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January 30, 2001: First National Security Council Meeting Focuses on Iraq and Israel, Not Terrorism Edit

The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The focus is on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 261] This meeting sets the tone for how President Bush intends to handle foreign affairs. Counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke wants to focus on the threat from al-Qaeda and Islamist terrorism, especially in light of the recent attack on the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000). But Bush isn’t interested in terrorism. [UNGER, 2007, PP. 201] Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to be 'Tilted Back Towards Israel' - Instead, Bush channels his neoconservative advisers, particularly incoming Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (see February 18, 1992 and April-May 1999), in taking a new approach to Middle East affairs, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Referring to President Clinton’s efforts to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Bush declares: “Clinton overreached, and it all fell apart. That’s why we’re in trouble. If the two sides don’t want peace, there’s no way we can force them. I don’t see much we can do over there at this point. I think it’s time to pull out of the situation.… We’re going to correct the imbalance of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict. We’re going to tilt it back towards Israel.” His view is that the Israeli government, currently headed by Ariel Sharon, should be left alone to deal as it sees fit with the Palestinians. “I’m not going to go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon. I’m going to take him at face value. We’ll work on a relationship based on how things go.” Justifying his position, he recalls a recent trip he took to Israel with the Republican Jewish Coalition. “We flew over the Palestinian camps. Looked real bad down there.… I don’t see much we can do over there at this point.” Secretary of State Colin Powell, surprised by Bush’s intended policy towards the 50-year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, objects. According to Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil, Powell “stresse[s] that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army.” When Powell warns the president that the “consequences of that [policy] could be dire, especially for the Palestinians,” Bush shrugs. “Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things,” he suggests. [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 265-266; MIDDLE EAST POLICY COUNCIL, 6/2004] In this and subsequent meetings, Bush’s National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, “parrot[s]… the neocon line,” in author Craig Unger’s words, by discussing Iraq. “Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region,” she says, clearly alluding to regime change and overthrow in that nation (see March 8, 1992, Autumn 1992, July 8, 1996, Late Summer 1996, Late Summer 1996, 1997-1998, January 26, 1998, February 19, 1998, September 2000, Late December 2000 and Early January 2001, and Shortly after January 20, 2001). [UNGER, 2007, PP. 201] Possible WMD Sites in Iraq Spark Bush to Order Plans for Ground Assaults - The meeting then moves on to the subject of Iraq. Rice begins noting “that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region.” She turns the meeting over to CIA Director George Tenet who summarizes current intelligence on Iraq. He mentions a factory that “might” be producing “either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture.” The evidence he provides is a picture of the factory with some truck activity, a water tower, and railroad tracks going into a building. He admits that there is “no confirming intelligence” on just what is going on at these sites. Bush orders Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Hugh Shelton to begin preparing options for the use of US ground forces in Iraq’s northern and southern no-fly zones in support of a native-based insurgency against the Hussein regime. [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 267; MIDDLE EAST POLICY COUNCIL, 6/2004] Author Ron Suskind later sums up the discussion: “Meeting adjourned. Ten days in, and it was about Iraq. Rumsfeld had said little, Cheney nothing at all, though both men clearly had long entertained the idea of overthrowing Saddam.” Defense Intelligence Agency official Patrick Lang later writes: “If this was a decision meeting, it was strange. It ended in a presidential order to prepare contingency plans for war in Iraq.” [MIDDLE EAST POLICY COUNCIL, 6/2004] Regime Change Intended from the Outset - US Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill, later recalls: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go.… From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O’Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O’Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’” [CBS NEWS, 1/10/2004; NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004; GUARDIAN, 1/12/2004; VANITY FAIR, 5/2004, PP. 234] Another official who attends the meeting will later say that the tone of the meeting implied a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration’s halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC NEWS, 1/13/2004] Unger later writes, “These were the policies that even the Israeli right had not dared to implement.” One senior administration official says after the meeting, “The Likudniks are really in charge now.” [UNGER, 2007, PP. 201] Funding the Iraqi National Congress - The council does more than just discuss Iraq. It makes a decision to allow the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an Iraqi opposition group, to use $4 million to fund efforts inside Iraq to compile information relating to Baghdad’s war crimes, military operations, and other internal developments. The money had been authorized by Congress in late 2004. The US has not directly funded Iraqi opposition activities inside Iraq itself since 1996. [GUARDIAN, 2/3/2005] White House Downplays Significance - After Paul O’Neill first provides his account of this meeting in 2004, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change.… And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Hugh Shelton, Paul O’Neill, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George J. Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Craig Unger, Iraqi National Congress Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

February 1, 2001: Rumsfeld Wants to Get Rid of Hussein in Iraq; Envisions Iraq After Hussein Is Gone The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Like the first meeting (see January 30, 2001), the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. [CBS NEWS, 1/10/2004; NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004] Officials discuss a memo titled “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,” which talks about troop requirements, establishing war crimes tribunals, and divvying up Iraq’s oil wealth. [ [SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld interrupts Colin Powell’s discussion of UN-based sanctions against Iraq, saying, “Sanctions are fine. But what we really want to discuss is going after Saddam.” He continues, “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with US interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond it. It would demonstrate what US policy is all about.” [SUSKIND, 2004, PP. 85-86 SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] According to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country’s economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004 SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] Other people, in addition to O’Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [US PRESIDENT, 2/13/2001] Entity Tags: Paul O’Neill, George W. Bush, George J. Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

July 3, 2001: Rare Discussion Takes Place Between National Security Advisers on Terrorism This is one of only two dates that Bush’s national security leadership discusses terrorism. (The other discussion occurs on September 4.) Apparently, the topic is only mentioned in passing and is not the focus of the meeting. This group, made up of the national security adviser, CIA director, defense secretary, secretary of state, Joint Chiefs of staff chairman and others, met around 100 times before 9/11 to discuss a variety of topics, but apparently rarely terrorism. The White House “aggressively defended the level of attention [to terrorism], given only scattered hints of al-Qaeda activity.” This lack of discussion stands in sharp contrast to the Clinton administration and public comments by the Bush administration. [TIME, 8/4/2002] Bush said in February 2001, “I will put a high priority on detecting and responding to terrorism on our soil.” A few months earlier, Tenet told Congress, “The threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving” (see February 7, 2001). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 6/28/2002] Entity Tags: US Congress, Al-Qaeda, Richard B. Myers, George J. Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Clinton administration, Bush administration, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

August 24, 2001: Former Head of Space Command Appointed as Chairman of Joint Chiefs President George W. Bush appoints Gen. Richard Myers, an expert in hi-tech computer and space warfare, as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Observers say that Bush’s nomination of Myers, a former head of the US Space Command, reflects the Bush administration intent to develop a missile defense system and weaponize space. [WASHINGTON FILE, 8/24/2001; PBS, 8/24/2001; REUTERS, 8/30/2001] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: US Military

(8:00 a.m.-8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Rumsfeld Holds Breakfast Meeting at Pentagon; Key Military Figures PresentEdit

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hosts a breakfast meeting in his private dining room at the Pentagon.[1][2] The meeting, which is attended by several members of Congress, is intended to discuss the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review Wikipedia. As well as the secretary of defense, others in attendance include Rumsfeld’s senior military assistant, Navy Vice Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr. Wikipedia; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz Wikipedia; and Republican Representatives John Mica Wikipedia, Mark Steven Kirk Wikipedia, Mac Thornberry Wikipedia, Roger Wicker Wikipedia, Robin Hayes Wikipedia, Kay Granger Wikipedia, John Shimkus Wikipedia, Randy “Duke” Cunningham Wikipedia, and Christopher Cox Wikipedia. [3]

Secretary of the Army Thomas White Wikipedia, who is at the meeting, appears to say it is also attended by numerous key military figures, later telling PBS,

“Don Rumsfeld had a breakfast, and virtually every one of the senior officials of the Department of Defense—service chiefs, secretary, deputy, everybody, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And as that breakfast was breaking up, the first plane had hit the World Trade tower.”[4][5]


By “chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Wikipedia,” he presumably means Richard Myers, who is the acting chairman on this day, in place of Henry Shelton Wikipedia who is out of the country.[6][7]

During the course of the meeting Rumsfeld predicts that some kind of “shocking” world event will occur in the near future [see 1]. Most accounts suggest the meeting is adjourned soon after the time the first WTC tower is hit, presumably around 8:50 a.m., though one report says it ends at about 9 a.m.

Just prior to the meeting ending, Rumsfeld is handed a note informing him of the crash[see 2]. Edmund Giambastiani Wikipedia also sees this note. Whether the other people in attendance are notified of the crash at this time is unknown. [8][9][10][11][12] Thomas White Wikipedia says, “We all went on with the day’s business,” after leaving the meeting. He heads off to give a speech at the nearby Army Navy Country Club.[13] Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Giambastiani return to their offices. [14][15] The members of Congress leave the building. [16]

If Richard Myers is at the meeting, as Thomas White appears to say, he must head promptly to Capitol Hill, as he enters another meeting in the offices of Senator Max Cleland Wikipedia before the time when the second tower is hit [see 3][17][18]

Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001: Acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Learns of First Crash from TelevisionEdit

Air Force General Richard Myers, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and acting chairman on 9/11. [Source: NORAD] According to his own account, Air Force General Richard Myers, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sees reports of the first WTC crash on television. Myers is acting chairman of the US military during the 9/11 crisis because Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Henry Shelton is flying across the Atlantic for a NATO meeting in Europe. [ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006] Myers has a 9 o’clock appointment with Senator Max Cleland (D) in one of the Senate office buildings. He is heading into this meeting and sees a television in Cleland’s outer office showing the burning North Tower, with the commentator suggesting it has been hit by an airplane. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] Myers later recalls, “They thought it was a small plane or something like that.” [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001] He says, “And we’re standing around saying, ‘What in the world happened?’ I remember the day being beautiful. I said, ‘How could a pilot be that stupid, to hit a tower? I mean, what’—but then you think, ‘Well, whatever.’” So he goes ahead and walks into the meeting, and is with Cleland at the time the second tower is hit (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] On several occasions, Cleland will confirm that Myers had this meeting with him. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001; ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] But counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke seems to contradict this account. He claims that, when he joins a video teleconference shortly after arriving at the White House, he sees Myers on screen, indicating that Myers is at the Pentagon rather than with Cleland (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 1-3] Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Henry Hugh Shelton, Max Cleland, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Learns of Second Attack but Does Not Head Back to Pentagon; Reports Are Contradictory Edit

Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers learns of the second attack on the World Trade Center. According to some reports, Myers entered a meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) just minutes before the second plane hit the WTC (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). There are confused accounts of when he learns of this second attack and what he does in response. Myers later tells NBC News, “[S]omewhere in the middle of that meeting, they came in and said the second tower has been hit… and I think that’s when we figured out something—that America or at least the World Trade Center is under attack.” He adds, “And then I left the office,” and, he says, NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart then calls him. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] Similarly, in his 2009 memoirs, Myers will write that Cleland “had started preparing a pot of tea, but we hadn’t taken a sip when a staff person came in from the outer office and informed us that the second tower had been hit. We both knew the interview was over and started out to the TV to see the South Tower erupting with smoke and flame.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 8] In testimony on September 13, 2001, Myers will state, “[A]fter the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart.” [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001] In a speech in 2006, Myers says that after the second attack occurs, “The meeting was over very quickly.” [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] He will tell CNN, “[W]hen the second target was hit, we knew something was up, so we rushed back to the Pentagon.” [CNN, 4/15/2003] Yet in an interview five weeks after 9/11, Myers claims, “Nobody informed us” when the second tower was hit, “But when we came out [of our meeting], that was obvious.” [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001] And, according to several accounts, he does not leave Capitol Hill until around the time the Pentagon is hit, which is more than 30 minutes after the second attack happens (see (Shortly After 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). In a speech in 2003, Cleland will recall: “Gen. Myers bolted from his seat. We rushed into an adjoining office as we saw on TV the second plane slam into the second tower. Gen. Myers rushed out of my office, headed for the Pentagon. At that moment, the Pentagon was hit.” [ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] But on a couple of other occasions, Cleland says he is still meeting with Myers in his office at the time the Pentagon is hit. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001] Contradicting both Cleland and Myers, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will claim that when he joins a video teleconference shortly after the time of the second attack, he can see Myers on screen, meaning Myers is at the Pentagon at that time rather than on Capitol Hill (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 1-3] Entity Tags: Max Cleland, Ralph Eberhart, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Richard Clarke Directs Crisis Response through Video Conference with Top Officials Edit

in a template Around this time, according to his own account, Richard Clarke reaches the Secure Video Conferencing Center just off the main floor of the Situation Room in the West Wing of the White House. From there, he directs the response to the 9/11 attacks and stays in contact with other top officials through video links. Clarke claims that on video he can see Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Wikipedia Director George Tenet, FBI Wikipedia Director Robert Mueller, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson Wikipedia (filling in for the traveling Attorney General John Ashcroft Wikipedia), Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Wikipedia (filling in for the traveling Secretary of State Colin Powell), and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers (filling in for the traveling Chairman Henry Shelton Wikipedia).

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is with Clarke, but she lets him run the crisis response, deferring to his longer experience on terrorism matters. Clarke is also told by an aide, “We’re on the line with NORAD Wikipedia, on an air threat conference call.” [19][20]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, logs indicate that Clarke’s video teleconference only begins at 9:25 a.m. [see 4], which is later than Clarke suggests, and CIA Wikipedia and FAA representatives only join it at 9:40 a.m. [21]

Other accounts claim that, rather than being involved in Clarke’s teleconference at this time, Donald Rumsfeld is still in his office waiting for his intelligence briefing [see 5], and Richard Myers is in a meeting on Capitol Hill [see 6].[22][23]

The 9/11 Commission claims that, “While important,” Clarke’s conference has “no immediate effect on the emergency defense efforts.” [24] Yet, as the Washington Post puts it, “everyone seems to agree” Clarke is the chief crisis manager on 9/11.[25] Even Clarke’s later opponent, National Security Adviser Rice, calls him 9/11’s “crisis management guy.” [26]The conference is where the government’s emergency defense efforts are concentrated.

9:21 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Air Traffic Control Center Mistakenly Tells NEADS Flight 11 Is Still Airborne Edit

According to the 9/11 Commission, NEADS is contacted by the FAA’s Boston Center. Colin Scoggins, Boston Center’s military liaison, tells it: “I just had a report that American 11 is still in the air, and it’s on its way towards—heading towards Washington.… That was another—it was evidently another aircraft that hit the tower. That’s the latest report we have.… I’m going to try to confirm an ID for you, but I would assume he’s somewhere over, uh, either New Jersey or somewhere further south.” The NEADS official asks: “He—American 11 is a hijack?… And he’s heading into Washington?” Scoggins answers yes both times and adds, “This could be a third aircraft.” Somehow Boston Center has been told by FAA headquarters that Flight 11 is still airborne, but the 9/11 Commission will say it hasn’t been able to find where this mistaken information came from. Scoggins Makes Error - Vanity Fair magazine will later add, “In Boston, it is Colin Scoggins who has made the mistaken call.” Scoggins will explain why he believes he made this error: “With American Airlines, we could never confirm if [Flight 11] was down or not, so that left doubt in our minds.” He says he was monitoring a conference call between FAA centers (see 8:28 a.m. September 11, 2001), “when the word came across—from whom or where isn’t clear—that American 11 was thought to be headed for Washington.” However, Boston Center was never tracking Flight 11 on radar after losing sight of it near Manhattan: “The plane’s course, had it continued south past New York in the direction it was flying before it dipped below radar coverage, would have had it headed on a straight course toward DC. This was all controllers were going on.” Scoggins says, “After talking to a supervisor, I made the call and said [American 11] is still in the air.” [NORTHEAST AIR DEFENSE SECTOR, 9/11/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Myers Refers to Mistaken Report - In the hours following the attacks, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers will apparently refer to this erroneous report that Flight 11 is still airborne and heading toward Washington, telling the Associated Press that “prior to the crash into the Pentagon, military officials had been notified that another hijacked plane had been heading from the New York area to Washington.” Myers will say “he assumed that hijacked plane was the one that hit the Pentagon, though he couldn’t be sure.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/11/2001] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Federal Aviation Administration, Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, Colin Scoggins Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: NORAD Possibly Holding ‘Live-Fly’ Training Exercise Edit

According to former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, around this time the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers speaks to him via video link (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). During their conversation, Myers mentions, “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise.” [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 5] However, no other references have been found to this exercise, “Vigilant Warrior.” Considering that exercise terms are “normally an unclassified nickname,” [CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, 4/23/1998 ] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), which is taking place on 9/11? According to a later news report though, NORAD confirms that “it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and Command Centers in the United States and Canada,” one of these being Vigilant Guardian. [NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, 12/5/2003] If this is correct then there must be another NORAD exercise on 9/11. If not “Vigilant Warrior,” a possibility is that the exercise referred to by Richard Clarke is in fact “Amalgam Warrior,” which is a NORAD-sponsored, large-scale, live-fly air defense and air intercept field training exercise. Amalgam Warrior usually involves two or more NORAD regions and is held twice yearly, in the spring for the West Coast and in the autumn for the East Coast. [US CONGRESS, N.D.; AIRMAN, 1996; ARKIN, 2005, PP. 254; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 4/27/2005] Is it possible that in 2001 the East Coast Amalgam Warrior is being held earlier than usual (like Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m. September 11, 2001)) and is taking place on 9/11? In support of this possibility is a 1997 Defense Department report that describes the Stratcom exercise Global Guardian, saying it “links with other exercise activities sponsored by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commands.” The exercises it links with are Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and—significantly—the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 5/1997; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 4/27/2005] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) is occurring the same time as Global Guardian, might Amalgam Warrior be as well? In his book Code Names, William Arkin says that Amalgam Warrior is “sometimes combined with Global Guardian.” [ARKIN, 2005, PP. 254] Amalgam Warrior tests such activities as tracking, surveillance, air interception, employing rules of engagement, attack assessment, electronic warfare, and counter-cruise-missile operations. A previous Amalgam Warrior in 1996 involved such situations as tracking unknown aircraft that had incorrectly filed their flight plans or wandered off course, in-flight emergencies, terrorist aircraft attacks, and large-scale bomber strike missions. Amalgam Warrior 98-1 was NORAD’s largest ever exercise and involved six B-1B bombers being deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to act as an enemy threat by infiltrating the aerial borders of North America. [AIRMAN, 1996; ARKIN, 2005, PP. 254; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 4/27/2005] Another Amalgam Warrior in fall 2000 similarly involved four B-1 bombers acting as enemy forces trying to invade Alaska, with NORAD going from tracking the unknown aircraft to sending up “alert” F-15s in response. [EIELSON NEWS SERVICE, 10/27/2000; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/29/2000] If either one (or both) of these exercises ending with the name “Warrior” is taking place on 9/11, this could be very significant, because the word “Warrior” indicates that the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, Commander in Chief, NORAD-sponsored field training exercise. [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 8/25/1989] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them. Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Vigilant Warrior, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Ellington Air National Guard Base, Amalgam Warrior, Richard A. Clarke, Richard B. Myers, Vigilant Guardian Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001: Myers Updates Clarke Videoconference on Fighter ResponseEdit

in a template

According to his own account, during a video conference with top officials that he is directing, Richard Clarke asks Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Richard Myers, “I assume NORAD has scrambled fighters and AWACS. How many? Where?”

Myers, who is at the Pentagon, replies,

“Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but… Otis Wikipedia has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker Wikipedia and not on alert.”


Vigilant Warrior may be a mistaken reference to either the on-going war game Vigilant Guardian, or perhaps another exercise called Amalgam Warrior [see 7].

Otis Air National Guard Base Wikipedia is 188 miles east of New York City; Langley is 129 miles south of Washington; Tinker Air Force Base Wikipedia is in Oklahoma. Clarke asks, “Okay, how long to CAP [combat air patrol] over DC?” Myers replies, “Fast as we can. Fifteen minutes?” [27]

The first fighters don’t reach Washington until perhaps more than 30 minutes later [see 8]. However, this account—or at least the time Clarke alleges the conversation occurs—is contradicted by Myers himself and Senator Max Cleland.

Myers claims he has been at a meeting on Capitol Hill with Cleland since about 9 a.m., and does not arrive back at the Pentagon until after it is hit, which is at 9:37 a.m. [28] Cleland confirms the existence of this meeting, and claims that Myers is with him until around the time of the Pentagon attack. [29] (There are, though, some inconsistencies in Myers and Cleland’s accounts of this period [see 9].

(9:33 a.m.) September 11, 2001: FAA Notifies Video Conference United 93 Is Suspected Hijack Edit

FAA Administrator Jane Garvey notifies the video conference chaired by Richard Clarke that all aircraft have been ordered to land at the nearest field and reads a list of potential hijacks including Delta 1989 and United 93. [30]Although, according to Clarke’s account, both General Richard Myers and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are present at the conference at this point, the 9/11 Commission will later claim that the military was not notified about the hijacking of United 93 until over half an hour later [see 10].

(9:36 a.m.-10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Military Claims It Is Tracking Flight 93 and Ready to Shoot It Down; 9/11 Commission Says OtherwiseEdit

According to the later claims of several senior officials, the US military is tracking Flight 93 as it heads east and is ready to shoot it down if necessary. According to Brigadier General Montague Winfield, the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center (NMCC) has “received the report from the FAA that Flight 93 had turned off its transponder, had turned, and was now heading towards Washington, DC.” Winfield will add, “The decision was made to try to go intercept Flight 93.” [ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002] General Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will write that in the NMCC, “We learned that there was apparently a fourth hijacked aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93 out of Newark, bound nonstop for San Francisco. Like the other planes, it had switched off its transponder, making it much harder if not impossible to track on ground radar.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 152]

Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region, will say, “I was personally anxious to see what 93 was going to do, and our intent was to intercept it.” Three fighters have taken off from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). According to Arnold, “we launched the aircraft out of Langley to put them over top of Washington, DC, not in response to American Airline 77, but really to put them in position in case United 93 were to head that way.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003] He says, “as we discussed it in the conference call, we decided not to move fighters toward 93 until it was closer because there could have been other aircraft coming in,” but adds, “I had every intention of shooting down United 93 if it continued to progress toward Washington, DC… whether we had authority or not.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 73]

Colonel Robert Marr, the battle commander at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), is reportedly “focused on United Flight 93, headed straight toward Washington.” He will concur with Arnold, saying: “United Airlines Flight 93 would not have hit Washington, DC. He would have been engaged and shot down before he got there.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 73] Marr and Arnold will both say they were tracking Flight 93 even earlier on, while it was still heading west (see Before 9:36 a.m. September 11, 2001). 

Yet, contradicting these claims, the 9/11 Commission will conclude that the military only learns about Flight 93 around the time it crashes. It says the NMCC learns of the hijacking at 10:03 a.m. (see 10:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). Based upon official records, including recordings of the NEADS operations floor, it says NEADS never follows Flight 93 on radar and is first alerted to it at 10:07 a.m. (see 10:05 a.m.-10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 30-31, 34 AND 42; WASHINGTON POST, 4/30/2006; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Entity Tags: National Military Command Center, Montague Winfield, Richard B. Myers, Robert Marr, Larry Arnold Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Speaks to NORAD Commander Edit

At some time after the second attack in New York, Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, receives a call from NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart. According to his own account, Myers is on Capitol Hill, where he has been meeting with Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). Apparently soon after he leaves this meeting, his military aide, Army Captain Chris Donahue, hands him a cell phone on which Eberhart is calling. Myers will later comment, “In this emergency, I had to forgo the luxury of a secure encrypted red switch phone and use Donahue’s cell.” Myers will recall that Eberhart “said, you know, we’ve got several hijack codes, meaning that the transponders in the aircraft are talking to the ground, and they’re saying we’re under, we’re being hijacked, several hijack codes in the system, and we’re responding with, with fighter aircraft.” [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; MYERS, 2009, PP. 8-9] (However, none of the pilots of the four hijacked flights this morning keyed the emergency four-digit code that would indicate a hijacking into their plane’s transponder (see (8:13 a.m.-9:28 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CNN, 9/11/2001] It is therefore unclear what “hijack codes” Eberhart is referring to.) Eberhart also tells Myers, “The decision I’m going to make is, we’re going to land everybody, and we’ll sort it out when we get them on the ground.” [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] He is presumably referring to a plan called SCATANA, which clears the skies and gives the military control over US airspace. However, Eberhart does not implement this until around 11:00 a.m. (see (11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] It is unclear exactly when this call takes place, but it appears to be just before the time the Pentagon is hit, or just before Myers is informed of the Pentagon attack. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004; COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006] In his 2009 memoirs, Myers will place it after he is informed of the second attack on the World Trade Center (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but not give a specific time. [MYERS, 2009, PP. 8-9] Cleland will confirm that Myers meets with him on this morning, and is with him up to the time of the Pentagon attack, or shortly before. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001; ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] However, according to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, Myers is back at the Pentagon speaking over a video conference around 10 minutes before the Pentagon is struck (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 5] Entity Tags: Ralph Eberhart, Max Cleland, Richard B. Myers, Chris Donahue Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Shortly After 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Learns of Pentagon Attack; Heads Back to PentagonEdit

According to his own account, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers was in a meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland (D) since just before 9:00 a.m. (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] It is unclear exactly when this meeting ended. But Myers says he first learns of the Pentagon attack (which occurs at 9:37) around the time he is leaving the building for the drive back to the Pentagon. In an early interview, he says he hears somebody say the Pentagon has been hit just after he comes out of his meeting with Cleland. [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001] In some accounts, he says he hears that the Pentagon has been hit just as he is leaving Capitol Hill. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004 ] In a meeting in 2006, he says, “my security guy got the call the Pentagon had been hit,” as he is making his way out of the building. [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] Myers says that, as his car crosses the 14th Street Bridge across the Potomac River, he can see all the black smoke rising up out of the Pentagon. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 463; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006] Max Cleland later confirms that Myers meets with him on this morning, and is with him until the time of the Pentagon attack, or slightly before. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001; ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] However, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke gives a contradictory account. He claims that Myers is back at the Pentagon, speaking to him over a video conference, around ten minutes before the Pentagon is struck (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 5] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: NMCC Teleconference Still Looking to Include Rumsfeld and Myers Edit

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s office, and acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Myers’ office, report to the NMCC teleconference that they are still trying to track down Rumsfeld and Myers, respectively, and bring them into the conference. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Rumsfeld is apparently outside the Pentagon looking at the Flight 77 crash site (see Between 9:38 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. September 11, 2001), though counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke suggests Rumsfeld is elsewhere in the Pentagon for much of the time (see (Between 9:38 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Myers’ whereabouts in the period after the Pentagon crash have not been fully explained (see (Between 9:55 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Rumsfeld and Myers do not enter the NMCC until about 10:30 a.m. (see (10:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: National Military Command Center, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Between 9:50 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Wants Clarification of Rules of Engagement for Fighter Pilots; Clarke Wants This Issued PromptlyEdit

Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers wants clear rules of engagement for military fighter pilots, according to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke. In his book Against All Enemies, Clarke will describe hearing that the president has authorized the military to shoot down hostile aircraft some time between about 9:45 and 9:56 (see (Between 9:45 a.m. and 9:56 a.m.) September 11, 2001). From the White House Situation Room, where he is located, he then gets the attention of those on the video conference screen for the Pentagon, and informs them of this decision. Myers asks, “Okay, shoot down aircraft, but what are the ROE [rules of engagement]?” As Clarke will comment, “It was one thing to say it’s okay to shoot down a hijacked aircraft threatening to kill people on the ground, but we needed to give pilots more specific guidelines than that.” Clarke asks his colleague Franklin Miller and Marine Colonel Tom Greenwood—a member of Miller’s staff—to ensure that the Defense Department has “an answer to that question quickly.” He tells them, “I don’t want them delaying while they lawyer that to death.” Clarke recalls that he is then informed: “CNN says car bomb at the State Department. Fire on the Mall near the Capitol.” [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 8-9] It is therefore unclear exactly what time he is describing, as CNN first makes the incorrect report of the State Department car bomb at 10:33, but it reports the fire on the Mall at 9:45. [CNN, 9/11/2001; CNN, 9/11/2001; BROADCASTING AND CABLE, 8/26/2002] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will tell the 9/11 Commission that he works on fashioning the rules of engagement for fighter pilots, in collaboration with Myers, after he enters the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center (NMCC) at around 10:30 (see (10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004] Yet he does not complete and issue these rules until 1:00 p.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 465; COCKBURN, 2007, PP. 7; MYERS, 2009, PP. 157-158] Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Richard B. Myers, Franklin Miller, Tom Greenwood Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Between 9:55 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Finally Enters NMCC; Prior Whereabouts Disputed Edit

Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers enters the National Military Command Center (NMCC) within the Pentagon, though exactly when this happens remains unclear. According to his own statements, he was on Capitol Hill, in the offices of Senator Max Cleland (D), from just before 9:00 a.m. until around the time the Pentagon was hit. He’d then headed back to the Pentagon (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001 and (Shortly After 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] According to the 9/11 Commission, Myers joins the air threat conference call from the NMCC at “shortly before 10:00.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 38] But the American Forces Press Service reports that he arrives at the NMCC “about 15 minutes” before Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (who arrives around 10:30), meaning at about 10:15 a.m. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006] Rumsfeld claims that, as he enters the NMCC, Myers has “just returned from Capitol Hill.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004] Max Cleland concurs that Myers was with him on Capitol Hill until around the time of the Pentagon attack. [CNN, 11/20/2001; ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] But counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke claims that Myers has been taking part in a video conference since shortly after the second attack on the WTC, and has been visible on the Pentagon screen (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001), thereby implying Myers has been at the Pentagon all along. [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 3 AND 5] Myers tells the 9/11 Commission, “After I reached the National Military Command Center (NMCC), I asked questions to determine where Secretary Rumsfeld was, how the FAA was handling airborne flights, and the status of fighters prepared to intercept any hijacked aircraft inbound to Washington.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004 ] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, National Military Command Center Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Richard Clarke Updated on Fighter Situation, Told Flight 93 Still Headed toward WashingtonEdit

Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is told by White House Situation Room Deputy Director Ralph Seigler, “Secret Service reports a hostile aircraft ten minutes out.” Two minutes later, he is given an update: “Hostile aircraft eight minutes out.” In actual fact, when Flight 93 crashed at 10:06 a.m., it was still about 15 minutes away from Washington. Clarke is also told that there are 3,900 aircraft still in the air over the continental US (which is roughly accurate); four of those aircraft are believed to be piloted by terrorists (which is inaccurate by this time). Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Richard Myers then reports: “We have three F-16s from Langley over the Pentagon. Andrews is launching fighters from the DC Air National Guard. We have fighters aloft from the Michigan Air National Guard, moving east toward a potential hostile over Pennsylvania. Six fighters from Tyndall and Ellington are en route to rendezvous with Air Force One over Florida. They will escort it to Barksdale.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; CLARKE, 2004, PP. 8-9] However, fighters do not meet up with Air Force One until about an hour later (see (11:29 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Franklin Miller, a senior national security official who is working alongside Clarke on 9/11, and another official who is also in the Situation Room, will later fail to recall hearing any warning that a plane could be only minutes away. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2004] The time of this incident is unstated, but the Michigan fighters are not diverted until after 10:06 a.m. (see (After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). If it takes place after 10:06 a.m., this would parallel similar warnings about Flight 93 after it has already crashed provided to Vice President Dick Cheney elsewhere in the White House (see (Between 10:10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Secret Service, Richard B. Myers, Franklin Miller, Ralph Seigler, Richard A. Clarke Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(10:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Military Put on High AlertEdit

All US military forces are ordered to Defcon Three (or Defcon Delta), “The highest alert for the nuclear arsenal in 30 years.” [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/16/2001; CNN, 9/4/2002; ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002; CLARKE, 2004, PP. 15] Rumsfeld claims that he makes the recommendation, but it is hard to see how he can do this, at least at this time. He later asserts that he discusses the issue with acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers in the NMCC first. However, they do not arrive at the PEOC until about 10:30 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004] At 10:15 a.m., the massive blast doors to US Strategic Command, headquarters for NORAD in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, are closed for the first time in response to the high alert. [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; BBC, 9/1/2002] In another account, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers gives the Defcon order by himself. President Bush later contradicts both accounts, asserting that he gives the order. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/22/2004 ] According to the 9/11 Commission’s final report, though, the decision to go to Defcon Three takes place about 35 minutes later (see (10:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: George W. Bush, National Military Command Center, Richard B. Myers, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Donald Rumsfeld, 9/11 Commission, US Strategic Command Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

10:17 a.m. September 11, 2001: FAA out of the Loop; Finally Joins NMCC Teleconference Edit

The FAA finally joins an emergency teleconference being conducted by the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon. The NMCC has been holding this teleconference since 9:29 a.m. It began as a “significant event” conference, but after eight minutes continued as an air threat conference call (see (9:29 a.m.-9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Yet, according to the 9/11 Commission, the FAA has not been included in it until this time, because operators have had “equipment problems and difficulty finding secure phone numbers.” NORAD asked three times before 10:03 a.m., when the last hijacked plane crashed, to confirm the presence of FAA on the teleconference, to provide an update on hijackings, but without success. Furthermore, the FAA representative who now joins the teleconference has “no familiarity with or responsibility for hijackings, no access to decisionmakers, and none of the information available to senior FAA officials.” The highest level Defense Department officials rely on this teleconference to coordinate with their counterparts at the FAA. As a result of the FAA’s absence from it, the leaders of NORAD and the FAA have effectively been out of contact with each other. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 37-38] General Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will later write that the lack of communication with the FAA has contributed to confusion at the NMCC over the flight numbers of the aircraft that were hijacked. However, according to Myers, the NMCC could not contact the FAA over ordinary phone lines because “[t]errorists who could hijack aircraft so readily could probably also eavesdrop on unsecured phone lines.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 153] Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Richard B. Myers, Federal Aviation Administration, National Military Command Center Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) September 11, 2001: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Works on Rules of Engagement for Fighter Pilots, Too Late to Be of Any UseEdit

After he finally arrives at the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon (see (10:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001), Donald Rumsfeld’s primary concern, according to the 9/11 Commission, is “ensuring that the [military fighter] pilots [have] a clear understanding of their rules of engagement.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 44] Rumsfeld later recalls, “It was clear they needed rules of engagement telling them what they should and should not do. They needed clarity. And there were no rules of engagement on the books for this first-time situation where civilian aircraft were seized and were being used as missiles.” By this time, the president has supposedly already given authorization for the military to shoot down hijacked aircraft (see (Between 10:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001), and Dick Cheney informs Rumsfeld of this over the air threat conference at 10:39 (see 10:39 a.m. September 11, 2001). Rumsfeld says that, “Throughout the course of the day,” along with acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, he “returned to further refine those rules.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/23/2004] As journalist Andrew Cockburn will later remark though, Rumsfeld’s work on the rules of engagement “was an irrelevant exercise for he did not complete and issue them until 1:00 p.m., hours after the last hijacker had died.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 465; COCKBURN, 2007, PP. 7] Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

12:00 p.m. September 11, 2001: Defense Intelligence Agency Director Says Al-Qaeda Responsible for AttacksEdit

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency informs military leaders in the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon that al-Qaeda is responsible for the morning’s attacks. General Richard Myers, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will later describe: “At noon, Vice Admiral Tom Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, confirmed what everybody at the conference table had already surmised: The attacks had undoubtedly come from al-Qaeda.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 156] Later in the day, Wilson will recall a relevant piece of intelligence “chatter” that was picked up a few months previously. When General Hugh Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives in the NMCC at 5:40 p.m. after returning from his aborted flight to Europe, he will ask Wilson, “Have we had any intel ‘squeaks’ on an attack like this—anything at all?” Wilson will reply: “The only possible hint of this coming was several months ago when we got a single intercept requesting jumbo jet training. Since then, there’s been nothing.” According to Myers, Wilson is “referring to the vast electronic signals data-mining operations of our intelligence community that targeted known terrorist networks, such as al-Qaeda and their allies.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 159] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Hugh Shelton, Thomas Wilson, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

September 13, 2001: Air Force General Gives Inaccurate Account of Fighter Response during AttacksEdit

Air Force General Richard Myers appears before the Senate Armed Forces Committee for a hearing to confirm him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and makes false statements about the launching of fighters in response to the 9/11 attacks. Myers claims that no fighters were launched before the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m. However, the 9/11 Commission will later conclude that the first fighters were airborne before 9:00 a.m. (see 8:53 a.m. September 11, 2001). It is unclear why Myers, a former pilot who had flown hundreds of missions, gives such an inaccurate account. Author Philip Shenon will comment, “It seemed obvious that Myers, of all people at the Pentagon, would want to know—would demand to know—how jet fighters under NORAD’s control had responded on the morning of September 11 to the threat in the skies.” [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; SHENON, 2008, PP. 118-119] A different version of the air defense response will be put forward the next day (see September 14, 2001). Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Philip Shenon, Senate Armed Forces Committee Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

September 14, 2001: Officials Deny Flight 93 Shot Down Officials deny that Flight 93 was shot down, but propose the theory that the hijackers had a bomb on board and blew up the plane. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/14/2001] Later in the month, it is reported that the “FBI has determined from the on site investigation that no explosive was involved.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/25/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, North American Aerospace Defense Command, National Transportation Safety Board, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 14, 2001: Account of Fighter Response Times Changes Significantly CBS News announces that “contrary to early reports, US Air Force jets did get into the air on Tuesday while the attacks were under way.” According to this new account, the first fighters got airborne toward New York City at 8:52 a.m. [CBS NEWS, 9/14/2001] The day before this announcement, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers in Congressional testimony stated that the first fighters got airborne only after the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m. (see September 13, 2001). [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001] NORAD spokesman Marine Corps Major Mike Snyder also claimed no fighters launched anywhere until after the Pentagon was hit. [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/15/2001] Four days later, the official NORAD timeline is changed to include this new account. [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001] New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani later testifies before the 9/11 Commission that he found out from the White House at about 9:58 a.m. that the first fighters were not launched toward New York City until twelve minutes earlier—9:46 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 5/19/2004] This would correspond to Myers’ and Snyder’s accounts that no fighters are scrambled until after the Pentagon is hit. But the 9/11 Commission later agrees with this CBS report and by their account the first fighters launch around 8:52. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Snyder, 9/11 Commission, Rudolph (“Rudy”) Giuliani, US Department of Defense, Richard B. Myers, North American Aerospace Defense Command Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 15, 2001-April 6, 2002: Bush Shifts Public Focus from Bin Laden to Iraq On September 15, 2001, President Bush says of bin Laden: “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/16/2001] Two days later, he says, “I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’” [ABC NEWS, 9/17/2001] On December 28, 2001, even as the US was declaring victory in Afghanistan, Bush says, “Our objective is more than bin Laden.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002] Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union speech describes Iraq as part of an “axis of evil” and fails to mention bin Laden at all. On March 8, 2002, Bush still vows: “We’re going to find him.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/1/2002] Yet, only a few days later on March 13, Bush says, “He’s a person who’s now been marginalized.… I just don’t spend that much time on him.… I truly am not that concerned about him.” Instead, Bush is “deeply concerned about Iraq.” [US PRESIDENT, 3/18/2002] The rhetoric shift is complete when Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers states on April 6, “The goal has never been to get bin Laden.” [EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS, 4/6/2002] In October 2002, the Washington Post notes that since March 2002, Bush has avoided mentioning bin Laden’s name, even when asked about him directly. Bush sometimes uses questions about bin Laden to talk about Saddam Hussein instead. In late 2001, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war on terrorism could not be called a success without bin Laden’s death or capture. That number falls to 44 percent in a March 2002 poll, and the question has since been dropped. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/1/2002] Charles Heyman, editor of Jane’s World Armies, later points out: “There appears to be a real disconnect” between the US military’s conquest of Afghanistan and “the earlier rhetoric of President Bush, which had focused on getting bin Laden.” [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Richard B. Myers, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

Early October 2001: General Franks Disregards Advice to Open Second Front in Afghanistan The Washington Post reports in late 2004 that, shortly after Richard Myers officially becomes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on October 1, 2001, he raises doubts about the military plan to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Tommy Franks, the chief of US Central Command, plans a single thrust towards the capital, Kabul, from the north. Myers urges Franks to open a southern front. A brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Uzbekistan and two Marine Expeditionary Forces in the Arabian Sea are prepared and in position for the role. However, Franks does not position a blocking force to meet any retreating forces. The Washington Post reports, “Some Bush administration officials now acknowledge privately they consider that a costly mistake.” Franks later claims that it would have taken too much time to put a force into position and would have antagonized the country’s Pashtun majority. Most of al-Qaeda and the Taliban’s leaders are eventually able to escape the country. “A high-ranking war planner [later] likened the result to throwing a rock at a nest of bees, then trying to chase them down, one by one, with a net.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/22/2004] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Thomas Franks Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan

October 17, 2001: JCS Chairman Myers Says He Hadn’t Thought of 9/11-Type Scenario Gen. Richard Myers, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on 9/11, says of 9/11, “You hate to admit it, but we hadn’t thought about this.” He was promoted from Vice-Chairman to Chairman three days after 9/11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late 2001-Early 2002: Rumsfeld Creates Ultra-Secret Program to Kill, Capture, and/or Interrogate ‘High Value’ Terrorists Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration’s war on terror.” The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. A SAP is an ultra secret project, the contents of which are known by very few officials. “We’re not going to read more people than necessary into our heart of darkness,” a former senior intelligence official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. The SAP is brought up occasionally within the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the president and members of which are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell. The former intelligence official tells Hersh, “There was a periodic briefing to the National Security Council giving updates on results, but not on the methods.” He also says he believes NSC members know about the process by which these results are acquired. This official claims that fewer than two hundred operatives and officials, including Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers were “completely read into the program.” Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone is generally in charge of running such operations. Motive for the SAP comes from an initial freeze in the results obtained by US agents from their hunt for al-Qaeda. Friendly foreign intelligence services on the other hand, from countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia, which employ more aggressive tactics on prisoners, are giving up much better information by the end of 2001. By authorizing the SAP, Rumsfeld, according to Hersh, desires to adopt these tactics and thus increase intelligence results. “Rumsfeld’s goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target—a stand-up group to hit quickly,” the former intelligence official tells Hersh. The program’s operatives were recruited from among Delta Force, Navy Seals, and CIA’s paramilitary experts. They are permitted to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. The former intelligence official tells Hersh: “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’” The operation, according to Seymour Hersh, “encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation.” [NEW YORKER, 5/24/2004; GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] Both the Defense Department and CIA deny the existence of Copper Green. One Pentagon spokesman says of Hersh’s article about it, “This is the most hysterical piece of journalist malpractice I have ever observed.” [CNN, 5/17/2004] Entity Tags: Stephen A. Cambone, Richard B. Myers, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Operation Copper Green Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

December 27, 2001: Rumsfeld Announces ‘War on Terror’ Suspects to be Housed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld makes a public announcement that he is planning to move Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. The number of people in US custody and destined for Guantanamo is allegedly small. According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, they number eight individuals aboard the USS Peleliu and 37 at a US base near Kandahar airport. [DAWN (KARACHI), 12/28/2001] Troops, earlier stationed at nearby Camp Rhino, where John Walker Lindh was detained, are being transferred to Guantanamo. [GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 1/15/2005] The reason for choosing Guantanamo for detaining suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban members is unclear. Rumsfeld says: “I would characterize Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the least worst place we could have selected. Its disadvantages seem to be modest relative to the alternatives.” [DAWN (KARACHI), 12/28/2001] Rumsfeld does not inform reporters of the legal opinion about to be released by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that he feels makes Guantanamo uniquely qualified to serve as a prisoner for terror suspects (see December 28, 2001). According to the OLC opinion, Guantanamo is outside the US itself, so US courts have no jurisdiction to oversee conditions or activities there. It is also not on soil controlled by any other court system. And, unlike other facilities considered for housing terror suspects (see January 11, 2002), Guantanamo is not on the soil of a friendly government with which the US has lease and status of force agreements, but rather on the soil of a hostile Communist government whose predecessor had signed a perpetual lease with the US. The base, therefore, is, according to the OLC, under the sole jurisdiction of the US military and its commander in chief, and not subject to any judicial or legislative review. In 2007, author and reporter Charlie Savage will write, “Guantanamo was chosen because it was the best place to set up a law-free zone.” [SAVAGE, 2007, PP. 145] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, US Department of Defense, Charlie Savage, Richard B. Myers, Taliban, Donald Rumsfeld Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, War in Afghanistan


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