9-11: NEADS MCC/T Log; a definitive secondary source

In previous articles we discussed the Mission Crew Commander/Technician (MCC/T) log kept at NEADS.  The purpose of this article is to provide historians, researchers, and other interested persons additional information about that important document.

It is the definitive secondary source document of the day to establish what NEADS knew and when they knew it.  Why definitive?  Because it is validated and verified by definitive primary sources, the NEADS and FAA tapes.

Explanation of copies of the log

My estimate is that the Commission Staff archived as many as three copies of the MCC/T log.  I archived one and it is likely that the New York office archived an additional copy.  Dana Hyde archived a third, unannotated copy.  The copy I linked in an earlier article was annotated by either Geoff Brown or John Azarrello while we were at NEADS; that is not my handwriting.

I note that we must have discussed the log with the several non-commissioned officers who performed the MCC/T duty that morning.  We established who made what entries via the handwriting.  For example, “Sgt Bianchi” made the 1324 entry.  Sgt Bianchi’s entries begin at 1240, the initial call from Boston Center.  He turned over the log to Sgt Perry sometime between 1401 and 1407.

A master copy of the log, as forwarded to the Commission via DoD, will ultimately be available when NARA uploads the Commission’s master paper files.  In the interim, the copy archived by Dana Hyde is an accurate rendition of the original log book, less redactions made by NARA.

The original log book, a general purpose ledger available in any office supply store, was and likely still is maintained in a safe at NEADS.  Each morning during our visits the NEADS staff would deliver the original to us for use during interviews; it was returned to them at the end of each day.  The approximate one-inch thick ledger was difficult to copy.  Readers familiar with the process will note that the book was opened to the relevant pages and copied under pressure to flatten the pages as much as possible.

Helpful background

Much work on the NEADS floor was accomplished by trained, experienced non-commissioned officers.  Each of the two key officers, the MCC, Major Nasypany, and the Senior Director, Major Fox, had such senior non-commissioned officers to constantly assist them.

For example, those familiar with the NEADS tapes will recognize that every scramble order that morning was broadcast by Sgt Powell, the SD/T.  Major Nasypany had three MCC/T on duty at various times, Sgt Bianchi, Sgt Perry, and Sgt McCain.

It is worth noting that McCain, Powell, Fox, and the Commander, Colonel Bob Marr, were all on duty the day of the Lufthansa hijacking a decade earlier.  This was an experienced crew, they knew what they were doing.

MCC/T log accuracy

Each critical entry was accurately posted, probably no longer than a minute or two after the fact.  For example, consider the first notification of the day, the call from Boston Center concerning AA 11.  That call was picked up by Sgt Powell a few seconds before 9:38.  It took a minute or two to gain actionable information.  We do not know when Sgt Bianchi actually made the log entry, but we do know that he determined the entry to be 8:40.

That pattern of accurate log entries by Sgt Bianchi continued.  He established the notification time for UA 175 as 9:05 and the notification time for AA 77 as 9:34; both consistent with the primary source audio files.  That pattern continued with Sgt Perry who recorded a notification time for UA 93 as 10:07.

Serious researchers, writers, and historians will appreciate and accept the work done by the non-commissioned officers, the ‘Technicians,’ at NEADS.

A key document thrice misinterpreted.

NEADS staff misread the MCC/T log in their initial review and established a notification time for AA 77 as 9:24, despite primary and secondary source information to the contrary.

NEADS staff again misread the MCC/T log  five days later under questioning by CONR and failed to accurately inform General Moore about the AA 77 notification as he was consulting with FAA, which knew the 9:24 time was not supportable.

NEADS staff, together with Col Scott, again misread the MCC/T log in preparation for the May 23, 2003 air defense hearing before the Commission.  It is then that an erroneous hijack time of 9:16 for UA93 was entered into the public record by NORAD.