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Elephants in the Barracks: The Complete Failure of the 9/11 Commission
Rumsfeld stated in his opening remarks to the government appointed 9-11 Commission on March 23, 2004 that he, “Had no idea hijacked airliners would be used as weapons". His final statement on the topic while under oath was, "I plead ignorance".
Clarke’s testimony to the Commission was interesting, but he is little more than a distraction. There were more cameras on Clarke than anyone else during the two-day national broadcast of the 9-11 Commission. In reality Clarke's testimony was nowhere near as interesting as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Myers’ testimony the day before. I'm not questioning Clarke's sincerity at this time, just the timing, which was not chosen by Clarke. His book was released at a time of the Whitehouse’s choosing.
Clarke’s testimony comes in light of his recent book release. He had finished the book well over 6 months ago. It was held up by the Whitehouse who chose for the book’s release to be on the eve of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s sworn testimony to the 9-11 Commission.
Very clever, because this helped distract everyone from 2 issues completely ignored by the Commission, and overshadowed by Clarke and his book, when questioning Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld:
#1 – On the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD was running war games involving hijacked airliners while the National Reconnaissance Offices (NRO) was running a drill for the scenario of an errant aircraft crashing into a government building at the exact same time as an identical scenario was perpetrated. The Air Force was in day two of annual drills testing all of its systems to respond to various threats.
What role, if any, did Secretary Rumsfeld, Under Secretary Wolfowitz, and acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers play in any war game scenario on the morning of September 11, 2001? What briefings did they receive about these war games before, during, and after the morning in question?
#2 – On October 24 through 26 of 2000 a mass emergency drill was conducted in response to an airliner being crashed into the Pentagon.
What did Defense Secretary Cohen tell Secretary Rumsfeld about this drill during the transition process from the Clinton to Bush administration?
Now how is it possible these two questions were ‘overlooked’?
Cover-Up Commission – Skillful Delusion
9-11 Commissioner Richard Ben Veniste grilled Rumsfeld on the well-known threat of aircrafts being used as weapons. In his long list of precedents for hijacked aircrafts being used as weapons, Ben Veniste conveniently left out the Oct 24, 2000 drill directly involving the Pentagon. It should be noted that Ben Veniste was Bill & Hillary Clinton’s Senate appointed lawyer during Whitewater as well as the attorney for Barry Seal who use to fly cocaine from Honduras up to Mena Arkansas while Bill Clinton was governor.
Of extreme interest was Commissioner Gorelick's (CIA) question to Rumsfeld continuing Ben Veniste's line of questioning where she recalled being in a room with Mr. Wolfowitz planning for the possibility of terrorists hijacking an airliner and crashing it into the Olympics. She found it incomprehensible that the possibility of this happening at the Pentagon had never crossed Rumsfeld’s mind.
She mentioned nothing about the October 24, 2000 drill at the Pentagon.
She went on to ask a very specific question of exactly when the order was given authorizing fighter pilots to shoot down aircraft on the morning of 9-11. Rumsfeld complicated and confused the question by giving an account of how they modified the rules of engagement. General Myers clarified by stating to the best of his recollection the shoot-down order was communicated directly to the pilots shortly after the president issued it
GORELICK: May I ask one more question, Mr. Chairman?
We can't go into the content of the PDDs and the SEIBs here. And I can't even characterize them in order to ask you the next question that I would ask. So let me ask you this: Was it your understanding that the NORAD pilots who were circling over Washington D.C. that morning had indeed received a shoot-down order?
RUMSFELD: When I arrived in the command center, one of the first things I heard, and I was with you, was that the order had been given and that the pilots -- correction, not the pilots necessarily, but the command had been given the instructions that their pilots could, in fact, use their weapons to shoot down a commercial airliners filled with our people in the event that the aircraft appeared to be behaving in a threatening way and an unresponsive way.
GORELICK: Now, you make a distinction there between the command and the pilots. Was it your understanding that the pilots had received that order?
RUMSFELD: I'm trying to get in time because...
MYERS: Well, I think -- my understanding, I've talked to General Eberhart, commander now of NORAD, and I think he's briefed the staff. And I think what he told the staff, what he told me, as I recall, was that the pilots did -- at the appropriate point when the authority to engage civilian airliners was given, that the pilots knew that fairly quickly. I mean, it went down through the chain of command.
RUMSFELD: It was on a threat conference call that it was given, and everybody heard it simultaneously. The question then would be -- the reason I am hesitant is because we went through two or three iterations of the rules of engagement. And in the end, we ended up delegating that authority to, at the lowest level, I believe, to two stars.
RUMSFELD: And the pilot would then describe the situation to that level. To the extent that level had time, they would come up to General Eberhart. To the extent Eberhart had time, he would come up to me. And to the extent I had time, I might talk to the president, which in fact, I did do on several occasions during the remainder of the day with respect to international flights heading to this country that were squawking "hijack."
GORELICK: I'm just trying to understand whether it is your understanding that the NORAD pilots themselves, who were circling over Washington, as you referred to in your statement, whether they knew that they had authority to shoot down a plane. And if you don't know, it's fine to say that. You mentioned them in your statement, and I would like to know if you know the answer.
RUMSFELD: I do not know what they thought. In fact, I haven't talked to any of the pilots that were up there. I certainly was immediately concerned that we did know what they thought they could do.
RUMSFELD: And we began the process quite quickly of making changes to the standing rules of engagement, Dick Myers and I did, and then issuing that. And we then went back and revisited that question several times in the remaining week or two while we were still at various stages of alert. And we have since done that in connection with several other events such as the Prague summit.
GORELICK: As you know, we were not intending to address the issues of the day of in this hearing. And it is the subject of a full additional hearing, and we may be back to you with these questions with a more precise time line for you to look at.
Thank you very much.
KEAN: Thank you.
(For complete transcript of Rumsfeld's testimony: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/COM403B.html
At first glance this seems like semantics, but in the context of what was really happening that morning it may be quite significant. Whether or not a pilot has a shoot-down order directly communicated to him is of the highest significance when considering the fact that the pilot may not know if they are still in a war game.
Officials at NORAD have stated when the hijackings first occurred they initially thought it was part of the Vigilant Guardian drills running that morning. Despite some confusion, once Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m., everyone should have known this was not a test. However, this is still an assumption because we do not know what the fighter jocks in the air at the time did and did not know, we do not know the full extent of the orders they received, and it has never been explained why scrambled fighters were unable to intercept any of the hijacked airliners.
Scrambling aircraft simply means providing an Air Force escort to survey the situation. This has nothing to do with shooting down an aircraft. Such scrambling procedures had occurred 67 times in the year prior to 9-11. The concept of this simple standard operating procedure failing from 8:28 a.m. when Flight 11 made an unplanned 100 degree turn to the south, until 9:38 a.m. when the Pentagon was struck, is inconceivable without a military order. Such an order, or multiple orders causing ‘confusion’, may have been scripted into the war game scenarios that morning. We do not know if this is the case, and it seems the 9-11 Commission doesn’t want to know.
It is possible that information regarding the war games running on the morning of 9-11 has been classified and cannot be discussed in public hearings. Considering the fact that this information is open source and has been published by publications such as Jane’s Defense Weekly and the Associated Press, classifying the topic does not in any way compliment national security. If we do not face what really happened that morning our national security is truly in jeopardy.
What was the Secretary of Defense doing on the Morning of 9-11?
Secretary Rumsfeld also stated that he was giving a lecture to members of Congress, in the Pentagon, on the morning of 9-11 and warned them to expect the unexpected with future terrorist attacks. Shortly after that he was handed a note stating that the North Tower was struck. Shortly after that he was told the second tower was hit.
He then claims he continues with this lecture until the Pentagon was struck at 9:38. This makes absolutely no sense. If the Secretary of Defense was lecturing to Congressmen about surprise terrorist attacks when he is told two planes have hit both World Trade Towers, it is beyond belief that he continues this presentation without reacting to this ‘unexpected’ terrorist attack. The fact that not one member of the Commission chose to scrutinize this statement speaks volumes.
Willful Reckless Wanton or Treason?
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by prominent Republican leaders called for a transformation of America that would likely take a long time “…absent some catastrophic catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”.
The policies that PNAC hoped to put in place have rapidly increased since 9-11. Paul Wolfowitz, who was under oath along side Donald Rumsfeld during his testimony on March 23, 2004, signed on to the PNAC document which specifically referred to a “new pearl harbor” in a favorable light in September of 2000. Donald Rumsfeld was a contributor and signatory to previous PNAC documents.
It it clear that the Commission's "hidden agenda" is to spread disinformation regarding 9/11. The members of the commission have no interest in a thorough investigation of 9-11. It is impossible at this point for the Commission to live up to its mandate.
Phillip D. Zelikow, the Executive Director of the Commission, has been called upon to resign by the 9-11 Family Steering Committee. These are family members who lost loved ones that day who have closely followed the Commission. Zelikow actually testified, privately, in front of his own Commission regarding his participation in the team that helped the Bush administration transition into office. Zelikow participated in briefings on Al Qaeda before 9-11 as a member of this team, working with the Bush administration. In 1995 he co-authored a book with Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s National Security Advisor who has refused to testify publicly to the 9-11 Commission.
The Commission is an
utter joke. 2004 is the final frontier for democracy in this country. The
time is nearing when allowing the machine to continue to turn will be a
danger to the self-preservation of every individual in this country.
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