911 Cover-Up Panel Takes a Dive


In an ignominious capitulation to the White House the leaders of the 9/11 Commission traded two and a half hours of testimony by Condoleeza Rice in public under oath in exchange for a written promise not to ask anymore White House persons to testify in public or under oath. It is not clear who this includes but no doubt comprises all cabinet level officials. There are a number of questions which either have not been asked or to which answers have not been forthcoming or what answers have been provided are contradictory and confusing. Rice is not likely to shed any light on the situation. Given her previous public pronouncements. She is either a not too accomplished liar, stupid, completely out of any loop on terrorist information or all of the above. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld needs to be recalled to clear up the confusion about the scrambling of jets. Most researchers, including this one, had assumed the longstanding procedure for scrambling jets whenever air traffic control reported a suspected or actual hijacking or lost contact with a plane was still in place on 9/11. Conflicting timelines provided by the FAA, NORAD and DOD did not agree on when the FAA reported the hijackings or when the jets were actually scrambled (too late to have done any good even if they could have found and identified the hijacked planes). This led researchers to reason that someone must have given an order not to follow the longstanding procedure. Thus the hunt began for the person who gave the order for the jets to 'stand down.' In the June 2002 issue of Aviation Now, it was finally disclosed that the longstanding procedure was not in place on 9/11! It had been superseded by an instruction from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued on June 1, 2001. The new procedure called for the FAA administrator (at that time Jane Garvey), not air traffic control, to contact NORAD and request military assistance. NORAD then was to determine what resources (jets) were available and then contact the National Military Command Center (NMCC) which in turn would get the personal approval of the Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) for authority to scramble the jets. Rumsfeld says he was at his desk in the Pentagon and had no knowledge of any hijackings until the Pentagon was hit. (Did he have his phone off the hook?) Finally Maj. Gen. Larry Arnold, commander of the Continental U.S. Norad Region (Conar), at Tyndall AFB, Fla. issued the order to scramble two jets from Otis Air Force Base saying he would get the required approval (from Rumsfeld) later. The jets arrived in the New York area after a hijacked plane hit the second tower. Rumsfeld and others need to explain why such a cumbersome and time-consuming procedure, with all its built-in delays, was instituted. Especially since the knowledge was wide spread that Islamic terrorists had plans (including Project Bojinka) to hijack commercial jets and crash them into the Pentagon, WTC, Sears Tower and other targets. In recent days, news reports have disclosed a number of warnings US intelligence received about hijacked commercial planes. This is what the spooks call a limited hangout. By the time these warnings are acknowledged officially (perhaps in the 9/11 commission report) they will be dismissed as 'old news.' See this author's June 18, 2002 archived article 'Bojinka, The Dog That Didn't Bark.' Over the period of five years, from 1996 to 2001, the FBI made numerous inquiries about suspected bin Laden associates taking pilot training in at least four flight schools in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. The last inquiry took place at the Airman Flight School in Norman Oklahoma just three weeks before the Sept. 11 disaster.

The next scheduled public hearings that will focus on 'failures in intelligence' and law enforcement will be April 13-14.

Scheduled witnesses include Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Attorney General Janet Reno, CIA Director George Tenet, FBI Director Robert Mueller and former FBI Director Louis Freeh If the White House allows them to testify in public and the right questions are asked (don't count on either) we may learn something.

As for Condoleeza Rice, her performance tomorrow may determine how soon she resigns.

The 9/11 disaster did not result from an intelligence failure. It was caused by refusal of high government officials in both the Clinton and Bush administrations to act on the knowledge they had, for whatever reason.

Your rating: None
Jim Rarey's picture
Columns on STR: 4

Jim Rarey is a freelance writer based in Romulus, Michigan. He is a former newspaper editor and investigative reporter, a retired customs administrator and accountant, and a student of history and the U.S. Constitution.