NORAD-Protocols, Strategies and Assets

Many administration officials have suggested that a post cold war climate led to a reduction in National Air Defense preparedness. Acting Joint Chief’s Chairman General Richard Meyers claimed during the 9-11 Commission “Our military posture on 9/11, by law, by policy and in practice was focused on responding to external threats, threats originating outside our borders. We were clearly looking outward; we did not have the situational awareness inward because we did not have the radar coverage.” In a rare moment of confrontation, Commissioner Goerlick responds, ‘the foundational documents for NORAD, do not say defend U.S. only against a threat coming in from across the ocean, or across our borders. It has two missions, and one of them is control of the airspace above the domestic U.S.’ Meyers then responds ‘that the Posse Comitatus Law prevents the military from being involved in domestic law enforcement.’ Goerlick who had been general counsel for the DOD responds, ‘you can’t arrest people.’ ‘It doesn’t mean that the military has no authority to defend the U.S.’ The 9-11 Commission will simply accept General Meyers opinions as fact in terms of U.S. Air Defense Preparedness. (9/11 Commission)
Then we have the claim that the20administration and military were not prepared for attacks that used hijacked airplanes as weapons. Popular Mechanics magazine, often cited by 9/11 debunkers, claims that threat20of terrorists using hijacked airliners as weapons was not recognized by NORAD before 9/11. Here are a few examples cited by 9-11 Commission that contradict this assertion. In early 1995 Abdul Hakim Murad, Ramzi Yousef’s accomplice in the Manila airliner bombing plot tells Philippine authorities that he and Yousef had discussed flying a plane into CIA headquarters. August 1998, Intelligence community receives information that a group of Libyan’s hope to crash a plane into WTC. In 1998, Richard Clarke chairs an exercise that involves a group of terrorists commandeering a Learjet with explosives that targets Washington. A 1999 FAA’s Civil Aviation Security Intelligence office summarizes Bin Laden’s threat. The paper identifies a few principle scenarios, one of which is a suicide hijacking operation. Additionally, there are several items not included by the 9-11 Commission. < /SPAN>A 1993 panel of experts commissioned by the Pentagon suggests airplanes could be used as missiles to bomb national landmarks. One of these experts will write in Futur ist Magazine: ‘Targets such as the WTC not only provide the requisite casualties but, because of their symbolic nature, provide more bang for their buck.” The WTC would be a likely target, and a terrorist group would likely consider mounting multiple operations to overtax the government’s ability to respond. (Griffin)
In 1995 Senator Sam Nunn, in Time Magazines cover story describes a scenario in which terrorist’s crash radio controlled airplanes into the U.S. Capitol Building. In 1999, the National Intelligence Council, said suicide bombers belonging to Al Qae da could crash land aircraft with explosives into the Pentagon, CIA Headquarters or The White House. Additionally in October 2000, the Pentagon conducts a MSCAL (mass casualty) exercise with a hijacked jetliner crashing into the Pentagon. Finally on the morning of 9-11 the National Reconnaissance Office, whose person al are from the CIA and militar y, simulate an accidental plane crash into their headquarters four miles from Dulles Airport. [Time, 4/3/1995]-[Associated Press, 4/18/2002]- - [National Law Enforcement a nd Security Institute, 8/4/2002; National Law Enforcement and Security Institute, 8/6/2002 ; Associated Press , 8/21/2002; United Press International, 8/22/2002]

Former FBI director Louis Freed tells the 9-11 C ommission that in 2000-2001 planning for events designated “National Special Security Events” involved the possible “use of airplanes…in suicide missions”. In 2004 a story entitled “NORAD had Drills of Jets as Weapons” appears in USA TODAY. The article claims:: ‘In the two years before 9/11 NORAD had conducted exercises involving hijacked airliners as weapons to crash into targets causing mass casualties.’ NORAD would admit these exercises did in fact occur, however NORAD claims that the hijacked airliners came from overseas. USA TODAY noted at least two exceptions where planes came from Utah or Washington State. A further consideration is assuming the planes in the NORAD exercise were able to penetrate U.S airspace. If this is the case, the drill would have tested the military’s ability to respond to suicide hijacks over the interior of the U.S. regardless of whether they originated from overseas or not..[9/11 Commission, 4/13/2004]-

Also there are many published reports that Bush and other world leaders were under a threat of a suicide hijack attack on the G-8 leaders at their meeting in Genoa Italy just months before the 9/11 attacks
In the USA Today April 18th article on NORAD'S drills, one drill was claimed to have had a shoot-down of a simulated hijack. If that was the case, a remote capacity to control the "target aircraft" would have been necessary. Further in the CNN story is quoted NORAD officials as saying ' the exercises had the appropriate coordination between NORAD'S command headquarters and the National Command authorities in20Canada and the U.S.. Administration officials had claimed they had no knowledge of planes being used as weapons, but the National Command Authority is the President and Secretary of Defense. .
Major Steve Saa ri and Captain Tom Herring, alert pilots at Tyndall AFB, have both been quoted as saying thet practiced with live weapons on their fighters.
A GAO report from the early 90's confirms that the military had averaged 379 intercepts per year, but only 7 percent of these were drug smuggling intercepts. This counters Popular mechanics and other claims that almost all military intercepts were in response to drug smuggling aircraft outside of the U.S

Andrew s AFB is located 10 miles from the nation’s capital and is the home of Air Force One, yet on 9/11 we are told that no fighters were available from this base until well after the final hijacked plane had crashed. PM authors will quote Chris Yates of Janes Defense Weekly in regard to the alert status of the Andrews fighters as saying “There is n o reason…the U.S. Homeland had never been attacked previously in this way.” USA Today is told by a Pentagon source that Andrews “had no fighters assigned to it”. General Larry20Arnold told MSNBC, we didn’t have any aircraft on alert at Andrews. The DCANG (District of Columbia Air National Guard, stationed at Andrews) website as of April 2001, said that DCANG’s mission was ‘to provide combat units in the highest state of possible readiness’. By September 13 this document was replaced by a “vision to provide peacetime command and control and administrative mission oversight to support customers, DCANG units the highest state of readiness.” In an article in the San Diego Union Tribune a National Guard Spokesman is quoted as saying "Air defense around Washington is provided mainly by fighter planes from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland near the District of Columbia border. The D.C. Air National Guard is also based there and equipped with F-16 fighter planes.”. Unlike other Guard units, the DC Air National Guard reports to the president, rather than a state governor. Squadron officers work closely with Secret Service agents at the Air Force One hangar at Andrews. J anes Defense Weekly, USA Today, MSNBC, DCANG site- [District of Columbia Air National Guard, n.d.], San Diego Union Tribune [Washington Post, 4/8/2002; Vogel, 2007, pp. 445-446] Information provided by, which is authorized by the military to provide information for members of the armed forces states Andrews has at least two ready squadrons of fighters. The 121st Fighter Squadron, 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews “as part of its dual mission, the 11 3th provides capable and ready response forces for the District of Columbia in the event of a natural disaster or civil emergency. And the 321st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (V FMA-321) of the Mari ne Corps, a few good men and women who support two combat ready reserve units at Andrews AFB. DC Military

In the late 90’s NORAD cut down on the number of fighters on 24 hour alert, from 60 to 14. Popular Mechanics and others will claim these 14 fighters, on 24 hour alert (two at each base), are the only planes available for NORAD to summon on 9/11. We are left to ponder what capacity the Air Force had to utilize planes beyond these 14 alert fighters

The question of military radar remains quite obscure. Michael Bronner , the vanity fair reporter who was given exclusive access to a great deal of audio recordings and other vital 9/11 information, will claim that the military's radar was outdated. A military radar system called "pave paws" is installed at the Cape Cod AFB in the 1980's. It is designed to trach an in coming ICBM attack, and is capable of tracking multiple small projectiles assimultaneously. Exactly how it could have been utilized during 9/11 has not been answered.

In the case of Egypt Air 990's crash it is reported the plane was tracked by military radar.