Newsletter
Weather
Community
English home Forum Photo Gallery Features Newsletter Archive   About US Help Site Map
China
World
Opinion
Business
Sci-Edu
Culture/Life
Sports
Photos
 Services
- Newsletter
- Online Community
- China Biz Info
- News Archive
- Feedback
- Voices of Readers
- Weather Forecast
 RSS Feeds
- China 
- Business 
- World 
- Sci-Edu 
- Culture/Life 
- Sports 
- Photos 
- Most Popular 
- FM Briefings 
 Search
 About China
- China at a glance
- China in brief 2004
- Chinese history
- Constitution
- Laws & regulations
- CPC & state organs
- Ethnic minorities
- Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping

Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:54, August 04, 2006
'US military chiefs misled 9/11 probe'
font size    

America's military top brass may have deliberately misled the 9/11 commission, painting a picture of a swift response to the unfolding terrorist attacks when, in reality, fighter jets spent crucial minutes pursuing a non-existent plane, it emerged on Wednesday.

Tape transcripts published for the first time in this month's Vanity Fair magazine show in vivid new detail how air defence commanders sent two armed planes out of only four at their disposal to defend a quarter of the country on a wild-goose chase. Meanwhile, contrary to what the commission was told, the military did not even hear about United Flight 93 until after it had crashed.

Members and staff of the 9/11 commission believe the discrepancies may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead, and they discussed asking the justice department to consider criminal charges against senior members of the military, sources told the Washington Post.

Thomas Kean, the former New Jersey governor who led the commission, described what his panel had been told by the North American Aerospace Defence Command as "just so far from the truth." To this day, he said, commission members still "don't know why Norad told us what they told us." John Farmer, a senior counsel to the commission, told Vanity Fair that the military's story was "a whole different order of magnitude than spin. It simply wasn't true."

Major General Larry Arnold and Colonel Alan Scott told Mr Kean's panel that Norad started tracking United 93 at 9:16 am. In fact, the plane was not hijacked until 12 minutes after that and, as the tapes grimly illustrate, it was 10:15 before technical specialist Sergeant Shelley Watson, a Norad employee, first heard the news from civilian air traffic control in Washington.

"He's down," an air traffic controller tells her on the tape, though she at first misunderstands. "When did he land? Because we have confirmation..."

"He did ... he did ... he did not land," the controller replies.

"Oh, he's down down?" Sergeant Watson replies, as the truth dawns.

The tapes seriously damage the credibility of the claim, made repeatedly by the Vice-President Dick Cheney that the White House had weighed the question of giving authorization for flight 93 to be shot down if necessary. In fact, the vice-president knew of the hijack barely a minute before the plane crashed. The authority to give the order was provided by the president at 10:18 after the attack had ended.

They also provide further evidence against the conspiracy theory that the military shot the plane down: the tapes show Norad could never have been in the position to do so. In fact, two fighter jets wasted part of the morning pursuing a ghost: Norad chiefs believed that American Flight 11 had fallen beneath their radar and was heading to the US capital, even though it had already crashed into the World Trade Centre. A crucial part of the problem, one civilian aviation manager said, was that American Airlines refused to confirm for several hours that its flight 11 had hit the building.

"American Airlines is still airborne 11, the first guy," Major Kevin Nasypany says at one point. "He's heading towards Washington. OK, I think we need to scramble Langley right now. And I'm I'm gonna ... chase this guy down if I can find him."

Colonel Robert Marr, the commanding officer in charge of Norad's north-eastern division, said no deception had taken place. "I can't think why we'd want to spin that," he told Vanity Fair.

In the end, the 9/11 commission did not refer the Norad officials to the justice department but passed the matter to the inspector-generals of the Pentagon and transportation departments, who act as government watchdogs. Both departments said reports were forthcoming.

Source: China Daily


Comments on the story Comment on the story Recommend to friends Tell a friend Print friendly Version Print friendly format Save to disk Save this


   Recommendation
- Text Version
- RSS Feeds
- China Forum
- Newsletter
- People's Comment
- Most Popular
 Related News
- New York prepares to mark 5th anniversary of 9/11

- 9/11 memorial gets a cost-saving redesign

- Roundup: Man linked to 9/11 seeks work before expelled from NZ

- Writer calls 9/11 widows 'witches'

Dic

Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved