December 29, 2010
Published an article, “9-11: May 2003 Hearing, additional insight,” under the May 23, 2003 category as a further aid to historians. Specifically, I contrast and compare how NORAD portrayed the paths of the Otis and Langley fighters with what they should have done. Thanks to NARA we now have access to my 2004 revision of the key slide presented by NORAD at the hearing.
It remains my assessment that NORAD did not lie; they did not tell the truth because they did not know what the truth was. I continue to attribute the NORAD failure to clarify the air defense response to shoddy staff work coupled with a leadership failure to validate and verify the work of NORAD staffs at all echelons, from NEADS, through CONR, to NORAD, itself.
December 20, 2010
Added an article under “Current News” to acknowledge and provide a link to the second installment of theWashington Post’s continuing series, “Top Secret America, published December 20, 2010.” In this latest installment, titled “Monitoring America,” the Post’s lead investigators, Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, discuss in detail the new “Nationwide Suspicious Activities Reporting Initiative (SAR)” The SAR encompasses a “neighborhood watch” of 4,058 agencies at the state and local level.
For those of us of a certain age the initiative is reminiscent of the 1970’s and the U.S. Army spying of civilians escapade. What Priest and Arkin describe is a direct outcome of the attack of 9-11. In my discussion of the article I provide a link to the Joint Inquiry Report. The issue of public safety vs personal freedom was of continuing interest and concern to the members and staff of the Joint Inquiry, as well as of the 9-11 Commission.
December 10, 2010
Published a short article, “9-11: UA93; FDR and CVR links,” under the “UA 93” category to provide links to data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). The convergence of evidence is conclusive that UA 93 impacted at 10:03:11 when the hijackers flew it into the ground while under attack by the passengers and remaining crew. Any other explanation is speculative and without merit.
December 8, 2010
Published an article, “9-11: Herndon Center-FAA HQ open line; a story continued”, under the category “National Level.” The article covers the period 10:15-11:15 and is based on the only primary source audio information available concerning actions and activity at FAA Headquarters.
The source is a tape of the open line at Operations Position 28 at Herndon Center to the FAA Washington Operations Center. It is a direct window into the FAA Tactical Net, which had absorbed the FAA Primary Net.
December 6, 2010
Published under the categories “NSA” and “Chaos Theory, linear process” an article about the NSA CRITICS:“Chaos Theory: 9-11; CRITICS, a snapshot of the national awareness.”
I discuss the CRITICS, the NSA NOIWON Summary, an NSA CRITIC Summary, and an internal e-mail detailing information NSA received from FAA Operations. I establish a tentative time for the national level’s descent into chaos, 9:49 a.m. EDT.
December 6, 2010
Added a short item to “Correspondent’s Corner” to answer a question about UA93. If UA93 was at an altitude of 6100 feet at 10:02 57 [84th RADES radar] how could the crash time be 10:03? The answer is two-fold: first; rounding (UA 93 was flown into the ground in a few seconds), and, second; the flight data recorder (FDR) is the definitive source. I have imbedded a link to the FDR as an assist to historians and researchers.
November 30, 2010
Added a preamble to the Vigilant Guardian article for Sep 6 which links to information in the files of the 9-11 Commission that shows that 24 hour operations were scheduled to begin on Sep 10, 2001.
November 27, 2010
Published a preliminary article on Exercise Vigilant Guardian, Sep 8, audio clips to follow. The main event was a drug smuggler out of Bermuda.
We also learn that the NEADS staff expected to shift to 24-hour operations on Wednesday [Sep 12]. [Strike thru] That means that the exercise was not ongoing during most of the battle on the morning of 9-11. The stated exercise hours were 1000-2200 each day until 24-hour operations were required. [/Strike thru] See November 30 entry, above, for reason for the correction to original post.
November 25, 2010
I updated the “What’s in the Queue” page to provide insight into what I am doing and why it is taking a considerable amount of time to publish new articles.
November 18, 2010
Published a second article on Vigilant Guardian under NEADS files. In this article I provide primary source information concerning Sep 7, 2001. The main event was the defection of a Russian plane and how to handle it.
It will be a couple of weeks before I get around to Sep 8, 2001. The process takes time and I won’t have access to my audio workfiles until after Dec 1
November 11, 2010
I have received Commission NEADS audio files from NARA covering the period prior to 9-11 beginning on Sep 3, 2001. Those files provide specific primary source information concerning Exercise Vigilant Guardian. I have posted an initial article covering Sep 3-6 under the category NEADS files.
The files are too massive to upload using RapidShare; I am searching for an alternative to place them in the public domain. Further, the files are complex to figure out. I provide a brief tutorial in my initial article.
This primary source information establishes that the exercise was controlled by an internal cell that simulated all non-NORAD external agencies. Specifically, it is clear that FAA did not participate in this exercise. Moreover, the hours of the exercise are established as 1000-2200 hours daily, including weekends, until 24-hour manning become necessary. I have not yet pinpointed the date/time that the switch was made, if at all, to 24-hour operations.
I will provide the essential audio clips in a series of articles, watch for the next installment.
October 29, 2010
Added an article under “Current News” to discuss the upcoming release of President Bush’s book, Decision Points, and his recall that he thought the shoot down authority he had given resulted in the downing of UA 93. I place that statement in the context of the lack of situational awareness of the National Command Authority and establish that his order was given after UA 93 crashed.
October 26, 2010
Updated the “Ground Truth” page to acknowledge the release of the paperback edition of John Farmer’s book. John adds an afterword addressing the Christmas Day, 2009, attempt to down a commercial aircraft, the Fort Hood tragedy, the alleged attempt to bomb Times Square, and the BP oil spill.
October 18, 2010
Added a short item under Current News to acknowledge the passing of Benoit Mendelbrot, a significant contributor to our understanding of chaos theory
October 17, 2010
Published under current news photos taken at the release of the Commission’s report. They recently came to my attention via a Google alert. I’ve provide a separate link to a photo of the staff assembled, for those that might be interested.
For those curious as to why I have not been posting recently, I have been busy with family affairs. Next up will be an article for researchers and historians placing the recently released, under FOIA, NSA CRITIC documents.
September 23, 2010
Published “Chaos Theory: the butterfly effect; a ghostly experience.” in the Chaos Theory category. The purpose of the article is to expand on the theoretical basis for my use of the lens of Chaos Theory to examine events of 9-11. Specifically, I establish how the term “butterfly effect” came about. I conclude by musing that perhaps the Secretary of Transportation and the National Command Authority were chasing butterflies, not ghosts.
September 23, 2010
Added a short article under “Current News” to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the National Book Company, the distributor of the 9/11 Commission Report. The article contains interesting details about the distribution of the report published by W. W. Norton.
September 16, 2010
Created a new category, ROE [Rules of Engagement] and published an initial article: “9-11: Rules of Engagement; expanding on the Commission’s Report.”
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks the nation began a transition to wartime. That transition is documented on the tapes from NEADS. Shortly after 11:00 the NEADS operations floor acknowledged the transition to DEFCON 3 and new directions to protect the major cities. Part of that direction included the passing of explicit ROE to Syracuse-based fighters tasked to protect Pittsburgh.
September 13, 2010
Added an item under “Current News” to link to a CSPAN video of a 9/11 aviation panel moderated by Lynn Spencer, Touching History. Lynn may have a new calling!
Here is the CSPAN blurb: “Pilots and air controllers responsible for clearing U.S. airspace in the hours following the 9/11 attacks gather at the University of Texas at Dallas Saturday to share their behind-the-scenes experiences and explain how their decisions helped to mitigate loss of life through the day’s chaos.”
Chaos references are becoming ubiquitous.
September 12, 2010
Created a new category, “Political Revolutionary Warfare,” and published a first article: “9-11: the national level; descent into Chaos, a look ahead.”
Today, Ted Koppel published an above-the-fold, major article in theWashington Post Outlook section: “Let’s stop playing into bin Laden’s hands.” I address Koppel’s narrative in my new article.
Koppel links chaos, 9-11, and revolutionary warfare, three subjects of continued interest to me. Readers will pardon me getting ahead of my own story and taking advantage of Koppel’s narrative.
Koppel is a game changer for me. He extends my discussion beyond the events of 9-11, in and of themselves.
September 10, 2010
Added a post under 9-11 Education to highlight an article posted today by The Christian Science Monitor. Anyone interested in how the events of 9-11 are being taught in the nation’s classrooms will find the post and its embedded links useful.
Added an item under Current News to briefly discuss last night’s History Channel special, “9/11: A State of Emergency.” I call two things to the attention of readers. First is the inconsistent overlay of primary source audio files onto the video record. Second is the narrative of Condoleezza Rice which clearly depicts the confusion and lack of situational awareness, enemy and friendly, at the national level. It did catch my ear that Rice said “they had to stop the chaos.”
Added a new category, NSA, and published an article in response to a blog item today by Phil Shenon on “The Daily Beast.” I also emailed Phil and he and I chatted this morning. In the article I provide additional perspective on the work of the Congressional Joint Inquiry and the Commission concerning the NSA issue. I conclude that there is no smoking gun.
September 9, 2010
The 9th anniversary of the terrorist attack against America is fast approaching. I have added an article under current news to link to two items that have caught my interest. One links to a noteworthy pictorial view of the attack against the World Trade Center. The other links to a USA Today forum article by Nikki Stern, a 9-11 family member.
August 30, 2010
Added a new category, “National Level,” and published an initial article: “9-11: The National Level; descent into chaos, disposition of friendly forces.”
This is a preliminary article to set the stage for a more detailed discussion. I focus on 10:10 EDT, the time that Air Force One turned west. I establish that sufficient friendly forces were active to support a safe return to the nation’s capital. Among them were the three Langley fighters, the E4B Venus 77, and the three Andrews fighters returning from Dare Range, North Carolina.
I provide a Google earth depiction of the status of friendly forces and a powerpoint screen print from the 84th RADES radar files from the Southeast Air Defense Sector showing all Mode 2 (military) aircraft active during the period 10:00-10:30 EDT.
I conclude that not only did the national level not know the threat situation they did not know the friendly forces situation.
August 29, 2010
Added a link to the site “11 Settembre, Italian blog about ‘9/11′” by Enrico Manieri (Henry62). Researchers interested in the damage to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will find this link valuable. Manieri adds to our understanding of events in both New York City and Arlington. His treatment of WTC7 is particularly instructive.
August 28, 2010
Published an article, “9-11: Chaos Theory; Unbuilding the World Trade Center, dealing with Chaos,” based on the book, American Ground; Unbuilding the World Trade Center, by William Langewiesche. The author, writing in 2002, uses the word “chaos” ubiquitously and describes the debris pile, itself, as chaos.
Langewiesche’s research passes a critical test, it is accurate when compared to the primary sources of the day, specifically the air traffic control and passenger communications pertaining to AA 11 and UA 175.
Moreover, the author describes a situation in which events self-organized around strange attractors whose identity could not have been predicted in advance, typical of the deterministic nature of chaos.
Using the author’s established credentials I use his words to establish that the towers were brought down by office fires; that the molten material flowing out of the South Tower was aluminum, the remains of UA 175; and that the pancaked collapses had nothing to do with controlled demolition as a few have speculated.
August 22, 2010
Added an item under “Current News” linking to the site “TPM.” The author, Josh Marshall, asked his readers to recommend the best book on 9/11. According to Marhall, the overwhelming majority of respondents mentioned just two books; Wright’s Looming Towers, and the 9/11 Commission Report.He concludes that there is a paucity of books that directly treat the attacks themselves.
August 17, 2010
Added a short item under “Current News” to account for two disparate news announcements. Lee Hamilton, Co-chair of the 9-11 Commission announced his retirement. Coincidentally, the Associated Press announced that circa 2002 interrogation tapes of Ramzi binalshibh were found under a desk at CIA. Strange news day.
August 16, 2010
Added a short article under “Correspondent’s Corner” to answer a question concerning potential exercise interference with the NEADS/NORAD real world mission. I responded that the ongoing exercise did not hinder the NEADS hunt for targets of interest. An audio clip is included.
Apart from Combat Air Patrol (CAP) activity over New York City and Washington D.C., NEADS was cued to only three targets during the battle that morning; AA 11, a fast mover (AA 77), and D 1989. It quickly tracked the latter two.
August 11, 2010
Added a short article in the Exercises and Training category to discuss theCheyenne Mountain tech control telephone call to NEADS asking that exercise inputs be terminated. The article contains a link to the audio of that call.
It was a brief 15 second call that had no impact on real world activity on the NEADS operations floor. The caller was simply referred to an admin number.
August 9, 2010
Added a short article under “Current News” linking to a “U.S. Today” article concerning the shutdown of the Taiba (formerly al-Quds) mosque in Hamburg, Germany.
August 7, 2010
Added a short article under Current News to acknowledge the appointment of David Buckley as the CIA Inspector General-designate. Buckley is a protege’ of Eleanor Hill, former Inspector General, Department of Defense and the second Director of the 9-11 Congressional Joint Inquiry.
July 29, 2010
Added an update to “Correspondent’s Corner.” A correspondent advised me that the issue of hijack scenarios in past NORAD exercises had again surfaced on the web. I responded that I had moved beyond the exercises but would put the subject back on my plate, but on the back burner.
In the update I summarize my position for the correspondent and for other readers. I conclude that the larger exercise issue of command and control had not been achieved, as events of 9-11 clearly demonstrated.
July 27, 2010
Created a new category, Otis Scramble, and published an in-depth article, “9-11: The Otis Scramble; a puzzling event, explained.”
Using primary source information I describe the scramble and explain its pretzel-shaped flight path as captured on radar. Links to relevant Commission work files are provided.
After I gather and review the audio files I will add clips to tell the story in the voices of the day.
July 25, 2010
Added a short article under Current News to provide a link to public comment on the Washington Post series, “Top Secret America.” The Postpublished solicited comments under “Sunday OPINION, TOPIC A, is the intelligence community out of control?”
Those commenting include my Team 8 colleague, Dean John Farmer Jr, Rutgers School of Law, and Jane Harmon (D-Calif), Chair, House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence. Harmon was also a member of the Congressional Joint Inquiry that preceded the 9-11 Commission.
July 24, 2010
Published an article; “9-11; UA 93 impact time, seismic data considered,” under the category UA 93. I explain how the Commission treated a family question and determined the answer.
We concluded that a study done using the primary source seismic data was not conclusive and that the convergence of multiple other primary source information was conclusive. UA 93 impacted at 10:03. We reconfirmed that finding by obtaining the infrared event time as recorded by satellite.
In the article I provide researchers and historians the information necessary to obtain the available seismic data for independent examination.
July 22, 2010
Added a short item on the page Commission Report to acknowledge a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) press release that announced the issuance of a progress report concerning the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. A link to the DHS report is included in the press release.
July 21, 2010
Added a further update under Current News to address the concludingWashington Post article concerning “Top Secret America.”
I note that the Post series was timed to coincide with the appearance of the Director of National Intelligence-designate, James Clapper before the Senate intelligence committee, the overseers.
It was an interesting juxtaposition; a designee who will not have the power of the purse engaging in an exchange of words with a committee that cannot appropriate funds. That void is worth examining. The Post’s investigative work is not finished.
July 20, 2010
Added a short update under Current News to address the secondWashington Post article concerning “Top Secret America.” In the article we learn that Gates and Panetta “agreed with the concerns” articulated by Priest and Arkin, the authors of the Post’s three-part series. We also learn that “Top Secret America” is “lacking in thorough oversight.”
July 19, 2010
Added an article under Current News to address the Washington Postfeature article “Top Secret America, a Washington Post Investigation,” by Dana Priest and William Arkin. I also include a rebuttal announcement by the Acting Director of National Intelligence, David Gompert.
Priest and Arkin’s secondary title is “A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control,” and that means chaos. I use the lens of Chaos Theory and draw upon what we learned about the actions taken on 9-11 by the FAA’s National Operations Manager, Ben Sliney, to provide perspective on the Priest/Arkin article.
I conclude by suggesting the Congressional oversight is equally growing beyond control and deserving of similar treatment by Priest and Arkin.
July 14, 2010
Published a concluding article on the NEADS files to set the stage for a discussion of the Otis scramble. In the article I establish that there are two sets of NEADS audio files in the Commission master files. One is the NEADS-provided set which is now in the public domain. The other is a set provided by Dictaphone which is not yet in the public domain.
The primary purpose of the article is to inform future historians.
July 13, 2010
Added two items to Correspondent’s Corner. In the first I address an question raised concerning General Arnold’s statement to Leslie Filson that beginning with Delta 1989 CONR maintained a list of 21 potential hijacked aircraft over the next four hours. I recall nothing remarkable about any of the false alarms that has not already been covered or mentioned in FAA logs. I do recall that one potential threat caused NORAD to close the blast doors at Cheyenne Mountain for the first time in history.
In the second item I include two audio clips that I passed to an interested researcher. Both come from Herndon Center tape 5 DCC 1923 Ops Phone #1528 Position 28 1415-1515 UTC. The first, at around 10:17, deals with the launch of Air Force One and the request for fighter escort from Andrews AFB. The second, around 10:35, deals with a question from the Air Traffic Services Cell at Herndon as to whether the NMCC or NORAD was on the FAA net. Neither was and the Cell took an action to try and make the connection.
July 11, 2010
Added a short item under Current News to briefly mention a couple of items of interest from a trip to the Spy Museum with my grand son. I discuss how 9-11 is treated under the topic counter-terrorism. I also refer to a list of specific national infrastructure systems by linking to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2009 report card on those systems.
July 7 2010
Added a short item under Current News to discuss Karl Rove’s treatment of events on the morning of 9-11 in his book Courage and Consequence. Rove’s account is not helpful. He compresses time and conflates events to the point that his narrative confuses rather than clarifies our understanding of the sequence of events at the highest level of government.
July 4, 2010
Added an item to Correspondent’s Corner to acknowledge that History Commons has uploaded additional Commission files. A link is provided. I provide comment on the nature of the files uploaded.
July 2, 2010
Added a short article on the Personal page to acknowledge the adventures of two young soccer officials who are in southern Africa enjoying the World Cup and traveling about. Links are included to their websites; their narratives provide a fascinating look at life in South Africa through the eyes of knowledgeable visitors.
It goes without saying that there is no mention of 9-11 and no evidence that they found any interest at all in the subject.
June 28, 2010
Added an update to Correspondent’s Corner to acknowledge and discuss the April 2010 FOIA release of Secret Service documents. I provide a link to the documents in the update.
In sum, the Secret Service release supports the assessment that the national level did not get itself organized until late in the battle and did not get actionable situation awareness in a timely fashion. The release identifies just three threat aircraft to which Garabito and Van Steenbergen can reference; the threat from the north (rebirth of AA 11), the fast moving threat to the White House (AA 77) and the approach of UA 93 from over Pennsylvania.
June 21, 2010
Added some entries to the Correspondent’s Corner page. Among the items discussed: my knowledge of the Cockpit Voice Recorders for AA 77 and UA 93; the ZBW notification time to NEADS about Delta 1989; The sponsor for the publication of Air War over America; the failure of the FAA primary net to become operational; and the erroneous 8:43 NORAD time for notification about UA 175.
Added a short article in the AA 77 category to document the work of Warren Stutt, a definitive researcher concerning the AA 77 flight data recorder. The article includes a link to Stutt’s home page and to his work.
June 15, 2010
Added a category, AA 77, to account for detailed technical work done in the private sector by individuals interested in the flight of AA 77.
Published an article in that category to account for the work of Tom Lusch who has long been interested in the technical details of FAA’s radar data processing to support air traffic controllers.
Tom is one of many individuals and groups that have furthered the work of the Commission in a responsible and rigorous manner. He is not alone in his interest in the flight of AA 77. I will be adding additional articles in this category as I find time.
June 6, 2010
Added a link to the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History,September 11, Bearing Witness to History. Researchers, writers, and historians not familiar with the site will find it a useful source.
June 6, 2010
Added an item under current news to acknowledge the statement of Penny Elgas concerning AA 77 impacting the Pentagon. It is not new news, but it is new to me. Her statement is eloquent and requires no explanation. I provide a link to her statement in the item.
June 2, 2010
Added a page, “Correspondent’s Corner” to allow me to keep track of what I have said in response to questions I receive. I think most readers will find the new page useful and informative. The questions are non-attributable and my answers are gisted. Personal exchanges with correspondents are not included.
June 1, 2010
Published an in-depth article under Chaos Theory that explains the terrorist attack on the morning of 9-11 using bifurcation charts. There are two charts, one depicting the attack and one depicting the situational awareness of the attack.
Because this approach is so different from anything else I have published, or that is available anywhere in academia or the blogosphere I am allowing comments.
I consider this publication to be version 1.0; it will be revised.
May 29, 2010
I establish a new page, Personal, to account for some of my activities outside the blogosphere and the web. I have been occupied with family, friends, the public, and outside activities for most of the past month. I can report with confidence that 9-11 is acknowledged as an event in history but there is no public interest in the details, certainly not among my family, friends, and acquaintances.
The only specific conversation I had about 9-11 was one I initiated. I spoke with the Captain of my United Airlines cross-country flight about the ability of passengers to listen to air traffic control communications on cabin channel 9. I comment about that conversation on the new page.
In real life I am the Assignor for Commonwealth Soccer Officials Association in Northern Virginia. I provide a link on the new page as well as a link to a recent “Washington Post” article about us, for which I was interviewed.
I still officiate soccer and did several U11 girls games today in The Virginian, a large youth tournament held the past 35 years in Northern Virginia on the Memorial Day weekend. I was bemused to find that one of the teams in my first game today was named “Kaos.”
May 13, 2010
Added an item and a link under Current News to acknowledge the publication of Securing Human Mobility in the Age of Risk; New Challenges for Travel Migration and Borders. The author is Susan Ginsburg, Former Senior Counsel and Team Leader, 9/11 Commission.
April 28, 2010
Published a brief article in the UA 93 category to document a short conversation at the Herndon Center which reported that UA 93 was headed for Washington National. The article includes an audio clip from the recording of Operations Position 14C at Herndon Center.
This information further confirms the new flight plan for UA 93 entered into the system by Cleveland Center and provides evidence that UA 93 was observable as a notional plane in the Traffic Display System.
April 21, 2010
Published an article, “9-11: Chaos Theory; 9:33 to 9:37, a most confusing time,” under the category Chaos Theory. The article provides primary source audio of the confusion that existed at FAA Headquarters just as word was received of a fast-moving primary-only aircraft approaching the nation’s capital.
FAA was attempting to provide a status report to FBI, Boston. It was inaccurate and Herndon Center broke in to set the record straight. Listen as FAA attempted to gain situational awareness.
Recall, that at the same time Administrator Garvey was on her way to an SVTS conference with Richard Clarke, and that Norman Mineta has not yet reached the White House.
April 12, 2010
9-11 Researcher Mike Williams recently obtained via FOIA the document, “Pre-September 11, 2001 Trading Review,” dated May 15, 2002, and presented to the Securities and Exchange Commission by its Division of Enforcement. It took Mike nearly three years to obtain the document, an important addition to the public record concerning events prior to 9-11.
The Division of Enforcement investigated to determine “whether there was evidence that anyone who had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attacks sought to profit from that knowledge.” The Division concluded, in part, that “in every instance where we noticed unusual trading before the attack, we were able to determine…that the trading was consistent with a legitimate trading strategy.”
April 8, 2010
I’ve been out of town and haven’t worked on much recently. I did receive an important response from NARA on my request for the audio tape for the time 1415-1515 UTC at Operations Position 28, Herndon Center. That tape will hopefully contain enough background conversation to shed light on what information FAA Headquarters was passing along and to who.
Here is the NARA response, in part: “We have located an audiocassette tape for Position 28 that, according to the label, covers the period from 14:15 to 15:15 only. There is also a large reel that appears to cover operational phones from 0000 to 1813:15. After these items return from our preservation lab, we will be able to listen to the tapes and provide you with further information.”
I don’t recall the “large reel.” If that is a master tape from Herndon Center it will be a valuable source of primary information.
March 27, 2010
Published an article concerning the FAA’s Tactical Net under the category, Linear Processes. The article documents the merger of the Tactical Net and the Primary Net. The Primary Net was activated at 9:20. Within a minute the FBI, a designated participant in the Primary Net, was added to the Tactical Net.
The FBI caller left his line open and we have a nearly eight minute real time window into the FBI’s SIOC. We learn that, like everyone else at the national level, the FBI was in the process of getting itself organized.
That open line is available because the line at Operations Position 28, Herndon Center, was also left open, providing a window not only to the FAA’s Washington Operations Center but through it to the FBI’s SIOC. Near the end of the 1315-1415 UTC tape from Position 28 is a background conversation which clearly shows that misinformation about the approach of UA 93 to the nation’s capital was being passed along to an undetermined entity. The background voice clearly stated, “go pass that.”
I have put in a request to NARA to provide the audio tape for 1415-1515 UTC at Position 28. This is a continuing story.
March 22, 2010
Published an addendum to the article: “The Ghosts of 9-11: AA 77; a real ghost, unseen (part 2),” to add an important conversation between Herndon Center and Indianapolis Center. The audio file is embedded in the addendum.
The Herndon call was from the National Operations Manager position asking specific questions about AA 77. Herndon was told that the plane was off radar and lost. Indianapolis Center assessed that AA 77 was not involved in events at the World Trade Center. Herndon Center assessed that the Sears Tower in Chicago was the most likely target.
At that time, 9:25, there is no evidence that anyone above the scope level at Dulles TRACON had any actionable information whatsoever. Dulles controllers did not immediately realize what they were seeing and the general alarm was not sounded until 8 minutes later.
March 21, 2010
Published an addendum to the article; “9-11: War Games; an update.” The addendum covers a planning conference recorded at the National Operations Manager position at the Herndon Center. Primary source audio from 8:15 to 8:20 covers a national planning conference dealing specifically with the Russian exercise.
The National Airspace (NAS) managers were well aware of the exercise, had dealt with it the night before, and were preparing to deal with it again on September 11. Ben Sliney is identified as a person knowledgeable of both past and upcoming events concerning the exercise.
The NAS was focused on two areas; Boston/Montreal, and Edmonton/Anchorage and would publish “tracks” so that participants, including international carriers, could have them for a second planning conference at 9:30. Herndon Center announced that it would also publish a reminder that compliance with a “Prestwick NOTAM (Notice to Airmen)” was mandatory.
March 17, 2010
Added a short article, “9-11: UA 93; airphone call, not a cellphone call,” under the UA 93 category. FAA’s Great Lakes Region passed to the FAA Tactical Net a report from the Oak Brook, IL, police about an airphone call from UA 93 reporting three armed hijackers on board. Immediately, the word “airphone” was translated to be “cellphone” in real time as the report is passed along.
This is specific near-real time evidence that the two terms became interchangeable at FAA Headquarters. Those who speculate that calls from the hijacked aircraft did not occur are simply wrong.
March 16, 2010
Published a short addendum to the Delta 1989 article; “9-11: Delta 1989; Addendum, Confirmed not trip by Delta.” An included Herndon Center audio clip contains a key conversation with Delta Airlines. Delta suggested that it was Boston Center who had the concern about its flight, not them.
I added some perspective on Delta 1989 in terms of Chaos Theory and assess that conflation of near-concurrent events concerning D 1989, AA 77, and US 93 was confused in the aftermath by Norman Mineta, General Arnold, and Colonel Marr. That confusion has led some researchers to be misinformed to this day about the attack the morning of September 11, 2001.
March 16, 2010
Added a section to the article “Chaos Theory: 9-11; times of interest” to account for a 9:20 conversation between Herndon Center and Dulles TRACON concerning AA 77. The Dulles TRACON Traffic Management Coordinator had no situational awareness of AA 77 and observed that it was over Indiana just as the Herndon Center caller broke in to say they just had a report of a 757 lost on radar west of Virginia. Audio of the 9:19:25 to 9:20:37 conversation is embedded in the article.
March 10, 2010
Embedded an audio clip in the Battlefield article to establish that Newark was ordered to stop all departures at 9:04:40, 23 minutes after UA departed. The order was recorded at Herndon Center, Operations Position 25 and was likely issued by New York Center, ZNY.
March 9, 2010
The “What’s New” page became unwieldy, so I divided it up. For new readers, the archived “What’s New” pages provide a good thumbnail of posts over the past several months, to include links in most cases.
Also, new readers should look at the “Welcome,” and “Joining the Commission Staff” pages, and the article, “Framework for Analysis.”
March 7, 2010
Published a short article, War Games; an update, under the category “Exercises and War Games,” to account for a brief conversation at one of Herndon Center’s west positions with Oakland. Oakland asked to speak with the NOM about the Russian “missile shot.” The audio clip is embedded in the article.
March 6, 2010
Published a short article, “9-11: VIVI-36; a national airborne command post, not a mystery either,” under the “Mystery Plane” category. The article accounts for the National Airborne Command Post (NAOC) E4B aircraft, VIVI 36, request for clearance to JFK for Presidential support. The primary source audio is embedded in the article.
There is nothing unusual or remarkable about the request. The time was 9:39; the President was on the move to get airborne, the NMCC had just convened an Air Threat Conference, and a second E4B, Venus 77 was obtaining clearance to depart VFR from Andrews AFB. At the time a decision had not been made as to the President’s destination.
March, 6, 2010
Published a short article “9-11: Transponders and Ghosts; the search for AA 11,” under the category “Transponders and Ghosts.” In this article I document air traffic control conversations which show that Herndon Center was concerned about the report that AA 11 was still airborne.
Two audio clips are embedded. The first documents that by 9:24 the order had gone out to ground stop everything coming into the D. C. metro area. The second confirms that by at least 9:28 AA 11’s old flight plan was still tracking in the TSD (Traffic Situation Display) system. Herdon Center called Cleveland Center noting that AA 11 was just crossing the boundary (into Cleveland airspace) and asked Cleveland if they had the plane on radar. They did not.
March 2, 2010
Added a second addendum to the Cockpit Notification article to contrast and compare the situational awareness at Cleveland Center and Boston Center. Relevant audio is embedded and a link is provided that leads to the Cleveland Center, Lorrain Sector, tape for the period 9:19 to 9:33, the period of the hijacking of UA 93.
February 26, 2010
Addendum to the Cockpit Notification article to establish that the idea may have originated with FAA’s New England Region, ANE. ANE persisted, calling first the National Traffic Manager, East, and when rebuffed calling the National Operations Manager line, direct.
The ANE focus was on internationals and ZBW. The initiative triggered a linear process to work through the carriers and their dispatchers to make the notifications. The ANE plea “to do something” did not translate into a transcendent effort to notify UA 93.
February 23, 2010
Published under Chaos Theory an article about Cockpit Notifications. I included primary source audio to show that as early as 9:10 Boston Center (ZBW) was providing cockpit warnings to aircraft, despite the fact that such notifications were a carrier prerogative.
The ZBW non-linear approach contrasts significantly with the Cleveland Center approach. Cleveland followed existing linear policy and left notification responsibility to the carriers.
I compare the case of United 93 to demonstrate the relative timeliness of a non-linear solution on 9-11.
Added cockpit notifications to the linear process list.
February 23, 2010
The Department of Homeland Security published its Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report; A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland, February 2010.
Secretary Janet Napolitano began her introductory letter by stating: “Pursuant to the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, I am pleased to submit the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR).”
The first words in the introduction are: “The story of homeland security is inextricably linked to the story of 9/11. The vivid images of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and smoldering fields in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, portrayed a Nation obviously shaken by the catastrophic surprise attacks that had occurred on its soil.”
A few voices argue that the events of 9-11 were not a surprise and that there needs to be a new investigation. Clearly, the Executive Branch acknowledges the “catastrophic surprise attacks,” and has moved on. Twice Congress has invested political capital to conduct investigations; first the Congressional Joint Inquiry followed closely by the 9-11 Commission. There is no Congressional will for yet another investigation and that is not going to happen. Congress, too, has moved on.
February 19, 2010
For those who check the “What’s in the Queue” page periodically. Here is a quick update. My next article will be about the Otis Scramble, a neglected piece of work.
The audio projects will be longer range; I need to collect the necessary files and then time-verify conversational segments. The overall objective is to tell the story of 9-11 in the voices of the day. John Farmer referred to our incomplete staff audio monograph. It is my intention to complete that work in some fashion.
Why is that important? The audio files are the most important primary source; they inform us about ordinary people going about their business as professionally as they could as the nation came under attack.
February 16, 2010
Published a third article in the category “Framework For Analysis,” “9-11: The Attack; A Different Perspective, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.” The article is based on defense exhibits used at the Moussaoui trial. In addition to examining the attack from a different perspective, I provide my perspective about the system “blinking red,” and about the August 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief.
February 16, 2010
I just learned of a serious forensic software modeling effort concerning the events of 9-11. The site belongs to Mike J. Wilson and he has an included page, “9/11 Modeling, Renderings and Animations,” of particular interest to historians and serious researchers.
His current postings deal with the final moments of AA 77. Here is the You Tube link, titled: “911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77.” His findings are consistent with and expand the work of the 9-11 Commission. As a preview, he accounts, graphically, for every light pole clipped by AA 77 on its final approach.
February 15, 2010
Added an important link, Terrorist Travel Staff Monograph.
The linked document is; “9/11 and Terrorist Travel, Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” It details the activities of the 19 hijackers as they entered the country and conducted their business. The account builds on the work of the Congressional Joint Inquiry and adds significant detail to the Commission Report, itself. This is the definitive source, one that historians and other serious researchers concerned with the events of 9/11 will want to use in their work.
February 8, 2010
Added an item on the Current News page with a link to a Feingold/Hamilton Wall Street Journal article on February 7th. The issue is that the HPSCI and the SSCI do not have appropriations authority. Both the Congressional Joint Inquiry and the 9-11 Commission recognized the need for Congressional reform. That has not happened.
February 7, 2010
Edited the “Battlefield” article to show that Atta had to re-enter the National Airspace System (NAS) at Logan. His negative reaction on being told he had to pass through security a second time indicates that he thought entering the NAS at Portland allowed him to avoid security screening at Logan.
February 4, 2010
Published a second article under “Framework for Analysis”; “9-11: The Battlefield; Attack, Counterattack, and Operation Noble Eagle.” The article defines the 9-11 battlefield as the National Airspace System (NAS).
I establish that the NAS was operated by the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center (Herndon Center), commanded by the National Operations Manager, Benedict Sliney. I further establish that the NAS was defended by NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS).
I provide details on both the attack and the counterattack and set the scene for the transition to Operation Noble Eagle, a story that will be written by Air Force historians.
January 30, 2010
Added an addendum at the end of the recent article on NORAD, should it and could it have done more. NARA recently released a NORAD post-facto study which considered the what-ifs if NORAD and the nation had retained a more robust air defense posture from the past. The study’s conclusions are consistent with the what-if analysis in my initial article.
January 26, 2010
Added a link to the Moussaoui trial documents
January 25, 2010
Published a personal comment article on AA 77 and the Pentagon. I state that the ASCE Pentagon Building Performance Report is conclusive. I invite anyone with lingering questions to visit the Pentagon Memorial and sit on the bench of the youngest victim and ask them.
January 15, 2010
Reportedly, NORAD conducted a Falcon Virgo exercise in the DC area last night. Here is the public affairs release.
“Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as procedural tests of the NCR Visual Warning System. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters will participate in the exercise.”
Of interest is the fact that there is now a National Capital Region Visual Warning System. It is not clear from the release whether FAA or NEADS was the controller for the “intercept and identification operations.”
January 14, 2010
Added a link on the Commission Report page to an opinion article in USA Today by Commissioners Kean and Hamilton.
January 9, 2010
Added a brief comment on the Commission Report page linking to a New York Times editorial concerning the inability of Congress to start homeland security and intelligence oversight reform on its own turf. On the Hill, it is business as usual.
January 6, 2010
Added an insert to the recent NORAD article to account for the fact that by 9:10 AA 77 could have been tracked by NEADS, if cued by FAA.
Added a short item to the page, “Commission Report,” to document and link an Op-Ed New York Times article by Commissioner Kean and Team 8 Leader, John Farmer Jr., concerning the failed attempt to down a Northwest Airlines plane.
January 5, 2010
Published, after several months deliberation, an article “9-11: NORAD, Should It and Could It Have Done More.” The answers are ‘probably not,’ with one exception, and ‘unlikely.’ The one exception has to do with coordination, control, and communication. Despite exercise objectives to the contrary, NORAD (and the NMCC and FAA) demonstrably did not realistically test or exercise communications protocols and procedures concerning hijackings.
Moved “times of interest” under Chaos Theory and added an article listing additional specific times–time frames actually– of interest to our discussion on Chaos Theory. This new list complements an earlier list of linear processes that the government used or attempted to use on 9-11. Both lists are necessary as we continue our discussion of 9-11 in terms of Chaos Theory.
January 4, 2010
Published an article: “9-11: The Andrews Fighters; standing up, not so easy.” A recent web article provided useful information on conversations leading up to the circa 9:35 effort to get the Andrews fighters airborne. However, the author’s premise was backwards; he described the conversations as part of a “stand down.” The conversations he referenced are an important addition, in context, to the Andrews story. Hence this article.
Created a new page, Commission Report, to document commentary on the report. The first item describes part of a conversation between Al Michaels and Tony Kornheiser in the aftermath of the failed terrorist attempt against a Northwest Airlines plane. Michaels’ testimony about the Commission Report and Commissioners Hamilton and Kean is indicative of the report’s acceptance by the media