Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Another of these telling ironies was al Qaeda’s famous “miscalculation” regarding the effect of their attack on the American psyche. Bin Laden’s network had “intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat,” as the President himself explained bare hours after it happened. But of course, Bush intoned gravely, “they have failed; our country is strong.” Indeed, a wave of patriotism spread across the nation in the wake of the attack, like shockwaves radiating out from an epicenter at Ground Zero. Flags flew off the shelves nationwide as people showed their solidarity with the President, with the victims, with each other. “If it’s anything red white and blue it’s gonna sell” said one Wal Mart employee. Dan Rather said it well when he pointed out the irony: “the terrorists who set out to destroy America failed miserably. In fact, after September 11th, the nation was more united than ever.”

The idea continued well into 2002 at least. The Ad Council started a line of television spots to mark the first Independence Day after 9/11. These promoted the concept of “Freedom.” (Appreciate it, Cherish it, Protect it). In one particularly telling spot, a narrator intoned “on September 11th, terrorists tried to change our lives forever,” as a row of plain looking houses faded to black. Then the houses faded back in decked-out with American flags under a cloudy sky, over which the narrator intoned "they succeeded."
The spot’s writers certainly saw an irony in that, but the irony I see is a bit different, and I read different weather in those clouds. The attack “succeeded” not in intimidating America but, ironically, in boosting patriotism and jingoism – as well as flag sales, Bush’s popularity numbers, military recruitment, church attendance, support for a radical foreign policy of conquest, etc.

Is Osama bin Laden, or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or whatever deputies planned the ghastly attacks really that stupid that they couldn’t foresee the chain of events their actions would trigger? Were they not aware the attack might be seen as a “catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor,” or fail to realize who would benefit most from the political fallout? If not, their collective intelligence is clearly brought into question. If so, either the true motives of al Qaeda or their guilt for the attack must likewise come into doubt.

Friday, October 12, 2007

THE CHAIN OF COMMAND ON 9/11 {masterlist}

National Command Authority
The National Defense Chain of Command in a wartime emergency at the time of the September 11 attacks was: 1) President, 2) Defense Secretary, 3) regional combatant commanders. This was established by the Goldwater-Nichols DOD reorganization Act of 1986, which also allowed that on the whim of the President and Defense Secretary, communications with and oversight of these commanders pass through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS – the nation’s top military officer)

Tightly controlled actions, like issuing an order for fighter jets to shoot down a civilian aircraft, constituted an emergency and had to originate with the President and pass through every link in the chain to the responsible fighter pilots. As the 9/11 Commission explained, “prior to 9/11, it was understood that an order to shoot down a commercial aircraft would have to be issued by the National Command Authority (a phrase used to describe the president and secretary of defense).” [2]

This Chain of Command was not ordinarily needed to get escort fighters off the ground – this could all be done automatically and at intermediate levels, as indicated by the swift fighter response in the Payne Stewart case. These guidelines, in effect since 1986, oddly changed just three months before September 11, with Rumsfeld asserting the sole authority to allow fighters to take off at all. This is covered in more in detail in the post "Muzzling the Defense?"

The 9/11 Commission’s final report later stated in its blameless way: “As they existed on 9/11, the protocols for the FAA to obtain military assistance from NORAD required multiple levels of notification and approval at the highest levels of government […] The protocols did not contemplate an intercept […] On the morning of 9/11, the existing protocol was unsuited in every respect for what was about to happen.” It became even more unsuited in the days and hours and even minutes before the attacks, and on the morning of September 11th, strangely, the National Command Authority’s chain of command seemed to sprout new links, swap out old ones, and seemed to not be anchored down to anything. The following posts deal with the US leadership response and the flailings and failings of a Chain of broken links.

- President Bush: “There’s one Terrible Pilot:” The accidental President Stumbles into 9/11.

- Vice President Cheney, the Roadmap Swap, and the “Effort.” Clarifying the Record. Did Bush hand Cheney the joystick to control the attacks?

- Cheney and the Shoot-Down Order: Who issued the order and when? 9:45, 10:14, 10:18?

- Link #2 AWOL: Psychic Rumsfeld’s Wanderings

- Myers the stand-in: How he responds "when things are happening."

- First Day Jitters: Sliney, Leidig, Myers: Three Defense Links Swapped out at the last minute at Joint Chiefs of Staff (ACTING Chairman richard Myers, as of ?:00 am, 9/11) Benedict Sliney at FAA Operations Center (first day as of ?:00 am, 9/11) and Leidig at the NMCC (see chart below - standing in as of 8:30 am, 9/11, as per a request from the previous day). This is spooky.

In the end, what we got was a startlingly "unprepared" and disjointed command authority that ran something like this:

Friday, July 27, 2007


Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
They Let It Happen
Last updated July 27 2007

The Center for Cooperative Research patched together this description of the periodic exercise Global Guardian, directed from the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) center, a bunker set beneath Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska:

"[T]hree special military command aircraft with sophisticated communications equipment, based at Offutt, are up in the air the morning of 9/11. These E-4B National Airborne Operations Center planes—nicknamed “Doomsday” planes during the Cold War—are intended to control nuclear forces from the air in times of crisis. They are capable of acting as alternative command posts for top government officials from where they can direct US forces, execute war orders and coordinate the actions of civil authorities in times of national emergency. [...] Media accounts indicate Global Guardian is cancelled at Offutt shortly after the second WTC tower is hit (at 9:03 a.m.), with staff switching to “real-world mode.” However, even after Global Guardian is called off, the three E-4Bs remain airborne." [1]

The exercise's details and exact purpose remain vague, but it seems to be related to "Continuity of Government" exercises also carried out in the 1980s with E4-Bs and background officials like Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. [2] Whatever the exercise really was, it was it was “in full swing” when the attacks began. Researcher Mark H. Gaffney looked into reports of the mysterious white plane seen and filmed over Washington DC has shown that this was almost certainly a whie, 4-engine E4-B, presumably one of the Global Guardian participants, though there appears to be a massive cover-up of the plane, which apparently must remain secret even after being filmed in broad daylight. [3]

By 2006 anyway, GLOBAL GUARDIAN, along with a space-oriented APOLLO GUARDIAN exercise, are "conducted in conjunction" with the more well-known Vigilant Guardian Exercise. [4] VG was also in full swing on 9/11, so it seems they were allied at the time, officially or otherwise. Gaffney also found that the exercise's being conducted at that time really is an unusual coincidence:

"In previous years the military always staged Global Guardian in October or November; and the 2001 exercise was likewise originally scheduled for October, according to various reports. Curiously, however, for reasons never disclosed, the Joint Chiefs changed the plan and conducted the 2001 exercise during the week of September 11. The following year the date reverted back. The 2002 Global Guardian came off in October, as in previous years, and this has continued to be the case." [5]

Total Coincidences?
CCR: "The Federal Advisory Committee (whose chairman is retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft) is aboard one of these Doomsday planes, being brought to Offutt to observe the exercise. [...] a small group of business leaders are at Offutt Air Force Base for a charity fundraiser event due to take place there later in the day, hosted by the multi-billionaire Warren Buffett. When the attacks begin, these visitors are having breakfast with Admiral Mies, the director of Global Guardian. After the second WTC tower is hit, Mies excuses himself from the group, presumably to assist in canceling the exercise." [7] Later in the afternoon, President Bush and Air Force One landed at Offutt "as a security precaution." It was his second landing since leaving Florida, and he convened a teleconference with the National Security Council from there. [7]

[1], [6] Center for Cooperative Research. “Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001: Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is Directing Global Guardian Training Exercise.”
[2] "Between 1981 and 1989: Officials Airborne in Doomsday Plane."
[3], [5] Gaffney, Mark H. "The 911 Mystery Plane - First in a Series." 4-5-7
[4] Global Security: Vigilant Guardian.
[7] "Bush Reacts to Attacks, Moves to Nebraska." By Mike Allen. Washington Post. Tuesday, September 11, 2001; 4:36 p.m

Monday, June 18, 2007


“Is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?”
- Larry Arnold, NORAD Commander, upon hearing of the first hijack
“That was news to me. I thought we were still chasing American 11.”
- F-15 pilot “Duff” on hearing a second plane had hit the WTC
“Holy smoke, that’s why we’re here.”
- F-16 pilot “Lou” upon seeing smoke from the Pentagon

This post is to organize and link together all the related sub-posts on the ridiculously inadequate air defense during the 9/11 attack. The air-based wargames, which are referred to often in these posts, are covered seperately in the wargames masterlist. People still argue about whether our fighter defenses could have done anything if they had been better integrated. The answer depends on the presumptions one makes, but basically the answer is yes - there were procedures to defend the nation from roughly the 9/11 threat of suicide hijackings, but they have been magnified, obscured, and muddled by both sides in the post-9/11 debate. And they seem to have not been followed that morning.

This is a chart I made of the timeline of the attack and overall air defense during it - click the image to get a full-size, readable view (can also be saved and printed, 8.5 x 11").

> Status of air terror readiness as of 9/11: Could it be this bad on accident?
- Payne Stewart and Standard procedure: We had standard procedures for intercepting stray planes
- Rumors of a Stand-Down: Unprepared or Stood Down? (neither - this dichotomy is a false one).
- Muzzling the Defense: Rumsfeld's recent changes to fighter scramble procedures - ultimately a red herring?
- Warnings ignored?
- Fighter deployments decided on to defend the known primary zone of terrorism threats: notably inadequate.
- Commercial pilots' right to bear arms in the air rescinded in 2001? Post in the works...

> A Hobbled Defense in Action on 9/11
- Federal Attack Assistance? {masterlist}: The FAA's role in "dropping the ball" on 9/11, in several sub-posts: Sliney, the phantom Flight 11, the mistaken memo, etc...
- Phantom flights/radar inserts
- Radar blind spots
- Otis and Langley: Scrambling against the clock
Heading and Speed: slowly away from the attacks
- Information shared with the defending fighter pilots:

> Permission to use deadly force to protect America: Negligently (?) denied
- No Such order recieved by the five defending pilots.
- Bush at Booker: Isolated accidents require no defensive orders, and Bush insisted on pretending it was an isolated accident until the last possible minute - and then still refused to issue the order for at least another hour. By the official story.
- Cheney and the Shoot-Down Order

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Adam Larson/Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud, January 23 2007
reposted 4/23/07

Although most Pentagon workers in the area hit on 9/11 were still sitting at their desks doing their usual work as Flight 77 came crashing through their office doors, there were well-established and practiced procedures for “exactly” such an event. The Washington Post reported shortly after 9/11 the account of a Pentagon medic who was sitting and reading the just-printed emergency response manual for what to do in case the building was struck by a civilian airliner at the precise moment that happened. [1] But unfortunately these procedures don’t seem to have helped much, given no radar track of the incoming plane, no warning, and thus no time given to implement any such measures.

Dennis Ryan's photo of a mock-up used for MASCAL (slightly filtered for artsy effect)
Among the emergency drills they’d held was one in October 2000, less than a year prior as part of what the Military District of Washington News Service called at the time "several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to Oct. 24-26 in the Office of the Secretaries of Defense conference room." Author Dennis Ryan provided photographs as well for one of the scenarios, the "Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise" (MASCAL) the mock passenger plane crashed into the mock Pentagon courtyard appears to be a big one but probably not a 757 as Loose Change claims. One participant explained as far-fetched as the MASCAL scenario may have seemed, “you have to plan for this. Look at all the air traffic around here.” [2] Navy Capt. Charles Burlingame was allegedly part of this drill, though the charge is unsubstantiated. If you don't know the significance of that already, check this post.

Whether the MASCAL crash was supposed to be an accident or an attack didn't seem to matter - it was all about the aftermath. But in the next noteworthy drill conducted eight months later, the preparations were getting more specifically 9/11-related. As US Medicine magazine, "the voice of Federal medicine," reported in October 2001:

"Though the Department of Defense had no capability in place to protect the Pentagon from an ersatz guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner, DoD medical personnel trained for exactly that scenario in May. In fact, the tri-Service DiLorenzo Health Care Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic here in the Pentagon trained jointly in May to fine-tune their emergency preparedness, afterward making simple equipment changes that would make a difference Sept. 11 when the hypothetical became reality." [3]

This is amazing; according to this article, they were looking at a hijacked 757 strike four months before that happened on 9/11, preparations that "made a difference." Of course the best difference would have been to simply evacuate the building well before the plane arrived (35 minutes after it became clear the nation was under attack), or to have worked out air defense plans, perhaps with NORAD, to stop any such weaponized aircraft short of the building.

A possible third drill may have been planned to that end in conjunction with a proposed mid-2001 NORAD exercise simulating suicide hijacking attacks. USA Today famously reported on April 18, 2004 that "in the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, [NORAD] 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." While nearly all of these focused on threats coming from across the Atlantic, they had the 9/11 targets in mind. earlier drills had focused on such an attack against the WTC, in this case “the target was the Pentagon – but that drill was not run after defense officials said it was unrealistic.” [4] The original source for this is an e-mail from a former NORAD official obtained by the Project On Government Oversight, which explained that NORAD "wanted to develop a response in the event that a terrorist group would use an airliner as a missile to attack the Pentagon, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff rejected the scenario as "too unrealistic." [5] This was in April 2001 POGO reports, a month before they prepared for defense against an unobstructed hijacked plane/missile hitting their building, and five months before 9/11, when they had no capabilities in place "to protect the Pentagon," but at least they had the aftermath covered well enough.

Buth even with just the two drills plus whatever else went in to the process, the Pentagon's bureaucracy had just enough time to get the emergency procedures ironed out and printed before the precise "unrealistic" scenario envisioned four months earlier came crushingly true. But there was apparently not enough time to fully integrate the plan with things like useful warning procedures - a tragically stalled process that would help illustrate Rumsfeld's charges that pre-9/11, the Pentagon was "tangled in its own anchor chain." How conveniently illustrative of his and his colleagues' known desire for a 21st Century "process of transformation" there.

[1] Oil Empire.
[2] Ryan, Dennis. "Contingency planning Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies." Military District of Washington News Service. November 3 2000. Accessed at:
[3] Mientka, Matt. Pentagon Medics Trained For Strike. US Medicine. October 2001.
[4] as passed on by US Rep. Jan Schakowski:
Also at 9-11 Research:
and the original still up at USA Today:
[5] Project on Government Oversight. "Joint Chiefs of Staff Rejected "Airplanes as Missiles" Scenario Five Months prior to 9/11." April 13 2004.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

THE HIJACKERS {masterlist}

This post is to link and organize all the posts dealing with the 9/11 hijackers. This does not claim to be a complete or comprehensive list by any means, just a few things I found in my research. Most of the research is a little old, and I'm less-versed in recent developments, but some observations herein are worthy of note. But really for me this is an afterthought - no matter where the attackers came from and how they really attacked, it was the US government and military that were tasked with defending America - and they failed with curious precision.

[click picture to enlarge - open in a new window to match names to faces as you read other posts]

> Identity: who are they and where did they come from?
- The Miracle Passports: Implausibly Tying the Attackers Directly to the Scene of the Crime
- The Three Abdul Almoaris: The cases of confused identity regarding the alleged hijackers are many and well-covered elsewhere. Here I'll cover one telling case I haven't seen anyone else take on. Not that I've really looked. I'd rather keep my illusion of a "hot exclusive story:"
Strategy and Tactics: The Five Hijackers Trained by the US military?

> Immunity: how did they get here and how did they avoid arrest?
- The Hijacker Express Lane: How'd they get in the country? Through the wide open side door.
- The Buried Reports
- Mission Improbable: Violations of Operational Security that "miraculously" didn't unravel the plot.
- Atta Boy: The Man We Love to Hate and all his glorious idiocy
Applying for a USDA loan to finance the attack

> The Terrorland Connection: Florida and 9/11
- Terrorland I: Daniel Hopsicker reveals a Floida Perfect Bush Circle
- Terrorland II: The Dutchmen Come to Town/Government Work?
- Terrorland III: Learning to Fly
- Terrorland IV: The Dutch Boys Become an Embarrassment
- Terrorland V: Map of coincidence: Fly the Friendly Skies of Terrorland

> No Hijackers
- If not a sucide pilot, what else could have been flying the airplane missiles of 9/11? There's at least one possibility that is "remote" but plausible.
- The Evidence: the audio record is the only serious obstacle
- Ulterior Motives: De-blaming Arabs, blaming Jews, etc.
- The Dangers: Why the no-hijacker theory could be another baited honeytrap


This is to link the few posts that will collectively explain a disturbing possibility that the US government essentially scripted out the 9/11 attacks nearly seven years before, planted the idea into the early body of knowledge about the terrorists later to be called al Qaeda, and then reported as a precedent once a similar attack was carried out on 9/11. The plan was again recycled, this time exactly, as the London terror threat of 2006 that banned all liquids from flights after fears of a ten-plane attack using liquid bombs - precisely the idea behind the original "Operation Bojinka," uncovered in early 1995.

Admittedly, this is a bit off the Let it Happen tangent of the blog here as a whole, integrating best with a MIHOP interpretation. But I'm not sure where else to put it, and I'm already covering the hijackers here, so here it goes.

Bojinka intro: From the "cover story" chapter IV of my book "Scenario 12-E: The Philosophy, the Technology, and the Cover Story Behind Shadow 9/11."

The Perfect Story
Now we have clarified that at the flip of a few switches, it would be technically possible for otherwise ordinary commercial flights to be turned into flying tombs, sealed off from the outside world and locked into their final flight plan by people who would be sitting safely somewhere else, perhaps sipping lukewarm coffee. But what would the eyewitnesses say?

What was needed was the tactic, the fingerprint, to mask the operation and steer the blame in the desired direction. The cover story was already well-developed in advance, not by a government agency or think-tank, but by the natural flow of world events (or at least by some collaborative effort between the two). And the direction of the blame was towards Eurasia and the one enemy in particular who was safely camping out in the heart of that central continent – Afghanistan.

To all eyewitness accounts, Shadow 9/11 would appear like a bin Laden attack, fitting with preconceptions. Ah, the preconceptions… The writers of that Lone Gunmen pilot, as they scratched it out in 2000, had to wonder “if I were a right-wing-faction-type, and I wanted to convince people we’d been attacked by a “tin pot dictator” how would I do it?” When we disregard the PC bias on TV that filters out racial references, it’s pretty clear this would be an Arab dictator, probably bin Laden, maybe supported by Saddam Hussein. What did these sci-fi writers decide? Apparently the same thing the planners of Shadow 9/11 decided.

The cover stories for both Scenario 12-D and for Shadow 9/11 may have been lifted straight from al Qaeda’s famous Operation Bojinka, an early airliner-centered terrorist plot discovered in the former U.S. colony of the Philippines in early 1995. In an interview after the attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed claimed that the 9-11 attacks he allegedly financed were a revived and streamlined version of this six year old plot. Like no other single story, this one looks like the taproot of September 11’s infamous tactic. But the exact degree of foresight, what was known by whom, is a matter of great contention, and the factual record is left fragmented. There are weird forces at work here.

- Bojinka I:Phase One: A Loud Bang in Manila Ramzi Yousef, a chance explosion, a pope spared, and the origins of the plot in the Philippines, early 1995.

- Bojinka II:Phase Two: The Evolution How Bojinks DIDN'T lead to a prediction of the 9/11 tactic - simultaneous suicide hijackings - even though it clearly should have.

- Bojinka III:Before Bojinka: Corder, the GIA, and Cetron’s Scenario The Pentagon report that laid out the Bojinka threat just days before it was discovered in terrorist minds.

- Bojinka IV:A Real and Repeated Threat Before 9/11, suicide hijackings were actually real and didn't need to be imagined. The only thing different about 9/11 is this one wasn't stopped.

- Bojinka V: Florida 2001: Bojinka Becomes 9/11?

- Bojinka VI: Brzezinski's Bombshell/What Was Left Out: A prominent article on bojinka by Zbigniew Brzezinski's nephew, and the general deletion or minimization of the suicide airliner hijacking element.

- Bojinka VII: Professed Ignorance, Maintaining the Focus "I don't think anyone could have predicted..."

- Bojinka VIII: Operation Brzezinski? the Brzezinski article and the word "Bojinka" get me thinking to a bizarre and probably useless observation that still gives me a chill and I thought it worth sharing. (coming soon)
--------- -----------

Friday, May 18, 2007


On September 11, two F-15s were sent from Otis AFB in Massachusetts to protect Manhattan from further hijacking attacks. They weren’t scrambled until 8:52, six minutes after the first impact, and didn’t arrive at the scene until 9:25, 23 minutes after the second impact, and they reportedly didn't learn of any impact at all until they got there after the NY leg of the attack was complete. One of the pilots, code-named “Nasty,” lamented to the BBC “for a long time I wondered what would’ve happened if we’d, uh… been scrambled in time.” [1]

I would like to invite you to wonder along with him; imagine for a moment that the two Otis fighters had been scrambled “in time,” sent in the right direction, and flew full-blower. Imagine them arriving in Manhattan at, say, 8:54, just after the first plane had hit the WTC. They would be circling nervously in their F-15s, seeing United 175 coming in fast and low. Imagine the fighters rushing out to intercept it, ready to scatter the airliner over some farmer’s field before it scattered itself against and into the South Tower. Imagine them on the scene, ready to act and deal with the nightmares later, and prevent the second catastrophic collision and alleged jet-fuel-induced collapse that killed so many.

Now imagine they were left without legal authority to fire; imagine them asking and asking again as the hijacked airliner came into view “permission to engage?” and receiving the reply “do not engage.” We’d like to think they would pull the trigger anyway, and “take lives in the air in order to preserve lives on the ground,” the standard response in such an un-standard case. But it’s also possible they may have done their job and follow orders, even though the protocols mandated that they watch powerlessly as United 175 passed them by and slammed explosively into the South Tower. That would not look good for the government.

In fact, that would have been the situation if the pilots had been scrambled sooner. Every source agrees on this point; the fighter pilots sent to defend the skies were never instructed (and thus never allowed) to fire on airliners until long after all the targets had crashed. In fact, this itself may be the best clue in understanding the botched reaction up to that point. If not for the unlikely string of synchronized failures that kept all fighters well away from the hijacked planes, the lack of authorization would have been absolutely crucial and a political liability to say the least.

The Langley pilots did receive a vague order at 9:55 from the Secret Service to protect the white House. Recollections vary: “I want you to protect the White House” - ”The White House [is] an important asset to protect” - “Be aware of where it is… it could be a target.” [2] This was not taken by the pilots as a clear shoot-down order, signed off on by the proper authorities. Fifteen minutes later, in fact, the pilots were told they had “negative clearance to shoot.” [3] Jere Longman concluded that after patrolling Washington for hours “both Honey and Lou said that no one had given them any orders to shoot down a commercial airliner.” [4]

New York flight control mentioned to Otis pilot Nasty “if we have another hijacked aircraft we’re going to have to shoot it down.” He knew this was conversational and “not connected to the chain of command.” [5] “Only the President could make that decision,” Nasty explained to the Cape Cod Times, “and he was indisposed at a public event,” referring to his now-famous reading exercise at a Florida elementary school. [6]

[1] “Clear the Skies.” BBC Video. 2002.
[2] Thompson, Paul and the Center for Cooperative Research. The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute. New York. Regan books. 2004. Page 436.
[3]See [2]. Page 453.
[4] Longman, Jere. Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew who Fought Back. New York. Harper Collins. 2002. Page 222
[5] See [2]. Page 440.
[6] Dennehy, Kevin. “'I Thought It Was the Start of World War III'” The Cape Cod Times. August 21, 2002. Accessed November 13, 2004 at:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

LIHOP vs. MIHOP {and MIHOP masterlist}

LIHOP vs. MIHOP: to the uninitiated, it looks like a discussion about where to eat pancakes, but is really one of the long-running debates among those who reject the official story of 9/11 – did they Let it Happen on Purpose or Make It Happen on Purpose? Originally I saw that the military’s defenses failed with curious precision and let the attack happen. Bolstered by the immediate and brazen capitalization on the tragedy, this was my first and most lasting impression. But later I came to see the merits of a MIHOP explanation, the basic idea of which is if you want it done right, do it yourself. The former I came to call the "New Day of Deceit" construct, the latter became "Shadow 9/11."

Quickly enough I decided both were more likely than the official story, both meant we were in deep trouble and people needed to be alerted, and both share the common thread "On Purpose." So I set to defining and exposing that purpose but found the sheer volume of possible ulterior motives made such a cataloguing a daunting task. It’a also redundant; everyone has seen from minute one how this was America’s New Pearl Harbor, our own finest hour emerging from the darkest, and clearly Bush’s defining moment, his only claim to mass public loyalty.

So seeing that purpose was clearly established, I returned to the method: Allowed or Orchestrated? The name of this page may indicate a LIHOP leaning, and that is indeed where the evidence herein points. But in fact I’m a LIHOP/MIHOP fence-sitter; and it must be noted that their Letting It Happen doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of their also Making It Happen. LIHOP in fact is a necessary sub-set of a mechanically engineered inside job; it would do no good to make it happen if you then let normal defense protocols stop the plot in mid-flight. So either way, unless I’m wrong and it was just an unprovoked surprise attack that accidentally benefited them so, they had to have purposefully Let It Happen. If you don’t believe me, read at least three posts from this site and then reconsider.

It’s nigh impossible to prove that defenses were scuttled on purpose. So far as I know there is not even one charge from anyone in the defense system claiming an outright military stand-down.But to strongly indicate a purposefully thrown defense is not too hard at all. In many cases, all one need do is read a few lines of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report and make the connections they were unwilling to. Others take deeper research, and a little imagination run by factual and common sense checks goes a long way.

The reason people have so gravitated to MIHOP theories is the possibility of finding hard proof of such. Slow fighter scrambles and inadequate deployments don’t necessarily prove anything, but if we could verify that a missile hit the Pentagon, or that the WTC attack planes were drones fitted with missile-firing pods, we’re clearly looking at someone closer to home than foreign terrorists. But the main problem with such evidence is it either doesn’t exist or is impossible to verify in the sea of fakes, which I regularly take on over at The Frustrating Fraud.

So, for evidence of a LIHOP scenario, either stand-alone or as a subset of a MIHOP operation, read anything on the site. As for the good arguments for a MIHOP explanation – which almost by definition are unprovable – there are some I felt worth covering on this and my other pages.

On the Mechanics of Shadow 9/11:
- A Plane IS a missile: On Raytheon’s August 2001 perfection of a new remote piloting system for airliners.

- Vialls, Von Buelow, Home Run: A Questionable, self-referrential tag-team bring us an intriguing but unprovable charge: a secret airliner remote control system in place since the 1970s.

- Flight 93 and the audio record: the prime stumbling block of the no-hijacker remote-control theory.

- A remote control airliner as a tool in an inside job worked its way into a pre-9/11 TV program – flown into the WTC BY the Pentagon, no less.Scenario 12-D: Another X-File

- Getting the drones in the air? The War Games of 9/11 {masterlist}

- Northwoods 2001?: The curious revelation of Northwoods decades later and just months before 9/11 and the Acting JCS Chairman caught in the thick of conspiracy theory crossfire.

Questioning the Official Perps:
- The Hijackers {masterlist}: a partial compilation of the problems with the official perpetrators, lending weight to the possibility that they were not as reported and possibly not even on the planes.

- A Fabricated threat? Bojinka {masterlist]: The 9/11 tactic was the telltale sign, leading back to Operation Bojinka, a plot found in an ‘al Qaeda’ brain in the Philippines in the first days of 1995. Just a few days earlier the same threat was written up by a Pentagon adviser and then deleted until after 9/11. Is this the cover story to mask Shadow 9/11 and direct blame to the Arabs?

- Threats of war and other such provocations in Afghanistan in the months before 9/11. Did this play any role in the long-planned attack? If so does this transform LIHOP to MIHOP?

Monday, May 7, 2007


Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
They Let It Happen
last updated 5/7/07

A year after the attack, CNN retold Vice President Cheney’s version of what happened. Cheney was in his proper office in the West Wing when he heard that a plane had crashed into the WTC. Unlike everyone else whose reactions I’ve looked at - with the notable exception of counter-terrorism “Czar” Richard Clarke - Cheney had an inkling this may not be a simple accident. “He watched TV and hoped that his instincts were wrong.,” CNN reported. He explained “it was a clear day, there were no weather problems, and then we saw the second airplane hit in real time. At that moment, you knew this was a deliberate act. This was a terrorist act.” [1]

Shortly after this, his Secret Service agent “all of a sudden materialized right beside me and said, 'Sir, we have to leave now.' He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall, and into the underground shelter in the White House." [2] So while, as many noted, the Secret Service was allowing the President to linger in the open at the schoolhouse, they were “propelling” Cheney to safety in an underground bunker. While both men were on the East Coast, they seemed to be operating in two different time zones.

This underground shelter was the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC). From the previously unused but well-equipped PEOC, as CNN explains, the Vice-President “directed the U.S. government's response” to the attack. The actions Cheney took “included moving key members of Congress to a secure location and having the Secret Service bring his wife, Lynn, to the bunker.” [3] Somehow, these radical moves failed to halt the attack.

Cheney and Rice share a tense moment in the PEOC on 9/11. Photo chosen for presence of Cheney on the phone.
Cheney’s account actually offers little in the line of useful action, focusing more on talk of raw emotion – agony and impotence and rage – just like the rest of us – after he saw the second plane hit on the TV - just like the rest of us. But Bush talked to Cheney on a regular cell phone instead of a secure phone, which wasn’t working right. Cheney’s information seemed partial and confused. The 9/11 Commission, based on Cheney’s private testimony, decided Cheney suffered major communications problems that hampered a response. [4] CNN described the PEOC’s performance on 9-11 “a day of crisis with some hitches.” For example, “Cheney wanted to track TV reports of the devastation and listen in on communications with the Pentagon.” But, as aide Mary Matalin recalled, “you can have sound on one or the other and he found that technically imperfect.” [5]

But we know he was in the presence of Secret Service agents during the entire crisis, and the evidence indicates their communication abilities were widespread and efficiently used. Cheney seemed to slip on this once, telling Meet the Press, on September 16 “the Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was ...” [6] He cut himself off there and shifted gears. What this means is that after the first plane hit, and we would presume soon after, the Secret Service knew, and were listening in on, at least, the FAA’s communications by about 8:50. The second plane was already confirmed hijacked by FAA and NORAD and headed to New York by this time.

Richard Clarke also testified in his book Against All Enemies that at about 9:40, Brian Stafford, Director of the Secret Service “slipped me a note. “Radar shows aircraft headed this way.’” Clarke explained “Secret Service had a system that allowed them to see what FAA’s radar was seeing.” [7] The 9/11 Commission also has backed up direct Secret-Service-FAA communications in their final report. [8] The Secret Service knew all these things and were just a “hey, you!” away from Cheney’s ear and Bush’s.

The communication abilities of the Secret Service also, apparently, extended into the military chain of command, their contacts to the very front lines of the battle. Recall that it was the Secret Service who called the Langley fighter pilots around 9:55 and told them to “protect” the White House (though with no mention of precisely how). [9] They also called Andrews Air Force Base, near the Pentagon, shortly after 9:03 to request fighter jets, which didn’t get any off the ground until 10:42. [10]

Bush's famous shot talking to Cheney from Air Force One
So the Secret Service - and thus both Bush and Cheney - were as in the communications loop as they wanted to be. There was two-way access to all information from FAA, regional Air Force bases, and even the actual fighter pilots, and probably also NORAD, NMCC, etc. So why, with access to a bird’s eye view of the situation and universal communications at Cheney’s and the President’s fingertips, wasn’t an adequate defense marshaled? The story that the phones didn’t work well that day, that Cheney couldn’t talk to the Pentagon and get his intelligence briefings from CNN at the same time, etc. does not pan out well. Something else, probably something sinister, had to be behind this curiously long roster of excuses.

[1], [2], [3], [5] “Cheney recalls taking charge from bunker.” CNN. September 12, 2002. Accessed at:
[4] 9/11 Commission Final Report. Page 40.
[6] Thompson and the CCR. "The Terror Timeline." Page 375.
[7] Ruppert, "Crossing the Rubicon." Page 427.
[8] 9/11 Commission Final Report. Page 41.
[9] Thompson and the CCR. "The Terror Timeline." Page 436.
[10] Thompson and the CCR. Page 458.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


NORAD’s third “incorrect” story to the 9/11 Commission was their testimony that the Langley fighters, scrambled eight minutes before the Pentagon was hit, “were scrambled to respond to the notifications about American 77, United 93, or both.” This certainly makes sense: there were planes targetting Washington. The jets that should have been sent for them were sent. But they were not sent up for that reason. As late as 9:35 no one in the defense system was aware of any real designs on Washington – or so says the Commission. Instead, they decided, “the notice NEADs received at 9:24 was that American 11 had not hit the World Trade Center and was heading for Washington, DC.” [1]

It was to intercept this ghost target that the Langley fighters took off at 9:30. The commission cited a taped NEADS call, conversations within the FAA system, contemporaneous logs from NEADS, Continental Region headquarters, and NORAD, among others. “Yet this response to a phantom aircraft was was not recounted in a single public timeline or statement issued by the FAA or Department of Defense. The inaccurate accounts created the impression that the Langley scramble was a logical response to an actual hijacked aircraft.” [2]

Here is the transcript of this call, placed from FAA’s Boston Center to NEADS at 9:21:
“FAA: Military, Boston Center. I just had a report that American 11 is still
in the air, and it’s on its way towards—heading towards Washington.
NEADS: Okay. American 11 is still in the air?
FAA: Yes.
NEADS: On its way towards Washington?
FAA: That was another—it was evidently another aircraft that hit the tower. That’s the latest report we have.
NEADS: Okay.
FAA: I’m going to try to confirm an ID for you, but I would assume he’s somewhere over, uh, either New Jersey or somewhere further south.
NEADS: Okay. So American 11 isn’t the hijack at all then, right?
FAA: No, he is a hijack.
NEADS: He—American 11 is a hijack?
FAA: Yes.
NEADS: And he’s heading into Washington?
FAA: Yes. This could be a third aircraft.” [3]

The NEADS technician who took this call from the FAA immediately passed the word to the mission crew commander, who reported to the NEADS battle commander: ”Okay, uh, American Airlines is still airborne. Eleven, the first guy, he’s heading towards Washington. Okay? I think we need to scramble Langley right now. And I’m gonna take the fighters from Otis, try to chase this guy down if I can find him.” The Otis pilots were not dragged from their just-established patrol of Manhattan, but they also were nearly sent after this non-existent target.

The Commission ultimately found themselves “unable to identify the source of this mistaken FAA information.” So let’s trace it back, based on the information that they had. In their report they note that the call was placed from FAA’s Boston Center to NEADS at 9:21, and in turn ”Boston Center had heard from FAA headquarters in Washington that American 11 was still airorne .” [4] So at some point prior to 9:20, someone at the national HQ in DC called this in to Boston, responsible for tracking these flights and already in contact with NEADS.

There are numerous possible explanations for this false report, and it wouldn’t have been the only one of the day. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey told Richard Clarke, after the first two planes had crashed, “we have reports of eleven aircraft off course or out of communications, maybe hijacked.” [2] Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said “we probably had maybe about ten unaccounted for planes.” [3] Florida State Congressman Adam Putnam, who was aboard Air Force One with President Bush, who told him at 11:30 that there were six aircraft still unaccounted for. [4] In his bunker beneath the White House, Cheney had at least two possible run-ins with ghost planes, which he aggressively ordered shot down.

One explanation for these phantom flights centers on the presence in the radar system of false returns inserted for the morning’s war game Northern Vigilance. It’s unclear where these blips were showing up and on whose screens, but they were allegedly purged at about 9;00 am, as it became clear the US was under air attack and a clean slate was needed. Not that it helped much.

There are other possibilities as well. I’m guessing if this particular report of the Ghost Flight 11 is ever is explained, it’ll be something innocuous sounding, like this:

A controller at Boston center got a printed report – not a radar return – that American 77 was unaccounted for, missing from radar, possibly crashed or possibly headed to DC. But in the chaos after having seen American 11 disappear, he turns the 7s into 1s (optically easy to do, especially if the 1s are printed with pronounced serifs). He sees American 11 is missing from radar and possibly headed to DC and reports it as such. No radar track, so he can only guess – it was in New York, headed to DC… looking to the south of there...

But it could well be something more concrete than that, though we have to venture into weird land for the next post to see this possibility. Next: Mistaken FAA Info: Some or The?
Back to FAA Masterlist

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Adam Larson/Caustic Logic
Posted 4/30/07

For whatever It’s worth, it was the 102nd birthday of the late neocon intellectual godfather Leo Strauss when, on September 20th 2001, as President Bush prepared to give an address to a special joint session of Congress pitching the “War on Terrorism” to a stunned nation, the PNAC delivered an open letter to Bush entitled, humbly, “Lead the World to Victory.” [signed by Kristol, Bauer, Cropsey, Cohen, Gaffney, two Kagans, Perle, Podhoretz, Schmitt, etc.] Full text available here.

The letter lauded Bush’s tough response to the attack and his framing of it as a war, and praised the administration’s public assertions that the campaign would be fought on many fronts, and early hints that it would not be limited to al Qaeda. They encouraged this thinking and suggested some of their own ideas as to what other fronts should be opened; for starters, they offered Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority, and, of course, Iraq, with a hint of more threats to come. These suggestions bore more similarity to an Israeli wish-hit-list than any realistic response to the nine-day-old 9/11 attacks. The proposals of the letter could have just as easily been passed on by Cheney, (and probably already had been) but they wanted it to look open, and perhaps more importantly, to bring their ideas to the attention of the stunned and suggestible public on the same day Bush was going public with his own guaranteed war proposal. It was a highly visible formal entreaty to cover for pre-arranged back-room deals that became evident as Bush spoke that evening.

The nation drew in a breath and listened; just nine days after the attack, and after much discussion with his august advisers, Bush already knew the shape and scope of the war at hand. He informed his fellow Americans that “this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the Air Wars above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat… Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.” IWith his fatwa “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” Bush charted a clearly unilateralist direction – we were going this way, others would either follow or hold back at their own risk, a clear nod to the PNAC’s Concept of unilateralism (or, more accurately, multilateralism via “global leadership”). He had almost certainly read the Project’s letter well before he spoke, and had likely already acceded to all of its major proposals.

The following day, Charles Krauthammer’s essay “Voices of moral obtuseness” appeared in Time, arguing the same case as the PNAC’s letter. He had, in fact, signed the letter. Krauthammer lamented that “in the wake of a massacre that killed more than 5,000 innocent Americans in a day, one might expect moral clarity,” but we were instead hearing criticism of U.S. policy, what he saw as a relativist, liberal “we had it coming” attitude. He was of course right in his observation that the attack was an “event of blinding clarity,” although I’m not sure he sees the irony in that phrase. Krauthammer noted the earlier dissolution of anti-war and isolationist sentiment following the attack on Pearl Harbor, an analogy that had to have his colleagues at the PNAC smiling as they set about implementing their "process of transformation."

One month after the attack, Bush delivered a speech at the wounded Pentagon, offering a more concrete assurance of his dedication to the PNAC vision. On a dreary Thursday morning, October 11th, 2001, he reassured the Project, on at least four key points, that 9-11 was indeed the fulfillment of their year-old report Rebuilding America’s Defenses.

Bush’s Address at the Pentagon, October 11, 2001: “Brick by brick, we will quickly rebuild the Pentagon.”
1) He noted “as Americans did sixty years ago, we have entered a struggle of uncertain duration.” This was perhaps code for “new Pearl Harbor.”

2) Perhaps in response to the PNAC’s call for increased ”defense” budgets, Bush assured them “in the missions ahead for the military, you will have everything you need, every resource, every weapon, every means to assure full victory for the United States and the cause of freedom.”

3) Bush reassured them that “brick by brick, we will quickly rebuild the Pentagon.” It’s interesting to note that the Pentagon did not need to be rebuilt, just repaired. But he didn’t say repaired; he said the Pentagon would be re-built, possibly code for a Rebuilding America’s Defenses. And it would be done “quickly,” as in the desired speed of the “process of transformation.”

4) The report had called for the U.S. to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.” A year and a month later, Bush reassured them and the world that “we have a unified country. We have the patience to fight and win on many fronts.”

It appears the PNAC was essentially quite pleased with the direction the Administration was taking, following their road map to the expansion of the Pax Americana and to continued “American global leadership.” Bush in turn seemed pleased with the response to the attack that the PNAC had prepared a year before it happened. Of course, they all had to understand the irony that this road map would not have been followed so quickly, as the Project had earlier noted, without the realization of the “new Pearl Harbor.” It turned out well for the Project; their laboriously crafted roadmap was being followed, and they set about refining its details and positioning the military’s machinery to start moving by it. By the time of Bush's 10/11 speech, bombs were already falling on Afghanistan, troops and aircraft carriers were soon moving to all the other pushpins on the Pentagon’s big map, and the plan to take Iraq was put into motion. Their “New American Century” had begun with a bang.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Adam Larson
Caustic Logic/They Let It Happen
Posted April 18 2007

After the day of 9/11 with its climate of nationwide crisis, confused reports of a dozen hijackings, thwarted attacks elsewhere, the scope and scale of the threat unclear, came a sequence of vulnerable days. The US was still reeling as the death toll solidified, and waiting for a possible second phase of attacks, with experts warning it could be perhaps even deadlier, involving chemical, radiological, or biological weapons But in the weeks after September 11th, nothing that wicked our way came. Things kept making more and more sense, the stock market re-opened, and the fear subsided to a manageable level. As the leaves turned to rusty hues, Americans had just enough time to feel that all was under control if on high alert, the expected retaliation was imminent over Afghanistan, and we had that special post-9/11 familial unity to fill in the gaps and bind the wounds that were just beginning to heal.

Yet it was only days after the devastating attacks that someone somewhere decided it was time to raise the fear level again, and set a chain reaction in motion by dropping deadly samples of weaponized Ames-strain anthrax into several envelopes and sending them through the mail to targets all along the East Coast. The first letter was post-marked September 18, the last, September 25, all headed “9-11-01,” an obvious reference to the days-old attack.

On October 2nd the first victim of the ‘thrax, a photo editor for American Media Inc. named Robert Stevens, was hospitalized in Boca Raton, Florida, his symptoms unknown. (American Media, Inc. is the nation’s leading tabloid publisher, responsible for the National Enquirer, the National Examiner, the Sun, the Star, and Stevens’ paper the Globe.) His diagnosis of inhalation anthrax was made public the following day, and he died on the fifth. As the Florida-shaped “Terrorland” map grew another dot of oddity, the nation at large gasped – no one had died in the U.S. from anthrax in over twenty years.

The cause was uncertain, and the CDC seemed baffled, but less than a month after Al Qaeda’s masterpiece, it didn’t look good. There was speculation as to whether al Qaeda was involved, and investigators checked “materials left behind” by the 9/11 hijackers for traces of Anthrax. (We’ll retirn to hijacker/Anthrax crossover evidence in another post and after some more research). While no such direct link was reported, it was noted by CNN that “Stevens lived about a mile from an air strip where Mohamed Atta […] rented planes,” with the vague implication that he was perhaps exposed to anthrax through his glancing proximity to the plot’s ringleader and lead pilot. [1] Perhaps his living near Atta’s airfield was a factor in his demise and not simply a bizarre coincidence. There are certainly some things that “inquiring minds want to know” that the either the hijackers or the powers behind Shadow 9/11 don’t want them to know. As much of a stretch as that is, If the 9/11 hijackers had been messing with anthrax too, people reasoned, that was scary. It was later proven that Stevens was instead exposed in his workplace, through a piece of mail that would soon be just a point in the emerging pattern of attacks.

From Boca Raton, the chaos rapidly spread to the more reputable media, with anthrax turning up in the offices of CBS News, where an assistant to Dan Rather was exposed. Spores turned up at ABC News, where an employee’s baby was infected, but treated early. Anthrax was sent to NBC News, where an intern for Tom Brokaw was infected. Brokaw was composed but visibly quite pissed on the news that night. The press was targeted also; spores turned up at the Washington Post and the New York Post.

In all several dozen were infected or exposed, and five people in the general public died; Stevens in Florida, a New York hospital worker, an elderly woman in Connecticut, and two Washington-area letter carriers. As October wore on, with these deaths along with dozens of infections reported one by one, Cipro became a household word, anthrax a nation-wide concern – every white powder or any unknown substance at all was suddenly reason for a 911 call. Susan Watts, science editor for the BBC program Newsnight, summed it up that the anthrax attack “was second only to that on the Twin Towers in the degree of shock and anxiety it caused...Some even say the anthrax letters triggered sub-clinical hysteria in the American people.” [2]

The attack also hit home in Congress. On October 15, Tom Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat recently named Senate Majority Leader, received a crudely written letter packed with white powder that tested positive for anthrax. One of his staffers was exposed, but not infected. Daschle’s letter had announced an anthrax attack on the Senate, the only part of the government no longer under Republican control. Parts of eight floors of the Hart Senate office building were evacuated for cleanup. A government source told CNN the anthrax in Daschle’s letter was "high grade, very virulent and sophisticated." [3] These sophisticated terrorists then wrote, apparently in Cray-on, “9-11-01. YOU CANNOT STOP US. WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX. YOU DIE NOW. ARE YOU AFRAID?” The crudely-written, caps-locked letter closed with the lines “DEATH TO AMERICA. DEATH TO ISRAEL. ALLAH IS GREAT.” “Clearly, they were trying to kill somebody,” Daschle told CNN of the unknown sender(s). “What this says to me is that there is an orchestrated effort under way, and that it may hit again. So we need to be ready for it.” [4] Mail in the Senate mail room was sequestered in barrels for inspection, which eventually turned up a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, another Democratic powerbroker, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in charge of approving the President’s judicial nominees. The anthrax in it, the handwriting (TAKE PENACILIN NOW), the closing, and the return address (Greendale School 4th Grade) were identical to the Daschle letter.

The letter to Leahy (D-VT)
The House of Representatives closed its doors on October 17th for a precautionary environmental inspection. Two days later, the Senate closed its doors also. Everyone was evacuated out of their familiar surroundings, as Representative “Butch” Otter (R-Idaho) described it, and the House completely suspended proceedings for this time. It was an unexpected and unsettling, half-week vacation that gave them perhaps a unique perspective on the next task on their agenda.

The Congress came back in when the House and Senate buildings were deemed safe and re-opened on October 22nd. The USA PATRIOT Act was first proposed by Rep James Sensenbrenner the following day. Under fear of germ death, the Congress quickly and overwhelmingly approved the sweeping grant of power to the Justice Department the same day. Objections were lodged, but overruled and passed by yhe House of the 24th, the Senate on the 25th, and was signed into law by President Bush on the 26th. The New York Times reported that “members rose to say that almost no one had read the new bill, and pleaded for more time and more deliberation.... the chairman of the Rules Committee, Representative David Dreier (R – CA) replied jokingly that voting out of ignorance was “not unprecedented.” [5] The vote stood, just a month and a half after 9/11.

It’s clear, then, who benefited from the anthrax attack on the congressional end, but the obvious conclusion was simply too dark to look at. So speculation began, its breathless intensity compensating for its lack of logic.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


This post is to organize those sub-posts, both up and coming, detailing aspects of the role of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the 9/11 attack carried out in their system.
(last Updated 3/22/07)

Active ATS threads on the FAA/phantom Flight 11/etc., from which I started this research:
"Evidence of a Cover-Up"
"Coverup of FAA role in gutting Pentagon Defense"

- FAA 1:The cover-up on page 34: the 9/11 Commission draws attention quietly to "incorrect" NORAD testimony on their links with FAA and the defense.

- FAA 2: The Phantom Flight 11: A quick look at the "mistaken FAA information" that AA 11 was headed to the capital, eclipsing all real threats.

- FAA 3: Mistaken FAA Info; Some or The? A fascinating look at the plane given a second chance, a half-hour after it ended, to distract defenders further south. I may have found the "smoking gun" memo (with a smoking gun in it) that put flight 11 back on the map.

- FAA 4: Authority: Unlimited but unsure: Ben Sliney's odd initiation
See also: First Day Jitters): FAA operations manager and NMCC director, besides JCS chairman, all first-day rookies on 9/11. Coincidence?

- FAA 5: Deserted Towers - coming eventually ...

- FAA 6: The Gutted defense of Washington (coming soon): The effect of this phantom flight and its part in the general failure of defense over the capital - see Failed Air Defense {masterlist} for existing analysis

- FAA 7: Human Error? (coming soon - clue: it's an inadequate excuse)

Additional, circumstantial evidence of odd FAA policy proposals in the months before 9/11 - shutting off radar and disarming pilots - two posts coming soon...

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Safety or Disempowerment of the Cockpit?
Adam Larson
Caustic Logic/Guerillas Without Guns
April 9 2007

When looking at the failure of the world’s mightiest Air Force to shoot down four hijacked airliners during an attack that lasted nearly two hours, it is important to remember that the far better option would have been to prevent the hijackings in the first place. The situation didn’t have to get to the point where orders to shoot down a planeload of innocents was necessary. Of course, stopping the men at the airport or before, preventing them even boarding, was the best sort of outcome with no possibility of a 9/11 size disaster. But even if these lines of defense failed (as was, of course, the case), there was still a possible last line of defense short of an air-to-air missile - the passengers, crews, and pilots aboard the planes themselves. If the numerous warnings of suicide hijackings the government had received in the months before the attack had been passed on to the airlines or the public, they may have known what was at stake and fought back, as the passengers on Flight 93 are believed to have successfully done once they learned the stakes.

It was soon noted that against terrorists armed only with box cutters, and alerted to the possibility of suicide hijackings, an armed pilot who knew the stakes may have been able, with the speed of a single bullet, to prevent his plane being turned into a missile. After September 11th, many voices went up asking that pilots be armed to meet future threats. Captain Stephen Luckey, Chairman of the National Flight Security Committee of the Airline Pilots Association, addressed this issue in testimony before a House Subcommittee on May 2nd, 2002. Luckey maintained that this drive to arm pilots was actually a question of re-arming them, as airline pilots indeed had been, quietly, allowed to carry guns onboard until… right before 9/11.

Luckey put it in context; “in 1961, the FAA amended federal aviation regulations, with Congressional support, to permit pilots to be armed with the consent of their airline – the agency removed that regulatory language in July 2001.” [1] That was quick – now for an instant replay: “the agency removed that regulatory language in July, 2001.” In 1961, in response to the Cuban missile Crisis and a spate of Cuban hijackings, the FAA enacted a rule that allowed pilots to carry guns on commercial flights with the purpose of stopping hijackings early. For forty years the rule stood, but in July 2001, the FAA rescinded it.

According to the conservative WorldNet Daily, the gun ban was set to take effect on an unspecified date in September. [2] In another article, WorldNet also reported that this decision was made despite a specific warning to FAA and other government officials from the ubiquitous Richard Clarke. On July 5, the nation’s top counter-terrorism agent reportedly told FAA representatives and others at a meeting in the White House that “something really spectacular is going to happen here and it’s going to happen soon.” [3]

An FAA spokesman downplayed the impact of the gun ban, saying “in the past, FAA regulations permitted pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit” but that “that was never put into effect because no requests… were ever made.” [4] Apparently, in forty years, there was not one request from an airline pilot to be armed. There must have been no successful drives to increase awareness of the policy. Were the pilots ever even aware of the policy? This rule stood, allegedly unused, for decades; if it was never used, why bother rescinding it after it had sat for so long? What was suddenly so different that mandated the change? The only thing I see different is the hijacking threat – if ever there was a time pilots would start asking for permission to carry guns, the summer and fall of 2001 would have, should have, been it.

It’s not likely that any of the pilots involved had been disarmed by this decision, and so it likely had no effect on the attack. But once again, the timing of this decision is strange, perhaps indicating a better safe than sorry mentality, a fear that some pilots might try to use that old rule in light of the threat and thus spoil a perfectly useful attack. The reasoning has been explained as eliminating redundancy, but on the question of timing, FAA officials referred WorldNet to the Department of Transportation, who refused to return calls. [5] If no pilots had ever asked for guns, or, as I argue in other posts, there were to be no hijackers to shoot, then the FAA’s decision served no tactical purpose, and yet its timing still seems at the far edge of coincidence territory to say the least.

Back to Federal Attack Assistance Masterlist
[1] Luckey, Stephen. “Arming Flight Crews Against Terrorist Acts. Statement before Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C. May 2, 2002. Accessed November 7, 2004 at:
[2], [5] Dougherty, John. “Homeland Insecurity: FAA began disarming pilots in ’87.” Worldnet Daily. May 29, 2002. Accessed November 7, 2004 at:
[3]Vulliami, Ed. “A Bad Call?” The Guardian. May 19, 2002. Accessed November 18, 2004 at:,11209,718267,00.html
[4] Dougherty, John. “Armed-pilot rule nixed after hijack briefing.” Worldnet Daily. May 18, 2002. Accessed November 7, 2004 at:



Remote controlled airliners as weapons of an inside job seemed plausible enough to the writers of a TV program aired, strangely, just six months before September 11. Stranger still, it was aired on Rupert Murdoch’s FOX network, widely suspected of being an appendage of the Republican Party. On March 4, the pilot episode of the short-lived X-Files spin-off The Lone Gunmen aired. It had been filmed a year prior, and was apparently late getting on-screen just weeks after Bush’s inauguration.

John Byers, one of the Lone Gunnmen (a geeky crew of three conspiracy nuts who foil all kinds of top-secret crimes) found out his father, a CIA agent, was killed when his car ran off the road. After the funeral, a senior Air Force officer named Ray Helm told Byers that his father was murdered, “which is exactly the way these people manage things. People your father and I worked for […] He was a good man. He had a conscience. Sometimes that's a problem in our line of work.

Byers found that his father’s car was crashed by remote control because he knew about something he wasn’t supposed to. He suspected it had something to do with a trace on his dad’s wiped computer of a DoD file labeled “Scenario 12-D.” Helm gave Byers the password for the Pentagon’s computer network – “Overlord.” The Gunmen hacked in and located 12-D on “some government think-tank's upload directory,” but the download failed.

Byers then returned to his father’s house, suspecting the old man was actually alive. Indeed, Bert was alive, and he was there at his house. Reunited, Byers immediately asked about the mystery scenario:

Byers: “We know it’s a war game scenario – it has to do with airline counter-terrorism. But why was it important enough to kill for?”
Byers Snr: “Because it’s no longer a game.”
Byers: “If some terrorist group wants to act out this scenario, why target you for assassination?”
Byers Snr: “Depends on who your terrorists are.”
Byers: “…The men who conceived of it in the first place. You’re saying our government plans to commit a terrorist act against a domestic airliner?”
Byers Snr: “There you go, blaming the entire government as usual. It’s a faction, a small faction.”
Byers: “For what possible gain?”
Byers Snr: “The Cold War’s over, John. But with no clear enemy to stockpile against, the arms market’s flat. But bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City, and you’ll find a dozen tin pot dictators all over the world just clamoring to take responsibility, and begging to be smart bombed.”

“Bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City” – hmmm… It was a 727 that Raytheon would soon prove that JPALS remote control worked on. Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if Rumsfeld, “General Star Wars,” watches FOX and digs the X-Files. I can visualize the old goat muttering something to himself when he saw this, crossing-out “12-D” and replacing it with “12-E… 757, 767,777? Go massive. Hit self as well.”

Left: Bert Byers gaze from the cockpit as his doomed airliner speeds toward the WTC. Right: The Pilot's view. (stills from the Lone Gunmen)

Anyway, father and son then boarded the plane slated for destruction that very night, hoping to foil the plot. When Byers found no bomb on board, he asked his dad “How are they going to bring it down?” Bert replied “the same way a dead man can drive a car.” Byers’ cohorts on the ground tracked the flight path with their computers and informed him the plane was under “remote access, someone on the ground’s flying your plane.” They warned him “you’ll be making an unexpected stop” in 22 minutes, at the “Corner of Liberty and Washington, lower Manhattan.” Byers was stunned, whispering to his dad “they’re going to crash the plane into the World Trade Center.”

The pilots couldn’t gain control of the plane, having been locked-out by the remote control system, just as Home Run is supposed to do, just as JPALS, at least in the (dubious) Der Spiegel version, is supposed to do. The captain informed the passengers of technical difficulties and asked them to return to their seats, with Bert muttering “and kiss your asses goodbye.”

Of course the gunmen finally broke the code, using their trusty computers and anagram skills as always, and foiled the plot. The pilots were finally given the ability to manually override the doomed flight plan just in time for the plane to veer sharply upward, zipping past the windows of the WTC and barely clearing the top. It seemed silly at the time, but many would prefer this to the similar but more depressing script that unfolded six months later in the real world…

This is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in my research, deserving of an X-File of its own. I still cannot believe the timing of this was an accident, but I also have no great insights into what sort of conscious design would have had this released in the months before Shadow 9-11 may have brought it to life on a larger scale. Was this a warning from a disgruntled insider, an experiment in pre-conditioning, or just a very bizarre coincidence?

This prediction was written, remember, at least a year before it was aired, so probably in early 2000. The episode’s writers were Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban (who work together so often, in fact, that they often compress their names into the singular “John Gilnitz,” as I will in referring to them collectively. Spotnitz later told reporters in mid-2002, when people finally noticed the parallel and asked him about it:

“I woke up on Sept. 11th and saw it on TV, and the first thing I thought of was The Lone Gunmen. But then in the weeks and months that followed, almost no one noticed the connection [or wanted to – ed]. What's disturbing about it to me is, you think as a fiction writer that if you can imagine this scenario, then the people in power in the government who are there to imagine disaster scenarios can imagine it, too.”

And the people who propose special distribution documents can imagine it as well. The fact that it took months for anyone to notice the parallel, as TV Guide reported in June 2002, “seems to be collective amnesia of the highest order.”

Actor Dean Haglund, who played Gunman Richard “Ringo” Langley on the show, was freaked out by the comparison too. He didn’t indicate any knowledge of how the script was arrived at, but had doubts about the script played out on 9-11. With the advantage of three years hindsight, Haglund told the amazing and annoying Alex Jones in a 2004 interview “I think it was staged, and uh… it’s America’s Reichstag Fire.” [3]

But no matter the views of those involved, this evidence of the conceivability of a plane being used as a remote-controlled weapon of empire was shown on the fringe venue of prime time network television, and a virtual outline of Shadow 9-11 was somehow branded an X-Files conspiracy theory six months before the attack that cast that shadow even came to be. All thanks to John Gilnitz and the folks at FOX.

The episode’s closing dialog is also, I believe, relevant here. If this was indeed a warning from an insider, they wanted us to know that now we’re on our own:

“Byers: “If we can't get the FBI we'll go public. With your testimony, we can break this conspiracy wide open. Bring Overlord down. The whole operation.
Byers Snr: God, I see myself in you. The same youthful enthusiasm, idealism. I was so angry at you for so long because I didn't want you to waste your life tilting at windmills. But I can see now, you've got something I never had. You're a brave man, John.
Byers: You're not going to testify. You're going to let them cover this up.
Byers Snr: They almost killed me twice. They won't fail a third time. My silence will keep me alive. (he puts his hand on BYERS' shoulder) And you. I know you and your friends are fighting for the American dream. (Pause) Just don't expect to win. (the elder Byers walks away in silence).

The Lone Gunmen, pilot episode. Aired on FOX TV March 4 2001. Info available at:
“Gunmen Foreshadowed 9/11.” SciFi Wire. June 21, 2002.
Paul Thompson and the Center for Cooperative Research. The Terror Timeline. Page 31.
Alex Jones interviews Dean Haglund. Prison Planet. January 2005. Video viewable at:

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Ben Sliney’s Odd Initiation
Adam Larson
Caustic Logic / They Let It Happen
March 22 2007

Benedict Sliney, on the set of “Flight 93,” (2006), reliving his high-pressure first day as FAA national operations manager

Besides the NMCC and Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Federal Aviation Administration, through whose system the 9/11 attacks occurred, was in weird hands on that weird day. Benedict Sliney had experience with FAA air traffic control dating back to 1964, but from the early 1980s took an 18-year hiatus to practice law in Manhattan. [1] He made a name for himself defending NY’s transit authority against passenger lawsuits, and once suing the FAA on behalf of fellow air traffic controllers. He gave up law in mid-2001, which he surrendered only, he says, after his 72-year-old secretary unexpectedly retired.

“I could not work without her, […] I wasn't going to continue. I didn't like law anyhow, it paid well, but it's very demanding in terms of time. I maintained my friendship of course with people in the FAA. The person in charge of the command center asked me, when I would complain about the law to come back to the FAA and I did.” [2]

This was apparently in mid-2001 when some combination of FAA connections, leadership skills, whatever, gave him a sudden career change back to the Administration, and straight to the top: National Operations Manager, a short, powerfully titled post described by USA Today as “the chess master of the air traffic system.” The paper explained “when he accepted the job overseeing the nation's airspace a few months earlier, Sliney wanted to be sure he had the power to do the job as he saw fit. "What is the limit of my authority?" he asked the man who had promoted him. "Unlimited," he was told.” [3] He got the job, and over the next several weeks set to re-learning the ropes and the two decades of technological and procedural changes since his old days.

It was hoped he’d learn enough to fulfill his normal, routine, functions. But Sliney’s new job also made him the man who would, theoretically, be responsible for such unprecedented things as ordering nationwide ground-stop of all air traffic, not that it ever had been an issue before. And he would also be the very guy in charge of requesting fighter assistance in the event of a suicide hijacking, on the off-chance that should ever be needed, which also had never ever happened once in the US. So perhaps understandably, these more esoteric duties were seemingly passed over a bit.

Tuesday being the slowest air travel day, little was expected (?) as Sliney clocked in for his first day at the FAA national operations center in Herndon Virginia, smack between Dulles Airport, the capital, and the Pentagon, at some time before 8:00 am on September 11. But it didn’t stay quiet for long; “It was a very short time,” Sliney later remembered, before he received the first clue this day would not be routine. At about 8:25 am, one of his assistant informed him “that they had an admission that a flight attendant was stabbed. Now it's starting to take a road that we hadn't been down before. It swiftly escalated after that.” [4] Somewhat less swiftly, the FAA response to the unfolding attack, largely overseen by Sliney, was measured, graduated:

8:15-20ish – Numerous calls sent to FAA from flight attendants Ong and Sweeney onboard Flight 11, clearly telling of a hijacking in progress.

8:24 - a transmission intended for the passengers on Flight 11 but accidentally sent system-wide by the hijackers, was received: "We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be OK." After Sliney learned of this line, USA Today reported, “the words will haunt him all morning. "We have some planes." Some? How many?” [5]

Before 8:46 – Sliney later described “an unidentified aircraft,” that is, with no transponder, “at 16,000 feet approaching New York City from the northwest at a pretty moderate ground speed of 300 knots. No one was working and we did not know who the aircraft was.” [6] Without transponders, we're told, it was hard to tell one of the thousands of blips from the next (which, if true, made the system completely useless)

8:46-8:50 - Sliney receives word from New York of a “small plane” crash into the World Trade Center. They turn on CNN in the control center. “That was no small plane, Sliney thinks.” Within minutes his suspicions were confirmed: it was the missing AA11. [7]

9:03 – The second plane, UA175, hits the second tower, and New York’s air space is ordered shut down, a multi-state area cleared of air traffic in the first such unprecedented move of the morning. Realizing this is an attack, and twenty minutes into it, Sliney scrambles to make up for lost time. It was time for bold – but not hasty - action.

9:15 – American Airlines orders no more AA takeoffs in the northeast. No concrete moves from Sliney in Herndon yet, just listing all troubled, possibly hijacked flights on a dry erase board. “The moves aren't strong enough for some of the air traffic specialists at the center,” says USA Today, “who bombard Sliney with advice. "Just stop everything! Just stop it!" The words ring true to Sliney.” [8] Haunted by knowledge of more planes, Sliney responds. Seconds tick by. (one mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi... ten more minutes pass)

9:25 - AA77 has now been unaccounted for as well, for thirty minutes. Sliney issues another unprecedented order: full groundstop. No FAA controlled flights are to take off, anywhere in the country. The skies are full enough, but it wasn't yet time to order them cleared altogether.

“Amid the shouts and chatter and conflicting reports,” USA Today reported, Sliney “reminds himself: Don't jump to conclusions. Sort it out.” Indeed, deliberation seems his strong point: “since the second Trade Center tower was hit, Sliney has considered bringing every flight down,” the paper reported. It wasn’t until after the Pentagon was hit with AA77 at 9:38 that “the manager in charge of the nation's air traffic system is certain. He has no time to consult with FAA officials in Washington,” and made his snap decision all on his own to have all air traffic get out of the sky ASAP. "Order everyone to land! Regardless of destination!" Sliney shouted, since shouting helps orders get back in time to when they might have done some good. [1] The 9/11 Commission agreed that Sliney “ordered all FAA facilities to instruct all aircraft to land at the nearest airport” at exactly 9:42, 56 minutes after the first strike of the war against his native New York, an hour and twenty minutes after the first hijacking was known of.

Is that slow or fast? There’s not much precedence to judge by, but a faster response is at least feasible, by Sliney’s own account. US News reported in June 2004 that “he says he would have stopped everyone sooner,” had he not been left out of the pre-9/11 terror warning loop. Ominous predictions that had been issued that summer about al Qaeda’s potential air designs “never reached key people like Benedict Sliney.” [10] Whoever preceded Sliney in the NOM position likely had been aware of the threat, considering for example, the August 2001 CIA memo "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly," and the high-level meeting Richard Clarke called on July 5, including FAA, and warning “something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon.” But the manager who might’ve known the score on what to expect, and probably had a better understanding of what could be done in response, was just not working out. And his replacement, being a first-day rookie not clued into the earlier threat assessments, was in effect a blank spacer inserted, by chance we are to believe, into a key spot in the air defense system.

Sliney was not the top link at FAA, of course. He had superiors like FAA administrator Jane Garvey and her deputy Monte Belger, and running all the way up to Transportation Secretary Norman “fuck pilot discretion” Mineta, in the PEOC beneath the White House with Cheney and Rice. But Sliney was the top hands-on guy with radar screens in front of him, called on to make major decisions that morning beside the ground stop. He told the 9/11 Commission about his first call with NORAD, at some point before 8:46:

“NORAD […] asked me if I were requesting a military intervention. And I indicated to NORAD that I'm advising you of the - of the facts of this particular incident. I'm not requesting anything. I wasn't sure I even had the authority to request such a thing. And when the lady persisted at NORAD, I asked her if I could call her back and I went to the domestic event net, which is available to all facilities and most of the major facilities around it, and I queried NORAD and the FAA headquarters as to whether or not I had such authority to ask for intervention by the military or a scramble on this particular aircraft, and they did agree that I had such authority after a discussion on the virtues of collaboration. However, I indicated further when I agreed that we should collaborate on such decisions, but if time did not permit it, did I have that authority, I persisted in that and they said that I did. I didn't know that prior to that moment in time.” [11]

CNN’s Paula Zahn explained further “Mr. Sliney says these conversations took several minutes and by the time he received an answer, the aircraft was past Manhattan,” meaning, I presume, past gone into the WTC. [12] Sliney had unlimited authority but like Bullwinkle the moose, he didn’t know his own strength, at least not precisely enough to do much of use on 9/11. He learned his powers eventually, of course, but too late. I’m not sure how long after 9/11 he held the NOM job, but by the time of his candid and well-covered May 2004 testimony to the 9/11 Commission, he had switched over to Operations Manager for the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control, another slot that had been vital on 9/11. This shows he’s serious about FAA; he didn’t just come on just for 9/11. That would look suspicious...

Pure coincidence is the official reason such man was put into such a spot at just that time, but the agency of chance is already strained enough to explain the events of that morning without adding this to its burden. If indeed Sliney were placed to help facilitate the attacks, it’s important to consider whether his part was really central or important enough to warrant the risk of dropping the spacer into his spot less than an hour before the attacks began. Delays in ground stop and military escorts seem to have had little overall effect, only helping keep the skies as cluttered as normal, limiting radar tracking. Even swift action would not clear the skies immediately anyway. This is secondary. As for his requests for fighter assistance, with or without Sliney’s involvement, fighters were off the ground just after the first plane hit, which is reasonably swift. Even if scrambled sooner, the total disempowerment of the defending fighter pilots was beyond his mandate and would have happened either way. His well-timed placement then serves as another redundant screw-up that helps cancel out the culpability of the others. The precision of the placement makes it also seem a possible distraction, but one engineered in advance, which is telling.

Curiously, Ben Sliney was able to regain the limelight again and add another title to his resume with another unexpected job offer – an actor, playing the part of himself in the 2006 film Flight 93 (which I have yet to see). He had become a piece of history, an ironic 9/11 artifact, the first-day guy! Man what a first day; Murphy’s law, we can all relate to that! He was initially brought on by director Paul Greengrass as an adviser on re-enacting his part of the morning of 9/11 – what it was like at the center, how to accurately reflect the events. Oddly parallel to his actual switch back to FAA moths before 9/11 as a last-minute replacement, Sliney explained in a 2006 interview: “they hired an actor to play me. And he was having a little difficulty with it. And after two days, they asked me to do it. I got a note under the door. 5 in the morning, I was getting ready to go to the set, could you please bring your suit, tie, shoes. At the bottom it said “this is not a test. This is not a drill.” [13]
Back to "Federal Attack Assistance?" Masterlist

[1], [2], [4], [13] United 93: An Interview with National Operations Manager Ben Sliney
By Tonisha Johnson April 2006.
[3] Adams, Marilyn, Alan Levin and Blake Morrison. “Part II: No one was sure if hijackers were on board.” USA Today. Posting date unlisted.
[5], [7], [8], [9] Part I: Terror attacks brought drastic decision: Clear the skies
By Alan Levin, Alan, Marilyn Adams and Blake Morrison, USA Today. August 13 2002.
[6], [11] Benedict Sliney Testimony 9/11 Commission. May 21 2004. Via CNN.
[10] Levine, Samantha. “In the skies, a scary 'failure of imagination.” US News And World Report. June 28 2004. Posted June 20 2004.
[12] Paula Zahn Now. “Chilling Audio From 9/11 Hijack Played at Hearing.” Aired June 17, 2004. Transcript: