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NORAD Tapes Only Intensify Implausibility
Of 9/11 Official Story
"These guys are smart," statement completely inconsistent with flight instructors description of hijacker's skills
Newly released portions of NORAD tapes from 9/11 featured in a Vanity Fair article do little to answer skeptic's questions about the impotence of U.S. air defenses on 9/11 and if anything only increase focus on the incompatibility of the official version of events with what is actually known to have taken place on that day.
It is clear that the exercises revolving around hijacked airliners scheduled for that morning created so much noise in the system that controllers could not pinpoint the positions of any of the real airliners to orchestrate any kind of intercept.
Errant 'ghost' aircraft such as 'Delta 89' and American Airlines 11 which controllers weren't aware had already crashed into the World Trade Center north tower continually confuse NORAD officials and at one point after Flight 77 has hit the Pentagon, they even intercept their own aircraft.
Several exchanges between NORAD personnel outline the confusion that the drills caused and delayed the response of air defense procedures.
BOSTON CENTER: Hi. Boston Center T.M.U. [Traffic Management Unit], we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.
POWELL: Is this real-world or exercise?
BOSTON CENTER: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.
WATSON: What was that?
ROUNTREE: Is that real-world?
DOOLEY: Real-world hijack.
"When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was 'Somebody started the exercise early,'" said mission-crew commander Major Kevin Nasypany.
The exercise of running numerous war games where planes would be mock-hijacked and crashed into high-profile targets is dismissed as a coincidence by the writer Michael Bronner, with no discussion of the astronomical improbability of the two scenarios colliding, in alliance with similar same target, same time drills which took place during the London bombings.
The tapes betray the fact that NORAD's attention to the fact that Flight 77 was heading towards Washington are virtually non-existent as they struggle to gain authorization to shoot down stray aircraft.
Despite the lies of Cheney in his subsequent TV interviews and statements given under oath to the 9/11 Commission, those shoot down orders never arrived, even after United 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania.
While NORAD struggled to comprehend what exactly was heading towards Washington, in Dick Cheney's PEOC bunker things were apparently a lot clearer. The testimony of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta is brought under more scrutiny by the NORAD tapes.
How could Cheney know exactly what was heading for Washington and give clear orders for its path to remain clear, while the very people mandated to defend the skies of America scrambled desperately to make sense of the chaos and get fighters in the positions they needed to be?
"During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, "The plane is 50 miles out." "The plane is 30 miles out."
And when it got down to "the plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the Vice President, "Do the orders still stand?"
"And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony to the 9/11 Commission, May 23, 2003.
The impotence of NORAD in only having access to four fighters to cover the entire eastern seaboard of the US contradicts the fact that 35 USAF bases alone were within range of the hijacked flights but were never called upon or given as an option.
The quick response by NORAD to the golfer Payne Stewart's off-course aircraft in 1999 is often cited as contradicting with procedure on 9/11. In addition, there were 67 occasions where fighters were scrambled to intercept errant aircraft in the 9 month period before 9/11.
Other segments of the tapes only raise more questions and do not provide any answers to long-standing mysteries.
- How did the admittedly incompetent pilot hijackers turn off the transponders of all the aircraft? A procedure, according to professionals that we have talked to, is often beyond the capability of even the most experienced commercial pilots?
- In one portion of the tapes, NORAD personnel are heard to marvel at the excellence of the hijacker's strategy.
ANDERSON: They're probably not squawking anything [broadcasting a beacon code] anyway. I mean, obviously these guys are in the cockpit.
NASYPANY: These guys are smart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, they knew exactly what they wanted to do.
These guys are smart? Contrast this statement with those of the flight instructors when describing the skills of the alleged hijackers.
Mohammed Atta: "His attention span was zero."
Khalid Al-Mihdhar: "We didn't kick him out, but he didn't live up to our standards."
Marwan Al-Shehhi: “He was dropped because of his limited English and incompetence at the controls.”
Salem Al-Hazmi: "We advised him to quit after two lessons.”
Do the descriptions afforded to these men square with the chaos that their skills in evading detection brought to the NORAD control room? Or were the planes being controlled by some other means than morons who could barely get single engine Cessna's off the ground - but who apparently ran the world's most sophisticated air defense ragged for hours?
Does the panic that envelops the NORAD control room and the fear that new reports of hijacked planes will never end, coupled with speculation that anything (the White House and the Statue of Liberty are mentioned) could be a target, corroborate with the actions of President Bush's security detail?
Reports of numerous stray aircraft, bombs on planes, and truck bombs at the Pentagon fly and yet President Bush sits calmly in a Florida classroom apparently safe in the knowledge that he is not a target. Why wasn't the President hurried into the nearest underground bunker as soon as Card told him "America is under attack," unless Bush's people were confident of the exact targets beforehand, and that Bush himself wasn't one of them?
The writer of the Vanity Fair piece has taken the NORAD tapes on their own and attempted to forward them as proof that the official version of events is largely accurate, minus the proven lies about the non-authorization of shoot downs.
The problem is that the behavior of the errant planes, when overlaid with the activities of Cheney and Bush, standard intercept operating procedure (minus the intentional confusion of an untold number of blips from the NORAD drills) and the incompetent hijackers, simply does not corroborate.
Furthermore, the tape portions amount to a total of no more than 20 minutes of hand-picked cmmunications and it is admitted that the discussions of the higher brass are not recorded due to secrecy. Nothing is mentioned of the six tapes of air traffic control communications with the hijacked airliners that were deliberately destroyed by FAA managers.
The purpose of the Vanity Fair and a similar Washington Post article is to whitewash the entire affair and blame 9/11 on the incompetence of NORAD.
The NORAD tapes, far from dissolving so-called "conspiracy theories," only serve to support the weight of evidence that points directly towards a deliberate plan on September 11, 2001 to make the air defenses of the United States impotent and to enable the planes to find their targets.