In a March 12, 2012 FOIA appeal response, the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) implicitly acknowledged the existence of FBI File 203A-WF-210023, which FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has said contains evidence of top US officials’ complicity in the trafficking of nuclear secrets, arms and drugs, in addition to bribery, blackmail, money-laundering and obstruction of investigation into 9/11. In 2008, the Sunday Times of London reported that the FBI, in response to a different FOIA request, denied the existence of the file.
DOJ Confirms Previously-Denied File Said to Implicate US Officials in Nuclear Espionage by Erik Larson
A new investigation of 9/11 is needed, as all investigations so far have been superficial or corrupted, and have failed to meaningfully address significant issues. However, the Commission proposed by the Citizens 9/11 Commission Campaign will be unable to meaningfully address these issues, and there are significant problems with the Campaign itself; this essay will address three. First, state authority will be of little value in a 9/11 investigation due to the ‘sovereign immunity’ of the US federal government. Second, the Campaign and proposed Commission are not structured in a way that makes them accountable to the public; mechanisms are not built in to ensure the public has adequate oversight of the course of investigation, the use of funds and those entrusted with responsibility for these things — short of passing another ballot initiative, or petitioning their state legislature to act. Finally, the Campaign has made inaccurate and misleading representations: The proposed Campaign promotes itself as a way to circumvent the federal government’s failure to adequately investigate 9/11, but state-level authority does not meaningfully provide a way to do this. And, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the Campaign and the Commission do not truly represent direct democracy, as the Campaign Steering Committee and Board of Directors are self-selected and the commissioners would by chosen by them, not by the people. The first two points will be addressed in separate sections below, and the third point will be addressed in both sections.
I. State authority will be of little value in a 9/11 investigation, and the Campaign has made inaccurate and misleading representations concerning what is possible and feasible for the proposed Commission to accomplish.
The 9-11cc.org FAQ: Is the Citizens 911 Commission Campaign’s approach legally sound? states that, “Legislative Counsels of the states of California and Oregon … drafted the legal language,” and that in the case of Massachusetts (where the ballot initiative was certified) “Several attorneys review [a proposed initiative] for the Attorney General, who then certifies it as legal and constitutional.” Furthermore, “It is [Mike Gravel’s] guess that more than ten attorneys in three states, who do nothing but review initiatives and draft legislation for their respective legislatures, have thus acknowledged the legality of our proposed 9-11 initiative.” It may be the case that the initiatives comply with state legal and constitutional requirements, but this says nothing about a more important question; whether or not a state-level investigation has meaningful authority over federal government witnesses and records.
According to the Citizens 9/11 Commission Campaign FAQ: Who Chooses the New Commission? How Will It Operate? web page:
Q. Will the Commission have the power to subpoena suppressed evidence, like the videos of the Pentagon that have been classified and withheld by the FBI? Can we subpoena the CIA? The NSA? The Bush presidential archives? Can we call Bush to testify, or is he immune?
A. Yes, all of the above can be exercised by the Commission.
This answer is misleading. The states belonging to the federal union known as the USA do not have the power or authority to oversee the federal government, except through the members elected to Congress by those states. Subpoenas can be issued by a commission authorized to do under state law, but federal agencies are not obligated to comply with state subpoenas for federal records, due to the sovereign immunity of the US federal government:
The complete immunity of a federal agency from state interference is well established. United States v. Owlett, 15 F. Supp. 736, 741 – Dist. Court, MD Pennsylvania 1936
It has been long settled that the United States cannot be sued, either in federal court or in any state forum, unless it has waived sovereign immunity. … States and comparable entities are treated no differently than any other litigant. Indeed, the lower courts have repeatedly held that, absent a waiver, the United States cannot be forced to obey a subpoena issued by a state court, state grand jury, or state legislative committee. [emphasis added] Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. US, 490 F. 3d 50, 71 – Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit 2007
Persons no longer employed by the US government or not subpoenaed in their official capacity would be in a different situation, if subpoenaed to appear before a state commission and submit to questioning under oath. However, as the “Who Chooses” FAQ acknowledges, the Commission will have little recourse should they fail to appear:
The more likely scenario, however, is that certain individuals and agencies that the Commission subpoenas (presumably those with something to hide) will refuse to respond. Little can be done about this unless any one of these officials enters the state whose powers are used by the Commission to issue the subpoenas.
Disconnecting the Dots: How CIA and FBI officials enabled 9/11 and evaded government investigations, by Kevin Fenton.
Waltersville, OR: Trine Day, 2011. 416 pages.
“Enabling 9/11 was a job done at the office, with memos” (15).
It is a non-controversial fact that the NSA, CIA and FBI missed a number of opportunities to disrupt the 9/11 plot. Many, but not all, of these failures were documented by the four main investigations that dealt with pre-9/11 intelligence failures: those by the Congressional Joint Inquiry, the 9/11 Commission, the Department of Justice Inspector General and the CIA Inspector General. The best-known investigation, the 9/11 Commission, ultimately concluded that 9/11 was preceded by “four kinds of failures: in imagination, policy, capabilities, and management” (339). This is the narrative largely held to by mainstream politicians and media, but these explanations do not credibly account for what happened at the NSA, CIA and FBI in the years, months and weeks leading up to 9/11. This has been demonstrated by a number of researchers, but Kevin Fenton’s* book, Disconnecting the Dots, has the most comprehensive documentation and in-depth analysis to date. Primarily using the official reports, the available source records and some reporting by mainstream media and journalists, Fenton documents how specific CIA and FBI officials engaged in deliberate efforts to protect the 9/11 plot from discovery and disruption by FBI investigators, and that the most probable explanation is that this was done in order to enable the 9/11 attacks.
One of Fenton’s major strengths is that he limits himself to his area of expertise; Disconnecting the Dots is narrowly focused on the pre-9/11 intelligence failures and the official investigations of these failures. The book is a complex and dense compilation of interrelated names, dates, bits of information and sequences of events, a situation that is unavoidable due to the complex nature of the subject. Fortunately for the reader, Fenton’s style and presentation are simple and lucid, which helps make the complicated and often unclear nature of the subject more easily understood. Whenever possible, he names those responsible for the decisions and actions being examined, though this is sometimes impossible due to the limited amount of information that has been made public. Whenever a particularly complex set of issues or series of events have been examined in a chapter, Fenton provides a summary at the end of that chapter, and at a number of points in the book he summarizes what can be understood from the pattern of facts presented up to that point. His analysis considers the full range of available evidence, assesses the quality of individual pieces and does not go beyond the evidence. When he does draw conclusions they are generally conservative and understated, and he is careful to address other possible explanations for the evidence.
Citizen Investigation Team (CIT) have cited Shinki and Ed Paik’s witness accounts to support their claims that the plane said to have hit the Pentagon on 9/11 (American Airlines Flight 77), actually flew on a different flight path (‘north of Citgo’) and flew over the Pentagon. Ed Paik’s account appears in their films ‘The Pentacon’, and most recently ‘National Security Alert’ (NSA). In addition, Ed’s account has been cited repeatedly in their articles and online discussions. However, my January 2010 interviews of Ed and Shinki, as well as a 2006 interview of Ed recorded by Dylan Avery, Ed Paik’s drawings and gestures for CIT, and other related material, show that certain facts have been omitted or distorted by CIT in their attempt to make their case for the ‘north of Citgo path’.
I. Summary of Erik Larson 2010 Shinki and Ed Paik Video
II. Ed Paik says he was inside the A-One office when the plane flew past; Shinki says he was outside
III. From inside the office, Ed Paik saw the right wing- and perhaps the fuselage
IV. Shinki Paik said the VDOT tower antenna was “bent over … about 60, 70 degrees”
V. Ed Paik’s drawings and gestures for CIT have been misrepresented
I. Summary of Erik Larson 2010 Shinki and Ed Paik Video
The video is mainly footage from my January 2010 interviews with Shinki and Ed Paik, but also includes 2006 video footage of Ed being interviewed by Russell Pickering, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis, which was recorded by Dylan Avery. Ed’s 2006 testimony largely confirms what he told me in 2010. In my interviews, Shinki and Ed Paik said that on September 11, 2001, they were in their shop’s office watching and discussing the news coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center, when they heard the increasingly loud noise of a large jet approaching their location, very low. Shinki was behind the counter, and Ed was in front of it, and the noise was so loud, they both instinctively ducked. At this point, Shinki and Ed’s accounts diverge. Shinki said Ed “went out” and he saw Ed outside, ducking, when the plane passed by. There is a large window in front of the counter, and a large window in the door, which give a view of their parking lot, Columbia Pike, and the other side of the road. Shinki saw the outside get dark briefly, but did not see any part of the plane. According to Ed, he was inside when the plane flew past, and while ducking in front of the counter, he looked up and out the window, and saw the “big”, “black” “right wing” of a plane for “1 or 2 seconds”. In two places on the August 2006 Avery footage, Ed indicates he was in the office. In my interview, Ed says his “feeling” was the body of the plane was very low and directly over their shop, with the right wing extending over their parking lot and Columbia Pike. In 2010 he said he did not see the body of the plane, but in the 2006 footage he described the body as “gray.” Shinki said that after the plane passed, he saw the VDOT antenna “bent over” towards the Pentagon “about 60, 70 degrees”, and that it was not like this before the plane went past. He recalls noticing that on September 11, but Ed didn’t remember seeing the bent antenna. Both remember it being worked on; Shinki thought it was the following day or soon after, and Ed seemed sure it was the next day that people were working on it. Ed also recalled talking to others in the area regarding the work being done on the tower, and that they were also under the impression that the plane had hit the antenna.
At the End US Wars Rally in Lafayette Park, Washington D.C. on Dec 12, 2009, I was able to ask a few questions of Ralph Nader, David Swanson, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney. Unfortunately, I deleted my video of McKinney by mistake, and held the camera sideways for the others (I now know video is not like photos…), so I only uploaded the audio w/ still clips for the others.
I had asked McKinney what she saw as the biggest challenges and opportunities for the 9/11 Truth Movement. She said she had supported NYCCAN and felt justice was disserved in the judge’s decision to disallow it. She suggested that a People’s Tribunal might be worth pursuing, but that something with legal authority would be best. She also said that she will be pursuing the issue if she gets reelected to Congress.
I particularly liked Ralph Nader’s response when I asked about the biggest unanswered questions; he said, “Who’s responsible?” is the biggest.
I asked Kucinich the status on his committee’s investigation into 9/11, and he said that it is an issue he maintains an interest in- he has questions about pre-9/11 financial transactions- but that his committee has been swamped dealing with Wall Street investigations and the economic meltdown.
David Swanson said 9/11 has not been investigated, and a full investigation is an important issue.
This segment covers her testimony regarding former Attorney General John Ashcroft claim of State Secrets to justify placing two gag orders on her. The first gag order was in response to her First Amendment case, the second when she was subpoenaed by 9/11 families regarding her knowledge of Saudi institutions and Al Qaeda financing.
This segment covers her testimony regarding the involvement of US and Turkish officials in a nuclear trafficking network, and the outing of Brewster Jennings as a CIA front company which was investigating them.
This segment covers her testimony regarding Behrooz Sarshar, an FBI translator who Edmonds took to the FBI’s Inspector General and the 9/11 Commission; Sarshar had personal knowledge that the “FBI received information in April 2001 from a reliable Iranian intelligence asset that Osama bin Ladin was planning attacks on four to five cities with planes. Some of the people were already in the country, and the attacks would happen in a few months.”
This segment covers her testimony regarding US and Turkish government officials and other entities engagement in “… practices and policies that were inimical to American interests and had, in fact, resulted in both the direct and indirect loss of American lives.” To summarize this, Edmonds says, “The best way to describe it is Cold War is not over.” These ‘practices and policies’ include: CIA radicalizing Muslims for use in proxy wars contributed to 9/11; providing protection and aid, including US sanctuary, for Fetullah Gulan- a founder of radical Madrassahs; trafficking in nuclear secrets and outing Brewster Jennings as a CIA front company in Summer 01, when Marc Grossman discovered it was getting close to the nuclear trafficking network.
John Farmer of the 9/11 Commission was a guest of Brad Friedman on the Mike Malloy Radio Show, Sept 11, 2009.
Transcript by Erik Larson; the version posted below includes [notes], links and certain significant statements in bold.
Visit BradBlog.com for the audio and a version without the editorial comments/links, with some ‘ums’ edited out and a different formatting (which you may find more readable): http://www.bradblog.com/?page_id=7416
A bare-bones version is available at 911Blogger.com: http://www.911blogger.com/node/21329
Brad Friedman- … John Farmer is the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, he served as the Attorney General of New Jersey, Chief Counsel to Governor Christine Todd Whitman, he’s now the Dean of Rutgers University Law School… and he joins us here tonight… very happily so- he is the author of a new book, ‘The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11’- John Farmer, welcome to the Mike Malloy program.
John Farmer- Thanks Brad, I really appreciate it- thanks for having me.
BF- Sure- really glad to have ya here, particularly on today, of all days. Alright- in your book and in the publicity for the book, you note that- ‘what government and military officials told Congress, the 9/11 Commission (on which you served), the media and the public was, quote- “almost entirely and inexplicably untrue”’. That’s some pretty heady allegations there, and before we find out what was ‘inexplicably untrue’- it occurs to me that with a claim like that, from a Senior Counsel on the 9/11 Commission, you must be barraged with media requests- 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC- is that true; are the media paying attention to such an extraordinary claim, as you’re making here?
JF- It’s been a busy week! Let me put it that way.
BF- Has it been as much as you would have expected?
JF- -I think I’ve done probably 30-plus interviews this week-
JF- -so there has been interest in the book, and I hope the book makes a contribution to settling a lot of the speculation that’s occurred out there.
BF- Fair enough, alright, so lets jump in to some of the key points, and you detail some of them, I know you’ve got what you describe as ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ moments, in other words known as ‘WTF’ moments- I think a lot of people listening will understand what that means! But what are the key points here which you found in your investigation, really, after the 9/11 Commission put out its report- what was almost entirely and inexplicably ‘untrue’?
JF- Well, glad you point out that- my function with the 9/11 Commission was to lead a team to put together an account of the nation’s reaction to the attacks- in other words, reconstruct the events of the day of 9/11. And there are obviously many components to that, from what the President was doing, the Vice President, to what the Pentagon, was doing, what the firefighters and police in New York were doing, to what was happening virtually all over the country- so, very daunting task when you have basically a year and a half to put it together. So, going into it, I really thought that the air defense side of that story would be the easiest part to put together, simply because the story had been told so many times, in so many different forums. There had been testimony before Congress, there had been major networks news specials dedicated strictly to the air defense story, there had even been early Commission hearings dedicated to that subject, so the story was out there, and it had been told numerous times, so I actually started writing an account of the day based strictly on the public sources, figuring, well, we’ll get all the primary sources and we can simply validate what’s already been told. But to my, uh, ‘disappointment’, to put it mildly, when we, uh, started getting access to the primary sources, which ultimately took a subpoena to the FAA and Department of Defense, we couldn’t verify the public account that had been given. And to summarize what that account was- it basically overstated the efficacy and the efficiency of the government’s response. Specifically, what we had been told after 9/11 was that by the time of the 3rd flight- American 77, which ultimately hit the Pentagon- the national command structure had recovered from the shock of the two flights that hit the World Trade Center and had reestablished itself essentially, and had scrambled planes from Langley Air Force Base to protect the capital, and those planes narrowly missed intercepting American 77, but were certainly in position by the time United 93, uh, hijacking, and when that turned toward Washington they were certainly in position that they could’ve taken the plane out if they had to, uh, as it approached Washington. And what we found happened in fact, when we went through the records and through the tapes and the different logs that were kept, they told a very consistent story, which was, in fact, the uh military had had basically a minute’s notice that American 77 was missing, with no location given, um, and they had actually no notice of United 93 until four minutes after the plane crashed, so they were never able to even locate that flight on radar. The planes were scrambled from Langley, but it was not in response to either of the last two flights, it was in response to a mistaken report that had come across the radio that the first flight, American 11, had actually nothit the Trade Center at all, but was still airborne, heading south for Washington. So, in other words, the, uh- and to just to finish the story, the authorization to intercept and potentially shoot down planes, came from, um, came from the national command structure, from the President and Vice President about thirty minutes after United 93 had already crashed- so, that particular authorization was never passed to the pilots, because at that point there was no target.
BF- Interesting, hold the thought there, John (break) John, you were speaking of, before the break about some of the things that you were told and the public was told and the Commission was told that were, quote, “almost entirely and inexplicably ‘untrue’”; you refer to the fact that, uh, the claim that they could have ‘taken out’ Flight 93 if they had wanted to, that they had within their sights, and so on and so forth- why would- why do you suspect some of these stories would have been told, that were so wildly inaccurate, as you describe them?
JF- I think there was an effort to, um, uh, to make the government look ‘better’ than it was that day- to make the national command structure, um, seem, uh, like it was more in control than it was in those critical moments, and I think in doing that, one of the unfortunate byproducts was that they obscured some of the really important lessons from that morning, among which are- you know, how critical decisions are actually made in a crit- in a cataclysmic situation like that, and the essential estrangement of the top levels from the people on the ground who actually had to improvise the national defense– was important, because we saw replicated a few years later in Hurricane Katrina- completely different kind of event, uh, in fact not a surprise at all, something that had been planned for, for years- but when it actually hit, the same kind of dynamic occurred, where people on the ground in New Orleans were waiting for word from the upper levels of government and there was a disconnect in communications and difficulty communicating, they didn’t have the authority to make critical decisions, and I think one of the things that comes out of this study that I think is important, is the imperative that we actually plan to deal with these crises the way they’re actually experienced, as opposed according to some, uh, you know- organization chart.
BF- Right. And we seem to have re- we constructed an organizational chart after 9/11, in response to 9/11, and then as you point out in the book, it doesn’t seem we paid much attention to it when it came to Katrina- so it’s unclear that we even learned anything from 9/11, frankly- and I wonder- the uh, effectiveness of the Commission- you guys did not have subpoena power early on [note- the Commission had subpoena power, however, the 5 Republican Commissioners and Co-Chair Hamilton were opposed to using it early on- Farmer was critical of this decision], and how badly do you think that ended up crippling the final report that was released by the 9/11 Commission?
JF- Well, let me just say that I think the report is, uh, extremely accurate, and- and sets forth the facts of 9/11. And we actually did point out in the report the discrepancies between the accounts that were given and what we actually found. But what’s different is, you know, in this account is, I think, by telling it structurally differently- in other words, in the Commission Report we told it flight by flight, as much for the sake of clarity as anything else, so you could understand with each flight what happened. That’s not the way it was lived, though, by the people who had to respond, and that’s what this book does- it tells the story, uh, almost from their perspective- when everything’s flying at them at once. And I think the value of that is that you can see that, uh, taken as a whole, you can see that the real enemy of preparedness is bureaucracy, and that’s tough nut to crack but I think it’s the one we have to, if we’re gonna be better in the future.
BF- And you’ve broken that all down in a timeline in the back of the book, in painstaking detail based on the radio transmissions and so forth that did exist, even though they originally said they didn’t. (break) I have a number of questions for you, John- let me start here, let’s get right to the accountability thing. Given what the Commission was told that appeared to be untrue, and one of them that you write in your book about, that you had direct access to was the NORAD’s North East Air Defense Sector (NEADS)- you were told there were not tapes of radio transmissions, and in fact there were tapes of radio transmissions, as you later learned. Given the various ‘lies’ that were given for whatever reason- how can it be, in your opinion, that when George Bush and Dick Cheney were interviewed themselves about their response, about their readiness, their preparation and anything else, that they were allowed to testify together, not recorded. Now, you’re the former Attorney General of New Jersey; can you explain to me that you allow two folks involved in an investigation to be interviewed together, like that?
JF- Well, that was a decision that was reached in, uh, negotiation with the White House, a negotiation I was not personally involved with, so I can’t really relate the details of it, but that was a negotiated, uh, agreement with the President and Vice President and it was, uh, detailed notes were taken [note- per agreement, all notes were confiscated, and subject to review and censorship prior to use in the report], I was not part of that interview, so, again, I can’t really comment on the specifics of it-
BF- As an Attorney General, how do you feel about it- you didn’t take part in the negotiations, I understand, but in an investigation, how do you feel about, oh, two people involved in that investigation would like to speak together, and would not like to have any of it recorded.
JF- Well, it depends- it really depends on the context [note- according to author Philip Shenon, most Commissioners thought Bush-Cheney wanted to make sure their accounts did not differ]- I mean, you know, in certain types of criminal investigations you wouldn’t want to have that happen, but I’ve been involved in corporate internal investigations where it’s easier to get to the truth doing it that way, ‘cause they play one against- one off- against the other, so, uh, you know, it- it really depends on the context.
BF- So you have no problem with that, in general?
JF- Not in general, I don’t- it really depends on the individual circumstances- it could be problematic, and it might not be. I think we did a good job pointing out areas in which, you know, we had- we took issue with, uh, the version of events that they recounted.
BF- Do you think there was proper accountability brought to the folks who did drop the ball before 9/11?
JF- Well, you know, I think, again, if you read the book as a whole, I think if there’s a villain in the book, other than Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who are- we can never forget are the principal villains, but it’s- it’s bureaucracy itself. And I don’t think enough has been done to sort of ‘reinvent’ government, that was the term used in the 90’s, and it was a recognition that, you know, in the post cold-war period, the threats were likely to arise asymmetrically and there was a need to reconfigure government, and there were efforts being made but they didn’t go far enough and they were not effective, so, uh- the answer to your question, in my view, is I think a lot more needs to be done, and it has to be at a very, very fundamental level because bureaucracy is the enemy of preparedness- and if I were gonna state one conclusion from the book, that’s what it is.
BF- So, it was, as you see it, it was bureaucracy- incompetence, perhaps- not necessarily malfeasance or misfeasance by these folks?
JF- Well, you know, if you had, for example, one agency that was- that was really responsible for the whole thing, and it totally screwed up- and- and- and I could see, then, you know, wanting to ‘let the heads roll’ kind of mentality. But when you see, as I detail in the book, in agency after agency, in department head after department head of varying degrees of abilities- and across departments- across crises, ‘cause you had the same thing Katrina- different departments– you realize they all had one thing in common, and that it an inability to cope with this creature that- that, you know, we’ve come to call bureaucracy- and when you have failures on that scale, I don’t think it really benefits anybody to start scapegoating people, because I think that actually, uh, lets bureaucracy off the hook.
BF- Well, you know, there’s a difference between ‘scapegoating’ and ‘accountability’- I mean, when people are warned, time and again, and as we understand the Bush Administration was warned do you feel that they- your feeling is that didn’t respond to those warnings from Richard Clarke and so forth, simply because, oh, it’s such a big bureaucracy out there?
JF- I think you have to go before that- you can go- by the time that President Bush took office, remember, that the Al Qaeda conspirators had essentially ‘run the gauntlet’ of our trillion dollar early warning system. They had managed throughout the 90’s to elude detection by the NSA, the CIA[note- principals at the CIA, NSA, FBI and State Dept were aware of Alhazmi and Almihdhar], by one of the hundreds of military bases that we have stationed around the world to provide early warning. They had managed to go through- get through customs, they had managed to get into the country- so that by the time the summer of 2001 came along they had basically run the gauntlet through every better-funded department than FAA and NORAD, and at the end of the day, we had probably two of the least well-funded organizations in the government that ended up having to fight the war that day.
BF- But at the top of the government, one of the best funded agencies in the government- the White House- there was very clear warnings, was there not?
JF- Listen, there’s no question about it, and, and- look, I think that- I think the failures are so, um, ‘pervasive’, and so wide-spread, uh, you know, they had-after the millennium there was an after-action report done that basically pointed out that our preparations domestically for a terrorist event were very lax, and, and that report was out there- and in fact, it’s that report that, uh, Sandy Berger, the former National Security Advisor to President Clinton, actually took copies of, and stole from the National Archives before he was scheduled to testify before the Commission, hid them in a construction site and then destroyed them.
BF- And was there accountability for that?
JF- Well, he plead to a misdemeanor.
BF- OK. And was there accountability anywhere else in the government, that you see?
JF- Well, there was, as a consequence of the referral of the credibility story to the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation, there was a Department of Transportation employee disciplined as a result of ‘failing to be forthcoming’-
BF- A Department of Transportation employee…
JF- Yeah, well, someone from the FAA, essentially…
BF- OK. But nobody from the Bush Administration, whose job it was to protect against this sort of thing?
JF- Well, if there was, I’m not aware of it.
BF- Yeah. OK. Well now, let me get to some of these questions that, uh, Glenn Beck, you may have heard, was able to railroad this guy, Van Jones, the President’s Green Jobs Advisor out of a job because he signed onto a statement along with 50 family members of 9/11 victims asking certain questions- and he highlighted a number of those questions and- John Farmer, I’m sorry to make you the victim, somewhat, of Glenn Beck, but he highlighted about four of these twelve questions that all seemed reasonable to me. And I’ll note that I don’t have a dog in this hunt, I just want to know what the hell happened. So I’d like to ask you the four questions that he found so outrageous, and you may or may not be able to answer them, I don’t know, but I’m gonna go ahead and toss ‘em out here, John. The first one- I’ll go though in order-
“Why did the Secret Service allow Bush to complete his elementary school visit, apparently unconcerned about his safety or that of the schoolchildren?”
JF- Well, you know, there’s been a lot of speculation about, you know, why President Bush continued to sit in the classroom after he was advised the nation was under attack– um, I think that, uh, you know, this is just my opinion, but I think he was trying to, (A) assimilate the information, um, uh, it was kind of ‘startling’, and at the same time, because he knew he was being filmed, I think he was trying to project an image of ‘calm’, that he was not going to be ‘rattled’ by this, and he was going to, uh, leave in an appropriate time, and he made that judgment. [note- the question was ‘why did the Secret Service allow Bush’ to remain in his publicized location; the elementary school was a few miles from an airport, 2 hijacked planes had just been rammed into the World Trade Center, and Bush and his entourage did not leave until close to half an hour after Card whispered in Bush’s ear]
BF- And are you offended that I asked you that question?
BF- Thank you. Alright, let me ask a few more that Glenn Beck highlighted that he found so unbelievable that he couldn’t imagine that Van Jones would even be allowed near the President for having signed onto some of these questions. Alright-
“How could Flight 77, which reportedly hit the Pentagon, have flown back towards Washington D.C. for 40 minutes without being detected by the FAA’s radar or the even superior radar possessed by the US military?”
JF- Well, it’s not clear that the military possessed superior radar for- [garbled] the first- is the first answer to that, but second answer is that, you know, it does- it does appea- it did appear- there was- there was an area in the country where there was a gap in radar coverage, in the mountains um uh and so it was off radar for a while, and it did appear as a primary radar track, not a- not a beacon signal which would have clearly indicated which flight it was, but it was, you know, but you have to understand that in the radar picture with primary tracks, uh it’s really, it’s an ocean of- of primary tracks, and unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s hard to pick it out. Um, and, we, uh-
BF- For forty minutes, though? It could disappear like that? Behind the mountain?
JF- The controllers, um, were, once it actually vanished from radar they were- and it had been heading west- the controllers inda- in Cleveland were actually looking, uh, looking west for it, and couldn’t find it, and ultimately they started looking back the other way, but they simply didn’t pick it up.
BF- OK. And you’re not offended by that question, are ya, John?
JF- No! Not at all.
BF- OK, thank you. Let me get one more here before we gotta go to a break, then we’ll have some more Beck questions and your calls, and John, you’re invited to stay around as long as you like tonight, ‘cause there’s a lot of folks who want to ask you a lot of questions-
JF- Well, actually, I have a 10 o’clock appointment in the East, so I’ve got another 15 minutes, then I gotta go.
BF- Then we’re gonna move quick here-
“How were the FBI and CIA able to release the names and photos of the alleged hijackers within hours, as well as to visit houses, restaurants, and flight schools they were known to frequent?”
JF- Well, the, the uh, it’s a complicated story, but the Bureau, the Bureau at least, and to a lesser extent the CIA, was actually looking for um, uh, several of these people in the days and weeks leading up to 9/11- um, and hadn’t located them, but when they saw the passenger manifests from the flights, uh, it wasn’t hard to figure out who was who. Uh, so, uh, you know, this is one of those, um, areas where, you know, it’s- it’s- when you look at it from the outside, well, how could they have been looking for them and not found them? But they didn’t. Unh, and, uh, that’s one of the tragedies of 9/11, and that’s one of the areas in which thebarriers for information sharing between the two agencies really prevented them from finding them.
BF- I’m glad to get your answer to that on record, and once again- you’re not offended by that question, right?
JF- Nope, not at all.
BF- OK…. (break) … OK, one more question from Glenn Beck…
“Why did the Bush administration cover up the fact that the head of the Pakistani intelligence agency was in Washington the week of 9/11 and reportedly had $100,000 wired to Mohamed Atta, considered the ringleader of the hijackers?”
JF- I don’t know whether that’s true. I can’t comment on that- that’s- you know- I don’t know.
BF- Have you heard that allegation before?
JF- God, no, I haven’t.
BF- Do you think, if it is true, is it an appropriate question to ask, and to get an answer to, from someone?
JF- Uh, if it’s true, absolutely.
BF- OK. Fair enough. Alright, Jeannie Dean in the chat room says she’s concerned about the NORAD ‘failures’ and the contradictions in the NORAD related testimony, I know that was your beat on the Commission here- why was it completely overlooked by the Commission- she feels that the NORAD failures were overlooked, when it was the most damning evidence to date that there is something that demands further investigation here- the family members requested a follow up investigation, but what happened there?
JF- Well, the short answer is that it wasn’t uh, the failures weren’t, uh, ignored, they were actually highlighted in Chapter One of our- of the report. Uh, originally that- that chapter was supposed to be, uh- uh, Chapter Nine, it was supposed to come, you know, sort of in sequence, umm, uh, but the uh Commissioners decided to move it up to the front because we had discovered these discrepancies, so they were actually highlighted in the report!
BF- And are you satisfied, finally, with the answers to those discrepancies and why they existed, why NORAD did fail on that day?
JF- Well, you know, I think you have to distinguish between what they actually did that day and what they- and, and what the- the government told people they did, uh, because, uhv, you know, y-y-once you- and what the book does, at a level of detail the Commission couldn’t because the material was still classified at the time the Commission Report came out, and has since been declassified- it lays out exactly who said what to whom, and how the reaction took place, uh, and you basically are left with a lot of empathy for these folks, um, in NORAD, who had to react on the fly- to a situation they were not really trained to react to.
BF- OK, let me get to Keith here in Norwalk, California- Keith, as quickly as you can ask you question, ‘cause we’re gonna have to lose Mr. Farmer at the top of the hour- Keith:
Keith- Uh, no problem- as far as the Kean-Zelikow cover up that you’re involved in goes, I would like to ask you- how were the FBI able to confiscate the Citgo gas station’s tapes so quickly, and where are those photos, I’d like to see ‘em.
BF- Thanks, Keith. Yeah, and did you get to look at those tapes from the Pentagon, John?
JF- Yes, we did, and- and, uh, I know there’s been a lot of speculation about, um, about, you know- w-whether a plane actually hit the Pentagon- I can assure you that it did. And, um, and they were actually able to reconstruct, uhh, uh, large components of the plane, and actually someone who was a member of my team, uh, was a naval intelligence officer in the Pentagon that morning, uh, was severely burned, and in fact everybody in his unit was killed, and, and, had uh, permanent lung damage from inhaling jet fuel- he has, he has no doubt that a plane hit the Pentagon. [note- Farmer did not answer Keith’s question, which alludes to probable ‘FBI’ foreknowledge]
JF- Well, pieces of the plane do exist from the Pentagon crash. Uh, um, and I would take issue with the Pennsylvania remark, too- I mean I think the Pennsylvania, uh um uh, uh- situation is accounted for by the fact that the angle at which the plane hit the ground was almost directly perpendicular, and I think that accounted for how deep the crater was, uh, and the other question to ask yourself, with respect to this, is- well, if American 77 didn’t hit the Pentagon, what happened- what happened to- what happened to American 77? And what about the passengers who were calling from the plane, saying they were coming back to Washington?
BF- OK, and just to be clear, ‘cause we’re hittin’ the clock here, John- you have seen ‘tapes’ of a plane hitting the Pentagon?
JF- Well, uh, no I haven’t seen tapes- pictures of a plane actually hitting the Pentagon, but there were eyewitness accounts, uh and as I said, there were- there were- pictures of a plane in the vicinity-
BF- John- and I gotta get out- John Farmer, author of ‘Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11’, I do thank you for your time tonight, John- much appreciated.
JF- Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BF- You bet.
By Erik Larson
Aug 8, 2009, Sibel Edmonds gave a sworn deposition in which she testified to her knowledge of treasonous crimes and corruption involving current and former members of Congress and State and Defense Dept. officials. Given the nature of the deposition, the lines of questioning focused on Turkish espionage and services obtained through bribery and blackmail by Turkish officials and proxies. However, Edmonds has previously disclosed that the corruption involving U.S. officials also includes money laundering, trafficking in drugs, arms and nuclear secrets, U.S. support for Bin Laden/Al Qaeda, and obstruction of FBI investigations related to 9/11, before and after the attacks; she said these things came up “briefly” during the deposition. Edmonds learned of these things from wiretaps she listened to while working as a translator for the FBI in 2001-2002.
Greetings Miles Kara, and welcome to the blogosphere!
As the History Commons contributor ‘paxvector’ who’s been scanning and uploading NARA’s 9/11 Commission records to Scribd.com/HistoryCommons (including many of yours), your public expression of gratitude for the project is appreciated.
I am very interested in your blog, 9/11 Revisited, and that you’re responding to questions from the public. With your knowledge from having served on the Commission’s staff as a member of Team 8, you may be able to settle some of the unanswered questions and speculation regarding 9/11.
I’ve compiled a list of questions and posted this as an open letter to you at my blog, 911Reports.com; Questions for Miles Kara on NORAD (and Other) Exercises. Your responses are up to you, of course, but as a courtesy to readers please include the questions with your responses, or provide a link to the questions and number your answers to correspond.
Thanks for your time- I look forward to your response, and any additional information you may provide.
1. What were the name(s) and scenario(s) of the hijack exercise(s) that NORAD conducted or planned to conduct on September 11, 2001?
At least one hijack exercise is documented by the NEADS tapes, and was reported on by Michael Bronner for Vanity Fair in 2006. Bronner provides some details of the exercise, and quotes Major Kevin Nasypany, who helped design the exercise:
“When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was ‘Somebody started the exercise early,'” Nasypany later told me. The day’s exercise was designed to run a range of scenarios, including a “traditional” simulated hijack in which politically motivated perpetrators commandeer an aircraft, land on a Cuba-like island, and seek asylum. “I actually said out loud, ‘The hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour,'” Nasypany recalled.
4. Why does the 9/11 Commission Report, Chapter 1 endnote 116 restrict itself to a description of Vigilant Guardian on September 11, 2001 as having “postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union”, without mentioning other exercise scenarios, and in particular omitting hijack exercises? (458n116)
NEADS: “Is this real world or exercise?”
FAA: ”No, this is not an exercise, not a test.” (20)
As quoted by Bronner (see 1. above), Nasypany indicated the questions he and many other military personnel had about “real world or exercise” were due to the hijack exercise coinciding with the 9/11 real world events- not a Soviet Bomber attack exercise, as implied by endnote 116.
Your NORAD Exercises – Hijack Summary table lists 9 versions of Vigilant Guardian from 9/6/01 to 9/10/01, all of which involved a hijack scenario.
5a. What was total number of military exercises involving aircraft that took place on September 11, 2001?
5b. What were the names and scenarios of these exercises? (Other than the hijack exercise(s) you name and describe in response to question 1. above)
6b. Which radar screens were the injects on, and what time were they cleared?
6c. Why was the use of injects in NORAD exercises on September 11 not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report?
7. On your NORAD Exercises – Hijack Summary table, you highlighted certain text in Red, Yellow and Bold; what was your reason for doing this?
8. You say in your article 9/11: Training, Exercises and War Games, “The [NORAD Exercises – Hijack Summary] was prepared to list what we knew about exercises before we traveled to NORAD Headquarters.”
How was this information used in the interviews?
9. What is the reason Ken Merchant stated “that [NORAD hijack exercises] were always resolved peacefully, that is, NORAD did not project shooting down a hijacked aircraft.”? (3)
Your NORAD Exercises – Hijack Summary” table lists at least 3 exercises which included a shoot-down scenario; Vigilant Guardian 10/26/98 and 9/6/01, and Amazon Condor 10/21/99.
Ken Merchant’s MFR states:
“Mr. Merchant is the joint exercise design manager for NORAD, and has been with NORAD J3 (or J38) for 17 years.”
10. In a comment on your 9/11: Training, Exercises and War Games article, you said, “there was one Department of Justice exercise that didn’t have anything to do with the other three”. Please cite sources for information on this exercise (or provide links).
10a. What was the name, scenario and purpose of this DOJ exercise?
10b. Why was this DOJ exercise not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report?
11a. Why was the 2001 Global Guardian exercise rescheduled from October to the week of September 11?
11b. What are the names of those responsible for rescheduling Global Guardian?
11c. Why was Global Guardian not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report?
12. What are the names and roles of those who were in charge of coordinating the military, intelligence, law enforcement and emergency management exercises scheduled for September 11, 2001?
13. The 9/11 Commission Report says, “Other threats were identified during the late 1990s, including terrorists’ use of aircraft as weapons.” (17)
13a. What information was this threat-identification based on; what NORAD documents describe this threat, what do they say, and are Bin Laden and/or Al Qaeda mentioned in any of them?
13b. What did the Commission learn about this threat-identification from interviews?
14. Why does the 9/11 Commission Report say, “Exercise planners also assumed that the aircraft would originate from outside the United States, allowing time to identify the target and scramble interceptors. The threat of terrorists hijacking commercial airliners within the United States—and using them as guided missiles—was not recognized by NORAD before 9/11.”? (17)
In this unclassified Amalgam Virgo 01-02 exercise scenario (also described in your NORAD Exercises – Hijack Summary table), a suicide pilot took off from Clearwater, Florida with a plan to crash into SEADS- in order to disrupt NORAD’s ability to intercept drug-smuggling flights.
In addition to other ‘planes as missiles’ plots, Commissioner Ben-Veniste noted at the May 23, 2003 hearing, “September 12th, 1994, a Cessna 150L crashed into the South Lawn of the White House, barely missing the building, and killing the pilot. Similarly, in December of 1994, an Algerian armed Islamic group of terrorists hijacked an Air France flight in Algiers and threatened to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. In October of 1996, the intelligence community obtained information regarding an Iranian plot to hijack a Japanese plane over Israel and crash it into Tel Aviv.”
General McKinley responded, “It’s obvious by your categorization that those events all took place and that NORAD had that information.”
And the 9/11 Commission Report noted that, “in February 1974, a man named Samuel Byck attempted to commandeer a plane at Baltimore Washington International Airport with the intention of forcing the pilots to fly into Washington and crash into the White House to kill the president.” (561n21)
15. Why was Osama Bin Laden’s picture used on the cover of the Amalgam Virgo 01 exercise proposal?
16. DOD Document Request No. 4, Item 20 requested “The final briefing and intelligence scenario for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) exercise scheduled on 9/11 concerning a plane crash into NRO headquarters.” This DOD Document Index (emailed by Dan Levin) says it was delivered 7/15/03.
17a. What was the full NRO exercise scenario- and did it involve an accidental plane crash, or an intentional one?
17b. In what ways, if any, was this NRO exercise connected with the other exercises happening on 9/11?
17c. Why was this NRO exercise not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report?
A 9/11 Commission record released to the National Archives summarizes 28 NORAD exercise scenarios in the 3 years prior to 9/11 which involved hijacking. Many involved intercept/shadowing by fighter jets, at least 2 involved planes crashing into cities/buildings, & at least 3 involved shoot-downs, including a version of Vigilant Guardian in Oct 98.