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by Carol A. Valentine
Curator, Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum
Copyright February, 2002; Updated August 2022
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 25, 2002 — With so much controversy swirling around NORAD's failures on 9/11, is it possible that NORAD did not respond at all?
Perhaps the American generals who claim to have been in charge that day are lying, and that others were directing events? Viewed up close, those generals appear to be just dumb blondes, pretty faces sent out to decorate the 9/11 front desk — and distract us from the facts.
From August 1998 to February 2000, General Richard B. Myers was Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Commander of the Air Force Space Command. In March 2000, he became Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You can read his background at:
On September 13, 2001, General Myers, was interviewed by the Senate Armed Services Committee for confirmation as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate confirmed his appointment.
The transcript of that hearing was captured by Lexis Nexis.
That transcript was cached in 2005 by Donald D. Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Sciences at University of California, Irvine. We have obtained it from his staff web page.
The Washington Post reported Gen. Myers' appearance in its September 14 article, "Fighter Response After Attacks Questioned" (cited by multiple news agencies and scholars, but not easily found on the 'Net).
According to that Post article,
[Gen. Myers] "was deeply involved in the military's response this week from the outset …"
The caption for the photo on right reads, "Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), left, after introducing Gen. Richard B. Myers, named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Armed Services Committee."
Given that Gen. Myers was a past commander of NORAD, was Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11 and had been "deeply involved" in the military response, and given that the hearings occurred just two days after the attack when people were both outraged and puzzled at NORAD's non-performance, Gen. Myers should have expected he would be asked some questions.
Hey, no problem. Just tell the truth, right? Shouldn't be hard, especially since Gen. Myers is on speaking terms with NORAD's commander (Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart), and was on the phone with him after the New York attacks.
Military people, quite properly, are sticklers for precision. You can't run an army with soldiers who rendezvous "sometime around noon." The military keeps precise military time. Military actions are recorded in meticulous detail, in logs and reports which are reviewed and studied.
So knowing the military's precise ways, and knowing how puzzled and outraged folks were that NORAD didn't show, you'd think Gen. Myers would arrange to have NORAD logs sent over to him so he could give the senators the facts. When was NORAD notified? When did the jets take off? After all, there were just a handful of jets involved in NORAD's response, right? We are not talking about a big deal, just a page from a log.
But guess what? Gen. Myers arrived at the hearing without faxes, without logs, without index cards. He came with his memory …
Even so, Gen. Myers' memory should be pretty good. You don't get to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if you have Alzheimer's. And the big event happened just two days before.
Sen. Levin made this timid inquiry:
General Myers, just a very brief request. When I asked you what time it was that the FAA or the FBI notified the Defense Department after the first World Trade — the two crashes into the World Trade Center and you indicated you didn't know the time. Could you ask someone on your staff to try to get us that time, so that we will have that either before this session here or for executive session?
Imagine that. Sen. Levin asked Gen. Myers when the DoD was notified of events at the WTC, and he didn't know. Well, OK, Sen. Levin used the phrase "DoD" rather than "NORAD," but let's not split hairs. We all want to know why NORAD did not respond on September 11. That answer, if the senators ever get one, will be delivered in "executive session," out of the public eye. (And sure enough, in Lo! these last 20 years, the information has never been made public. —CV 2022)
Realize that NORAD is not only a military organization — it is an intelligence organization, commanding sophisticated electronic and satellite surveillance equipment, and even clocks and wristwatches. NORAD knows what time they were called on 9/11, and who called them. It's all in the logs.
Reader should be reminded of what we learned in Part I: Inside Job about NORAD. We will review some of that information shortly.
Sen. Nelson asked:
You said earlier in your testimony that we had not scrambled any military aircraft until after the Pentagon was hit. And so, my question would be: Why?
Gen. Myers responded:
I think I had that right, that it was not until then. I'd have to go back and review the exact timelines.
Right. Gen. Myers could not remember this vital piece of information even though he was "deeply involved" with the military's response that day, and even though most anyone would anticipate the Senate might be interested in the details of this huge military catastrophe.
Gen. Myers agreement that the NORAD jets were sent aloft "after the Pentagon was hit" does not tell us much. The Pentagon was hit at 9:40 a.m. Did NORAD scramble its jets at 9:41, 10:00, or noon?
Allow us to assist Gen. Myers. The Pentagon was hit at 9:40 a.m. We
will express Gen. Myers' statement this way:
Story Number One: NORAD jets were sent aloft some time after 9:40 a.m.
Sen. Nelson made another pass and asked why, after the WTC was hit, military aircraft were not scrambled when the two more aircraft (Flights 77 and 93) went off course. After scampering around a little, Gen. Myers pulled the same bad memory routine:
… if my memory serves me — and I'll have to get back to you for the record — my memory says that we had launched on the one that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania. I mean, we had gotten somebody close to it, as I recall. I'll have to check that out. I do not recall if that was the case for the one that had taken off from Dulles.
Very interesting comments: The plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was Flight 93. The NORAD press release is a masterpiece of obfuscaton. Did they scramble? Can't say. When did Flight 93 crash? Can't say. How far away was the fighter when 93 crashed? Ah, there we have an answer: 100 miles — 11 minutes. But even that is not "we had gotten somebody close to it," as Myers suggested.
However, witnesses in Pennsylvania on September 11 reported seeing a military jet near Flight 93 and burning debris falling from the sky. During September 11 TV coverage, Flight 93 was reported to have been shot down by a military jet (more below).
Return to Gen. Myers' words: "… if my memory serves me …" Sen. Nelson and his fellow senators allowed Gen. Myers to get away with it. No one said: "General, are you serious? You turn up at your confirmation hearing after a military disaster like 9/11, and you don't have the basic facts at your fingertips?" But never mind. This is America, we're the greatest nation on earth, and we love dumb blondes.
Still, something was established: Twice now, Gen. Myers did not dispute Story Number One: No military aircraft were scrambled until after the Pentagon was hit (9:40 a.m.).
Sen. Nelson then played the tough-guy and expressed incredulity that no jets were scrambled sooner. In response, Gen. Myers exhibited his rhetorical skill by changing the subject.
Gen. Myers said:
… after the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was at that point to start launching aircraft.
Again, notice that Gen. Myers did not refer to NORAD records. Again, the senators were not given an exact time the NORAD aircraft took off. Once again Gen. Myers relied on his conveniently unreliable memory. But let's add this last Myers utterance to Story Number One.
Story Number One Enhanced: NORAD may have decided to scramble after 9:03 a.m.; however, NORAD jets were scrambled after 9:40 a.m.
Myers' faulty memory is again in evidence:
[Gen Myers:] At the time of the first impact on the World Trade Center, we stood up our crisis action team. That was done immediately. So we stood it up. And we started talking to the federal agencies. The time I do not know is when NORAD responded with fighter aircraft. I don't know that time.
About now most of us would be wondering if Gen. Myers was out on the golf course
when it all happened, and hadn't time to catch up before he dropped in to see Sen. Levin and the
Gen. Myers made an excuse for NORAD's non-performance this way:
… it's not just a question of launching aircraft, it's launching to do what? You have to have a specific threat. We're pretty good if the threat's coming from outside. We're not so good if the threat's coming from the inside …
In Part I, we discussed NORAD's interception of hijacked aircraft, but let's revisit the subject. You can read FAA/NORAD regulations (FAA Order 7610.4, Special Military Operations, Effective Date November 3, 1998) at: Chapter 4 (4-8-1, 4-8-2)
NORAD has a requirement to flush/disperse interceptor and E-3 aircraft to initiate early attack against a hostile force …
(You may want to download for safekeeping, as we did.)
You may want to read Chapter
7 of the above-cited FAA Order, 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.
In fact, NORAD tested and practiced its hijacking routines regularly. Six weeks after Gen. Myers claimed NORAD didn't know what to launch, the NORAD commander, Gen. Eberhart appeared before this Committee, and said NORAD practiced its anti-hijacking routines "day in and day out." By the context of the remarks, it is very clear he is talking about NORAD practices prior to September 11, 2001.
Would anyone believe Gen. Myers would show up to his confirmation hearing without records, without faxes, without logs, without index cards, and then claim he could not quite remember? Would anyone believe NORAD didn't know what to launch or what to do or which end was up. Somebody anticipated the possiblity of hijackers, developed the response plan, trained the pilots, and organized exercises.
This fumbling testimony suggests no defensive jets at all were launched that
Five days after Gen. Myers went to see the Senate, NORAD issued this press release on NORAD'S Response Times on Sept. 11, 2001:
Note in that version of events, the FAA notified NORAD about Flight 11 at 8:40
a.m. NORAD ordered jets to scramble at 8:46 a.m. Jets were in the air at
8:52. We now have two stories:
Story Number One: NORAD decided to scramble after 9:03 a.m. NORAD jets were scrambled after 9:40 a.m. (See Gen. Myers' testimony above.)
Story Number Two: NORAD was notified at 8:40 a.m. NORAD ordered scramble at 8:46 a.m. NORAD jets were scrambled at 8:52 a.m.
Story Number Two (as contained in the NORAD press release) radically contradicts Gen. Myers' story. Gen. Myers said that a jet was sent to Pennsylvania and reached Flight 93, but no jets were launched until after Flights 11, 175, and 77 had crashed (New York and Pentagon crashes).
Look at the statements contained in the NORAD press release. Very few, very simple. NORAD got the jets up in about six minutes. Yet it took NORAD a week (September 18) to get the press release out. Wonder why it took so long to be issued? Was the press release sent out by NORAD jets? ;-)
Now let's turn our attention to the testimony of General Ralph E. Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11. Gen. Eberhart testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 25, 2001, six weeks after Gen. Myers appeared. You can find background on Gen. Eberhart at:
Here is a complete transcript of the October 25 question and answer session at:
Now let's see what Gen. Eberhart said about the NORAD scramble.
Gen. Eberhart did not hand out the NORAD September 18 press release to the gathered senators. Perhaps he did not have it on him, but why not? He should have anticipated he'd be asked about details.
Sen. Allard asked Gen. Eberhart:
And how was the FAA interacting with NORAD in that whole situation, starting with that first plane that you deployed heading toward New York City?
Yes, sir, the first flight I think was American Flight 11. The FAA, once they notified us and we issued a scramble order almost simultaneously to the first crash, tragically. That flight of two [sic] out of Otis Air Force base, out of Cape Cod …
Gen. Eberhart's account agrees with the NORAD release, which we are
calling Story Number Two.
The Command, Control, and Communication center of the US is the Washington, D.C., area (White House, Congress, and the Pentagon). The Washington D.C. area is the most obvious military target in the US. Its importance is so obvious that In 1994 and 1996 novelist Tom Clancy published two bestsellers in which malcontents purposely crashed jets into the Capitol building, killing members of Congress and the President.
Once NORAD knew the WTC towers had been attacked, simple prudence demanded the immediate dispatch of protective air cover over the Washington D.C. area. The skies should have been filled with fighter jets from nearby Air Force bases, including Andrews Air Force base, just 10 miles away.
But NORAD did not send protective cover; it left the Washington D.C. area wide open. Thus Flight 77 had a clear shot at the Pentagon.
How often have you known congress critters to be unconcerned with their own skin? Not often. Yet none of the senators questioning Gen. Myers or Gen. Eberhart uttered a peep about NORAD treating them like sitting ducks. No senator asked Gen. Myers or Gen. Eberhart this obvious question:
"General, why didn't you people immediately send jets from Andrews to protect Washington D.C. skies as soon as you knew we were under attack? Don't you care about the safety of your government officials? Don't you people in the military read Tom Clancy?"
These should have been among the first questions asked — had the Senate
hearings been anything more than a charade.
More on Gen. Eberhart's casual approach to 9/11. We've already heard him saying:
The first flight I think was American flight 11.
Here are his words about the Pentagon crash:
I think it's 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.
Or how about Gen. Eberhart's reference to Flight 93:
Now the last flight was a little bit different. I think it's flight 93 — United Airlines flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
Gen. Eberhart continued:
At that time we were trying to decide, initially, if that flight was going to continue west and if there was some other target for that flight. Was it Chicago? Was it St. Louis? And what might we do to launch an aircraft to intercept it?
Launching interceptor aircraft is NORAD's job, of course — according to the NORAD operations manual, Chapter 7.
Sen. Allard asked:
So FAA knew before it deviated its flight pattern that it was hijacked.
Gen. Eberhart responded:
Yes. What we really knew is it was headed west, sir. It dropped off their radar scope. So it was headed west …
Flight 93 left Newark bound for San Francisco. It should have been headed west. So it dropped off the radar screens while it was still on course? Note that Gen. Eberhart did not say that the transponder was turned off, he says it dropped off the radar scope. What would cause Flight 93 to drop from the radar scope while it was still on course? None of the flight paths shown in USA Today, Time, or Newsweek depict Flight 93's drop from the radar screens. See:
And not one senator expressed any curiosity. It's hard to believe Gen. Eberhart was truly in charge of NORAD on September 11. It's also hard to believe the senators were sincere in their inquiries. If the truth came out, the pretext for the "War on Terror" would be undone.
Operation 9/11 was used to justify the "War on Terror." Operation 9/11 depended on NORAD leaving the skies wide open for attack. But NORAD's role had to be hidden. NORAD needed a plausible explanation for why it failed to defend the U.S. skies that day.
The solution? Blame the FAA. Claim the FAA did not notify NORAD of the hijackings in a timely manner and — pooof!
Therefore, it was important to establish that (1) NORAD was totally dependent on the FAA for information on air traffic within the US, and (2) the FAA failed to give NORAD timely notice.
Sen. Allard asked the question that set up the "NORAD can't see in" excuse:
My understanding now that NORAD has made some effort to get direct access to FAA radar data. In the past, you've not had access to that? What's the status of that?
Sen. Allard thus implied that NORAD did not have radar access of its own and depended on the FAA. Gen. Eberhart followed this lead and responded with obfuscation and a tap dance. He said, in part:
Yes, sir. Again, in the past, we've had access to what we call the Joint Surveillance System, which is that system that rings the United States and looks out. It looks for that foreign threat. It looks for someone coming into our airspace that's not authorized.
Let's stop right there. Gen. Eberhart is implying NORAD can't see within US airspace, that NORAD "looks out" only. Lets turn to Chapter 7 of FAA Order 7610.4: Special Military Operations, Effective Date November 3, 1998).
Chapter 7 deals exclusively with hijacking procedures. Section 7-4-2 s says in part:
When the hijacking activity is within coverage of the NORAD surveillance system …
Obviously, the FAA and NORAD areas of +++surveillance overlap. Section 7-4-3 says in part:
When the hijacking activity takes place outside NORAD radar coverage within the continental United States …
Obviously NORAD does have radar coverage of at least some part of the continental
US. Both sections indicate that NORAD conducts airspace surveillance within the
United States. Yet Gen. Eberhart said NORAD just "looks out." So we know
Gen. Eberhart is not telling the truth. Consider the following:
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent.
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent.No, NORAD must have been able to continuously track the bomber to direct fighter jets or missiles to intercept it or shoot it down. NORAD must have been able to see internal US airspace.
NORAD uses a network of ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any threats to the continent.
Original link:Gen. Eberhart's sworn testimony to the U.S. Senate hearing that NORAD did not and could not track the 9/11 jets was a whopper of a lie. Of Eberhart's Space Command, we are told:
It's various missions include controlling a fleet of satellites that provide ballistic missile warning, communications, weather and navigation, and positioning support for America's armed forces.And the Senators had to know it, which would explain why they trod so lightly with their questions — and permitted the generals to slide by on flimsy answers, with "I think" and "I don't have that information."
With advanced technology and sensors, NORAD 'weighed-in' on the war on drugs in 1989 and now works hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies detecting and tracking airborne drug smugglers.
Obviously NORAD watched suspicious aircraft flying into US airspace from Mexico and points south. Or are we to believe NORAD programmed its surveillance apparatus to black out signals once the craft entered US airspace and then called upon the FAA for help?
Look at the specifics listed above. From these, a conclusion: Of course NORAD watched US airspace. Of course NORAD looked "inward" over the United States.
Remember, Gen. Eberhart is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Members of that committee should have a vague idea of NORAD's capabilities. Yet none spoke up to ask Gen. Eberhart any questions. What NORAD could see on September 11 was glossed over.
It had to be. For if anyone questioned Gen. Eberhart's statements about
NORAD's vision, the cover story justifying the "War on Terror" would begin to
OK. So now we know NORAD is blind as a bat. Can't see nuttin.' Here is the next element needed in the NORAD plausible denial story: The bungling FAA.
General Eberhart, there's been some confusion about the sequence of events on September 11 that maybe you can clear up for us. The time line that we've been given is that at 8:55 on September 11, American Airlines Flight 77 began turning east, away from its intended course. And at 9:10, Flight 77 was detected by the FAA radar over West Virginia heading east. That was after the two planes had struck the World Trade Center towers.
Sen. Levin continued:
Then 15 minutes later, at 9:25, the FAA notified NORAD that flight 77 was headed toward Washington. Was that the first notification — the 9:25 notification — that NORAD or the DOD had that flight 77 was probably being hijacked? And if it was, do you know why it took 15 minutes for the FAA to notify NORAD?
Look at Sen. Levin's last question: "… do you know why it took 15 minutes for the FAA to notify NORAD?" If Gen. Eberhart has only a sketchy memory of NORAD's business, what good will it do to ask him about FAA business? Sen. Levin is just doing his part in the cover-up by changing the subject from NORAD to the FAA.
Gen. Eberhart replies:
Sir, there is one minor difference. I show it was 9:24 that we were notified, and that's the first notification that we received. I do not know, sir, why it took that amount of time for FAA. I hate to say it, but you'll have to ask FAA.
How interesting. Gen. Eberhart cites a specific time — "9:24" for NORAD's notification. Notice that "9:25" — the time cited by Sen. Levin — is not quite precise enough for Gen. Eberhart. Compare this precision with Gen. Eberhart's trouble in remembering which plane crashed into which target.
Let's say it again. While our attention is focused on the FAA's dereliction of duty, we fail to think about the obvious: Washington D.C. is the hub in the wheel. You don't have to be Tom Clancy to know that. NORAD should have had complete sky coverage of the Washington D.C. area from the first moments we realized we were under attack. NORAD left the skies open for Flight 77. Had NORAD been doing its job, Flight 77 would never get near the Pentagon.
We just saw that Gen. Eberhart recommended Sen. Levin ask the FAA questions about its (alleged) slow response to the 9/11 emergency. On February 13, this writer called Sen. Levin's office to see if Sen. Levin followed through. I spoke to Sen. Levin's aide, Jeb Stoffel.
Mr. Stoffel told me Sen. Levin had not contacted the FAA director Jane Garvey,
but said he wanted to consult his notes to make sure. Mr. Stoffel was off the line
for a minute or so to come back to confirm what he had already said: Sen. Levin had not
contacted FAA Administrator Jane Garvey concerning events of September 11.
Jane Garvey was appointed administrator of the FAA in 1997. Coincidentally, she served a stint as director of Boston's Logan Airport, the origination point of Flights 11 and 175 that ran into the WTC towers. What a coincidence. See:
The press, like Sen. Levin, has apparently not asked Ms. Garvey to answer any potentially
embarrassing questions either. On September 24 Jane Garvey flew from Dulles Airport to
Kennedy in New York. Her trip was the subject of a puff piece published by Time on
September 27 which you can read at:
Garvey, like every other passenger, stood in longer lines, got grilled by newly assertive security guards, and had to show photo identification repeatedly, and was twice 'swept' by a guard with a sensitive metal detector …
And then, that afternoon, as Garvey stood in front of a small group of FAA staff in the New York field office, near walls peppered with the tragic images of the burning World Trade Center Towers and dozens of American flags, she began to explain how grateful she was for the professionalism of the employees …
"I just came to thank you," said Garvey, who is known for being meticulously prepared for official appearances. She is the pubic face of the FAA. Today was no different — despite 20 hour days, Garvey was sharply dressed in a pinstripe suit and her makeup was in order …
… Her voice caught. Tears came to her eyes, "I know those of you have lost friends and family …" Finally, help came from just those Garvey was trying to comfort. "That's okay, it makes us cry too," someone said. A few minutes later, Garvey said simply, "We're all still recovering."
When the going gets rough, those in charge make sure their make-up is perfect. And then they utter platitudes. If 9/11 moves Ms. Jane to tears, why doesn't she open up and tell America what she knows? But no, Ms. Jane keeps her silence, allowing her agency to take the blame for a catastrophe without uttering a peep in its defense.
Recall that in his October 25 testimony, Gen. Eberhart mentioned that NORAD "moved" 200 personnel to the FAA to operate FAA radars over the years. It is unlikely Garvey knows where any of those NORAD radar people were working on September 11, and whether they played a role in the 9/11 events. It is unlikely Garvey knows the names of the air traffic controllers who directed the jets that day and unlikely she has asked them any questions.
Let's go back to Gen. Eberhart's Senate testimony again: After a display
like that, most of us would want to have Gen. Eberhart tried for treason or dereliction of
duty. Instead, Sen. Allard thanks Gen. Eberhart in this fashion:
OK. Well, I just want to thank you and your people for, I know, I think a tremendous effort in light of some totally unexpected circumstances. And at least, I, for one, appreciate, you know, the readiness that was displayed.
The irony is thick. In truth, NORAD put forth little effort, and the circumstances were totally expected, as documented in the NORAD operations manual.
There are no media reports that any of the jets NORAD allegedly sent to New York and the Pentagon were ever sighted. On the other hand, NORAD's press release shows it did not send a jet to respond to Flight 93 (Pennsylvania crash):
A military jet was sighted in that area, though not where NORAD says it was.
The mystery of Flight 93 took a startling twist early Thursday when the FBI refused to rule out the possibility that the jet had been shot down. But later, special agent Bill Crowley said unequivocally, "There was no military involvement in the plane going down."
The Defense Department has vigorously denied suggestions that the military could have downed the jet to spare a target in the nation's capital.
Local residents said they had been a second plane in the area, possibly an F-16 fighter, and burning debris falling from the sky. Crowley said investigators had determined that two other planes were nearby but didn't know if either was military.
NORAD is hired to guard the American skies but doesn't watch them. The FAA has all the answers but no one asks them any questions. Congressional oversight senators tip-toe around the subject, praising what is at the very least criminal negligence. Two seventeen-star generals give different versions of world-shaking events in which they claim to have been decision-makers and on-the-spot witnesses.
But maybe Gen. Myers and Gen. Eberhart were not the decision-makers. Gen. Myers and Gen. Eberhart are the spokespersons, while the people who really run the show are concealed.
Gen. Myers and Gen. Eberhart are errand boys. Their bosses didn't even bother to write believable lies for them to tell when they testified.
Put that together with the following:
See No Suicide Pilots (http://www.holocausts.org/911/robotplane.html)
See No Suicide Pilots (http://www.holocausts.org/911/robotplane.html)
Sen. Levin and other powerful political forces didn't want a real investigation
of NORAD's role in 9/11. He was covering for those responsible.
Updated, corrected, and edited August, 2022