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Pre 2001Edit

1991-2000: Airport Later Used by Ten Hijackers Has Poor Security Record and Lacks Surveillance Cameras Edit

Virginia Buckingham [Source: Publicity photo] Data compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shows that over this period Boston’s Logan Airport has one of the worst records for security among major US airports. Flight 11 and Flight 175 depart from Logan on 9/11. While it is only America’s eighteenth busiest airport, it has the fifth highest number of security violations. FAA agents testing its passenger screening are able to get 234 guns and inert hand grenades and bombs past its checkpoint guards or through its X-ray machines. Though it is possible that the high number of violations is because the FAA tests more frequently at Logan than elsewhere, an official later quoted by the Boston Globe says lax security is the only explanation, as all checkpoints at every major airport are meant to be tested monthly. In contrast, Newark Airport, from where Flight 93 departs on 9/11, has an above average security record. Washington’s Dulles Airport, from where Flight 77 takes off, is below average, though not as bad as Logan. Officials familiar with security at Logan will, after 9/11, point to various flaws. For example, the State Police office has no video surveillance of the airport’s security checkpoints, boarding gates, ramp areas, or perimeter entrances. [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26/2001] Security cameras had been put into use at most US airports in the mid-1980s. When Virginia Buckingham takes over as executive director of Massachusetts Port Authority in 1999, she is surprised at the lack of cameras at Logan, and orders them that year. Yet by 9/11, they still will not have been installed. [BOSTON HERALD, 9/29/2001; BOSTON GLOBE, 9/30/2001] In spite of Logan’s poor security record, after 9/11 the Boston Globe will report, “[A]viation specialists have said it is unlikely that more rigorous attention to existing rules would have thwarted the 10 hijackers who boarded two jets at Logan on Sept. 11.” [BOSTON GLOBE, 10/17/2001]

1992: Small Knives Used in Hijackings, FAA Memo Warns Edit

Steve Elson. [Source: 911Report LLC] A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) internal memo warns that small knives have been used in hijackings. The memo states, “Small knives (blade length of four inches or less), the most frequently employed weapon to hijack aircraft (in the US), were used in three incidents.” Details of the memo will later be provided to the 9/11 Commission by Steve Elson, an FAA special agent for security. According to Elson, the memo is widely distributed to agency security officials. Elson will quit the FAA 1999 in frustration over lax security. [NEW YORK MAGAZINE, 9/24/2001; ELSON, 9/4/2003; SALON, 8/3/2004; LINDA ELLMAN, 2005; VILLAGE VOICE, 2/8/2005] By 9/11 it will still be legal to bring small knives onto planes (see July 8-August 30, 2001).

February 11, 1993: Hijacking Raises Concern of Plane Being Crashed into New York Building Edit

A 20-year-old Ethiopian man hijacks a Lufthansa Airbus bound from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa, via Cairo. Wielding a gun (which is subsequently found to be just a starter pistol), he forces the pilot to divert the plane to New York. The 11-hour ordeal ends after the plane lands at JFK International Airport and the hijacker surrenders to the FBI. [CNN, 3/14/1996; GUARDIAN, 2/8/2000; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 457] Fears of Plane Being Crashed - Journalist Eric Margolis, who is on the plane, will later say that he and the other passengers are “convinced the hijacker… intended to crash the plane into Manhattan.” [ERIC MARGOLIS (.COM), 2/13/2000] While giving television commentary on the morning of 9/11, Larry Johnson—currently the deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism—will say it was feared when the plane was flown to New York “that it might be crashed into something.” [NBC, 9/11/2001] Air Force Responds - In response to the hijacking, F-15 fighter jets are scrambled from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from where fighters will also be launched in response to the first hijacking on 9/11 (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). Later, F-16s are scrambled from Atlantic City, New Jersey. The fighters intercept the Lufthansa aircraft off the coast of eastern Canada, and initially trail it from a distance of about ten miles. As the plane approaches JFK Airport, the fighters move in to a distance of five miles. They do a low fly-by as the plane lands at JFK. They circle overhead for a while, until the hijacking situation is resolved, and then return to their bases. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 29] Participants in Response Also Involved on 9/11 - This is the last hijacking to occur prior to 9/11 involving US air traffic controllers, FAA management, and military coordination. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 14; UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 8/5/2004] At least two of the military personnel who participate in the response to it will play key roles in responding to the 9/11 attacks. Robert Marr, who on 9/11 will be the battle commander at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), is currently the assistant deputy commander of operations at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY. [POST-STANDARD (SYRACUSE), 3/27/2005] On this occasion, he talks with his counterpart at the FAA and explains that the FAA needs to start a request up its chain of command, so the military can respond quickly if the hijacking—which takes place in Europe—comes to the United States. He then informs his own chain of command to be prepared for a request for military assistance from the FAA. Several hours later, Marr is notified that military assistance has been authorized, and the fighter jets are scrambled from Otis and Atlantic City. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 26-27] Timothy Duffy, who will be one of the F-15 pilots that launches from Otis Air Base in response to the first hijacking on 9/11, is also involved. His role on this occasion is unreported, though presumably he pilots one of the jets scrambled from Otis after the Lufthansa plane. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 29] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, Larry C. Johnson, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Robert Marr, Otis Air National Guard Base, Timothy Duffy Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

1996-1997: Ptech Begins to Get US Government Contracts

Ptech logo. [Source: Ptech] Ptech is a Boston computer company connected to a number of individuals suspected of ties to officially designated terrorist organizations (see 1994). These alleged ties will be of particular concern because of Ptech’s potential access to classified government secrets. Ptech specializes in what is called enterprise architecture. It is the design and layout for an organization’s computer networks. John Zachman, considered the father of enterprise architecture, later will say that Ptech could collect crucial information from the organizations and agencies with which it works. “You would know where the access points are, you’d know how to get in, you would know where the weaknesses are, you’d know how to destroy it.” Another computer expert will say, “The software they put on your system could be collecting every key stroke that you type while you are on the computer. It could be establishing a connection to the outside terrorist organization through all of your security measures.” [WBZ 4 (BOSTON), 12/9/2002] In late 1996, an article notes that Ptech is doing work for DARPA, a Defense Department agency responsible for developing new military technology. [GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE, 9/1/1996] In 1997, Ptech gains government approval to market its services to “all legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the federal government.” Beginning that year, Ptech will begin working for many government agencies, eventually including the White House, Congress, Army, Navy, Air Force, NATO, FAA, FBI, US Postal Service, Secret Service, the Naval Air Systems Command, IRS, and the nuclear-weapons program of the Department of Energy. For instance, Ptech will help build “the Military Information Architecture Framework, a software tool used by the Department of Defense to link data networks from various military computer systems and databases.” Ptech will be raided by US investigators in December 2002 (see December 5, 2002), but not shut down. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/6/2002; CNN, 12/6/2002; NEWSWEEK, 12/6/2002; BOSTON GLOBE, 12/7/2002] A former director of intelligence at the Department of Energy later will say he would not be surprised if an al-Qaeda front company managed to infiltrate the department’s nuclear programs. [UNLIMITED (AUCKLAND), 12/9/2002] Ptech will continue to work with many of these agencies even after 9/11. After a Customs Department raid of Ptech’s offices in late 2002, their software will be declared safe of malicious code. But one article will note, “What no one knows at this point is how much sensitive government information Ptech gained access to while it worked in several government agencies.” [WBZ 4 (BOSTON), 12/9/2002] Entity Tags: White House, US Department of Defense, US Department of the Air Force, US Department of the Navy, Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, US Postal Service, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of the Marines, Internal Revenue Service, US Congress, Ptech Inc., John Zachman, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, US Congress Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

1997-September 1999: FAA Finds Repeated Security Violations at Airport Later Used by Ten Hijackers The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finds at least 136 security violations at Boston’s Logan Airport between 1997 and early 1999. Flights 11 and 175 will depart from Logan on 9/11. Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport, is fined $178,000 for these breaches, which include failing to screen baggage properly and easy access to parked planes. In summer 1999, a teenager is able to climb over the airport’s security fence, walk two miles across the tarmac, board a 747, and fly on it to London. In September 1999, the Boston Globe finds that doors are often left open at the airport, making it possible for potentially anyone to gain access to planes on the ground. [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/12/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/12/2001] After 9/11, an analysis by the Boston Globe will conclude that Logan’s security record is “dismal” (see 1991-2000). [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26/2001] Entity Tags: Massachusetts Port Authority, Logan Airport, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

1998: Training Exercise Held at the White House, Based Around Militants Using a Plane as a Weapon Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke chairs a tabletop exercise at the White House, involving a scenario where anti-American militants fill a Learjet with explosives, and then fly it on a suicide mission toward a target in Washington, DC. Officials from the Pentagon, Secret Service, and FAA attend, and are asked how they would stop such a threat. Pentagon officials say they could launch fighters from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, but would need authorization from the president to shoot the plane down, and currently there is no system to do this. The 9/11 Commission later states: “There was no clear resolution of the problem at the exercise.” [SLATE, 7/22/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 345, 457-458] Entity Tags: Langley Air Force Base, Secret Service, US Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Richard A. Clarke Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

1998: FAA Testing Reveals Frightening Airport Security Lapses; Little Done in Response Except Small Penalties The FAA creates “Red Teams” —small, secretive teams traveling to airports and attempting to foil their security systems—in response to the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am 747 over Scotland. According to later reports, the Red Teams conduct extensive testing of screening checkpoints at a large number of domestic airports in 1998. The results were frightening: “We were successful in getting major weapons—guns and bombs—through screening checkpoints with relative ease, at least 85 percent of the time in most cases. At one airport, we had a 97 percent success rate in breaching the screening checkpoint.… The individuals who occupied the highest seats of authority in the FAA were fully aware of this highly vulnerable state of aviation security and did nothing.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/27/2002] In 1999, the New York Port Authority and major airlines at Boston’s Logan Airport will be “fined a total of $178,000 for at least 136 security violations [between 1999-2001]. In the majority of incidents, screeners hired by the airlines for checkpoints in terminals routinely [fail] to detect test items, such as pipe bombs and guns.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001] Entity Tags: New York Port Authority, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Spring 1998: Experts Warn FAA of Potential Massive Kamikaze Attack Edit

Three terrorism specialists present an analysis of security threats to FAA security officials. Their analysis describes two scenarios involving planes as weapons. In one, hijacked planes are flown into nuclear power plants along the East Coast. In the other, hijackers commandeer Federal Express cargo planes and simultaneously crash them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol, the Sears Tower, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Stephen Gale, one of the specialists, later says the analysis is based in part upon attempts that had been made in 1994 to crash airplanes in the Eiffel Tower and the White House (see September 11, 1994) (see December 24, 1994). Gale later recalls that one FAA official responds to the presentation by saying, “You can’t protect yourself from meteorites.” [WASHINGTON POST, 5/19/2002] Entity Tags: Pentagon, Federal Aviation Administration, World Trade Center, James L. Jones, Golden Gate Bridge, Federal Express, Sears Tower Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

August 1998: CIA Warns That Arab Militants Plan to Fly Bomb-Laden Plane From Libya into WTC A foreign intelligence agency warns the FBI’s New York office that Arab militants plan to fly a bomb-laden aircraft from Libya into the World Trade Center. The FBI and the FAA do not take the threat seriously because of the state of aviation in Libya. Later, other intelligence information will connect this group to al-Qaeda. The CIA will include the same information in an intelligence report. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/18/2002; US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 97-98 ] An FBI spokesperson later says the report “was not ignored, it was thoroughly investigated by numerous agencies” and found to be unrelated to al-Qaeda. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2002] However, the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will come to the conclusion that the group in fact did have ties to al-Qaeda. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/18/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda, World Trade Center Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

August 1998-Late-September 2001: Inexperienced Manager Heads FAA’s Boston Security Field Office Mary Carol Turano is appointed director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Boston Civil Aviation Security Field Office (CASFO). This is the office that oversees security at Logan Airport, from where Flights 11 and 175 depart on 9/11. Yet Turano has little experience in airport security, and has not even begun the basic training that all FAA special agents must undergo. During her tenure, according to an agent who is assigned to Logan, staff that document security violations become frustrated, as she allows violations to accumulate without taking appropriate action. After 9/11, it will be revealed that she lacks the identification badge necessary for unescorted access to secure areas. An official familiar with airport security procedures will comment, “An organization does well what a commander checks, and how can you check what they do if you don’t have a ramp access badge?” Turano is subsequently reassigned. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/29/2001; BOSTON GLOBE, 9/29/2001; WBUR (BOSTON), 10/4/2001; THOMAS, 2003, PP. 61; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/11/2004 ] Logan Airport’s poor record for security continues while she heads CASFO (see 1991-2000 and 1997-September 1999). Entity Tags: Boston Civil Aviation Security Field Office, Mary Carol Turano, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

October 8, 1998: FAA Warns of Al-Qaeda Threat to US Civil Aviation The FAA issues the first of three warnings this year to US airports and airlines urging a “high degree of vigilance” against threats to US civil aviation from al-Qaeda. It specifically warns against a possible terrorist hijacking “at a metropolitan airport in the Eastern United States.” The information is based on statements made by Osama bin Laden and other Islamic leaders, and intelligence obtained after the US cruise missile attacks in August. All three warnings come in late 1998, well before 9/11. [BOSTON GLOBE, 5/26/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

December 4, 1998: Clinton Warned ‘Bin Laden Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft’ Inside US

Mohammed Shawqui Islambouli. [Source: Public domain] On December 4, 1998, an item in President Clinton’s Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) is titled, “Bin Laden Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks.” The PDB says “Bin Laden and is allies are preparing for attacks in the US, including an aircraft hijacking to obtain the release of Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, and Muhammad Sadiq ‘Awda. One source quoted a senior member of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) saying that, as of late October, the IG had completed planning for an operation in the US on behalf of bin Laden, but that the operation was on hold. A senior bin Laden operative from Saudi Arabia was to visit IG counterparts in the US soon thereafter to discuss options-perhaps including an aircraft hijacking.” The same source says bin Laden may implement plans to hijack US aircraft before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on December 20 and that two members of the operational team had evaded security checks in a recent trial run at a New York airport. A possible different source says that in late September, Mohammed Shawqui Islambouli, brother of the assassin of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and described in the PDB as an IG leader, was planning to hijack a US airliner during the “next couple of weeks” to free Abdul-Rahman and other prisoners. The PDB also says that “some members of the bin Laden network have received hijack training, according to various sources, but no group directly tied to bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization has ever carried out an aircraft hijacking. Bin Laden could be weighing other types of operations against US aircraft.” The PDB mentions other bin Laden related threats, including recent reports that the IG has obtained surface-to-air missiles and intends to move them from Yemen to Saudi Arabia to shoot down aircraft. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/18/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 128-130] The private intelligence group Stratfor will later say that, in addition to his ties with IG, Islambouli worked with bin Laden in the Maktab al-Khidamat charity front in Pakistan and is believed to have lived in Afghanistan in the 1990s as “part of the group of key Egyptian advisers surrounding bin Laden.” Islambouli will formally join with al-Qaeda in 2006. [STRATFOR, 8/10/2006] In early 1998, the CIA ignored information from a recently retired CIA agent that claimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was in a terrorist cell with Islambouli, both were experts on plane hijackings, and were planning to hijack planes (see Early 1998). Perhaps not coincidentally, on this same day, CIA Director George Tenet issues a “declaration of war” against al-Qaeda in a memo to the US intelligence community (see December 4, 1998). Also on this day, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke holds a meeting of his interagency Counterterrorism and Security Group (CSG) to discuss the threat. The group agrees that New York City airports should go on a maximum security alert that weekend and security should be boosted at other East Coast airports. The FBI, FAA, and New York City Police Department get versions of the PDB report. Later in December and again in January 1999 the source says the hijacking has been postponed because two operatives have been arrested in Washington or New York. But the FBI is unable to find any information to support the threat nor is it able to verify any arrests similar to what the source described, and the source remains mysterious. The high alert in New York airports is canceled by the end of January. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 128-130] This PDB will be mentioned in President Bush’s famous August 6, 2001 PDB, but mentions that US officials “have not been able to corroborate” the plot (see August 6, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton, Federal Aviation Administration, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Richard A. Clarke, Counterterrorism and Security Group, Ramzi Yousef, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Mohammed Shawqui Islambouli, Muhammad Sadiq ‘Awda, Osama bin Laden, New York City Police Department, Maktab al-Khidamat Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 4, 1999: FAA Considers Suicide Hijacking Possibility: Al-Qaeda Could Hijack Jet and ‘Slam It into a US Landmark’ The FAA’s Office of Civil Aviation Security Intelligence sends an internal memo summarizing the al-Qaeda hijacking threat. After reciting information available on the topic, a few principal scenarios are presented. One of them is a “suicide hijacking operation.” The 9/11 Commission will comment on this and another memo the previous year, “In 1998 and 1999, the FAA intelligence unit produced reports about the hijacking threat posed by bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, including the possibility that the terrorist group might try to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a US landmark.” However, FAA analysts consider this an option of last resort, because “it does not offer an opportunity for dialogue to achieve the key goal of obtaining [Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman] and other key captive extremists.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 345, 561; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 53 ] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

October 25, 1999: Golfer Payne Stewart Dies in Plane Crash; Incident Raises Questions about Shooting Down Off-Course Planes

A map showing the planned flight path of Payne Stewart’s plane and the crash site location. [Source: CNN] A runaway Learjet crashes near Mina, South Dakota, after flying on autopilot for several hours. On board is champion golfer Payne Stewart, along with five others. It is believed the accident is due to a loss of cabin pressure at high altitude, which would have caused all on board to go unconscious from lack of oxygen. [ABC NEWS, 10/25/1999; WASHINGTON POST, 10/26/1999; NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, 11/28/2000] After air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, it was tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), assisted by several Air Force and Air National Guard fighters and an AWACS radar control plane, up until when it crashed. It was also tracked on radar screens inside the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. [CNN, 10/26/1999] The Learjet had departed Orlando, Florida at 9:19 a.m., bound for Texas. The FAA says controllers lost contact with it at 9:44 a.m. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/26/1999] , but according to a later report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) the plane first failed to respond to air traffic control at 9:33 a.m., after which the controller repeatedly tried to make contact for the next 4 1/2 minutes, without success. [NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, 11/28/2000] NORAD’s Southeast Air Defense Sector was notified of the emergency at 9:55 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 459] At 10:08 a.m., two F-16 fighters from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida that were on a routine training mission had been asked by the FAA to intercept the Learjet, but never reached it. At about 10:52 a.m., a fighter from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, was directed to within 9 miles of it, and at around 11:00 a.m. began a visual inspection of the plane. It accompanied the Learjet from 11:09 to 11:44 a.m. At 11:59 a.m., according to early accounts, four Air National Guard fighters and a refueling tanker from Tulsa, Oklahoma were told to chase the Learjet, but got no closer than 100 miles from it. However, the NTSB later claims that two Tulsa fighters were with it between 12:25 and 12:39 p.m., and were able to visually inspect it. At 12:54 p.m., two Air National Guard fighters from Fargo, North Dakota intercepted the Learjet. Soon after 1:14 p.m., it crashed in swampland, after spiraling to the ground. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/26/1999; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/27/1999; NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, 11/28/2000] During its flight, the FAA had routed air traffic around the Learjet, and made sure no other planes flew beneath it, due to the danger of it crashing. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/26/1999] There is some discussion as to what could have been done had the plane been on a collision course with a populated area, with CNN reporting, “[O]nly the president has the authority to order a civilian aircraft shot down.” Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says the military has no written instructions for shooting down manned civilian planes. According to a 1997 military instruction, the shooting down of unmanned objects such as missiles requires prior approval from the secretary of defense. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 7/31/1997 ; CNN, 10/26/1999] A Pentagon spokesman says the fighters that monitored the Learjet had no missiles, but two other fighters on “strip alert” at Fargo had been armed but didn’t take off. [CNN, 10/26/1999] The 9/11 Commission will later compare NORAD’s response to this incident with its response to Flight 11 on 9/11, and claim: “There is no significant difference in NORAD’s reaction to the two incidents.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 459] Entity Tags: Payne Stewart, Federal Aviation Administration, North American Aerospace Defense Command, National Military Command Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, Southeast Air Defense Sector Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

April 27, 2000: FAA Advisory Warns of Increased Risk of Terrorist Hijacking The FAA issues an advisory to airports and air carriers, setting forth its views on the hijacking threat. The advisory states that while conditions for hijackings of airliners had been less favorable in the 1980s and 1990s, “We believe that the situation has changed. We assess that the prospect for terrorist hijacking has increased and that US airliners could be targeted in an attempt to obtain the release of indicted or convicted terrorists imprisoned in the United States.” However, “the terrorist hijacking of a US airliner is more probable outside the United States due to access to safe havens.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 59 ; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/14/2005] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

August 2000: Improvements to GPS Technology Bring Pilotless Aviation Closer to Reality After a successful test, the FAA makes an enhancement to the Global Positioning System (GPS) called Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) available to some aviation users. WAAS improves the accuracy of GPS data by correcting some known measuring errors. “The system demonstrated one to two meters horizontal accuracy and two to three meters vertical accuracy throughout the contiguous United States,” says the FAA. The system will be operated by Raytheon. [FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 8/24/2000] The deployment of WAAS is only one of many technological advances that could lead to pilotless aircraft navigation, including takeoff and landing. Tests have shown that landing by autopilot is possible (see also August 25, 2001). [SPINOFF, 1998; FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 8/13/1999; ROCKWELL COLLINS, 10/5/1999] WAAS also has non-aviation uses. It will be used during the rescue effort at Ground Zero. “[A]t the World Trade Center, rescue teams used WAAS to survey the site during the recovery program,” according to Avionics Magazine. [AVIONICS MAGAZINE, 2/1/2002] After 9/11 there will be some speculation that the hijackers used GPS to navigate to their targets (see (September 12-17, 2001)). Some press reports will claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta was at the WTC the day before the attacks to gather GPS data (see September 10, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Raytheon Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

December 2000: FBI and FAA Claim Threat of Terrorists Targeting US Aviation Is Low Despite Information Suggesting Otherwise The FBI and FAA jointly publish the yearly National Intelligence Estimate report mandated by Congress. It reads, “FBI investigations confirm domestic and international terrorist groups operating within the US but do not suggest evidence of plans to target domestic civil aviation. Terrorist activity within the US has focused primarily on fundraising, recruiting new members, and disseminating propaganda. While international terrorists have conducted attacks on US soil, these acts represent anomalies in their traditional targeting which focuses on US interests overseas.” This differs from assessments in previous years that suggested there were groups targeting domestic aviation. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will conclude that assessment is “relatively low… notwithstanding historical intelligence information to the contrary.” [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, 9/11 Commission Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

December 4, 2000: Special Forces Commander Appointed FAA Security Chief US Army Lieutenant General Michael A. Canavan is appointed associate administrator for civil aviation security at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a position that includes being the “hijack coordinator” (see 8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001). [FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 11/2000] In early 1998, Canavan participated in reviewing a CIA plan to capture Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. He was then the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s counterterrorism operations and covert missions. He objected to the plan, saying it was too complicated for the CIA and “out of their league.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 113] The plan was later canceled (see 1997-May 29, 1998). It is not known if Canavan’s appointment at the FAA is related to his prior involvement in counterterrorism or to any intelligence that al-Qaeda might target civil aviation. He will leave the post in October 2001, after only 10 months, reportedly after clashing with other FAA officials. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/13/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Canavan Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Between December 5 and December 31, 2000: FAA Training Exercises Reportedly Include Scenarios ‘Close to 9/11 Plot’ The FAA practices for scenarios similar to the attacks that take place on 9/11 as part of at least one training exercise this month, according to a liaison officer with the agency. John Hawley, who works for the FAA’s intelligence division as a liaison to the State Department, will later recall that during an exercise, or exercises, this month, some scenarios are practiced that are “pretty damn close to [the] 9/11 plot.” He will tell the 9/11 Commission that “one of the scenarios may have had something to do with a chartered flight out of Ohio that had turned the transponder off,” and comment that the scenarios “really forced you to think outside the box.” According to Hawley, Mike Canavan—the recently-appointed associate administrator for civil aviation security at the FAA (see December 4, 2000)—is “definitely in charge” of running these scenarios. [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/8/2003 ] Apparently referring to one of these scenarios, the 9/11 Commission will ask Canavan if he recalls a tabletop exercise conducted by the FAA this month, involving a FedEx plane “being commandeered by a suicide hijacker.” Canavan will respond that he “did not recall such an exercise, and shared that it must have been at a pretty low level, since he didn’t recall” it. He will say he never participates in any tabletop exercises while at the FAA. [9/11 COMMISSION, 11/4/2003 ] During one of the 9/11 Commission’s public hearings, Canavan will similarly say he does not remember “any publication or any training exercise where a commercial airliner was used as a weapon.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003] Entity Tags: Mike Canavan, Federal Aviation Administration, John Hawley Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 26, 2000: Hijackers Abandon Stalled Plane on Florida Runway; No Investigation Ensues Edit

Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, while learning to fly in Florida, stall a small plane on a Miami International Airport runway. Unable to start the plane, they simply walk away. Flight controllers have to guide the waiting passenger airliners around the stalled aircraft until it is towed away 35 minutes later. They weren’t supposed to be using that airport in the first place. The FAA threatens to investigate the two students and the flight school they are attending. The flight school sends records to the FAA, but no more is heard of the investigation. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/17/2001] “Students do stupid things during their flight course, but this is quite stupid,” says the owner of the flight school. Nothing was wrong with the plane. [CNN, 10/17/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

2001Edit

Main article: FAA:2001

Post 2001Edit

August 12, 2002: FAA Releases No New Information About 9/11Edit

A group of FAA flight controllers hold a press conference to talk about the 9/11 events for the first time. However, virtually no new information is disclosed. As the Boston Globe put it, “questions about detailed communications from the hijacked planes was avoided, with FAA officials saying that information remains under investigation.” [BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13/2002] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 18, 2002: 9/11 Victims’ Relatives Raise Questions about US Agencies’ Conduct

Kristen Breitweiser. [Source: Hyungwon Kang/ Reuters] Two 9/11 victims’ relatives testify before the Congressional 9/11 inquiry. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald died at the WTC, asks how the FBI was so quickly able to assemble information on the hijackers. She cites a New York Times article stating that agents descended on flight schools within hours of the attacks. “How did the FBI know where to go a few hours after the attacks?” she asks. “Were any of the hijackers already under surveillance?” [MSNBC, 9/18/2002] She adds, “Our intelligence agencies suffered an utter collapse in their duties and responsibilities leading up to and on September 11th. But their negligence does not stand alone. Agencies like the Port Authority, the City of NY, the FAA, the INS, the Secret Service, NORAD, the Air Force, and the airlines also failed our nation that morning.” [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] Stephen Push states, “If the intelligence community had been doing its job, my wife, Lisa Raines, would be alive today.” He cites the government’s failure to place Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi on a terrorist watch list until long after they were photographed meeting with alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000 and Shortly After). [MSNBC, 9/18/2002] Entity Tags: Stephen Push, Secret Service, New York Port Authority, US Department of the Air Force, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Kristen Breitweiser, Al-Qaeda, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, City of New York, Lisa Raines Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 2003: FAA Falsely Claims It Has Produced All 9/11-Related Documents for 9/11 Commission The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tells the 9/11 Commission it has already given the Commission all the documents it asked the FAA for. John Farmer, head of the Commission team investigating what happened on the day of 9/11, finds this hard to believe, as the boxes of material the FAA has provided do not contain many tapes or transcripts of FAA communications on the day of the attacks. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 201] Later interviews of FAA staff will reveal there is a mountain of evidence the FAA is withholding from the Commission (see September 2003). Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, John Farmer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

September 2003: 9/11 Commission Discovers FAA Has Withheld Documents from Investigators Investigators for the 9/11 Commission discover that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has withheld a large amount of documents from it about the day of the attacks and falsely claimed it had provided everything the Commission asked for (see August 2003). The discovery is made on a day when the Commission’s investigators begin interviewing air traffic controllers at centers on the East Coast and in the Midwest. John Farmer, the staffer who leads the Commission’s team dealing with this aspect of its work, is only a few minutes into interviews at the FAA’s Indianapolis Center when he realizes, in the words of author Philip Shenon, “just how much evidence the FAA had held back.” His interviewees tell him that there is “extensive information the Commission has not seen, including tape recordings of conversations between the individual air traffic controllers and the hijacked planes.” He also discovers that what the FAA has provided is merely the “accident package,” rather than the much larger “accident file.” Farmer is “furious” and contacts the Commission’s lawyer in Washington. Asked to explain the situation, the FAA rapidly admits there is other material and, within days, several boxes of new material, including the air traffic control tapes, arrive at the Commission’s offices. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 201-202] However, the Commission has lost confidence in the FAA and will issue it with a subpoena next month (see October 14, 2003). Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center, John Farmer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 14, 2003: 9/11 Commission Issues First Subpoena, to FAA The 9/11 Commission issues it first subpoena, to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Commission had initially decided not to issue subpoenas (see January 27, 2003), but found that the FAA had withheld documentation from it (see August 2003 and September 2003), prompting it to take this step. Request from Team Leader - The subpoena’s issue is the result of a request from John Farmer, leader of the Commission’s team investigating the day of the attacks. After receiving permission from the Commission’s chairman and lawyer, Tom Kean and Daniel Marcus, to address the full Commission, Farmer tells them: “My team and I have lost confidence in the FAA. We do not believe we have time to take any more chances on the possibility that they will act on good faith.” This leaves them with “no choice other than a subpoena.” Debate inside Commission - Some of the Democratic commissioners, such as Jamie Gorelick, then claim that this is a reason to subpoena all documents the Commission wants. However Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton are against this. Republican Slade Gorton proposes a compromise where the Commission subpoenas the FAA, but only issues a warning to other agencies that are not producing the documents the Commission wants. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 202-203] The Commission approves the subpoena unanimously. The Commission comments publicly, saying, “This disturbing development at one agency has led the Commission to reexamine its general policy of relying on document requests rather than subpoenas.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/15/2003] It also warns other agencies that “document requests must be taken as seriously as a subpoena.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 203] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Daniel Marcus, 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, Lee Hamilton, John Farmer, Slade Gorton, Jamie Gorelick Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late April 2004: FAA Manager Suspended for Destroying Tape of Controllers’ 9/11 Recollections, but Faces No Criminal Charges The FAA takes disciplinary action against a manager at its New York Center who deliberately destroyed an audio tape containing the recorded accounts of six of the center’s air traffic controllers, describing their experiences with the hijacked aircraft on 9/11, but this manager does not face criminal prosecution for destroying the tape. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/7/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Department of Transportation Investigation - The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been investigating how well the FAA cooperated with the 9/11 Commission’s requests for agency documents and other materials. A particular allegation is that the FAA destroyed an audio tape that was made on September 11, of New York Center controllers recounting their actions and observations during that day’s attacks. Quality Assurance Manager Suspended - The OIG recommended to the FAA administrator that the conduct of the two key figures in the matter—New York Center manager Mike McCormick and quality assurance manager Kevin Delaney—be reviewed and appropriate action taken against them. Delaney, who was responsible for destroying the tape (see Between December 2001 and February 2002), is now given a 20-day suspension without pay. He will appeal the decision, though whether his appeal is successful is unstated. McCormick, who directed that the tape be made on September 11 (see 11:40 a.m. September 11, 2001), is not subjected to any disciplinary action. No Criminal Prosecution - The OIG also referred the details of its investigation to the US Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York for review as to whether any criminal statutes had been violated. But after considering the facts, the US Attorney’s office decided not to pursue any potential prosecution due to what it considered a lack of criminal intent. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ; WASHINGTON POST, 5/7/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Entity Tags: Mike McCormick, Kevin Delaney, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May 6, 2004: Report of Transportation Department Investigation Released, Blames Destruction of Tape of Controllers’ 9/11 Recollections on ‘Poor Judgment’

Kenneth M. Mead, the Department of Transportation inspector general. [Source: Patriots Question 9/11] The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) releases a report on its investigation into how well the FAA cooperated with the 9/11 Commission, which focuses on the deliberate destruction of a tape recording of air traffic controllers’ recollections of the 9/11 attacks, and blames this on “poor judgment.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/6/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Senator Requested Investigation - In October 2003, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, asked the OIG to investigate how well the FAA responded to the 9/11 Commission’s requests for agency documents and other materials. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ] FAA Cooperated, but Managers Criticized - Having conducted its investigation, the OIG now issues a report, which finds that the FAA generally cooperated with the Commission by providing documents about its activities on September 11. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/6/2004] However, the report criticizes two managers at the FAA’s New York Center, over the destruction of an audio tape that was made on September 11. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ] Within a few hours of the 9/11 attacks, Kevin Delaney, the New York Center’s quality assurance manager, was instructed to make a tape recording of six controllers at the center who had been involved in handling or tracking two of the hijacked aircraft, recalling their experiences of the attacks (see 11:40 a.m. September 11, 2001). But Delaney destroyed the tape of the controllers’ statements a few months later (see Between December 2001 and February 2002). [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/1/2003 ; WASHINGTON POST, 5/6/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] The 9/11 Commission learned of the tape and its destruction during interviews with New York Center employees in September and October 2003. Actions Not in the Best Interest of FAA, Transportation Department, and Public - The OIG’s report criticizes Delaney for destroying the tape, and Mike McCormick, the New York Center manager, for not telling his superiors about the tape and an agreement he made with the air traffic controllers’ union to destroy it (see (Shortly Before 11:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The report says the two men “did not, in our view, act in the best interest of FAA, the Department [of Transportation], or the public,” and adds, “Their actions in this case do not reflect proper judgment expected of professionals in those management positions.” FAA Policy Does Not Prohibit Taped Statements - Delaney told OIG investigators that one reason he destroyed the tape was that he considered its creation to be against FAA policy, which requires that controllers provide written statements. However, the OIG’s report disputes this. It states, “[W]e reviewed the FAA order that prescribes policy for the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents, finding that it does not specifically prohibit tape-recorded statements, but rather is silent with regard to this specific issue.” The report adds, “We interviewed staff from the FAA air traffic evaluations and investigations staff (policy experts on aircraft accident/incident investigations), who advised that while the order does provide for only written statements, the tape—once created—should have been treated as an original record and thus kept in accordance with agency retention requirements—five years.” FAA Authorities Should Have Been Consulted - Delaney destroyed the tape of his own volition and without consulting his superiors. But the report states that he “had no authority to decide whether the taping violated FAA policy or the rights of the controllers. The proper course of action for [Delaney] would have been to communicate his concerns to appropriate levels of authority, as opposed to substituting his own judgment and summarily destroying the tape.” Specifically, “he should have sought advice and counsel from the evaluations and investigations staff and/or FAA’s chief counsel, which he told us he had not done.” Managers Created Impression of Evidence Being Withheld - The report criticizes Delaney and McCormick for creating the impression that they were hiding something. It states: “The destruction of evidence in the government’s possession… has the effect of fostering an appearance that information is being withheld from the public. We do not ascribe motivations to the managers in this case of attempting to cover up, and we have no indication there was anything on the tape that would lead anyone to conclude that they had something to hide or that the controllers did not properly carry out their duties on September 11. The actions of these managers, particularly the quality assurance manager, nonetheless, do little to dispel such appearances.” Tape Now Unavailable to Assist Investigations - The OIG’s report concludes: “As a result of the judgments rendered by these managers, no one will ever know for certain the content of the tape or its intrinsic value, nor be able to compare the audio taped statements with the controllers’ written witness statements—one of which was prepared three weeks later—for purposes of ensuring completeness.… [W]hat those six controllers recounted on September 11, in their own voices, about what transpired that morning, are no longer available to assist any investigation or inform the public.” [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ] Tape's Destruction 'Was a Cover-Up' - While the OIG’s report only accuses Delaney and McCormick of having “exercised poor judgment concerning the issue of retention of the audio tape,” one former criminal investigator will be more forthright, commenting, “Ray Charles [the blind musician] could see that this was a cover-up.” [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Kevin Delaney, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Transportation, Mike McCormick Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

4:30 p.m., June 9, 2004: Capitol Evacuated as Unidentified Aircraft Nears; Plane Carrying Governor Almost Shot Down For a few tense minutes, an unidentified plane flying inside Washington’s no-fly zone comes close to being shot down by the military. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air, is carrying Ernie Fletcher (R), the governor of Kentucky, who is coming to attend the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan. The plane’s transponder is broken, but the pilot notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the problem earlier in the flight. However, the FAA failed to inform the military, which was therefore unable to identify the plane. In addition to the lack of transponder identification, the plane is flying deep inside the no-fly zone around the White House. The Capitol is evacuated at around 4:30 p.m., when thousands are awaiting the arrival of President Reagan’s coffin. An F-16 is scrambled to identify the plane but is unable to do so because of cloud cover. NORAD’s commander, Gen. Ralph Eberhart, is asked if the plane should be shot down. Fortunately, the pilot turns toward National Airport at this time, ending the crisis. [COURIER-JOURNAL (LOUISVILLE, KY), 7/4/2004; USA TODAY, 7/4/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 7/8/2004] A new mobile radar command post, called the Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center (JBECC), which merges civil and military radar data and which was deployed in the Washington area immediately after 9/11 (see September 12, 2001), is used by the military to identify the plane and avoid a shoot-down. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 11/29/2004] Entity Tags: Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center, Ernie Fletcher, Ralph Eberhart, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Shortly before July 22, 2004: 9/11 Commission Debates Referring Military and Aviation Officials to Justice Department for Criminal Investigation Towards the end of its tenure, the ten members of the 9/11 Commission secretly meet to discuss whether military and aviation officials deliberately misled them and the public. For over two years following 9/11, NORAD and the FAA had given information in testimony and media appearances later found to be incorrect. Authorities claimed that America’s air defenses reacted quickly on 9/11, with fighters launched in response to the last two hijackings and ready to shoot down Flight 93 if it threatened Washington, DC. Yet audiotapes from the FAA and NORAD obtained by the commission under subpoena showed that the military never had any of the hijacked airliners in its sights and only became aware of Flight 93 after it crashed. John Farmer, a senior counsel to the commission, says the military’s original story was “a whole different order of magnitude than spin. It simply wasn’t true.” The commissioners debate whether to refer the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, but as a compromise they instead refer it to the inspectors general for the Pentagon and the Transportation Department (which includes the FAA). The Pentagon inspector general’s office will issue a secret report to Congress in May 2005, blaming the inaccuracies partly on “inadequate forensic capabilities,” including poor log keeping at the military air traffic control centers (see May 27, 2005). However, Farmer and other commission staff will later point out that the military had already reviewed the NORAD audiotapes before its officials gave their inaccurate testimonies. The 9/11 Commission’s concerns over whether it was deliberately misled will only come to light in news reports in August 2006. Thomas Kean, its former chairman, will say, “We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us. It was just so far from the truth.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 8/2/2006; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/5/2006] The Transportation Department’s inspector general’s office will issue its report in response to the commission’s referral in September 2006 (see September 1, 2006). Entity Tags: North American Aerospace Defense Command, John Farmer, 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 30, 2004: Senator Mark Dayton Says NORAD and FAA Lied about 9/11 Failures

Senator Mark Dayton. [Source: Publicity photo] Senator Mark Dayton (D) charges that NORAD and the FAA have covered up “catastrophic failures” that left the nation vulnerable during the 9/11 hijackings. He says, “For almost three years now, NORAD officials and FAA officials have been able to hide their critical failures that left this country defenseless during two of the worst hours in our history.” He notes major discrepancies between various accounts and chronologies given by officials. He says NORAD officials “lied to the American people, they lied to Congress and they lied to your 9/11 Commission to create a false impression of competence, communication and protection of the American people.” He calls the FAA’s and NORAD’s failures “the most gross incompetence and dereliction of responsibility and negligence that I’ve ever, under those extreme circumstances, witnessed in the public sector.” He says that he grew upset about these failures after staying up late and reading the 9/11 Commission’s final report. [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 7/30/2004] Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Mark Dayton, North American Aerospace Defense Command Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

February 10, 2005: Censored Version of Critical 9/11 Report Completed Before Presidential Elections Is Finally Released A report by the 9/11 Commission on the FAA and 9/11 is publicly released. The fact that the report reveals nearly half of all FAA daily briefings between April and early September 2001 mentioned al-Qaeda, bin Laden, or both causes headlines (see April 1, 2001-September 10, 2001). However, the report was actually completed in August 2004 but was held up by the Bush administration. Some speculate that the publication of the report was delayed until after the November 2004 presidential election to help Bush get reelected. For instance, 9/11 victim’s relative Carol Ashley states, “I’m just appalled that this was withheld for five months. That contributes to the idea that the government knew something and didn’t act, it contributes to the conspiracy theories out there.” Representative Henry Waxman (D) asks for a hearing on whether the Bush administration played politics with the report’s release, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives doesn’t allow such a hearing. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/11/2005] Additionally, the released version of this report is heavily censored in some areas. The 9/11 Commission asserts that the whole report should be released, but the Bush administration is blocking their efforts to release the censored portions. Politicians, 9/11 victims’ relatives, open-government advocates, and others call for the release of the entire report, but to no avail. [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/11/2005] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Henry A. Waxman, 9/11 Commission, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 13, 2005: Revised Version of 9/11’s Commission’s FAA Report Released; Some Material Still Blacked Out A new version of a report by the 9/11 Commission on the FAA and 9/11, which was completed in August 2004, is publicly released. A heavily censored version of the same report came out in February 2005 (see February 10, 2005). Commission members complained that the deleted material included information crucial to understanding what went wrong on 9/11. The newly released version restores dozens of portions of the report, but numerous references to shortcomings in aviation security remain blacked out. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the former heads of the 9/11 Commission, state: “While we still believe that the entire document could be made available to the public without damaging national security, we welcome this step forward.” Commission officials say they were perplexed by the White House’s original attempts to black out material that they considered trivial or mundane. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/14/2005] Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Kean, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March 22, 2006: Increased Airport Security May Have Thwarted 9/11 if Moussaoui Confessed During the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui (see also March 6-May 4, 2006), the prosecution claims that if Zacarias Moussaoui had not lied when arrested and questioned (see August 16, 2001) and had provided information about the plot (see August 16, 2001), the FAA could have altered its security procedures to deal with the suicide hijacker threat. Prosecution witness Robert Cammaroto, an aviation security officer, says that security measures in effect before 9/11 were designed to cope with different types of threats, such as “the homesick Cuban,” rather than suicide hijackings. He says that if the FAA had more information about Moussaoui, its three dozen air marshals could have been moved from international to domestic flights, security checkpoints could have been tightened to detect short knives like the ones Moussaoui had, and flight crews could have been instructed to resist rather than cooperate with hijackers. Most of these steps could have been implemented within a matter of hours. However, Cammarato admits that the FAA was aware before 9/11 that terrorists considered flying a plane into the Eiffel Tower and that al-Qaeda has performed suicide operations on land and sea. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/22/2006] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Robert Cammarato, Carla Martin, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 1, 2006: FAA Cleared of Misleading the 9/11 Commission The Transportation Department’s inspector general issues a report clearing FAA executives of deliberately misleading the 9/11 Commission. The commission had been frustrated over inaccurate statements made by the FAA and NORAD, and referred the matter to the relevant inspectors general (see Shortly before July 22, 2004). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/1/2006] Military and civil aviation officials had initially portrayed their responses on 9/11 as fast and efficient. Yet according to evidence found by the commission, the military never had any of the hijacked aircraft in its sights. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/2/2006] Among other things, the FAA claimed that an Air Force liaison had joined its teleconference and established contact with NORAD immediately after the first WTC tower was hit. According to the inspector general’s report though, this liaison only joined the teleconference after the Pentagon was struck at 9:37 a.m. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 8/31/2006 ; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/1/2006] The report says the inspector general’s office found no evidence that FAA executives deliberately made false statements or purposely omitted accurate information from any statements, regarding their notifications about the hijackings to the military on 9/11. It blames their incorrect statements on innocent mistakes, such as an erroneous entry in an early FAA timeline and a false assumption that others would correct the record. However, it recommends that the FAA “consider appropriate administrative action” against two unnamed executives for their failure to correct false information provided to the 9/11 Commission. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 8/31/2006 ; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/2/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 9/2/2006] Entity Tags: US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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