Day of 9/11, United 23 - Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of December 22, 2001

Most of this week’s new entries in the 9/11 Timeline again deal with the day of 9/11, shortly before which NORAD was preparing a major war game. On the day itself, the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) called an air defence unit in Atlantic City, just before the first plane hit the World Trade Center, but the phone was not answered. FAA manager Ben Sliney began responding to the crisis around the same time and the air space over New York was closed after the second plane hit. There are also new entries about another phone call from Flight 93, by passenger Andrew Garcia, a suspected hijack in the afternoon that delayed travel by President George Bush, and the lobby of World Trade Center 7, which was ruined by midday.

Another additional entry covers United 23, which was thought to be a potential hijack target on 9/11. The alleged potential hijackers were arrested when they returned to the airport a few days after the attacks, but soon released. Finally, the air force also started using a better radar system in Washington the day after the attacks and the governor of Kentucky was nearly shot down over Washington in 2004.

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There have also been some interesting additions to one of the other projects hosted by the History Commons, Neoconservative Influence.

United 23 is very strange

From news reports on United 23:

1)Later, authorities checked their luggage and found copies of the Qu'ran and al-Qaida instruction sheets.

2) "The suspect passengers were never found, and are probably still at large, Kirk said. "When all we have is a photo from a fake ID," he added, "the chances of finding him in Afghanistan or Pakistan are rather slim."

If one suspect passenger from United 23 came back on 9/13 then it seems a proper interrogation would have located the others. One would think al Qaeda instruction sheets found in luggage on 9/11 was rather suspicious.

One of strange aspects of 9/11 is the notion that al Qaeda operatives used their real names to reserve and purchase tickets. If the CIA or FBI had alerted the FAA the whole attack would likely have been thwarted. OTOH, the United 23 suspects evidently used fake ID's. Why did these guys use fake ID's? I know the conventional wisdom is that real hijackers don't use fake ID's but that assumes the 9/11 investigations have been above board. We do have the early manifest confusion with Mosear Canad and the Bukharis though some dismiss this as media confusion. We also have Yosri Fouda's interview with bin al-Shibh and KSM. They only mentioned 19 hijackers so we simply must conclude that United 23 wasn't connected.