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:

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Adam Larson
Caustic Logic/They Let It Happen
January 1 2007
Last Update: 3/19

9/11 was just such a weird day, who could think it relevant that among the other oddities of that morning The FAA was being run by a first-day rookie? Benedict Sliney was just getting his feet wet as the National Operations Manager when four civilian airliners were hijacked amid confused reports of about a dozen possible hijacks. While Sliney had superiors like FAA administrator Jane Garvey, he was called on to make major decisions that morning. He told the 9/11 Commission: “NORAD […] asked ME if I were requesting military intervention. And I indicated to NORAD that I’m advising you 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.” [1] Perhaps he hadn’t watched the training video closely enough the day before.

But was the Chain of Command he and the others at FAA informing any better organized? The National Military Command Center (NMCC), beneath the Pentagon, is the command and control “nerve center” for the military leadership if America comes under attack. While this usually does not happen, the NMCC sits ready, watched over and coordinated by the Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) and is used for other activities requiring centralized coordination – like passing on requests for fighter assistance in case of a hijacking and, I’d guess, coordinating air-based War games, of which there were at least five on 9/11.

Then Captain Charles J. Leidig - acting NMCC Director for almost precisely the 90 minutes of the 9/11 attacks
Army Brigadier General Montague Winfield was originally slated to be in charge of the NMCC that morning, but the previous day he had decided to take some time off, asking a recently qualified but inexperienced rookie, Navy Captain Charles Leidig, to stand in as DDO in the morning. This is confirmed by Leidig’s own testimony to the 9/11 Commission. His written statement was the shortest they received at just over one page, large font, double spaced. It stated blandly “on 10 September 2001, Brigadier General Winfield, US Army, asked that I stand a portion of his duty […] on the following day. I agreed and relieved Brigadier General Winfield at 0830 on 11 September 2001.” [2] At that very minute, the first plane was right between its hijacking (about 8:15) and its impact with the WTC (8:46).

The remarkable request was presumably for some other, lesser, reason. But Leidig’s rookie status (only qualified to be DDO a few weeks earlier) and the emerging crisis did not interrupt the transfer and Winfield left. I can’t say whether this had any operational role in 9/11 or the lack of defense against it, or was related to the air-based war games that have been acknowledged, but both seem probable. And while certainly the timing of this admitted September 10 request is beyond coincidence, none of the involved parties have offered any explanation - it has remained both curiously open and unexplained.

But war games or no, Leidig’s job there wound up more than a drill. As the 9-11 Commission’s final report explained “the job of the NMCC in such an emergency is to gather the relevant parties and establish the chain of command between the national command authority […] and those who need to carry out their orders.” [3] This includes, among others, the Defense Secretary and JCS Chairman. Acting Joint Chiefs Chairman, Air Force General Richard Myers – like Leidig, filling in as of the morning of 9/11 – claims total ignorance of the attack until about 9:40, and the 9/11 Commission confirmed that he arrived at the NMCC and joined the conference in session just before 10:00, over an hour after the attack began and just as it was ending.

By the time Myers arrived at 10:00, regular DDO Montague Winfield had taken the center over again from Leidig, but Rumsfeld, the middle link in the “national command authority” chain Leidig was tasked with “gathering,” was still MIA. Winfield would later state “for 30 minutes we couldn't find him. And just as we began to worry, he walked into the door” at 10:30 – nearly a half hour after the attack was over. [4] While he’d been at the building all morning, officially he’d been too busy loading injured into ambulances for the TV cameras to take his part in the defense, though accounts of his whereabouts vary greatly.

So here is the graphic representation of Leidig’s unorthodox stand-in shift and the results of his work to “gather the relevant parties” during the 111 minutes that hijacked attack craft were attacking the heart of America’s financial and military might. By whatever confluence of factors, the room was kept vacant of upper leadership until Leidig relenquished control and the attack ended. We should be left wondering why the parties weren’t gathered, what was so special about Leidig that he had to be there to fail to gather them, and who knew the day before just how badly he would fail when inserted in the morning?

Leidig did try to do things on his own as Myers and Rumsfeld kept their distance, initiating a phone bridge and significant event conference at 9:29, a line that the 9/11 Commission clarified did not have FAA on it. One minute later, Leidig announced that he was just told American 11 was still airborne. [5] It was also precisely at 9:30 that the Langley fighter pilots finally took off, and so Leidig gave them this new ghost target, which wound up distracting them from the very real Flight 77 as it closed in on his own location and entered radar screens again. The fighter pilots were never informed of the attack plane until after they saw smoke rising from the Pentagon after 9:37. The Commission admitted the FAA was not on the line with Leidig, but blames them anyway: “we have not been able to identify the source of this mistaken FAA information,” and left it at that [emphasis mine]. [6]

Since that day, Leidig has been promoted – first to Commandant of Midshipmen in September 2003, then to U.S. Defense Representative to the Pacific micro-states. Later he assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Marianas and Navy Region Marianas and advanced to Rear Admiral status. Leidig is recipient of numerous service medals over his distinguished career, none specifically for his service on 9/11, of which his official Navy bio makes no mention whatsoever. [7]

[After I posted this, it occured to me to state I'm not accusing Adm Leidig of anything in particular, nor Sliney, Myers, or even Rumsfeld individually. I only present this in the public interest to help clarify the record - nothing personal.]

[1] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Panel one, Day two of 12th public hearing. Staff statements on the military and civilian aviation authorities. Washington D.C. June 17, 2004.
[2] Flocco, Tom. "NMCC ops director asked substitute on 9-10 to stand his watch on 9-11.” Prison Planet. June 18 2004.
[3] 9/11 Commission Final Report. Page 37.
[4] Thompson, Paul and the Center for Cooperative Research. “The Terror Timeline.” New York. Regan Books. 2004. Page 456.
[5] 9/11 Commission Final Report. Page 37.
[6] 9/11 Commission Final Report. Page 26
[7] Commander Naval Forces Marianas: Rear Admiral Charles J. Leidig. US Navy bio.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Now let’s look at a report from onboard Flight 11, reportedly placed by a flight attendant just seven minutes before impact: Two crew members in the cockpit – presumably pilot and co-pilot – were stabbed. Communications were briefly cut, then another call came two minutes later - news came across that “a passenger in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B” with one shot fired. The killer was pegged as muscle hijacker Satam al Suqami. The victim was Daniel Lewin, founder Akamai tech and Israeli special agent, possibly an international counter-terror operative. “That call was put through by Suzanne Clark of FAA corporate headquarters,” an early FAA memo reported, supposedly based on flight attendant reports she’d just received (from who precisely is unsure). Five minutes later, the memo explains, Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center and disappeared for good.

This memo was released as a first draft, but never released in final form, as it had by then become “protected information,” and the final FAA record reflects no gunshots fired anywhere that day. Worldnet ran an article about this in February 2002, explaining that “the FAA, while confirming the document is authentic, claims the report of Lewin's shooting, written several hours after the Sept. 11 hijackings, was premature and inaccurate.” While this call mentioning the gunshot was not recorded, an FBI account of it was leaked to the media, though eventually eclipsed by another, recorded call from attendant Amy Sweeney. In this account, and referring to the same two passengers, “a hijacker also cut the throat of a business-class passenger, and he appears to be dead."

There are different opinions on the story change from firearm to blade, from FAA cover-up of abysmal security to simple communications errors. The 9/11 Commission’s Final Report made several mentions of the possibility of a gun on board Flight 93 (which they found in error), but no mention at all of any gun on AA11. It was completely ignored.

But the most interesting thing about this discredited FAA memo for the study at hand is the times listed in it: the calls from the flight were reportedly placed at 9:18 and 9;20, and five minutes later, “at 9:25 am, this flight crashed directly into one of the towers of the world trade center.” The actual crash was at 8:46, 32 minutes earlier. The 9/11 Commission just presumed a typo it seems, and shifted the time frame back an hour, placing two calls from Amy Sweeney at 8:19 and 8:21. So following this pattern, if we shift the impact back an hour as well, the plane would have crashed at 8:26. So now we have two separate “typos” and an impact time out of alignment with the others. Time zone lag is the not a reason – it was 9:25 nowhere in the world when Flight 11 ended.

But of course what was happening at 9;25 was that minutes-old reports that Flight 11 was airborne being passed on through the air defense system. Are these 9:18-9:20 report of violence on the ghost flight 11 what actually got Flight 11 reported as airborne at that time? It’s the kind of thing that would make a controller have to “presume” where the plane actually was, since no one was actually seeing it? Or is it just a coincidence that this incongruous memo matches both the plane and time of this noted but un-examined “mistaken FAA information,” as well as its origins at national HQ in DC? They weren’t able to find it, but I may have that very info they so desperately wanted, found in their discard pile of confused reports from that crazy day.

Next: Sliney's Authority: Unlimited But Unsure
Back to FAA Masterlist

Saturday, March 3, 2007


White House Conter-terrorism Czar Richard Clarke explained in his account of 9/11 how at 9:30 he told his deputy in the PEOC to inform Vice President Cheney “we need to authorize the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft […] that looks like it is threatening to attack […] Got it?” [1] Accounts differ as to whether or not the vice president “got it” at this point, but Clarke says the shoot-down order was agreed upon by Bush and Cheney some time before the president’s plane took off at 9:55. This was in a call he remembered getting from his deputy with Cheney who informed him “Air Force One is getting ready to take off […] fighter escort is authorized. And […] tell the Pentagon they have authority from the President to shoot down hostile aircraft, repeat, they have authority to shoot down hostile aircraft.” It’s not clear why this aide thought Clarke was a link in the Chain of Command to pass the order on, but Clarke wrote “I was amazed at the speed of the decision coming from Cheney and, through him, from Bush.” [2]

But at least one other account seems to back up an even earlier order. Recall that Cheney was informed of flight 77 closing in on Washington at about 9:33. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told the 9-11 Commission in 2003 that he saw Cheney give what he interpreted as a shoot-down order at this time. [3] The BBC documentary Clear the Skies records Mineta’s recollection of a plane reported coming in fast. Cheney was informed it was 30 miles out, and he ordered it shot down. He was informed again that it was 10 miles out and the aide asked if the orders still stood. Mineta recalls “the vice president sort of whipped his head around and said “of course they do.” [4] This account was placed in the documentary, which is based on a ticking timeline of the events, in the time slot right before the Pentagon impact at 9:37.

But the official story is that the order was finally transmitted from the President to Cheney, with a casual “you bet,” at just about 10:05, for sure before 10:10, or maybe 10:18 - this has been hotly contested. The 9-11 Commission, in a rare and curious show of contrariness, got into a bit of a brawl with Cheney over this phone call. In June 2004, as the final report was released, Newsweek reported:

“[S]ome on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president’s account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report […] some staffers “flat out didn’t believe the call ever took place.” When the early draft conveying that skepticism was circulated to the administration, it provoked an angry reaction […] the White House vigorously lobbied the commission to change the language in its report.” [5]

Cheney and Rice share a tense moment in the PEOC on 9/11. Photo chosen for presence of Cheney on the phone.
The Commission finally caved to Cheney’s protests and simply concluded in their final report “there is no documentary evidence for this call.” But they did get some subtle hints of this earlier argument worked in. For example, they note that neither Cheney’s wife Lynn nor his Chief of Staff Libby, who were nearby, can recall this call being made. [6]

By 10:15, Cheney was ordering a phantom flight shot down, saying the President had “signed-off on the concept.” Cheney’s Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, Libby’s underling, urged Cheney to “confirm the engage order,” since he “had not heard any prior conversation on the subject with the President.” [7] This confirmation call, unlike the first, was logged at 10:18 and found by the commission. The final report also notes that Bush informed Press Secretary Fleischer at 10:20 that he had just passed on the historical shoot-down order.

The clear but subtle implication is that perhaps Cheney issued this order on his own and only ran it by Bush at 10:18 – or at least Libby, Lynn, Bolten, and the 9/11 Commission have made it look that way, for reasons that are unclear. But Bush stubbornly insists standard procedure was observed, and that he passed the order on whenever Cheney says he did. He said this in the secret hearing he had with the commission in Cheney’s presence, not under oath, off the record, with no recordings, minutes, or direct quotes allowed. They summed up Bush’s recollection:

“The President said he remembered such a conversation, and that it reminded him of when he had been an interceptor pilot. The President emphasized to us that he authorized the shootdown of hijacked aircraft.” [8]

Much has been made of Cheney’s aggressive application of the shoot-down order once he finally had it. In an incident eerily similar to Mineta’s recollection cited above, Cheney urged the shoot-down of United 93 as it was reported closing in at about 10:10. This was read by the Secret Service as a radar track, but, the Commission concluded, was actually a projection of 93’s path if it ,hadn’t just crashed. But it gave Cheney a chance to do something. Informed the plane was eighty miles out, Cheney quickly “authorized fighter aircraft to engage the inbound plane.” Again he was informed when the projected plane was 60 miles out and wanted to know if the order still stood. “Scooter” Libby described Cheney’s confirmation to the 9-11 Commission as swift - “in about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing.” [9] But he only started swinging almost the exact minute there was nothing left to swing at, giving an impression of decisive leadership without actually screwing up a perfectly good terror attack.

Besides the vague possibility of ordering the shoot-down of 93 without the Presiden't approval, another Cheney contribution to the 9/11 mythos is his instant response to the plane's crash. Once it became clear that 93 had gone down short of Washington, everyone wondered if it had been shot down. Yet without any of the evidence that would later surface from the audio record of the doomed flight’s last moments, without the benefit of having heard anyone cry “let’s roll,” Cheney already knew the official story. “The Vice President was a little bit ahead of us,” said Eric Edelman, Cheney's national security advisor. “He said sort of softly and to nobody in particular, ‘I think an act of heroism just took place on that plane.’” [10] What an eerily acurate guess.

[1] Clarke, Richard A. “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror.” New York. Free Press. 2004. Page 7.
[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 431.
[3] See [2]. Thompson. Page 431.
[4] "Clear the Skies." BBC Video. 2002.
[5] Klaidman, Daniel and Michael Hirsh. “Who was Really in Charge?” Newsweek. June 28, 2004.
[6] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. Authorized First Edition. New York. W.W. Norton. 2004. Pages 40-41
[7] See [5]. Klaidman and Hirsh.
[8] See [6]. Page 40.
[9] See [6]. Page 41
[10] CNN. “Cheney recalls taking charge from bunker.” September 12, 2002. Accessed at: