By Stephen C. Webster
Newly published audio this week reveals that Vice President Dick Cheney’s infamous Sept. 11, 2001 order to shoot down rogue civilian aircraft was ignored by military officials, who instead ordered pilots to only identify suspect aircraft.
That revelation is one of many in newly released audio recordings compiled by investigators for the 9/11 Commission, published this week by The Rutgers Law Review. Featuring voices from employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and American Airlines, the newly released multimedia provides a glimpse at the chaos that emerged as the attack progressed.
Most striking of all is the revelation that an order by Vice President Dick Cheney was ignored by the military, which saw his order to shoot down aircraft as outside the chain of command. Instead of acknowledging the order to shoot down civilian aircraft and carrying it out, NORAD ordered fighters to confirm aircraft tail numbers first and report back for further instructions.
Cheney’s order was given at “about 10:15″ a.m., according to the former VP’s memoirs, but the 9/11 Commission Report shows United flight 93 going down at 10:06 a.m. Had the military followed Cheney’s order, civilian aircraft scrambling to get out of the sky could have been shot down, exponentially amplifying the day’s tragedy.
Far from sending fighters to chase after the hijacked aircraft, as Bush administration officials have repeatedly said they did, the new audio tapes paint a picture of bedlam and unpreparedness.
The… Continue reading
Reuters Exclusive: by Scot J. Paltrow
Reuters US Online Report Domestic News
Sep 08, 2011 08:14 EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ten years after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States,
the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed
at the National Archives in Washington, even though the commission had directed
the archives to make most of the material public in 2009, Reuters has learned.
The National Archives’ failure to release the material presents a hurdle for
historians and others seeking to plumb one of the most dramatic events in modern
The 575 cubic feet of records were in large part the basis for the commission’s
public report, issued July 22, 2004. The commission, formally known as the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established by Congress
in late 2002 to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the pre-attack
effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
and the government’s emergency response.
In a Reuters interview this week, Matt Fulgham, assistant director of the archives’
center for legislative affairs which has oversight of the commission documents,
said that more than a third of the material has been reviewed for possible release.
But many of those documents have been withheld or heavily redacted, and the
released material includes documents that already were in the public domain,
such as press articles.
Commission items still not public include a 30-page summary of an April 29,
2004 interview by all… Continue reading
FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley was interviewed by Scott Horton, professor at Columbia Law School and Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine.
Rowley said that in her testimony to the Joint Intelligence Committee regarding 9/11, she was “minded”. Specifically, she said that “FBI minders” listened to her every word, to trail her and make sure that she didn’t tell government personnel with top secret clearance even higher than her own anything which the FBI did not want to be told.
While this might sound fantastic, it is nothing new.
As I wrote a year ago:
9/11 Commission chair Thomas Kean points out that if “minders” had been present during the Commission’s investigation, that would have been intimidation, which would have stemmed the flow of testimony from the witnesses:
I think the commission feels unanimously that it’s some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency. You might get less testimony than you would.
However, that’s exactly what happened to Kean’s own 9/11 Commission.
Posted at the History Commons Groups
by Kevin Fenton
We have found the famous “What Do I Do Now?” memo drafted by 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow on March 2, 2003. The memo advised staffers newly hired by the commission what they should do after starting work.
The memo was found by Erik at the National Archives and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd.
Philip Shenon’s The Commission highlighted the memo and one controversial section in particular. The section says:
Interactions with commissioners can be helpful to you and them. If you are contacted by a commissioner with questions, please contact Chris [Kojm, Zelikow’s deputy] or me. Consulting with the Chair and Vice-Chair, we will be sure that the appropriate members of the Commission staff are responsive.
Shenon called this provision, channelling contacts between the staff and the commissioners through Zelikow and his deputy, “unusual” and “worrying to the staff.” He added:
It occurred to several of the staff members, especially those with experience on other federal commissions, that Zelikow was trying to cut off their contact with the people they really worked for–the commissioners. Democratic commissioner Jamie Gorelick saw a copy of Zelikow’s memo and was furious. Through an arrangement with her law firm, she intended to spend nearly half of her work week on commission business, and she was not going to have Zelikow telling the staff that they could not speak freely with her–that they had to wait to get his… Continue reading
November 4, 2009
History Commons Groups
New details of a NORAD exercise called Amalgam Virgo 01-02 have been found in a document at the National Archives. The exercise involved a suicide pilot attacking a military installation in the US. It was run in early June 2001, just three months before 9/11.
The document was found in the 9/11 Commission’s files at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson (a.k.a. Paxvector) and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. Some information about the exercise was revealed at the History Commons Groups blog in June, when we publicised a commission document summarising a group of military exercises designed to help the military deal with suicide hijackings. However, the newly-found three-page scenario provides more detail.
In the scenario, a Haitian AIDS sufferer named Reginald Montrose forms an alliance with Columbian drug lords. This link-up is inspired by funding the Columbians have provided to treat AIDS patients in Haiti. Montrose plans to crash a Cessna into the headquarters of the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) in Florida. Its destruction will draw attention to the Haitians’ plight and “allow the drug cartel to flood the US with flights of aircraft and to increase their market share in the US drug market.”
The exercise starts with a call from a local airport manager to SEADS saying that they have found a suicide note in a suspicious car, and one of their small aircraft is missing. Another call then… Continue reading
June 28, 2009 (updated July 7, 2009)
by Mark H. Gaffney, Author of The 9/11 Mystery Plane and the Vanishing of America
The evidence was crucial because it undermined the official explanation that Hani Hanjour crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at high speed after executing an extremely difficult top gun maneuver. But to understand how all of this played out, let us review the case in bite-size pieces…
In August 2004 when the 9/11 Commission completed its official investigation of the September 11, 2001 attack, the commission transfered custody of its voluminous records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). There, the records remained under lock and key for four and a half years, until last January when NARA released a fraction of the total for public viewing. Each day, more of the released files are scanned and posted on the Internet, making them readily accessible. Although most of the newly-released documents are of little interest, the files I will discuss in this article contain important new information.
As we know, the 9/11 Commission did not begin its work until 2003——more than a year after the fact. By this time a number of journalists had already done independent research and published articles about various facets of 9/11. Some of this work was of excellent quality. T he Washington Post, for example, interviewed aviation experts who stated that the plane allegedly piloted by Hani Hanjour [AA Flight 77] had been flown “with extraordinary skill, making it highly… Continue reading
by History Commons Groups
June 16, 2009
The US military conducted a training exercise in the five days before the September 11 attacks that included simulated aircraft hijackings by terrorists, according to a 9/11 Commission document recently found in the US National Archives. In one of the scenarios, implemented on September 9, terrorists hijacked a London to New York flight, planning to blow it up with explosives over New York.
The undated document, entitled “NORAD EXERCISES Hijack Summary,” was part of a series of 9/11 Commission records moved to the National Archives at the start of the year. It was found there, and posted to the History Commons site at Scribd, by History Commons contributor paxvector, in the files of the commission’s Team 8, which focused on the failed emergency response on the day of the attacks. The summary appears to have been drafted by one of the commission’s staffers, possibly Miles Kara, based on documents submitted by NORAD.
An excerpt from page 4 of the NORAD EXERCISES document.
In the September 9 scenario, the fictitious terrorists’ goal seems to have been to kill New Yorkers with the rain of debris following the plane’s explosion. However, in the exercise, the military intercepted the plane and forced it away from the city. When the terrorists realized they were not near New York, they blew the plane up “over land near the divert location,” leaving no survivors. The military unit most involved in this scenario was NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense… Continue reading
Perhaps the most interesting thing this week is that an HC contributor found a document in the National Archives showing that, two days before 9/11, the military practiced responding to a simulated hijacking by suicide terrorists targeting New York. The document also mentioned a number of other previously-unknown hijacking-response exercises, and has been written up at the contributors’ blog.
There are also several additional entries in the 9/11 Timeline, about the 9/11 Commission and the day of the attacks.
The Domestic Propaganda Timeline focuses on the back-and-forth of Sonia Sotomayer’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, and Karl Rove instructs readers that the word “empathy” is actually code for “liberal activism.”
The Economic Crisis Timeline marks the 30th bank failure in the US this year, which was Silverton Bank in Atlanta.
Lastly, a contributor to the A. Q. Khan Timeline highlights possible Saudi funding for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.
The History Commons needs funding to continue its operations, including maintaining and updating the site, and undertaking new projects. Everything we do depends on our generous readers. You can donate by credit card, PayPal, or check. Please donate today. Thank you.
by Kevin Fenton
May 27, 2009
History Commons Groups
New details have emerged about minders who sat in on 9/11 Commission interviews during a fact-finding trip to Canada. Commission heads Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton mentioned the minders generally in interviews during the panel’s lifetime, but a memo recently found in the National Archives and blogged here a couple of weeks ago showed how prevalent they were.
Another document, again found by History Commons contributor paxvector, provides more details of how the minders worked during a trip to Canada. The commission, which eventually recommended taking part of the CIA director’s responsibilities away and giving them to a Director of National Intelligence, was considering changes to the intelligence community and sent a team to Canada to examine how its intelligence services were organised and report back.
The three-page memo, entitled “Canada Trip Lessons Learned” and apparently drafted by staffer Gordon Lederman in the autumn of 2003, highlights how the minders behaved.
One minder “acted as a participant,” “responded to inquiries” and “consulted with” the interviewee. She took verbatim notes in all three interviews she attended, doing so while sitting next to the interviewees in two of them. In addition, in one interview she “sighed heavily repeatedly.” The memo-writer also points out, “She had an opportunity to coach/poison the well with [Redacted] at dinner the night before and with others before they arrived including with FBI attorney and Legat [legal attaché].” It’s not clear which agency this minder was from, although… Continue reading
April 27, 2009
History Commons Groups
A recently released 9/11 Commission memo highlights the role of government
“minders” who accompanied witnesses interviewed by the commission.
It was added to the National Archives’ files at the start of the year
and discovered there by History Commons contributor paxvector.
The memo, entitled “Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses,”
The memo was drafted by three staffers on the commission’s Team 2, which
reviewed the overall structure of the US intelligence community. One of the
drafters was Kevin Scheid, a senior staffer who led the team. His co-writers
were Lorry Fenner, an air force intelligence officer, and lawyer Gordon Lederman.
The complaint was sent to the commission’s counsels, Daniel Marcus and
Steve Dunne, in October 2003, about halfway through the commission’s 19-month
The memo makes clear that the problems were not occurring only with witnesses
talking to Team 2, but also in “other teams’ interviews.”
A hand-written note on a draft of the memo says, “not one agency or minder
— also where we’ve sat in on other Teams’ interviews.”
According… Continue reading
January 27, 2009
A little-noticed twist in an order issued by President Barack Obama the day
after his inauguration may present problems for former White House Deputy Chief
of Staff Karl Rove and other Bush Administration officials that have been targeted
for their alleged role in various scandals.
Rove was subpoenaed Monday afternoon by House Judiciary Committee Chairman
John Conyers (D-MI). When the dogged Democrat subpoenaed him last year, Bush
Administration lawyers invoked “executive immunity” to prevent Rove
This year, however, George W. Bush is no longer in the president’s chair. Determination
of executive privilege must now also be examined by President Obama’s lawyers.
In fact, Rove’s lawyer made direct reference to Obama’s role in any future decision
to enjoin Rove’s appearance on the congressional witness stand Monday night.
“It’s generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege
as to matters occurring during their term,” Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin,
told The Washington Post. “We’ll solicit the views of the new White House
counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved
among the courts, the president and the former president.”
Luskin doesn’t concede that Rove isn’t covered by Bush’s blanket immunity,
but appears to acknowledge that the question of keeping Rove off the witness
stand has become more complex.
“The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise
of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection
(a) of this section, may jointly determine that… Continue reading
Obama limits ex-presidents’ discretion on records
By MARK SHERMAN
January 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that limits the ability of former presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House.
Obama’s action Wednesday in his first full day in office overturns an earlier order issued by George W. Bush.
Obama said former presidents may ask to have certain documents kept private, but they no longer may compel the National Archives to do so.
Obama’s executive order also makes clear that neither former vice presidents nor relatives of former presidents who have died have authority to keep records private.
Bush’s executive order, issued in November 2001, prompted a federal lawsuit and the partial invalidation of the order.
Obama Promises New Era of Openness
By Kim Zetter
January 21, 2009
Wired Blog Network Sunshine and Secrecy Category
United States President Barack Obama announced today that his administration will roll back the secrecy that has ruled during the Bush Administration and implement a new era of government openness and transparency.
Referring to the Freedom of Information Act as one of the most important tools of oversight the nation possesses, Obama called on all government agencies to err on the side of openness and release information whenever possible, which directly contradicts orders by the previous administration to look for reasons to withhold information whenever possible. Just because you have the legal right to withhold information, doesn’t mean you should, Obama said at a White House press conference and staff swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.…Continue reading
January 14, 2009
Posted at History Commons Groups
The National Archives today released a set of records the 9/11 Commission gave it. It did so today because the commission told it it had to wait until 2009 to do so, presumably on the off chance that people would have forgotten about it all by then. The records are in two groups, Memorandums for the Record (MFR), which are available online, and other records, which are not available online.
Editor’s Note: The National Archives 9/11 Commission Records URL’s have been updated.
Kevin Fenton, who wrote this blog entry today, is one of the great researchers working with Paul Thompson and so many other fine people at HistoryCommons.org (formerly known to most of us as CooperativeResearch.org) to document our history. Not just about 9/11, but about aspects of our lives so appallingly rewritten by media and textbooks. The work underway at HistoryCommons is absolutely invaluable, and we encourage readers to get involved and otherwise support that work.
I have been trawling through the ones that are available online and I have learned a few things of interest.
(1) Stacks of the MFR are not actually available. Either they have not been reviewed yet (pending), or have been withdrawn because they are very classified, or they have been made available, but have had the bejesus redacted out of them.
From The National Archives Legislative Branch – The Center for Legislative Archives
January 14, 2009
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to provide recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future. The Commission, extant from 2003 – 2004, held hearings, conducted interviews, and produced a report.
When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Commission encouraged the release of its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. Because the Commission was part of the legislative branch its records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Approximately 35% of the Commission’s archived textual records are now publicly available. Due to the collection’s volume and the large percentage of national security classified files, NARA staff was unable to process the entire collection by January 2009. Review and processing focused on the portion of the collection that contains unique documents created by the Commission and those that reveal the most about the scope of the investigation and the internal workings of the Commission and its staff.Continue reading
January 8, 2009
WHAT: The National Archives will open more than 150 cubic feet of records of
the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as
the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress.
The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting”
of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and recommend how to prevent such attacks
in the future.
On January 14th at 9 AM EST, Memoranda for the Record (summaries of 709 interviews
conducted by the Commission), series descriptions, and folder title lists will
be available online (www.archives.gov). These records include information on
the terrorists, past terrorist events, al Qaeda in general, and related subjects.
The records also include information concerning the emergency responses to the
attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.
WHO: Steven Tilley, Director of the National Archives Textual Archives Services
Division, will brief the media about the review process and content of the records.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
9 AM (EST) on the web at www.archives.gov
9 AM (EST) – Briefing
9:15 AM (EST) – Records opening
** Members of the press who need to obtain researcher cards should arrive at
8:30 am, or obtain their cards in advance of the opening. ***
WHERE: West Research Room, National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408
Please use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.
Please Note: No artificial light may be used in the Research Room.
When the 9/11 Commission closed on… Continue reading
Dear 9/11 Truth Advocates,
As 2009 arrives, 911Truth.org wishes you all the best, and extends our gratitude to each of you for your persistent courage and dedication to hard truths!
For nearly five years, 911Truth.org has served as your portal to reliable information about 9/11, its precedents and consequences, as an umbrella for hundreds of local truth activism groups, as a catalyst for national campaigns and new 9/11 truth special interest groups, and so much more. We are at a very critical juncture right now, as monthly donation pledges total about $500. We need to raise $15,000 for this first quarter of 2009 if we are to continue to provide these valuable services.
As we enter a new year, with a new administration coming into office, we are excited to continue this important work with some new opportunities–though admittedly, significant challenges remaining–in front of us!
Having witnessed the international reaction to the election of Barack Obama, we believe that a new dawn in political responsibility may be approaching. We therefore encourage the 9/11 community to take an optimistic, and persistent, educational approach to the new administration, one which will speak truth to power in a new relationship based on positive expectations of honesty and good faith. The approach we envisage continues to be based on the expectation that individuals within the United States Government and its citizens, once educated about 9/11, will recognize that only strength and respect would flow from… Continue reading
November 15, 2008
Veterans For Peace
On Saturday, November 15, at 8:00 am, at the National Archives Building on
Connecticut Ave., eight military veterans and a military mother climbed a 9-foot
retaining fence and occupied a ninety-foot high scaffolding to raise two 450
square foot banners stating, “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND
CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” and “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.” The same
message will also be displayed at demonstrations in the Los Angeles area on
Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) chose the Archives for their nonviolent
protest because it is symbolic of their military oath to “defend the Constitution
of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” In September
they occupied the Archives for 24 hours, and plan to stay longer this time.
“The offenses of Bush, Cheney, and their accomplices are appalling,”
said Kim Carlyle, a VFP member and Army veteran. “Their misdeeds have killed
or maimed more than a million people – American soldiers, innocent civilian
children, women, and men. They have displaced almost five million people, with
millions seeking refuge in other countries. Their total disregard for international
agreements has severely tarnished the reputation of America in the world. Their
unlawful wars have squandered billions of dollars that could have bolstered
a troubled economy.”
The veterans are demanding Bush administration be tried for war crimes, crimes
against humanity, and crimes against peace; asking the media to clearly inform
the public of the administration’s crimes; and encouraging citizens to take
similar nonviolent actions.…
by Jon Gold
Latest Update 11/08/08
Thanks to www.historycommons.org, DHS, and simuvac. This is dedicated to the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Before I begin, I would like to say that theorizing about what happened on 9/11, when you’re not being given answers to your questions about that day by the people who SHOULD be able to do so, is PERFECTLY normal. As is suspecting that the reason these answers aren’t being given is “sinister” in nature. As Ray McGovern said, “for people to dismiss these questioners as “conspiratorial advocates”, or “conspiratorial theorists”… that’s completely out of line because the… The questions remain because the President who should be able to answer them, WILL NOT.” When you think about everything this Administration has done in almost 8 years, the idea that they might not be giving us the answers we seek because of something “sinister” is not crazy. In fact, it’s the most logical conclusion one can come to at this point. After seven plus years of obfuscation, spin, lies, and cover-ups regarding the 9/11 attacks, it is unavoidable to think that criminal complicity is the reason why.
That being said, we have not proven it beyond the shadow of doubt. We do not have documentation that shows they planned it. We do not have a signed confession from someone. We have pieces of the puzzle, and to most of us that have been doing this a long time, those pieces point to more than just Osama Bin Laden,… Continue reading