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Profile: US Department of Defense

 
  

Positions that US Department of Defense has held:



 

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US Department of Defense actively participated in the following events:

 
  

June 5, 1975      US-Britain-Diego Garcia (1770-2004)

       US military officials tell Congress that the US needs to develop naval support facilities on the island of Diego Garcia. The Pentagon wants to lengthen the runway at Diego Garcia from 8,000 to 12,000 feet, increase the available POL (Petroleum, Oils, and Lubricants) storage, and dredge its harbor. It would also like to build additional barracks, a pier to facilitate cargo handling, as well as additional utility and recreational facilities. The officials argue that expanding the base at Diego Garcia is needed to safeguard US oil interests in the Persian Gulf and to counter the Soviet Union's presence in the region, which the military claims is increasing rapidly. They attempt to allay Congress' concerns that expanding the base would provoke competition in that region with the Soviet Union. At one point during the hearing, George Vest, Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs of the Department of State, says the island is “uninhabited,” making no reference to the fact that it had been made so by the US and British only a few years before (see July 27, 1971-May 26, 1973). When further questioned on the subject, Vest repeats that there are “no inhabitants” at all on the island. [Los Angeles Times, 11/4/2000 Sources: House of Representatives. The debate over the base and the island's former inhabitants. 6/5/1975]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, US Congress, George Vest
          

1998: Training Exercise Held at the White House, Based Around Militants Using a Plane as a Weapon      Complete 911 Timeline

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke chairs a tabletop exercise at the White House, involving a scenario where anti-American militants fill a Learjet with explosives, and then fly it on a suicide mission toward a target in Washington, DC. Officials from the Pentagon, Secret Service, and FAA attend, and are asked how they would stop such a threat. Pentagon officials say they could launch fighters from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, but would need authorization from the president to shoot the plane down, and currently there is no system to do this. The 9/11 Commission later states: “There was no clear resolution of the problem at the exercise.” [Slate, 7/22/04; 9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, pp. 345 & 457-458]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Defense, Secret Service, Richard A. Clarke, Langley Air Force Base
          

Late 1998: Al-Qaeda Leader Located in Sudan, but US Does Not Try to Capture Him      Complete 911 Timeline

       Intelligence agents learn Mohammed Atef (also known as Abu Hafs)—head of Islamic Jihad and one of the top three leaders of al-Qaeda [ABC News, 11/17/01] — is staying in a particular hotel room in Khartoum, Sudan. White House officials ask that Atef be killed or captured and interrogated. International capture operations of wanted militants, a practice known as “rendition,” have become routine by the mid-1990s (see 1993-2004), but in this case, both the Defense Department and the CIA are against it, although Atef does not even have bodyguards. The CIA puts the operation in the “too hard to do box,” according to one former official. The CIA says it is incapable of conducting such an operation in Sudan, but in the same year, the CIA conducts another spy mission in the same city. [New York Times, 12/30/01; Clarke, 2004, pp 143-46] A plan is eventually made to seize him, but by then he has left the country. [New York Times, 12/30/01] Atef is considered a top planner of the 9/11 attacks, and is later killed in a bombing raid in November 2001 (see November 15, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Clinton administration, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of Defense, Mohammed Atef
          

Between October 24 and 28, 2000: Military Holds Exercise Rehearsing Response to a Plane Crash at the Pentagon      Complete 911 Timeline

       Pentagon and Arlington County emergency responders assemble in the office of the Secretary of Defense�s conference room in the Pentagon for a mass casualty exercise (“MASCAL”). The exercise involves three mock-scenarios. One is of a commercial airliner crashing into the Pentagon and killing 342 people, while the other two involve a terrorist attack at the Pentagon�s subway stop and a construction accident. The exercises are conducted using a large-scale model of the Pentagon with a model airplane literally on fire in the central courtyard of the building. An Army medic who participates in the mock attack calls it “a real good scenario and one that could happen easily,” while a fire chief notes: “You have to plan for this. Look at all the air traffic around here.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/04, pp 314; UPI, 4/22/04; MDW News Service, 11/3/00; Daily Mirror, 5/24/02]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, Pentagon
          

Early 2001: Taliban Disinformation Project Is Cancelled      Complete 911 Timeline

       The heads of the US military, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have become frustrated by the lack of CIA disinformation operations to create dissent among the Taliban, and at the very end of the Clinton administration, they begin to develop a Taliban disinformation project of their own, which is to go into effect in 2001. When they are briefed, the Defense Department's new leaders kill the project. According to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Henry Shelton, “[Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld and Deputy [Defense] Secretary Paul Wolfowitz were against the Joint Staff having the lead on this.” They consider this a distraction from their core military missions. As far as Rumsfeld is concerned, “This terrorism thing was out there, but it didn't happen today, so maybe it belongs lower on the list ... so it gets defused over a long period of time.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/30/04]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Hugh Shelton, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, US Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton administration
          

April 17-26, 2001: Joint Chiefs of Staff Holds Exercise for Continuity of Government if US is Attacked; Proposal to Simulate Airliner Crash into Pentagon Rejected      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Joint Chiefs of Staff holds a large, worldwide exercise called Positive Force, which focuses on the Defense Department's ability to conduct large-scale military operations and coordinate these operations. [CJCSI, 8/14/00] The 2001 Positive Force exercise is a “continuity of operations exercise,” meaning it deals with government contingency plans to keep working in the event of an attack on the US. [Guardian, 4/15/04] Over a dozen government agencies, including NORAD, are invited to participate. The exercise prepares them for various scenarios, including non-combatant evacuation operations, cyber attacks, rail disruption, and power outages. [Provider Update, 10/01; GlobalSecurity [.org], 6/09/02] Apparently, one of the scenarios that was considered for this exercise involved “a terrorist group hijack[ing] a commercial airliner and fly[ing] it into the Pentagon.” But the proposed scenario, thought up by a group of Special Operations personnel trained to think like terrorists, was rejected. Joint Staff action officers and White House officials said the additional scenario is either “too unrealistic” or too disconnected to the original intent of the exercise. [Guardian, 4/15/04; Boston Herald, 4/14/04; New York Times, 4/14/04; Washington Post, 4/14/04 (G); Air Force Times, 4/13/04]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, US Department of Defense, Pentagon
          

May 11, 2001: New York City Practices for Biological Terrorist Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       New York City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which is located in World Trade Center Building 7, organizes a bio-terrorism drill where militant extremists attack the city with bubonic plague and Manhattan is quarantined. The “tabletop exercise” is called RED Ex—meaning “Recognition, Evaluation, and Decision-Making Exercise” —and involves about seventy different entities, agencies, and locales from the New York area. Federal legislation adopted in 1997 requires federal, state, and local authorities to conduct regular exercises as part of the Domestic Preparedness Program (DPP). The US Defense Department chose New York City as the venue for RED Ex due to its size, prominence, and level of emergency preparedness. Various high-level officials take part, including Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, OEM Director Richard Sheirer, Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, and Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. Agencies and organizations that participate include New York City Fire Department, New York City Police Department, the FBI, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The exercise is supposedly so intense that, according to one participant, “five minutes into that drill, everybody forgot it was a drill.” [New York City Government, 5/11/01; New York City Government, 9/5/01, pp 74; New York Sun, 12/20/03; 9/11 Commission, 5/18/04] According to OEM Director Richard Sheirer, “Operation RED Ex provided a proving ground and a great readiness training exercise for the many challenges the city routinely faces, such as weather events, heat emergencies, building collapses, fires, and public safety and health issues.” [New York City Government, 5/11/01] In his prepared testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Bernard Kerik later states: “The City, through its OEM, had coordinated plans for many types of emergencies; and those plans were tested frequently.” The types of emergencies they prepared for, he states, included “building collapses” and “plane crashes.” [Kerik Testimony, 5/18/04] Considering Richard Sheirer's comments, RED Ex appears to be one example where the city tests for building collapses. Details about training for airplanes crashing into New York City remain unknown. The second part of this exercise, called Tripod, is scheduled to take place in New York on September 12, 2001, but is cancelled due to the 9/11 attacks.
People and organizations involved: Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani, Bernard Kerik, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York City Fire Department, New York City Police Department, US Department of Defense, National Air College, World Trade Center
          

Summer 2001: Military Plans Reducing Domestic Air Defenses Still Further      Complete 911 Timeline

       During this period, apparently, there are only 14 fighter planes on active alert to defend the continental US (and six more defending Canada and Alaska). [Bergen Record, 12/5/03] However, in the months before 9/11, rather than increase the number, the Pentagon was planning to reduce the number still further. Just after 9/11, the Los Angeles Times will report, “While defense officials say a decision had not yet been made, a reduction in air defenses had been gaining currency in recent months among task forces assigned by [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld to put together recommendations for a reassessment of the military.” By comparison, in the Cold War atmosphere of the 1950s, the US had thousands of fighters on alert throughout the US. [Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01 (B)] In fact, there will be high level military discussions as late as September 8, 2001, where the option of eliminating the bases altogether is considered (see September 8, 2001). As late as 1998, there were 175 fighters on alert status. [Bergen Record, 12/5/03] Also during this time, FAA officials try to dispense with “primary” radars altogether, so that if a plane were to turn its transponder off, no radar could see it. NORAD rejects the proposal [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Donald Rumsfeld, US Department of Defense
          

Late August-Early December 2001: Fighters from Langley Air Force Base Deployed to Iceland for Operation Northern Guardian      Complete 911 Timeline

       In late August 2001, two-thirds of the 27th Fighter Squadron are sent overseas. Six of the squadron's fighters and 115 people go to Turkey to enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq as part of Operation Northern Watch. Another six fighters and 70 people are sent to Iceland to participate in “Operation Northern Guardian.” The fighter groups will not return to Langley until early December. [Flyer, 7/1/03] (Note that the word “operation” specifies that Operation Northern Guardian and Northern Watch are not exercises, but actual military actions or missions. [Defense Department, 11/30/04; CJCSM, 4/23/98] ) Operation Northern Guardian is based at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, the host command for the NATO base in that country. The US sometimes assists Iceland with extra military forces in reaction to Russian military maneuvers in the region. Approximately 1,800 US military personnel and 100 Defense Department civilians are involved. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/9/02; Iceland Defense Force website, 6/30/04; Flyer, 6/4/04] The 27th is one of three F-15 fighter squadrons that make up the 1st Fighter Wing, the “host unit” at Langley Air Force Base in Langley, Virginia. The other two are the 71st and 94th Fighter Squadrons. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 8/02/04; Langley Air Force Base, 11/03] Langley is one of two “alert” sites that can be called upon by NORAD for missions in the northeast region of the US. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Langley's 71st Fighter Squadron also participates in Operation Northern Watch and Operation Northern Guardian at some (unstated) time during 2001. [Air Combat Command News Service, 6/13/02] Whether this deployment of fighters diminishes Langley's ability to respond on 9/11 is unknown. However, Air Force units are cycled through deployments like operations Northern and Southern Watch by the Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) Center, which is at Langley Air Force Base. [GlobalSecurity [.org] Aerospace Expeditionary Force page, 04/26/05; CJCSM, 4/23/98] And according to NORAD Commander Larry Arnold, “Prior to Sept. 11, we'd been unsuccessful in getting the AEF Center to be responsible for relieving our air defense units when they went overseas.” [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 99]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, 27th Fighter Squadron, 71st Fighter Squadron, Operation Northern Guardian, Operation Northern Watch, 94th Fighter Squadron, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Langley Air Force Base
          

September 4-11, 2001: ISI Director Visits Washington for Mysterious Meetings      Complete 911 Timeline

       ISI Director Mahmood visits Washington for the second time. On September 10, a Pakistani newspaper reports on his trip so far. It says his visit has “triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council” as well as meetings with CIA Director Tenet, unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon, and his “most important meeting” with Marc Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. The article suggests, “[O]f course, Osama bin Laden” could be the focus of some discussions. Prophetically, the article adds, “What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time [his] predecessor was [in Washington], the domestic [Pakistani] politics turned topsy-turvy within days.” [The News, 9/10/01] This is a reference to the Musharraf coup just after an ISI Director's visit on October 12, 1999 (see October 12, 1999).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Marc Grossman, George Tenet, National Security Council, US Department of Defense, Mahmood Ahmed
          

September 10, 2001: Rumsfeld Announces Defense Department Cannot Track $2.3 Trillion in Transactions      Complete 911 Timeline

       In a speech to the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announces that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” CBS later calculates that 25 percent of the yearly defense budget is unaccounted for, and quotes a long-time defense budget analyst: “[Their] numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year.” Coverage of this rather shocking story is nearly nonexistent given the events of the next day. [Defense Department, 9/10/01; CBS News, 1/29/02] In April 2002 it will be revealed that $1.1 trillion of the missing money comes from the 2000 fiscal year. Auditors won't even quantify how much money is missing from fiscal year 2001, causing “some [to] fear it's worse” than 2000. The Department of the Army will state that it won't publish a stand-alone financial statement for 2001 because of “the loss of financial-management personnel sustained during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.” [Insight, 4/29/02] This $1.1 trillion plus unknown additional amounts continues to remain unaccounted for, and auditors say it may take eight years of reorganization before a proper accounting can be done. [Insight, 8/21/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, US Department of Defense, US Department of the Army
          

Before September 11, 2001: Key Counterterrorism Position Still Unfilled      Complete 911 Timeline

       The position of Deputy Secretary for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, the Defense Department post traditionally dealing the most with counterterrorism, still has not been filled since being vacated in January 2001 when Bush became president. Aides to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later tell the 9/11 Commission that “the new [Defense Department] team was focused on other issues” and not counterterrorism. [Newsweek, 3/24/04]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Commission
          

8:30 a.m.: US Military Holding ‘Practice Armageddon’ Nationwide Training Exercise      Complete 911 Timeline

       As the 9/11 attacks are taking place, a large military training exercise called Global Guardian is said to be “in full swing.” It has been going on since the previous week. [Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/02; Omaha World-Herald, 2/27/02] Global Guardian is an annual exercise sponsored by US Strategic Command (Stratcom) in cooperation with US Space Command and NORAD. One military author defines Stratcom as “the single US military command responsible for the day-to-day readiness of America's nuclear forces.” [Arkin, 2005, pp 59] Global Guardian is a global readiness exercise involving all Stratcom forces and aims to test Stratcom's ability to fight a nuclear war. It is one of many “practice Armageddons” that the US military routinely stages. [Omaha World-Herald, 2/27/02; Omaha World-Herald, 9/10/02; Associated Press, 2/21/02 (B); Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 11/12/97] It links with a number of other military exercises, including Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior [Defense Department, 5/97; GlobalSecurity [.org], 10/10/02] Global Guardian is both a command post and field training exercise, and is based around a fictitious scenario designed to test the ability of Stratcom and its component forces to deter a military attack against the US. Hundreds of military personnel are involved. [Committee on Armed Services, 2000; Times-Picayune, 9/8/02; Collins Center, 12/99] According to a 1998 Internet article by the British American Security Information Council—an independent research organization—Global Guardian is held in October or November each year. [BASIC, 10/98] In his book Code Names, NBC News military analyst William Arkin dates this exercise for October 22-31, 2001. [Arkin, 2005, pp 379] And a military newspaper reported in March 2001 that Global Guardian was scheduled for October 2001. [Space Observer, 3/23/01, pp 2] If this is correct, then some time after March, the exercise must have been rescheduled for early September. Furthermore, there may be another important facet to Global Guardian. A 1998 Defense Department newsletter reported that for several years Stratcom had been incorporating a computer network attack (CNA) into Global Guardian. The attack involved Stratcom “red team” members and other organizations acting as enemy agents, and included attempts to penetrate the Command using the Internet and a “bad” insider who had access to a key command and control system. The attackers “war dialed” the phones to tie them up and sent faxes to numerous fax machines throughout the Command. They also claimed they were able to shut down Stratcom's systems. Reportedly, Stratcom planned to increase the level of computer network attack in future Global Guardian exercises. [IAnewsletter, 6/98] It is not currently known if a computer attack was incorporated into Global Guardian in 2001 or what its possible effects on the country's air defense system would have been if such an attack was part of the exercise.
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, US Department of Defense, US Space Command, Global Guardian, Amalgam Warrior, Apollo Guardian, US Strategic Command, Crown Vigilance, Vigilant Guardian
          

9:00 a.m.: Pentagon Ups Alert Status      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Pentagon moves its alert status up one notch from normal to Alpha. After Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, it increases the alert to Delta, the highest level. The alert level will be reduced to Charlie on September 12th. [MSNBC, 9/11/01; Agence France-Presse, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense
          

(9:20 a.m.): FBI Washington Office Is Warned Flight 77 Has Been Hijacked      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Arthur Eberhart.
In a government report analyzing the effectiveness of rescue worker response to the Pentagon crash, it is mentioned that, “At about 9:20 a.m., the WFO [FBI Washington Field Office] Command Center [is] notified that American Airlines Flight 77 had been hijacked shortly after takeoff from Washington Dulles International Airport. [Special Agent in Charge Arthur] Eberhart dispatche[s] a team of 50 agents to investigate the Dulles hijacking and provide additional security to prevent another. He sen[ds] a second team to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as a precautionary step. At the WFO Command Center, Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Jim Rice [is] on the telephone with the Pentagon when Flight 77 crashe[s] into the building.” [Arlington County After-Action Report, 7/02 (B)] Yet according to the 9/11 Commission, NORAD is not told that Flight 77 had been hijacked at this time or any time before it crashes. However, the FAA has claimed they officially warned NORAD at 9:24 a.m. (see (9:24 a.m.)) and informally warned them even earlier (see (9:24 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Arthur Eberhart, US Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, FBI Washington Field Office, Jim Rice, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
          

9:25 a.m.: 9/11 Commission's Conflicting Account of Clarke-Led Video Conference Begins at This Time      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to his own account, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, started a video teleconference from the White House's Secure Video Conferencing Center, next to the Situation Room, at around 9:10 a.m.(see (9:10 a.m.)). However, the 9/11 Commission says that logs indicate this conference beginning 15 minutes later than this. Included in the conference are the FBI, the CIA, the FAA, the departments of State, Justice, and Defense, and the White House shelter. The FAA and CIA join at 9:40 a.m. The 9/11 Commission says, “It is not clear to us that the video teleconference was fully under way before 9:37, when the Pentagon was struck.” Furthermore, it states: “We do not know who from Defense participated, but we know that in the first hour none of the personnel involved in managing the crisis did. And none of the information conveyed in the White House video teleconference, at least in the first hour, was being passed to the NMCC [in the Pentagon].” Clarke's video teleconference is not connected into the area of the NMCC from where the crisis is being managed. Consequently, “the director of the operations team-who was on the phone with NORAD-did not have the benefit of information being shared on the video teleconference.” And, “when the Secretary [of Defense Rumsfeld] and Vice Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers] later participated in the White House video teleconference, they were necessarily absent from the NMCC and unable to provide guidance to the operations team.” Clarke, however, gives a specific recollection of Myers speaking over video at 9:28, which is seemingly at odds with the 9/11 Commission's account (see 9:28 a.m.). One witness later recalls: “[It] was almost like there were parallel decision-making processes going on; one was a voice conference orchestrated by the NMCC ... and then there was the [White House video teleconference]. ... [I]n my mind they were competing venues for command and control and decision-making.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, pp. 36 and 463]
People and organizations involved: US Department of State, US Department of Justice, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Richard A. Clarke
          

9:28 a.m.: NORAD Possibly Holding ‘Live-Fly’ Training Exercise      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, around this time the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers tells him via video link: “We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but ... Otis [Air National Guard Base] has launched two birds toward New York.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 5] However, no other references have been found to this exercise, “Vigilant Warrior.” Considering that exercise terms are “normally an unclassified nickname,” [CJCSM, 4/23/98] this is perhaps a little odd. Could Richard Clarke have mistakenly been referring to the Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (6:30 a.m.)), which is taking place on 9/11? According to a later news report though, NORAD confirms that “it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and Command Centers in the United States and Canada,” one of these being Vigilant Guardian. [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 12/5/03] If this is correct then there must be another NORAD exercise on 9/11. If not “Vigilant Warrior,” a possibility is that the exercise referred to by Richard Clarke is in fact “Amalgam Warrior,” which is a NORAD-sponsored, large-scale, live-fly air defense and air intercept field training exercise. Amalgam Warrior usually involves two or more NORAD regions and is held twice yearly, in the spring for the West Coast and in the autumn for the East Coast. [Airman, 1996; GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/14/02; Committee on Armed Services, 2000; Arkin, 2005, pp 254] Is it possible that in 2001 the East Coast Amalgam Warrior is being held earlier than usual (like Global Guardian (see 8:30 a.m.)) and is taking place on 9/11? In support of this possibility is a 1997 Defense Department report that describes the Stratcom exercise Global Guardian, saying it “links with other exercise activities sponsored by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Commands.” The exercises it links with are Crown Vigilance (an Air Combat Command exercise), Apollo Guardian (a US Space Command exercise), and—significantly—the NORAD exercises Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 10/10/02; Defense Department, 5/97] Since in 2001, Vigilant Guardian (see (6:30 a.m.)) is occurring the same time as Global Guardian, might Amalgam Warrior be as well? In his book Code Names, William Arkin says that Amalgam Warrior is “sometimes combined with Global Guardian.” [Arkin, 2005, pp 254] Amalgam Warrior tests such activities as tracking, surveillance, air interception, employing rules of engagement, attack assessment, electronic warfare, and counter-cruise-missile operations. A previous Amalgam Warrior in 1996 involved such situations as tracking unknown aircraft that had incorrectly filed their flight plans or wandered off course, in-flight emergencies, terrorist aircraft attacks, and large-scale bomber strike missions. Amalgam Warrior 98-1 was NORAD's largest ever exercise and involved six B-1B bombers being deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to act as an enemy threat by infiltrating the aerial borders of North America. [Arkin, 2005, pp 254; Airman, 1/96; GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/14/02] Another Amalgam Warrior in fall 2000 similarly involved four B-1 bombers acting as enemy forces trying to invade Alaska, with NORAD going from tracking the unknown aircraft to sending up “alert” F-15s in response. [Eielson News Service, 10/27/00; Associated Press, 10/29/00] If either one (or both) of these exercises ending with the name “Warrior” is taking place on 9/11, this could be very significant, because the word “Warrior” indicates that the exercise is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, Commander in Chief, NORAD-sponsored field training exercise. [NORAD, 8/25/89] Real planes would be pretending to be threats to the US and real fighters would be deployed to defend against them.
People and organizations involved: Ellington Air National Guard Base, Vigilant Guardian, Richard B. Myers, Amalgam Warrior, US Department of Defense, Richard A. Clarke, North American Aerospace Defense Command
          

(9:35 a.m.): Treasury Department Evacuates; Pentagon and Other Washington Department Do Not      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Treasury Department is evacuated a few minutes before Flight 77 crashes. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] Yet, CNN notes that “after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned the military's air defense command that a hijacked airliner appeared to be headed toward Washington, the federal government failed to make any move to evacuate the White House, Capitol, State Department, or the Pentagon.” [CNN, 9/16/01] A Pentagon representative says, “The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way.” Even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his top aides in the Pentagon remain unaware of any danger up to the moment of impact. [Newsday, 9/23/01] Senators and congresspeople are in the Capitol building, which is not evacuated until 9:48 a.m. (see 9:48 a.m.) Only Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, and possibly a few others are evacuated to safety a few minutes after 9:03 a.m. (see (After 9:03 a.m.)). Yet, supposedly, since at least the Flight 11 crash, “military officials in a Command Center [the National Military Command Center] on the east side of the [Pentagon] [are] urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do.” [New York Times, 9/15/01] The White House is evacuated at 9:45 a.m. (see (9:45 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: US Department of the Treasury, 9/11 Commission Report, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Federal Aviation Administration, National Military Command Center, US Department of State
          

9:37 a.m.: Flight 77 Crashes into Reinforced Section of the Pentagon      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Pentagon explodes.
Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Approximately 125 people on the ground are later determined killed or missing. [MSNBC, 9/3/02; ABC News, 9/11/02; CBS News, 9/11/02 (B); Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); USA Today, 8/13/02; CNN, 9/17/01; Guardian, 10/17/01; NORAD, 9/18/01] Flight 77 strikes the only side of the Pentagon that had recently been renovated—it was “within days of being totally [renovated].” [Defense Department, 9/15/01] “It was the only area of the Pentagon with a sprinkler system, and it had been reconstructed with a web of steel columns and bars to withstand bomb blasts. The area struck by the plane also had blast-resistant windows—two inches thick and 2,500 pounds each—that stayed intact during the crash and fire. While perhaps, 4,500 people normally would have been working in the hardest-hit areas, because of the renovation work only about 800 were there...” More than 25,000 people work at the Pentagon. [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, US Department of Defense
          

(10:17 a.m.): FAA Out of the Loop; Finally Joins NMCC Teleconference      Complete 911 Timeline

       The National Military Command Center (NMCC) has been conducting an interagency teleconference to coordinate the nation's response to the hijackings since 9:29 a.m. Yet the 9/11 Commission Reports that the FAA is unable to join the call until this time, apparently due to technical difficulties. NORAD asked three times before the last hijacked plane crashed for the FAA to provide a hijacking update to the teleconference. None were given, since no FAA representative was there. When an FAA representative finally joins in, that person has no proper experience, no access to decision makers, and no information known to senior FAA officials at the time. Furthermore, the highest-level Defense Department officials rely on this conference and do not talk directly with senior FAA officials. As a result, the leaders of NORAD and the FAA are effectively out of contact with each other during the entire crisis. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, US Department of Defense, National Military Command Center, Federal Aviation Administration
          

1:44 p.m.: US Military Deployed at Sea, in Skies      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Pentagon announces that aircraft carriers and guided missile destroyers have been dispatched toward New York and Washington. Around the country, more fighters, airborne radar (AWACs), and refueling planes are scrambling. NORAD is on its highest alert. [MSNBC, 9/22/01; CNN, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense
          

September 21, 2001: Report Suggests There Are Confiscated Videos of Pentagon Crash      Complete 911 Timeline

       A report suggests, “Federal investigators may have video footage of the deadly terrorist attack on the Pentagon. A security camera atop a hotel close to the Pentagon may have captured dramatic footage of the hijacked Boeing 757 airliner as it slammed into the western wall of the Pentagon. Hotel employees sat watching the film in shock and horror several times before the FBI confiscated the video as part of its investigation. It may be the only available video of the attack. The Pentagon has told broadcast news reporters that its security cameras did not capture the crash. The attack occurred close to the Pentagon's heliport, an area that normally would be under 24-hour security surveillance, including video monitoring.” [Gertz File, 9/21/01] In a later report, an employee at a gas station across the street from the Pentagon that services only military personnel says the gas station's security cameras should have recorded the moment of impact. However, he says, “I've never seen what the pictures looked like. The FBI was here within minutes and took the film.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/11/01] A later release of five tiny and grainy images of the crash from a Pentagon security camera shows the government's claim that no security cameras captured the crash was untrue.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Defense, Pentagon
          

Early October-Mid-November, 2001: Air Force Is Repeatedly Denied Permission to Bomb Top al-Qaeda and Taliban Leaders      Complete 911 Timeline

       In mid-November 2001, the Washington Post will report that senior Air Force officials are upset they have missed opportunities to hit top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders since the start of the bombing of Afghanistan. According to these officials, the Air Force believes it has the leaders in its crosshairs as many as ten times, but they are unable to receive a timely clearance to fire. Cumbersome approval procedures, a concern not to kill civilians, and a power play between the Defense Department and the CIA contribute to the delays. One anonymous Air Force official later says, “We knew we had some of the big boys. The process is so slow that by the time we got the clearances, and everybody had put in their 2 cents, we called it off.” The main problem is that commanders in the region have to ask for permission from General Tommy Franks, based in Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, or even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other higher-ups. Air Force generals complain to Franks about the delay problem, but never receive a response. For example, at one point in October, a Taliban military convoy is moving north to reinforce front line positions. Targeters consider it an easy mark of clear military value. But permission from Central Command is denied on the suspicion that the target is so obvious that “it might be a trick.” In another example, a target is positively identified by real-time imagery from a Predator drone, but Central Command overrides the decision to strike, saying they want a second source of data. An anonymous official calls this request for independent verification of Predator imagery “kind of ridiculous.” [Washington Post, 11/18/01] The London Times paraphrase officials who claim that, “Attempts to limit collateral damage [serve] merely to prolong the war, and force the Pentagon to insert commandos on the ground to hunt down the same targets.” [London Times, 11/19/01 (B)] By the end of the war, only one top al-Qaeda leader, Mohammed Atef, is killed in a bombing raid (see November 15, 2001), and no top Taliban leaders are killed.
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of Defense, Thomas Franks, Mohammed Atef, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

October 3, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Pentagon secretly awards the Rendon Group a $16.7 million contract to test public opinion and track and analyze foreign news reports in places like Cairo; Istanbul; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Jakarta, Indonesia. One of Rendon's main targets will be al-Jazeera. The contract specifies that Rendon will track “the location and use of Al Jazeera news bureaus, reporters and stringers, both regionally and globally. The ... effort will provide a detailed content analysis of the station's daily broadcast. TRG [The Rendon Group] will also chart event-related regional media coverage to identify the biases of specific journalists and potentially obtain an understanding of their allegiances.” Rendon will land many more contracts from the Pentagon over the next few years including ones that call on the firm to plant television news segments in the foreign media promoting US positions and to “push” stories favorable to the US. According to Rendon, in some cases the firm helps “foreign governments to correct things that are bad or wrong in the news cycle, and amplify those things that are not bad.” [Chicago Tribune , 11/13/2005 Sources: The Evolution of Strategic Influence]
People and organizations involved: Rendon Group, US Department of Defense
          

October 18, 2001: Paul Wolfowitz Issues Memo Urging Secrecy Among Defense Department Staff      Complete 911 Timeline

       Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz issues a memorandum to senior officials throughout the Defense Department stating that, following President Bush's declaration of a national emergency on September 14, Defense Department employees should exercise great caution whenever discussing information relating to their department's work. The memo instructs: “Do not conduct any work-related conversations in common areas, public places, while commuting, or over unsecured electronic circuits. Classified information may be discussed only in authorized spaces and with persons having a specific need to know and the proper security clearance. Unclassified information may likewise require protection because it can often be compiled to reveal sensitive conclusions. Much of the information we use to conduct [the department]'s operations must be withheld from public release because of its sensitivity. If in doubt, do not release or discuss official information except with other DoD personnel.” According to the memo, “the security of information critical to the national security will remain at risk for an indefinite period.” [Washington Times, 10/23/01; Department of Defense, 10/18/01]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, US Department of Defense
          

January 4, 2002: US Doctors Information About Al-Qaeda Militants      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Defense Department pamplet with a badly doctored photo of bin Laden. Note the blurry area around his neck.
It is reported that the State Department said Mohamed Atta “wanted to learn to fly, but didn't need to take off and land” when this information clearly refers to Zacarias Moussaoui (although that story isn't exactly true for him either (see August 13-15, 2001)). It is also reported that the military dropped leaflets in Afghanistan which featured photos depicting bin Laden in Western clothing, with his hair cut short and beard shaved off. An expert says “Frankly, this is sloppy,” and the article calls these propaganda efforts “worthy of the tabloids.” [Associated Press, 1/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, US Department of State, Mohamed Atta, US Department of Defense
          

February 20, 2002: Pentagon Office Designed for Telling Lies Revealed; Declared Closed      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Pentagon announces the existence of the new Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), which “was quietly set up after September 11.” The role of this office is to plant false stories in the foreign press, phony e-mails from disguised addresses, and other covert activities to manipulate public opinion. The new office proves so controversial that it is declared closed six days later. [CNN, 2/20/02; CNN, 2/26/02] It is later reported that the “temporary” Office of Global Communications will be made permanent (it is unknown when this office began its work). This office seems to serve the same function as the earlier OSI, minus the covert manipulation. [Washington Post, 7/20/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later states that after the OSI was closed, “I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.” [US Department of Defense, 11/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Unknown, Office of Global Communications, US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, Office of Strategic Influence
          

July 13, 2002: US Military Plans for Global Dominance      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US military releases a new Defense Planning Guidance strategic vision. It “contains all the key elements” of a similar document written ten years earlier (see March 8, 1992) by largely the same people now in power. Like the original, the centerpiece of this vision is preventing any other powers from challenging US world dominance. Some new tactics are proposed, such as using nuclear weapons for a preemptive strike, but the basic plan remains the same. [Los Angeles Times, 7/16/02; Harper's, 10/02; Los Angeles Times, 7/13/02] David Armstrong notes in Harper's magazine: “[In 1992] the goal was global dominance, and it met with bad reviews. Now it is the answer to terrorism. The emphasis is on preemption, and the reviews are generally enthusiastic. Through all of this, the dominance motif remains, though largely undetected.” [Harper's, 10/02]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense
          

November 5, 2002: Defense Department Keeps Study on 9/11 Pentagon Damage Secret      Complete 911 Timeline

       The New York Times reports that the official Pentagon study assessing the structural effect of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was completed in July 2002 but has not been released, and may never be released. The study, conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers, “was specifically intended to consider Pentagon security in the light of new terrorist threats ... Some, confused over what could be considered sensitive in the report, have expressed outrage that the lessons it may hold for other buildings could be squandered.” Engineers outside the investigation say the implications are considerable, since the design of the Pentagon is much more similar to other major buildings elsewhere than the design of the WTC. If the report were released, it is likely building codes would be changed and many lives saved in the long term. [New York Times, 11/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, US Department of Defense, US Army Corps of Engineers
          

Early March 2003      US Military

       In its 2004 budget proposal, the US Defense Department asks US Congress to lift the 1992 “Spratt-Furse restriction,”a 10-year ban on developing small nuclear warheads known as “mini-nukes.” Buried deep within the proposal, is a single line statement that calls on Congress to “rescind the prohibition on research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons.” [Guardian, 3/7/2003; USA Today, 7/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, US Congress
          

(Summer 2003)      Treatment of US troops

       Pentagon officials indicate that they will not ask Congress to renew a temporary increase in monthly Imminent-Danger Pay (IDP) (from $150 to $225) and Family-Separation Allowance (FSA) (from $100 to $250) to US soldiers stationed in combat zones. The temporary IDP and FSA increases, which were put into effect retroactively in April, are set to expire on September 30. In August, when a journalist asks the White House about its views on the plan not to renew the pay increases, a spokesperson refers the reporter to a June Pentagon budget report which warned that the DoD budget can't sustain the higher payments. [The Army Times, 6/30/2003; San Francisco Chronicle, 8/14/2003] But after the planned rollback of the benefits becomes a public controversy, the Pentagon issues a statement on August 14 saying that it intends to ensure that those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan “continue to receive this compensation at least at the current levels.” The statement says nothing about troops deployed on dangerous missions in other regions. [Department of Defense, 8/14/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, US Department of Defense
          

July 8, 2003: 9/11 Commission Denounces Lack of Cooperation      Complete 911 Timeline

       A status report released by the 9/11 Commission shows that various government agencies are not cooperating fully with the investigation. Neither the CIA nor the Justice Department have provided all requested documents. Lack of cooperation on the part of the Department of Defense “[is] becoming particularly serious,” and the commission has received no responses whatsoever to requests related to national air defenses. The FBI, State Department, and Transportation Department receive generally positive reviews. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] Commissioner Tim Roemer complains, “We're not getting the kind of cooperation that we should be. We need a steady stream of information coming to us ... Instead, We're getting a trickle.” [Guardian, 7/10/03] Chairman Thomas Kean is also troubled by the Bush administration's insistence on having a Justice Department official present during interviews with federal officials. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] The 9/11 Commission is eventually forced to subpoena documents from the Defense Department and FAA (see October-November 2003).
People and organizations involved: US Department of Transportation, Bush administration, Thomas Kean, US Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tim Roemer, US Department of Defense, US Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Commission
          

September 12, 2003: Bush Administration Is Sued for Having Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ellen Mariani.
9/11 victim's relative Ellen Mariani sues the US government, claiming that certain officials had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. “I'm 100 percent sure that they knew,” she says. In doing so, she is ineligible for government compensation from what she calls the “shut-up and go-away fund.” She believes she would have received around $500,000. According to a statement by her lawyer, her lawsuit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, Defense Department, and other administration members “is based upon prior knowledge of 9/11; knowingly failing to act, prevent or warn of 9/11; and the ongoing obstruction of justice by covering up the truth of 9/11; all in violation of the laws of the United States.” As the Toronto Star points out, this interesting story has been “buried” by the mainstream media, at least initially. Coverage has been limited mostly to Philadelphia where the case was filed and New Hampshire where Mariani lives. [Al Jazeera, 12/9/03; Toronto Star, 11/30/03; Village Voice, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/03; Associated Press, 12/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Ellen Mariani, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, United States, US Department of Defense
          

September 25, 2003      Treatment of US troops

       Department of Defense officials ask Congress not to renew a temporary increase in the Family Separation Allowance (FSA) and Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) for deployed forces that had been enacted in April. Instead, Defense suggests raising the Hardship Duty Pay for troops deployed only in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Chu, the department's top personnel official, says that the April raises were like “using a sledgehammer to hit a small nail.” The Pentagon's intent to rollback the FSA and IDP reignites a controversy that had sprung up during the summer (see (Summer 2003)) when it was first revealed that the White House supported the Defense Department's plan to save money by cutting back on the two programs. [Stars and Stripes, 10/4/2003] The final National Defense Authorization bill, which is passed by Congress in November, rejects the Pentagon's recommendations and renews the pay increases. [Sun Herald, 11/8/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, US Department of Defense, David Chu
          

October-November 2003: 9/11 Commission Subpoenas FAA and Pentagon for Missing Documents      Complete 911 Timeline

       The 9/11 Commission unanimously agrees to subpoena the FAA after it refuses to produce records relating to FAA notification to US air defenses concerning the hijacked planes on 9/11. The panel states, “This disturbing development at one agency has led the commission to reexamine its general policy of relying on document requests rather than subpoenas.” [Associated Press, 10/15/03] The commission also votes to subpoena the Pentagon for documents related to NORAD's fighter response on 9/11. The commission says it is “especially dismayed” by incomplete document production on the part of NORAD. The commission explains, “In several cases we were assured that all requested records had been produced, but we then discovered, through investigation, that these assurances were mistaken.” [Associated Press, 11/7/03]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Defense, North American Aerospace Defense Command
          

October 21, 2003: 9/11 Commission Staff Meet Member of Able Danger Unit      Complete 911 Timeline

       Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, along with two members of the commission's staff, meets at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan with three individuals doing intelligence work for the US Defense Department. [CNN, 8/17/05] Among these is Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, an Army intelligence officer who worked closely with a military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which between fall 1999 and spring 2001 was tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks around the world (see Fall 1999; January-March 2001) . According to Shaffer's own later account, he gives the commission staff a detailed account of what Able Danger was, and tells them, “We found two of the three cells which conducted 9/11, to include [Mohamed] Atta.” At the end of the meeting, Philip Zelikow approaches him and says, “This is important. We need to continue this dialogue when we get back to the states. ” [Government Security News, 9/05] Following the meeting, Zelikow calls back to the 9/11 Commission's headquarters in Washington to request that staff draft a document request, seeking information on Able Danger from the Department of Defense. [Kean-Hamilton statement, 8/12/05] According to Anthony Shaffer, “My understanding from talking to another member of the press is that [Zelikow's] call came into America at four o clock in the morning. He got people out of bed over this.” [Government Security News, 9/05] Shaffer subsequently tries contacting Philip Zelikow in January 2004 (see Early January 2004). Spokesmen for the commission members contradict Shaffer's account, claiming that, while they are told of the existence of Able Danger at this briefing, they aren't informed that it had identified Mohamed Atta and the other hijackers as threats. [New York Times, 8/10/05] An official statement says that a memorandum prepared by the commission staff after the meeting “does not record any mention of Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers, or any suggestion that their identities were known to anyone at DOD before 9/11. Nor do any of the three Commission staffers who participated in the interview, or the executive branch lawyer, recall hearing any such allegation.” [Kean-Hamilton statement, 8/12/05]
People and organizations involved: Able Danger, Anthony Shaffer, Philip Zelikow, US Department of Defense, Mohamed Atta, 9/11 Commission
          

February 2004: 9/11 Commission Receives Documentation Relating to Able Danger Program      Complete 911 Timeline

       The 9/11 Commission receives documents that it had requested from the Department of Defense, relating to a military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which had allegedly identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks. [Norristown Times Herald, 8/13/05; New York Times, 8/9/05] The commission requested the documents in November 2003, after a meeting in Afghanistan with Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, an Army intelligence officer who had worked closely with the unit (see October 21, 2003). Some documents are given directly to the commission, others are available for review in a Department of Defense reading room, where commission staff make notes summarizing them. Some of the documents include diagrams of Islamic militant networks. However, an official statement later claims, “None of the documents turned over to the Commission mention Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers. Nor do any of the staff notes on documents reviewed in the DOD reading room indicate that Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers were mentioned in any of those documents. ” [Washington Post, 8/13/05; Kean-Hamilton statement, 8/12/05] Shaffer responds, “I'm told confidently by the person who moved the material over, that the Sept. 11 commission received two briefcase-sized containers of documents. I can tell you for a fact that would not be one-twentieth of the information that Able Danger consisted of during the time we spent.” [Fox News, 8/17/05]
People and organizations involved: Able Danger, US Department of Defense, Anthony Shaffer, 9/11 Commission
          

August 22-September 1, 2005: More Individuals Come Forward to Confirm Able Danger Allegations      Complete 911 Timeline

      
James D. Smith.
Several individuals come forward and corroborate claims made about a military intelligence unit called Able Danger that, by mid-2000, allegedly identified Mohamed Atta and three other future 9/11 hijackers. Days previously, a US Army intelligence officer called Anthony Shaffer made claims about the unit (see August 17, 2005). On August 22, Scott J. Phillpott, an active-duty Navy captain who managed the Able Danger program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, comes forward and corroborates Shaffer's claims. He says, “My story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January-February of 2000.” Phillpott states that he was the officer who met with staff from the 9/11 Commission in July 2004, and told them about the program (see July 12, 2004). [New York Times, 8/22/05] Claims about the program are further corroborated when a former employee of a defense contractor who says he worked on the technical side of the unit, also comes forward. James D. Smith, who worked for Orion Scientific Systems [Norristown Times Herald, 9/22/05] , states that in 2000 he helped create a chart for Able Danger. He says, “I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City.” [Fox News, 8/28/05] Furthermore, the Pentagon admits that they have found three others, apart from Anthony Shaffer and Scott Phillpott, associated with Able Danger who assert that the program identified Mohamed Atta as an al-Qaeda suspect inside the US more than a year before 9/11. An official says that the five individuals associated with the program (including Shaffer and Phillpott) were all considered “credible people,” and that four of them recalled a photo of Mohamed Atta accompanying the chart they produced. [Reuters, 9/1/05] Eleven people ran Able Danger. [Bergen Record, 8/14/05] The Pentagon interviewed a total of 80 people who had some kind of association with the Able Danger program. [New York Times, 9/1/05]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Anthony Shaffer, Able Danger, US Department of Defense, James D. Smith, Scott Phillpott
          

August 28, 2005: DOD Deploys Emergency Coordinators to Gulf Coast States      Hurricane Katrina

       The Defense Department dispatches emergency coordinators to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi “to provide a wide range of assistance including communications equipment, search and rescue operations, medical teams and other emergency supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. Pentagon representative Lawrence Di Rita says that the states have adequate National Guard units to adequately respond to the hurricane; at least 60 percent of the Guard available in each state. According to Di Rita, the First US Army, based at Fort Gillem near Atlanta, has 1,600 National Guard troops that were there training to go to Iraq, and they will be available to assist the states or evacuate Camp Shelby in Mississippi, if necessary. [Associated Press, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, Lawrence Di Rita, National Guard
          

(Afternoon) August 29, 2005: Army Helicopter Unit Sits on Tarmac, Awaiting Approval to Conduct Search and Rescue Operations      Hurricane Katrina

       At Ft. Polk Army base in Leesville, a helicopter detachment begins waiting on the tarmac to deploy, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Unable to deploy until they receive orders from the Pentagon, they sit and watch National Guard helicopters conduct search-and-rescue missions until Wednesday. “We were packed and ready to go,” Chief Warrant Officer Clint Gessner, a helicopter pilot with the Ft. Polk unit will later recall. “We never got the call. It's just a sad story, man.” “We could have been the first responders.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, National Guard, Clint Gessner
          

September 21, 2005: Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Public Hearing on Able Danger Unit; Key Officers Barred From Testifying      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Sen. Arlen Specter.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Arlen Specter (R), holds a public hearing to investigate an intelligence program called Able Danger, to explore allegations that it identified Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers more than a year before 9/11, and to learn why the Pentagon disbanded it and destroyed the information it had gathered. [UPI, 9/21/05; Government Computer News, 9/21/05; New York Times, 9/21/05] The committee is seeking testimony from several former Able Danger members. Among these are Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, Dr. Eileen Preisser, and civilian analyst James D. Smith; all but Preisser have recently come forward with allegations about the unit (see August 17, 2005; August 22-September 1, 2005). However, the day before the hearing, Defense Department lawyers ordered them and other former Able Danger members not to testify. [UPI, 9/21/05; Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05] Shaffer says in an interview, “I was told by two [Defense Department] officials today directly that it is their understanding that [Defense Secretary Rumsfeld] directed that we not testify...” [Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05] The Defense Department's only reason for doing so, offered by a spokesman, is that they have “expressed [their] security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum open testimony of these witnesses.” [New York Times, 9/21/05] Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter says, “That looks to me like it may be obstruction of the committee's activities, something we will have to determine.” He complains that the Pentagon only delivered hundreds of pages of documents related to Able Danger late on the eve of the hearing, leaving no time for committee staff to review the material. [Reuters, 9/21/05] Furthermore, the Pentagon's representative at the hearing, William Dugan, admits that he has very limited knowledge of Able Danger. Arlen Specter tells him, “You were sent over—perhaps with the calculation you wouldn't have the information.” [Associated Press, 9/21/05; Government Computer News, 9/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Eileen Preisser, US Department of Defense, Anthony Shaffer, Donald Rumsfeld, William Dugan, Arlen Specter, James D. Smith, Mohamed Atta, Able Danger, Senate Judiciary Committee, Scott Phillpott
          

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