Saturday, July 31, 2004

Catastrophe and Coverup 

Via Suburban Guerrilla: Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) skipped the parties at the Democratic Convention so he could pore over the 9/11 Commission report. What he read left him unable to sleep:
"For almost three years now, NORAD officials and FAA officials have been able to hide their critical failures that left this country defenseless during two of the worst hours in our history," Dayton declared during a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing . . . .

During the hearing, Dayton told leaders of the Sept. 11 commission, that, based on the commission's report, a NORAD chronology made public a week after the attacks was grossly misleading.

The chronology said the FAA notified the military's emergency air command of three of the hijackings while those jetliners were still airborne. Dayton cited commission findings that the FAA failed to inform NORAD about three of the planes until after they had crashed.

And, he said, a squadron of NORAD fighter planes that was scrambled was sent east over the Atlantic Ocean and was 150 miles from Washington, D.C., when the third plane struck the Pentagon -- "farther than they were before they took off."

Dayton said NORAD officials "lied to the American people, they lied to Congress and they lied to your 9/11 commission to create a false impression of competence, communication and protection of the American people."

He told Kean and Hamilton that if the commission's report is correct, President Bush "should fire whoever at FAA, at NORAD ... betrayed their public trust by not telling us the truth."
Big-hearted President Bush, however, has shown that he is considerably more forgiving than Sen. Dayton. The commander of NORAD on the morning of 9/11, Gen. Ralph Eberhart, was soon thereafter tapped to head up Northcom, the Pentagon's newly-formed homeland defense organization. If martial law is ever declared in America, Gen. Eberhart will be the man who sends out the troops.

UPDATE (8/1): In comments below, Zemblan patriot Mercury reminds us that for decades prior to 9/11, NORAD commanders had the authority to scramble fighter jets. But, as Gail Sheehy reported, a policy change in June 2001 transferred that authority to a single individual: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

So where was Rummy when the U.S. came under attack? "Out of the loop." And what does that mean? You tell us.

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