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NORAD stand down?

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posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:15 PM
I opened this thread as a direct response to this post made by OrionStars.

Cheney issued a stand down order to all interceptor planes, until after all the reported damage was done. So what were those ordered to land or not take-off planes still doing in the air? They certainly were not interceptor planes ordered to stand down until after all the reported damage was done.
I don't believe that there was a standdown order. Any thoughts?

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:32 PM
reply to post by Boone 870

Hi Boone...

there was a great thread over at JREF back about a year ago by a member called Gumboot. He is very well informed and did an entire paper in regards to 911 and the role NORAD played. The following is the Background Information. I suggest anyone that is interested, please go to the link I have provided for his detailed paper.



Compiled by Andrew Burfield


One of the more common 9/11 Conspiracy claims is that there was some form of "stand-down" of military forces on 9/11, in particular the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), responsible for protecting North American airspace. The nature of this "stand-down" varies considerably, however the most common is that a number of wargames were scheduled for 9/11 that replicated the attacks, added false radar blips, and essentially distracted and confused the military so they could not respond.

I believe the nature of this theory lies in the incredible faith Americans have in their military. The United States armed forces are amongst the most professional, well trained, well equipped, dedicated, and advanced military forces on the planet. This is all true. But that does not mean they are invulnerable.

I decided to look into the claims of a stand down. More importantly, I was interested in what did happen inside the military bunkers on 9/11.

When Vanity Fair received recordings of what happened inside the North East Air Defence Sector (NEADS) command centre, they wrote an article on the NORAD response entitled 9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes. Finally I could find out what really went on, and address the NORAD "stand-down" theory for good.

At the heart of the Conspiracy Theories are the wargames. The claims by Conspiracy Theorists are far ranging. I have heard claims of "dozens" of live-fly wargames on 9/11. Obviously it is impossible to provide evidence that something didn't happen. All we have are the rare occasions on which officials are asked directly about the wargames.

As such, I have addressed only wargame claims that are supported by collaborating sources such as the media, government officials, and so forth. The primary wargames claimed are:

• Northern Vigilance
• Vigilant Guardian
• Vigilant Warrior

There are a range of other exercises claimed to involve a host of other agencies. However as none of these has any direct relationship to NORAD, I have not addressed them.

My research covers two basic areas:

• The NORAD Mission and Intercept Procedures on 9/11
• NORAD Wargames

In addition I have constructed a minute by minute timeline of NORAD's response to the 9/11 attacks.

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:41 PM
I Hope Gumboot is ok with this, I have decided to post his work.


North America is surrounded by an area called the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which is jointly administered by the United States (US) and Canada. This area, which is almost exclusively over water, serves as a national defence boundary for air traffic, as a sort of "buffer zone". Any aircraft that wishes to fly in or through the boundary must file either a Defence Visual Flight Rules (DVFR) flight plan or an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan before crossing the ADIZ. The pilot must have a transponder and a two-way radio while approaching and crossing the ADIZ. In the US, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) handles these requests; Transport Canada handles Canadian requests. Any aircraft flying in these zones without authorization may be identified as a threat and treated as enemy military aircraft.

The continguous US ADIZ is defined by Federal Aviation Regulation Part 99 section 43:

Sec. 99.43
Continguous U.S. ADIZ.

The area bounded by a line from 43°15'N, 65°55'W; 44°21'N; 67°16'W; 43°10'N; 69°40'W; 41°05'N; 69°40'W; 40°32'N; 72°15'W; 39°55'N; 73°00'W; 39°38'N; 73°00'W; 39°36'N; 73°40'W; 37°00'N; 75°30'W; 36°10'N; 75°10'W; 35°10'N; 75°10'W; 32°00'N; 80°30'W; 30°30'N; 81°00'W; 26°40'N; 79°40'W; 25°00'N; 80°05'W; 24°25'N; 81°15'W; 24°20'N; 81°45'W; 24°30'N; 82°06'W; 24°41'N; 82°06'W; 24°43'N; 82°00'W; 25°00'N; 81°30'W; 25°10'N; 81°23'W; 25°35'N; 81°30'W; 26°15'N 82°20'W; 27°50'N; 83°05'W; 28°55'N; 83°30'W; 29°42'N; 84°00'W; 29°20'N; 85°00'W; 30°00'N; 87°10'W; 30°00'N; 88°30'W; 28°45'N; 88°55'W; 28°45'N; 90°00'W; 29°25'N; 94°00'W; 28°20'N; 96°00'W; 27°30'N; 97°00'W; 26°00'N; 97°00'W; 25°58'N; 97°07'W; westward along the U.S./Mexico border to 32°32'03"N, 117°07'25"W; 32°30'N; 117°25'W; 32°35'N; 118°30'W; 33°05'N; 119°45'W; 33°55'N; 120°40'W; 34°50'N; 121°10'W; 38°50'N; 124°00'W; 40°00'N; 124°35'W; 40°25'N; 124°40'W; 42°50'N; 124°50'W; 46°15'N; 124°30'W; 48°30'N; 125°00'W; 48°20'N; 128°00'W; 48°20'N; 132°00'W; 37°42'N; 130°40'W; 29°00'N; 124°00'W; 30°45'N; 120°50'W; 32°00'N; 118°24'W; 32°30'N; 117°20'W; 32°32'03"N; 117°07'25"W; eastward along the U.S./Mexico border to 25°58'N, 97°07'W; 26°00'N; 97°00'W; 26°00'N; 95°00'W; 26°30'N; 95°00'W; then via 26°30'N; parallel to 26°30'N; 84°00'W; 24°00'N; 83°00'W; then Via 24°00'N; parallel to 24°00'N; 79°25'W; 25°40'N; 79°25'W; 27°30'N; 78°50'W; 30°45'N; 74°00'W; 39°30'N; 63°45'W; 43°00'N; 65°48'W; to point of beginning.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is responsible for the intercept of aircraft inside the ADIZ. However, as it is the FAA and Transport Canada that handle the ADIZ clearances, a request for intercept from one of these agencies precedes any action by NORAD against civilian aircraft. NORAD do not, and never have, directly monitored air traffic inside the ADIZ themselves.

NORAD areas of responsibility are divided into three regions – Alaska, Continental USA (CONUS), and Canada. Each region is further divided into Air Defense Sectors, with a number of fighter interceptor aircraft always on alert for rapid deployment.

At the height of the Cold War fighters were located at over 100 alert sites across the NORAD Continental United States Region, however after the fall of the Soviet Union there was not considered to be a significant threat, and the number of alert bases was slashed repeatedly. In February 1993 the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that the dedicated alert stations be entirely eliminated.

In February 1993, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that (1) the continental air defense mission be performed by dual tasking existing active and reserve general-purpose fighter and training squadrons in the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps and (2) the number of Air National Guard units dedicated to this mission be sharply reduced or eliminated.

(From Continental Air Defense - A Dedicated Force Is No Longer Needed)
In a 3 May 1994 Report to Congressional Committees entitled Continental Air Defense – A Dedicated Force Is No Longer Needed it was announced that NORAD would reduce the continental US force to 28 aircraft located in 14 alert stations, on 5 minute response time, 24 hours a day:

NORAD plans to reduce the number of alert sites in the continental United States to 14 and provide 28 aircraft for the day-to-day peacetime air sovereignty mission. Each alert site will have two fighters, and their crews will be on 24-hour duty and ready to scramble within 5 minutes.
By 2001 this had dropped to 14 aircraft at 7 alert bases located on the perimeter of the continental USA, with a 15 minute response time.

At the time of the attacks, only seven locations—around the perimeter of the United States—were engaged in the air defense mission. Each was assigned a pair of Air National Guard fighter aircraft ready to scramble if US airspace were threatened. These alert locations had F-15 or F-16 fighters on the runways, fueled, and ready to take off in fewer than 15 minutes.

(from Air Force Magazine article: The Return Of NORAD, February, 2002)
The hijackings on September 11 occurred within the North East Air Defense Sector (NEADS). The NEADS mission normally had four interceptor aircraft on duty at any given time – 2 at Otis Air National Guard Base (ANGB) in Massachusetts, and 2 at Langley Air Force Base (AFB), Virginia.

None of the aircraft hijacked on September 11 entered the ADIZ. Prior to September 11, there was no formal system in place for military intercepts of civilian aircraft outside the ADIZ. In the 10 years prior to September 2001 there was only one instance in which military aircraft were involved in an intercept of a civilian aircraft outside the ADIZ.

This was the intercept of Payne Stewart’s Learjet 35, registration N47BA, which lost cabin pressure and flew across several states before crashing on October 25, 1999. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the incident, communication with the aircraft was lost at 0933 EDT. The Jacksonville Air Radar Traffic Control Centre (ARTCC) directly requested an intercept from the USAF. A test pilot from the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, reached the Learjet at 0954 CDT – a full 81 minutes* after initial communication was lost.

(* note change in time zone from Eastern to Central daylight time)

Continued on next post:

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:43 PM

The intercept of Stewart’s Learjet took twice as long as the longest hijack duration on 9/11 – American Airlines Flight 77. Unlike Stewart’s Learjet, all four aircraft hijacked on September 11 had their transponders turned off. The transponder broadcasts vital information including the flight identification. Only transponder contacts appear on the secondary radar screen.

Without transponder information, aircraft had to be located on the primary radar screen which shows a radar signal from every single aircraft in the air – none of them labelled. In order to identify the hijacked aircraft, Air Traffic Controllers had to first cross-reference all of the aircraft appearing on the secondary radar screen with their correlating reading on the primary screen. AA 77, for example, was only located on the primary radar screen five minutes before it crashed into The Pentagon.

To truly appreciate the enormity of the task before ATC on 9/11, here is an animation that depicts air traffic across the USA on a typical day.

From the information gathered we can conclude the following facts:
NORAD's area of responsibility is inside the ADIZ
The Hijackings occurred outside the ADIZ
There was no standard procedure for hijackings outside the ADIZ on 9/11
From 1991 to 2001 only one military intercept occurred over CONUS airspace. It took 81 minutes and the aircraft transponder remained on at all times.
Incident-specific conditions on 9/11 did not favour a successful intercept, based on previous experience.

In addition, standard FAA procedure for a hijacking is to hand over all details to the FBI; there is no procedure for involving the military in incidents outside the ADIZ. This is primarily because a hijacking inside the USA is a Federal crime rather than a threat to National Security, thus is under the jurisdiction of the FBI. As such there were delays between the first signs of hijacking, and NEADS being notified. This delay is critical. A delay in notification restricts the “window” of time in which NEADS has to execute a successful intercept.

As you can see from the NORAD timeline, the times from NEADS notification to aircraft destruction are as follows:

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

So from the outset a successful intercept by NORAD on 9/11 was to be difficult. Indeed, an intercept of UA175 or UA93 would be quite simply chronologically impossible. The longest window NEADS would get was 9 minutes. How did the wargames factor into this?

See Next Post:

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:47 PM


NORAD exercise terms are named in accordance with regulation 11-33 Code Words, Nicknames, and Exercise Names. Names consist of two words – the first designating the agency and the second designating the type of exercise.

Agencies within the Department of Defense are allocated an alphabetical block of letters which denote the first two letters of the first word of any exercise name. At the time of September 11 this allocation was dictated by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual (CJCSM) 3150.29A (this was replaced by CJCSM 3150.29B on 11 February 2002).

For exercises NORAD has allocated first words to specific agencies:

HQ NORAD - Amalgam (FIX) or Vigilant (CPX)

Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) - Fencing

CONUS NORAD Region - Falcon

CONUS Southeast Sector (SEADS) - Federal

CONUS Southwest Sector (SWADS) - Falling

CONUS Northeast Sector (NEADS) - Fertile

CONUS Northwest Sector (NWADS) - Felix

Canadian NORAD Region (CNR) - Fabric

Canadian NORAD Sector East - Factor

Canadian NORAD Sector West - Faculty

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base - Amazon

In addition, NORAD has identified certain second word nicknames for specific exercise types:

ANGEL - Sector-coordinated Unit Level FIX (ROCC/SOCC Controlled Intercepts)
ARIZONA - Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base Internal System Training Mission (STM)
BRAVE - Region-sponsored System FIX
CHIEF - JCS-approved, CINCNORAD-sponsored FIX
DOLLY - HQ NORAD Battle Staff Exercise
GAIN - Region/sector-sponsored Internal ROCC/SOCC CPX
GOLD - Sector-coordinated Unit Level FIX (autonomous intercept procedures)
INDIAN - Region-sponsored System CPX
KEYNOTE - Region-coordinated, Sector-sponsored FIX
LEADER - Recall of Airborne Forces (FIX)
LIBEL - Region-coordinated, Sector-sponsored System CPX
MUTE - NORAD IG Evaluation
OVERVIEW - JCS-approved, CINCNORAD-sponsored CPX
PIPE - Region-sponsored Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Warning and Reporting System (WRS) Training Exercise
RICE - SOCC-sponsored Internal CPX (Battle Staff/BSSC/Crew training)
SPADE - Region/sector No-Notice AST
UNION - Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base SPACC Training
VANTAGE - Sector-coordinated/scheduled Interoperability FIX with US Navy Units
VIRGO - Special Exercise or Test (FIX)
WARRIOR - JCS-approved, CINCNORAD-sponsored FIX
YELL - FE14A Exercise

There were two NORAD activities happening on September 11. The first was Operation Northern Vigilance.

Throughout the Cold War, when major USA/NORAD/NATO or USSR exercises occurred, the other side would deploy forces to “shadow” the exercise in case it was a cover for an attack. This practice has continued to the present day.

Operation Northern Vigilance was one of these situations. The Russian Federation was holding its largest air deployment since 1993 with a major exercise in Siberia. In response NORAD commenced the operation, deploying units to Canada and Alaska. It is important to note that this was not an exercise, but a real-world operation.

Sept. 9, 2001

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-allocated forces will remain in place until the end of the Russian exercise.

(From NORAD press release: NORAD Maintains Northern Vigilance, September 2001)
As the NORAD press release indicates, Operation Northern Vigilance commenced on 9 September, and was scheduled to continue until the Russian exercise ended. However, in light of the September 11 attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin notified the White House that he would call off the exercise, allowing the NORAD aircraft to return home.

Also on 9/11, NORAD was involved in a major annual exercise called Vigilant Guardian. As we can tell from the name “Vigilant”, this exercise is NORAD HQ sponsored. It is what is referred to as a “Vigilant Overview” type exercise.

In accordance with NORAD regulation 11-33, the first name “Vigilant” tells us that the exercise involves all NORAD commands. The second name “Overview” tells us the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff approved, Commander-in-chief NORAD sponsored CPX (or Command Post Exercise).

The name “Guardian” denotes the unique exercise name, as this is an annual event. It is usually held in conjunction with two other CPXs – “Global Guardian” (US Strategic Command) and “Apollo Guardian” (US Space Command). US Space Command are not directly involved in NORAD defense operations.

As confirmed by Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) in an exchange with Cynthia McKinney on March 11, 2005 NORAD was involved in two CPXs on September 11:

CMK: The question was, we had four wargames going on on September 11th, and the question that I tried to pose before the Secretary had to go to lunch was whether or not the activities of the four wargames going on on September 11th actually impaired our ability to respond to the attacks.

RM: The answer to the question is no, it did not impair our response, in fact General Eberhart who was in the command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command as he testified in front of the 9/11 Commission I believe - I believe he told them that it enhanced our ability to respond, given that NORAD didn't have the overall responsibility for responding to the attacks that day. That was an FAA responsibility. But they were two CPXs; there was one Department of Justice exercise that didn't have anything to do with the other three; and there was an actual operation ongoing because there was some Russian bomber activity up near Alaska.

(excerpt from Transcript of Representative Cynthia McKinney's Exchange with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Tina Jonas March 11th, 2005)
The two CPXs are Global Guardian and Vigilant Guardian.

The Department of Justice exercise referred to by Richard Myers was Tripod II – a joint Department of Justice/FEMA bio-emergency exercise scheduled to take place in New York commencing on 12 September.

The “actual operation” Myers refers to is Operation Northern Vigilance, as previously mentioned.

In addition there was a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) exercise being conducted at their headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia.

Lastly, Richard Clarke, who was counter-terrorism advisor on the National Security Council during the September 11 attacks, claims, in his book Against All Enemies, that an additional exercise named “Vigilant Warrior” was occurring on that day. Clarke attributes the reference to a direct quote by Richard Meyers:

"Not a pretty picture, Dick. We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but ... Otis has launched two birds toward New York. Langley is trying to get two up now [toward Washington]. The AWACS are at Tinker and not on alert.”
According to NORAD regulations, “Warrior” is a JCS approved, Commander-in-Chief NORAD Sponsored Field Exercise – that is “Live Fly” or involving operational units.

However “Vigilant” is the name reserved for NORAD HQ CPXs, while “Amalgam” is the name used for NORAD HQ FIXs (Field Exercises). Hence such an exercise would be named “Amalgam Warrior”, not “Vigilant Warrior”. “Vigilant Warrior” was in fact the name of an Operation that occurred in the Persian Gulf region in 1994, in response to a movement of Iraqi ground forces towards the Kuwait border. The following year Iraq again tested the UN by moving forces towards Kuwait, resulting in Operation Vigilant Warrior II. Amalgam Warrior is held twice a year, in the spring for western sectors and in the fall for eastern sectors. The fall exercise is traditionally held in October, thus was most likely cancelled in 2001 due to the enormous strain of Operation Noble Eagle – the massive NORAD operation to maintain Combat Air Patrols over major US cities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The NORAD recordings of 9/11 include a desperate search by NEADS personnel to locate additional aircraft to supplement the four allocated to them. This clearly indicates they did not have aircraft involved in a field exercise at the time.

In summary, the exercises occurring on September 11 that involved NORAD were “Vigilant Guardian” and “Global Guardian”. According to Myers, these exercise increased the speed with which NORAD responded to the attacks:

These are command post exercises; what that means is that all the battle positions that are normally not filled are indeed filled; so it was an easy transition from an exercise into a real world situation. It actually enhanced the response; otherwise, it would take somewhere between 30 minutes and a couple of hours to fill those positions, those battle stations, with the right staff officers.

(excerpt from Transcript of Representative Cynthia McKinney's Exchange with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Tina Jonas March 11th, 2005)
The specific details of the exercises vary from year to year, but the overall objective is to test North America’s ability to respond effectively to a nuclear attack.

Concluded on next post:

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 03:50 PM

According to the 9/11 commission:

On 9/11, NORAD was scheduled to conduct a military exercise, Vigilant Guardian, which postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union. We investigated whether military preparations for the large-scale exercise compromised the military's response to the real-world terrorist attack on 9/11. According to General Eber-hart,"it took about 30 seconds" to make the adjustment to the real-world situation. Ralph Eberhart testimony, June 17, 2004.We found that the response was, if anything, expedited by the increased number of staff at the sectors and at NORAD because of the scheduled exercise. See Robert Marr interview (Jan. 23, 2004).

(from The 9/11 Commission Report, “Notes To Chapter 1”, pg.458)

Ordinarily those participating in Vigilant Guardian would not know in advance what particular events were scheduled. As such, when the first reports of a hijacking reached NEADS at 0837 EDT, a rapid clarification was made with the words “is this real-world or exercise?”

However, as the recordings from NEADS show, once this clarification had been made, the exercises posed no further hindrance to NORAD’s response.

(Note: the exercise was not scheduled to commence until 0900hrs)

The following are the resources he used to complete this paper. At the end he lists his E-mail address. - NTSB investigation of Payne Stewart’s Learjet crash - wikipedia article on the ADIZ - NORAD official website including information about the three NORAD regions and their individual air defense sectors - NORAD regulation 11-33 CODE WORDS, NICKNAMES, AND EXERCISE TERMS - information on AA 11 - information on UA 175 - information on AA 77 - information on UA 93 – Map showing ADIZ areas (from Aeronautical Information Manual Chapter Five, Section Six; National Security and Interception Procedures) – Gateway to Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) – FAR 99.43 (US ADIZ) - Report to Congressional Committees, 3 May 1994, CONTINENTAL AIR DEFENSE - A
DEDICATED FORCE IS NO LONGER NEEDED - Air Force Magazine Article – THE RETURN OF NORAD – February 2002 - NORAD press release on Operation Northern Vigilance - 9/11 Commission Report index - Global Security entry on Global Guardian - Global Security entry on Vigilant Guardian - Global Security entry on Operation Vigilant Warrior - Global Security entry on US Space Command - Wikipedia entry on US Strategic Command and US Space Command (now merged) - Transcript of Representative Cynthia McKinney's Exchange with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Tina Jonas, March 11th, 2005

Vanity Fair article “9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes”

Please feel free to contact me if you have additional information that can enhance the accuracy of this work.

Andrew Burfield

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 04:28 PM
reply to post by CaptainObvious

Thanks for all the links CO.

Hopefully some of the "Cheney ordered a standdown" crowd will come out for this thread.

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 04:45 PM
reply to post by Boone 870

Your welcome Boone....

I highly doubt it... .but you never know.

posted on Jan, 1 2008 @ 11:16 PM
I still dont understand how people can believe that all of our defense systems just massively failed.. multiple times.. on the same day.. after multiple warnings of an attack in the US by bin laden... after running war games and practicing for just such a scenario... Just wow. If your government is that stupid... well... you deserve the government you get I guess. Americans are all sorts of dumbass, I know, I am one.

IF there was no stand down order then you better hope there is never a real group with a real plan .. we would be #ed. You know, due to the fact we cant handle a low level terrorist organization that was being monitored by the FBI.

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