By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Yet according to NORAD’s official timeline, NORAD was not contacted until 20 minutes later, at 8:40 a.m. Tragically, the fighter jets were not deployed until 8:52 a.m. — a full 32 minutes after the loss of contact with Flight 11 . . . Flights 175, 77 and 93 all had this same repeat pattern of delays in notification and delays in scrambling fighter jets — delays that are unimaginable considering a plane had, by this time, already hit the WTC . . . Had the belatedly scrambled fighter jets flown at their maximum speed of engagement, Mach 12, they would have reached NYC and the Pentagon within moments, intercepted the hijacked airliners before they could have hit their targets, and undoubtedly saved lives.
Secretary of Defense:
As reported, Secretary Rumsfeld felt the [Pentagon] shake, went outside, saw the damage and started helping the injured onto stretchers. After aiding the victims, the secretary then went into the “War Room.”
How is it possible that the National Military Command Center, located in the Pentagon and in contact with law enforcement and air traffic controllers from 8:46 a.m., did not communicate to the secretary of defense, also at the Pentagon, about the other hijacked planes, especially the one headed to Washington?
On the morning of September 11, President Bush was scheduled to listen to elementary school children read. Before the president walked into the classroom, NORAD had sufficient information that the plane that hit the WTC was hijacked. At that time, they also had knowledge that two other commercial airliners, in the air, were also hijacked. It would seem that a national emergency was in progress.
Yet President Bush was allowed to enter a classroom full of young children and listen to the students read. Why didn’t the Secret Service inform him of this national emergency?
In the case of a national emergency, seconds of indecision could cost thousands of lives.
Is it luck that aberrant stock trades were not monitored? Is it luck when 15 visas are awarded based on incomplete forms? Is it luck when airline-security screenings allow hijackers to board planes with box cutters and pepper spray? Is it luck when emergency FAA and NORAD protocols are not followed? Is it luck when a national emergency is not reported to top government officials on a timely basis?
To me, luck is something that happens once. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one cannot still call it luck. If at some point we don’t look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs properly, then how can we ever expect for terrorists not to get lucky again?
And, that is why I am here with all of you today. Because we must find the answers as to what happened that day so as to ensure that another September 11 can never happen again.
Commissioners, I implore you to answer our questions.