Vanity Fair: 9/11 NORAD tapes

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Vanity Fair has published a lengthy article, complete with transcripts and audio clips, of NORAD’s response to the 9/11 hijackings. As reporter Michael Bronner observes:

It's a story that was intentionally obscured, some members of the 9/11 commission believe, by military higher-ups and members of the Bush administration who spoke to the press, and later the commission itself, in order to downplay the extent of the confusion and miscommunication flying through the ranks of the government.

As noted in the Washington Post yesterday, members of the 9/11 Commission suspected that the official Pentagon story wasn’t quite accurate:

Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission, hoping to hide the bungled response to the hijackings, these sources said. [emphasis added]

Amid the confusion, chaos, and communication failures, the administration took every opportunity to exaggerate any shred of decisiveness in the face of danger:

In his bunker under the White House, Vice President Cheney was not notified about United 93 until 10:02—only one minute before the airliner impacted the ground. Yet it was with dark bravado that the vice president and others in the Bush administration would later recount sober deliberations about the prospect of shooting down United 93. "Very, very tough decision, and the president understood the magnitude of that decision," Bush's then chief of staff, Andrew Card, told ABC News.

Cheney echoed, "The significance of saying to a pilot that you are authorized to shoot down a plane full of Americans is, a, you know, it's an order that had never been given before." And it wasn't on 9/11, either.

President Bush would finally grant commanders the authority to give that order at 10:18, which—though no one knew it at the time—was 15 minutes after the attack was over.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 2, 2006 9:13 PM.

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