FAQ: "Planes DID scramble on 9-11. Emperor's Clothes is wrong."
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FAQ #2: "You charge that the military was made to stand down on 9-11. But planes did scramble. They just arrived late."
[Expanded version, Posted 5 January 2002]
The new cover story, that "the planes were sent up but they arrived too late" also arrived pretty late: it was first put
forth on September 14th on the CBS 6 PM news. Until that time, top officials said that no planes were scrambled to
protect Washington, DC until after the Pentagon was hit. Vice President Cheney was giving out the old story as late as
September 16th on the NBC TV program, MEET THE PRESS...(1a)
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!" - Sir Walter Scott.
MORE DETAILED ANSWER:
This is the CBS cover story we mentioned in Section 1 of our Summary of Evidence. (1)
According to this cover story, jets were scrambled from Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod to intercept Flight 11, the
first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Also, supposedly, jets were scrambled from Langley Air Force Base
to intercept American Flight 77, the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. In both cases, the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) supposedly called for the interceptors too late. Also, Otis AFB is about 185 miles from New York
and Langley AFB is 129 miles from Washington, DC. So the interceptors supposedly had too far to travel.
Dan Rather broadcast this cover story on the CBS 6:00 news, September 14th. This was the first time that anybody said
planes were scrambled from Langley AFB on 9-11. We did a little research and found 31 references to Langley in the
English-speaking mass media, that is newspapers & TV, worldwide, between September 11th and the CBS News at 6 PM on the 14th.
Not one of these news reports about Langley Air Force Base mentioned Dan Rather's excellent new fact!
General Richard B. Myers, Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9-11, appeared before the Senate Armed
Services Committee on September 13th. He testified at great length. The Senators asked him three times about the failure
to scramble planes on 9-11. But Myers said nothing about planes scrambling from Langley Air Force base, where he had
been stationed from 1987 to 1990. (3)
Apparently there was a communications problem getting the new cover story to some top officials. For instance, as late
as September 16th, Vice President Cheney was telling 'MEET THE PRESS' that George Bush personally made the decision to
send up interceptors and suggesting he had done so only after the Pentagon was hit. (1a)
And during a CBS News Special on September 12th, Dan Rather asked CBS Military Consultant Major Mitch Mitchell:
"These hijacked aircraft were in the air for quite a while, they made unusual turns, to say the least. Would--why
doesn't the Pentagon have the kind of protection that they can get a fighter--interceptor aircraft up, and if someone is
going to plow an aircraft into the Pentagon, that we have at least some--some line of defense?" --CBS News Special
Report (12:00 Noon PM ET) - September 12, 2001 "Aftermath of and investigation into attacks on World Trade Center and
the Pentagon." (1b)
Nobody contradicted the Dan Rather of September 12th until the new reality was unveiled by the Dan Rather of September
How amazing that fighter jets could be scrambled from Langley before the Pentagon was hit without a single top leader of
the military or the Bush administration knowing it happened!
What a relief for President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers (who happens to be the most powerful
general in the Air Force) and Dan Rather himself to learn the good news from Dan Rather on the six o'clock news,
September 14th: the Air Force had indeed sent up interceptors. It was just that nobody knew...
Read the transcript of that CBS news program. You will see that Rather cites no source for his new 'information.' He
just says, casually, "CBS News has learned..." (2)
Four (4) days later, also without a word of explanation for this rewriting of history, NORAD incorporated the CBS report
in its official timeline. The Langley interceptors had become a Fact.
We will explore several problems with the CBS/NORAD cover story in soon-to-be-published sections of the Summary of
The following may be of particular interest.
First, the move from "we didn't put planes up until after the Pentagon was hit," which was the official story until
Sept. 13th, to "we put planes up before the first World Trade Center attack," was for the most part carried out during
General Richard B. Myers' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 13th.
Second, if you read the transcript of that Senate hearing, (3) you can witness the new cover story being constructed
right before your eyes.
Under pressure from the Senators to come up with something convincing, Myers twice changed his testimony, putting
forward three entirely different versions of what happened September 11th. Myers' last 'reality' was pretty close to
what Dan Rather reported at 6 PM the next day. In between, Myers and the Senators went into a closed (i.e., secret)
Here is an excerpt from Senator Bill Nelson's comments at the Armed Services Committee hearing. Note if you will the
highly suggestive language, phrases such as, "Perhaps we want to do this in our session, in executive [i.e., secret]
session," and "I leave it to you as to how you would like to answer it. But we would like an answer." He doesn't
outright say, "Your cover story stinks." But he sure suggests it:
BILL NELSON: Perhaps we want to do this in our session, in executive [i.e., secret] session. But my question is an
obvious one for not only this committee, but for the executive branch and the military establishment. If we knew that
there was a general threat on terrorist activity, which we did, and we suddenly have two trade towers in New York being
obviously hit by terrorist activity, of commercial airliners taken off course from Boston to Los Angeles, then what
happened to the response of the defense establishment once we saw the diversion of the aircraft headed west from Dulles
turning around 180 degrees and, likewise, in the aircraft taking off from Newark and, in flight, turning 180 degrees?
That's the question. I leave it to you as to how you would like to answer it. But we would like an answer." (4)
The CBS/NORAD cover story did not successfully answer Nelson's questions.
That is, since planes were flying into buildings, and since Washington, DC was the city most likely to be the next
target, why would planes be scrambled all the way from Langley Air Force Base, 129 miles from Washington, as late as
9:30? Why wouldn't they be scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base, 10 miles from the Pentagon, at around 8:50, when the
military knew that a hijacked plane had hit the World Trade Center? Or at 9:06, when, we are told, the FAA ordered all
planes grounded, from Washington, DC to Cleveland! (5)
The irrationality of the CBS/NORAD cover story supports our charge that the military was in fact ordered to stand down
Emperor's Clothes Urgently Needs
Footnotes and Further Reading:
For more facts and analysis contradicting the official position on 9-11, see 'EMPEROR'S CLOTHES ARTICLES ON 9-11 * A
GUIDE,' which can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/indict/911page.htm Alternative address is
(1) The "planes were scrambled from Langley" cover story was mentioned in Section 1: 'Why Were None of the Hijacked
Planes Intercepted?' The following link takes you to the place where it is mentioned:
(1a) 'NBC, Meet the Press' (10:00 AM ET) Sunday 16 September 2001. Full transcript at:
http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/629714.asp?cp1=1 Backup transcript at: http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/nbcmp.htm
Cheney's remarks are discussed in 'Mr. Cheney's Cover Story.' at http://emperors-clothes.com/indict/indict-2.htm
(1b) CBS News Special Report (12:00 Noon PM ET) - September 12, 2001 "Aftermath of and investigation into attacks on
World Trade Center and the Pentagon at http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/cbs12th.htm
(2) To read the new cover story floated by CBS on 14 September go to
(3) Senate confirmation hearing on Gen. Richard B. Myers' nomination as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 13
September 2001 Full transcript at: http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/mycon.htm
(4) Comments by Bill Nelson at Senate confirmation hearing on Gen. Richard B. Myers' nomination as Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff. 13 September 2001 http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/mycon.htm#faq2-3
(5) 'Newsday,' September 23, 2001, 'AMERICA'S ORDEAL; Where System Failed; Air attack on Pentagon indicates weaknesses,'
by Sylvia Adcock, Brian Donovan and Craig Gordon. The direct link is http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/nd23.htm#1
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