Air Traffic Controllers Do Track Planes Even with Transponders Off
Before 9/11, no transponder had ever become inactive, and so the military and FAA didn't have any experience on how to track planes with their transponders off. Right?
Well, a Miami-Herald article from September 14, 2001, states:
(Article continues below)
The official hijacking protocols provide that the loss of transponder
signal be treated as a "no radio" emergency. On 9/11, that is exactly
what happened, at least for some of the flights (The protocols also
NORAD control facility shall be advised if the hijacked aircraft is
squawking a different transponder
code". In other words, the moment a plane stops broadcasting the
normal transponder code, NORAD is immediately notified).
On 9/11, Flight 77 was in fact tracked on radar, and could have been intercepted with fighter jets. However, the plane was allowed to go on a joy-ride all over the country with its transponder off for three-quarters of an hour. As the above-quoted Miami-Herald article states:
Forty-five minutes. That's how long American Airlines Flight 77 meandered through the air headed for the White House, its flight plan abandoned, its radar beacon silent.
Dick Cheney also monitored flight 77 for many miles as it approached the Pentagon (confirmed here).
Similarly, an ABC News article states:
"Controllers at the Boston Center knew American Airlines Flight 11, which departed at 7:59 a.m. ET from Boston for its flight to Los Angeles, was hijacked 30 minutes before it crashed. They tracked it to New York on their radar scopes. 'I watched the target of American 11 the whole way down,' said Boston controller Mark Hodgkins. "And air traffic controllers and others tracked Flight 175.
Indeed, radar data declassified in 2006 shows that the planes were tracked on radar virtually their entire flight, and that altitude was known for the planes during most of their flight (only flight 77 was purportedly off-radar for part of its flight).
And, as recounted by a high-level Secret Service agent:
"Through monitoring radar and activating an open line with the FAA, the Secret Service was able to receive real time information about . . . two hijacked aircraft as they approached Washington, D.C. "Norad Admits Planes Show Up on Radar Even with Transponders Turned Off
Even Neads, the Northeastern sector of Norad, admits that the hijacked planes would have appeared on radar as dashes even after the transponders had been turned off:
A similar report states:
NEADS Staff Sergeant Larry Thornton says, “Once we were called by the FAA, we could find split-second hits on what we thought we were looking for. . . We were looking for little dash marks . . . .”But the government claims that it could not locate the hijacked planes because the skies were crowded with other planes, and the military air traffic controllers could not find the planes among all of the plane signals. As NEADS' Thornton said:
"But the area was so congested and it was incredibly difficult to find. We were looking for little dash marks in a pile of clutter and a pile of aircraft on a two-dimensional scope.” Each fluorescent green pulsating dot on their radar scopes represents an airplane, and there are thousands currently airborne, especially over the busy northeast US.
However, the hijacked planes flew in many areas which were not high-traffic areas.
Moreover, it makes no sense that air traffic controllers could not focus their radar scopes solely on airplanes without transponder signals. In other words, let's say a Cuban jet flew onto the East Coast of the United States without any transponder signal. Would Norad say "Sorry, we lost the bad guy's nuclear-armed fighter jet amidst all the commuter flights"?
That makes no sense.
Remember that Norad had run drills for several years of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, and "numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft". In other words, drills using REAL AIRCRAFT simulating terrorist attacks crashing jets into buildings, including the twin towers, were run. See also this short excerpt of a Peter Jennings newscast on 9/11. Moreover, the military had previously run war games involving multiple, simultaneous hijackings , so this aspect of 9/11 was not as overwhelming as we have been led to believe..
Air traffic control radar, or at least military radar, must -- with the push of a button -- be able to use computer programming to hide all data for planes which have been accounted for as normal, civilian airplanes. In other words, those with working transponder signals. Even if air traffic controllers have to switch from secondary to primary radar, there must be a function for the computer to remove from primary radar signals which include transponder data.
If that were not the case, America's trillion-dollar defense system would be rendered useless.
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