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"Pursuant to the president's instructions, I gave authorization for them to be taken out," Cheney told Rumsfeld, who was at the Pentagon. Informing Rumsfeld that the fighter pilots had received orders to fire, Cheney added, "It's my understanding they've already taken a couple of aircraft out."
Cheney's comments, which were soon proved erroneous, were detailed in a report issued yesterday by the commission investigating the terrorist attacks. The comments are part of the considerable confusion that surrounded top government officials as the tense drama unfolded.