Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11
September 5, 2002 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11 "CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks." Rumsfeld: "Go massive ... Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
posted by owillis (61 comments total)

 
*folds hands, psychiatrist-style* So, Mr. Willis. How does this make you FEEL?
posted by allaboutgeorge at 6:16 AM on September 5, 2002


OK, kidding, kidding. But seriously:

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." – meaning Saddam Hussein – "at same time. Not only UBL" – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Am I naive, a patsy, a maroon to think he sounds like he's just information-gathering, not simply Strangelovingly rubbing his hands together in anticipation of W's Big Payback?
posted by allaboutgeorge at 6:20 AM on September 5, 2002


To me it sounds like Rumsfeld wanted to hit Iraq, but that he did call for judgement on whether the information was condemning enough or not. I don't like Rumsfeld and company, but I'm not going to go out and imply that he advocated something that it would appear he didn't.
posted by substrate at 6:28 AM on September 5, 2002


It should also be pointed out that the issue of attacking Iraq was not exactly kept secret -- it was extensively discussed in the aftermath of 9/11. On September 21, 2001, I submitted a post about Colin Powell's moderate influence, in contrast to the "hawks" who wanted to go into Iraq.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:35 AM on September 5, 2002


I got me some unfinished business with that ther sadman insain, pop couldn't finish him but i'll knock the poop out of him.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:42 AM on September 5, 2002


"CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq ? even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks."

People, can we not finally admit that the US allowed these planes to fly into the buildings and kill thousands of innocent people? For God's sake, how could it have happened without the US government simply sitting by and watching it? How many reports do we have to read? But then the words "conspiracy" and "nut" enter your head and everyone thinks Bush is a hero with a whole new playing field called "terrorism".

Jets that weren't scrambled in time to shoot down the planes.....clear window of opportunity to prevent at least the second attack on WTC.....jeez, what's the opposite of a conspiracy nut? A conservative nut? All those people who shot the video of the second plane from every bloody angle, yet no-one could shoot it. Un-fucking-believable. Wake up America.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:02 AM on September 5, 2002


Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

Is this sentence a little odd? A year's hindsight later didn't matter to Rumsfeld on that day one year ago? I mean, if he ordered a strike a year ago and a year later there was still no evidence, then that would be some shit. But if he didn't attack then, what's the real issue? I'm sure the US Govt has plans to kick everyone's ass (including the US if need be...)
posted by stifford at 7:02 AM on September 5, 2002


There's a world of diffierence between drawing up plans for an attack, and actually scheduling those plans. It seems like a good idea to me to have attack plans ready, just in case. There article doesn't present any evidence that Rumsfield actually wanted to implement those plans without proper proof.

The CBS article seems to be heavily spinned, and without that spin, I get the picture of an official just doing his job in a time of urgency.
posted by Llama-Lime at 7:08 AM on September 5, 2002


Jets that weren't scrambled in time to shoot down the planes.....clear window of opportunity to prevent at least the second attack on WTC

I could almost believe that the US might have been able to protect the Pentagon, but I don't think they could have stopped the 2nd WTC attack. I think the Airlines probably didn't know what was going on with the hijackings (I rememeber it was a while after the attacks before they even acknowledged planes were missing.) And I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out the plane that went down in PA was shot down. But I still think saying the US Govt. let all of it happen is in the "wacky conspiracy zone".
posted by stifford at 7:10 AM on September 5, 2002


And how is this news? It is Rumsfeld's job, as Secretary of Defense, to be well prepared and have accurate info. Geez who knows what else he said, if things said in time of panic start becoming news, then this is a sad sad world, and also,

People, can we not finally admit that the US allowed these planes to fly into the buildings and kill thousands of innocent people? For God's sake, how could it have happened without the US government simply sitting by and watching it?
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:02 AM PST on September 5


Your joking right? I personally don't think that it's funny , and if you aren't joking then you sould get to a doctor fairly quickly.
posted by Slash_fan at 7:23 AM on September 5, 2002


stifford, sorry you are so naive here. The US millitary yawn when hearing they are being attacked? No drills?

Ignore the large text, but read this.

Remember: life is not sane and straight-laced and sober. People lie from time to time, and all is not what it seems all of the time.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:25 AM on September 5, 2002


Slash_fan, why do you think I am joking? Where's the humour in my post? I'm serious, and yes, I need a doctor, but for reasons other than the ones you're insinuating.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2002


It's painfully apparent that if elements in the U.S. government were knowingly involved (either actively or passively) in the attacks, and undeniable proof was rolled out in front of the American public, the vast majority would refuse to believe it. Whether or not you think that there could have been a conspiracy, can you truly deny this claim? If you are a steadfast naysayer to the possibility of such a conspiracy, what would it take to make you begin to waiver in your conviction? To change your mind? (Keeping in mind all of the spin and counter-spin that would be vomited out by those accused).

Mind you- I am not saying that I am convinced of anything either way- it just troubles me that so many in the U.S. will not consider, even for a moment that there is even the tiniest possibility that anything could be fishy about or current situation.

We are a hypnotized nation. That is something that I do believe.
posted by eener at 7:32 AM on September 5, 2002


There's a world of diffierence between drawing up plans for an attack, and actually scheduling those plans.

Plans appear to be in place now: Shipping sources said the U.S. Navy had booked a large commercial vessel to move tanks and heavy armor to the Gulf, raising the specter of a military attack on Iraq.
posted by Shane at 7:38 AM on September 5, 2002


Anybody else reminded of the Timecube guy when reading SpaceCadet's link?
posted by Llama-Lime at 7:41 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet, I believe everyone has an agenda, conspiracy people included. If I wouldn't believe what the US Media says as the "gospel truth", why should I believe what conspiracy websites have on their pages is the truth?
posted by stifford at 7:42 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet, try to remember the way the day unfolded: Right up until the second plane slammed into the tower, everybody seemed to believe that this was nothing more than a horrible accident. Only after the second plane hit did all the pieces come together in most people's minds.

It's easy now, a year later, to look back and marvel at how we got caught with our pants down, so to speak, but we live in a different world now where we are very sensitive to the potential for terrorist attacks. To believe that the military should have been able to prevent at least some of the attacks given the very small window of time to figure out what was going on is, well, a little naive.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 7:42 AM on September 5, 2002


eener, SpaceCadet: Thank you for having the guts to voice opinions no one wants to hear. (No sarcasm intended whatsoever.)

I believe everyone has an agenda...

Yes. My agenda is that there are too damn many agendas in the Human world, especially in politics.
posted by Shane at 7:44 AM on September 5, 2002


well then, Shane, I guess it's time to do something about all us humans...
posted by stifford at 7:45 AM on September 5, 2002


well then, Shane, I guess it's time to do something about all us humans...

You've outed me! I'm an evil supervillain plotting the destruction of Human society.

No need, really. Humanity will probably do itself in, or will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs anyway. Plenty of comets whizzing around out there, too, if you believe all the hype.
posted by Shane at 7:51 AM on September 5, 2002


It's painfully apparent that if elements in the U.S. government were knowingly involved (either actively or passively) in the attacks, and undeniable proof was rolled out in front of the American public, the vast majority would refuse to believe it.

actually, if undeniable proof was rolled out, I think you would start seeing a lot of govt. buildings set on fire (and pretty much the entire capital burned down...). that's just my theory though...
posted by stifford at 7:53 AM on September 5, 2002


owillis, this strikes me as basic procedural target acquisition. With military response as a given, you don't want tactical to be sitting around waiting for intelligence to draw conclusions. The proper course of action would be to get tactical busy planning for various targets, and the usual suspects are a logical place to start.
posted by joemaller at 7:54 AM on September 5, 2002


it most definately, definately is.
posted by Satapher at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2002


Shane. I don't think you're a supervillian, I just think that people, in general, suck. ; )
posted by stifford at 7:56 AM on September 5, 2002


Ditto Tbone I can't find it right now, but anyone know how long it takes to get a force of planes in a peacetime situation mobilized and in the air to find a plane on a collision course with the WTC?

The fact that you would even make such a bizarre claim SpaceCadet was what was humorous to me. Show me some hard evidence that this is what happened and I may change my mind but don't just put a view out their like, 'oh come on people it's so obvious, I know it, and u shoud to'
posted by Slash_fan at 7:58 AM on September 5, 2002


Mind you- I am not saying that I am convinced of anything either way- it just troubles me that so many in the U.S. will not consider, even for a moment that there is even the tiniest possibility that anything could be fishy about or current situation.

eener, thanks for voicing your balanced view. I'm with you here. Yes, the link I provided appears to be rather irrational and wacky and good meat for you all to laugh at in a predictable way. Yet, it's compelling to me because of the way propaganda works both ways. The "correct" propaganda appeals to the large majority of the population - "correct" meaning that "this is how things are" i.e. the so-called threat of terrorism, the mechanics of economy, damned history books. The "in-correct" propaganda....well, it's the "wacky stuff" (which 99% is truly wacky and literally incorrect) but the secret pearl here is the 1% or so of "wacky" propaganda that is actually correct.

This is the place where your instinct should follow if you're truly open-minded.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:59 AM on September 5, 2002


I don't agree with SpaceCadet wholeheartedly, BUT I am left with two questions going round and round in my head about the US Government's handling of 9/11.

1) Numerous reports state that the Flight 98 plane crashed in Pittsburgh left debris for miles around, including several chunks a significant distance from the main crash site. This does not seem to me to be in line with the theory that passengers forced the plane into the ground. Perhaps this flight was shot down by US jets (contrary to denials) - and I wouldn't have a problem with this - but it does raise questions as to the US Government's readiness for the attack.

2) It was widely reported, as a result of an FBI statement, that one of the 9/11 terrorists' passports was found in the embers of Ground Zero. The more thought I give this, the more ridiculous the concept becomes. A fire so powerful that it melted an entire plane and an entire building was not strong enough to destroy a paper passport? And the terrorist was carrying a passport which conveniently led investigators right to his identity as an Al Qaeda member? Nonsense. At the very least this backs up SpaceCadet's assertion that people lie from time to time.
posted by skylar at 8:00 AM on September 5, 2002


Shane. I don't think you're a supervillian, I just think that people, in general, suck. ; )

Well hey, buddy! ; )

I just naturally assumed your comment was directed at what could be construed as my "cynical nutto liberal anti-human tree-hugger" demeanor. Someone even accused me of being one of the condescending "Uber-Cool" people recently, which is way off base. (Cool? Moi? Not unless the definition has been revised.)

Rather, if you have a conscience and a brain, I just think "people suck" is a tough conclusion to escape. That's all. No Uber-Coolness involved.
posted by Shane at 8:07 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet

I agree with you there, all media and governments use propaganda extensively, what is real and what is not? I don't believe much of what I see on the news, stories change minute to minute, it is all about up to the minuter reporting, but I have real qualms about placing blame on the US government because of propaganda that someone else puts out, in reality, you are guilty of what every one else is believing propaganda, u just picked a different kind to believe.
posted by Slash_fan at 8:10 AM on September 5, 2002


Good lord, Space Cadet, take off the tinfoil hat. You have movie-level fantasies of how fast people can react to events.

skylar: 1) the "major chunk" of Flight 93 was one engine, which landed 2/3 of a mile away from the rest of the debris. This is consistent with an airplane diving at ~500mph, and disintegrating as it passed its tolerances, when it would take about 8 seconds to cover that distance. Even the 8 miles away that smaller debris was found would be traversed in just one minute. 2) Mohammed Atta's passport was not found in the "embers of Ground Zero", where many things surprised unscathed regardless because of the variability of such things, but with other debris blocks away. I believe it ended up on a roof.

When these claims are made without detail, they do indeed sound remarkable. That is, perhaps, why they are rarely made with detail.

As for Rumsfeld, consider this. Your country has been attacked. It is your job to defend the country. You do not know who has attacked you. You draw up a list of likely suspects, and assign underlings to create plans to attack those suspects separately or together. (There are probably fifteen reasonably fresh plans sitting around for someplace like Iraq as it is, it's just a matter of putting them all in a report.) It is not your job to decide whom to attack, or when. It is your job to give the person who has that job -- the President -- options, and plans to execute them.

Hell yes he told his guys to draw up plans to attack Iraq. It was his JOB.
posted by dhartung at 8:25 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet, try to remember the way the day unfolded: Right up until the second plane slammed into the tower, everybody seemed to believe that this was nothing more than a horrible accident. Only after the second plane hit did all the pieces come together in most people's minds.

TboneMcCool, I hear you completely. I had NO CLUE what was happening when I saw black smoke coming out of the WTC when I looked at my TV screen as the feeds came in. Jesus, I thought a light plane had made a terrible mistake or something.

But lets hold on here. I sound predictable and lame, but I want to compare the Payne Stewart crash (sorry to compare tragedies).

Read the article and you will see that the US are oh-so-keen to protect it's population even in the event of a very small Learjet crashing into some farm.

Then on Sept 11 2001, 4 jumbos go AWOL and there's no millitary response, given a SEVENTY FIVE MINUTE warning from the first attack to the last. Interesting to say the least.

Incidentally, I live in Japan and the video footge that showed the second WTC crash featured a helicopter very close to the plane. I know I sound like a total conspiracy nut, but did anyone else see that in other countries?
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:34 AM on September 5, 2002


I don't believe much of what I see on the news, stories change minute to minute, it is all about up to the minuter reporting, but I have real qualms about placing blame on the US government because of propaganda that someone else puts out, in reality, you are guilty of what every one else is believing propaganda, u just picked a different kind to believe.

As I stated above, sometimes the "wacky" propaganda is correct, though very rarely. I seriously think there's much more to 9/11 than the US government is officially telling the public. If anyone disagrees with this view, I have one question: why do you blindly believe what you are told by the US government?

The US government has become a kind of God these days where everything the public are told by the US government is the Absolute Truth; Bush is decreeing the great truths of the world to the (indifferent) first world public. You should be patriotic/loyal and obey. Questioning such truths subjects you to charges of insanity (the old conspiracy nut call). Better to obey.

I'm not a complete nut, but I simply wonder that a Pearl Harbour situation could happen to NYC in 2001 under the noses of the US military. As I said earlier, un-fucking-believable.
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:53 AM on September 5, 2002


It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside that good ol' Donny had a plan.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 8:54 AM on September 5, 2002


There was a TV show this week in the UK detailing the events minute by minute (I've looked for a link but had no luck, hopefully someone else knows one) that stated two facts that might be of interest. 1) At the time of the attack there were four thousand planes in the sky over America, so it's not all that surprising that they had trouble finding out what had been hi-jacked and what happened, and 2) due to the perceived threat of an air attack on the US being very low there are only 18 planes used to gaurd the eastern seaboard. With these figures it doesn't seem any great surprise to me that no one was able to intercept the planes. Damn I hope someone has a link to this...I'll probably find out I had my numbers the wrong way round then.

And keeping on topic, if my country had been under attack (with possibly more attacks to follow) I'd like to think the government would be drawing up contingency plans to attack any of the possible perpertrators. I also like to think they wouldn't then carry out that attack until they were sure who did it. Hate Rummy, but have to say he was just doing his job, and we should only be concerned if he had done anything different.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:04 AM on September 5, 2002


I'm not a conspiracy nut. However, when I consider the stories that have emerged since Sept 11th about the information that was available to the American intelligence community, the Bush administration's lethargic actions prior to the attack on the WTC, and the administration's exploitation of the event to further its own agenda, I reluctantly admit that I find the Let It Happen On Purpose theory plausible.

I have no proof, of course. And I do not claim this theory to be true, merely believable.

When I look at the character of men like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, so eager for war in the face of all reason, I believe they would be capable of such a plot. And that is reason enough for worry.
posted by SPrintF at 9:08 AM on September 5, 2002


Space Cadet, Pearl Harbour was the first thing I thought of. Maybe it's the way my mind works after watching and analyzing too much politics, but all I could think was, "My God, Bush must be loving this! How much more perfect could it be!? He'll be a "hero," he's guaranteed re-election, he has carte blanche to push his agendas in the name of "defense," the upcoming war will boost the economy..." The list goes on and on. You can't help but think these things, then watch carefully...
posted by Shane at 9:08 AM on September 5, 2002


Just a small quibble here...TBoneMcCool said "Right up until the second plane slammed into the tower, everybody seemed to believe that this was nothing more than a horrible accident. Only after the second plane hit did all the pieces come together in most people's minds. "

It is perhaps a huge error to confuse what the average television viewer experienced with what properly trained & properly equipped government personnel experienced. If in fact those with the job of protecting the nation were not aware of what was going on until the second plane hit then we are in far worse shape than even I thought.

Signed Mr. Cynical T. Rambunctious
posted by filchyboy at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2002


This slightly-less sensational chronology makes it pretty clear that yes, people aren't telling the truth about Sept 11 and that the Bush Admin. is playing this to suit their interests in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
posted by twitch at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2002


All those people who shot the video of the second plane from every bloody angle, yet no-one could shoot it.

uh, because it's easier to lug around a video camera than a Stinger missile? Because video cameras are cheaper? Because they're not frowned upon by authorities? (er...well, make that not frowned upon quite as MUCH as Stinger missiles, but you catch my drift.) Because tourists are more likely to have 'em?

All the questions about sizes of debris fields and locations of hijackers' passports, etc. are good questions...but take care that the starting assumptions (e.g. melted an entire plane and building) are correct. Bound hands, landing gear, and other eerie stuff were found throughout the WTC site. (not to mention lots of paper from WTC offices that didn't burn...sites like these are very complex and the destruction wasn't completely uniform.

As far as the helicopter goes -- yes, there were a couple helicopters in the vicinity when the second plane hit. I'm sure they were either news helicopters or police...remember, the first tower had just been hit, right? They wanted to check it out. What are you implying here? That some mysterious black helicopter took time out from its busy cattle-mutilation schedule to act as a spotter for Atta & Co?
posted by Vidiot at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2002


On the original topic: I don't have a hard time believing that what SpaceCadet et al are saying about the administration spinning this. I'm sure that they saw an opportunity to advance their adgenda and seized upon it.

But as for planning the attacks, there's one huge flaw in that theory: why hit the Pentagon? There are many other iconical American structures to hit, like the Statue of Liberty, the White House (where the downed plane was reported to have been heading), the Capitol, or even a stadium somewhere. Why hit the one building that you know is going to be critical to your response?

I mean, if I wanted to pull one over on the American public, I would want to move as quickly as possible, while the memories and the anger were still fresh. It just doesn't make sense to have hit the Pentagon.

On preview: even if someone filming the incident had a stinger missile (or similar man-portable anti-aircraft weapon) you think it would have changed anything? By the time they'd fired, the plane would have already started it's final approach. And it's the equivalent of trying to stop a 18-wheeler by shooting out a tire; hundreds of tons of aircraft and fuel doesn't just stop.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:26 AM on September 5, 2002


1) At the time of the attack there were four thousand planes in the sky over America, so it's not all that surprising that they had trouble finding out what had been hi-jacked and what happened

*chuckle*.

I'm sorry, I just have to reply to this. If the ATC are so snowed-under with planes, please allow me to write a simple program that would highlight any planes that deviated from their path flight in any extreme way (I can do VBScript, so I'm not all bad). That way they could see clearly 4 RED dots amongst the 3996 GREEN dots and at LEAST notify the military about such a thing immediately (I have no doubt a similar procedure was already in operation on 9/11).

You think they're using eyes alone to detect which dots are out of line amongst 4000 dots?

I think if anything is/was amiss with Air Traffic Control, they would be alerted immediately of the potential danger. They are there for that reason as well as others.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:27 AM on September 5, 2002


agreed, YellingAtNothing. Which raises another question -- say a fighter HAD managed to shoot down one of the hijacked planes. Not to minimize the deaths of those in the towers, but it'd still be a catastrophe (albeit of smaller magnitude.) People would still die. An exploding 767 over Manhattan would still do a hell of a lot of damage.
posted by Vidiot at 9:36 AM on September 5, 2002


uh, because it's easier to lug around a video camera than a Stinger missile? Because video cameras are cheaper? Because they're not frowned upon by authorities? (er...well, make that not frowned upon quite as MUCH as Stinger missiles, but you catch my drift.) Because tourists are more likely to have 'em?

Vidiot, I understand your reply, but I'm really talking about those capable of an aggressive response, not Joe 6-pack with a handheld Sony. (i.e. I'm talking about the government). Since the public were awake and alert to the attacks (from the evidence of video footage), why weren't the government? Was there really NO homeland security before 9/11? (Payne Stewart crash suggests otherwise).

My main gist is this: there are more questions than answers for 9/11. Most people assume that what the US government tell them is the truth. I think that what the US government is telling the public is not ALL of the truth, or possibly it is NONE of the truth.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:39 AM on September 5, 2002


agreed, YellingAtNothing. Which raises another question -- say a fighter HAD managed to shoot down one of the hijacked planes. Not to minimize the deaths of those in the towers, but it'd still be a catastrophe (albeit of smaller magnitude.) People would still die. An exploding 767 over Manhattan would still do a hell of a lot of damage.

I agree there. It could be so that more people would have died had debris rained down on mid-town or even Harlem. In any case, it would have been a very, very tough call for the guy in the plane tracking the hijacked liners, had there been one.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:46 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet, assuming the govt did have some complicity in 9-11, what would the motivation be? A pretext to invade countries that foment suicide hijacking? Or maybe the Trilateral commission felt Bush needed some sort of grand 'project' to improve his image following the election fiasco, and the 9-11 situation serendipitously fit that bill?

Or they just wanted to do something bad?
posted by shoos at 9:50 AM on September 5, 2002


SpaceCadet, I'll completely agree with you there. One should never just accept what the government tells you -- EVERYONE has an agenda. (as Chomsky said, every government lies.) Asking questions is good...but make sure to question one's own initial assumptions as well. Like I.F. Stone pointed out, ya gotta triangulate to find the truth.
posted by Vidiot at 9:53 AM on September 5, 2002


Not sure I'm remembering this correctly, but it seems the section of the Pentagon that got hit was responsible for logistics and planning, including responses to crises of the Sept. 11th sort. Though I agree the terrorists would probably have done better [for their purposes] by hitting the White House.
posted by casarkos at 10:35 AM on September 5, 2002


Iraq Attack? Isn't that an eighties synth-pop group?
posted by Summer at 10:38 AM on September 5, 2002


Well, SpaceCadet and crew have some valid points. If we just use the "official" record...there are some startling inconsistencies. Now, I realize that the party line apologists are going to put me firmly in the camp with the conspiracists because of this...but still...these appear to be facts. I welcome refutation with documentation however.

For example...jet fighters not being scrambled:

Andrews Air Force base is 10 miles from the Pentagon. The media has mainly avoided talking about Andrews. There were a couple of exceptions...one of which was 'USA Today,'. On one day it published two contradictory stories to explain the failure to scramble jets from Andrews prior to the Pentagon crash:

"Andrews Air Force Base, home to Air Force One, is only 15 miles away from the Pentagon, but it had no fighters assigned to it. Defense officials won't say whether that has changed."--' USA TODAY' September 17, 2001

"The District of Columbia National Guard maintained fighter planes at Andrews Air Force Base, only about 15 miles [sic]from the Pentagon, but those planes were not on alert and not deployed."--'USA TODAY' September 17, 2001

The 'San Diego Union-Tribune' reported: Air defense around Washington is provided mainly by fighter planes from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland near the District of Columbia border. The D.C. Air National Guard is also based there and equipped with F-16 fighter planes, a National Guard spokesman said. But the fighters took to the skies over Washington only after the devastating attack on the Pentagon..."--'San Diego Union-Tribune' September 12, 2001.


Andrews Air Force Base is a huge installation. It hosts two 'combat-ready' squadrons:
* the 121st Fighter Squadron (FS-121) of the 113th Fighter Wing (FW-113), equipped with F-16 fighters;
* the 321st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA-321) of the 49th Marine Air Group, Detachment A (MAG-49 Det-A), equipped with F/A-18 fighters.


The 121st Fighter Squadron (FS-121) (FW-113): As part of its dual mission, the 113th provides capable and ready response forces for the District of Columbia in the event of a natural disaster or civil emergency. Members also assist local and federal law enforcement agencies in combating drug trafficking in the District of Colombia. [They] are full partners with the active Air Force"--DC Military

The 321st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA-321):
"In the best tradition of the Marine Corps, a 'few good men and women' support two combat-ready reserve units at Andrews AFB. "Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 321, a Marine Corps Reserve squadron, flies the sophisticated F/A-18 Hornet. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 49, Detachment A, provides maintenance and supply functions necessary to maintain a force in readiness. "--DC Military


So Andrews AFB had at least two 'combat-ready' squadrons. Jets are routinly scrambled for commercial flights that have gone off course. So why weren't jets scrambled? Nobody knows.

What did the President know...and when did he know it?

Associated Press reporter Sonya Ross was one of the journalists covering Bush's trip to Florida on the morning of 9-11. Ms. Ross was either on her way to the Booker School when she learned of the first WTC crash: "My cell phone rang as President Bush's motorcade coursed toward Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. A colleague reported that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. No further information. "I called the AP desk in Washington, seeking details. Same scant information. But I knew it had to be grim. I searched for a White House official to question, but none was on hand until 9:05 a.m. "

Since the President's information system is far more extensive and sophisticated than what is available to a reporter, it seems more than plausible that by the time Ms. Ross heard about the first WTC crash - that is, as the Bush motorcade was speeding to Booker Elementary School - the president already knew about this tragic event. Public sources confirm this.

ABC journalist John Cochran was traveling with the President. He reported on ABC TV on Tuesday morning: "Peter, as you know, the president's down in Florida talking about education. He got out of his hotel suite this morning, was about to leave, reporters saw the White House chief of staff, Andy Card, whisper into his ear. This reporter said to the president, 'Do you know what's going on in New York?' He said he did, and he said he will have something about it later. His first event is about half an hour at an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida." ABC News' Special Report

So Bush knew about the first WTC incident before leaving his hotel. What else did he know?

1) John Cochran reports that President Bush did not respond to Andrew Card. It is unlikely that a person could be told that a plane had just ploughed into the tallest building in New York and have no response. It seems logical to assume that Bush must have known before Card whispered in his ear.

2) This is confirmed by the fact that shortly after Card spoke to him, Bush told a reporter that he would make a statement later. Bush would not have said that without discussing the situation with his Chief of Staff and others.

8:40 [the] FAA notifie[s] NEADS (the Northeast Air Defense Sector) of NORAD, the military's civil defense system, about Flight 11, [i.e., that it had been hijacked and had been heading towards the White House before it turned and headed for the WTC.]" Newsday 23 September 2001

Based on the official story as presented by VP Cheney on Meet The Press, Sept 16...(transcript skipped for space reasons...but the relevant quote is (They're talking about how the SS was notified after Flight 11 seemed to be targeting the White House...but then rolled and headed for New York: "VICE PRES. CHENEY: The Secret Service has an arrangement with the F.A.A. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was... ",) therefore, the Secret Service knew by 8:40 or before that Flight 11 had been hijacked.

And since the FAA was tracking Flight 11, as was the National Military Command Center, which is notified of hijackings and has access to radar from all over the country, it is definite that at 8:46 the Secret Service knew a hijacked plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

So according to the official story, before the President entered the Booker School, indeed, apparently before he left his hotel, the Secret Service knew that, for the first time in US history, the country had been attacked by terrorists from the air.

And yet...the jets were still not scrambled to intercept the other planes....which were *known* to be off course by a factor of hundreds of miles.

Something doth smell a little fishy to me.
posted by dejah420 at 10:56 AM on September 5, 2002


dejah420, I wouldn't put you in the conspiracy group just for the info in that post. I don't doubt that after the fact the government "polished" some of the facts up to make themselves look less like asses, or to explain lapses in defense. It's once the "govt knew it was going to happen way ahead of time and just let it all happen to advance their agendas" line gets crossed that I, personally, start to question the wacky conspiracy stuff. I mean, if the govt knew and then stopped it, they could make all the same arguements of which groups/countries to attack, imo.
posted by stifford at 11:15 AM on September 5, 2002


Casarkos: if I recall correctly, the portion of the Pentagon hit was being rennovated, and was hence almost empty and insignificant.
posted by Ptrin at 11:31 AM on September 5, 2002


You guys duke it out - I'm still reeling over the fact that the US Navy has to book commercial shipping to move war ordnance around....
posted by jalexei at 11:40 AM on September 5, 2002


You guys duke it out - I'm still reeling over the fact that the US Navy has to book commercial shipping to move war ordnance around....-- jalexei

Yeah...ain't that the oddest thing?
posted by dejah420 at 11:51 AM on September 5, 2002


I'd like to say something intelligent about all of this but I have to go to work now, so I'll just say this: SpaceCadet, will you marry me?
posted by mokujin at 12:15 PM on September 5, 2002


I don't believe the conspiracy theories.

What I do believe is that the War on Terror is justified, I don't believe the Iraq gyrations are justified. We will defeat Iraq easily, but mopping up the Middle East post-Iraq will be akin to 'Nam.

Mr. Bush, start saying goodbye to the Whitehouse staff. Mr. Nixon is waiting.
posted by owillis at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2002


Owillis, you already _have_ defeated Iraq. The battle against Saddam was never any fun, even in the good old days. It's like pitting Mike Tyson against Emo Phillips. So calling it the "War on Terror" is a bit inappropriate. Probably better to come up with a new name... perhaps "The Rumble For Regime-Change"
posted by skylar at 3:00 PM on September 5, 2002


I'm just waiting to see what cool names they are coming up for the Iraq war. How about "Operation Infinite Mustache"?
posted by cell divide at 3:39 PM on September 5, 2002


Operation Defending Petroleum?
posted by Vidiot at 3:50 PM on September 5, 2002


Operation We Do What We Like And You Keep Your Mouths Shut
posted by skylar at 5:09 PM on September 5, 2002


Operation Enduring Profits?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:51 PM on September 5, 2002


Operation "You happy now, Dad?"
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 7:03 PM on September 5, 2002


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