December 31, 2011
Published a list of questions for answer by the truth community during 2012. It is the habit of the truth community to ask me and others questions the answers to which generate more questions. I’ve decided it is time to stop answering questions and ask a few, instead. I’ll revisit the list at the end of the year and see what, if anything, has been done.
December 27, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document the first call from New York Center (ZNY) to NEADS. At 0849 the military specialist at ZNY contacted the ID Technicians at NEADS, to, bizarrely, find out how to contact them to report a hijacking.
My purpose is to show the time it took to complete even a routine call on 9/11. In this case, to ask one question and receive an answer took about 90 seconds. NEADS answered on the second ring, a delay of just eight seconds in the process.
I speak, briefly, to a significant tactical advantage achieved by the terrorist hijackers, as documented by this single call. ZNY was in contact with NEADS just after UA175 was hijacked, a fact they had yet to discover. The hijackers were operating within the decision cycle of their opponent.
December 21, 2011
Published a short, personal article, “9-11: Market Menopause, enough already,” to express my growing dissatisfaction with the governing ability of politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. I offer three suggestions. Congress, get your houses in order and get on with the business of oversight. Congress people of all stripes, for the 2012 election, incumbents need not apply. Government and business, you want my attention and cooperation, hire human beings to answer the danged telephone.
December 20, 2011
Added three clips to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document activities at New York TRACON in the immediate aftermath of the impact of American 11 into the World Trade Center, North Tower. The conversations were recorded on the phone line of the Traffic Management Director, Traffic Management Unit.
At 0852, in discussion with New York Center, TRACON established that, according to Kennedy Tower, the track of AA 11 (AA 11A actually) was lost “20 west of kennedy.” That is the genesis of information later passed to NEADS by Boston Center.
At 0854, TRACON, in discussion with Newark Tower, established that New York Center said they were tracking a hijacked airplane. The open question was “high altitude,” or not. It is the question of altitude that drove Colin Scoggins at Boston Center in his initial discussion with the ID technicians at NEADS.
At 0858, TRACON was in the process of stopping all departures at its “three majors,” Newark, La Guardia, and Kennedy, and Teeterboro. By 0900 all departures in the New York area had been stopped with the exception of one plane at Teeterboro that was “rolling.”
December 19, 2011
Added two clips to “Audio Clips of Interest,” both based on conversations recorded at the Local Control position, Reagan National Airport. One clip established that of the two Park Police helicopters, Eagle One and Eagle Two, Eagle One took off first. The other clip established that the plane over P56 [over the White House] at 0948 was the E4B, Venus 77. The Park Police knew the plane was there and asked Reagan National if they knew about it. Reagan said they did and then provided positive identification. That second clip is conclusive that there was no mystery plane that morning and that speculation about such a plane was simply wrong.
December 17, 2011
Announcing a new website, www.9-11revisited.org. The new site repackages things to better suit academicians, historians,and serious researchers. It is a work in progress and the site will link back here, as necessary, for continuity. New content, for the most part, will be posted here, so interested readers will want to check both sites to see what’s new here and how things are coming on the new site. The new site will have a photo gallery, once I figure out how best to use it. Meanwhile, I’ve added a picture from my Joint Inquiry days to the welcome page on the new site.
December 17, 2011
Added two clips to “Audio Clips of Interest” to clarify the exchange between the mangers of New York Center and NY TRACON in which the Center told TRACON that they “may have two things going on.” The reference was to the fact that something had hit the World Trade Center and that they were tracking the primary target, American 11. Concurrently, however, as heard on the audio files, the controller for UA 175 made a floor announcement about the target that was UA 175.
Knowledgeable readers will quickly pick up on the fact that the time frame, 0852-0857 EDT, was concurrent with AA77 disappearing on radar several hundred miles to the west. No one at any level from the radar scopes to the President had even the slightest situational awareness. That was the state of affairs when, six minutes later, UA 175 flew into World Trade Center, South Tower. The surprise of the northern axis of a two-axis attack, each with two prongs, was complete. Chaos ensued.
December 17, 2011
Erik Larson reminded me that the larger credit for the 911datasets initaitve belongs to Justin Keough of 911bloogger. I extend my thanks and that of all serious researchers to Justin for that work. That said, it is Erik that has kept researchers across the board informed and his contribution is that he keeps the lines of communication open to those genuinely interested in the facts of the day of 9/11.
December 16, 2011
Erik Larson has, again, been a major force in making data concerning events of 9/11 available. See his efforts at 911datasets. The site encourages contributions to keep the project fully funded and operational. There is a handy “chip in” link on the website.
December 6, 2011
Clip now added at link. Interesting exchange.
Added a clip to “audio files of interest.” The clip reveals that as of 1035 EDT the FAA and NORAD/NMCC were still not talking to each other. Moreover, the action to make the connection was delegated to the Air Traffic Services Cell, a small office off the main floor at Herndon Center. At no time that morning did FAA Headquarters connect directly with either NORAD or the NMCC.
December 4, 2011
Added an item under “Current News” to acknowledge and document a lead story in the Washington Post “Outlook” section on December 4, 2011, (print version) and December 1, 2011, (online version). The article, “The Arab Winter,” was written by Daniel Byman, a member of the professional staff of both the Congressional Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission. Byman “explains why the Arab Spring’s optimism gave way to chaos and repression — and what Washington can do about it.”
November 30, 2011
Added an important clip to “audio files of interest.” This added clip confirms that New York TRACON did, in fact, locate AA11, despite what transpired in an earlier conversation with Boston Center. In this additional clip, New York Center supplied specific, real-time, position information and TRACON found the aircraft at about 0843. Notably, ZNY also confirmed that the plane was still at flight level 290. That understanding within air traffic control at 0843 may have contributed to the later misinformation passed to NEADS that AA11 was still airborne. TRACON was told that it did not look like the plane was going to land at Kennedy.
November 19, 2011
Published a review of Ryan Mackey’s paper on “The Great Internet Conspiracy.” The review is a detailed look at the methodology, scope, and thesis of this important work. Mackey is among the first to provide a quantitative method of examining the so-called ‘9/11 Truth Movement,’ its rise and fall. Mackey argues that the ‘9/11 Conspiracy’ is one of a small number that deserve the title ‘superconspiracy.’ Mackey concludes that such conspiracies fall well outside the norm and are part of a population different than conspiracy theories in general.
The ‘9/11 Conspiracy’ lay largely dormant until 2004-2005 when, in Mackey’s terminology the ‘fire triangle’ became a perfect storm. That triangle comprises a heat source, a fuel source, and a spark. The heat source was the truth movement as it existed. The fuel source was a public starved for details about the attack and, itself, fueled by the release of the 9/11 Commission Report. The spark was the emergence on the Internet of Google Video and YouTube.
The subsequent rise and fall of the truth movement was meteoric. The movement peaked at the fifth anniversary of the attack in 2006. Mackey argues that the 9/11 Conspiracy, alone among all conspiracies, had gone viral. But going viral, in this sense, meant a short shelf life, as the truth movement found out in 2007 when it tried to replicate past successes. The road has been all down hill, since.
Mackey surmises that the individual members of the truth movement are largely sincere, but are having great difficulty in extricating themselves from a failed endeavor. He counsels all of us, member of the movement or not, to walk away from the Internet and “enjoy the day.” Like all great advice in history that is easy to accept, but quite hard to practice.
Enjoy the review. And Mackey’s article is well worth the time and effort, regardless of your position on the events of 9/11. Relevant links are embedded in the review.
November 16, 2011
Published, in draft, a new article, “9-11: The Andrews Fighters; The Reagan National Story.” The article is in draft for two reasons. First, it needs fine tuning. Second, it is not yet complete. I stopped the narration at 1050 EDT, just prior to the nation’s move to DEFCON 3 and prior to the launch of the second pair of Andrews fighters, Wild One and Wild Two.
I published the article in draft as back up for my presentation, “9/11: It Was ‘Chaos Out There,” at an Air Force symposium on November 16, 2011. I am on a panel together with General Arnold and Dean John Farmer. A link to the symposium agenda is included in the article.
The narrative is based on audio clips, primarily from Reagan National TRACON, but includes others as necessary to tell the story. An initial observation is that, retrospectively, there was no need for the launch of fighters from Andrews and the launch, itself, became disruptive until the division of labor between the Langley fighters and the Andrews fighters could be sorted out.
The narrative establishes that, as of 1050, all fighters in the air were under “at peace” rules of engagement. Shootdown authority had not been passed to any of the pilots. That would change later as DEFCON 3 was declared.
November 4, 2011
Updated the page, “Conspiracy Theories,” to document the publication of an important essay by Ryan Mackey. Mackey’s work is must reading for anyone seriously interested in the events of 9/11 and the rise and fall of the 9/11 truth movement. In my update I explain the importance of Mackey’s work and discuss the formation of my website in that context. A link to Mackey’s essay is included in the update.
October 30, 2011
Added a short, belated, item to “Current News” to document comments concerning chaos made by Bob Woodward during a March 22, 2011, inteview on National Public Radio. Woodward referred to an interview with President Obama and related that dealing with war, in this case the Libyan situation, was managing chaos. As Woodward concluded, you just don’t know what you are getting into.
I document this exchange as an extension of the September, 2010, Ted Koppel thesis that the chaos of 9/11 extended to Afghanistan and Iraq. We can now add, ‘and beyond.’
October 28, 2011
Published the fifth and final installment of the battle of 9/11 story from the perspective of the Mission Crew Commander, Major Kevin Nasypany. In this concluding article all matters concerning the battle itself are resolved. NEADS is left with two different issues to manage.
The first was what to do with shootdown authority passed at 1032 from CONR The second was what to do about the Andrews fighters whose imminent presence was abruptly announced at 1039 by Colonel West, 113th Wing Crisis Action Team.
Colonel West was referred to the Senior Director and the phone was answered exactly as it was just two hours earlier when Boston Center called about AA 11. “Huntress Weapons, Sergeant Powell.”
I will pick up that thread in the near future when I retell the Andrews story in the voice of the controller at DCA, Reagan National TRACON.
October 26, 2011
Published Part IV of the story of the day of 9/11 from the perspective of the Major Nasypany, the NEADS Mission Crew Commander. In this edition we take the story up to 1010 EDT. Nasypany has just learned about United 93 with a bomb on board and, concurrently, an unknown over the White House. We will pick up Part V at that point.
In Part IV we gain considerable insight into Major Nasypany, the person and military officer. His generally calm, occasionally profane demeanor is clearly heard as he deals with multiple situations in real time. Of particular note is the clear evidence of NEADS ability to delegate authority and maintain the integrity of the chain-of-command.
October 19, 2011
I’ve been on vacation and should be back in action this weekend. In the meantime I’ve updated the “Conspiracy Theories” page to account for the work of Dave Thomas, specifically his recent article “The 9/11 Truth Movement: The Top Conspiracy Theroy, a Decade Later.” Thomas focuses primarily on the destruction of the World Trade Center and concludes that “it appears this American conspiracy classic is here to stay.” My perspective is that, if so, its adherents are destined to continue riding endlessly in circles in their particular analytical box canyons. There is no way out except to retrace their steps and start over. I am confident that the perceptive voices in the conspiracy community will come to that realization, sooner or later.
October 4, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document a contentious moment in the effort of the Andrews fighters to merge with the Langley fighters over the nation’s capital. The Langley fighters had owned the sky since 1000 EDT. The Langley fighters arrived on the scene in pairs, one nearly 45 minutes later and the second another 20 minutes later. The merge was recorded by the controlling FAA facility, DCA TRACON, Krant position. Shortly after 1115 EDT one of the Langley fighters “spiked,” illuminated with radar, one of the Andrews fighters. That was a hostile act and Wild 1 demanded that TRACON tell them to “stop spiking me.”
September 27, 2011
Published a short article, “Chaos Theory: UA 93; disruptive feedback, an interesting analysis,” in the “Chaos Theory” category. The article acknowledges and documents the analysis of Brian Stark (Boone870) done some months ago to put the final chapter of UA 93 in perspective. Brian combines primary source audio and video, secondary information material, and recall by Secretary Mineta to provide a definitive account of how a projected flight plan for UA 93 became disruptive feedback on 9-11 and in the aftermath.
September 20, 2011
Added a clip to “audio clips of interest“ to document the report of an airphone 911 call from a passenger on UA 93 to Oakbrook, IL, police. The call was reported to FAA Headquarters by Great Lakes Region as an airphone call. Immediately, a background voice passed the information along as, erroneously, a cellphone call. This is primary source information that establishes how accurate reporting became inaccurate immediately, in the retelling. The report was received at FAA Headquarters at 1004, soon after UA 93 plunged to earth near Shanksville, PA.
September 17, 2011
Updated the “What’s in the Queue” page to bring it current
September 14, 2011
I don’t normally speak to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers or Building 7. However, I just watched the real-time footage captured by the Naudet brothers and contained in their special “9/11: 10 Years Later.”
That footage and narrative, alone, provide conclusive evidence that Building 7 fell as a result of fatal damage previously inflicted by the collapse of WTC 1 and 2. There is no evidence of controlled demolition other than the fact that “it looked like a controlled demolition.”
Specifically, the Naudet footage captured no sounds of explosions, simply the rushing noise of a building falling. Further, the narrative voice said, “seven broke free and finally collapsed.” As established by Summers and Swan in The Eleventh Day, competent authority on site had known for some time that WTC 7 was going to collapse; it was just a matter of when. The Naudet footage documents the “when” from a camera angle different than that used by others who argue for a controlled demolition.
Here is the essential fact of the day. Ten terrorists hijacked two commerical aircraft and flew them catastrophically into the World Trade Center. The combined surprise blows destroyed most of the World Trade Center complex, including WTC 7.
September 12, 2011
Documented under “Current News” the publication of “Never Forget” in the U. S. Naval Institute proceedings. The author is my Team 8 colleague, Lieutenant Kevin R. Shaeffer, U.S. Navy (Retired), critically injured by the impact of AA 77 into the Pentagon. Kevin’s article is an inspirational account of his experience and survival that day.
September 12, 2011
Let me call everyone’s attention to the update on the Rutgers Law Review “Audio Monograph” at this link. The voices speaking in clip #42 in the Monograph are New York TRACON Traffic Management Unit and Newark Tower. New York Center is not involved, as is explicit in the conversation from which clip #42 was derived. I had not located the complete conversation when I transcribed clip #42. This sets the record straight as to who is speaking.
September 11, 2011
Published a report card for the morning of September 11, 2001. I am solely responsible for the report and it is subject to revision as I learn more about the defense against the terrorist attack that day. It is a report card for the bureaucracy, the government. I leave to others the judgment of the Clinton and Bush administrations. I do not judge the emergency response. Others are far more competent than I to make that assessment. The grading is, by necessity, on a curve since the defense that morning was a failure. Nevertheless, some entities performed well and they deserve to be so recognized.
September 9, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest.” Because the audio clip of voices describing the impact of UA175 into the World Trade Center south tower garnered so much interest I dug into my files and found the entire conversation, in context. It was Newark Tower talking to New York TRACON about AA 11. The common relationship was to “Center,” a reference to New York Center, ZNY. I highlight an additional important fact in that conversation. The controllers make explicit reference to a new track for the south-bound AA 11, “American eleven alpha.” I included two clips from Herndon center background conversations related to AA 11.
September 8, 2011
Added a short item to “Correspondent’s Corner” to provide a link to the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder for UA 93. The audio has not been released.
Added a short item to “Current News” to document the publication of the Team 8 Audio Monograph and the concurrent publication of a related New York Times article.
September 8, 2011
Added a short item on the Conspiracy Theory page to acknowledge a series of articles at the “Slate” website discussing where conspiracy theories come from. Of some interest is the apparent change of philosophy of the young and talented Dylan Avery. I comment about that, in the perspective of his appearance in roundtable with Richard Gage and David Griffin during a National Geographic special about conspiracy theories.
September 7, 2011
Added an important epilogue to the article about the Langley scramble and chaos theory. At the same time the Langley scramble was going astray, Danielle O’Brien at Dulles TRACON sounded the alarm about the fast-moving primary target that was later determined to be AA 77. I include two graphics to show the relationship of the primary target to Dulles and the Pentagon, and the primary-only radar hits during the period 0928-0938.
September 6, 2011
Published an article under Chaos Theory that provides a different perspective on the Langley scramble. I use the language of chaos theory, specifically the terms linear and nonlinear, as discussed by Ian Stewart in Does God Play Dice, to describe how the scramble went astray.
NEADS specified a direction of 010 at flight level 290. Langley Tower entered a flight plan into the FAA air control system for a direction of 090 for 60 nautical miles. Both actions were deliberate and understandable. One, however, was a nonlinear response and the other a linear response to events of the day. The language of chaos theory offers one explanation as to why both were correct.
September 4, 2011
Published the third installment in the battle on 9-11 from the perspective of the Northeast Air Defense Sector, Mission Crew Commander, Major Kevin Nasypany. This article covers the period 0921-0941 EDT. Two planes are involved, AA 11 reborn, and AA 77.
The complex relationship between what Major Nasypany thought was happening and what was actually happening with the Langley fighters is detailed. I provide a graphic based on radar and audio-derived times to assist the reader.
As of 0941, NEADS had heard of just three hijacked aircraft, AA 11, UA 175, and AA 77, and no others. That would change at 0941 when they learned about Delta 1989. The fourth installment will pick up at that point
September 3, 2011
Added an entry under “Audio Clips of Interest” to document the genesis of the FAA effort to establish a secure link with the NMCC. At 0934, the FAA representative, Steve Culbertson, asked to use Lt Col Ian Sanderson’s office and secure phone. Culbertson’s effort ended up with the Central Altitude Reservation Facility (CARF) at the Herndon Center connected into the Air Threat Conference. According to Culbertson when interviewed, that effort became the Defense Event Network (DEN).
September 2, 2011
Added an entry under “Audio Clips of Interest” to document the tracking of AA 77 by NEADS. All NEADS knew was a report from Boston Center that there was a fast-moving unknown near the White House. NEADS quickly found the target and by 0936:45 had established track Bravo 032. The track faded by 0938 and was declared lost, zero velocity, by 0938:45. It is only retrospectively that NEADS knew and we now know that track B032 was AA 77.
September 1, 2011
Published an article, “9-11: Exercise not a detractor; the definitive story,” in the Exercise Vigilant Guardian category. The article, intended for use by researchers and historians, pulls together all NEADS audio clips containing references to the exercise and places each in the context of what was going on as each reference was captured on tape.
There are just four references that could be construed, out of context, as distractors. None related to the three major activity centers on the NEADS operations floor–Identification, Surveillance, and Weapons Control. One that appeared to be exercise-related was not.
Exercise activity involving operation floor personnel had ceased early on the morning of 9/11 and had not yet begun when word came of the first hijacking. The electronic exercise flow began about 0930 and was immediately recognized as such by the Mission Crew Commander, Major Nasypany. He issued an immediate order to suppress the flow. The order was carried out within seconds.
In context, there is no evidence to support the notion that NEADS was in any way hindered by Exercise Vigilant Guardian. The case was just the opposite. The exercise facilitated the NEADS response.
August 30, 2011
Added a paragraph to the “Current News” item about Colonel Tillman, the pilot of Air Force One, to provide a link to a 2009 CNN interview of him. Not only did he recall that he flew the President out over the Gulf, he also recalled that the air defense fighters joined Air Force One over the Gulf. Colonel Tillman comes across as unflappable and confident, just the type person one would want flying the President. That fact that his recall was in error is not a reflection on him. It simply shows why partcipant recall must be verified.
August 30, 2011
Added a short item under “Commission Report” to acknowledge that several of the Commissioners will meet and hold a public discussion on September 15, 2011, at Indiana University.
August 28, 2011
Created a new category, “9/11 Remembrance,” and published a short article on my perceptions of the National Geographic special, “George W. Bush, The 9/11 Interview.”
August 25, 2011
Added a short item to “Current News” to acknowledge a USA Today article about the pilot of Air Force One on 9-11, Colonel Mark Tillman. Tillman recounts the same story he told a decade ago and in the doing perpetuates one of the myths of the day. His recall then, and now, is that he flew the President out over the Gulf of Mexico. Primary source radar files show that the route was overland anlong the panhandle of Florida. The error is understandable, the Gulf was in full view out the left window. The point is that participant recall, like witness statements, is often wrong.
August 24, 2011
Added a link to “Zoe’s Flight,” an important resource for anyone interested in American Airlines flight 77. This is web site where John Farmer will be posting essays about his detailed and exhaustive study into all things having to do with the hijacked plane that impacted the Pentagon.
August 23, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document that at 0925 EDT Herndon Center assessed the target of AA77 to be the Sears Tower in Chicago. This is further proof that the PEOC knew nothing about the approach of AA77, despite Secretary Mineta’s testimony to the contrary.
August 20, 2011
Added a short article, “9-11: Langley Scramble; CAP point confusion, explained,” to the category, “Langley Scramble.” Included audio clips establish that a simple error, transposition of coordinate numbers by a military controller in the heat of battle, caused the fighters to turn South on approach to Washington.
August 20, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document a call at 0849 EDT from the New York Center military desk to the NEADS ID section to get a good number to call to request hijack support. A number was provided. That call placed New York Center in direct contact with NEADS after UA175 was hijacked but before the Center obtained situational awareness.
Added a second clip to document that Canada East resolved the report of an unknown from Canada headed south was simply an estimate by their intelligence officer that that might be a threat. There was no threat. There was no such aircraft.
August 19, 2011
Added an item to audio clips of interest to show that as of 1002 EDT NEADS was still looking for AA11, in the context that it might have impacted the Pentagon.
August 16, 2011
Published a short article in the AA77 category to document that NEADS found AA77 in 34 seconds when provided accurate information by Colin Scoggins. The article includes the clear conversation between Sgt. Watson and Scoggins and the chaotic background voices recorded on Ch 5 ID TK at NEADS. The two articles line up with Watson’s words, “OK, copy.”
I have also included the audio clip that establishes that NY TRACON, in addition to NEADS, could not find AA11. Some speculate that the NEADS inability to find AA11 established the benchmark for its performance that day. Not true, AA77 established the benchmark, measured in seconds.
August 11, 2011
Added a file to “audio clips of interest” to show that as of about 0842 EDT New York TRACON could not locate AA11 even though they were looking at the raw radar. TRACON was responding to a heads up from Boston Center on a phone bridge with Herndon Center. This primary source information shows that FAA, as well as NEADS, was having difficulty locating AA11. The clip was recorded at Position 15, line 5115, Herndon Center.
August 11, 2011
Published a short article under “The Scott Trilogy“ to account for Adam Herbert’s article, “The Return of NORAD,” in the February, 2002, edition of Air Force Magazine. That article was also part of the Commission staff’s initial literature search. Specifically, I highlight Herberts commentary on alert aircraft, the fighter response time, scramble frequency in perspective, target considerations, and shootdown authority in the aftermath.
August 11, 2011
Published a review of Kevin Fenton’s new book, Disconnecting the Dots. Fenton is a diligent and industrious researcher and he has done noteable work in that regard concerning the report of the 9/11 Commission, the report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, and the findings of the Inspectors General of the CIA and the Department of Justice. However, Fenton’s work has not translated to an accurate assessment.
His thesis is that the government could not connect the dots concerning events of 9/11 because those dots had been deliberately disconnected by a small group of mid-level officials, abetted implicitly be a member of the Commission staff. In the process, Fenton reconnects the dots in a way that is simply wrong.
Fenton has not responsibly forwarded the work of the 9/11 Commission and the Joint Inquiry before it. Those investigations established a baseline to which researchers and historians can add to advance our unstanding of the events of the day. Among those who have advanced our understanding are:
- Concerning New York, William Langewiesche, Amerian Ground, Unbuilding the World Trade Center
- Concerning Washington, Patrick Creed and Rick Newman, Firefight, Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11
- Concerning the larger story, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan,The Eleventh Day, the Full story of 9/11 and Osame Bin Laden
Unfortunately, Fenton’s work does not rise to that level, despite the diligence of his research.
August 9, 2011
Added an item to “Correspondent’s Corner” to document a one-page FAA chronology, “Notifications to the Military,” dated Sep 20, 2011. The chronology provides FAA perspective on the NORAD-stated notification time of 0843 for UA 175.
The chronology also supports a time of 0916 for the CIA initiation of a NOIWON call as established by NSA in its release of CRITIC messages concerning 9-11. Links are provided in the item.
July 31, 2011
Made an important edit to the article, “9-11: NORAD and FAA timelines in perspective. FAA in its August, 2002, press release did not, did not, include it its chronology a notification time for AA 77.
July 28, 2011
Added an entry under “Current News” to advertise an annoucement for a Septebmer 9-11, 2011, symposium at Bismarck State College, Bismarck, North Dakota titled: “September 11 Ten Years Later: Impact on the Heartland.”
Participants include Major Dean Eckmann [Quit 25] and Dr. Lorry Fenner a member of the 9/11 Commission staff.
July 22, 2011
Added an entry to the category “Commission Report” to acknowledge the recently released Department of Homeland Security 2011 Progress Report, “Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations.” A link is provided. The report is worth perusing for items of personal interest, such as cyber security, for example.
July 19, 2011
Added a clip to Audio Clips of Interest that establishes the time and origin of what would be a periodic warning from Andrews Tower that aircraft entering the area would be shot down. The time was 10:05 and the call was from Reagan National Approach to Herndon Center advising that the Secret Service was going to start shooting at anything in the air.
For context, the only fighters in the area were the Langley fighters. Separately, Secret Service asking air traffic control to speak to the flight lead, Quit 25. Even though the Service may have passed guidance to Quit 25 he told Commission staff that he was not going to engage anything or anyone without authenticated orders and, even then, he would probably authenticate more than once. Neither the Secret Service or any unit at Andrews AFB had authentication tables that day.
July 19, 2011
Published two significant items. First, under “Linear Processes,” uploaded a Commission staff version of the Air Threat Conference Call transcript, a critical document to understanding the events of 9/11. The staff document was found by Robbyn Swan, co-author of The Eleventh Day, who filed a mandatory declassification review request with NARA. I had forgotten about this version of the transcript until Robbyn told me about it and provided a copy.
Second, under a new category, “Book Reviews,” published an detailed review of the Anthony Summers/Robbyn Swan new book, The Eleventh Day, released today. This is the definitive book on 9/11. It significantly extends the work of the 9/11 Commission and the Congressional Joint Inquiry. I had the pleasure of being a reader for the book.
July 19, 2011
Updated and formally published an entry on the Conspiracy Theories page to acknowledge the blogger Shoestring’s creation of a list of false reports concerning hijackings on 9-11. The compilation, in and of itself, is a useful piece of work. It needs, however, to be put in perspective. I’ve included a link to “Audio Clip of Interest,” to establish, conclusively, that the NEADS count that morning was just six events.
Moreover, neither the NEADS list, as established by primary source information, nor the Shoestring list includes the only actual hunt by an air defense aircraft that morning, the investigation of an unknown over the White House. The event occurred simultaneously with the report of UA 93 to NEADS, and MCC language in the audio files that appears to refer to UA 93 actually pertains to the unknown over the White House, a Langley fighter.
July 16, 2011
Added an audio segment to “Audio Clips of Interest” to clarify that Major Nasypany’s strong language in the 1007-1011 time frame “negative clearance to fire,” and identify by type and tail” pertained not to UA 93 but to an unknown aircraft over the White House which turned out to be one of the Langley fighters. NEADS air defenders intercepted themselves shortly after the Langley fighters established a combat air patrol over the nation’s capital.
As can be clearly heard on the primary source audio files the reports about UA 93 and the unknown over the White House came at the same time. The conversations about each overlap, but are separable. Nasypany worked the White House issue with Major Fox and the Battle Cab. He was constantly updated on UA 93 by, primarily, Sergeant Dooley and he, in turn, was keeping the Battle Cab informed on both actions.
It was a confusing and complex time. The important point is that the explicit language used had nothing to do with any of the hijacked aircraft.
July 15, 2011
Added an entry in Correspondent’s Corner to acknowledge the May 19th, 2011, filing in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, against the Iranian government for complicity in the events of 9-11. This is the Havlish case which was originally filled in the District Court for the District of Columbia in 2002. It has been updated with the death of bin-Laden and resubmitted in a different jurisdiction.
The case draws extensively on the Commission Report and numbers among its expert witnesses three former Commission staff members, Janice Kephart, Deitrich Snell, and Dr. Daniel Byman. Byman was also a member of the staff of the Congressional Joint Inquiry.
July 13, 2011
Published, under the “May 23 2003 Hearing” category, an in-depth article titled, “9-11: NORAD and FAA Timelines; in perspective.” The discussion and tables should be useful to researchers and historians grappling with the deficiencies in the NORAD and FAA timelines of record as the Commission began its work. The critical document of the day was the NEADS MCC/T log. Link to the article for details.
July 13, 2011
Added an article under 9-11 education to document that the State of New Jersey is adding a 9/11-related program to its curriculum, according to a “Star Ledger article today titled, “N.J. to release 9/11 curriculum to help educators teach about terror.” The curriculum was developed by a consortium including 9/11 family members and former Governor and Co-chair, 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean.
July 11, 2011
Added an audio segment to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document that NEADS, as of 0951 EDT, knew of just four potential hijacked aircraft [AA 11, UA 175, AA 77, and Delta 1989], according to the supervisor of the surveillance section, Sergeant Richmond.
Added an additional clip to document that as of 1002 EDT the report of an unknown aircraft headed South from Canada was tallied at NEADS as the 5th potential hijacked aircraft. The addition of UA 93 five minutes later brought the NEADS total to six at the end of the battle that morning.
July 10, 2011
Added a short itme to the “Commission Report” page to acknowledge an announcement by W. W. Norton, publishers, that a limited text edition of the Report would be released in August. The narrative will be limited to “The Attack from Planning to Aftermath,” and will include an afterword by the Staff Director, Philip Zelikow.
Also added a clip with a 1014 EDT conference call from NORAD (Cheyenne Mountain) requesting that all exercise traffic be terminated. That was a catch up action by NORAD. The NEADS MCC had ordered the exercise traffic flow turned off at the scope level as soon as it commenced that morning.
July 8, 2011
Published the second installment of the battle of 9-11 from the perspective of the NEADS Mission Crew Commander, Major Kevin Nasypany. This installment covers the period 0858-0922 EDT.
NEADS has no targets, an uncertain situational awareness concerning the two known hijacked aircraft, AA 11 and UA 175, and the two planes that flew into the World Trade Center. NEADS devoted the time to arranging tanker support for continuity of operations for both the Otis fighters and the Langley fighter, if scrambled. The counterattack had been in progress for nearly 45 minutes and Major Nasypany had just tightened the relationship with Boston Center by speaking directly with Colin Scoggins. That relationship would soon surface news of a third hijacked plane, AA 11 reborn. We will pick up the next installment with that news.
July 8, 2011
Added an entry to Audio Clips of Interest to document the 0916EDT call from Boston Center informing NEADS of the tail number for UA175. That call and tail number were logged in the MCC/T log, but not as a specific reference to UA 175.. NORAD/CONR/NEADS staff misread that entry while preparing the briefing and testimony provided to the Commission on May 23, 2003. Colonel Scott briefed that FAA notified the military about UA 93 at 0916, citing logs of the day as the definitive source.
July 7, 2011
Added a detailed item to “Correspondent’s Corner” to address a request that I review a You Tube video that argued that Colonel Robert Marr was guilty of obstructing the air defense response five times on 9-11. Specifically, the author of the video argued that Marr obstructed the Otis scramble, the Langley scramble (twice), the transmission of shootdown authority to the cockpit, and the scrambling of fighters from Syracuse. The author concluded with his real purpose. Even if his thesis was false it pointed up the need for a new public investigation of 9-11.
I provide specificity and context to each of the author’s charges, concluding in each instance that Colonel Marr’s actions were defensible from any military perspective
June 26, 2011
Added a link to “Legaltainment®,” a site devoted specifically to 9-11-related court actions.
June 18, 2011
Added a new page, “Conspiracy Theories,” to provide a place to comment on items of general interest about such theories that come to my attention.
After a short preamble I discuss a passage in Patricia Cornwell’s book, Port Mortuary, a Scarpetta novel. Cornwell paints her niece, Lucy, as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist concerning the speculation that explosives were used at the World Trade Center. Cornwell, speaking as Scarpetta, does not agree with her niece but does make an uncharacteristic technical error. She states there are “credible scientific journal articles,” There are none; Cornwell is simply wrong, a rare mistake.
June 17, 2011
Added an item under “Current News” to include an announcement about works being published for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Among them is a reissue of the “Commission Report” to update the status of the report’s recommendations.
I was interviewed for one new book,”The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11.” by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, due for publication on July 23, 2011.
June 4, 2011
Published an article: “9-11: NEADS Mission Crew Commander; a valiant effort, ultimately futile, Part I“, in the category “NEADS files.” This is the first in a series that will tell the story of 9-11 primarily in the voice of, then, Major Kevin Nasypany, the Mission Crew Commander on duty.
Nasypany, ultimately, is the single most important voice of the day concerning the air defense response. All other interpretations of the air defense and, therefore, military response are secondary to this available primary source information. It is the response that the Commission Staff described in Staff Statement 17 and in Chapter One, “We Have Some Planes,” of the Commission’s report. Serious researchers and historians understand that those two documents are definitive. It is my intent that this series of articles illuminate and expand on that understanding.
This series of articles, a series by necessity, is the fourth time I have told the story of the battle on the morning of September 11, 2001. In Part I I provide a link to each of the other three articles.
May 30, 2011
Added an entry under “Correspondent’s Corner” to document a visit made to the National Earthquake Center, Golden, Colorado, and the results of my posing to staff, off-line, the Kim paper and the question concerning the seismic time for the crash of UA 93.
As with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Earthquake Center opted not to engage and referred me back to Kim. The Center did, however, contact Kim and provided additional detail. According to the email response I received from the Center, Kim never intended his paper to go public. Moreover, he “would trust other sources for the timing more than what he saw in the seismic record.
I am done with this issue: non-issue really.
May 16, 2011
Added a series of three clips to “audio clips of interest” to establish for the record exactly what Lt Col O’Brien, pilot of the Minnesota Air National Guard C-130, Gofer 06, saw, did and reported. He did not identify the “traffic” as an “American.” He only identified it as a “seven five seven.”
May 16, 2011
Added a quote on the “quotes” page from Gerald Posner’s book Why America Slept concerning the ability of the government at the highest level to manage multiple events. According to Michael Sheehan, quoted by Posner, the number is “two or three,” regardless of the administration.
May 14, 2011
Added three audio clips to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document the NEADS response to the call from Boston Center concerning AA 11. It is important for historians and researchers to know that NEADS was talking simultaneously to two different positions at Boston Center. Before Major Deskins responded to the phone call from Joe Cooper, TMU (Traffic Management Unit) received by Sergeant Powell, Sergeant Watson, an Identification Technician, was already on the phone with Colin Scoggins, Military Desk. The added clips show the relationship between the two separate but concurrent calls, each gathering information from Boston Center.
May 11, 2011
Added an entry on the “Quotes” page from Rumsfeld’s book Known and Unknown that addresses the Predator issue circa 2001, its status and ownership. Rumsfeld’s footnote is consistent with what I recall from interviews with knowledgeable individuals while on the staff of the Congressional Joint Inquiry
May 10, 2011
Added an entry to “Audio Clips of Interest” to provide a clip of a brief cross communication between New York Center (ZNY) and NEADS (AST Sergeant Richmond) at 0855 EDT, eight minutes before UA 175 flew into WTC 2. The issue was maintaining radar settings at the Riverhead site. ZNY referred to having an emergency and Richmond said he knew about it. That 22 second call was likely a reference by ZNY to UA 175 and AA 11. NEADS was only aware of AA 11. There should be no expectation, in hind sight, that operational information about UA 175 be exchanged in a technician to technician call.
May 9, 2011
Added an item on the Current News page to acknowledge a front page article in today’s Washington Post about 9-11 staffer Michael Hurley. The article, “The end of ‘the hunt’ is personal for many,” was written by Eli Saslow. The sub-title is “Ex-CIA officer found his life forever altered by quest after 9/11.”
May 7, 2011
Added two items to the “Quotes” page, both from Rumsfeld’s book Known and Unknown. The first has to do with Rumsfeld referring to a resurgent Russia and a strengthening China when he took office in 2001. The point is that terrorism was just one item on a large plate of potential world problems dominated by Russia and China.
The second documents Rumsfeld’s characterization of conspiracy theorists. According to Rumsfeld, conspiracy theorists (and political extremists) inhabit a murky zone where the far left and far right (of politics) bend towards each other. In my graduate quantitative analysis coursework it became clear to me that the left and right extremes of the classic bell-shaped curve did, in fact, bend and merge together.
May 4, 2011
Added a clip to “Audio Clips of Interest” to document that Delta 1989 and “Delta 89” were one and the same plane, despite uninformed speculation to the contrary. About 0946 EDT the NEADS Identification Technicians corrected the real time record to establish that there was no “Delta 89” at issue.
The real issue was that NEADS had called Cleveland Center to tell them about Delta 1989. The NEADS ID Technician talked to three different people. Not one informed her, and thereby NEADS/NORAD/the military, about the known status of UA 93.
May 2, 2011
Added a short article under “Current News” to acknowledge the death of Osama bin Laden. I point out that one of those cited in the coverage by theWashington Post is Dan Byman. Dan was a member of the professional staff of both the Congressional Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission. He is currently director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
May 1, 2011
Added an item on the “Current News” page to provide a link to Amazon and Jonathan Kay’s new book, Among the Truthers, and a link to an article, “Who becomes a birther?’ in today’s Washington Post Opinion Section by Kay based on his book.
April 26, 2011
Added an item to “Audio clips of interest” to account for the conflict between Air Combat Command and NORAD over tasking of the fighters at the permanent wing at Langley AFB (not the air defense detachment). NORAD ordered the wing to get airborne to support the movement of Air Force One to DC. A “three star” at ACC put a hold on that order because the wing at Langley was not a NORAD asset. The issue was worked at the Colonel/Lt Colonel level, as can be heard in the primary source audio clip. The source is DRM1, Channel 3, cut 141128, NEADS.
Added a second item to the same post to account for a comment by Master Sergeant Joe McCain, an MCC/T, who was trying to maintain situational awareness. He mused that he wondered where the Intel Community was in all this. The source is DRM1 Channel 3, cut 161431, NEADS.
April 24, 2011
Updated the “What’s in the Queue” page to conform to reality. I have four new tasks on my plate. First, I continue to work with authors and researchers as they complete their own work. Second, I have been invited as a panelist at an Air Force-sponsored biennial symposium on air power, to be held this November. I will present a paper, current working title “9-11;” It Was Chaos Out There.”
Third, I intend to tell two more stories, that of the E-3 AWACS in support of NEADS and that of the Attorney General as he forced the system to allow him to land in DC under fighter escort. Both will be told using primary source audio files.
Fourth, I will, for the fourth time, tell the story of the battle on the morning of 9-11 this time focusing exclusively on the voice of the one person to or through whom all important information of the morning flowed, Major Kevin Nasypany, the Mission Crew Commander at NEADS. That story will also be told using primary source audio files.
April 14, 2011
Updated the recent ROE article. Added two new audio clips from the NEADS tapes. Look for text in red. In the first clip at 0933 an unknown voice in the weapons section posed very specific questions at about what it was the Langley fighters were supposed to do. In the second clip, after 1200 and after the nation was at DEFCON 3, the Senior Director for the Midwest gave explicit guidance to a flight leader that he had authority to engage if other attempts failed to deter an unknown aircraft headed for a major city. It that case the fighter mission was to CAP Chicago.
April 9, 2011
Created a new page, Quotes,” to capture notable quotes as I find them. The first entry is a quote from Robert Redford to writer Jamie Malanowski in Parademagazine, April 10, 2011, concerning chaos. The context is Redford’s new movie, The Conspirator, the story of the trial of Mary Surratt and her role in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln.
April 5, 2011
Published a second article in the ROE category to put in perspective primary source information as to how NEADS handled the issue on the morning of 9-11. The article is based on the guidance received from CONR as introduced to the public in the Commission’s Staff Statement 17. Audio clips in the article provide examples of how air defense fighters were asking for the “word” (mission), and how commanders of fighter units were raising the issue with NEADS. The article also compares the time frames in which both NEADS and Andrews AFB were working concerning shoot down authority.
April 3, 2011
Published an article summarizing Exercise Vigilant Guardian 01. I include five summary observations about NEADS related to the exercise.
1. NEADS was not encumbered by Exercise Vigilant Guardian on 9-11, in fact just the opposite.
2. NEADS established and exercised habitual relationships with the FAA’s Air Route Traffic Control Centers, but not with Herndon Center.
3. NEADS exercised no relevant hijacking or terrorist scenarios at least up to the morning of 9-11. There was one terrorist event but it was part of a force protection drill.
4. NEADS did exercise rules of engagement. Authority was passed to the cockpit but withdrawn when the notional pilot “reported” he was over a populated area. The threat target was a rogue F-18.
5. NEADS knew how to intercept targets, if established. Establishment meant a precise location determined by a transponder code, an accurate lat/long position, or a distance and direction from a known point. None of that pertained concerning the four hijacked aircraft that morning. Based on a general location, NEADS could not locate AA 11, did briefly locate and track AA 77, and never received notification concerning UA 175 and UA 93.
March 31, 2011
Added an item under Current News to acknowledge the testimony of Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton on March 30, at the first Senate hearing on the nation’s counterterrorism efforts since 9/11.
The hearings are being held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
March 22, 2011
Published the final installment of a series of articles dealing with exercise Vigilant Guardian 01. The article, “9-11 Exercise Vigilant Guardian; Sep 11, 0001-0827” provides primary source documentation of the state of exercise play that morning.
There was no exercise play after 0832Z (0432 local) on 9-11. The NEADS sector floor was quiet, both exercise and real world. The day crew had assembled and was poised for an exercise event that never came. The last exercise event was a double expansion, exercise and real world. NEADS expanded to cover the West Coast because of a simulated bomb threat at WADS. In order to do that SEADS first had to expand to cover the entire East Coast. For a few hours that morning the nation’s air defense was NEADS to the west and SEADS to the east.
The resumption of normal operations concluded at 0432 EDT. A little over an hour later Mohammed Atta and an accomplice entered the National Airspace System at Portland, ME. The attack had begun and as the morning crew assumed duty the hijackers had boarded or were boarding three of the four planes to be hijacked and were soon to board the fourth (AA 77).
Exercise Vigilant Guardian was not a factor in NEADS operations after 0432 EDT that morning. There were no exercise events or injects. The presumption by some that anecdotal remarks about exercise and real world and the clearing of exercise traffic from scopes had a debilitating effect is unfounded. NEADS was poised and waiting for specific targets, exercise and real world. None were forthcoming.
NEADS was notified about AA 11 but without the specificity needed to track and locate a target. NEADS did locate AA 77 and establish a track moments before it struck the Pentagon. It was not notified about UA 175 or UA 93 until after the fact.
March 15, 2011
Added a brief addendum to the March 13 article about the Secret Service Timeline to provide a link to an article which details the Headquarters FAA actions concerning AA 77 as part of a briefing book for the Administrator and senior FAA staff.
I also added a link to my SVTS (Secure Video Teleconference) article in the paragraph where I discuss Clarke’s description of what occurred.
March 13, 2011
Published an article, “9-11: Secret Service Timeline; in perspective, a most chaotic time” in both the National Level and Chaos Theory categories. The article provides needed perspective for interested historians and researchers. The notes are mine; I explain their source and provide perspective so that they can be placed in the context of a larger narrative. I include multiple audio clips and make reference to several of my earlier articles, especially those on Exercise Vigilant Guardian and Chaos Theory.
March 12, 2011
Created a new category, “Exercise Vigilant Guardian,” and moved the series of articles about each day of that exercise to that category for the convenience of readers. I am currently working on the day of 9-11 from 0001-0836 hours.
I am also writing an article about my notes taken from the Secret Service time line. Those notes are an unclassified extract, my terminology, of the original time line. I will provide perspective and context that may be helpful to historians and other serious researchers.
March 6, 2011
Completed the Vigilant Guardian article for Sep 10, 2001. Substantively, nothing happened in the waning hours of the day, local time. There were a few discrete events of interest that add to our understanding of NEADS, its policies, practices, and procedures. I have listed those with accompanying audio clips. Notably, we hear an inference that the Otis air defense fighters (real world) were reconfigured for Sep 11, per the ATO (Air Tasking Order).
The day ended with a call shortly before midnight from the MCC to Charlie Crew to attend an intel briefing. That briefing most certainly pertained to the Russian exercise and its scheduled air launch cruise missile firing the next day.
I end the article by reminding readers that the Russian exercise was an early item on Ben Sliney’s plate at Herndon Center the next morning, his first day in his new position. I conclude that, demonstrably, Sliney/Herndon and Marr/NEADS did not know of the others existence, the only thing they had in common was the Russian exercise.
Next up is a look at Exercise Vigilant Guardian on the morning of 9-11 prior to the real world call from Boston Center about AA 11.
March 3, 2011
Updated the Vigilant Guardian article for Sep 10, 2001 through 2100Z (1700 local). The pace of exercise play continued to pick and the article has become fairly lengthy. Readers familiar with the earlier activity can scroll down to “What’s Next” to pick up the story. Others will want to read the entire article to gain a sense of how Exercise Vigilant Guardian was conducted the day before 9-11.
There were two events during the time period, one major, one minor. The minor issue was a hijacked Cubana flight being trailed by SEADS-directed fighters as it headed north to, perhaps, JFK airport. Armed persons were seeking political asylum. NEADS prepared for a handoff of responsibility but the flight never got that far. It landed at Shaw AFB.
The major issue was a rogue F18 out of Oceana. The flight lead shot his wingman who reported that event as a May Day call on Guard (simulated). The rogue then began harassing other air traffic and NEADS scrambled Langley (simulated and not the air defense attachment) to deal with the situation. The included audio files clearly depict how NEADS exercised the delegation of engagement authority. That authority was withheld when the fighters reported they were over a populated area. Ultimately, the rogue F18 landed at BWI.
Given the pace of the exercise and the sheer magnitude of the audio files it will take me a while to finish with Sep 10 and then move on Sep 11. Stay tuned for updates as the exercise scenario logically permits.
February 27, 2011
I have updated the Vigilant Guardian article for Sep 10, 2001 through 1900Z (1500 local). NEADS scrambled on and followed a deviating Russian commercial flight, Gander to Havana, that strayed off of its established air route. The flight was voice told to NEADS by Canada East which did hot have assets to respond. SEADS first scrambled Burlington and then Atlantic City to maintain coverage. The air defense fighters, simulated, received authority to intercept and use hand signals and then “wing rock follow me” procedures. Nothing worked, and, as NEADS learned, FAA was not talking to the pilot. The flight, therefore, was a NORDO aircraft which deviated from its flight plan, two of three conditions concerning AA 11 when NEADS was asked to respond the next day. The difference was the simulated Russian flight did not turn off its transponder.
The deviating track and the Atlantic City fighters were handed off to SEADS nearly two and one-half hours after the track was voice told from Canada East. As I continue listening to the tapes, chronologically, we may or may not know the final resolution. I did skip ahead to learn the next major event, it was a concurrent handoff by SEADS to NEADS; a hijacked Cubana flight with persons on board seeking asylum.
During the Russian flight episode NEADS took over from SEADS for over two hours when SEADS, for the exercise, experienced a fire. NEADS actually made the expansion both real world and exercise. NEADS had precise, check-list procedures in place to make the expansion and contraction. I’ve provided a brief audio look at those procedures. As of the conclusion of the NEADS portion of the Russian flight episode there was a report that WADS received a bomb threat and speculation that NEADS would next expand to cover western CONUS.
There was one real-world issue of interest. NEADS closely monitored the flight of Air Force One taking the President to Florida, his destined location on 9-11. NEADS also followed Air Force Two and the Vice President to Lexington Kentucky.
Stay tuned for the Cuban hijack and request for asylum scenario.
February 20, 2011
Added an addendum to “9-11: AA77; independent investigation, validation and verification,” to acknowledge that Warren Stutt has updated his AA77 FDR output files. A link is provided.
February 19, 2011
Added an addendum to an earlier article, “9-11: AA 77; independent investigation, validation and verification,” to account for the definitive work done by John (not Commission) Farmer. Farmer has released a paper, “Radar and NTSB Time Normalization for 9/11 Data Sources,” that adds substantively to the primary source-based analysis of AA 77 and the Pentagon, independent of the work of the Commission. Historians and researchers are well served by this addition to the compendium of public work available separate from the work of the Commission and the Congressional Joint Inquiry before it. A link to Farmer’s paper is provided in the addendum.
February 11, 2011
Published the first iteration of NEADS Exercise Vigilant Guardian for September 10, 2001. This first iteration covers the day up to 1400Z (1000 local) The exercise pace has picked up and additional positions were active, specifically the Weapons Director and the Surveillance Technicians. Specifically, we hear the predominant voice of Major Fox, the Weapons Director for the morning. Fox was the Senior Director (supervised the Weapons Directors) on 9-11.
NEADS scrambled, notionally, on two unknowns. The first target was what turned out to be a weather balloon. NEADS first scrambled Atlantic City terminating that in favor of a Burlington scramble. One of the first Burlington pair scrambled had a compressor failure and had to make an emergency landing at Pease AFB. NEADS had to decide whether to prosecute the unknown with a single fighter or scramble a second pair of fighters. They opted for the latter.
The audio files covering the balloon scenario provided a detailed, real-time, snapshot of NEADS tactics, techniques and procedures, to include force regeneration, weapons control, log book actions, and pilot/controller communications. Major Fox tended to think out loud providing additional insight into events of the morning.
The second unknown was a specific example of a DVFR (Defense Visual Flight Rules) flight. In this case that target was an AT&T cable checker that could not be immediately identified. Fighters from Atlantic City were scrambled, notionally, and closed with the target and determined there was not an issue. Since the sequence of events was similar to the balloon scenario I have not provided detailed audio clips. I did include the audio file for the formal report to CONR and NORAD, concurrently, a succinct summary of the event.
These two exercise scenarios, taken together, show that NEADS knew how to acquire and prosecute a target, given that they either knew the location or someone had provided them that critical information. The next day, 9-11, the three planes they would be provided a point out for were AA 11, AA 77 and D 1989. They scrambled on AA 11 but did not get an actionable point out. They acquired AA 77 moments before impact and were able to track D 1989.
The article will be continued as I listen to the audio files for the rest of the day. As I’ve said this is a non-trivial, time consuming task. I will get to it as I can.
January 28, 2011
Published a stand-alone article in the Vigilant Guardian series: “9-11 Exercise Vigilant Guardian; Identification Technician Training.” This training took place in the early morning hours of Sep 10, 2001. It involved an Identification technician trainee, a mentor/trainer, the MCC, and the simulation cell. Both the mentor and one of the MCC on duty would be on day shift the next day.
The trainee had to deal with several unknowns and a Cubana B747, Havana to Shannon, which deviated. He could not resolve one of the unknowns which led to a scramble. He could not resolve the Cubana B747 deviation as it penetrated the ADIZ. The fighters (notional) scrambled on the unknown were diverted to the Cubana flight, which was considered NORDO, no radio, the same situation that would occur with AA 11 the next day.
In the multiple audio clips in the article we hear the story of the training at the Identification Technician position and then at the MCC position. Both positions dealt separately with the simulation cell.
Overall, this article provides detailed insight as to how NEADS accomplished position training, and the policies and procedures that were in place to handle a specific situation.
Exercise Vigilant Guardian, itself, had not yet started for the day. The Battle Cab was empty and positions other than the ID and MCC positions were simulated.
January 26, 2011
The article on Exercise Vigilant Guardian for Sep 9, 2001 is complete. There was one major and one minor scenario.
The major scenario involved a terrorist threat to blow up an airplane over New York City. It was a force protection scenario, not a hijacking. The pilot and FAA (simulated) were always in control. The fact of the threat was known from information on the ground obtained at Heathrow Airport. I have inserted audio clips from the sim cell to show that this was a free play scenario. The intent was for NEADS to push back to FAA on the intent to land the plane at Bangor AFB. The NEADS team did not pick up on the force protection threat so the controllers caused the plane to “land” and Bangor and explode on the runway, shutting down the runway.
The minor scenario involved a runaway blimp from its station over Giants Stadium. FAA (simulated) asked for a scramble; NEADS declined, properly. It was not their responsibility.
As of the end of the day, local time, NEADS had not yet changed to 24-hour operations, exercise-wise.
Next up, a look at Sep 10, 2001.
January 25, 2011
Added a short article under “9-11 Education” to acknowledge a report in “NJ Spotlight” concerning the development of a 9-11 curriculum.
According the the article: Titled “Learning from the Challenges of Our Time: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom,” the online resource will be a collection of more than 100 lesson plans and study guides that will help educators teach and incorporate the lessons of that day and all that surrounds it.”
January 21, 2011
I have updated the Sep 9, 2001, Exercise Vigilant Guardian article up to 1900Z (1500 local). The primary scenario, a “terrorism rogue” civilian airliner, ended with the plane exploding on landing at Bangor, Maine. It was always under positive FAA and pilot control and was not a hijack. The purpose of the scenario was force protection.
NEADS missed the relevant clue. FAA advised that they were going to divert the plane to Bangor or Westover. NEADS did not push back on the the Bangor location and the scenario played out based on the NEADS non-response. Had NEADS picked up on the clue it is likely there was a different end game in place that would have been followed.
There was an additional brief force protection scenario involving kidnapping threats to the dependents of NEADS personnel. I’ve included a brief discussion of that scenario and one audio clip to show that Exercise Vigilant Guardian was multi-dimensional, not just an air defense exercise.
As of 1900Z, NEADS has just turned down a ZNY (New York Center) request to scramble on a runaway blimp. We shall see if that reasonable decision ends the scenario.
January 19, 2011
Published the first portion of an article on Exercise Vigilant Guardian for Sep 9, 2001. So far, I cover the day up to about 1500Z (1100 local). The major scenario of the morning was the approach of a United Airlines flight, Heathrow to JFK, with two terrorists on board with a bomb planning to blow the plane up over New York City. That information was learned from sources on the ground in England, the plane itself was never considered a hijack by FAA, they were in communication with the pilot and the plane had not been taken over.
The track was handed off from CANR to CONR/NEADS, but FAA (sim cell) diverted it to land at Bangor, Maine. That caused force protection issues and NEADS attempted without success to forestall a landing at Bangor. The plane was blown up on the ground there.
Earlier, CONR had raised the the Force Protection Condition level to “Bravo.” We hear how NEADS handled that and made their notifications. But they never connected the plane to the Force Protection issue.
The plane was labeled a “Special 16,” terrorist rogue, and not a “Special 15, hijack. Although NEADS treated it as a hijack, it was never labeled as such and fighters were not scrambled. FAA did not request military assistance. Nor was Canadian military assistance requested.
This scenario is one of the specific line items in my exercise-related spreadsheet that has fascinated several researchers. The article, to be continued, provides the story behind that line item.
January 15, 2011
I have completed a review of the NEADS audio tapes for September 8, 2011, concerning Exercise Vigilant Guardian. The primary scenario was counter-drug. It is not surprising that NEADS would conduct at least one such scenario during the Exercise. After the end of the cold war NORAD carved out a counter=drug mission for itself in order to share in the monies made available by Congress of a war on drugs. I have provided a link in the article to the NORAD Instruction that describes the ADNET (Anti-drug Net), the NORAD procedures for executing its mission.
For historians and researchers, NEADS exercise day Sep 8 provides a good look at the routine of NEADS operations and how the sector balanced real world and exercise requirements. I have provided extensive audio clips for perspective.
January 13, 2011
I’ve added additional audio clips to the Vigilant Guardian article for the day of Sep 8, 2001. I take main scenario, a drug smuggler out of Bermuda, up to the point that NEADS has decided the track is a “Special 17” (unknown). NEADS has not yet seen the track split, that will be my next piece of work.
I am announcing the interim update because we now have enough information to understand how NEADS accomplished the air defense mission and why that mission proceeded as it did on 9-11. I include an interim assessment in the article.
January 12, 2011
Added an item under Current News to publicize the Rutgers School of Law hosting of a two-day seminar on February 3 and 4, 2011, titled: “Unsettled Foundations, Uncertain Results” 9/11 and the Law, 10 years after.” A link is provided to obtain additional information and to register, if interested. Non-credit registration fee is $50.
January 11, 2011
Published an article: “9-11: AA 77, independent investigation, validation and verification,” under the category AA 77. This article documents the recent work of Legge and Stutt in completely decoding the flight data recorder from AA 77. Their work, coupled with the “Pentagon Building Performance Report” and the the book Firefight by Creed and Newman, provides a body of information largely independent of the work of the 9-11 Commission. The body of work comprising the three investigative efforts validates and verifies the work of the Commission.
Those who take issue with the 9-11 Commission Report now have at their disposal a body of public information, work that can be independently validated and verified and which they must now consider when they fault the work of the Commission.
For those who rely primarily on eye witness and participant recall accounts I have provided a link to the narrative of Penny Elgas, an articulate and reflective account of what she witnessed that day. I’ve also provided detail as to how Creed and Newman considered eye witness accounts in their work.
Those who have entered analytical box canyons with alternate explanations of AA 77 and the Pentagon now have no way out of their dilemma except to retrace their steps and start over. The intellectually honest will do just that.
January 6, 2010
Added some audio clips to the article on exercise Vigilant Guardian for the day of Sep 8, 2001. This is a labor intensive effort and I’ve taken the narrative up to the time of the main event, a drug smuggler from Bermuda. It will take me a while to finish the day. I have also started to listen to the voluminous audio files for Sep 9, to gain an understanding of the events of that day.
For Sep 8, the new material reinforces the NORAD testimony that they were looking outward. In addition to special tracking Aeroflot and Cubana flights, NEADS paid special attention to a flight of Russian strategic bombers, part of the Russian exercise. We learn that fighters were forward deployed in the Alaskan Region and that the Russian flight was of interest to CINCNORAD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
We gain additional insight into how NEADS balanced real world and exercise demands. In one specific instance an exercise caller was told he was just going to have to wait while NEADS dealt with a real world active air scramble.
We learn that not every scramble results in fighters airborne. It was my experience when working on the Brothers to the Rescue project that many scrambles were aborted before the fighters actually took off.
We also learn just how degraded the air defense mission had become over the years after the end of the cold war. Not only were there just 14 fighters at seven bases performing the air defense mission, but at least at one base (Otis) there was no 24/7 ground support for the mission.
January 4, 2011
Added a short item under current news to account for recent work by Warren Stutt concerning the AA 77 Flight Data Recorder. Warren makes this statement to open a new post on his website: “I have now found the problem that caused the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to decode almost 4 seconds less data in the Comma Separated Value (CSV) file they produced from the raw Flight Data Recorder (FDR commonly called “black box”) file for American Airlines Flight 77 (AAL77)…” Warren also includes a copy of his most recent (Jan 4, 2011) letter to the NTSB.