The 911 Consensus Project has developed a list of 37 questions that are designed to undo the lies the government and the media require us to believe to be admitted into polite society. Today I want to examine questions 21 thru 28. These questions concern the unexplained behavior and conflicting accounts of the locations of US commanders on 911.
21) Why Was President Bush Not Hustled Away from the Florida School?
On the morning of September 11, 2001, President Bush was in Sarasota, Florida, scheduled to read with grade school students for a “photo op.”
When the President arrived, he was told at 8:55 AM that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. Bush responded that “a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center and we’re going to . . . do the reading thing anyway.”
While Bush was seated in the classroom, his chief of staff, Andrew Card, came in (at about 9:05) and reportedly whispered in the President’s ear: “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.”
Bush remained in the classroom another five to seven minutes, then made a statement to the nation from the school, after which he left the school at about 9:35.
The St. Petersburg Times asked “why the Secret Service did not immediately hustle Bush to a secure location.” Likewise, the Family Steering Committee – which was instrumental in getting the 9/11 Commission created – asked: “Why was President Bush permitted by the Secret Service to remain in the Sarasota elementary school where he was reading to children?”
The 9/11 Commission explained: “The Secret Service told us they were anxious to move the President to a safer location, but did not think it imperative for him to run out the door.”
The Secret Service is charged with the protection of the president. In a book about the Secret Service, Philip Melanson wrote: “With an unfolding terrorist attack, the procedure should have been to get the president to the closest secure location as quickly as possible.”
The presidential visit had been highly publicized, and one journalist had written, in fact, that “Bush’s presence made…the planned reading event a perceived target,” because “the well-publicized event at the school assured Bush’s location that day was no secret.”
Given this fact, combined with evidence that many planes had been hijacked and that terrorists were going after high-value targets, the Secret Service should have assumed that a hijacked airliner may have been bearing down on the school at that very moment, so the President should have been removed immediately. Indeed, as soon as the second strike on the World Trade Center was seen on television, the Marine carrying the President’s phone said to Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill: “We’re out of here. Can you get everybody ready?”
However, this Marine’s instructions were evidently overridden: The head of the Secret Service detail allowed Bush to remain at the school 30 minutes longer to make his previously scheduled television address to the nation at 9:29, thereby letting any terrorists know that he was still at the school.
This break in protocol indicates that the Secret Service, at some level, knew that the President was not in danger.
Notes: President Bush said he saw Flight 11 hit the North Tower on a TV monitor before entering the classroom. Flight 11 struck the North Tower at 8:46 am but was not televised. However, Susan Lindauer was on the phone with her CIA controller Dr Richard Fuisz who told her the Israelis were sending live coverage of Flight 11 hitting the building to the federal government. Perhaps that is why the Secret Service knew the Arabs were not coming after President Bush. (Her account is in the Notes at the end of this article.)
22) After President Bush entered the classroom in Sarasota, Florida, his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered in his ear, reportedly saying: “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.”
After getting this message from Card, President Bush, while remaining polite and doing nothing to frighten the children, left the room quickly.
The President remained seated “only a matter of seconds,” Card told the San Francisco Chronicle, and then “excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students and he left.”
The President “didn’t want to alarm the children,” Karl Rove told NBC. Knowing that “the drill was coming to a close, . . . he waited for a few moments . . . – not very long at all . . . , and he came into the staff room.”
Sandra Kay Daniels, the teacher of the second grade class that Bush visited, told the Los Angeles Times: “I knew something was up when President Bush didn’t pick up the book and participate in the lesson…. He said, ‘Mrs. Daniels, I have to leave now. I am going to leave Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan here to do the speech for me.’ Looking at his face, you knew something was wrong. . . . He shook my hand and left.”
Whereas all the stories quoted above were published in 2002 on or near the first anniversary of 9/11, there had been stories earlier that year that gave a very different account.
In a Tampa Tribune article published September 1, 2002, reporter Jennifer Barrs said that after Card whispered in the President’s ear, Bush remained silent for about 30 seconds and then picked up his book and read with the children “for eight or nine minutes.”
The Tampa Tribune article, which came out 10 days before the article by Sandra Kay Daniels quoted above, had indicated that Daniels herself had read with the students “for eight or nine minutes.” It added that Daniels, having observed that Bush was so “lost in thought” that he “forgot about the book in his lap,” had been confronted with a difficult problem: “I couldn’t gently kick him. . . . I couldn’t say, ‘OK, Mr. President. Pick up your book, sir. The whole world is watching.’”
Various reports indicated that after the reading lesson was over, Bush continued to talk.7 Bush was “openly stretching out the moment” and even “lingered until the press was gone,” wrote Bill Sammon (the White House correspondent for the Washington Times), who referred to Bush as “the dawdler in chief.”
The fact that Bush had not left the room quickly was confirmed by a videotape of the classroom visit, which had been shot by the local cable-TV director and which became available on the Internet in June 2003.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2004 that this videotape showed that Bush “followed along for five minutes as children read aloud a story about a pet goat.”
This tape became more widely known when Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which included it, appeared in June 2004.
When the White House was contacted by the Wall Street Journal for its March 2004 article, spokesperson Dan Bartlett admitted that the President had remained in the classroom for at least seven minutes, explaining that Bush had not left immediately because his “instinct was not to frighten the children by rushing out of the room.”
However, even if this explanation were accepted, the real question, which the WSJ did not ask, was why, on the first anniversary of 9/11, the Bush White House started telling a lie about how long Bush had remained in the classroom.
Was this because the White House, having successfully portrayed Bush as a strong leader in response to the 9/11 attacks, wanted to conceal the fact that he had continued listening to children reading a story rather than taking immediate action as president and commander-in-chief? Was it because the Secret Service knew (as suggested in the Point about the President’s not being hustled away) that the country was not really “under attack” by foreign terrorists?
Whatever the motive, the Bush White House used the national media on the first anniversary of 9/11 to circulate a false story about the President.
23) The Claim about the Time of Dick Cheney’s Entry into the White House Bunker
Vice President Dick Cheney took charge of the government’s response to the 9/11 attacks after he entered the PEOC (the Presidential Emergency Operations Center), a.k.a. “the bunker”.
The 9/11 Commission Report said1 that Cheney did not enter the PEOC until almost 10:00 AM, which was at least 20 minutes after the violent event at the Pentagon that killed more than 100 people.
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta told the 9/11 Commission that, after he joined Cheney and others in the bunker at approximately 9:20 AM, he listened to an ongoing conversation between Cheney and a young man, which took place when “the airplane was coming into the Pentagon.”
After the young man, having reported for the third time that the plane was coming closer, asked whether “the orders still stand,” Cheney emphatically said they did. The 9/11 Commission Report, by claiming that Cheney did not enter the PEOC until long after the Pentagon was damaged, implies that this exchange between Cheney and the young man – which can most naturally be understood as Cheney’s confirmation of a stand-down order – could not have occurred.
However, testimony that Cheney was in the PEOC by 9:20 was reported not only by Mineta but also by Richard Clarke and White House photographer David Bohrer. Cheney himself, speaking on “Meet the Press” five days after 9/11, reported that he had entered the PEOC before the Pentagon was damaged.
The 9/11 Commission’s attempt to bury the exchange between Cheney and the young man confirms the importance of Mineta’s report of this conversation.
24) At 9:26 AM on 9/11, the Bush-Cheney administration ordered a national ground stop, meaning that no more civil planes were allowed to take off; and at 9:45, all planes already in the air were ordered to land. Those orders provided the background for the possibility of an order to shoot down civilian airplanes that violated this order. There has been controversy about whether United 93 (which, the 9/11 Commission claimed, crashed in Shanksville, PA) was shot down.
Vice President Cheney reached the Presidential Emergency Operations Center “shortly before 10:00.”At 10:02, he “began receiving reports from the Secret Service of an inbound aircraft – presumably hijacked – heading towards Washington.” Although this aircraft was United 93, the Commission said, this was not known at the time, because the military did not learn about the hijacking of this flight until after it had crashed.
Through a military aide, Cheney gave authorization to shoot civilian airplanes down at “some time between 10:10 and 10:15,” again “probably some time between 10:12 and 10:18,” and then obtained confirmation from President Bush by 10:20. Reporting that Richard Clarke had “ask[ed] the President for authority to shoot down aircraft,” the 9/11 Commission wrote: “Confirmation of that authority came at 10:25.”
Shoot-down authorization came, therefore, far too late to affect the fate of United 93, which crashed at 10:03.
Considerable evidence indicates that the shoot-down authorization came not at some time after 10:10 but closer to 9:50, therefore early enough for the military to have shot down United 93:
1. The fullest evidence appeared in counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke’s 2004 book, Against All Enemies.
Just before the Pentagon attack, Clarke wrote, he told Major Michael Fenzel, his liaison to Cheney, that he wanted authorization for “the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft – including a hijacked passenger flight – that looks like it is threatening to attack and cause large-scale death on the ground.”
Fenzel called back rather quickly. (Clarke said: “I was amazed at the speed of the decisions coming from Cheney and, through him, from Bush.”) Fenzel’s call back came after the Pentagon attack but before Air Force One took off from the airport in Florida, which would mean between 9:38 and 9:55.
Fenzel said: “Tell the Pentagon they have authority from the President to shoot down hostile aircraft, repeat, they have authority to shoot down hostile aircraft.” Clarke reported that he then said: “DOD, DOD, . . . the President has ordered the use of force against aircraft deemed to be hostile.”
2. A 2003 U.S. News and World Report article, discussing “President Bush’s unprecedented order to shoot down any hijacked civilian airplane,” stated: “Pentagon sources say Bush communicated the order to Cheney almost immediately after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon and the FAA, for the first time ever, ordered all domestic flights grounded.” This report, reinforced by the previous and following points, would put the shoot-down authorization shortly after 9:45.
3. Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, said in a 2002 program reliving the events of 9/11: “It is now 9:40, and one very big problem is out there: United Airlines Flight 93 has turned off its transponder. Officials believe it is headed for Washington, D.C. . . . On a secure phone line, Vice President Cheney tells the military it has permission to shoot down any airliners threatening Washington.”
4. In 2002 and 2003, a number of military leaders stated that they received the shoot-down authorization while United 93 was still aloft.
Colonel Robert Marr, the head of NEADS, said: “[W]e received the clearance to kill if need be.”
General Larry Arnold, the commander of NORAD within the Continental United States, said: “I had every intention of shooting down United 93 if it continued to progress toward Washington, D.C.”
Brigadier General Montague Winfield, the deputy director of the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, reportedly said: “The decision was made to try to go intercept Flight 93. . . . The Vice President [said] that the President had given us permission to shoot down innocent civilian aircraft that threatened Washington, DC.”
In spite of all of this evidence, The 9/11 Commission Report, published in July 2004, declared: “By the time the military learned about [United 93], it had crashed.”17On the basis of this claim, the 9/11 Commission declared that the above-cited statements by Marr, Arnold, and Winfield were “incorrect.”
However, besides contradicting these statements, the 9/11 Commission’s claim conflicts with an FAAmemo to the Commission of May 23, 2003.
This memo said that in an FAA teleconference with the military that had begun “minutes after the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center” – hence shortly after 8:46 AM – the FAA had “shared real-time information . . . about . . . all the flights of interest,”19which would have included United Flight 93.
9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, putting the FAA memo in the Commission’s record, said that it provided evidence that the “FAA was providing information as it received it, immediately after the first crash into the Towers.” But the 9/11 Commission dealt with this memo by simply omitting any reference to it in The 9/11 Commission Report.
The 9/11 Commission claimed that Cheney did not issue a shoot-down authorization until 10:10 or later, whereas the evidence shows that Cheney gave the authorization by 9:50 – hence at least 20 minutes earlier than the Commission claimed. This 20-minute difference means the difference between whether military pilots could, or could not, have been ordered to shoot down United Flight 93 (which reportedly crashed at 10:03).
The Commission’s claim about the time of the shoot-down authorization was not the only part of the official account of the shoot-down authorization that was problematic: The press focused on the Bush administration’s claim that Cheney had transmitted authorization received from the President (rather than declaring it on his own, which would have been illegal), about which even the 9/11 Commission was skeptical.
More important to the truth about 9/11, however, was the 9/11 Commission’s claim that the shoot-down authorization was not given by Cheney until 10:10 or later, hence after United 93 had crashed. This claim is contradicted by reports from Richard Clarke, U.S. News and World Report, Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, the FAA, and three military officers: Col. Marr, Gen. Arnold, and Brig. Gen. Winfield.
Moreover, the 9/11 Commission’s 10:10-or-later claim presupposed the Commission’s claim that Cheney did not enter the PEOC, where he took charge, until almost 10:00, and this claim is contradicted by abundant evidence, as shown in Point MC-3.
Any new investigation needs to ask why the 9/11 Commission made a claim about the time of Cheney’s shoot-down authorization that contradicted a great deal of evidence.
25) Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s Behavior Between 9:00 and 10:00 AM
Questions have been raised about whether Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could have had responsibility for one or more of the 9/11 attacks, and whether he was partially responsible for the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which the 9/11 Commission claimed, occurred in Shanksville, PA.
The activities of Secretary Rumsfeld on the morning of the 9/11 attacks show that he could not have had any responsibility for any of the attacks, even in the sense of having been able to prevent them, or anything to do with the crash of United 93.
On the morning of 9/11, Secretary Rumsfeld held a breakfast meeting with members of Congress at the Pentagon, which lasted until about 9:00, and as that meeting was breaking up, they learned that “the first plane had hit the World Trade tower.” Authorities believed this crash to have been due to a pilot error.
“He [Rumsfeld] returned to his office for his daily intelligence briefing.” After he was “informed of the second strike in New York, . . . he resumed the briefing while awaiting more information.” After the Pentagon was struck, Secretary Rumsfeld went to the parking lot to assist with rescue efforts.
“Secretary Rumsfeld was not in the NMCC [National Military Command Center] when the shootdown order was first conveyed. He went from the parking lot to his office, where he spoke to the President [shortly after 10:00], then to the Executive Support Center, where he participated in the White House video teleconference. He moved to the NMCC shortly before 10:30, in order to join Vice Chairman Myers.”
As that summary shows, Rumsfeld was in meetings when the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon occurred.
With regard to the Pentagon in particular, the military, as The 9/11 Commission Report pointed out, “never received notice that American 77 was hijacked.”
The military might have learned that American 77 (which, according to the 9/11 Commission, crashedinto the Pentagon) was in trouble, possibly hijacked, if any of the people dealing with the crisis had been involved in the White House video teleconference, which was conducted from the Situation Room by counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke. However, the 9/11 Commission reported: “We do not know who from Defense participated, but we know that in the first hour, none of the personnel involved in managing the crisis did.”
Rumsfeld in particular, as the summary shows, was not involved in Clarke’s video conference until a few minutes after 10:00.
Moreover, Rumsfeld also could not have had anything to do with the crash of United 93, which occurred at 10:03, for two reasons:
Rumsfeld, as the summary shows, did not enter the NMCC until 10:30.
“By the time the military learned about [United 93’s hijacking], it had crashed.”
Claims made about Rumsfeld in The 9/11 Commission Report, which reflect claims made by Rumsfeld himself in 2004, have been contradicted by several authoritative sources.
1. Richard Clarke, the national counterterrorism coordinator, wrote a best-selling book, Against All Enemies- which came out in March 2004, several months earlier than The 9/11 Commission Report. Clarke’s book contradicts claims that would be made in this Report about Rumsfeld’s activities on 9/11 between 9:00 and 10:00 AM.
Reporting about his video conference, which evidently began at roughly 9:10, Clarke wrote: “As I entered the Video Center, . . . I could see people rushing into studios around the city: Donald Rumsfeld at Defense and George Tenet at CIA.” So, whereas Rumsfeld and the Commission say that Rumsfeld went from his breakfast meeting to his office for a CIA briefing, where he remained until the Pentagon attack, Clarke said that, shortly after the second WTC attack, Rumsfeld went to the Pentagon’s teleconferencing studio.
Clarke indicated, moreover, that Rumsfeld continued to participate in the videoconference: After the Pentagon attack,Clarke could “still see Rumsfeld on the screen.” A little later, Clarke wrote, “smoke was getting into the Pentagon secure teleconferencing studio,” and “Franklin Miller urged him [Rumsfeld] to helicopter to DOD’s alternate site,” but Rumsfeld replied: “I am too goddam old to go to an alternate site.” So “Rumsfeld moved to another studio in the Pentagon.”
Clarke’s account of Rumsfeld’s location from 9:10 to 9:45 seems more plausible than the account provided by Rumsfeld and The 9/11 Commission Report, because:
Clarke’s account, if false, could have been proven wrong by the videoconference tape.
It is not plausible that, after being told of the second attack on the World Trade Center, the Secretary of Defense would have continued listening to a CIA briefing.
It is not plausible that, if the 9/11 Commission could have contradicted Clarke’s account of Rumsfeld, it would have failed to do so. Instead, it simply did not mention it.
2. Robert Andrews, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, gave a lecture in 2007 that contradicted the Rumsfeld-9/11 Commission account of Rumsfeld’s movements:
Knowing that Rumsfeld had gone to the Executive Support Center (ESC) to join Clarke’s video conference after the second WTC attack, Andrews stated, he rushed to the counter-terrorism center [CTC] to get materials that Rumsfeld would need.
Then, after feeling and hearing an explosive event in the Pentagon, Andrews rushed back to the ESC, where he served as Rumsfeld’s advisor during the White House videoconference. “I was there in the Support Center with the Secretary when he was talking to Clarke on the White House video-teleconference, and to the President,” Andrews said.
3. A third authoritative source contradicting the official account of Rumsfeld’s activities was Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in an early April 2002 interview with military historian Dr. Alfred Goldberg, who would later be the first author of Pentagon 9/11. Wolfowitz gave a report inconsistent with the 9/11 Commission’s claim that Rumsfeld had not gone into the NMCC until after United 93 had crashed:
Wolfowitz stated that after the Pentagon attack, he and others were told to go outside the building, but that they were allowed to go back in within “less than ten minutes” – which means, if the Pentagon was attacked at 9:38, he was referring to going back in at roughly 9:50.
Wolfowitz reported: “We went into the NMCC, where the Secretary was, and General Myers. General Shelton was in Europe.”
He next said: “We proceeded with discussions by secure video conference. One issue was what to do about the plane over Pennsylvania, getting orders to get fighters up to intercept it, and the Secretary getting approval from the President to shoot it down.”
This report by Wolfowitz contradicted two central elements in the account of Rumsfeld’s locations provided in The 9/11 Commission Report:
Whereas the 9/11 Commission claimed that Rumsfeld did not go into the NMCC until 10:30, Wolfowitz reported talking with Rumsfeld there before 10:00.
Whereas the 9/11 Commission claimed that the military did not learn about UA 93’s troubles until after it crashed, Wolfowitz reported that he and Rumsfeld, along with General Myers, had discussed “what to do about the plane over Pennsylvania.”
The 9/11 Commission absolved Donald Rumsfeld of any responsibility for what happened after 9:03 that morning by claiming that, in the first hour of the White House video teleconference, “none of the [Defense] personnel involved in managing the crisis [participated].” Reports by both Richard Clarke and Robert Andrews, however, show that Rumsfeld participated in this videoconference during this crucial hour.
The 9/11 Commission also absolved Rumsfeld from any involvement in the crash of UA 93 by claiming that the military did not know anything about UA 93 until after it had crashed, and that Rumsfeld was not in the NMCC prior to 10:30. Paul Wolfowitz, however, indicated that he discussed what to do about UA 93 with Rumsfeld and Myers before 10:00.
Testimonies by Richard Clarke, Robert Andrews, and Paul Wolfowitz, accordingly, provided very strong evidence that the 9/11 Commission made false claims relevant to Rumsfeld’s behavior. Further investigation of Rumsfeld’s actual behavior on the morning of 9/11, therefore, is needed.
26) The Activities of General Richard Myers during the 9/11 Attacks
On September 11, 2001, General Richard B. Myers, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), became the Acting Chairman, because the JCS Chairman, General Hugh H. Shelton, was flying to a NATO meeting in Budapest.1An account of Myers’ activities during the morning of 9/11 was provided by The 9/11 Commission Report and Myers himself. But some features of this account raise questions.
General Myers was not at the Pentagon during the attacks, because he was on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland to discuss the upcoming hearing to confirm Myers to be the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Senator Cleland verified that the meeting with him on 9/11 did occur.
While Myers was waiting in Cleland’s outer office, a television report gave him the impression that the World Trade Center had been hit by “a small plane or something like that,” so he and Cleland went ahead with their meeting. Soon, having learned from a staffer that the second tower had been hit, they ended their meeting. Returning to the exterior office, they learned from TV that flames had erupted in the WTC.
While watching the TV coverage, Myers received a call on his military aide’s cell phone from General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD, saying that he was working with the FAA to get all planes grounded. Myers then got a call from his executive assistant, who said that a major hijacking seemed to be underway and recommended that Myers “return to the Pentagon as soon as possible.” “As we raced away from Capitol Hill,” Myers wrote, “the Pentagon was hit . . . [b]efore we even got to the 14th Street Bridge.”
At 9:46, NORAD staff “reported that they were still trying to locate Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice Chairman Myers.” General Myers returned to the National Military Command Center (NMCC) “shortly before 10:00,” at which time he joined the NMCC’s air threat conference call- which had begun without him at 9:37.
General Myers, accordingly, was not in the Pentagon during the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. With regard to the hijacking of United Flight 93 (which, the 9/11 Commission claimed, crashed in Shanksville PA),Myers could not have ordered fighter jets to bring it down, because “[b]y the time the military learned about the flight, it had crashed.”
Questions about the accuracy of the accounts provided by The 9/11 Commission Report (2004), along with Myers in 2004 and later years, are raised by:
Contradictions with accounts provided by Counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Navy Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, General Hugh Shelton, and Army Secretary Thomas White;
Inconsistencies with accounts Myers had provided in 2001; Implausibilities.
1. The official account of General Myers’ activities during the attacks contradicts the account that had been provided in counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke’s 2004 book, Against All Enemies, which had appeared several months before the publication of The 9/11 Commission Report, and which described Myers as being in the Pentagon during the attacks:
Describing the beginning of the White House videoconference, which his account suggests began at approximately 9:10, Clarke wrote:
“As I entered the Video Center, . . . I could see people rushing into studios around the city: Donald Rumsfeld at Defense and George Tenet at CIA. . . .
“Air force four-star General Dick Myers was filling in for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Hugh Shelton, who was over the Atlantic.”
Shortly before 9:28, Clarke reported, he had this exchange with Myers:
[Clarke] “JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff], JCS. I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?”
[Myers]: “Not a pretty picture Dick. . . . We are in the midst of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but . . . Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now.” . . .
[Clarke] “Okay, how long to CAP over D.C.?” . . . .
[Myers] “Fast as we can. Fifteen minutes?” Myers asked, looking at the generals and colonels around him. It was now 9:28.
Accordingly, Clarke’s account – which was not mentioned in either The 9/11 Commission Report or in Myers’ 2009 book, Eyes on the Horizon – was contradicted by the account given by Myers and the 9/11 Commission.
2. The official account of Myers’ activities was also contradicted by statements made in 2002 by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, with regard to two points:
(A) In an interview conducted by Alfred Goldberg (who would later become the first author of Pentagon 9/11, a major study published in 2007), Wolfowitz gave a report that contradicted the claim, made by Myers and The 9/11 Commission Report, that Myers had been away from the Pentagon until he returned “shortly before 10:00”:
Wolfowitz stated that after the Pentagon attack, he and others were told to go outside the building, but that they were allowed to go back in within “less than ten minutes” – which means, if the Pentagon was attacked at 9:38, he was referring to going back in at roughly 9:50.
Wolfowitz reported: “We went into the NMCC, where the Secretary was, and General Myers. General Shelton was in Europe.”
Wolfowitz next said: “We proceeded with discussions by secure video conference. One issue was what to do about the plane over Pennsylvania, getting orders to get fighters up to intercept it, and the Secretary getting approval from the President to shoot it down.”
This report by Wolfowitz, therefore, contradicted the claims by The 9/11 Commission Report that (a) Myers was not in the Pentagon when the building was attacked and that (b) the military, led by General Myers, had not been informed about United Flight 93’s troubles before it crashed.
(B) In 2001, Wolfowitz – as well as Myers himself – contradicted the claim about United 93 that would be made by The 9/11 Commission Report – that the military did not know anything was wrong with it until it crashed.
Wolfowitz, answering a question on the PBS “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” said: “We responded awfully quickly . . . and, in fact, we were already tracking in on that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I think it was the heroism of the passengers on board that brought it down. But the Air Force was in a position to do so if we had had to.”
Also in 2001, Myers said at his confirmation hearing: “[I]f my memory serves me, . . . we had launched on the [airliner] that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania. . . [W]e had gotten somebody close to it, as I recall.”
3. One of the claims by Myers and The 9/11 Commission Report that was contradicted in the interview of Wolfowitz – that Myers was not in the Pentagon during the attacks – was also contradicted in a 9/11 Commission document labeled “Secret Memorandum for the Record.” This memorandum, which was dated a year earlier than The 9/11 Commission Report, reported statements that were made in 2003 by Navy Captain Charles Joseph “Joe” Leidig, who about two months before 9/11 had assumed duties in the NMCC as Deputy for Command Center Operations. According to this document:
Leidig said that, on the morning of 9/11, he served as the NMCC’s Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) in place of Brigadier General Montague Winfield from 8:30 until Winfield relieved him some time after 10:00.
During a discussion of Delta Flight 1989, which occurred between 9:23 and 9:26, Leidig was “certain that the Vice Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] was in the room at the time. He [Leidig] recalled looking at him and saying there is a recommendation to evacuate the Sears tower in Chicago. He remembered General Meyers [sic] saying that was a good idea.”
According to this memorandum, therefore, Captain Leidig supported Wolfowitz’s report that Myers was in the Pentagon, not somewhere else, shortly before the Pentagon attack.
4. The claim by the 9/11 Commission and Myers that he was not in the NMCC until “shortly before 10:00,” and hence was not there immediately after the Pentagon attack, was contradicted by the officer he was replacing that day, General Hugh Shelton:
In Shelton’s 2009 book, describing what happened on the plane that had been taking him to Europe – but which he, after learning about the attack on the Pentagon, turned around – he wrote: “Meanwhile, Dick [Myers] was on the phone, and the first report was that a hand grenade had just gone off in the Pentagon parking lot. . . . Since our connection was encrypted, he was able to give me a complete status report from the NMCC.”
Continuing his discussion with Myers, Shelton added: “I need you to call Ed Eberhart . . . at NORAD and let him know that we’re coming back on Speckled Trout, and that I would consider it a personal favor if he would see to it that the Chairman and his crew are not shot down on their way back to Andrews.” Myers replied: “Will do.”
5. Thomas White, the Secretary of the Army, indicated that General Myers had been at a breakfast meeting in the Pentagon from 8:00 until 8:46, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center (not in Senator Cleland’s office on Capitol Hill).
White told Frontline: “Don Rumsfeld had a breakfast, and virtually every one of the senior officials of the Department of Defense—-service chiefs, secretary, deputy, everybody, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And as that breakfast was breaking up, the first plane had hit the World Trade tower.”
By “chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff,” White had to mean Myers, the acting and soon-to-be-confirmed chairman, because General Hugh Shelton, the outgoing chairman, was on his way to Europe.
1. The official story about Myers, which was based on The 9/11 Commission Report and Myers’ statements in 2004 and later, contradicted assertions Myers had made in 2001:
i) Official story, 2004: Myers learned of the Pentagon attack while being driven back to the Pentagon.
September 13, 2001: Myers learned of the attack while still in Senator Cleland’s office.
ii) Official story, 2004: While Myers was being driven back to the Pentagon, he was called by General Eberhart.
October 2001: Myers received the Eberhart call while still in Sen. Cleland’s office.
iii) Official story, 2004:The Eberhart call to Myers came before the Pentagon was hit.
October, 2001:The Eberhart call came after the Pentagon was hit.
2. Senator Cleland’s stories also contained inconsistencies:
At the confirmation hearing in 2001, Cleland said to Myers: “It’s a good thing we were meeting here [on Capitol Hill] and not us meeting in the Pentagon because about the time you and I were having our visit, . . . at just about that very moment, the Pentagon was being hit.”
In 2003, Cleland said that just at the moment after “Myers rushed out of [his] office, headed for the Pentagon, . . . the Pentagon was hit.”
1. In a 2001 interview, Myers said that while he was meeting with Cleland in his office, the second tower was struck, but “[n]obody informed us of that.” It was only when they finished their meeting and came out of the inner office, Myers said, that he and Cleland realized “that the second tower had been hit.” It was “right at that time,” Myers added, that “somebody said the Pentagon has been hit”- thereby indicating that the meeting had lasted until almost 9:37.
But the idea that nobody – neither Cleland’s secretary nor anyone at the Pentagon or otherwise in the military – had notified him (the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), so that he did not know anything about the second attack until just before the Pentagon was struck, is implausible.
This realization likely motivated the later version of his story, according to which a staff person from the outer office told Myers and Cleland about the second WTC attack right after it occurred.
2. In a 2003 speech, Senator Cleland said: “The first plane had already hit the World Trade Center and Gen. Myers bolted from his seat. We rushed into an adjoining office as we saw on TV the second plane slam into the second tower. Gen. Myers rushed out of my office, headed for the Pentagon. At that moment, the Pentagon was hit.”
There were 30-some minutes between these two attacks.
Cleland’s account was implausible, because it suggested that there were at most 10 minutes between the two attacks.
In light of the above problems – the contradictions between the 2004 accounts by Myers and the 9/11 Commission, on the one hand, and the accounts by Richard Clarke, Paul Wolfowitz, Captain Leidig, General Shelton, Thomas White, and, even the Myers of 2001, on the other; the inconsistencies between the earlier and later stories told by Myers; and the implausibilities in the accounts by Myers and Cleland – the evidence suggests that the official account about Myers – according to which he was not in the Pentagon during the attacks and also could not have been involved in a decision to bring down United 93 – is false, and should be further investigated.
26) The Time of General Shelton’s Return to his Command
General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11, was scheduled to fly to Europe on September 11, 2001, to attend a NATO meeting in Hungary. He was to be accompanied by several people, including Lieutenant Commander Suzanne Giesemann, who served as an aide and would later write about this day in a book. In Shelton’s absence, General Richard Myers, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was to be the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
At “around 7:30” AM,3General Shelton left Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) aboard a modified C-135 (the military version of a Boeing 707) nicknamed “Speckled Trout,” which was usually reserved for the Air Force chief of staff.
About 100 minutes later (hence at about 9:10 AM) Shelton was informed of the second WTC attack,after which he gave the order to have his plane turned around. Flights from overseas, however, were not being allowed to enter US airspace,and Speckled Trout was initially denied re-entry.
Shelton next learned that the Pentagon had been hit and, being confident that his plane would not be stopped, ordered the pilot to return to Andrews AFB. Shortly thereafter Shelton’s plane received clearance.
On the way back to the Pentagon, Shelton’s plane flew over Manhattan. He wrote: “We flew directly over what had been the Twin Towers, just a few minutes after they collapsed.” Then the plane “vectored directly back to Andrews” and – Shelton’s aide Giesemann stated – arrived there within an hour.
At Andrews, Shelton was met by an entourage of patrol cars and motorcycle cops “who escorted us, lights flashing and sirens blaring, through the eerily deserted streets of the city all the way to the Pentagon,” where he went to his office and was updated by General Myers and others.
He then examined the damage to the outside of the Pentagon, after which he went to the National Military Command Center (NMCC) inside the Pentagon,15where he arrived – as General Myers reported – at 5:40 PM.
There are four serious problems with Shelton’s account of his movements that day. First, the timeline implied by Shelton’s account is implausible. The second WTC tower came down at 10:28 AM, so if Shelton’s plane flew over the Twin Towers “just a few minutes after they collapsed,” then it must have flown over New York City before 11:00. And if, as Giesemann stated, Shelton’s plane landed at Andrews “within an hour of passing New York City,” it should have arrived there by roughly 12:00 noon, and the escorted drive should have brought them to the Pentagon by approximately 12:30.
Upon arriving back in the USA, Shelton was again the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At 12:30 there would have been many decisions still to be made. Indeed, following the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, he should have, fearing further attacks, gone immediately to the NMCC. Yet, he wrote, he went first to his office and then to the crash site.
He certainly should not have waited until 5:40 PM, which, according to General Myers, is when Shelton arrived at the NMCC.
The idea that Shelton spent five hours at the Pentagon before going to the NMCC is implausible. Indeed, it is contradicted by Myers’s statement that at 5:40 Shelton had “just returned” from the aborted European flight.
Second, Shelton’s account of his return trip is contradicted by the Andrews AFB flight tracking strips for his flight (which were obtained through a FOIA request). The flight tracking strip indicates that Speckled Trout – code named “Trout 99” – landed at Andrews at 4:40 PM.
Why would Shelton and Giesemann indicate that they arrived at Andrews at roughly noon – almost five hours earlier than Speckled Trout’s actual arrival time?
Third, the accounts by Shelton and Giesemann, which indicate that they arrived at the Pentagon by roughly 12:30, are contradicted by one of Giesemann’s statements:
Although her description of the drive from Andrews to the Pentagon parallels Shelton’s, even saying that the streets were “eerily” empty, Giesemann also wrote: “No one spoke as we sped across the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, usually jammed with cars at this late afternoon hour.” This “late afternoon” statement is, of course, supported by the flight tracking strip.
A fourth problem is that Shelton’s account is contradicted even more severely in a September 2011 article describing the account of the Speckled Trout flight navigator, Col. Rob Pedersen. According to this article: “The first three hours of Shelton’s flight went smoothly” until the BBC reported on the WTC strikes.
After Shelton gave his order to turn around: “The airplane did turn, but it didn’t head directly back to the United States. For the first couple of hours, the crew didn’t have clearance to return – or a destination – ‘so we went into a holding pattern near Greenland,’ Pedersen said. . . . Speckled Trout made it back to Canada, but it was initially denied entry to US airspace. The crew started holding once again.”
“It wasn’t easy getting a security clearance, even for such a high-profile passenger. . . . ‘[We couldn’t] say over the radio who [we were] carrying because they don’t have secure communications at the FAA. . . . It took a little bit of time . . . before they let us back in,’ he [Pedersen] said.”
“[The] flight back to Andrews took [the crew] directly over New York City. . . . The fly-by was quick. . . . By early afternoon, they had made their way to Andrews.”
Although Pedersen’s account contains some obviously false elements – including his statement that the flight returned “by early afternoon” – his story, according to which Shelton’s plane was forced into a holding pattern near Greenland and again over Canada, would explain why it did not return to Andrews until 4:40.
The account provided by both Shelton and Giesemann, according to which they were able to return to the Pentagon without delay – evidently reaching it by roughly 12:30 PM – is contradicted by their plane’s flight navigator, by the flight tracking strip, by General Richard Myers, and by one of Giesemann’s own statements. If, as it appears, Shelton and Giesemann falsely claimed that they returned almost five hours earlier than they actually did, it must be asked: Why?
And if, as appears to be the case, Shelton returned to Andrews at 4:40 PM, why was the aircraft of the top US military commander delayed for almost five hours on this critical day? Any new investigation should ask these two questions.
28) The Activities of Brigadier General Montague Winfield between 8:30 and 10:30 AM
The task of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), explained The 9/11 Commission Report, was “to gather the relevant parties and establish the chain of command between the National Command Authority – the president and the secretary of defense – and those who need to carry out their orders.” The person responsible for gathering these parties was the NMCC’s deputy director of operations (DDO). In September 2001, the DDO was Army Brigadier General (BG) Montague Winfield. However, other people trained for this role can serve as the acting deputy director of operations.
On the issue of who served as the DDO on the morning of 9/11 from 8:30 until some time after 10:00, there are two conflicting accounts. For almost two years after 9/11, it was generally assumed that the DDO’s duties were carried out by Winfield himself. But on July 21, 2003, the Pentagon provided a briefing for nine members of the 9/11 Commission staff, who were told: “On 9/11, the acting-Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) was Navy Captain Charles Joseph Leidig.” Both accounts are supported by evidence.
This Point is, accordingly, divided into two parts: Official Account #1 and Official Account #2.
Official Account #1 Brigadier General Montague Winfield carried out the tasks of the DDO on the morning of 9/11, as shown by several facts.
1. TV specials the week of the first anniversary of 9/11 portrayed Winfield as on duty in the NMCC.
Winfield and the National Military Command Center were featured in a retrospective CNN program in which Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said: “Brigadier General Montague Winfield was in command of the military’s worldwide nerve center that morning.”
After the attack on the Pentagon, Starr said: “Winfield and his staff never feel the impact. . . . Winfield is running a secure phone call with the White House, the FAA, and the North American Air Defense Command, NORAD.”
Winfield was treated the same way in a 2002 ABC special, in which he gave a dramatic account of the military’s attempt to stop United Flight 93 (which, the 9/11 Commission claimed, crashed in Shanksville, PA).
2. General Richard Myers, who on 9/11 was the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in his 2009 book: “Army Brig. Gen. Montague Winfield was the duty officer in charge of the center that morning . . . . General Winfield was doing a good job of managing the information flow and keeping the chain of command plugged in.”
3. Winfield’s biographical statement says: “Brigadier General Winfield served as the Deputy Director for Operations, J3, in the National Military Command Center. He was present as the General Officer in Charge during the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”
Accordingly, although the Pentagon had initially said through spokespersons, including Winfield himself, that Winfield was the DDO during the attacks, the Pentagon later said that this original story was not true.
The Rejection of Official Account #1
In spite of what the public had been previously led to believe, nine 9/11 Commission staff members – as explained in the Introduction, above – were told by the Pentagon on July 21, 2003, that a different officer, Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, was serving as the DDO during the attacks.
On April 29, 2004, Leidig was interviewed by five members of the 9/11 Commission staff. According to the staff-written preamble to the taped interview’s transcript, Winfield was in “a USAF-convened session for general officers who rated Air Force Officers,” and “[s]uch meetings are not disturbed unless the reason is significant.”
In May 2004, 9/11 Commission staff members held two interviews with Commander Patrick Gardner, who referred to Leidig as the Acting DDO on 9/11.
Official Account #2
According to the Pentagon’s briefing of nine members of the 9/11 staff on July 21, 2003:
“[T]he acting-Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) was Navy Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, a trained back-up filling in for the Operations Team 2 leader, Army BG Winfield, who was at an unrelated, closed-door personnel meeting convened by the Air Force to discuss the rating of Air Force officers.”
“Captain Leidig was the primary DDO during the innitial phase of the NMCC’s reaction to events as they unfolded; BG Winfield transitioned into the position upon his return to the NMCC.”
Additional information was provided on April 29, 2004, when Miles Kara and four other members of the 9/11 Commission staff held an interview with Leidig.
The preamble, prepared by Kara, indicated: “On 9/11 Captain Leidig was the action Deputy Director for Operations (DDO). . . . He was sitting in place of the Operations Team 2 DDO, then Brigadier General Montague Winfield, USA, who was attending a meeting elsewhere in JCS spaces. The meeting was a USAF-convened session for general officers who rated Air Force officers. Such meetings are generally not disturbed unless the reason is significant.”
Leidig provided information about himself: “He had been on the Joint Staff since mid-July and qualified to be a DDO about a month previous to 9/11. He was qualified to substitute for any of the DDO’s who led the five Command Center watch teams.”
About replacing Winfield, Leidig stated: “General Winfield asked him the afternoon before if he would sit in as DDO for Operations Center Team 2. By agreement, he came in at 0830, received the intelligence . . . , and assumed the duty of Deputy Director of Operations. The Assistant DDO was Commander Pat Gardner, USN. He couldn’t recall the names of the other Operations Team 2 personnel on watch that day.”
After describing the sequence of events that occurred while he was the acting DDO, Leidig said that General Myers, at some point, “realized the coordinator was not a General as the position called for” and his “guidance was to get General Winfield briefed up and in the chair.” Finally, “General Winfield took over at some point in relation to the report of the Pennsylvania crash.”
In the two interviews with Commander Patrick Gardner held by 9/11 Commission staff members in May 2004, Gardner confirmed Leidig’s statement in his April 29 interview that Gardner served as the Assistant DDO while he (Leidig) was the Acting DDO on 9/11.
At June 17, 2004, there was a 9/11 Commission hearing, at which the public was first informed of Leidig’s role as DDO on 9/11. After Chairman Thomas Kean introduced him, Leidig provided to the Commission a brief statement, in which he said:
“Approximately two months prior to 11 September 2001, I assumed duties as the Deputy for Command Center Operations. . . . I qualified in August 2001 to stand watch as the Deputy Director for Operations in the NMCC.”
“On 10 September 2001, Brigadier General Winfield, U. S. Army, asked that I stand a portion of his duty as Deputy Director for Operations, NMCC, on the following day. I agreed and relieved Brigadier General Winfield at 0830 on 11 September 2001.”
The account of the replacement of Winfield by Leidig is problematic for a number of reasons:
1. It would have been peculiar if Winfield, after having asked Leidig to replace him on 9/11, had presented himself, in CNN and ABC programs in 2002, as the DDO during the attacks.
2. Leidig’s substitution for Winfield was – according to what is presently known – never mentioned before 2003, when the 9/11 Commission was working towards its final report.
3. A motive for a creation of this account in 2003 could have been provided by a 9/11 Commission desire to remove an embarrassing story from the official account of 9/11:
In the 2002 ABC television program in which Winfield appeared, he said: “The decision was made to try to go intercept Flight 93.”
In 2004, the 9/11 Commission claimed that the military was not notified about United Flight 93’s hijacking until after it had crashed. Given this claim, having Winfield as still central to the official story would have been an embarrassment.
4. Leidig’s responses to questions he was asked on April 29, 2004, suggest that he did not know various things that he should have known. Leidig said, for example, that aside from Commander Pat Gardner – who reportedly served as his assistant DDO – he “couldn’t recall the names of the other Operations Team 2 personnel on watch that day.”
5. With regard to why Winfield was not serving as the DDO that morning, the best explanation the Pentagon could provide, evidently, was that Winfield was at a “personnel meeting convened by the Air Force to discuss the rating of Air Force officers,”25and that “[s]uch meetings are generally not disturbed unless the reason is significant.”26But surely two attacks on the World Trade Center would have provided a “significant” reason to call Winfield back to the NMCC.
6. Winfield was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission, but the notes for this interview were withdrawn from public view.
7. Although the endnotes for two paragraphs about the DDO in The 9/11 Commission Report cite only an interview with Leidig, thereby implying that he had been the DDO on 9/11 (whereas the Report never implies that Winfield was the DDO), the Report did not explicitly identify Leidig as the DDO, instead referring to the DDO simply as “a military officer.”
8. Although the Pentagon said in 2003 and 2004 that Winfield had been replaced by Leidig, General Myers in his 2009 book, as reported above, stated that Winfield was “the duty officer in charge.”
Conclusion: The Pentagon has not provided a credible account of the behavior of Winfield during the attacks. Although initially there was reason to assume – as did the ABC and CNN programs in 2002 – that the DDO’s role was performed by Winfield, the Pentagon later stated that this assumption was not true, by saying that the role of the DDO was taken over by Leidig. The serious problems with this second account, however, suggest that the Pentagon and the 9/11 Commission have not reported the truth about the work of the DDO, and about Winfield’s behavior, during the attacks.
If so, was this to minimize Winfield’s role because, after the Pentagon and the 9/11 Commission declared in 2004 that the military did not know about UA Flight 93′s hijacking until after it had crashed, Winfield had become a liability — due to his 2002 ABC statement that the military had decided “to try to go intercept flight 93″? An investigation is needed to answer this question.
Notes: This is the link to Susan Lindauer saying that the Israelis sent live coverage of 911 to the US government which included the attack on the North Tower. The public did not see that coverage until 9-12-2001.
Video: CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Speaks 10 years after 9-11
The above 911 questions with notes and other research tools are available here: http://www.consensus911.org/the-911-consensus-points/#Exercises1
Part I of this 3 part series is here:
Part 3 is here: