Part 1A
Sept 11: Unanswered Questions
by MalcontentX

Index Page

Part 1A:



Feb. 2002

Within a few months, the events of Sept. 11th, 2001 became but an echo of the events that followed.

War in Afghanistan, anthrax, unprecedented powers of detention: the public mind moves from one shock to another, appearing to accept the government’s lead.

Now after five, six, seven months, a new world beacons; or perhaps, the old world, from a different vantage point.

For those of us determined to think for ourselves, (and question government pronouncements) the leap to blame Bin Laden, (with little substantial evidence) and the pretext for bombing yet another poor country, was unsatisfactory -right from the start.

Yet this has become a "new reality" which we now have to deal with, taking us further from the events of Sept. 11th with each passing day.

The curtain seems to be descending on the big, unanswered questions that was on virtually everyone’s mind during, (and for weeks after) the attack:

How could Sept. 11th have happened?

How could four planes be hijacked over U.S. skies, within the space of an hour?

How was it that three of them were able to plow into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands of people, in the heart of the most powerful nation on earth -with no planes in the skies to defend them?

Were the perpetrators simply evil geniuses?

Or did these attacks occur alongside the most colossal collapse of airspace security in U.S. history?

In the wake of the devastation, the answer to this last question is: obviously, yes.

Somehow, the terrorists got through.

Even politicians in Washington, (normally staunch defenders of the security apparatus) were initially compelled to express this:

"The government failed the American people." (Rep. Curt Weldon, on CNN, 12:40, Sept. 11th).

A "stunning failure… of U.S. intelligence." "There must be a thorough inquiry."

Sen. Robert Torricelli, speaking on the Senate floor. (1)

An obvious thing.

This didn’t happen in a vacuum.

"They" got through the protective shield we call government, the military.

To touch on but one example:

two of the four planes commandeered on Sept 11th were in the air, (hijack-confirmed) for almost an hour after the first hijacked plane attack on the World Trade Center had been confirmed -with no jet fighter in sight, as routine procedure demands.

The hijacked planes should not have been able to reach their targets.

There were safeguards in place, and they were not implemented.

As this report will show, a glaring lapse in routine procedure was repeated at virtually every level of civilian air defense, in relation to all four planes.

Alongside the acts of terror, there existed an unprecedented negligence –on the part of those entrusted with the protection of American skies.

Without such an lapse, the attacks of Sept 11th simply would not have been successful.

Whether this negligence was intentional, or coincidental, the sheer scope of it, (as we shall see) cries out for a full public inquiry; yet the government has strictly avoided opening itself to public scrutiny; instead, it has used the tragedy to wrap the protective ring of secrecy around itself, even tighter.

The congressional committee of review, for example,

"does not in any way lay blame to the dedicated men and women of the U.S. intelligence community." "The point is not to point blame or point fingers. The point is to see where the weaknesses are in our system." Members of committee, NY Times, Oct 3, 2001(2)

The focus of this committee is to "increase the roughly $30 billion intelligence budget," "rescind the 1995 restrictions on the C.I.A.'s use of unsavory covert agents" and so on. (ibid)

In other words, the assumption is,

‘the government and defense apparatus did everything it could.’
‘We were caught off-guard by fiendishly clever, ruthless, and fanatical foes.’
‘We simply need more resources to make sure it never happens again.’

As this report will clearly show, (fully-referenced to official documents, statements, and mainstream media reports) this assumption is utterly wrong.

More resources were not required.

What was needed on Sept 11th was for procedures that were already in place to be implemented.

A most profound abandonment of routine air-defense procedures accompanied these attacks.

In this particular sense, the attackers did not act alone.

That this basic reality has been effectively ignored, (in the rush to identify the attackers) is all the more reason that an open, public investigation be initiated.

In our brief moment of grief following this horrific crime, we found it virtually impossible to discuss the scope of internal incompetence which must have accompanied it; and our government, media, (and other centers of influence) seem to have found it convenient to inflame our anger –diverting our attention from the outstanding, obvious questions:

How did this happen?

Who within the state apparatus was asleep at the switch?

How do we ensure that this never happens again?

How do we know that some of those involved in the internal "investigation" of the state won’t simply cover over what they don’t want us to see?

In the immediate aftermath of the terror, the government/media made it seem as if anyone who criticized the government was "for" the "other side."

The sacred role of the citizenry, as the watchdogs of government, was temporarily put on hold.

It’s now clear that our governments want no part of a public investigation.

There will be no blame found, no calling to accounts –simply an increased budget for police surveillance, covert operations, and state power.

It appears that we, the public, must examine the evidence for ourselves; and yet, the passing of time in the weeks and months following, may have made such an inquiry seem impossible to us, passe, perhaps even irrelevant.

So I ask you, dear reader, for but a few minutes more of your time: to briefly take a step back with me, unto a morning and a day when our world seemed to change forever.

I ask you to re-examine, one more time, the events and information which have passed across our view screens so quickly, their significance seeming to fade in the absence of meaningful debate.

Allow me to lay before you the result of five months intense research: carefully referenced, summarized, that the essential points may be grasped with a clarity and ease, hitherto elusive.

Consider this contention:

the attacks on Sept. 11 may yet represent
one of the most important events in the last fifty years,
(perhaps all human history, for those who choose to examine it):
a turning point, in our understanding of the most-fundamental relationship between appearance and reality.

Once you’ve taken a few minutes to review this body of evidence, I’m sure you’ll be moved to agree: what a vast scope of discovery may lie within.

Recall then, the morning of Sept 11, 2001

According to The New York Times, (Sept 15)

"controllers in New England knew about 8:20 a.m. that American Airlines Flight 11, bound from Boston to Los Angeles, had probably been hijacked. When the first news report was made at 8:48 a.m. that a plane might have hit the World Trade Center, they knew it was Flight 11. And within a few minutes more, controllers would have known that both United 175 (the second plane to hit the World Trade Center) and American 77 (which hit the Pentagon) had probably been hijacked." (3)

[Note: all the hijacked planes had their tracking beacons turned off at various times, but they were still visible on various radar screens].

George W. Bush


Within ten minutes of the first plane crash into the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush was aware of it.

"He got out of his hotel suite this morning, [on his way to a school] was about to leave, reporters saw the White House chief of staff, Andy Card, whisper into his ear. The 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." (ABC's John Cochran, Peter Jennings)

Then, (according to CNN) he was informed of the situation at 9am, by National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice, (telephone) as he was arriving at the school, (CNN, "Breaking News" White House correspondent, Major Garrett, 9:31, Sept.11).

Then the President was updated a third time.

According to Associated Press, he was

"In Sarasota, Florida.... reading to children in a classroom at 9:05 a.m. when his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered into his ear." ['AP' 12 September 2001, This also appeared on TV] (4)

And what did George W. Bush do when he received the third update from Andrew Card?

Apparently, nothing.

"The president briefly turned somber before he resumed reading. He addressed the tragedy about a half-hour later." ['AP' 12 September, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 12 September 2001 Pg. A 20]. (5)

Further, according to CNN’s Garrett, (on the scene)

"the spectacular, horrific pictures began appearing on television sets here at the elementary school... Shortly before [his] statement [addressing the tragedy] he was actually sitting down with some children here at the elementary school reading them a book.... Reporters asked him if he was aware of the situation in New York. He nodded a bit gravely, and said he would have something to say about that shortly. ("Breaking News" 9:25)

To the suggestion, (made by CNN anchor Daryn Kagan) that this "exchange of questions with the president came at... a sensitive time... sitting in front of a bunch of schoolchildren... not wanting to scare [them]," Garrett replies:

"Well, precisely. And the president has a way of letting reporters know that it's either an appropriate... or inappropriate time to take questions. He does that in many different environments, many different situations. Clearly this morning, with a crowd of children, he wanted to keep an even keel, keep the situation under control as best as possible. He just nodded and said -- we'll talk about this later."

Just after 9:30, the President excused himself from the classroom to make a statement that a "terrorist attack on America has occurred." (CNN, "Breaking News, 9:31)

So, for almost thirty minutes after President Bush was officially updated about this for the the third time, he remained sitting in a classroom of children, (apparently, reading a book about goats).

Does this not seem rather negligent?

As we shall soon see, officials would repeatedly claim that the President was the only one who could order a domestic airliner to be shot down.

Why did he remain sitting in the classroom? Why did he even GO into the classroom in the first place? -if he had already been informed, not once but twice, of an unprecedented attack on America?

Was he not told the whole story?

Three months later, on nationwide TV, President Bush tells a captive audience,

"I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."

This is a very interesting statement for Bush to make, seeing as the first plane, (at that time) was not actually caught on network TV -striking the tower. Only the second one was.

Clearly, the President is giving the impression that he was not then aware that this plane crash was a terrorist attack; but is this, in fact what we would expect from the commander-in-chief?

As supreme commander, the President is tied into civilian air defense through the secret service.

There are time-honored, standard procedures -whereby, the command-center in the Pentagon, radar defense, the National Security Council, and the President are quickly informed of any national emergencies, including hijackings.

As Vice-President Dick Cheney says on the Sept. 16th edition of "Meet The Press,"

"The secret service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was...."

Cheney neglects to finish his sentence, but the implications are clear.

The FAA suspected that Flight 11 was hijacked at 8:20, and confirmed it with NORAD at 8:38, well before the plane struck the tower at 8:46; thus, the Pentagon, and the secret service also knew. (See Unanaswered Questions, Part 1B, for full documentation).

By the time that George W. Bush first admits knowing about the crash, (ten minutes later, about 8:55) he has already been briefed, for he shows no emotional response to either his chief of staff, or the reporters question.

Not only the crash of a single, hijacked plane, but two other planes in close proximity are hijack-suspected/confirmed.

A national emergency is in progress.

All this would have been known by the secret service -and hence, the President.

After his first public admission of being informed, George W. Bush is updated five minutes later, (at 9:00) then five minutes later again, (presumably, about the second plane which crashed into the World Trade Center, at 9:02). (6)

Yet he continues sitting in the classroom with the children; and when reporters dare to ask whether he’s going to do something about it, he appears to suggest that (presumably by some kind of stern expression) ‘now is not an "appropriate" time to talk about it’?

We common folk might be forgiven if we think it only natural that a person might need a few minutes to collect their thoughts; but the commander-in-chief is no ordinary person. In the case of a national emergency, seconds of indecision on his part could cost thousands of lives; and it's precisely for this reason that he has a whole network of adjuncts and advisors to insure that he is among the first to be informed, not the last.

Only at 9:30 did the President finally confirm what the FAA, the military, and the secret service had already known fifty minutes before -and what the entire television-watching world had known for forty.

Tentative conclusion?

Either the President was criminally mis-informed by his own secret service/staff; or he was deliberately mis-representing the extent to which he knew that a national emergency was underway.

His inaction is most unsettling, in the light of the following events.

Flight 77


By 9:05, flight number 77 from Washington, (the "third plane") had been severely off-course some twenty minutes before, (beginning at approx. 8:46). It had made a huge northward /westward/southward loop, before resuming its proper course again. (7)

This fact, (based on the actual radar reports from government and private industry) was likely the source of the above statement, that,

"within a few minutes more... [8:50] controllers would have known that... Flight 77 had probably been hijacked." (NY Times, Sept 15)

At the same time,

"controllers at Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center—who handled American Airlines Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon—knew about the hijacking of American Flight 11 even before it crashed [at 8:46] CNN, Sept 16, ibid."

Village Voice, Sept 13 (8)

Thus, when Flight 77 started to go off-course, the Air Traffic Control officials, (ATC) who were watching the plane, were also aware that another plane on the east coast had been hijacked-confirmed.

Around this time, they would also have been informed that Flight 175 had been declared "hijacked," (at 8:43, CNN, Sept 16, ibid, earlier than the NY Times article suggests. This CNN document is based on official government, NORAD, timeline).

Thus, two other planes were officially confirmed as hijacked, by the time that Flight 77 had begun to go dramatically off-course.

Within minutes, these officials would be informed that Flight 11 had crashed into the World Trade Center.

They should have been extremely concerned.

Flight 77 managed to return to it's proper westward course, after flying about twenty miles north, then west, then south; yet officials should have still been on a high state of alert.

[NOTE: we don't know what kind of radio communications existed between ATC officials and Flight 77; because, for some reason, the FBI has not publicly released the tapes; so it's possible that, with radio contact, (and a clear sign of "ok" from the pilot) officials were convinced that things were under control, once the plane was back on its original course].

Yet the fact remains that the plane these officials were monitoring had been well off-course around the same time that two other planes in the area had been hijacked; and now, by 9:05 (at the same time that President Bush was updated the third time) a second crash into the World Trade Center had occurred, in what was now confirmed to be two, intentional terrorist attacks.

At the very least, the officials must have had suspicians, (as the NY Times article, cited above, clearly suggests).

Then, at approx. 9:00am, Flight 77 ceases its transponder signal.

For a very short period of time, (as they frantically try to regain radar contact through other facilities) ATC officials would have been unaware that Flight 77 had made a 180 degree turn near the Ohio state border, and was heading straight back for Washington.

(NOTE: according to Newsday, (Sept 23rd) this occurred at 8:55,

calculations based on the above radar map, take-off time, crash time, etc. suggests it was likely about five minutes after that. See note 7).

At any rate, according to the above source,

"9:06, Washington notifies all air traffic facilities nationwide of the suspected hijacking of Flight 11."

This was as clear an expression of a national emergency as these officials had ever known; and yet, although "military officials in a command center on the east side of the [Pentagon] were urgently talking to law enforcement officials about what to do," (N.Y. Times, Sept. 15, ibid) air traffic control continued to watch Flight 77 on the radar screen without any fighters scrambled to intercept it.

Then, at 9:25, the F.A.A. (the Federal Aviation Authority, oversight body of all ATC centers) notifies NORAD (military air-radar defense) that Flight 77 may have been hijacked. CNN, Sept 16, ibid (9)

That is:

Forty-plus minutes after two other planes had been hijack-confirmed: (Flight 11 at 8:38, Flight 175 at 8:43, CNN Sept 16, ibid.)

Approximately forty minutes after Flight 77 had begun to go dramatically off-course, (radar map, USA Today, ibid)

Almost forty minutes after ATC officials would have known that Flight 11 had struck the World Trade Center; (CNN, ibid)

Thirty-five minutes after ATC officials "would have known that... American 77 had probably been hijacked" (NY Times, ibid)

About twenty-five minutes after Flight 77 had ceased its transponder signal, and made a 180 degree turn over West Virginia, (when it was now just thirteen minutes from the Pentagon,Newsday, ibid);

Over twenty minutes after a second plane had struck the World Trade Centre, (9:02, CNN, Sept 16, ibid)

And finally:

Nineteen minutes after every other air traffic facility in the country knew that Flight 77 was likely hijacked,(Newsday, ibid) the FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 77 may have been hijacked?

May have been hijacked?!?

This is an unbelievable lapse of the most elementary, routine procedures of ATC and the FAA, (as we shall now see); yet this appears to be exactly what happened, for it’s only at,

9:27 a.m.: (approximate time) NORAD orders jets scrambled from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to intercept United Airlines flight 77. (CNN, Sept 16, ibid )

Now, let’s be absolutely clear about this.

It is the sworn duty of the FAA to follow certain safety procedures; such as,

"Consider that an aircraft emergency exists ... when: ...There is unexpected loss of radar contact and radio communications with any ...aircraft." --FAA Order 7110.65M 10-2-5

"If ... you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency."

--FAA Order 7110.65M 10-1-1-c (ibid)

The reason for this is simple: in busy airspace, an airliner without radio and transponder contact is a collision waiting to happen.

When an airliner goes off course, it is equally, (if not more) dangerous.

Every commercial jet is required to follow IFR, or Instrument Flight Rules. IFR requires pilots to file a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before takeoff.]

(FAA Order 7400.2E 14-1-2) (ibid)

"Pilots are supposed to hit each fix with pinpoint accuracy. If a plane deviates by 15 degrees, or two miles from that course, the flight controllers will hit the panic button. They’ll call the plane, saying "American 11, you’re deviating from course." It’s considered a real emergency, like a police car screeching down a highway at 100 miles an hour. When golfer Payne Stewart’s incapacitated Learjet missed a turn at a fix, heading north instead of west to Texas, F-16 interceptors were quickly dispatched." (MSNBC, Sept 12)

[Note: According to the actual (NTSB) National Transportation Safety Board report of the "Payne Stewart" incident,

the fighters were not all that quickly dispatched. It appears to have taken ATC officials about twenty minutes to call in the airforce, and an hour for a jet to be vectored into position.

This is odd, considering the fact that the first jet contacted was already in flight, (on a training mission). Why would it take forty minutes for an already airborne F-16 to catch up to a much slower-moving plane in distress? The possibility remains that this report has been doctored, (a not uncommon occurence with government websites); and/or, this at least points to more-or-less routine negligence on the part of the FAA/military, in not holding themselves accountable to their own emergency procedures. (See the excellent book by Mary Schiavo, former inspector-general of the NTSB, "Flying Blind, Flying Safe").

At any rate, the "Payne Stewart" incident is very different from that of Flight 77. Whereas a small jet with four passengers was in apparent distress, here you have a large commercial jet with over a hundred passengers, in busy airspace, hijack- suspected, just after two other hijack-confirmed planes had attacked the World Trade Center.

If the "Payne Stewart" incident shows both, standard operating procedure in action, and its somewhat negligent enforcement, Flight 77 shows such negligence rocketing into the stratosphere.

The standing rule of NORAD officals, (at the central U.S. radar facility, Cheyenne Mountain) is to give unknown airplanes which are approaching U.S. airspace, (off any of the coasts of North America) two minutes to make a satisfactory identification.

After two minutes, fighter-intercepts are ordered to scramble, without exception.

On the other side of the world, the head of the (rather antiquated) Russian Air Force, Anatoli Kornukov, has this to say, (of the Sept 11 attacks)

"such a scenario is impossible. "We had such facts [i.e., events or incidents in Russia] too.... as soon as something like that happens here, I am reported about that right away and in a minute we are all up."

Let’s also be absolutely clear about what is meant by "interception."

"[Marine Corps Major Mike] Snyder, the NORAD spokesman, said its fighters routinely intercept aircraft.

"When planes are intercepted, they typically are handled with a graduated response. The approaching fighter may rock its wingtips to attract the pilot's attention, or make a pass in front of the aircraft. Eventually, it can fire tracer rounds in the airplane's path, or, under certain circumstances, down it with a missile."

--'Boston Globe,' 15 September 2001



"Signals initiated by intercepting aircraft and responses by intercepted aircraft."

"...Rocking wings from a position slightly above and ahead of, and normally to the left of, the intercepted aircraft..."

This conveys the message, "You have been intercepted." The commercial jet should respond by rocking its wings, indicating it will comply.

The escort then makes a "slow level turn, normally to the left, on to the desired heading [direction]."

The commercial jet is supposed to respond by following the escort.

(FAA 'AIM' 5-6-4) (ibid)

So, it is a matter of routine procedure for fighter-jets to "intercept" commercial airliners, in order to regain contact with the pilot. Just how routine, and how quickly they routinely respond, is still open to question; yet we should be clear that it is not necessary that a hijacking be declared, for the military to be called in.

"Intercept" and "shoot-down" are two entirely different commands.

The question of whether an airliner may have to be shot down, (and who might give the order) is completely irrelevant to the fact that fighter-intercepts should have been ordered into the air, at the first sign that a national emergency was underway.

Let's now review the course of events in the light of the above regulations:

Flight 77 was wildly off-course at about 8:46.

If accompanied by lost radio contact, the standard procedure here would seem to include notifying military authorities of a possible emergency.

According to our above radar map,

Flight 77 went about fifteen miles off-course, and was off-course for approximately ten minutes.

The fact that the plane returned to its orginial course, suggests that contact with the pilot had not been lost; yet given the fact that Flight 77 went so far off-course after Flights 11 and 175 had been hijack-confirmed, should have motivated ATC/FAA officials to contact higher authorities, to make a report, to inform NORAD and/or an appropriate Air National Guard (ANG) base.

Apparently not.

Then, when the ATC officials (watching Flight 77) were informed, (likely by 8:48) that Flight 11 had struck the World trade Center, (8:46) surely NORAD should have been informed that this other plane had been, (or was) off-course/in trouble.

Still nothing was done when transponder contact with Flight 77 was lost, even after Flight 175 had hit the World Trade Center at 9:02.

Flight 77 was visible on various radar screens, heading back towards Washington -for another 23 minutes, before the FAA informed NORAD that the plane may have been hijacked.

Shocking, unbelievable: is it not?

What were these officials doing?

According to the above-mentioned Newsday article,

"After losing [i.e. transponder] track of Flight 77 for about 10 minutes, the FAA rediscovered the plane heading east over West Virginia, then took about 19 more minutes to alert the military."

The most sophisticated air-traffic communications system in the world: regional radar systems, national satellite radar, command centers in the Pentagon: essentially, not responding.

Flight 77 continued to fly towards Washington, unopposed.

When the FAA finally informs NORAD, the plane is little more than thirty miles outside the Capital. (10)

According to CBS News, (transportation correspondent Bob Orr)

"the plane flew several miles south of the restricted airspace around the White House. At 9:33, [it] crossed the Capital Beltway... flying at more than 400mph, [which] was too fast and high when it neared the Pentagon at 9:35. The hijacker pilots were then forced to execute a difficult high-speed descending turn."

"Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes."

"The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it’s clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijacker had better flying skills than many investigators first believed."

"The jetliner disappeared from radar at 9:37 and less than a minute later it clipped the tops of street lights and ploughed into the Pentagon at 480mph." (10)

The N.Y. Times, (Sept. 15) adds,

"the fighter planes that scrambled into protective orbits around Washington did not arrive until 15 minutes after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon."

So the question remains:

why weren’t intercept aircraft scrambled in time to intercept Flight 77?

Why did it take the FAA thirty-five minutes after the first hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center –to inform NORAD? –when Flight 77 was already clearly in trouble, (likely hijacked) and another plane (175) had also been hijack-confirmed?

Is this not an incredibly lax response?

Is this negligence not worth a mention from government officials - so certain in their knowledge of who's responsible for the attacks, as to invade another country for it?

But there’s more.

When officials at NORAD issued the order to scramble jets, (at 9:27) they chose Langley Air Force Base, which is one-hundred and thirty miles outside of Washington, (where Flight 77 was at the time). (CNN, Sept 16, ibid)

Given the time to scramble, (seven minutes) and the fourteen minutes it takes the planes to fly to Washington, ("at 720 knots, breaking the sound barrier," CNN, ibid) the planes could not possibly have gotten there in time to prevent a direct attack on the Pentagon, the White House, or any of the major buildings in the Capital.

And yet, Andrews Air Force base is located right on the outskirts of Washington, (ten miles away) and is home to 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 F/A-18 fighters. (10)

The mission of 121 Fighter-Wing reads, in part,

"provide capable and ready response forces for the District of Columbia in the event of a natural disaster or civil emergency." (10)

F-16 Fighters from Andrews Air Force Base were actually put into the air over Washington on Sept 11th, but only after the attack on the Pentagon was completed, (after planes from Langley were on their way).

" Within minutes of the attack ... F-16s from Andrews Air Force Base were in the air over Washington DC."

--'Sunday Telegraph,' (London), 14 September 2001

" an audible gasp went up from the rear of the audience as a large black plume of smoke arose from the Pentagon... Overhead, fighter jets scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base and other installations and cross-crossed the skies…

--'Denver Post,' 11 September 2001

"It was after the attack on the Pentagon that the Air Force then decided to scramble F-16s out of the DC National Guard Andrews Air Force Base to fly cover, a--a protective cover over Washington, DC."

--NBC Nightly News, (6:30 PM ET) 11 September 11 2001

"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' 12 September 2001. (ibid)

Is this not rather astounding?

A few days later, another version began to appear in the mainstream press:

"Andrews Air Force Base, home to Air Force One, is only 15 miles [sic!] away from the Pentagon, but it had no fighters assigned to it. Defense officials won't say whether that has changed."


"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, Sept 17, ibid))

The Emperor's-Clothes site, ( ibid) claims that the Andrew's AFB website was "down" after Sept. 11, and re-emerged a few weeks later -with the descriptions of the battle-ready fighter squadrons removed.

Also curious, what appears to be the reputable, well-documented website of the American Federation of Scientists lists the top speed of the F-16 fighters as 1500mph; which means that, according to NORAD and CNN, the fighters from Langley flew at less than half their top speed. (720 knots, about 650mph)

Given the weight of fuel and weaponry, this top speed may not have been achievable; but is 720 knots the best they could have done -given the extreme nature of the emergency?

The Pentagon also has surface-to-air missiles surrounding it. Why weren’t they used?

Neither was the Pentagon evacuated, until the plane had struck its target, (CNN, Sept 16, ibid).

Does all this not sound as if nobody was minding the store in regards to Flight 77?

Are there not too many inconsistencies here to be ignored?

Would the terrorists on Flight 77 have been able to get to Washington, (and the Pentagon) if the air defense had functioned properly?

Do we not deserve some answers?

Clearly, without gross incompetence on the part of ATC, FAA, and/or NORAD officials, Flight 77 would have not got near Washington -without being "intercepted."

Whether or not a pilot would have been authorized to shoot down the airliner is absolutely irrelevant to the fact that no planes were in the air in time –as routine procedure clearly demanded.

Now, at this point, we don’t know exactly where the breakdown in communication occurred.

By the above information, it would appear that ATC and the FAA were more at fault than NORAD, (though not appreciably); and yet, these communication timelines come to us largely from NORAD.

We don’t know, for example, whether or not ATC and the FAA notified NORAD early on, and whether NORAD simply lied about it -and that the military end was largely or solely responsible for the breakdown in communication.

What we do know, however, is that by official NORAD statements, there was at least a thirty-five minute delay between the time when planes should have been ordered to scramble, and when they actually were.

If routine procedures had been followed, Flight 77 would not have made it to Washington.

The fourth hijacked plane, meanwhile, "was being tracked by the Pentagon," (according to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz) "and could have been shot down." (NY Times, Sept 15, ibid)

That plane, (Flight 93) crashed into rural Pennsylvania at about 10:10.

Wolfowitz says that "any military intervention would have ultimately been the decision of President George W. Bush." (ibid)

If true, and since George Bush didn’t immediately excuse himself from the classroom, (at 9:00 am, or 9:05 at the latest) -to assume his role as commander in chief- then we must include his actions in with the above list of organizations: guilty of criminal incompetence.

The fact that his negligence would have made no difference, (i.e. no planes in the air, even if the President was on duty) matters not.

Moral authority begins with admitting one’s own mistakes: only then can one be forgiven them.

The fact that the President has completely overlooked his own ineptitude in this affair, while declaring holy war on nations and citizens alike, strongly suggests that not only is an incompetent at the helm of the most-powerful nation on earth, but a morally incompetent one as well.

Air Force One


Not only did President Bush do nothing for thirty minutes, (during an absolutely critical period of time): but further, when he did try to leave for Washington aboard Airforce One, (as many readers may still recall) his plane was re-routed to Louisiana, then Nebraska, and he didn’t return to Washington until 7pm –ten hours after the first attack!!

According to White House spokespersons, this was because,

"There was real and credible information that the White House and Air Force One were targets"

Records show this appearing in Reuters, Associated Press, and on CNN, (3:10) the next day. (11)

So, while civilian air defense refused to get planes up in the air in time to intercept Flight 77, secret service agents were telling the President that it was "not safe" for the President to fly back to Washington.

Is this because the secret service knew there were insufficient planes in the air to defend Air Force One? (for, routine procedure would normally ensure that there were).

Also appearing on the 12th and 13th, were columns in the N.Y. Times by William Saffire, wherein "a White House source," (later confirmed by Bush’s Political Strategist, Karl Rove) informed him that the secret service believed,

'Air Force One may be next,' and 'they may have broken the secret codes [showing a knowledge of Presidential procedures].'

Saffire thereby raised the question of a possible "mole" in the CIA, FBI, etc.

Over the next week, reporters were busy looking for answers to this shocking possibility.

The White House initially said nothing more on the subject. Within two weeks it was back-peddling on whether this "threat" had ever even existed.

"I'm not going to comment on any particular threats coming toward the White House. . . it is not an uncommon occurrence for people to threaten the government of the United States, regardless of whether it's President Bush or any of his predecessors. And that's why there are security precautions taken at the White House as a matter of routine."

(Ari Fleischer, White House Press Sec. Wash. Post, Sept 27. (12)

True, it’s not an uncommon occurrence for the U.S. or the president to be threatened. It’s extremely uncommon for such a "threat" to be taken so seriously that a U.S. President is barred from Washington for nine and one-half hours during a national emergency.

"But that's not what this is about," Fleischer continued. "This has nothing to do with anything . . . that may or may not have been directed at President Bush. This is about an attack that took place on our country." (ibid)


The Washington Post placed this vacuous absence of a response on page eight.

Does it not sound as if we deserve some answers about,

who gave that warning?

why was it heeded?

why were the skies over Washington not considered safe for the president’s return, for eight hours?

Does it not sound as if civilian defense was on holiday? –or out to lunch?

How can we be so certain of the attack’s perpetrators -when the officials blaming them don’t want to admit that somebody on our own end screwed up so badly, as to allow an attack to occur?

Is an examination of one’s own mistakes (first) -not the foundation of moral leadership?

To sum up thus far,

we have a president who is informed by about 8:55, (as he leaves his hotel) that a hijacked plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, (about ten minutes before) in a terrorist attack, and that a second plane has been hijacked, (confirmed since 8:43); then he's updated again at 9:00; then again at 9:05, (likely to tell him of the second attack at 9:02) and he does absolutely nothing about it for almost thirty minutes.

We have the third plane, Flight 77, which goes off-course at or around the time that two other planes are hijack-confirmed, (8:43) and yet the FAA does not request NORAD to regain contact with the plane, (by fighter intercept) until 9:25 -even after Flights 11 and 175 had struck the towers at 8:46 and 9:02.

NORAD, in turn, orders jets to scramble from a base which is ten times the distance from Washington than the closest active one is.

That same day, (we’re later told) Air Force One and the White House are "threatened"... from the ‘inside.’ Then these claims are later dismissed and ignored by the White House officials who originally made them –even though this "false report" caused the absence of the President from Washington for nine hours.

Fundamental questions, left unanswered.

The government, (and the mainstream media) do not want to discuss a glaring, criminal negligence which occurred under its watch.

When we look at the other hijacked flights, however, (11, 175, and 93) our concern must deepen considerably; for here, we see the same, shocking pattern of neglect and incompetence.

For details, see Unanswered Questions, Part 1B, linked below.

Then, when we examine the nature of the FBI investigation, Part 1D, the official explanations, the media coverage, we see the same pattern yet again: critical questions left unanswered, dubious filler material put in place.

We are talking about a system-wide, repeat pattern of negligence and cover-up, operating at a very high level of government: fully documented, from government and mainstream media sources.

There's no need for wacky conspiracy-theories here, or wild assumptions.

It simply needs to be addressed, if we are to take any steps toward real security.

As our governments and media have proved themselves all too willing to gloss over the uncomfortable questions, I sincerely hope that you will take it upon yourself, dear reader, to become fully informed about what may be the most telling event of our time.

Tell others what you know.




  1. CNN, "Breaking News" Sept 11, 12:40 am. See

  3. While I can attest to having found these two quotes on a www.defense-link website, in my haste to gather information and references, I must confess I neglected to record the specific address. The direct link to the NY Times article is no longer available to non-subscribers, (like myself). Serious researchers who are willing to pay for access to the NY Times archive, should have no trouble verifying the quote. In the meantime, I shall endeavor to track the web-page reference down again.
  4. This is an excellent article and site for information on American/NATO foreign policy.
  5. Ibid
  6. ibid
  7. CNN, Sept. 16th. This is a very useful article. In comparison to earlier media reports, it appears to be quite accurate. Compare it, for example, with this earlier summary from the Washington Post of Sept 12.

    The CNN report also follows the "official" NORAD timeline of events –as per the communications between the FAA, NORAD, and Air Defense.
    Whether or not NORAD’s version of when the FAA informed NORAD is true or not is still very much open to question; but at least we have the "official" version to work from.
This is a graphic "flash" map which shows the flight-paths of the four planes on Sept 11, and when they deviated from those paths. It appears to be based on direct radar, taken from a reputable source, Another such graphic map, created on a different web site, appears to be from the same source.,5860,551275,00.html

Because the FBI has revealed almost nothing to the public about the specific timelines, (and the ATC conversations) we can only estimate on the exact time when Flight 77 went off-course, for how long, and when it reversed course near Ohio, (for its assault on Washington).
The plane took off at 8:20, and crashed at 9:38: a 1 hour/eighteen minutes journey, or seventy-eight minutes. This is now universally confirmed in all media reports
At first glance, we would probably look on the map, and see that the distances the plane took to get from Washington to the Ohio border –and back again- are roughly equal. We would thus assume that it took Flight 77 half of the seventy-eight minutes, (39) to reach Ohio, (8:59). This roughly corroborates with the Newsday article of Sept 23rd, (cited above) which says that the plane turned around at 8:55; yet we must also take into account the flight deviation on the path away from Washington, (add ten minutes?); and we also remember that when Flight 77 was nearing Washington, it was flying at over four-hundred miles an hour, (see note 10, below) well over the legal speed limit for airliners, (250 mph? –not sure the exact number).
By the time the plane struck the Pentagon, it was flying at 480mph. We can thus assume that Flight 77 took less time to fly back to Washington than it did to fly towards, (subtract ten minutes?).
By this estimate, we could assume that Flight 77 turned around at the Ohio border at approximately 9:09, and took twenty-six minutes to reach Washington. However, this differs markedly with the Newsday article, by fourteen minutes.
In terms of getting at the truth of the matter, (calculating the amount of time it took civilian air defence to respond, and so on) this is an important fourteen minutes.
In many early reports, the estimated time of events were sometimes wildly inaccurrate; so we may initially be skeptical of the Newsday claim. Yet this report is from the 23rd. of Sept., a full ten days after the tragedy, (when most of the "official" timelines had been established). Furthermore, this article does appear to rely heavily on "official" NORAD, military acounts.
At the same time, this doesn't necessarily make the "official" claim accurate; and our calculations based the radar documentation, (our only other credible source on when Flight 77 turned around) cannot be discounted.
It does not make logical sense to say that Flight 77 went well off-course on the path away from Washington, (for what appears to be at least twenty miles in three different directions =60 miles, which would add about fifteen minutes on, at 250mph) and ended up taking less time to reach the Ohio border, than it did to return, (especially with the documented speed-increase upon its return).
It's possible that Flight 77 slowed down considerably after turning around, before picking up speed. We don't know.
For the moment, we have little recourse but to estimate the time that Flight 77 turned around as being halfway between these two credible, yet differing accounts; that is, (add or subtract seven minutes) at 9:02, just after 9am.
By this account, it took Flight 77 about forty-two minutes to reach its furthest westward point. If we look on the radar map, we can see that it is at the approximate halfway-point on this course, that the plane initially goes off-course; thus, half of 42 minutes, (21) plus take-off time, (8:20) = 8:41 is the approximate time we assume that Flight 77 first went off-course.
Until more-specific data is made available, the above estimates will serve as our timeline.

The reader here may be reasonably aghast at the amount of information and numbers bandied about, in the interest of verifying a few event-times; yet in a situation where very little information is being disclosed, we may sometimes have to rely on complex, logical discourse, before we can be confident -as to our ability to "fill in the gaps."
This cannot be helped: goes with the territory; the real, shocking truth is sometimes only arrived at by those willing and able to ride the rollercoaster of painstaking, meticulous research.

8) Village Voice

9) (CNN, Sept 16, ibid) At the same time, 9:25 the FAA, in consultation with the Pentagon, had banned all takeoffs around the country.

10) CBS News, Transportation Correspondent Bob Orr; an excellent article, based on the real radar reports which showed that Flight 77 did not go near the White House as many officials (and then media) first claimed.,1597,310721-412,00.shtml

  1. The Reuters report is available in the archives,
  2. although the original one may have been tampered with, according to Gary North -who offers what he claims is the original version, here:


NOTE: these last two links have gone dead. Researchers may yet be able to locate the original articles by visiting "freeworldalliance," or by doing a "google" search on "Gary North."

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