This post lists a set of documents related to the 9/11 Commission’s investigation of the day of the attacks. The documents have been posted at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. I am reading through them gradually and highlighting interesting information. This post will be updated continuously.
(-) A document entitled “NORAD Exercises Hijack Summary” from the 9/11 Commission’s files. It lists air defense training exercises involving hijackings for approximately four years before 9/11.
The exercises included a suicide hijack targeting New York two days before 9/11, as well as other hijackings just before that.
(-) The scenario for a military exercise called Amalgam Virgo 01-02, performed on June 2, 2001. A Haitian AIDS victim, in a deal with a Columbian drug cartel, takes a Cessna with the intent to crash it into the Southeast Air Defence Sector headquarters in Florida. This will enable the cartel to “flood the US with flights of aircraft and to increase their market share,” and in return they will provide “money and support for the AIDS crisis” in Haiti. The scenario includes the FBI contacting NORAD, with the intercept and possible simulated shoot-down of the plane by US fighter jets.
Problems between 9/11 Commission and Military
(-) A memo drafted by 9/11 Commission staffers criticisng document production by the Pentagon, dated October 29, 2003. The memo states that during a visit to Otis Air Force Base, the commission discovered material the commission had already been requested, but that had not been provided.
The memo says the same situation occurred with the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS)–that it requeseted material NEADS had, but did not receive it. This particularly concerns recordings of conversations at NEADS on the day of the attacks.
As a result the work schedule for the commission’s Team 8 is “completely disrupted.” Finally, the staffers recommend that the Pentagon be subpoenaed, as they expect the military has more documents it is not producing.
(-) E-mails between the 9/11 Commission and military installations, including the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), Otis Air Force Base, and Langley Air Force Base, from the summer and fall of 2003. The e-mails concern upcoming visits by the commission to the installations and the provision of documents prior to this.
An internal commission e-mail on page 1 dated September 30, 2003 says that NEADS has “tapes,” but the commission has told it not to make copies of them due to fragility issues.
The e-mail on page 8, dated September 29, 2003, mentions the exercise Vigilant Guardian. In it commission staffer Miles Kara tells NEADS to have “tapes” ready to be listened to when the commission arrives.
The e-mail on page 19 refers to the insertion of (possibly false) information in a real-time document from the day of 9/11 following the attacks. The information apparently concerns notification to the military of the hijacking of Flight 175.
The e-mails also discuss the lack of flight strips for the fighters that took off from Langley on the day of the attacks, as well as the dates of Pentagon documents about Amalgam Virgo military exercises.
(-) E-mails between the 9/11 Commission and Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) about a visit by the commission in late October 2003. One of the NEADS e-mails states that the commission will be able to listen to tapes when it gets there.
(-) Two e-mails, one from the 9/11 Commission to NEADS, the other from NEADS to the 9/11 Commission. The e-mails concern arrangements for a second visit by the commission to NEADS in early 2004.
(-) E-mail from 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone on November 3, 2003. The 1-page e-mail concerns the commission’s access to detainees with knowledge of the 9/11 plot.
(-) Correspondence between the 9/11 Commission and the Pentagon about the latter’s apparent non-production of requested documents in August 2003.
(1) A letter from commission heads Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reminding him that the Pentagon should produce some documents;
(2) A memo from the commission’s counsel Daniel Marcus to Defense Department official Pat Downs specifying which items requested the commission needs asap;
(3) A responding memo from Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone to 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow saying the Pentagon has already produced almost everything it has, although some materials have been destroyed.
(-) A memo from Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone to 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow. The memo, dated November 25, 2003, says that the Pentagon is having trouble providing the commission with recordings the commission just subpoenaed.
Also a cover letter sent in May 2004 by Pentagon official Peter Vegra about documents provided to the commission, and a withdrawal notice, apparently for a 2-page paper about NORAD’s intelligence gathering activities.
(-) A set of documents about the referral of false statements by FAA and NORAD officials. The file includes:
(a) A letter from the Department of Transportation inspector general acknowledging the receipt of the referral.
(b) A letter from the 9/11 Commission referring the false statements to the Pentagon and DoT inspectors general for investigation.
(c) An 11-page memo from the commission about the false statements.
(d) A four-page memo from Philip Zelikow, the commission’s executive director, to the commission’s heads about the false statements.
(e) An e-mail exchange between Zelikow and other staff members, including team leader John Farmer, discussing what to do about the false statements.
(f) An e-mail from NORAD officer Robert Marr forwarded to the commission containing blatantly false information about the air defense on 9/11.
(-) A memo drafted by 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow to 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton discussing what to do about false statements made by NORAD and FAA officials. The memo discusses referring the issue to the inspectors general of the Pentagon and FAA, but does not mention the possibility of referring it to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation possibly leading to perjury charges.
Also tables showing the impact of the false statements and a withdrawal notice for three memos totalling 50 pages.
(-) A subpoena served by the 9/11 Commission on the US Department of Defense. The subpoena was issued after the DoD repeatedly failed to comply with the commission’s document requests.
(-) 9/11 Commission Document Request No. 18 for the US Department of Defense. The document request is for materials linked to military exercises, such as Vigilant Guardian, Amalgam Virgo, Amalgam Warrior, Cornet White, Amazon Condor, Fencing Indian and COSIN. The request also asks for material on the use of aircraft as weapons.
The request was filed on November 23, 2003. This copy of the request was later annotated by the commission at some point in or after mid-January 2004 indicating that many documents requested had not yet been produced. One such document was a 1999 briefing “on terrorist use of aircraft as weapons.”
(-) A letter sent by 9/11 Commission counsel Dan Marcus to the Department of Defense complaining about the lack of documents the DoD has sent the commission. The commission’s first two document requests for the DoD are appended.
(-) A list of seven outstanding issues to be resolved by from September 2003 concerning NORAD, including the Atlantic City fighters, apparently missing recordings and military exercises.
(-) A letter from commission counsel Daniel Marcus about an after-action review the Department of Defense apparently failed to provide the commission with.
(-) The DoD’s response – they claimed not to have any more reports.
(-) A memo from 9/11 Commission staffer Dana Hyde to 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste from June 2003 about information received and still needed from NORAD, the FAA, the FBI, and the Secret Service.
One section refers to the five fighters scrambled during the attacks: “Both the Otis and Langley fighters vectored over water and took a rather circuitous route to their intended destinations; their routing raises additional questions about whether, given a more direct flight path, the scrambled aircraft could have reached the hijacked aircraft in time.”
(-) An internal 9/11 Commission memo from October 2003 stating that the Department of Defense has not provided the commission with the relevant documents it asked for regarding Otis Air Force Base.
Two commission staffers visited the base and found that several materials not produced by the Defense Department existed.
(-) An internal 9/11 Commission memo from late October 2003 complaining about the lack of documents about the failure of the air defenses on 9/11 that have been produced by the Department of Defense.
The memo notes that significant information is being withheld and that information that had been provided was misleading and incomplete; it recommends a subpoena be issued for the relevant records.
(-) June 2003 e-mail from Colonel Robert Marr, a senior Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) officer on 9/11, forwarded to the 9/11 Commission. The e-mail says in part:
“At the time AA77 was occurring we were focused on UAL93 which was the only confirmed hijack that the FAA had identified to us. My records show UAL 93 reported as hijacked at 0916L, once we found it and identified it’s westerly heading, we scrambled Langley at 0924L just in case it turned around toward DC, which it did later.”
(-) A referral by the 9/11 Commission to the inspectors general of the FAA and the Pentagon of false statements made by FAA and Defense officials about events on the day of 9/11. The commission became aware the statements were false during its research, but did not investigate whether they were knowingly false and asked the inspectors general to do so.
The memo mentions the circumstances in which one of the key NEADS tapes was lost: “The reason for the malfunction is disputed. NEADS claims that the officer (who was reviewing the tape) accidentally reformatted one of the tapes; the officer denies that this occurred.”
Other Internal Commission Documents
(-) A 5-page timeline of the events of the day of 9/11, covering the four hijacked flights, Delta 1989, the FAA and NEADS.
(-) Another 5-page timeline (more detailed) drafted by the 9/11 Commission of the events of the day of 9/11.
(-) A set of draft questions to be asked by the 9/11 Commission to Air Force General Richard Myers and Captain Charles Leidig, who was in charge of the National Military Command Center on 9/11. The questions are highly pertinent and cover the lack of co-operation with the FAA, the failure to add it to the significant event conference call and the failure to make use of military staff at the FAA to get information. The questions also state that the FAA was not a participant in the air threat conference call.
(-) 9/11 Commission e-mail about records made by the National Military Command Center on 9/11 by a Colonel Kuehl.
(-) List of Joint Staff personnel on duty on 9/11 from the 9/11 Commission’s files.
(-) Extracts from press articles in which military leaders explain why the military failed to defend the skies on 9/11, apparently compiled by the 9/11 Commission.
(-) A set of draft questions prepared by the 9/11 Commission for General Richard Myers. The questions cover NORAD’s missions, Myers’ perception of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and hijackings prior to 9/11. There are also questions about the day of 9/11, when he learned about specific events, coordination with the FAA and the shootdown order.
(-) A partial transcript of a call made to the police by a relative of a passenger of 9/11 Flight 93, as well as a 9/11 Commission request for the transcript and a covering letter sent by the police to the commission with it.
(-) A message to United Airlines (UAL) Flight 93 telling it to “Beware cockpit intrusion.” The message was sent by UAL employee Ed Ballinger shortly before the plane was hijacked and also mentions that two planes have hit the WTC in New York.
(-) Transcript of a call made by Nydia Gonzales, an American Airlines employee who was speaking to a cabin attendant on one of the hijacked places (American 11), and Craig Marquis, an American Airlines manager. Gonzales tells Marquis what the attendant, Betty Ong, was telling her about the course of the hijacking.
(-) Lynne Cheney’s notes from the White House bunker on 9/11. There are two particular points of interest. The note: “Aircraft coming in from 60 miles out?” is timed at 10:10. The note: “Condi has talked to POTUS. She/RBC/Scooter say we know who did it,” is timed at 12:00.
(-) First-hand account of the day of 9/11 by Major Charles Chambers, a key official at the National Military Command Center. Chambers was the official who failed to monitor the FAA’s hijack net teleconference, but does not mention this at all in his account. However, he does claim that the NMCC was aware of a hostile plane headed towards DC before American 77 hit the Pentagon. He also says that after the Pentagon was hit the NMCC was aware of two more hijackings. In addition, he puts the issuance of the shoot down order before he was informed United 93 was down.
(-) A Pentagon memo drafted by Major Charles Chambers stating that the Pentagon does not have notes establishing the length of the FAA-initiated hijack net call on 9/11.
Also, a first-hand account of the day of 9/11 by Chambers.
(-) Brief timeline of events on the day of 9/11, apparently drafted by the White House. Some of the times seem to be off, for example it has American 77 hitting the Pentagon at 9:30. It also has Cheney moved to a secure location in the White House at 9:40 and implementing continuity of government at 9:55. In addition, it gives a crash time of 10:06 for United 93.
(-) A transcript of communications about hijacked flights between FAA officials in Boston, New York, Cleveland and elsewhere. The officials discuss the non-responsiveness of a first aircraft, the disappearance of its radar track around the time of an incident at the WTC, a partial ground stop initiated just after 9:00 a.m., a problem with a second flight and its impact into the WTC.
(-) A transcript prepared by 9/11 Commission staffer Miles Kara of an FAA open line on the day of 9/11. The participants on the line include FAA officials John White and Jeff Griffith.
The participants discuss the second crash into the WTC (which is identified as United 175), a ground stop in New York area, the potential hijacking of Delta 1989, the loss of American 77 (about 15 minutes before it hits the Pentagon), screaming in the cockpit of United 93 (mentioned a few minutes after it was hijacked), the White House video conference, the crash into the Pentagon, the national ground stop, scrambling fighters to intercept United 93, visual contact with United 93 by other aircraft and the plane’s crash, as well as the continuity of government program.
(-) A tape transcript showing air traffic control actions on 9/11. Officials from Boston and New York air traffic control centers, as well as the FAA command and operations centers, the National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and the ACI watch speak on the tape.
They discuss a hijacked airliner in the New York area, a crash into the WTC, Mohamed Atta’s “We have some planes” comment, another airliner bearing down on the WTC, the need to alert the military, a second impact into the WTC, the need for a ground stop order, an apparent problem with American 77 (which is confused with United 175), an apparent problem with United 93, an aircraft bearing down on the White House, an aircraft impacting the Pentagon, the issue of a ground stop order, the apparent hijacking of Delta 1989, the collapse of the WTC’s south tower, a phone call from United 93, the plane’s crash, the lack of a military presence on the conference call, and other issues.
The transcript makes it clear that the FBI was notified of the hijacking of United 93 at approximately 9:30 a.m.
(-) A tape transcript showing air traffic control actions on 9/11. Officials from the FAA Command Center East, Boston, New York, Washington and Cleveland air traffic control centers, the National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and others are present on the call.
They discuss the apparent hijacking of American 11, calls to military facilities at Otis AFB and Atlantic City, the first crash into the WTC, the loss of a second airliner, the impact of a second airliner into the WTC, ground stops, the need to increase aircraft security, a possible problem with Delta 1989, American 77 (which is confused with United 175), an apparent problem with United 93, an aircraft bearing down on the White House, an aircraft impacting the Pentagon, the descent of United 93, the collapse of the WTC’s south tower, a phone call from United 93, the plane’s crash, the lack of a military presence on the conference call, and other issues.
On page 44 (about 9:20 a.m.) a woman named Carla enters the conference call and says, “Are you talking to American 11 right now, that just crossed over the bondary.” Possibly, this is relevant to the confusion between American 11 and American 77.
On page 59 (about 9:45-9:50 a.m.) the FAA command center states that the military cell there is “working the issue.”
(-) A tape transcript showing air traffic control actions on 9/11. Officials from Cleveland, New York, Houston, Kansas City, Washington, Indianapolis and Boston centers, the FAA command center, the FAA Traffic Management Unit and others are present on the call.
They discuss American 11′s approach to New York, the need to scramble fighters, American 11′s impact into the WTC, a ground stop in New York, the loss of American 77, a problem with United 93, the crash into the Pentagon, the need to divert international flights, and other issues.
(-) A tape transcript showing air traffic control actions on 9/11. Officials from New York, Boston, the FAA command center, New England, US Airways, and others are present on the call.
They discuss a transmission from American 11, its approach to New York, the need to scramble fighters, American 11′s impact into the WTC, the impact of a second plane into the WTC, a ground stop in New York, and other issues.
Interviews by the Commission
(-) Notes of an interview of General David Wherley by 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow. General Wherley commanded some aircraft out of Andrews Air Force Base that were launched towards Washington on the day of 9/11 and describes his experiences that day. He describes interactions with the Secret Service and the rules of engagement he was given. In addition, he claims planes operating under NORAD from Langley were aware of United 93.
(-) Withdrawal notice for 19 pages of notes taken by the 9/11 commission in an interview with General Bill Odom.
(-) Two pages of handwritten notes made by the 9/11 Commission about aiport passenger screening before 9/11. They reference security assessments, security contractors and a red team exercise.
(-) Three pages of handwritten notes taken by the 9/11 Commission about an interview of an air traffic controller about the events of the day of 9/11. The notes describe the hijackers of the four airliners and responses by controllers.
The masterlist for all documents the History Commons has obtained and is analysing can be found here.