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This article is a subsection of NEADS:Timeline for September 11


(8:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Center Military Liaison Makes His First Call to NEADS, Though 9/11 Commission Does Not Mention It Edit

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Source:[1]

Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at Boston Center, claims he makes his first call to NEADS regarding Flight 11. He later recalls that he informs NEADS that the aircraft is “20 [miles] south of Albany, heading south at a high rate of speed, 600 knots.” [1] Flight 11 was over Albany at 8:26 [see 1].[2]

At such a high speed, it would have reached 20 miles south of there around 8:28. However, Scoggins says he is quite certain he only arrives on the floor at Boston Center at around 8:35. He says that although he’d later tried to write up a chronology of events, he “couldn’t get a timeline that made any sense.” Furthermore, Scoggins claims that even before he’d arrived, Joseph Cooper, a Boston Center air traffic management specialist, had already phoned NEADS about the hijacking. [3]The 9/11 Commission Report makes no mention of either call. It says “the first notification received by the military—at any level—that American 11 had been hijacked” is when Boston Center calls NEADS just before 8:38 a.m. [see 2].[4]

However, a report by ABC News is more consistent with Scoggins’ claims, indicating that Boston Center contacts NEADS about the hijacking earlier, at around 8:31.[5] (Boston Center also contacts the FAA’s Cape Cod facility at 8:34 and requests that it notify the military about Flight 11 [see 3]. Apparently around the same time, it tries contacting a military unit at Atlantic City [see 4].) Scoggins says he makes “about 40 phone calls to NEADS” in total on this day. [1] NEADS Commander Robert Marr later comments that Scoggins “deserves a lot of credit because he was about the only one that was feeding us information. I don’t know exactly where he got it. But he was feeding us information as much as he could.” [6]

Template:(Shortly After 8:34 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Otis Control Tower Calls Otis Operations Center with Details of Hijacking

(8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Center Notifies NEADS of Hijacking, against Normal Procedures; Accounts Conflict over TimingEdit

Source:http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a837noradnotified#a837noradnotified

in a template Boston Center calls NEADS to alert it to the suspected hijacking of Flight 11. According to the 9/11 Commission, this is “the first notification received by the military—at any level—that American 11 had been hijacked.” [4][7]

The call is made by Joseph Cooper, an air traffic controller at the Boston Center, and answered by Jeremy Powell, a technical sergeant on the NEADS operations floor. [8][9] Beginning the call, Cooper says:

“Hi. Boston Center TMU [traffic management unit], we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.”

Powell replies,

“Is this real-world or exercise?”

Cooper answers,

“No, this is not an exercise, not a test.” [4]

Shortly into the call, Powell passes the phone on to Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins [see 5]. Deskins identifies herself to Cooper, and he tells her, “We have a hijacked aircraft and I need you to get some sort of fighters out here to help us out.” [10][5] [11][12]

The 1st Air Force’s official history of the response to the 9/11 attacks will later suggest that Boston Center is not following normal procedures when it makes this call to NEADS. It states:

“If normal procedures had taken place… Powell probably wouldn’t have taken that phone call. Normally, the FAA would have contacted officials at the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center who would have contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The secretary of defense Wikipedia would have had to approve the use of military assets to assist in a hijacking, always considered a law enforcement issue.”

The only explanation it gives for this departure from protocol is that “nothing was normal on Sept. 11, 2001, and many say the traditional chain of command went by the wayside to get the job done.” [13]

There will be some conflict between different accounts, as to when this vital call from Boston Center to NEADS occurs. An ABC News documentary will indicate it is made as early as 8:31 a.m. [5]Another ABC News Wikipedia report will state, “Shortly after 8:30 a.m., behind the scenes, word of a possible hijacking [reaches] various stations of NORAD.”[14] NEADS logs indicate the call occurs at 8:40 a.m., and NORAD will report this as the time of the call in a press release on September 18, 2001.[2][15]

The 8:40 time will be widely reported in the media prior to the 9/11 Commission’s 2004 report.[16][17][18][19] But tape recordings of the NEADS operations floor that are referred to in the 9/11 Commission Report place the call at 8:37 and 52 seconds.[4][8] If the 8:37 a.m. time is correct, this would mean that air traffic controllers have failed to successfully notify the military until approximately 12 minutes after they became certain that Flight 11 had been hijacked [see 6], 16 minutes after Flight 11’s transponder signal was lost [see 7], and 24 minutes after the plane’s pilots made their last radio contact [see 8][20] At 8:34, the Boston Center tried contacting the military through the FAA’s Cape Cod facility, which is located on Otis Air National Guard Base, but was told that it needed to call NEADS [see 3]. [4][21]

Shortly After 8:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Staff Unable to Locate Hijacked Planes on Radar Screens Edit

Members of staff at NEADS have difficulty locating Flight 11 and other aircraft on their radar screens. Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins of NEADS will say that when the FAA first calls and reports the first hijacking (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), “He[who?] [FAA] gave me the latitude and longitude of that track… [but] there was nothing there.” [22][FOX NEWS, 9/8/2002] Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center, later recalls: “I was giving NEADS accurate location information on at least five instances where AA 11 was, yet they could never identify him.… I originally gave them an F/R/D, which is a fix/radial/distance from a known location; they could not identify the target. They requested latitude/longitudes, which I gave them; they still could not identify the AA 11.… I gave them 20 [miles] south of Albany heading south at a high rate of speed, 600 knots, then another call at 50 south of Albany.” [23][GRIFFIN, 2007, PP. 47] Master Sergeant Kevin Foster and Staff Sergeant Mark Rose, also working at NEADS this morning, later complain about their inability to locate the hijacked planes. After being informed of the first hijacking, reportedly: “As they had practiced countless times before, the NEADS team quickly began searching their [radar] screens for the plane. Because they had been informed its transponder was off, they knew to look for a tiny dash instead of the usual dot. But radar systems also use such lines to indicate weather patterns, so NEADS personnel began urgently clicking their computer cursors on each stray line to see if information indicating an aircraft would appear.” Yet, after receiving further calls indicating more hijackings, “the inability to find the hijacked planes on the radar, despite their best efforts, was difficult.” According to Foster, “We were trying to find the tracks, and not being able to was very frustrating.” [24][UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 8/5/2004] NEADS Staff Sergeant Larry Thornton will recall: “Once we were called by the FAA, we could find split-second hits on what we thought we were looking for. But the area was so congested and it was incredibly difficult to find. We were looking for little dash marks in a pile of clutter and a pile of aircraft on a two-dimensional scope.” Each fluorescent green pulsating dot on their radar scopes represents an airplane, and there are thousands currently airborne, especially over the busy northeast US. [25][FILSON, 2003, PP. 56]

(8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NEADS Sergeant Passes on News of Hijacking to Colleagues Edit

At NEADS, the technical sergeant[who?] who has been notified of the suspected hijacking of Flight 11 passes on this news to colleagues of his on the NEADS operations floor. [26] The FAA’s Boston Center has just called NEADS to report “a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York,” and has requested that fighter jets be launched in response (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [27]

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Powell, who answers this call, reportedly “bolts up and turns toward the ID section behind him on the ops floor.” He says, “We’ve got a hijack going on!” Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley, the leader of the ID section, mistakenly thinks this is part of the day’s training exercise (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and tells the other members of her team: “We have a hijack going on. Get your checklists. The exercise is on.” But Powell then clarifies: “No, you don’t understand. We have a no-shit hijack!” Sitting next to Dooley is Master Sergeant Joe McCain, the NEADS mission crew commander technician, who gets on the paging system and calls for the mission crew commander (MCC), Major Kevin Nasypany, to come to the operations floor immediately. Nasypany is in charge of the operations floor and needs to know if anything important is happening. He arrives moments later and learns of the hijacking. [28]

(8:38 a.m.-8:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Personnel Mistake Hijacking for Part of an Exercise Edit

When the FAA’s Boston Center first contacts NEADS to notify it of the hijacking of Flight 11 (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), personnel there initially mistake the hijacking for a simulation as part of an exercise.

Lieutenant Colonel Dawne Deskins, mission crew chief for the Vigilant Guardian exercise currently taking place (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), will later say that initially she and everybody else at NEADS think the call from Boston Center is part of Vigilant Guardian. [29][30] Although most of the personnel on the NEADS operations floor have no idea what the day’s exercise is supposed to entail, most previous major NORAD exercises included a hijack scenario.[31] [32] The day’s exercise is in fact scheduled to include a simulated hijacking later on.[33][34] Major Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission crew commander, had helped design the day’s exercise. Thinking the reported hijacking is part of it, he actually says out loud, “The hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour.” [35][36]

In the ID section, at the back right corner of the NEADS operations floor, technicians Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley react to the news. Dooley, the leader of the ID section, tells the other members of her team: “We have a hijack going on. Get your checklists. The exercise is on” (see 8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Rountree asks, “Is that real-world?” Dooley confirms, “Real-world hijack.” Watson says, “Cool!” [37][38]

When NEADS Commander Robert Marr sees his personnel reacting to the news of the hijacking (see (8:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001), he reportedly thinks the day’s exercise “is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist.” Even when a colleague informs him, “It’s a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise,” Marr thinks: “This is an interesting start to the exercise. This ‘real-world’ mixed in with today’s simex [simulated exercise] will keep [my staff members] on their toes.”[39][40]

Major General Larry Arnold, who is at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, also later says that when he first hears of the hijacking, in the minutes after NEADS is alerted to it, “The first thing that went through my mind was, is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?”[41][42]According to author Lynn Spencer: “Even as NORAD’s commander for the continental United States, Arnold is not privy to everything concerning the exercise. The simex is meant to test commanders also, to make sure that their war machine is operating as it should.” [43]

At 8:43 a.m., Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team, comments, “I’ve never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise.”[44] [45]

Shortly After 8:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: Otis Commander Phones NEADS for Authorization to Launch Fighters Edit

Following a call from the FAA’s Boston Center to the the FAA’s Cape Cod facility reporting the possible hijacking of Flight 11 (see 8:34 a.m. September 11, 2001), and a subsequent call from the Cape Cod facility to Otis Air National Guard Base (see (8:36 a.m.-8:41) September 11, 2001), Lt. Col. Jon Treacy, commander of the 101st Fighter Squadron at Otis, phones NEADS to report the FAA’s request for help and get authorization to launch fighters. By now though, the FAA has already gotten through to NEADS itself, and reported the hijacking (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [46]

(8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Center Military Liaison Updates NEADS on Flight 11 Edit

Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center, makes a brief phone call to NEADS to see if it has been able to find any further information about Flight 11. [47][48] Boston Center has just alerted NEADS to the hijacking of Flight 11 [see 9].[49]

Scoggins asks the ID technician[who?] who answers his call, “Have you identified the radar target for American 11?” The ID tech says they are still searching for it. Scoggins then tells her that Flight 11 is “50 miles south of Albany,” but, according to author Lynn Spencer, this information “won’t be of much help to NEADS Surveillance,” because “[t]heir monochromic displays aren’t even capable of showing the outline of states, much less those of cities like Albany or New York.” [50][51] (However, despite this supposed inadequate capability, NEADS is reportedly able to spot Flight 11 shortly before it crashes into the World Trade Center [see 10], locating its radar track “going down the Hudson Valley, straight in from the north toward New York.” [52][53] )

As NEADS has no new information to offer him, Scoggins quickly ends the call. According to Spencer’s account, this is the first time Scoggins calls NEADS this morning, after arriving at the Boston Center minutes earlier [see 11][54][55] But according to a description Scoggins gives to author David Ray Griffin in 2007 Wikipedia, it appears that this is his second call, after an initial call at around 8:35 [see 12]. Scoggins will tell Griffin that he first called NEADS to inform it that Flight 11 was “20 [miles] south of Albany heading south at a high rate of speed, 600 knots,” and then he makes “another call at 50 [miles] south of Albany.” [56][57]

(8:38 a.m.-8:52 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NEADS Calls NORAD Public Affairs Officer Edit

Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins of NEADS twice calls Major Don Arias, the 1st Air Force and Continental United States NORAD Region public affairs officer, who is at the 1st Air Force public affairs office at Tyndall Air Force, Florida. She first calls him after NEADS is informed of the hijacking of Flight 11 [see 13] She says that NEADS has “a hijacked plane—no, not the simulation—likely heading for JFK [International Airport in New York City].”[58] The “simulation” refers to a NORAD air defense exercise, presumably Vigilant Guardian, that Arias is involved in. Deskins informs him that fighters are going to be launched after the aircraft. Arias then starts working on a public statement about the incident, but soon after sees the smoking WTC tower on CNN. He says that he thinks, “Wow, I bet that’s the hijacked plane.” [59] Minutes after the crash, Deskins calls Arias again and tells him, “We think the aircraft that just hit the World Trade Center was American Airlines Flight 11.” According to Deskins, Arias responds, “Oh, God. My brother works in the World Trade Center.”[60] Arias will quickly contact his brother [see 14]

8:38 a.m. and After September 11, 2001: NEADS Technicians Try Locating Flight 11, but Reportedly Hindered by Outdated Equipment Edit

Technicians at NEADS try frantically to locate Flight 11 on their radar scopes, but are supposedly hindered by their outdated equipment.[61] [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 31-32] NEADS has just been alerted to the hijacking of Flight 11 [see 15].[62] Its technicians realize they need to find the location of the hijacked plane quickly, so that the weapons team will be able to pass this information on to any fighter jets that are launched after it.

Author Lynn Spencer will later explain:

“To identify American 11, the surveillance and ID techs must go through a grueling process. Their radar scopes are filled with hundreds of radar returns not just from aircraft but from weather systems, ground interference, and what’s called anomalous propagation—false returns caused by conditions in the atmosphere, or by such obstructions as flocks of birds. The technicians must first determine which radar data on their screens is for aircraft, which they do by monitoring its movement, which is distinctive for planes. The technician must observe for at least 36 seconds to a minute just to confirm that a blip is in fact an aircraft track. The tech must attach what’s called a tactical display number to it, which tells the computer to start tracking and identifying the target. If the target is in fact a plane, then over a period of 12-20 seconds, the computer will start to generate information on the track: heading, speed, altitude, latitude, longitude, and the identifying information being transmitted by the transponder.”


However, Flight 11’s transponder has been switched off [see 16] Therefore, “With the hundreds of pieces of radar data filling their screens, and little information as to the location of the flight,” the task of locating it “is daunting.”

Spencer will suggest that trying to locate Flight 11 is made more difficult because the radar equipment at NEADS is outdated and unsuited to the task at hand. She writes:

“[T]he NEADS radar equipment is different from that used by air traffic controllers. It’s much older, developed in the 1970s and brought into use by NEADS in the early 1980s. The system was designed to monitor the shoreline for incoming high-altitude threats: missiles coming from across the ocean. Slow and cumbersome, and not nearly as user friendly as more modern equipment, the NEADS monochromic radar displays are not designed to take internal FAA radar data or to identify radar tracks originating from inside the United States. The system offers little, if any, such low-level coverage over the country.”


[63][SPENCER, 2008, PP. 31-32] Several of the NEADS personnel will later complain of their inability to locate Flight 11 on their scopes [see 17] But Master Sergeant Joe McCain, the mission crew commander technician at NEADS, believes he has located Flight 11 on the radar screen just before it crashes into the World Trade Center[see 18]

8:40 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Learns of Threat to Flight 11 Cockpit Edit

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One of the ID technicians,Shelley Watson at NEADS calls Boston Center, and learns that there have been “threats in the cockpit” of Flight 11. The communications team at NEADS is currently trying to quickly find out all they can about the hijacked plane, such as its flight number, tail number, and where it is. ID tech Shelley Watson calls the management desk at the Boston Center, which had alerted NEADS to the hijacking minutes earlier [see 19], wanting to make sure she has all the information that is available on Flight 11.

Her call is answered by Boston Center’s military liaison, Colin Scoggins. Scoggins tells Watson:

“He’s being hijacked. The pilot’s having a hard time talking to the… I mean, we don’t know. We don’t know where he’s goin’. He’s heading towards Kennedy [International Airport in New York City]. He’s… 35 miles north of Kennedy now at 367 knots. We have no idea where he’s goin’ or what his intentions are.”

Scoggins says, “I guess there’s been some threats in the cockpit,” and adds, “We’ll call you right back as soon as we know more info.” Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley is standing over Watson, relaying any pertinent information she hears to Major Kevin Nasypany. She calls to him, “Okay, he said threat to the cockpit!” . [64]

(8:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001: ’Hubbub’ at NEADS Headquarters Thought to Be Result of Exercise ScenarioEdit

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At NEADS, a huddle of people is gathered around one of the radar scopes. NEADS Commander Robert Marr initially thinks this hubbub is due to the NORAD training exercise (presumably Vigilant Guardian) that is taking place on this day [see 20]. He will later recall:

“I’ve seen many exercises… and as I saw that huddle I said, ‘There’s got to be something wrong, something is happening here.’ You usually see that whenever they find a track on the scope that looks unusual; it’s usually an indicator that something is getting ready to kick off.”. [65]

According to Lynn Spencer, Marr thinks the day’s exercise

“is kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist.… His bet is that his simulations team has started off the exercise by throwing out a ‘heart attack card’ to see how the troops respond to a first-aid call from a fellow soldier, testing their first responder training.”[66]

He sends Lt. Colonel Dawne Deskins, the regional mission crew commander for the exercise, to check out what is going on. [65] Deskins speaks briefly over the phone with Boston Center about the Flight 11 hijacking [see 21].[67] She then runs back to the “battle cab”—the glass-walled room that overlooks the NEADS operations floor—and speaks to Marr with urgency in her voice. [65] She tells him: “It’s a hijacking, and this is real life, not part of the exercise. And it appears that the plane is heading toward New York City.” Although Deskins has specifically stated, “not part of the exercise,” Marr reportedly thinks, “This is an interesting start to the exercise.” According to Spencer, he thinks “This ‘real-world’ mixed in with today’s simex [simulated exercise] will keep [his staff members] on their toes.” Regardless of whether the crisis is real or not, Marr decides to instruct that the two alert F-15s at Otis Air National Guard Base Wikipedia be ordered to battle stations [see 22].[68]

(Between 8:40 a.m. and 8:46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NEADS Calls Atlantic City Unit, but Phone Is Not Answered Edit

The emblem of the 177th Fighter Wing. [Source: United States Air Force] Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center, calls NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) and suggests that it contact a military unit at Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, when NEADS tries phoning the unit, the call is not answered. Scoggins Notices Otis Jets Not Yet Launched - Scoggins had called NEADS at around 8:38 a.m., regarding the hijacked Flight 11 (see (8:38 a.m.) September 11, 2001). A few minutes after this, he notices that fighter jets have not yet launched from Otis Air National Guard Base, at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and calls NEADS again. He suggests that it should try to get jets launched from Atlantic City. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 32-34] Atlantic City International Airport is the home of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard. [GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 10/29/2001] As author Lynn Spencer will describe, Scoggins “knows that Atlantic City is no longer an alert facility, but he also knows that they launch F-16s for training flights every morning at nine. He figures that the pilots are probably already in their planes and ready to go. They’re unarmed, but they’re a lot closer to New York City than the Otis fighters on Cape Cod, and the military serves only a monitoring purpose in hijacking anyway.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 33-34] Two F-16s from the 177th Fighter Wing are in fact already airborne and performing their training mission, and are just a few minutes flying time from New York City (see 8:46 a.m.-9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). [BERGEN RECORD, 12/5/2003] Scoggins will later recount: “I requested that we take from Atlantic City very early in the [morning], not launch from the ground but those already airborne in Warning Area 107 [a training area] if they were there, which I believe they were.” He will add that the 177th Fighter Wing does not “have an intercept mission; it was taken away a long time ago. [But] NEADS could have called them and asked them to cancel their [training] mission and divert.” [GRIFFIN, 2007] NEADS Tries Unsuccessfully to Contact Unit - The NEADS technician who takes Scoggins’s call follows his advice, and tries to call the unit at Atlantic City. He calls the only number he has for it, which is the number NEADS had previously called when it wanted to scramble 177th Fighter Wing F-16s until 1998, back when they were part of NORAD’s alert force. The number connects the technician directly to the highly secured command post. However, no one answers the phone. According to Spencer: “[T]hese days, the command post is more of a highly secured storage area, opened just once a month for drill weekends. The phone rings and rings.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 34] The FAA’s Boston Center also attempted to call the Atlantic City unit, apparently several minutes earlier (see (8:34 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The outcome of that call is unstated. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 20] Entity Tags: Colin Scoggins, Northeast Air Defense Sector, 177th Fighter Wing Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

8:43 a.m. September 11, 2001: NORAD Reportedly Notified that Flight 175 Has Been Hijacked, 9/11 Commission Will Dispute This Edit

After 9/11, NORAD and other sources will claim that NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) is notified at this time that Flight 175 has been hijacked. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/12/2001; CNN, 9/17/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/19/2002; NEWSDAY, 9/10/2002] However, the FAA’s New York Center, which is handling Flight 175, first alerts its military liaison about the hijacking at around 9:01 (see 9:01 a.m.-9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001). In addition, according to the 9/11 Commission, NEADS is not informed until two minutes later (see (9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] According to the Commission, the first “operational evidence” that there is something wrong on Flight 175 is not until 8:47, when its transponder code changes (see 8:46 a.m.-8:47 a.m. September 11, 2001), and it is not until 8:53 that the air traffic controller handling it concludes that Flight 175 may be hijacked (see 8:51 a.m.-8:53 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 7, 21-22]

8:45 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Commanders Give Order to Launch Otis Jets Edit

On the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), Major Kevin Nasypany, the facility’s mission crew commander, instructs Major James Fox, the leader of the weapons team, to launch fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Nasypany has just received this order—to launch the jets—from Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 15 AND 88 ] Marr issued it after seeking permission to do so from Major General Larry Arnold, the commanding general of NORAD’s Continental Region (CONR) (see (After 8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 20] Marr will later claim, “My intent was to scramble Otis to military airspace while we found out what was going on.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 56] Nasypany gives Fox a coordinate for just north of New York City, and tells him, “Head ‘em in that direction.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] The jets will be scrambled from Otis a minute later (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001), but there will be conflicting accounts of what their initial destination is (see (8:53 a.m.-9:05 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 20] Interestingly, the 9/11 Commission will later state that, “Because of a technical issue, there are no NEADS recordings available of the NEADS senior weapons director and weapons director technician position responsible for controlling the Otis scramble.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 459] Entity Tags: Kevin Nasypany, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Larry Arnold, Robert Marr, James Fox Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

8:45 a.m.-8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Technician Locates Flight 11 on Radar Screen, Then Sees It Disappear over New York Master Sergeant Joe McCain, the mission crew commander technician at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), believes he has located Flight 11 on the radar screen and then watches it disappear over New York, but he does not realize it has crashed. McCain is on the phone with Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 40-41] NEADS personnel have been unable to locate Flight 11 on their radar screens (see Shortly After 8:37 a.m. September 11, 2001). [UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 8/5/2004] McCain Locates Fast-Moving Aircraft - Now McCain believes he has found Flight 11, flying about 20 miles north of Manhattan. According to author Lynn Spencer, he “knows that planes tend to fly very specific routes, like highways in the sky, and this particular target seems not to be on any of those regular routes. It’s also very fast moving.” McCain tells Scoggins, “I’ve got a search target that seems to be on an odd heading here,” and then describes its location. Scoggins notices the target, but this is not Flight 11. Scoggins then realizes that Flight 11 is right behind the target McCain has identified, and yells to him: “There’s a target four miles behind it, that’s the one! That’s American 11!” McCain responds, “I’ve got it!” The aircraft is 16 miles north of New York’s JFK International Airport, and heading down the Hudson River valley. NEADS has no altitude for it, but the aircraft is clearly traveling very fast. After hanging up the phone, McCain calls out its coordinates to everyone on the NEADS operations floor. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 40] McCain will later recall: “It’s very unusual to find a search target, which is a plane with its transponder turned off, in that area. This plane was headed toward New York going faster than the average Cessna and was no doubt a jet aircraft. We had many clues. The plane was fast and heading in an unusual direction with no beacon. We had raw data only. Everything just kind of fit.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 56-57] (The identity of the other fast-moving aircraft McCain had noticed, four miles ahead of Flight 11, is unstated.) Flight 11 Disappears from Radar - Less than a minute after McCain locates the track for Flight 11, it disappears. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 41] McCain will recall, “We watched that track until it faded over New York City and right after that someone came out of the break room and said the World Trade Center had been hit.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 57] However, McCain supposedly does not realize that the plane he had spotted has crashed into the WTC. According to Spencer: “[H]e knows only that the blip he has struggled so mightily to locate has now vanished. He figures that the plane has descended below his radar coverage area to land at JFK. The fact that the plane was flying much too fast for landing does not hit him; the concept that the plane might have been intentionally crashed is simply too far outside his realm of experience.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 41] Entity Tags: Joe McCain, Colin Scoggins, Northeast Air Defense Sector Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(8.46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Operations Center Receives First Notification of Hijacking; Approves Launching of Fighters Immediately after ordering the scrambling of fighters after Flight 11, NEADS calls Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. It informs him that the FAA is reporting a hijacking and requesting NORAD support, and asks for NORAD commander-in-chief approval for the scramble. [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002] The Cheyenne Mountain operations center “provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 11/27/1999] Its role is to “fuse every critical piece of information NORAD has into a concise and crystalline snapshot,” and the mandate of its staff is “to respond to any threat in the skies over Canada and the United States.” [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002] This is apparently the first time it becomes aware of the morning’s emergency. Mike Jellinek is sitting near Canadian Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of combat operations, who has just completed the night shift. Findley’s staff is “already on high alert” because of Vigilant Guardian and Operation Northern Vigilance, a training exercise and a NORAD operation that are currently in progress. According to some accounts, Findley quickly gives Jellinek “thumbs up” approval for the sending of the fighters after Flight 11. However, Findley tells CNN that after learning of the hijacking, “I just kind of asked the question, OK, folks, open up our checklist, follow our NORAD instruction, which included, at that time, to ask in either Ottawa or Washington is it OK if we use NORAD fighters to escort a potential hijacked aircraft?” Findley also later states, “At that point all we thought was we’ve got an airplane hijacked and we were going to provide an escort as requested. We certainly didn’t know it was going to play out as it did.” [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/27/2001; TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002; CANADIAN PRESS, 9/10/2006; CNN, 9/11/2006] Findley remains in charge of the NORAD operations center. His staff feeds information to NORAD Commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart, and Findley himself is in phone contact with Eberhart several times during the crisis. Eberhart is in his office at NORAD headquarters, at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, but will relocate to Cheyenne Mountain later in the morning (see (Between 9:35 a.m. and 10:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CALGARY HERALD, 10/1/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 465; LEGION MAGAZINE, 11/2004] Entity Tags: Operation Northern Vigilance, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Ralph Eberhart, Vigilant Guardian, Mike Jellinek, Rick Findley Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

8:51 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Learns of Plane Hitting WTC, Informs FAA’s New York Center Technicians on the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) receive what is apparently their first notification that a plane has hit the World Trade Center, in a phone call from the FAA’s Boston Center. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] NEADS ID technicians are currently trying to locate Flight 11, when they are called by Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the Boston Center. ID tech Stacia Rountree answers the call. In response to Scoggins’s information, Rountree says to her colleagues, “A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” She asks Scoggins, “Was it American 11?” He tells her this is not confirmed. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 50] Another of the ID techs, Shelley Watson, starts murmuring in response to the news: “Oh my God. Oh God. Oh my God.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] A computer maintenance technician then runs onto the operations floor and announces that CNN is broadcasting that a 737 has hit the WTC. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 51] NEADS Calls New York Center - Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley, the leader of the ID techs, tells Watson: “Update New York! See if they lost altitude on that plane altogether.” Watson immediately calls the FAA’s New York Center and asks, “Did you just hear the information regarding the World Trade Center?” When the person who answers her call says no, Watson explains, “Being hit by an aircraft.” The person at New York Center says, “You’re kidding,” but Watson adds, “It’s on the world news.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] One of the NEADS technicians is finally able to display the live CNN coverage on one of the 15-foot screens at the front of the room. People stare in silence at the footage of the burning North Tower. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 51] Entity Tags: Northeast Air Defense Sector, Shelley Watson, Maureen Dooley, Colin Scoggins, Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, Stacia Rountree Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Shortly After 8:51 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Pentagon Command Center Possibly Knows Flight 77 Is Hijacked, yet NEADS Not Notified An article in the New York Times will later suggest that officials in the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center (NMCC) promptly become aware of the problems with Flight 77, long before NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) is alerted to the flight. The article will state, “During the hour or so that American Airlines Flight 77 [is] under the control of hijackers, up to the moment it struck the west side of the Pentagon, military officials in [the NMCC are] urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/15/2001] This appears consistent with what would be expected under normal procedures. According to the FAA’s acting Deputy Administrator Monte Belger: “Prior to 9/11, FAA’s traditional communication channel with the military during a crisis had been through the National Military Command Center (NMCC). They were always included in the communication net that was used to manage a hijack incident.” He will say that, since the FAA does not have direct dedicated communication links with NORAD, in a hijack scenario the NMCC has “the responsibility to coordinate [the Defense Department]‘s response to requests from the FAA or the FBI.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] NEADS reportedly is not alerted to Flight 77 until significantly later: at 9:24 a.m. by some accounts (see (9:24 a.m.) September 11, 2001), or, according to other accounts, at 9:34 a.m., when it only learns that Flight 77 is missing (see 9:34 a.m. September 11, 2001). [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Northeast Air Defense Sector, National Military Command Center, Monte Belger Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

8:53 a.m. September 11, 2001: Otis Fighters Airborne, Allegedly Ordered toward New York

A typical F-15. [Source: US Air Force] Radar data will show that the two F-15s scrambled from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are airborne by this time. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/15/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 20] It is now eight minutes since the mission crew commander at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) ordered that the jets be launched (see 8:45 a.m. September 11, 2001). [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] It is 40 minutes since air traffic controllers had their last communication with Flight 11 (see 8:13 a.m. September 11, 2001), and 28 minutes since they became certain that the aircraft was hijacked (see (8:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center seven minutes ago (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 7, 19 AND 459] Commander Wants Fighters Sent to New York - In Rome, New York, NEADS has just received news of the plane hitting the WTC (see 8:51 a.m. September 11, 2001). Major Kevin Nasypany, the facility’s mission crew commander, is asked what to do with the Otis fighters. He responds: “Send ‘em to New York City still. Continue! Go! This is what I got. Possible news that a 737 just hit the World Trade Center. This is a real-world.… Continue taking the fighters down to the New York City area, JFK [International Airport] area, if you can. Make sure that the FAA clears it—your route all the way through.… Let’s press with this.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Yet there will be conflicting reports of the fighters’ destination (see (8:53 a.m.-9:05 a.m.) September 11, 2001), with some accounts saying they are directed toward military-controlled airspace off the Long Island coast. [FILSON, 2003, PP. 56-59; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Northeast Air Defense Sector, Robert Marr, Kevin Nasypany, Otis Air National Guard Base Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

8:55 a.m.-8:57 a.m. September 11, 2001: Confusion at NEADS over Identity of Plane that Hit WTC

Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley. [Source: ABC News] Rumors have started circulating through the civilian air traffic system that the plane that hit the World Trade Center was a small Cessna. There is increasing confusion on the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) as to whether it was really Flight 11. ID tech Stacia Rountree is on the phone with Colin Scoggins, a civilian manager who is the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center. Scoggins initially seems to confirm that the plane was Flight 11, saying: “Yeah, he crashed into the World Trade Center.… [D]isregard the tail number [given earlier for American 11].” When Rountree asks, “He did crash into the World Trade Center?” Scoggins replies, “[T]hat’s what we believe, yes.” However, an unidentified male staff member at NEADS overhears, and queries: “I never heard them say American Airlines Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center. I heard it was a civilian aircraft.” Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley takes the phone from Rountree and asks Scoggins, “[A]re you giving confirmation that American 11 was the one?” Apparently contradicting what he’d previously said, Scoggins replies: “No, we’re not gonna confirm that at this time. We just know an aircraft crashed in.… The last [radar sighting] we have was about 15 miles east of JFK [International Airport in New York City], or eight miles east of JFK was our last primary hit. He did slow down in speed… and then we lost ‘em.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] This confusion will continue later on, when NEADS will be misinformed that Flight 11 is still airborne (see 9:21 a.m. September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Stacia Rountree, Colin Scoggins, Maureen Dooley, Northeast Air Defense Sector Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

  1. 1.0 1.1 David Ray Griffin (2007). "Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An answer to Popular Mechanics and other defenders of the official conspiracy theory". p. 43. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (9/17/2001). "Statement of Air Traffic Hijack Events". 
  3. David Ray Griffin (2007). "Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An answer to Popular Mechanics and other defenders of the official conspiracy theory". p. 43,335. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 20
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Peter Jennings Wikipedia (9/11/2002). "9/11: Interviews by Peter Jennings". ABC NEWS. 
  6. Michael Bronner Wikipedia (2006). "Chasing planes: Witnesses to 9/11". 
  7. 9/11 Commission August 2004 Staff report,26 August 2004,Page 13
  8. 8.0 8.1 "9/11 Live: The NORAD tapes". VANITY FAIR. 8/1/2006. 
  9. Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... 25
  10. NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE. 1/25/2002. 
  11. BAMFORD (2004). p. 8. 
  12. Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... 26
  13. FILSON (2003). p. 51. 
  14. ABC NEWS. 9/14/2002. 
  15. NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND (9/18/2001). http://web.archive.org/web/20030809155434/http:/www.norad.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.news_rel_09_18_01. 
  16. ASSOCIATED PRESS. 8/21/2002. 
  17. BBC. 9/1/2002. 
  18. NEWSDAY. 9/10/2002. 
  19. CNN. 9/11/2002. 
  20. . [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004]
  21. Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... 22
  22. . 
  23. . 
  24. . 
  25. . 
  26. . [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 25]
  27. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 20
  28. . [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006;>.  SPENCER, 2008, PP. 25-26 AND 40]
  29. . 
  30. [NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2002]
  31. . 
  32. [USA TODAY, 4/18/2004; UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 8/5/2004]
  33. . 
  34. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006]
  35. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006]
  36. . 
  37. . 
  38. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 25]
  39. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 26]
  40. . 
  41. [ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003]
  42. . 
  43. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 38]
  44. . 
  45. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006]
  46. [FILSON, 2003, PP. 50]
  47. . 
  48. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 32-33]
  49. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 20
  50. . 
  51. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 33]
  52. . 
  53. [FILSON, 2003, PP. 56]
  54. . 
  55. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 33]
  56. . 
  57. [GRIFFIN, 2007, PP. 47]
  58. [NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2002]
  59. [FLORIDA STATE TIMES, 11/2001; AIRMAN, 9/2002; FILSON, 2003, PP. 122]
  60. [NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2002; ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002; BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 13-14]
  61. . 
  62. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 20
  63. . 
  64. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 34]
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 [FILSON, 2003, PP. 55]
  66. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 26]
  67. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 26]
  68. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 26-27]

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