What’s New Archive 2009

December 31, 2009

Added a page concerning Eleanor Hill, Staff Director for the Congressional Joint Inquiry.  Ms Hill was interviewed recently concerning the failed terrorist attempt against Northwest Air Flight 253.

December 18, 2009

Published an article summarizing what was going on during the period 9:40:30-9:47:30, a fleeting window of opportunity for NEADS to acquire UA 93 as a target.  A new category, times of interest, was created and the article has been posted there.  I am working on the UA 93 story at Cleveland Center and realized the summary should stand alone; hence today’s publication.

December 14, 2009

Published an article under NEADS to provide additional information concerning the MCC/T log maintained on 9-11.  I establish that all annotations were made by the Commission Staff.  I also provide a link to an unannotated copy archived by the Staff.

December 10, 2009

Published an additional article on the NEADS tapes and logs.  In that article I discuss the General Moore email request on the night of September 16, 2001, for clarification of the 9:24 FAA notification time for AA 77.  I show that NEADS did review both the logs and the tapes prior to NORAD publication of its September 18, 2001 time line.  I also provide additional insight into the NORAD/CONR prepration for the May 23, 2003, air defense hearing.

December 5, 2009

Published a quick update to the 9-11 Education category.  My 9-11 Google alerts surfaced an email with a recent article concerning the teaching of 9-11 Truth in a California public school.

December 4, 2009

Published an article on SVTS under Linear Processes.   It is important to get this piece of the puzzle in place as we home in what was going on at FAA Headquarters and begin to address the issue of what Jane Garvey knew and what she was doing and what Norman Mineta knew and where he was.

In this article we establish that the SVTS conference was genetically wired to isolate agency leaderships from their working staffs.

December 1, 2009

Published a preliminary article, a work in progress, on the Air Threat Conference, posted under linear processes.  The article draws upon what we do know from the Commission Staff’s orientation tour of the NMCC, the personal memoir of Major Chambers, and notes of interview with Commander Gardner.

Researchers interested in the tape and transcript of the Air Threat Conference need to know that the original tape and transcript were held by the National Security Council and are most likely archived at the Bush Library.  They will not be available through FOIA until five years after the end of the Bush administration.  A second copy of the transcript may be held in DoD’s master files concerning what it forwarded to the Commission.  Even if still held by DoD it will likely fall under the same restriction as the original.

December 1, 2009

Published an article under Chaos Theory concerning battle actions taken by Ben Sliney at Herndon to deal with Chaos by attacking the bounds.  Chaos is bounded randomness and Sliney’s approach was, at once, belated and effective.  In this article we speak to his order for an airborne inventory, which followed a series of local ground stops culminating in a nationwide ground stop.  The airborne inventory order surfaced within seconds specific information about UA93, to include location.  That timely information reported shortly after 9:30 did not find its way to the NCA or to NEADS.

December 1, 2009

August 24 note clarification. There seems to be some confusion abut my August 24 note concerning UA 175 lost as a primary target.  The internal link is to an FAA document and, yes, UA 175 under its assigned transponder code was lost as a primary target; that “plane” ceased to exist except on TSD.  What showed up on air traffic control scopes was a transponding intruder, an aircraft squawking an unassigned code.  That intruder was, first, 3020, and then 3321.

December 1, 2009

Addendum to USA 93 article. Added a Google Earth plot of the RADES radar returns when the UA 93 transponder came back on.  Also added a link to my powerpoint slide set concerning UA 93 built in summer 2003.  A note of caution.  Times on those graphics are uncorrected RADES times; add 25 seconds to all times.

UA 93. I switched gears and published an article on UA 93. It made sense to do so as we start pulling together the several threads of analysis we have going.  I created a separate category under 9-11 for UA 93.  In the article we establish that FAA air traffic control discretely reported on both D 1989 and UA 93.  The two were never conflated.

I opted to start with part 2 since that establishes what the natonal level should have known about UA 93.  In Part 1 we will tell the ZOB story and in Part 3 we will tell how FAA Heaquarters handled the information about UA 93.

For bookkeeping purposes let me restate the analytical threads on the table.  They include: chaos theory as applied to 9-11; the linear processes available to and used by the government; the hunt for each hijacked aircraft; and the battle as fought by Ben Sliney and Colonel Marr.  I make no apologies for jumping around a bit in some apparent chaotic manner.

That is a teaching point.  Chaos is deterministic, bounded, and self-organizing.  My publication schedule has and will reflect that.  It becomes an exercise for the reader, then, to think chaotically.

Also, as much as possible, I will tell the story in the voices of the day.  It was Team 8’s intention to publish an audio monograph.  We did considerable work on that; it lacked transcription of the multiple embedded audio clips.  We ran out of time.  Hopefully, NARA will be able to pull that draft monograph off of the archived server.

November 30, 2009

I’m putting the Wikileaks review on the back burner.  I’ve appended a summary comment to the top of that page.

November 26, 2009

Started a new page for wikileaks.  I will post relevant messages as I identify them.  Work in progress.

November 25, 2009

I’ve updated the “What’s in the Queue” page to add and give priority to the creation of two catalogs; key audio clips from the two entities that fought the battle of 9-11–NEADS and the Herndon Command Center.  This effort will save researchers value time and effort in researching and using primary source information.  Depending on who it goes, I may go into rolling production as the effort proceeds.

I will continue to follow the flight of AA 77 and will begin to merge what we are finding back into chaos theory.

The Air Threat Conference article is nearly complete and should be out within a week.

November 24, 2009

Published a fourth article under Transponders and Ghosts continuing the track of AA 77 toward the Pentagon.  In this article we establish that Eastern Region called IAD shortly after 9:29 to ask not about AA 77 but UA 175.  By the end of the conversation AA 77 is 34 miles from the Pentagon and no one at any level is aware of the looming threat.

November 23, 2009

Published a third article under Transponders and Ghosts covering the tracking of AA 77 into Dulles TRACON airspace.  I discuss the period 9:25 to 9:29 and establish what IAD saw and did and what FAA assessed in the immediate aftermath and subsequently.  I talk briefly about the Administrator’s Briefing Book that prepared her for Congressional testimony and likely served as a baseline for FAA input at a key White House meeting.  I explain how the wording in the Commission Report was determined concerning IAD awareness of the approaching primary track that was AA 77.

November 21, 2009

Added a Current News page to post links to items of interest.  Posted a link to a New York Times article,”U.S. reviews costly air defenses.”

November 20, 2009

Added a slide link, American Air Flight 77 ZDC ZID Slide Show, to the AA 77 “Transponders and Ghosts” article.  The link provides transcripted slides in powerpoint for the ZID/ZDC conversation as well as a brief summary slide and relevant Google Earth and Flight Data Recorder screen prints.  Slides are timed and will advance automatically.  Embedded audio not yet active; working on it.

Added a page for an Air Force History Operation Noble Eagle project.  The project will include material on the US Air Force response to the 9-11 attacks.  I will update the page as more information becomes available.

November 17, 2009

Published a second article under “Transponders and Ghosts,” expanding on the first article by discussing AA 77 as a ghost.  The article includes as audio links the critical conversation between ZID and ZDC and, then, at ZDC, among the Operations Manager and the Area Supervisors.

I establish that ZDC was concentrating on a transponding aircraft with a limited data tag; it never saw AA 77.  I detail what was and was not happening shortly after 9:20, the same time that Norman Mineta testifies that he was aware of AA 77.

I make a personal observation about the hijacker tactics and, briefly, reverse engineer the flight path that Hani Hanjour took en route his target.   I also state that the discussion will be continued to consider the next FAA facility in the path of AA 77, Dulles TRACON, IAD.

November 10, 2009

A correspondent alerted me that Kevin Fenton blogged about the NEADS tapes and the Commission’s staff work.  Kevin had emailed me with his thesis and I was already crafting an article to clarify the issue.  Given Kevin’s article I have revised my draft article and just published it under the category NEADS files.  As always, I caution that snapshots of the Staff’s work are just that, snapshots.  In this instance the snapshot is beneficial.  Kevin highlights that the Staff was working formal and informal processes at the same time.  That should come as no surprise to historians and researchers, or to anyone who has served on a Congressional, Commission, or other staff.

At the end, the Commission Staff obtained all available NEADS audio files.  How we got there is interesting, even a bit fascinating, but not probative.

November 5, 2009

Added a WTC 7 link which I happened across today while doing other research.  The site is a clear, logical explanation of events of the day concerning that building.  WTC 7 was fatally damaged during the attack on the World Trade Center complex; it became unstable, was going to collapse and those on the scene knew that.  Post 9-11 attempts to explain otherwise are ingenuous diversion with no credibility.

I did not work on the Trade Center portion of the Commission Staff’s work.  I make WTC reference in my articles only to the fact that it was the primary target of the successful northern prong of the terrorist attack that morning.  Ten men hijacked two aircraft and flew them into the North and South towers fatally damaging the WTC complex, incluidng WTC 7.

There is nothing more to be said.

November 1, 2009

Made a small but important edit to the Scott III article, as follows: “It took NEADS, once alerted, the Otis pilots, once scrambled, (edited Nov 1, 2009) on the order of thirteen minutes to get fighters (edited Nov 1, 2009) airborne.”  The fighters were actually airborne seven minutes after scramble.  The whole process, alert-battle stations-scrambe-airborne, was on the order of 13-15 minutes.

October 28, 2009

Published the final article in the Scott Trilogy.   Ultimately, the third Scott article is about Rules of Engagement (ROE).  At some point I will need to write a separate article on ROE but, for now, what I’ve written will have to suffice.  Once again in this article we lay to rest any notion that the Andrews fighters were at all relevant to the battle of 9-11 (second article at link).

This was a difficult article because it gets into speculation.    I speak to the NORAD rationalization–speculation really–that they would take lives in the air to save lives on the ground.  Ultimately, I place a burden on the reader to do his or her own speculation and simply provide some things to keep in mind.

October 21, 2009

Added the sub-category “linear processes” under Chaos Theory and posted an article there on NOIWON, the National Operational Intelligence Watch Officers Network.  At the same time the NMCC and FAA were attempting to establish formal communications via the FAA’s Primary Net and the NMCC’s Significant Event Conference the two entities were in secure communication via a NOIWON conference.

Moved the list of linear processes previously developed to be an article in the new sub-category.

October 13, 2009

Added a short article under Exercises to provide a link to and brief comments on a qualitative research effort to compile the universe of Commission interview comments concerning training, exercises and war games.  This effort pulls together information which has heretofore been treated in ’snap-shot’ form on the web.  The perspective will be useful to all researchers interested in this subject.

October 8, 2009

Published a reponse to Kevin Ryan’s letter under the category Bloomington Group.

Added a new link “911 Myths, 911 Commission Files.”  This is a user friendly way of getting at the universe of Commission files that have been made public through FOIA and by History Commons.

Received an open letter response from Kevin Ryan of the Bloomington Group.  I made  the Bloomington page a category and move my open letter and Ryan’s response to that category.  I will respond, but in the interim am reviewing Ryan’s position established in March, 2006.  It is not clear if Ryan’s position has changed to incorporate new information or if his response is representative of the Bloomington Group, at large.

October 5, 2009

Published a new article under Chaos Theory, “9-11; a battle, not a war.”  Therein, we identify Colonel Robert Marr and Ben Sliney as the Battle Commanders; and General Larry Arnold and Jeff Griffith as the Battle Managers.  We specify that battles are not fought at the national level and that the national voices–Bush, Cheney, Mineta, Rumsfeld, Myers, Eberhart–were largely irrelevant.  We continue the discussion of ’strange attractors’ and assess that for there to be any success at all in the battle the flow of information had to be between NEADS and the FAA’s Herndon Command Center.  We also assess that Richard Clarke’s secure video conference was counter-productive.

October 4, 2009

My open letter to the Bloomington Working Group is now published as a page.  In the letter I express my confidence that the Working Group will understand that John Farmer’s book, The Ground Truth says that the Commission Report is accurate and that what is not accurate is the Government’s reconstruction of events in the aftermath.

Today, I note the following entry on the Bloomington site:

2. The 9/11 Commission Report has been exposed as almost entirely untrue by John Farmer, the Dean of Rutgers School of Law–Newark who served as Senior Counsel to the Commission:

http://media-newswire.com/release_1098894.html

A confidence misplaced, it seems.

October 2, 2009

Published a short addendum to the Delta 1989 post.  A Commission Staff MFR of the NEADS Identification Technicians interview contains information concerning the confusion over the destination of Delta 1989.

October 1, 2009

Two subjects have been added to What’s in the Queue: The Otis Scramble and UA 175; both subjects at the request of correspondents.

On September 29 I sent an open letter to the Bloomington 9-11 Working Group.  I will post that letter as a page within a week.

September 28, 2009

The Ground Truth” comment has been moved to be its own page.  It appears that several, if not most, articles claiming John Farmer discounts the 9-11 Commission Report are simply replications of one article at Salem-News.com.  The new page will be updated as developments warrant.

September 23, 2009, Ground Truth by John Farmer, a comment

Moved to a separate page

September 17, 2009

Today I posted a short article under Delta 1989 with a slide depicting the relationship between Delta 1989 and UA 93.  The recent Fox News special contains footage of Major General Arnold declaring that  NORAD was following UA 93.  They did not.  The plane that “meandered” and that NORAD was following was Delta 1989, the only track forwarded by NEADS to NORAD that morning.

September 11, 2009

We all know where we were that morning eight years ago.  I memorialized my location on the page “Joining the Commission Staff.”  Immediately after the Staff disbanded I started a Google alert, “9-11 Commission” to monitor news and events.

Yesterday, two articles popped up in  my alert queue concerning the teaching of  9-11 history.  The dichotomy between the two articles prompted me to publish an article today under a new category, “9-11 Education.”  If you are interested in 9-11, in history, and in education I strongly recommend a look at the two articles.

I also published an article under NRO to clarify snaphots in Commission workfiles that are misleading, out of context.  In sum, I over-analyzed the routine flight of the early morning traffic helicopter that day and briefly equated it to the NRO exercise scheduled later in the day.  There was no such correlation; the traffic helicopter flight was an analytical non-event.

September 9, 2009

Yesterday, Rutgers University announced the publication of Dean John Farmer’s 9-11 book, The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11. As Senior Counsel and Team 8 Lead on the 9-11 Commission Staff he was the primary author of the first chapter of the Commission Report.   This book continues his work on and interest in the events of 9-11.  The press release states that; “The Ground Truth draws on Farmer’s experience with the 9/11 Commission…to show a disturbing disconnect between what those in charge of the country’s security knew and what was actually happening on the ground and in the skies.“  I am exploring that disconnect further in the series of Chaos Theory articles.

September 8, 2009

“What’s in the queue” split off to be a separate page.

“Joining the Commission Staff” moved to be a page, not a post.

September 7, 2009

Second of three articles in the Scott Trilogy published.  This article discusses the Air Traffic Services Cell (ATSC), the Central Altitude Reservation Function (CARF) and the Liaison Officers exchanged between FAA and NORAD/NEADS.  Scott only discussed the ATSC; this article completes the record in that respect.  All of the three processes–ATSC, CARF, Liaison–were effective in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.  None of them played a significant role during the attack, itself.

Bobcats article published under Mystery Plane category.  I explain why the Bobcats were briefly of Commission Staff interest and why they were not a factor.

Published under Chaos Theory a list of linear processes/functions extant on 9-11.  While researching the Scott Trilogy II article it struck me that a formal bookkeeping of linear processes extant was needed to keep track.   Qualitative analysis is in the offing, TBD.

August 31, 2009

BTS link to the Delta 1989 article added giving access to the official record of Delta flights that departed Boston Logan on 9-11.

August 26, 2009

First article in the Scott Trilogy series published.  The  article introduces the Air Traffic Services Cell (ATSC) at Herndon.  We will pursue the ATSC  further when we consider Scott’s second article, “Command Cells Speed Airspace Reactivation.”  However, there is a larger issue to consider–the interface between FAA and DoD as it existed on the morning of 9-11.  That interface included not only the ATSC, but the CARF (Central Altitude Reservation Function), and liaison officers at several echelons.  The purpose of my second article is to put all of that in perspective.

August 24, 2009

Third article published under Chaos Theory, “NEADS and ZBW; strange attractors, indeed.”  As with the first two articles this one is introductory.  It lists four additional linear structures that were ineffective on 9-11: the Air Threat Conference Call; FAA’s primary net; Clarke’s SVTS conference; and the NOIWON conference.  Absent effective national level structure, the nation’s response self organized in a way that could not be predicted. NEADS and ZBW became two strange attractors; Herdon Center a third attractor without a partner.  Those attractors were ultimately transient and the nation’s response re-organized again at the only level that could make a difference, the passengers and crew aboard UA 93.

Published an introduction to the Scott Trilogy, “cutting to the chase.”  I talk about three barriers to research, analysis and writing about the events of 9-11–time compression, event conflation, and the imposition of post-facto understanding and awareness on facto and pre-facto events.   Most readers intuitively understand these barriers; nevertheless I felt it important to discuss them at least briefly before moving on to the Scott Trilogy.

An August 24 note.  Two readers–and there are perhaps more interested–have commented in emails about UA 175, in reference to the article on transponders and ghosts.  That interest prompts me to consider an article “9-11: UA 175; the forgotten plane.”  UA 175 tends to get lost in the discussions about the other three hijacked planes, yet it is intriguing in its own right.  For example, UA 175 crossed paths with AA 11 and its pilot is one of the voices that confirmed that AA 11 was still at 29,000 feet; its transponder code was changed, twice, and it was lost as a primary target; and its southerly path over central New Jersey made it a potential threat to Washington D.C.

August 19, 2009

Added a valuable search engine link, Vivisimo, for exploring the 9-11 Commission Report.  Thanks to Erik Larson for the tip.

August 17, 2009

Added an addendum to the NRO exercise article.  The scenario is now available; the title is “NRO Emergency Response to a Small Aircraft Crash.”

Added the following addendum to the beginning of the Ghosts of 9-11 article.

Relevant Commission work files recently became available.  Information concerning AA 11A is modified accordingly.  My notes taken while reviewing a replay of TSD tapes at Herndon reveal that  “0844 11A pops up” and “0851 11A disappears 290 FL 291 GS.”  This information is secondary source information; the TSD tapes themselves are the primary source information.  The disappearance of AA 11A from TSD supports a Commission Staff working hypothesis (still our hypothesis to this day) that emerging information from Indianapolis Center about the loss of AA77 was conflated with continued uncertainty about the whereabouts of AA 11 and the fact of a plane missing in the system became AA 11.  It is important to remember that American Airlines, itself, was confused at the same time and thought both AA 11 and AA 77 impacted the WTC.  This time frame is one of the chaotic moments of 9-11 and I will have more to say about that as I continue my chaos theory discussions.

August 12, 2009

Made a small but critical correction to the Transponders and Ghosts article.  In the last paragraph I changed “AA 11″ to be “UA 93.”

August 9, 2009

Added a link to the History Commons timeline.  The site is useful as one point of reference; however, it is, in part,  conjectural.  A good point to start research on any topic is a combination of three sources: the 9-11 Commission Report, Staff Statements and Monographs; 911myths; and the History Commons timeline.  To get at the details of the Commission’s work, both the History Commons project to upload Commission files to Scribd and the concurrent work at 911myths provide useful links.  Check out both 911myths and 911files for links to primary source information obtained under FOIA.

August 6, 2009

Published a short article updating the May 23, 2003 hearing.  History Commons uploaded two NORAD briefings prior to the hearing that clearly show that NORAD knew the actual paths of the air defense fighters from Otis and Langley.  In addition, one slide contains the definition of a scramble.  By definition a scramble does not mean that air defense fighters were actually launched

August 1, 2009

Published an article on Delta 1989.  The primary source information–radar and tapes, complemented by transcripts–shows conclusively that there is no correlation between Delta 1989 and the Mode 3 code 7112.  M3 7112

July 30, 2009

Published a tutorial on the NEADS tapes and transcripts.  While working on the Delta 1989 article it became clear that such a tutorial was needed.  I will add to and refine it as I relearn what I thought I knew 5 years ago.

July 23, 2009

Published an article under Chaos Theory about 9-11, thinking out loud.  The paper is introductory.   It addresses the question of whether Chaos Theory can even be applied to events of 9-11.  The preliminary answer is yes, metaphorically.  The article also lists four linear processes that were in place that day and touches briefly on some of the chaotic aspects of the day.  It closes with a question centered on the time frame shortly before 9:10.

July 20, 2009

Published an article on the NORAD briefing slides used at the May 23, 2003 air defense hearing.

July 19, 2009

I made a correction to the Andrews fighter article, based on Commission work files, to show that the Cap flight had oral “weapons free” instructions.  The Wild flight which followed had written instructions.

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