Blame the FAA
Since the 9/11 commission’s comments on the Iraq-Al Qaeda link has been commented on plenty, I’ll look at something else I found:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. fighter jets had virtually no chance to shoot down or intercept four hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001, because of confusion and poor communication among “unprepared” officials responsible for America’s air defenses, a special commission said on Thursday.
Although fighter jets were airborne seven minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, military officials received insufficient notice of the other hijackings to stop the planes, the staff statement said.
Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), said that if the FAA had immediately reported all it knew to the military command, jets could have shot down the planes.
The earliest notice the military had of any of the hijackings was nine minutes before a plane crashed.
In the two hours between the takeoff of the first hijacked plane at 8 a.m. and the fourth plane’s crash, officials raced against time to discover the extent of the crisis.
“We have some planes,” a hijacker said from American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. EDT. “Nobody move … If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane.”
At one point, unnamed senior FAA officials mistakenly directed Air Force fighter planes to chase American Airlines Flight 11, which had struck the World Trade Center’s north tower 30 minutes earlier.
NORAD also said it was not alerted to the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 175 until after it hit the trade center’s south tower.
FAA controllers lost track of Flight 77’s route for 36 minutes. Once the agency identified an unknown plane “six miles from the White House,” fighters were too far away to help, and Flight 77 hit the Pentagon (news – web sites).
The report is here (and that link works, unlike the ones on the commission’s site), which I’m going to read and hopefully comment on tomorrow. It seems they’re blaming the whole thing on the FAA. I think there are some problems with that, but I have to read their full report first.