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"They also made it clear they wanted to get us up quickly, and they wanted to get us to a high altitude, because there had been a specific threat made to Air Force One.... A declaration that Air Force One was a target, and said in a way that they called it credible."
Pilot Colonel Mark Tillman was told of the threat and he asked that an armed guard be stationed at the cockpit door.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
There were SEVEN Air National Guard bases in the ENTIRE United States with armed fighters ready to launch. Most bases with fighters ready to go have 2-4 of them sitting at the end of the runway. Whether you believe it or not, these are easily researchable facts. To arm a fighter, you have to get into the weapons bunker, get the weapons out of storage, prep them by putting control fins on them, get them loaded on the trailer, get the trailer to the flight line where the fighters are, load them (each missile taking 10-20 minutes), get the nav systems aligned (45-60 minutes), then get the fighters launched.
Air Force One Takes Off Without Fighter Escort
Where is the security covering Bush as he leaves Sarasota? Is a good public relations photo more important than security, minutes after the Secret Service was told Bush could be attacked as he left Sarasota? [AP]
Air Force One took off at either 9:55 or 9:57 a.m. [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01, Telegraph, 12/16/01, CBS, 9/11/02, Washington Post, 9/12/01, Washington Post, 1/27/02, AP, 9/12/01] Communications Director Dan Bartlett remembered, "It was like a rocket. For a good ten minutes, the plane was going almost straight up." [CBS, 9/11/02]
But, incredibly, Air Force One took off without any military fighter protection. This defies all explanation. Recall that at 9:03 a.m., one of Bush's security people said, "We're out of here. Can you get everyone ready?" [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02] Certainly, long before Bush left the elementary school at 9:35 a.m., arrangements would have been made to get fighters to Sarasota as soon as possible.
Not only would it have been advisable to protect Air Force One, but it would have been only sensible as another way to protect Bush on the ground from terrorist attack even before he left the school. In Florida, there were two bases said to have fighters on 24-hour alert, capable of getting airborne in approximately five minutes. Homestead Air Station, 185 miles from Sarasota, and Tyndall Air Station, 235 miles from Sarasota; both had the highest readiness status on 9/11. Presumably, as happened at other bases across the country, just after 9:03, base commanders throughout Florida would have immediately begun preparations to get their fighters ready. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Fighters left bases on the same alert status and traveled similar distances to reach Washington, DC, well before 10:00, so why were the fighters delayed in Florida? [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02]
Military planes should have been over Sarasota by the time Bush left Booker at 9:35 a.m. Yet, as will be described below, more than one hour after Air Force One took off, there were still no fighters protecting it!
Air Force One departs Sarasota. [AP]
An administration official claimed, "The object seemed to be simply to get the President airborne and out of the way." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] But without fighter cover this makes little sense, because the sky was arguably more dangerous than the ground. At the time, there were still over 3,000 planes in the air over the US [USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)], including about half of the planes in the region of Florida where Bush was. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/7/02] Recall, too, that the Secret Service learned of a threat to Bush and Air Force One "just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary." Karl Rove, also on Air Force One, confirmed that a dangerous threat was known before the plane took off: "They also made it clear they wanted to get us up quickly, and they wanted to get us to a high altitude, because there had been a specific threat made to Air Force One.... A declaration that Air Force One was a target, and said in a way that they called it credible." [New Yorker, 10/1/01]
Were There Threats to Air Force One?
Around 10:55 a.m., there was yet another threat to Air Force One. The pilot, Colonel Mark Tillman, said he was warned that a suspect airliner was dead ahead. "Coming out of Sarasota there was one call that said there was an airliner off our nose that they did not have contact with." Tillman took evasive action, pulling his plane even higher above normal traffic. [CBS, 9/11/02 (B)] Reporters on board noticed the rise in elevation. [Dallas Morning News, 8/28/02, Salon, 9/12/01] The report was apparently a false alarm, but it shows the folly of having Bush fly without a fighter escort.
The threat or threats to Air Force One were announced on September 12, after mounting criticism that Bush was out of sight in Louisiana and Nebraska during most of the day and did not return to Washington until 10 hours after the attacks. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there was "real and credible information that the White House and Air Force One were targets." [White House, 9/12/01] On September 13, New York Times columnist William Safire wrote - and Bush's political strategist Karl Rove confirmed - that there was an "inside" threat that "may have broken the secret codes [showing a knowledge of presidential procedures]." [New York Times, 9/13/01] Had terrorists hacked their way into sensitive White House computers? Was there a mole in the White House?
No. It turned out the entire story was made up. [Washington Post, 9/27/01] The press expressed considerable skepticism about the story. For instance, one Florida newspaper thought Fleischer's disclosure was "an apparent effort to explain why the president was flown to Air Force bases" before returning to Washington. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/13/01] When asked on September 15 about the "credible evidence," Fleischer said, "we exhausted that topic about two days ago." [White House, 9/15/01] On September 26, CBS News reported: "Finally, there is this postscript to the puzzle of how someone presumed to be a terrorist was able to call in a threat against Air Force One using a secret code name for the president's plane.
Well, as it turns out, that simply never happened. Sources say White House staffers apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail." [CBS, 9/26/01] One former official who served in George Bush Sr.'s administration told Human Events Online, which bills itself as "the national conservative weekly," that he was "deeply disappointed by [Bush's] zigzagging across the country." [Human Events Online, 9/17/01] At the end of the month, Slate magazine awarded its "Whopper of the Week" to Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and Dick Cheney. [Slate, 9/28/01]
“On the morning of 9/11, the existing protocol was unsuited in every respect for what was about to happen,” the report will say, according to a Wednesday New York Times account. “What ensued was a hurried attempt to create an improvised defense by officials who had never encountered or trained against the situation they faced.”
"Two F-15s take off from Otis Air Force Base. [Washington Post, 9/15/01] They go after Flight 175. Major General Paul Weaver, director of the Air National Guard, states "the pilots flew like a scalded ape, topping 500 mph but were unable to catch up to the airliner. We had a nine-minute window, and in excess of 100 miles to intercept 175,'' he said. ''There was just literally no way.'' [Dallas Morning News, 9/15/01] F-15's fly at up to 2.5 times the speed of sound [1875 mph or 30+ miles a minute or 270+ miles in nine minutes] and are designed for low-altitude, high-speed, precision attacks. [BBC]"
"If NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) hears of any difficulties in the skies, they begin the work to scramble jet fighters [take off and intercept aircraft that are off course]. Between Sep 2000 and June 2001 fighters were scrambled 67 times. [AP, 8/12/02] When the Lear jet of golfer Payne Stewart didn’t respond in 1999, F-16 interceptors were quickly dispatched. According to an Air Force timeline, a series of military planes provided an emergency escort to Payne’s stricken Lear about 20 minutes after ground controllers lost contact with his plane.[Dallas Morning News, 10/26/99]"
Originally posted by celticniall
What I find remarkable is that Bush was allowed to carry on his engagement on Booker Elementary school when everyone knew that planes had been hijacked and were crashing into WTC.
Wht did the Secret Service not evacuate Bush immediately upon hearing about the attacks? The White House had relesaed Bush's schedule days before, so the public knew where he was. Did the Secret Service know Bush wasn't in danger and there wasn't a plane heading for the school to take Bush out? How did they know?
Originally posted by Zaphod58
99% of NORAD drills DO NOT involve real planes.
These were apparently a pair of war games (attacker versus defender) which involved live-fly simulations of hijackings. Both this pair of operations and Northern Vigilance probably involved the use of "injects" into screens to simulate aircraft. These games apparently resembled the actual attack sufficiently to confuse military officers, as suggested by the following transcript.
FAA Boston Center contacts NEADS, saying, "We need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out."
“Is this real world or an exercise?” asked the military liaison officer?
"No, this is not an exercise," responded the FAA official. "Not a test." 2
This exercise simulated hijacked planes in the north eastern sector and started to coincide with 9/11. Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins, NORAD unit's airborne control and warning officer, was overseeing the exercise. At 8:40am she took a call from Boston Center which said it had a hijacked airliner. Her first words, as quoted by Newhouse News Service were, "It must be part of the exercise." This is another example of how the numerous drills on the morning of 9/11 deliberately distracted NORAD so that the real hijacked planes couldn't be intercepted in time.
September 9, 2001
NORAD Maintains Northern Vigilance
Contact: (719) 554-5816
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AFS, Colo. – The North American Aerospace Defense Command shall deploy fighter aircraft as necessary to Forward Operating Locations (FOLS) in Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian arctic and North Pacific ocean.
“NORAD is the eyes and ears of North America and it is our mission to ensure that our air sovereignty is maintained,” said Lieutenant-General Ken Pennie, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of NORAD. “Although it is highly unlikely that Russian aircraft would purposely violate Canadian or American airspace, our mission of vigilance must be sustained.”
NORAD-allocated forces will remain in place until the end of the Russian exercise.
NORAD conducted operation Northern Denial from December 1 to 14, 2000 in response to a similar, but smaller scale, Russian deployment of long-range bombers at northern Russian air bases. NORAD-allocated forces were deployed to three FOLS, two in Alaska and one in Canada. More than 350 American and Canadian military men and women were in involved in the deployment.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
Uh, because the thread has to do with how long it took for AIR FORCE ONE to get fighter escort. NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TWIN TOWERS OR THE PENTAGON OR FLIGHT 93!