Why Did NORAD Have Problems Launching Interceptor Jets On 9/11
When They Were Launching Twice A Week Before 9/11?

"The defense of U.S. airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with preexisting training and protocols....."

Intercepts Of Off Course Aircraft Were Conducted By NORAD Twice A Week Before 9/11

"Seventeen days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Herald reporter Linda Slobodian was offered a rare glimpse of Cheyenne Mountain, Colo. -- the headquarters for Norad, the high-tech military operations centre where thousands of aircraft flying through North American skies are monitored. In the Herald today and Sunday, Slobodian examines how military forces are responding to the increased security threat against Canada and the U.S..... It is rare that a visitor, only the second since Sept. 11, is allowed past the secured door leading into section 2212 of Norad headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain. To get to this point, one must go through several checkpoints manned by U.S. soldiers armed with M-16 rifles, two 25-ton steel blast doors, and a maze of eerie corridors with granite walls in the subterranean complex. Beyond 2212 is the Command Centre, the heartbeat of Norad -- a room jammed with computers, phones and huge multihued screens on the walls. Canadian and American military experts, dressed in crisp uniforms, are glued to phones and screens. Data streams into the Command Centre from the Air Warning Centre, which detects invading aircraft; the Missile Warning Centre, which provides warning of missiles attacks; the combined Intelligence Watch which monitors world events and evaluates the potential of attacks with biological or chemical weapons, and finally the Space Control Centre, which tracks manmade objects orbiting earth. North America is divided into three Norad regions -- Alaska, Canada and continental U.S., with posts from each feeding data into headquarters. The Command Centre sits 426 metres below the apex of Cheyenne Mountain, carved out in 1961 to house this granite bunker, a product of the Cold War when the U.S. and Russia were bitter foes. Designed to withstand a 31-megaton Soviet nuclear strike, this 4.5-acre complex of chambers and tunnels surrounded by 600 metres of granite has 15 buildings, 12 of them three storeys high. Norad -- on which Canada spends about $300 million a year -- is best known for its space control role..... Fighter jets are scrambled to babysit suspect aircraft or 'unknowns' three or four times a day. Before Sept. 11, that happened twice a week. Last year, there were 425 unknowns -- pilots who didn't file or diverted from flight plans or used the wrong frequency. Jets were scrambled 129 times."
Norad on Heightened Alert: Role of air defence agency rapidly transformed in wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
Calgary Herald (Canada), 13 October 2012

And Drills For Hijacking Intercepts Were Specifically Practiced

"According to a statement from NORAD, 'Before September 11th, 01, NORAD regularly conducted a variety of exercises that included hijack scenarios. These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and interception; hijack procedures; internal and external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures..... At the NORAD headquarters' level we normally conducted four major exercises a year, most of which included a hijack scenario.'"
NORAD exercise had jet crashing into building
CNN, 19 April 2004

"In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties. One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center.... [there were] early drills, including one operation, planned in July 2001 and conducted later, that involved planes from airports in Utah and Washington state that were 'hijacked.' Those planes were escorted by U.S. and Canadian aircraft to airfields in British Columbia and Alaska. NORAD officials have acknowledged that 'scriptwriters' for the drills included the idea of hijacked aircraft being used as weapons.... Until Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD conducted four major exercises a year. Most included a hijack scenario.'"
NORAD had drills of jets as weapons
USA Today, 18 April 2004

History Commons

1990-2001: NORAD Regularly Launches Fighters to Intercept Suspicious Aircraft before 9/11

Fighter jets are regularly scrambled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in response to suspicious or unidentified aircraft flying in US airspace in the years preceding 9/11. [General Accounting Office, 5/3/1994, pp. 4; Associated Press, 8/14/2002] For this task, NORAD keeps a pair of fighters on “alert” at a number of sites around the US. These fighters are armed, fueled, and ready to take off within minutes of receiving a scramble order (see Before September 11, 2001). [American Defender, 4/1998; Air Force Magazine, 2/2002; Bergen Record, 12/5/2003; Grant, 2004, pp. 14] Various accounts offer statistics about the number of times fighters are scrambled:

bullet A General Accounting Office report published in May 1994 states that “during the past four years, NORAD’s alert fighters took off to intercept aircraft (referred to as scrambled) 1,518 times, or an average of 15 times per site per year.” Of these incidents, the number of scrambles that are in response to suspected drug smuggling aircraft averages “one per site, or less than 7 percent of all of the alert sites’ total activity.” The remaining activity, about 93 percent of the total scrambles, “generally involved visually inspecting unidentified aircraft and assisting aircraft in distress.” [General Accounting Office, 5/3/1994, pp. 4]
bullet In the two years from May 15, 1996 to May 14, 1998, NORAD’s Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), which is responsible for the “air sovereignty” of the western 63 percent of the continental US, scrambles fighters 129 times to identify unknown aircraft that might be a threat. Over the same period, WADS scrambles fighters an additional 42 times against potential and actual drug smugglers. [Washington National Guard, 1998]
bullet In 1997, the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS)—another of NORAD’s three air defense sectors in the continental US—tracks 427 unidentified aircraft, and fighters intercept these “unknowns” 36 times. The same year, NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) handles 65 unidentified tracks and WADS handles 104 unidentified tracks, according to Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region on 9/11. [American Defender, 4/1998]
bullet In 1998, SEADS logs more than 400 fighter scrambles. [Grant, 2004, pp. 14]
bullet In 1999, Airman magazine reports that NORAD’s fighters on alert at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida are scrambled 75 times per year, on average. According to Captain Tom Herring, a full-time alert pilot at the base, this is more scrambles than any other unit in the Air National Guard. [Airman, 12/1999]
bullet General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on 9/11, will later state that in the year 2000, NORAD’s fighters fly 147 sorties. [9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004 ]
bullet According to the Calgary Herald, in 2000 there are 425 “unknowns,” where an aircraft’s pilot has not filed or has deviated from a flight plan, or has used the wrong radio frequency, and fighters are scrambled 129 times in response. [Calgary Herald, 10/13/2001]
bullet Between September 2000 and June 2001, fighters are scrambled 67 times to intercept suspicious aircraft, according to the Associated Press. [Associated Press, 8/14/2002]
Lieutenant General Norton Schwartz, the commander of the Alaskan NORAD Region at the time of the 9/11 attacks, will say that before 9/11, it is “not unusual, and certainly was a well-refined procedure” for NORAD fighters to intercept an aircraft. He will add, though, that intercepting a commercial airliner is “not normal.” [Air Force Magazine, 9/2011 ] On September 11, 2001, NEADS scrambles fighters that are kept on alert in response to the hijackings (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001 and 9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001). [New York Times, 10/16/2001; 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 20, 26-27]

Why Weren't The Approved Intercept Procedures Followed On 9/11?

"The defense of U.S. airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with preexisting training and protocols....."


Who Hijacked The  Intercept Protocols On 911?

"Air Force jet fighters could have intercepted hijacked airliners roaring toward the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11.... The never-heard-before declaration by Gen. Ralph Eberhart [Commander of NORAD on 911] stunned the hearings on the terror attacks..... 'If the FAA told us as soon as they knew, then, yes, we could have shot down the planes,' said Eberhart......'We would have been able to shoot down all three . . . all four of them,' said Eberhart, who was named commander of NORAD after Sept. 11..... During the hearing, a furious commissioner Bob Kerrey raised his voice and asked the FAA what the 'hell' had been going on."
13 Minutes: Fed's Stunning Hijack Blunder
New York Post, 18 June 2004

"Prior to 9/11, FAA's traditional communication channel with the military during a crisis had been through the National Military Command Center (NMCC). They were always included in the communication net that was used to manage a hijack incident. When a hijacking was reported, FAA security personnel activated a command center in the Washington Operation Center and a senior executive from the FAA's security organization was responsible for managing the situation and the communication network with other government and industry agencies. FAA would frequently ask the military, through the NMCC, for airborne surveillance of the hijacked aircraft to monitor its movements."
Monte Belger,
FAA Acting Deputy Administrator on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Written Statement

"FAA headquarters began to follow the hijack protocol [for the first hijacking on 911] but did not contact the NMCC [National Military Command Centre] to request a fighter escort....."

"The first indication that the NORAD air defenders had of the second hijacked aircraft, United 175, came in a phone call from [FAA] New York Center to NEADS at 9:03. [the very minute that it hit the WTC - FAA headquarters had not requested fighter aircraft support from the NMCC as required by protocol]"

"No one at FAA headquarters ever asked for military assistance with [the third hijacking] American 77."

"Despite the discussions about military assistance, no one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93 [the fourth hijacking]. Nor did any manager at FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military."

"In [FAA] Headquarters, Air Traffic Services set up an additional situation room in the front office that was occupied by DOD [Department of Defense] liaison officers who worked on the Air Traffic Services Headquarters staff.... At the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center, the military officers assigned to the Air Traffic Services Cell became immediately involved in coordinating FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center actions with military elements."
Jeff Griffith, FAA Deputy Director of Air Traffic on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Written Statement

"... at the Command Center of course is the military cell, which was our liaison with the military services. They were present at all of the events that occurred on 9/11....  They have their own communication web that I think defeated some of the notification processes, as I've been listening to today. But in my mind everyone who needed to be notified about the events transpiring was notified, including the military."
Ben Sliney, FAA Command Center’s National Operations Manager
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Oral Evidence

"Prior to 9/11, the procedures for managing a traditional hijacked aircraft, as I said, were in place and pretty well tested.... The most frustrating after-the-fact scenario for me to understand is to explain is the communication link on that morning between the FAA operations center and the NMCC....  The hijacking net is an open communication net run by the FAA hijack coordinator, who is a senior person from the FAA security organization, for the purpose of getting the affected federal agencies together to hear information at the same time.... It was my assumption that morning, as it had been for my 30 years of experience with the FAA, that the NMCC was on that net and hearing everything real-time..... I can tell you I've lived through dozens of hijackings in my 30-year FAA career, as a very low entry-level inspector up through to the headquarters, and they were always there. They were always on the net, and were always listening in with everybody else....from my perspective there is no doubt in my mind that the FAA security organization knew what to do. There is no doubt in my mind that the air traffic organization knew what to do. They are the two key players in that type of scenario.... this is very, very important, in response to your question.... the NMCC was called. They were added to this open communication net. In my 30 years of history, there was always somebody listening to that net..... I truly do not mean this to be defensive, but it is a fact -- there were military people on duty at the FAA Command Center, as Mr. Sliney said. They were participating in what was going on. There were military people in the FAA's Air Traffic Organization in a situation room. They were participating in what was going on."
Monte Belger, FAA Acting Deputy Administrator on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Oral Evidence

"....As Mr. Belger stated, from my point of view I'm absolutely sure that our field managers know -- knew on 9/11 what to do in the event of a hijacking. The procedures are very cleared. The procedures are trained as a matter of refresher training in our operational facilities every year..... There are protocols, there are check lists, there are folders that are kept in operational positions where people have responsibility for reporting. And through the years -- not only for hijackings, but aircraft accidents and other incidents -- reporting is a very high priority. So it surprises me that people would think our managers didn't know how to report."
Jeff Griffith, FAA Deputy Director of Air Traffic on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Oral Evidence

"Shortly after the second attack in New York, a senior Secret Service agent charged with coordinating the President’s movements established an open line with his counterpart at the FAA, who soon told him that there were more planes unaccounted for—possibly hijacked—in addition to the two that had already crashed. Though the senior agent told someone to convey this information to the Secret Service’s operations center, it either was not passed on or was passed on but not disseminated..."

What Was The Secretary Of State For Defense Doing On 9/11?

"In most cases, the chain of command authorizing the use of force runs from the president to the secretary of defense and from the secretary to the combatant commander. The President apparently spoke to Secretary Rumsfeld for the first time that morning [of 9/11] shortly after 10:00. No one can recall the content of this conversation, but it was a brief call in which the subject of shoot down authority was not discussed.... Secretary Rumsfeld told us he was just gaining situational awareness when he spoke with the Vice President at 10:39."
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT, JULY 2004 (p 43/44)

"Not only was Mr Rumsfeld bypassed in the normal chain of command for such a shoot-down order, but the command from Vice President Dick Cheney that the airliners be 'taken out' did not reach the fighter planes until after the last ill-fated airliner had crashed in Pennsylvania, the special commission said."
Rumsfeld 'bypassed', says probe body
Dawn (Pakistan), 18 June 2004

"The commission had to subpoena the F.A.A. for documents, had to subpoena NORAD for documents and they will never get the full story. That is one of the tragedies. One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up."
Former Senator Max Cleland who stepped down from the 9/11 Commission December 2003
Interview with 'Democracy Now', 23 March 2004

Who Diverted The US Air Force Fighter Jets On 9/11?
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Foreign Policy Journal - Click Here

9/11 Opens The Gates To War

"The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 were a call to arms."
General Ralph Eberhart, Commander of NORAD on 911
9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, Oral Evidence

"Both civilian and military officials of the Defense Department state flatly that neither Congress nor the American public would have supported large-scale military operations in Afghanistan before the shock of 9/11."
The Military
9/11 Commission Staff Statement No 6, 2004

"On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible..... He thought the U.S. response should consider a wide range of options and possibilities. The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time......"
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT, JULY 2004 (p 334/335)

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