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by Carol A. Valentine
Curator, Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum
First issued February 12, 2002
Reissued with revisions, February 23, 2002; August 2022
Copyright, February, 2002
May be reproduced for non-commercial purposes
A time line of key events on 9/11 is provided for quick reference. The events and times shown on that page are the general consensus of the authors of the 911 Memorial web page.
February 23, 2002 — Many observers suspect that Operation 9/11 was an inside job, accomplished with remote controlled aircraft. No one reported seeing NORAD jets during the 9/11 incidents, despite NORAD's mission to protect America's skies.
Some will tell you the world is full of coincidences. Here is one for the books. The very people who left the American skies open for the 9/11 attack — NORAD — are among the world’s leading experts on remote controlled aircraft.
NORAD personnel had the means to send those planes to attack. And NORAD created the opportunity for those planes to attack. This elevates NORAD to Suspect Number One.
Yes, NORAD trigger men may have guided the "suicide jets" on September 11. What if the dog we bought to guard the hen house took the day off and killed the chickens?
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was created in the late 1950s in response to concerns that the Soviet Union would send nuclear bombers, and (later) missiles, over the Arctic to attack cities in North American.
Starting with the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW) of radar stations across the Arctic (see page 3 map of document below), and expanding with Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS), monitoring and maintenance was expanded into a full joint command by the NORAD treaty between Canada and the US.
Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line,— Original link:
Balistic Missile Early Warning System— Original link:
The main command station for NORAD was large series of caves carved into Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado built to withstand atomic bombs. By 2001, NORAD was monitoring and defending North American skies against enemy aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles. In the US, NORAD had an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cooperate in emergency situations when aircraft go off course or are hijacked.
For information on NORAD, see Canada’s Department of National Defence website, "Canada-United States Defense Regulations,"
Current US Description:
You can read the 2001 FAA/NORAD regulations at:
You should pay particular attention to Chapter 7, which deals with the escort of hijacked aircraft. In addition, read the discussion of military interception of civilian aircraft in "Mr. Cheney’s Cover Story," by Bykov & Israel. Look at the discussion of how NORAD jets force troublesome aircraft to land.
Part 1: http://emperors-clothes.com/indict/indict-1.htm
Part 2: http://emperors-clothes.com/indict/indict-2.htm
Part 1: http://holocausts.org/911/tenc/emperors-clothes-cheney-1.pdf
Part 2: http://holocausts.org/911/tenc/emperors-clothes-cheney-2.pdf
Since 1959, NORAD personnel have been installing remote control units in a variety of aircraft and remotely controlling those aircraft in sophisticated aeronautical maneuvers, including combat practice. See "Thwarting skyjackings from the ground," written by Alan Staats for Facsnet and posted on October 2, 2001. (Facsnet is an education service provided for its reporters by Associated Press.)
Notice particularly the paragraph entitled "History on remote control."
Controlling the aircraft from the ground is nothing new. The military has been flying obsolete high performance fighter aircraft as target drones since the 1950s. In fact, NORAD (the North American Air Defense Command) had at its disposal a number of U.S. Air Force General Dynamics F-106 Delta Dart fighter aircraft configured to be remotely flown into combat as early as 1959 under the auspices of a program known as SAGE. These aircraft could be started, taxied, taken off, flown into combat, fight, and return to a landing entirely by remote control, with the only human intervention needed being to fuel and re-arm them.
Re-read that final sentence in the above quote:
These [NORAD] aircraft could be started, taxied, taken off, flown into combat, fight, and return to a landing entirely by remote control …
With more than 40 years of institutional experience, flying remotely controlled "suicide" jets into the World Trade Center towers would have been a piece of cake for NORAD. This information puts NORAD’s failure to protect our skies on September 11, 2001 in a new light.
Primary radar functions by short bursts ("pings") of high-frequency radio sent in a directional beam. When echos of the beam are returned, the radar station computes the delay as distance and maps the distance and direction on a geographical map.
Secondary radar is a more recent invention that carries more information. Each cooperating aircraft carries a transponder, a receiver/transmitter device that tells Air Traffic Control the latitude, longitude, altitude, and speed of the aircraft as well as the plane’s identification, airline and flight number.
Since enemy aircraft cannot be expected to cooperate in secondary (transponder) radar systems, all defensive installations (NORAD, US Air Force, etc.) are equipped with primary radar.
For years, civilian air traffic controllers have relied on primary radar, and it still works. One experienced pilot we interviewed told us that on several occasions, when he was flying aircraft, the transponder failed. Air Traffic Control simply located his position with primary radar, no problem.
For more information on transponders, see "Transponder Basics," written by Tom Rogers, a pilot and a Ph.D. physicist who owns an avionics equipment company. The article on the website is undated; however, the author has confirmed (via e-mail to me dated February 10, 2002) that the information contained in the article was current as of 2002. We quote from that article:
Today, virtually all ATC radar installations are equipped with both primary and secondary radar capability.
Many people we have spoken with believe that NORAD failed to do its job on September 11 because the "suicide pilots" turned off the transponders in each of the four planes. NORAD was thus unable to find the location of the aircraft and consequently could not intercept them, they say.
Think about it. NORAD’s job is to protect us from enemy bombers and missiles sent over our skies by foreign powers. Would those foreign powers be considerate enough to put transponders on their bombers and missiles so NORAD could locate them and shoot them down? Of course not. NORAD is expected to find unidentified flying objects without transponders.
Confirm this by visiting the Canadian Defense website again, "Canada-United States Defense Regulations."
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent."
2002 Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20020207130101/http://www.dnd.ca/menu/canada-us/bg00.010_e.htm
Transponders help to filter out all identifiable aircraft for NORAD and allow them to focus on those craft that are unidentified. An aircraft flying without a transponder gets special attention. NORAD must have known when each of the transponders in the four "suicide" jets was turned off, and must have known immediately. At all times, NORAD must have known the location of each of the four planes. See expanded discussion of NORAD’s surveillance capabilities in Part II, in section "NORAD vs. FAA — Who Sees What?"
Before we go any further, let us consider the implications of the so-called hijackers/suicide pilots turning off the transponders. If the "hijackers" knew enough about transponders to shut them off, they surely must have known the aircraft could be tracked and located by primary (echo) radar. Why, then, did the "hijackers" turn off the transponders? There’s a question to ponder.
Put in other words, why did the suicide pilots want to keep the name of the airline, the flight number, the altitude, and the speed of the aircraft a secret, even though the latitude and longitude of the aircraft could not be kept secret? Turning off the transponders would not have helped the mission if NORAD was doing its job. NORAD would not be fooled or blinded by the trick.
Those who want to pursue the war in the Middle East, of course, want to sustain the lie that Muslim suicide pilots were responsible for 9/11. They want to keep the real killers — the men working under the NORAD cover — hidden from public view.
So public attention must be deflected from NORAD’s culpability and focused on the FAA and the failure of "the system." Top FAA executives and the FAA/NORAD liaison people were of course involved and could give us information. Their failure to speak is either a sign that they have been ordered to shut their mouths for the sake of "national security" or a testament to some other complicity.
While reading the following, notice the varied nature of the diversionary "what did the FAA know and when did they know it and when did they tell NORAD what they knew" controversy. You will notice that no one mentions NORAD’s duty to monitor the skies with its own radar equipment, nor a description of what NORAD could see. (Further discussion of this topic in Part II.) Instead there is constant fudging about radar data in general and a pretense that there is no cold, objective evidence that can be examined to tell us what really happened that day.
The first plane to hit the WTC, American Flight 11, left Boston’s Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. bound for Los Angeles. In its story "The nation reels," published on September 12, 2001, The Christian Science Monitor says of Flight 11:
Shortly afterward, as aircraft (sic) was making its turn toward New York City, the plane’s transponder was turned off. With its transponder off, its altitude became a matter of guesswork for the controllers, although the plane was still visible on radar …
Nice that the civilian primary radar system was mentioned, but note that there is no mention of the mission and capabilities of NORAD. As the Canadian government tells us,
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent.
United Flight 175 left Boston’s Logan Airport at 7:58 a.m., headed for Los Angeles. At 9:06 a.m., it was the second plane to hit the WTC. United Airlines released a press statement that day. Referring the Flight 175, the press statement contains this sentence:
Last radar contact with the aircraft was between Newark, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA.
See link below.
Yet we know Flight 175 continued on to New York and hit the south tower of the WTC. United could have said that the transponder was turned off, and included the information that the plane was still being tracked by primary radar. Instead, United gave the impression that the craft was not visible on radar "between Newark, NJ and Philadelphia, PA," and was never seen on radar again. How is that possible? And of course no mention of NORAD.
Let’s turn now to The Washington Post, one of the nation’s loudest cheerleaders for the war in the Middle East. See "Pentagon Crash Highlights a Radar Gap," (November 3, 2001), covering Flight 77.
American Airlines Flight 77 left Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. at 8:10 a.m. and hit the Pentagon at 9:40. a.m. The Post states it disappeared from radar screens at 8:50 a.m., when the "hijackers" turned off the transponder. But now the Post turns attention to the FAA’s ability to track the plane with primary radar.
The answers to the mystery of the aircraft’s disappearance begin with the fact that hijacking took place in an area served by only one type of radar, FAA officials confirmed …
The article continues with a classic obfuscation:
…the radar installation near Parkersburg, WV was built with only secondary radar — called ‘beacon-only’ radar. That left the controllers monitoring Flight 77 at the Indianapolis center blind when the hijackers apparently switched off the aircraft’s transponder.
We are left to presume that the FAA in Parkersburg, WV had the only radar installation, while ignoring the McLaughlin Air National Guard Base near Charleston and the 167th Airlift Wing near Martinsburg. And then in Ohio, we had Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
Of course, if there were any classified strategic bases, The Washington Post would not mention them. And markedly, the The Post makes no mention of the E-3 Sentry (AWACS) planes that should have been all over the area. According to PBS, 24 such planes went into service with NORAD in 1979. AWACS units fly at 30,000 ft. and can track an object at a distance of 200 miles. On 9/11, the path of American Airlines 77 should have been no more mysterious than a firefly in a jar.
Original PBS link:
Later we shall see that when Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of NORAD, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 25, he asserted other "facts" concerning Flight 77’s path. When Sen. Levin stated that Flight 77 was seen on radar, over West Virginia, heading east, at 8:55 a.m. Gen. Eberhart did not disagree. Gen. Eberhart just shrugged and told Sen. Levin to "ask FAA." But let’s examine Sen. Levin's "facts."
Flight 77’s transponder was turned off at 8:56 a.m., eleven minutes after Flight 11 had hit the first tower of the WTC. Before Flight 11 crashed, its transponder had been turned off. The non-working transponder on Flight 77 should have been a warning of another impending disaster. When Flight 77’s transponder was turned off, its location was as clear as a bell. Even without NORAD's radar coverage, it should have been easy for the FAA to estimate Flight 77's probable location. Flight 77 should have been easy to intercept. Instead, Flight 77 was allowed to meander around the country for 45 minutes, unsupervised.
As the Canadian government reminds us:
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent.
Well, Canada, that’s the general idea …
The Washington Post, of course, neglects to mention that NORAD did not need transponders to track that plane; but The Washington Post was not yet through with muddying the waters and diverting attention from NORAD.
In the case of American Flight 77, it is unclear whether additional warning time would have changed anything. Military jets were scrambled after controllers became aware of the hijacked aircraft, but the fighters could not get to the Washington area in time.
That’s a dumb lie, even for The Washington Post. Andrews Air Force Base, home of Air Force One, is just 10 miles from Washington D.C. How long would it take for Andrews jets, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound, to get over Washington D.C./Pentagon airspace?
Now let’s cut over to the Miami Herald’s more believable September 14 story, "Who watched as flight plan was aborted?"
FORTY-five minutes. That’s how long American Airlines Flight 77 meandered through the air headed for the White House, its flight plan abandoned, its radar beacon silent. Originally bound for Los Angeles from Washington, it got as far as the Ohio border before terrorists disabled the aircraft’s transponder, a piece of equipment that sends a signal back to control centers.
It was about 9 a.m.
At that moment, the north tower of the World Trade Center was already in flames.
Minutes later, a second airliner would crash into the south tower, providing unmistakable evidence that the United States was under terrorist attack.
Meanwhile Flight 77 was turning around, streaking back east over Virginia toward the White House and finally slamming into the Pentagon at 9:45 a.m.
Who was watching in those 45 minutes? … Even with the transponder silent, the plane should have been visible on radar, both to controllers who handle cross-continent air traffic and to a Federal Aviation Administration command center outside of Washington, according to air traffic controllers.
The FAA, which handles air traffic control, would not discuss the track of Flight 77 or what happened in air-control centers while it was in flight. Neither would American Airlines.
Why wouldn’t the FAA and American discuss Flight 77’s route? The damage had already been done, and the pretext to make war in the Middle East was already establish. But while the Miami Herald quite properly notes the suspicious behavior of the FAA and American Airlines, it does not breathe a word about the mission and capabilities of NORAD.
According to a CBS News article, White House spokesmen Ari Fleischer said that radar data he had seen indicated Flight 77 was headed for the White House. CBS News publicly disagreed with him, saying that’s not what the recorded flight path showed. See "Primary Target," September 21, 2001:
What was the source of Ari Fleischer’s radar data? What was the source of CBS’s radar data? We are not told. All this information comes from anonymous sources.
Friends, some stuff happened on September 11. And some stuff didn’t. Radar provides objective evidence of the truth. Yes, someone’s playing games with Ari Fleischer’s radar data. Someone’s playing games with the FAA radar data. But no one is talking about NORAD’s radar data.
O.K. We have established that even with its transponder off, American Airlines Flight 77’s journey should have been tracked by NORAD's primary radar systems (Miami Herald on Flight 77, above). Flight 77’s flight path should be no great mystery. Nor should there be any mystery about the flight paths of the other jets. Shortly after 9/11, Time, Newsweek, and USA Today published diagrams of the flight paths of the run away jets. You can see those diagrams at:
In the commentary on that page, you will find a discussion of the many contradictions among the three reports. You will also notice that none of these diagrams show Flight 175 disappearing from the radar screens somewhere between Newark and Philadelphia, as United Airlines claims.
But for the moment, let’s look at what each says about Flight 77:
Yes. Someone’s playing games with the radar records.
On October 25, 1999, at 9:33 a.m. air traffic controllers in Florida lost touch with a Learjet carrying golfer Payne Stewart and several companions after it left Orlando headed for Dallas, Texas. Nineteen minutes after Air Traffic Control realized something was wrong, one or more US Air Force fighter jets were already on top of the situation, in the air, close to the Learjet. Moreover, throughout the course of its flight, Payne Stewart’s jet was given escort from National Guard aircraft coordinated across state lines. See "Golfer Payne Stewart Dies," October 25, 1999, at:
Or read the National Transportation Safety Board report on Payne Stewart’s flight:
(There are minor discrepancies between the ABC and NTSB reports.)
Note of February 26, 2002: Since this was written, a reader has pointed out the NTSB report used Eastern Daylight Time in the beginning of its account and then switched to Central Daylight Time. If understood literally, the NTSB report showed that 1 hour and 19 minutes elapsed between realization that the Stewart flight was in trouble and deployment of the military jets. Compare this to a contemporaneous report that appeared in The Washington Post on October 26, 1999, "Golfer Payne Stewart Dies in Jet Crash," which was sent along to me by the same alert reader.
That was the response when a small private jet lost radio contact with Air Traffic Control over a relatively sparsely populated area in Florida. Compare that to what was done when Air Traffic Control lost communication with four commercial passenger jets flying over the populous northeast on September 11, 2001.
The Washington Post reporters apparently got their information from the FAA directly as the story broke: The Post indicates that 24 minutes elapsed between the first air traffic controller reporting a problem (9:44 a.m.) to the dispatch of the jets at 10:08 a.m.
The error might be just the time notations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). There are other anomalies in the NTSB report, the examination of which are beyond the scope of this article.
My purpose in citing the Payne Stewart incident was to show that the presence of NORAD on the North American continent should have shaped the events of 9/11 very differently and should have shaped the plans of the hijackers very differently. It was reasonable to expect a NORAD response within approximately 20 minutes of notification. Certainly NORAD considered that reasonable. On September 18, NORAD issued a press release stating that it took only six minutes to get planes in the air after notification on Flight 11, nine minutes to get planes in the air after notification on Flight 175, and six minutes to get planes in the air after notification on Flight 77.
NORAD’s Response Times on Sept. 11, 2001:
Indeed, those rapid response times would be necessary for NORAD to serve the purpose for which it was created: protecting the continent from enemy missiles and aircraft.
In the following text, whenever the Payne Stewart incident is cited, please read with the February 26, 2002 update in mind.
Again, the first plane to hit the WTC was American Airlines Flight 11. It left Logan Airport in Boston at 7:59 a.m. According to "A Plane Left Boston and Skimmed Over River and Mountain in a Deadly Detour," published by The New York Times on September 13, 2001,
The plane held on course, almost due west, for only 16 minutes.
Just past Worcester, Mass., instead of taking a southerly turn, the Boeing 767 swung to the north at 8:15. It had been taken over …
Five minutes later, at 8:20, Flight 11 failed to follow an instruction to climb to its cruising altitude of 31,00 feet. It was this point that air controllers suspected something was wrong. And just about then the plane’s transponder, a piece of equipment that broadcast its location, went out.
When Flight 11 veered sharply off course at 8:15 a.m., Air Traffic Control should have known immediately something was wrong. But apparently they did not try to get in touch with Flight 11, and allowed five minutes to go by before instructing it to climb to 31,000 feet. Given that the plane was off course already, why didn’t Air Traffic Control order the pilot to get back on course? And given that it was off course, why order the pilots to climb? We are not told. But let’s put these considerations aside. Air Traffic Control should have known something was severely amiss at 8:15 a.m., or at the latest, 8:20 a.m.
Yet Flight 11 and three more passenger jets were sequentially permitted to go missing and run amok for at least one hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes — the Pentagon was hit at 9:40 a.m.) without NORAD intercepting the runaway craft. Compare NORAD’s performance on September 11, 2001 with its performance on October 25, 1999, in the Payne Stewart case.
Stanley Bedlington, a retired senior analyst at the CIA counter-terrorism center, was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor, "The nation reels," September 12, 2001:
To be able to make these attacks within an half hour [of each other] — that shows an incredible degree of organization or skill.
Rubbish, Mr. Bedlington. Had there been real hijackers, they would have earned a "D" for this effort. Careful planners would have researched the expected reaction time of NORAD. The Payne Stewart example was already well-known, and the NTSB report was publicly available. Real hijackers would expect NORAD would be onto them in 19 minutes following detection of a problem. (Payne Stewart, above.) Surely this is Hijackology 101.
Look at the three diagrams again:
Real hijackers with "an incredible degree of organization or skill" would not have taken jets from Boston to hit New York, and given NORAD 30 minutes and 50 minutes, respectively, to intercept them. Real hijackers would not have taken a jet from Dulles and meandered all the way to Ohio and back again before hitting the Pentagon.
Real hijackers with even a modicum of organization or skill would have hijacked planes from Kennedy or LaGuardia to hit the WTC towers shortly after take-off and struck like lightning while the planes were close to their targets, before anyone had a chance to react. Real hijackers would have hijacked a plane from National, Baltimore-Washington, or Dulles airports and hit the Pentagon shortly after take-off and struck like lightning while the plane was close to its target and before anyone had a chance to react.
Remember, real hijackers would believe they had, at the very most, a 19-minute window of opportunity before NORAD interception, as proven by the Payne Stewart case. They would not believe they had an 80-minute window of opportunity, as NORAD gave them on September 11 (Flight 11 went amiss at 8:15-8:20 a.m, Pentagon hit 80 minutes later at 9:40 a.m.).
No. "Real" hijackers did not pull off this caper. Believing that NORAD tried to protect us but was bested by superior hijacker strategy is akin to taking professional wrestling seriously. DC Dave (http://dcdave.com) put it succinctly when he wrote "The Show Goes On,"
The Rock’s opponent cooperates
When he’s thrown down on the mat.
Now think of September 11:
Our defense was just like that.
By now we are familiar with the shocking story of the treason of President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara when they allowed Israel to torpedo the USS Liberty, and ordered American fighter pilots, who were aloft and coming to Liberty’s aid, back to their aircraft carrier.
When it comes to treason in high places, we in the US have seen it already. And every administration since the USS Liberty attack has cooperated in the treason by failing to investigate and punish the traitors. Such is the bald and ugly state of the Union.
On September 10, 2001, just one day before 9/11, The Washington Times ran a front-page story "US troops would enforce peace under Army study." The Times quoted officers in the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). Of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, the SAMS officers said:
"Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target US forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."
Washington Times Archive:
"Let’s you and him fight," has been a tactic used through the ages by intelligence agents. If you can goad someone else to destroy your enemy, why not? Thus it is with many "false flag" events.
In this light, it is worthwhile to note that Israel also has expertise in building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs):
There is now a plethora of Congressional investigations into 9/11. None of
them will honestly examine what happened that day. Instead, Congress will focus
attention on the events BEFORE September 11 — our alleged intelligence failure to
predict the "suicide pilots." Congress will decide our intelligence agencies need more
money and more police state powers. The Washington Post recently concluded
a series of articles about "America’s Chaotic Road To War." The focus was events
AFTER September 11. Neither the Post nor any other newspaper will ever tell the
reading public of NORAD’s treachery.
Updated, corrected, and edited August, 2022