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
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
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
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
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.
A recently released 9/11 Commission memo [released in January 2009 from the Commission to the National Archives; referenced in the The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Finding Aid: Series Descriptions and Folder Title Lists, page 52, "Memo Concerning Minders Conduct" *] highlights the role of government “minders” who accompanied witnesses interviewed… 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
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