I recently did a show with my favorite podcast, Myth of the 20th Century, which I think will be out tomorrow. I have never done a podcast before, and as the subject was, of course, 9/11, I could barely even scratch the surface of what I know, from first hand observation, and second hand research over the last twenty years.
So I wanted to make some clarifications of a few thing I said.
First, I wanted to explain more about the interaction I had, around Thanksgiving of 2001, with the Army guy who told me what he witnessed at the Pentagon. As I remember mentioning, he was frankly rather cryptic and was obviously not telling me in detail everything he saw.
I know nothing about airplanes at all, I couldn’t tell the different between a 767 and an AC-130. In fact, those are the only two plane names I know off of the top of my head. I pointed out that he used the term “AC-130” in the conversation, but I suspect he was trying to describe something and assumed I would know of those planes, because after all, they are in all of those Vietnam movies, and could compare with what he saw, maybe the size or something. I remember this because when I told someone else about this right afterward, he said “the AC-130 is a cargo plane.” I found out later than an “AC-130” is the cargo plane “C-130” modified to be heavily armed.
The point is, he mentioned seeing two planes, not an AC-130, which I perhaps didn’t make clear. One plane he said “flew toward the Pentagon” and after the explosion, one or the other plane flew away – this lack of clarity about which may be important. At the time, it seemed to me he said he saw a plane “fly over the Pentagon” after the explosion, which – even at the time the idea of a “missile” was around – I thought would be compatible with that story. I thought what he said was compatible with the idea of a plane flying toward the Pentagon, shooting a missile into it, and flying away. But he certainly did not say anything at all that specific, and he was also being very obviously guarded and cagey about what he was saying.
Instead, this could very well be the “second plane” he saw, either at the Pentagon before it flew to the Capitol, or another one like it. The point is there were other panes in restricted airspace that morning.
Aired September 11, 2001 – 09:52 ET
About 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don’t see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky.
KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am a couple blocks away from the Capitol right now. I can tell you about a half hour ago, the Capitol building itself was evacuated. It was a little bit chaotic. Everyone was running out of the building. People ran a couple of blocks away. Now have now been pushed back by security. We’re within two blocks of the Capitol.
I did see a plane, about a half hour ago, circling over the Capitol. Now whether that may have been a Air Force plane, it’s unclear. But that seemed to be the reason, according to security guards that I talked with, towards the evacuation of the Capitol. They had seen something or heard something suspicious. They evacuated the Capitol and the surrounding buildings, the office buildings — at least on the House side, where I am standing. There are three office buildings. Those have also been evacuated. We’re seeing members of Congress who are walking by us here on the sidewalk.
The mysterious “second plane” appears to be the Boeing E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, highly modified Boeing 747s that act as flying military command posts.
Important new evidence corroborates Gaffney’s conclusion, and raises further questions about the role played by the E-4B planes on 9/11. This evidence appears in the 2003 book Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyber-Terrorism, written by Dan Verton, a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and former senior writer for Computerworld magazine, who has written extensively on national security, the intelligence community, and national defense topics. Verton reported that, the morning of September 11, an E-4B was launched from “an airfield outside of the nation’s capital.” (He did not, however, state which specific base.) This plane was carrying “civilian and military officials,” and was going “to conduct a previously scheduled Defense Department exercise.” This exercise would involve “the use and testing of the aircraft’s various advanced technology and communications equipment.”
According to Verton, the E-4B launched from near Washington “had only just taken off” at the time of the Pentagon attack, which was at 9:37 a.m. This would mean it could, quite plausibly, have been circling above the White House and Capitol building at around 9:44 a.m., when CNN’s John King and Kate Snow spotted a plane up above. Verton adds that, once airborne, the E-4B “was immediately ordered to cease the military exercise it was conducting and prepare to become the actual national airborne operations center.”
GLOBAL GUARDIAN The exercise the E-4B was participating in would have been Global Guardian, which was being conducted at the time by the U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom), to test its ability to fight a nuclear war. The Omaha World-Herald has reported that three National Airborne Operations Center planes were airborne the morning of 9/11 for this exercise. Following the attacks, all three remained in the air.  According to the World-Herald, Global Guardian was canceled after the second WTC tower was hit, at 9:03 a.m.  This is what we would logically expect, since it was quite obvious by that time that America was under attack, and an ongoing massive war exercise could, presumably, have led to great confusion within the military about what was real and what was just simulation. Yet, according to Verton’s account, it was only around the time of the Pentagon attack that the E-4B launched near Washington was ordered to stop the exercise. This would therefore have been over half an hour after the second attack had occurred. If Verton is correct, we need to know why there was such a delay in pulling this aircraft out of the exercise.
In any case, the take-away from my conversation with the Army guy who was within sight distance of the Pentagon on 9/11 was that he had seen two planes, had taken pictures of the planes with his brand new digital camera, and claimed that when he saw the MPs approaching, knowing they were going to confiscate his camera, he swapped out the memory card, thus had the exact sort of evidence that the government had confiscated and only released some of (like the video from the gas station) ten years later.
I told him that he should publish the pictures online, and he replied with an attitude of extreme skepticism and cynicism, “why would I want to do that?” When I told him, so the public knows what really happened, he just sort of smirked.
If it was in fact the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) plane, his attitude could have very well been that he didn’t want the public to know because it might reveal something actually classified, and this active duty Army guy may very well have assumed the Pentagon was acting in good faith.
He was very specific that he saw and heard a plane flying toward the Pentagon, the explosion, and he described a plane “veering off” after the explosion. What he did not say, in fact, specifically did not say, is that he saw an airplane hitting the Pentagon. If he was in the part of ANC that is directly across the street from the Pentagon, and the plane came in from the south west, he would have had a very close view indeed.
Considering this was merely two months after 9/11, what he explained could very well match what the gas station camera showed, which could be a hijacked airplane, I guess, although you sure as hell cannot tell from that video. What was on his camera would likely be far harder evidence of what really happened than anything that has been released to the public.
Here is something I didn’t get around to saying on the podcast, although I think I’ve mentioned it on the blog a few times.
I know of another person who was near the Pentagon – perhaps in the Pentagon – when the 9/11 attacks happened. I have known this man’s son for a very long time, and around 2010, his son told me what his father told him around that time, ten years later.
His father is Army SOF and his son has said, many times, he thinks his father works with CIA, and it’s a family joke, the stereotypical, “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you, har har!”. His son told me that his father told him he was ordered to report to Virginia – he lives nowhere near Virginia – a few days before 9/11. He was told to report to some specific place, maybe the Pentagon, maybe somewhere else, by 5 AM on September 11, 2001. He said by 6 AM, he and others in his team were taken to “an underground bunker.” They stayed in the “underground bunker,” until about 10:00 AM, at which time he “left the bunker.”
Considering all of the “drills” that were going on, that could very well have just been part of a drill. In and of itself, it isn’t all that interesting. It is interesting to me because I know these people personally. It’s long, long been known that a huge number of people and divisions of the government, the military, CIA, FBI, NSA, all had, in some cases, quite detailed foreknowledge of the attack – and foreknowledge is putting it lightly.
It’s interesting too if you think about what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did on 9/11. Instead of doing his job, he pretended to “help” evacuate injured survivors. He was actually simply walking beside a stretcher being carried by two other people with his hand just touching it. It was clearly and obviously grandstanding for the news cameras.
In any case, I had a great conversation with the Myth of the 20th Century guys and hope everyone checks it out tomorrow.
When I listen to it, I’ll either correct or clarify anything I may have mispoke about or wasn’t clear about.
Here is the AP posting the FOIA released video from the gas station across from the Pentagon. It’s only a minute or so. Can you see a plane?