Coincidences in Service of Incompetence
Many decisions and events in the days and months preceding the attack helped to make the incompetence theory more plausible.
- War Games
Several war game exercises (external - login to view) were being conducted on 9/11/01.
- Operation Northern Vigilance redeployed northeast sector air defense resources to northern Canada and Alaska. 14 (external - login to view)
- Operations Vigilant Warrior and Vigilant Guardian, which simulated hijackings and involved live radar "injects," may have confused military and civilian personnel monitoring aircraft. 15 (external - login to view)
- The National Reconnaissance Office, which monitors satellites and airborne objects, was evacuated while the attack unfolded because it was conducting a plane-into-tower crash drill. 16 (external - login to view)
- The Tripod II biowarfare exercise, scheduled for 9/12/01, resulted in the deployment of FEMA to Manhattan before the attack. 17 (external - login to view)
- Rules Changes
Procedural changes would limit the ability of pilots and military commanders to respond to hijackings.
- Military orders (external - login to view) stripped commanders in the field of autonomy in responding to hijackings.
- The FAA banned firearm possession by commercial pilots (external - login to view) two months before the attack.
- Out to Lunch
Top officials were not available until after the attack was over.
- President George W. Bush remained at the publicized location (external - login to view) of Booker Elementary School until about a half-hour after the news of the attack went on TV worldwide, first reading My Pet Goat to second-graders, and then holding a press conference.
- Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff allegedly remained in a meeting with Senator Max Cleland (external - login to view) until nearly the time the Pentagon was hit.
- Brigadier General Montague Winfield had Navy Captain Charles J. Leidig, Jr. -- a rookie -- assume his watch as Deputy Director for Operations for the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at 8:30 am on 9/11/01, and relieved him after the attack was over. 18 (external - login to view)
Despite the worst failure in history of the military to protect American civilians, and the worst alleged engineering failures in history, there were no consequences for the responsible authorities, and no honest investigations.
- Air Defense Failures
No one was held to account for the numerous unprecedented failures in air defense.
- General Richard Myers, Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 11th, was confirmed as Chairman on September 13th (external - login to view) in spite of being unable to provide any meaningful answers to questions regarding the air defense failures.
- General Richard Eberhart, commander of NORAD on September 11th, was promoted to head the newly created NORTHCOM. 19 (external - login to view)
- NORAD's press release contradicted early statements by high-ranking officials that no interceptors had been scrambled on 9/11/01.
- NORAD's vague timeline raises far more questions than it answers, yet officials have never been required to give a full account.
- The 9/11 Commission (external - login to view) advanced a new timeline which contradicts NORAD's earlier timeline and the testimony of military officials to the commission itself.