NORAD 9/11

Interesting (long) analysis of NORAD's 9/11 transcript:
WATSON: What was that?
ROUNTREE: Is that real-world?
DOOLEY: Real-world hijack.

For the first time in their careers, they'll get to put their training to full use.

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21 Responses:

  1. strspn says:

    So where were the scrambled fighters when the second plane hit?

    NASYPANY (to Marr): Sir, we got-we've got unconfirmed second hit from another aircraft. Fighters are south of-just south of Long Island, sir. Right now. Fighters are south of Long Island.

    Long Island? According to the analysis, they knew UAL 175 was hijacked and headed for NYC for almost seven minutes. Why were the F-15s still hanging around Long Island?

    • netsharc says:

      It seems they didn't get FAA clearance to fly over New York (grep for "pusback"). True, it doesnt make sense, it was the Long Island Air Traffic Controllers who noticed the UAL 175, and they probably also had the authority to allow the F-15's into their airspace. I can only guess and say they weren't expecting 175 to crash into the World Trade Center (did they even know that another plane did that already?).

      Reading the analysis, it's obvious they (NEADS, FAA) got caught unprepared and were in chaos, I can imagine them watching so many planes on the radar and wondering which will veer off course next, not even knowing how many will do so during the morning.

      • ultranurd says:

        Some people have fixated on conspiracy theory for why NEADS happened to have a hijack exercise that morning - but that was a "traditional hijack", which had previously involved the hijackers directing the plane to some location, possibly with the necessary refueling stops, making some demands like prisoner release, and then letting the hostages go. I don't think there was any concept of hijack-and-crash in any of their training.

        • legolas says:

          That is the strange thing: there was no such concept in any ones mind, it seems.
          I wouldn't be surprised if there was no such concept in the general public's mind: this would have led to a lot of general panic (as it makes a hijacking go from 'survivable' to 'the end').
          But AFAIK, there had been some intelligence reports well before 9/11 that this may have been on the terrorists agenda for quite some time. So why weren't the commanders and all the people that deal with this aware that such a thing was considered possible. Why wasn't this put into any exercise?

          • ultranurd says:

            I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't mention the title of the book, but one of Tom Clancy's novels has an empty, but fully fueled, civilian jetliner used as a flying bomb. So some variation on plane-as-weapon existed in the global ideaspace, and given his uncanny ability to accurately identify real military and intelligence technology and operating procedure, somebody in the government had probably at least thought about it.

            It was probably filed away in some Top Secret folder that three people had ever seen. As such, the on-duty people at NEADS or the FAA or almost everywhere in the chain of command wouldn't have had any idea.

            As for exercises, that day NEADS was preparing to defend the Eastern Seaboard from inbound Bear bombers - a pre-ICBM Russian attack method. Think of how long it would have taken a hijacked flying bomb scenario to reach exercise form at this pace.

            • polyblogger says:

              So some variation on plane-as-weapon existed in the global ideaspace

              Haven't any of you people heard of Kamikazes? Plane-as-weapon hasn't been news for well over sixty years.

              • ultranurd says:

                I should be more specific and say commercial-jetliner-as-weapon then. Most kamikazes were outfitted with explosives, so having no explosives on board and using just the plane's kinetic energy and fuel reserves as a weapon was a new idea.

                • polyblogger says:

                  You'd think so, but nope. Bad techno-thrillers aside, the real world interceded in 1994 with Air France 8969, which involved a plot to crash the airplane into the Eiffel Tower. (And I'm not being sarcastic with the "you'd think so" comment, I didn't know about this hijacking until well after the Recent Unpleasantness.)

                  • ultranurd says:

                    Huh. Never heard of that standoff... but I was only 11 at the time. Thanks for the link.

                  • carrierwave says:

                    On March 4th, 2001, the X-files spinoff "The Lone Gunmen" pilot episode aired.

                    It featured an attempt to hijack a crowded 727 and fly it into--you guessed it--the World Trade Center. No explosives, just kinetic energy and fuel reserves.

                    So, at the very least, a team of television writers, and probably all 11 viewers that saw this episode air on Fox had an inkling that this exact sort of commercial-jetliner-as-weapon thing was possible.

  2. ultranurd says:

    Why does the phrase "the last few moments of life in pre-9/11 America" bother me so?

  3. theorb says:

    Vanity Fair. Whodathunkit, from the scantly-clad women on the front cover.

  4. dojothemouse says:

    Ok, as stupid as the 9/11 conspiracies may be:

    (The fact that there was an exercise planned for the same day as the attack factors into several conspiracy theories, though the 9/11 commission dismisses this as coincidence. After plodding through dozens of hours of recordings, so do I.)

    No one thought that these guys were in on a conspiracy. They thought they were the victims of one. Oh, whatever.

  5. caprinus says:

    Wow, chilling.

  6. lostraven says:

    Wow. I was going to bed a long time ago but couldn't stop
    reading this long piece. This is certainly an interesting
    rendering of the events that day.