot, you've been commenting at JREF periodically re the 9/11 events for at least a few years; you are obviously interested in contributing info to 9/11 discussions, but do not seem curious about info which contradicts the info/perspective you're putting fwd. You haven't contested certain factual claims I've made about the larger context of FAA/military preparedness/awareness in which 9/11 occurred, and I've provided links to support these points, which reference numerous govt records and MSM reports. You haven't directly disputed these, just provided your own perspective, which is contrary in certain respects. For instance:

"As far as scrambling for drug smugglers it happened or a while, but some laws were being violated, the military by itself cannot arrest or intercept unless an appropriate law enforcement agency was involved. So some missions were scaled back. Don't remember when this happened but prior to 9/11."

Quoting from an HC entry, just the 2000-2001 period:
According to the Calgary Herald, in 2000 there are 425 “unknowns,” where an aircraft’s pilot has not filed or has deviated from a flight plan, or has used the wrong radio frequency, and fighters are scrambled 129 times in response. [Calgary Herald, 10/13/2001] Between September 2000 and June 2001, fighters are scrambled 67 times to intercept suspicious aircraft, according to the Associated Press. [Associated Press, 8/14/2002] Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz, the commander of the Alaskan NORAD Region at the time of the 9/11 attacks, will say that before 9/11, it is “not unusual, and certainly was a well-refined procedure” for NORAD fighters to intercept an aircraft. He will add, though, that intercepting a commercial airliner is “not normal.” [Air Force Magazine, 9/2011 pdf file]
http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a90regularscrambles#a90regularscrambles

In conclusion, I'll summarize points I've provided links for in comments in this thread, and make some new points/factual claims; if you'd like documentation for any other point, I'll provide it, but you can find it at Historycommons.org:
FAA/NMCC/NORAD (and FBI, CIA, NSC, White House) were aware, for decades, of the possibility of planes being used as missiles. NORAD/ADS's regularly intercepted planes over the continental US in the decades/years prior to 9/11. NORAD/ADSs drilled for hijack scenarios, including terrorists, planes as missiles and some involved shootdowns. The US govt was aware of Al Qaeda ambition to attack US cities w/ planes. They were aware of AQ operational planning for a strike in Summer 01, w/ some info indicating a planes attack on US cities.

State/INS, in violation of US laws, approved and renewed Visas for alleged hijackers. In some cases, CBP bent and maybe broke rules letting some into the US. Some at the CIA, such as Rich Blee and Tom Wilshere, were aware Almihdhar and Alhazmi were terrorists and involved in a plot to attack the US, were aware they'd traveled to the US, and hid this info from the FBI and kept them off watch lists, until just prior to 9/11, at which time Dina Corsi and Tom Wilshere (detailed to FBI) acted to frustrate the search. Some supervisors at the FBI obstructed other agents' investigations that might've exposed/disrupted the 9/11 plot. A number of the alleged hijackers were selected for extra screening, but were allowed on the planes, reported w/ boxcutters, which were a prohibited item at the time.

Then 4 planes go offcourse and stop transponding, don't respond to ATC orders but do broadcast threatening msgs. Thruout the nearly two hr period from the first sign of trouble w/ AAL 11 to the crash of UAL 93, FAA HQ, NMCC and NORAD are largely useless or MIA, while operations personnel at FAA and NEADS are doing everything they're supposed to and going above and beyond to deal w/ the crisis, which is complicated by numerous bogus reports of suspicious flights and purported hijackings, as well as other false info.

3 skyscrapers collapse, but NIST can't credibly explain how, or account for suspicious evidence such as the massive, rapidly expanding dust cloud, rapid and total collapse ("essentially in free fall", to quote NIST), and the numerous reports of molten metal in the wreckage.

Those who 'failed' were rewarded, while whistleblowers such as Sibel Edmonds, Robert Wright, Coleen Rowley, Anthony Shaffer were ignored, threatened and retaliated against. 9/11 has been used to justify subversions of the Constitution, a domestic security state, 2 wars in geostrategic countries which have caused over a million civilian deaths as well as the deaths of several thousand coalition soldiers, and a 'Greater War on Terror' which is very profitable for the MIC and, according to Cheney, "will not end in our lifetimes." Obama has expanded the 'war on terror' into other countries, while winding down the failed occupations of war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Congressional investigation was limited under pressure from the White House and intimidated by the FBI. The 2 senators holding up passage of the PATRIOT Act got mailed Anthrax (White House went on Cipro right after 9/11, tried to blame the Anthrax on Al Qaeda and then Iraq, even though it was known soon on that it came from a US bioweapons lab).

The 9/11 Cmssn and key staff were mostly Establishment insiders w/ professional, political, financial and/or personal conflicts of interest, especially the Executive Director Philip Zelikow who could fairly be called a Bush Administration insider and who was largely in control of what questions would be asked and what evidence would be looked at. Prior to beginning the investigation, Zelikow and his mentor Ernest May drafted an outline for the final report; Kean and Hamilton liked it, but recommended hiding it from the staff, lest they think the investigation's outcome was predetermined. The 9/11 Cmssn never did get access to certain records, and a number of staff members and Cmssn mbrs have acknowledged unanswered questions. The Family Steering Cmte submitted about 400 questions; 70% were ignored, and more have come up since as more facts have come out.

cheapshot; is there anything about the official 9/11 story that bothers you? Anything you think should be investigated?

and may I add

Cheapshot,

I apologize for jumping in so late to this thread as I know you been asked quite a bit here already and have been kind enough to respond. But could you talk briefly about which, if any, of the many war game scenarios your center was participating in that morning? What role, if any, did your position as a Military Liason require in these drills? You opted to use some flex time that morning and arrived at the center about 8:25a, were the drills slated to begin later that morning? 9am? Were all ATC personnel briefed thoroughly regarding these drills, meetings held earlier that morning, day before, week before? Were all ATC personnel aware that inputs would be used? Were false inputs actually inserted onto radar screens? Are they easily distinguishable? If they were used, do you know at what time they stopped? Did anyone consider that the "phantom" AA 11 may have been a false input? In your own opinion, do you think the drills, despite their eerie parallels to actual events, aided (as Gen Richard Myers claims) or hindered the response to the hijackings?

This is really for my own edification and certainly you owe no explanation to me, but I would immensely appreciate your patience and candor to these issues. Thanks again.

dtg

Exercises

We actually didn't know anything on vigilant guardian on 9/11. Lot of those exercises are simulated. I found out later that they were actually using my name in the simulation a day or two before.

Though thy can put sim targets on their scopes no one can put sim targets on the FAA scopes. Even are training scopes are completely tied off of our live system.

I do believe that having the exercise scheduled robably helped hat day, the military need up having more people on and in te correct positions

Answers

NEADS had only two units under their command on 9/11. FMH and LFI, they did not have the authority to request ADW DC Guard to standup. By the end of the day things changed dramatically. Within two hours ANG pilots were showing up at their bases wanting to help. I had requested NEADS to get Selfrgidge up, and Toledo for DAL1989. As far as the call sign drop I mentioned I should explain that better, my assumption is either one or two things happened: 1st. Calls were being made about AAL 11 and maybe calls came about regarding AAL 77. Somewhere along the way someone mentioned AAL without the numbers about being airborne are lost and someone assumed they were talking about AAL 11. 2nd Dan bueno was in contact with UAL and AAL airlines. UAL confirmed rather quickly that UAL 175 had hit the tower. AAL airlines would never confirm. I told NEADS that and maybe they passed it on, and someone interpreted that AAL 11 must still be in the air and put it on the telcon where I heard it. It could also be some combination of both.

Mot of what I have read on scrambles have been exaggerated. After the Korean air incident the Russians became nonexistent as far as violating the east coast on their way to Cuba. I assume they were warned. They would be shot down. Scrambles basically stopped for Boston center. CANR which is Canadian NORAD and ANR which is Alaska NORAD may have continued to have more intercepts. Are intercepts were limited to exercises. Prior to 9/11 I never saw an exercise involving a hijack aircraft impacting a building, we did have hijack exercises, as well as lost aircraft and military exercises.

That doesn't mean that the military didn't have exercises that had these scenarios, they didn't have them with Boston center. A lot of their missions are simulated, we don't even know about them.

As far as all of the other agencies involved and their responses to 9/11 I am sure they had many failures, but at the same time I am sure their we're individuals who stepped it up.

My opinions on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan might surprise you, but I am still a government employee and want to keep my job a little while longer. Even though I speak fairly freely about 9/11 I have been notified to be careful what I say. Most of what I say can be found, or it has been published some where.

I try not to offer opinions especially on subjects I have no knowledge in eg. Thermite wtc collapse, I have no knowledge in these issues so I don't speak about them.

When I retire in about a year and a half you may read more about what I have to say, nothing spectacular by any means but I am not sure what is next for me, who knows maybe politics, or I could just head to the Cape and relax.

more cheapshot questions

was your role as military liaison just for Boston center, or are there counterpart positions in other sectors?

You called NEADS around 936a about a plane almost at DC (AAL 77); how'd you become aware of this plane?

"Mot of what I have read on scrambles have been exaggerated."

You're asserting the info reported by MSM, in statements by military officials, and compiled in govt reports is "exaggerated." Is this based on your personal experience/knowledge, or what? How can we verify whether you're correct, or the other sources are? What are the names/types of records that would shed light on these things?

"Prior to 9/11 I never saw an exercise involving a hijack aircraft impacting a building, we did have hijack exercises, as well as lost aircraft and military exercises. ... That doesn't mean that the military didn't have exercises that had these scenarios, they didn't have them with Boston center. "

You "did have hijack exercises"; how many/how often, what were the standard procedures and what were the outcomes?

So you never saw one, but in this thread I've linked to official testimony and govt records documenting the existence of exercises involving hijacked planes being used as missiles, and repeatedly called attention to this, and in my last comment that you had not commented on these things. Perhaps this is because you are "still a government employee and want to keep my job a little while longer." I don't know, but I can respect this: "I try not to offer opinions especially on subjects I have no knowledge in eg. Thermite wtc collapse." However, the exercise documentation and standard procedures are something in your expertise, and something you've been commenting on. Also, I did not mention anything about thermite in my WTC comment, but it's not surprising you're aware of claims that have been made about that.

Hijack Exercises

There are Military Liaisons at each Center, or Military Specialists. Each facility does it there own way. There are some that work in the Airspace & procedures Office like I do, but other facilities that may be thier only position.

The call I recieved on the aircraft 6 NM from the Whitehouse was the same Telcon I recieved the Ghost AAL 11 on.

Exegerated Scrambles, If our facility is one of two scramble sites on the east coast, and someone says there have been 400 scrambles or what ever number they come up with, and I can't recall any of them then I would have to say based on my opinion that those numbers are inflated. Not say that all of them could have occurred in Alaska, I would not know. If they are including exercises, or just phone calls where the initial pahse of a scramble are statrted, but planes never get off, then maybe those numbers are correct. Don't know where those records are kept, probably at NORAD. But when there are claims that we intercept all NORDOS, all Emergencies, I have to object, becasue it is not true. Payne Stweart was scrambled on and aircraft that penetrate the ADIZ are scrambled on. Alaska probably has a few of these, so when you quote the Lt Col. From Alaksa NORAD (ANR) those numbers maybe correct. But for someone to take those numbers and use them to inflate intercepts inside the conterminous US is wrong.

We had one hijack exercise back in 1995 we had an exercise involving an AAL airliner that was going to be hijacked from Dulles to Gander NF. The fighters off FMH got off late, and never caught up to the airliner, not that they couln't have, but the Canadian Fighters out of Bagotville QE, never got off, due to the referendrum for Quebec Soveriegnty was voted on that day, and the vote was close. So close that the Canadian governemnt determined that day that if they launched fighters it may be interpreted as some form of a coup. Hard to beleive, but that is the truth. So the F-15's out of Otis were given the intiail wrong heading, and were never allowed to go into to afterburner to catch up, becasue they had to fly all the way to Gander, instead of being relieved by the Canadian fighters.

I am not saying that there were not exercises involving aircraft hgitting buildings there may have been, but there were not any in Boston Center's airspace, unless they were SIM exericses that we are not coordinated with anyway, just like Vigilant Guardian.

I find any goverment conspiracy involving 9-11, I have a problem with. As you have pointed out in many incidents, the failure of the goverment to perform on that day, but then to turn around and beleive that the same goverment can perform so well getting 3 out 4 aircraft to their targets, and to keep all of those who had to be involved to keep thier mouths shut is beyond comprehension. The buildings WTC 1 & 2 falling on themselves is very believable, WTC 7 I can see where some people could question it, but it was more than office fires there, one of the engines of one of the aircraft hit the building, and the base structure that held WTC 1 & 2, could have severly weakened the sub stucture of WTC 7 so that it collapsed. But this is an opinion that you kind of asked me so I have provided my opinion, I won't answer or support my opinion, because I am not an expert in any thing that deals with construction or gravity that may have caused the demiss of those buildings.

You had also aksed me if any one thing particular bothered me about 9/11 was the fact the fighters didn't get off quicker. They had notifiaction, whether it was considered proper notification, I really don't care, I felt that the ADCF had the authority under the FAA 7610.4H APpendix 16 to launch. Col. Marr evidently felt differently, but he is in charge of his facility and he felt he needed authority, his call, his command. I made mistakes as well that day, obviously if i had come in as scheduled that day at 7:30 the additional 15 minutes I could have had may have helped as well. If I could have made that call to NEADS even 10 minutes earlier who knows. It would have been interesting to at least give the fighters a chance to make a decison in the air, the opportunity. But if they had and they had made the ultimate decision and put one of those aircraft down, where would we be today. What investigations would be happneing, what if another hundred or so innocent civilians died on the ground because of a fighter pilots decison to down a civilian airliner. What if fighters had got to DAL1989, an innocent aircraft that I had told the military was a hijacked aircraft. How could I live with myself if it was shot down. You can't go through life on a bunch of "What Ifs", I can't so I don't. I have enjoyed the back and forth here hopefully I have answered most of your questions, if you have more feel free to ask, I don't like offering opinions on things I don't know, so even though I passed a couple on here, I normally don't. Cheapshot out.

thx for the info and offer to respond to addtl questions

I'm just gonna comment on this:
"I find any goverment conspiracy involving 9-11, I have a problem with. As you have pointed out in many incidents, the failure of the goverment to perform on that day, but then to turn around and beleive that the same goverment can perform so well getting 3 out 4 aircraft to their targets, and to keep all of those who had to be involved to keep thier mouths shut is beyond comprehension."

Corrupt people use govt and corporations for corrupt purposes, and the 9/11 Cmssn and their investigation aren't credible. The FAA's ATC's landed hundreds of planes in short order all across the US, something that had never been done before, and it was done w/o incident; no incompetence there. The 'failure' of some in mgmt or key positions might have been intentional. If someone can claim technical problems, system inefficiencies/breakdown, ignorance, misunderstanding or even incompetence, this obviously looks better for them (and the official story) than intent. Also, if people w/ authority/expertise to get stuff done are absent, as a number were, this complicates the efforts of those who want to prevent the attacks. For these reasons, there wouldn't need to be a huge number of people involved, just some people in key positions tossing monkey wrenches into the works who later claim they were acting w/ the best intentions, and some key people absent.

The govt's response to the attacks no doubt appeared to be a great big snafu to many at FAA/military that morning, and this helps to reduce suspicion/keep people from asking questions. There are ways of communicating to someone w/o saying it that asking questions or sharing certain info will harm their chances for advancement, and that not saying anything can help. If someone doesn't have hard evidence of malfeasance, suspicions don't mean much. In Cmssn interviews, agencies insisted on having 'minders' present (an FAA attorney was present at yours); some staff complained the minders were intimidating witnesses and even answering for them.
https://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/newly-released-memo-government-%E2%80%98minders%E2%80%99-at-911-commission-inter...
https://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/those-911-commission-minders-again/#more-721
Certain Cmssn staff appeared to want to investigate, but the people in charge of the investigation knew what kind of story they were going to tell even before the investigation began, and Zelikow kept tight control. The few that did blow the whistle on things they witnessed experienced retaliation, little to no support from Congress or the courts, and not much attention from the press and the public, which sends a clear signal to anyone else thinking of talking.

FAA HQ's incredible failure?

"FAA HQ's incredible failure" should ground on that conversation:

Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling
aircraft?
FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don’t know.
Command Center: Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to
make probably in the next ten minutes.
FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room. (Cmssn Rpt p. 29)

As I understand it, this unsureness of the FAA, Headquarters is based on the hijack-protocol as cheapshot described it! Only the NMCC may scramble jets, not FAA, Headquarters. So this conversation is about breaking the hijack-protocol: Should the FAA scramble at NEADS fighter-planes? This whole problem just arose, because the NMCC did not react on the FAA-calls in the primary net / hijack net.

We know, that Belger, by himself, was on nets and warned against the plane, which was approaching the Washington DC.

Statements of Monte Belger, Mike Weikert (both FAA) in regard to the Mineta-testimony
http://www.911blogger.com/news/2011-02-08/statements-monte-belger-mike-weikert-both-faa-regard-mineta-testimony

Yes, the FAA, Headquarter was evacuated, according to the Steenhagen, before the Pentagon-attack. But important FAA-people stayed on duty.

Mister van Steenbergen describes the moments ...

"On 9/11
He went down and saw the second plane hit. All his information was coming from Nelson Garabito of the secret service, who was calling him from the White House JOC. Nelson fed information to him. This was Steenbergen only outside source. He doesn´t know how Nelson got his information. This was received within 30 seconds of the 2nd plane hitting the World Trade Center. Garabito said: "What should we do?", Steenbergen said: "We need to turn all the planes away from Washington. He concurred. The three people in his office called Dulles, National, BWI to tell the pilots to turn their aircraft out of class B airspace. (...) Once we started the planes moving outbound (...) all inbound planes were considered hostile. Steenbergen said, we needed fighters airborne. We had three people here in his office call over to Andrews, Langley etc. to see, if they would launch some fighters. Diane Creen, Karen Pontius, Scott Hagen were in his office that day. (...)

Karen Pontius and Diane Creen left the building when it was evacuated. He and Scott stayed behind. Scott went into the TSD room while Steenbergen stayed on the line with Garbido. Scott said he had AAL 77 spotted on the TSD. According to Steenbergen, "Scott watched it come around the Potomac out the window." He was yelling out to Van Steenbergen were the thing was. The location was rough because of the delay in the feed."
http://www.scribd.com/doc/17218142/T8-B6-FAA-HQ-Terry-van-Steenbergen-Fd...

I hadn't read some of this

I hadn't read some of this before interesting stuff... I tried to NEADS to call ADW but that was early and said it wasn't their command I rember trying to find their number on th Internet so I could call them myself, never did though.

bio - FAA HQ request for fighters

bio: "Only the NMCC may scramble jets, not FAA, Headquarters. So this conversation is about breaking the hijack-protocol: Should the FAA scramble at NEADS fighter-planes? This whole problem just arose, because the NMCC did not react on the FAA-calls in the primary net / hijack net."

What is the evidence that FAA HQ requested fighter escorts? I don't recall seeing it claimed anywhere that they did. If they did, this makes NMCC's failure even more egregious.

The FAA did not have authority to order scrambles, but scrambles routinely happened in short order when requested, according to official sources. The procedure is not that the chain of command deliberates at each step about whether to scramble, though in some cases questions might be asked and decisions made about who to call/what resources to task. This procedure gets the chain of command in the loop and enables oversight. Prior to 9/11 it operated efficiently, but on 9/11 it collapsed, in addition to being frustrated by multiple introductions of bogus hijack reports.

As an example, see this guidance given to ATC ops personnel, by FAA mgmt; the people who were most aware of potential threats to the aviation system, as well as actual threat reporting.
FAA ATC Handbook 10-1-1. EMERGENCY DETERMINATIONS
c.If the words "Mayday" or "Pan-Pan" are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency.
d.Because of the infinite variety of possible emergency situations, specific procedures cannot be prescribed. However, when you believe an emergency exists or is imminent, select and
pursue a course of action which appears to be most appropriate under the circumstances and which most nearly conforms to the instructions in this manual.
http://www.faa.gov/ATpubs/ATC/Chp10/atc1001.html#10-1-1

The 9/11 Cmssn mentioned the FAA had a hijack coordinator, but didn't say who it was. They mentioned Michael Canavan, but not in connection w/ that position. Given FAA HQ's incredibly inadequate response to multiple emergencies, it may be Canavan didn't designate a Hijack Coordinator in his absence. If so, it seems this might be considered dereliction of duty, perhaps even criminal negligence or worse. And it's not surprising the Cmssn didn't address it in their report, as they ignored or glossed over most anything that pointed to personal responsibility.

loose nuke: "What is the

loose nuke: "What is the evidence that FAA HQ requested fighter!"

Weikert, primary net (hijack-net):
"We were trying to raise them when we were tracking the plane that crashed in the Pentagon. Belger was in the room at the time. He was monitoring both nets." http://www.scribd.com/doc/17218115/t8-b6-Faa-Hq-Mike-Weikert-Fdr-5704-Mfr-876

It sounds strange, but a hijacking is not an emergency! To Boston Center it must have been clear from the beginning, that Flight 11 was hijacked, because the controllers received a message "We have some planes".

The following transmission was reportedly received from Flight 11 at Boston Center: “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you'll be okay .. we are returning to the airport. Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet. Nobody move please we are going back to the airport .. don't try to make any stupid moves.”
Flight Path Study - American Airlines Flight 11, NTSB, 2/19/02

hijack coordinator

loose nuke: "Given FAA HQ's incredibly inadequate response to multiple emergencies, it may be Canavan didn't designate a Hijack Coordinator in his absence."

Before a hijack-coordinator can act at all, there must be a conversation in the hijack-net!

"There was some effort to get the military on one of the nets. It was an open question: "Does anyone have contact with the military right now?" It was Monte Belger that was framing the question at the time (...) A connection must have been made between the FAA and the DOD before the fourth plane crashed."

EDIT:
Seemingly the acting hijack coordinator suffered an almost complete memory loss. How many times, "he cannot recall".
"He doesn´t recall being involved in any discussions about scrambling aircraft. He was aware, that he was the hijack coordinator, but he would not have made that request without checking with Lynn Osmus or Monty Belger. Concerning the policy, he was the senior person there and would have been the one running the show (...)."
http://www.scribd.com/doc/13911366/T8-B6-FAA-HQ-Lee-Longmire-Fdr-Typed-Interview-Notes-FAA-285

thx for the quotes/links, but

The primary net, which connects FAA w/ command level staff at the military and other important agencies and which can include ops personnel, was not established by FAA til 920a, nearly an hour after it was clear AAL 11 was hijacked, over a 1/2 hr after AAL 11 had hit WTC 1 and when UAL 175 was believed to be hijacked, and more than 15" after WTC 2 was hit, after which nobody denies knowing the nation was under terrorist attack.

Prior to 9/11, conference call nets could be established in minutes or less, after which the people whose job it is to respond to situations can share info in real time. Other info, including in the MFR's you linked, indicates the info on FAA's primary net was being ignored by the NMCC. FAA was unable to participate in the ATCC for reasons that have never been established.

bio: "It sounds strange, but a hijacking is not an emergency!"

You really should back up a stmt like that w/ some documentation. Whatever the basis for that stmt, it's not relevant to 9/11 simply due to the short timeline of events i listed above.

Hijack is an emergency

We treat hijacks as an emergency, don't happen very often but when they do the controller will treat it like an emergency

The question is, whether

The question is, whether Boston-Center had the legal authority, to call for a scramble due to a hijacking.

You by yourself have written something about this long process:
"The protocol on 9/11 for a hijacking, was as follows: Controller (pete Zawleski) tells a supervisor (John Schipanni), the supervisor tells the Operational Manager In Charge (Terry Biggio), he calls the Regional Operation Center, who calls the Command Center, the Command Center notifies the FAA Hijack Coordinator, the Hijack Coordinator notifies the NMCC, who notifies NORAD, and NORAD would notify NEADS, NEADS would notify Otis ANG Base. This all happened, the protocol was followed, I just decided not to wait for this to happen."

@loose nuke
here I laid down the legal framework:
http://www.911blogger.com/news/2011-07-10/response-miles-kara-s-review-new-911-air-defense-film#comment-251269
http://www.911blogger.com/news/2011-07-10/response-miles-kara-s-review-new-911-air-defense-film#comment-251284

Legal or not that is the question.

I believe I was at the time, maybe a little gray area here. I seemed to have misplaced my PDF of FAA Order 7610.4J, but under Appendix 16 I believed that NEADS had the authority to scramble without having to consult NORAD, especially for an escort of a hijack. So Boston center didn't have the authority, but that didn't mean we couldn't ask. It was a good choice for us, but my initial call was for them to give me an altitude on AAL 11, which they never could do. If you come across another PDF of FAA Order 7610.4J I would like a link or a copy thanks,

Hijack is an emergency

Hit it twice sorry

My position In the FAA

Airspace Procedure Specialist, Military Specialist, also known as the Military Liaison. I work out of the Airspace Office at Boston ARTCC. Airspace since 1991, and took over the military duties in 1995. In the late 90's the Military Operation Specialist position was replaced by the Mission Coordinator position. MOS only did military and did not require a medical certificate. They were highly specialized in military procedures. MC replaced the position which is a position in TMU. All TMU specialist slide through the MC position. Some are well qualified, others come from background with no military and are not quite as specialized in military ops. Either way I was responsible for writing the military procedures for that position, and coordinating with the military units that use those procedures. I stir do the same job today.

Hour on the front

Our job allows us to use are annual leave how we choose, I earn a certain amount of hours a pay period, and so many a year, if we don't use them we lse them. It is not uncommon in our position at work to request an hour or two on the front, or an hour or two off the back end. I don't need to apologize or having a job like that. 11,000 controllers were fired in 1981, anyone nder the age of 31 could apply for that job, if ou were to young or old then to bad for you. Over 100000 people applied, over 50,0000 passed th test, out of every class after 1981 there was about a 60 percent failure rate. I wish I didn't take an hour on the front but I did, I have to live with that, but I sure don't have to apologize to ou for it.

Credit union

My office is upstairs, as I reach the top of the stairs I look directly into the credit union, I see them every day, I have to make right when I pass directly in front of them, so you can interpret how you want, I didn't go out of my wy to go the credit union it is on my way to my cube. My conversation took 30 seconds at the most. Trying to explain the people stumbling on each other like the Lufthansa hijacking is more of a metaphor. You have radar scope ith a chair for one,an assistant position with a chair for one. If someone is traing another person that sector is crowded with three people anymore than three and it gets hectic and to crowded. I went to TMU when I was requested, and I was in the building at 8:25 not 8:35.

CS, Please Fill Us In

Quote: Mister van Steenbergen describes the moments ...

"On 9/11 He went down and saw the second plane hit. All his information was coming from Nelson Garabito of the secret service, who was calling him from the White House JOC. Nelson fed information to him. This was Steenbergen only outside source. He doesn´t know how Nelson got his information. This was received within 30 seconds of the 2nd plane hitting the World Trade Center.

What system would allow Garabito to see 30 to 45 minutes out? What system allows him to know it was "fast and low".

30 to 45 minutes out would mean a range of more than 150 to 225 miles.

Fast and Low indicates more than primary which cannot see altitude. Speed cannot be seen unless a tag is put on, like it was at 9:35, by Dan Creedon at DCA.

USSS

As far as I knew at the time they had access to our TSD, which would not give them real time data, so if they have something else I am not aware of it, not to say they don't have something better, I am sure they do. I know the USSS had direc access to the DC guard, I didn't know that then but I do now. So I can't really help you on that question.

Even if NEADS had 'contact'

Even if NEADS had 'contact' with the NMCC,how would they know it wasn't from the same 'sims' team that impersonated Boston Center during the previous days drills?

"Vigilant Guardian was "meant

"Vigilant Guardian was "meant to test COMMANDERS ALSO, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should." [16] Marr has similarly commented that despite his senior position at NEADS, "You just never knew really what was going to happen in those exercises." [17]" [Quote from above-emphasis mine]

That's basically all I need to know. Combined with the recorded comments,it's obvious NEADS (with the exception of Marr (an obvious conspirator..yes,PLEASE call me on it) believed they MIGHT (likely were) dealing with a simulation/drill.