Home : WRH Store : Reader Letters : Advertise : Donate
"This is America, the most advanced military technologically capable country in the world, and it is just impossible to believe that they could have been that incompetent." - Michael Meacher, UK MP.

WMV video download (487kB)

The 9/11 USAF Stand Down

The US military has spent billions of dollars developing stealth aircraft which are invisible to radar so they can mount surprise attacks on adversaries, but it seems they should have saved their money and bought a fleet of airliners because they appear to be far more effective.

On 9/11 the world's only military superpower was apparently oblivious to the location of rogue airliners in it's airspace for over an hour, and military commanders were left perplexed on how to deal with the situation of hijackers using these planes as flying bombs.

Click for full sized image

This confusion resulted in fighter jets flying around aimlessly whilst the hierarchy fully assessed what was going on, and this total lack of cohesion ultimately led to the loss of nearly 3000 lives.

All that was required to overcome America's military might on 9/11 were 19 hijackers on 4 airliners.

Does this sound plausible to you?

It's what you're expected to believe.

NORAD was unusually prepared on 9/11, because it was conducting a week-long semiannual exercise called Vigilant Guardian.

On 9/11, North American Aerospace Defense Command's (Norad) Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) was fully staffed, its key officers and enlisted supervisors already manning the operations center "battle cab." [Aviation Week]

COLONEL ROBERT MARR, US AIR FORCE: We had the fighters with a little more gas on board. A few more weapons on board. [...] We had 14 aircraft on alert, seven sites, two aircraft at each site. [ABC News]

That's a ratio of 3.5 'hot' fighter jets per hijacked airliner.

The map below details the 9/11 planes' flightpaths and some of the military bases in those areas. The flights went through some of the most heavily militarized parts of the country.

The above map shows that all of the hijacked planes transponders were turned off during their flights. This does not hide the plane as it can still be tracked by skin paint, but it hides the plane's altitude and it should immediately call attention to the aircraft.

The USAF response against Flight 11


The USAF response against Flight 175

8:45 a.m. - United Airlines Flight 175 is taken over by five hijackers who use knives, Mace and the threat of a bomb. Both pilots are killed and the plane is diverted southward to New York City.

8:53 a.m. - Unaware that their intended target has already crashed into the World Trade Center, the F-15s from Otis Air Force Base are sent to military-controlled airspace off Long Island and ordered to remain in a holding pattern until between 9:09 and 9:13 a.m. [National Geographic]

Flight 11 had crashed into World Trade Center 1, and Flight 175 was hijacked and heading toward New York.

Fighter jets were ordered to stay in a holding pattern off Long Island.

Why weren't they ordered to protect New York?

The USAF response against Flight 93


The last moments of Flight 93 were viewed from another aircraft...

"Executive 956: OK, I think we got him in sight." [Memory Hole]

...so it stands to reason that other planes reported seeing Flight 93 during its flight, therefore the military could have easily located the plane. That being said, why didn't the FAA and military locate of all of the hijacked aircraft through planes which were known to be in their vicinities?

Maybe they did, but we might never know...

At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, made a tape recording that day describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it, the Transportation Department said today.

The taping began before noon on Sept. 11 at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, in Ronkonkoma, on Long Island, but it was later destroyed by an F.A.A. quality-assurance manager, who crushed the cassette in his hand, cut the tape into little pieces and dropped them in different trash cans around the building, according to a report made public today by the inspector general of the Transportation Department. [New York Times 5/6/04]

"Be careful what we say on the loop, because these are being recorded and these tapes will be handed over."

See also: Boston Air Traffic Controller Says 9/11 An Inside Job

The USAF response against Flight 77

The US military knew Flight 77 had been hijacked at approximately 08:50:

During the hour or so that American Airlines Flight 77 was under the control of hijackers, up to the moment it struck the west side of the Pentagon, military officials in a command center on the east side of the building were urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do. [New York Times]

A "mystery plane" had a birds eye view of the Pentagon...

"About ten minutes ago there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don't see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted airspace."  ... "[C]omparison of the CNN video and an official Air Force photo suggests the mystery plane is among the military's most sensitive aircraft, an Air Force E-4B. ... There are many commercial versions of the 747, obviously, that look similar, but I don't think any of them that have the communications pod like the E-4, the Air Force E-4 does behind the cockpit." [CNN]

Flight 77's approach into Washington was tracked on radar:

Eight minutes before the crash, at 9:30 a.m. EDT, radar tracked the plane as it closed to within 30 miles of Washington. [CBS News]

"There was an unidentified plane to the south of Dulles moving at a very high rate of speed" ... Traveling at 750 km/h the plane is headed straight for the protected airspace covering the capital and the White House...

WMV video download (878kB)

This map shows Andrews AFB is roughly 11 miles from the Pentagon:

This page from the Andrews AFB web site (removed 9/12) shows the base had F-16 fighter jets which could have intercepted Flight 77.

Instead, F-16s were scrambled from Langley AFB which is 120 miles south of the Pentagon at 9:30 a.m.

A typical F-16.

At first, the planes were directed toward New York at top speed, and probably reached 600 m.p.h. within two minutes, General Haugen said [obviously they were on a go-slow]. Then, flying in formation, they were vectored toward the west and given a new flight target: Reagan National Airport. [New York Times]

Why didn't the E-4B order the fighters to defend Washington?

Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes. [CBS News]

At 09:38 the Pentagon was hit:

"We heard what sounded like a missile, then we heard a loud boom," said Tom Seibert, 33, a network engineer at the Pentagon. "We were sitting there and watching this thing from New York, and I said, you know, the next best target would be us. And five minutes later, boom." [Guardian]

The plane was flown with incredible precision by a pilot who could barely fly a Cessna, and it hit the newly renovated Pentagon wedge.

Question: How was a plane which was known to be hostile able to have an unimpeded 48 minute joyride around US airspace before slamming into the heart of the US military?

Answer: Stand down.

War Games: The Key to a 9/11 USAF Stand Down

See also:

Stand Down: Exposing NORAD's Wag The 911 Window Dressing Tale
9/11 Index of What Really Happened

What Really Happened