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View Diary: JPEN: The military is using NSA intercepts to spy on Americans (228 comments)

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  •  intercept capabilities (4.00)
    According to Maj. Douglas Martin, a NORAD spokesman, NORAD scrambled jets and intercepted flights within the US on 67 occasions from September 2000 to June 2001.  It is standard practice to intercept flights which wander off course.

    This page discusses some of the discrepancies in NORAD's tale of what happened on 9/11, and includes this:

    And, [Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.] 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."

    I also remember that a fighter pilot flying over DC after the Pentagon was hit was without any weapons capability.  At that point Flight 93 was still headed for DC, and there was this fighter jet with no ability to shoot it down.  The pilot requested permission to fly his plane into the passenger jet should it approach any DC landmarks.  That was the only way he could stop an attack.

    I agree, this level of ineptness was not expected.  Is it even believable as mere incompetence?

    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. -- Mark Twain

    by vinifera on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 07:44:15 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Norad (none)

      From information in the 9/11 report, it appeared to me NORAD lacked the either the ability or the direction to monitor the airspace over the US. The entire program looks to me focused on spotting a Soviet attack. Norad's web site shows where its facilities are located and except for the command center in Colorado, all the of the bases are placed to monitor aircraft over the ocean.

      NORAD admits that prior to 9/11 they were only looking over the ocean:

      Prior to Sept. 11, NORAD was a word that was associated predominately with the Cold War. The eyes and ears of NORAD were focused on aerospace threats that may come from sources far away from the shores of Canada and the United States.

      I consider the fact the we've spent a huge percentage of federal budget on defense but still lack(ed) the infastructure to actually defend the country from anything but the cold war threat, to be an example of extreme incompetence. Apparently, $400 billion plus a year does not actually buy an air defense command that can acutally monitor what is going in the airspace over the country.

      •  Bullshit. NORAD F-16s shadowed Payne Stewart's (4.00)
        death plane all the way from Florida until it crashed in Minnesota in 1999 from just a few minutes after it lost contact with ground control.

        It is absolute bullshit to suggest NORAD was only able to look seaward in 2001.  They cover every inch of airspace over North America and can scramble jets up in seconds.

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

        by LondonYank on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 09:28:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Payne Stewart (none)

          According to NTSB report, it was 20 minutes before an F-16 arrived and it appears from the report that F-16, flown by a test pilot, who just happened to be in the in vincity.

          Additionally, air traffic control, not NORAD, reported the incident.  The plane was not flagged as having problem not because it was off course but rather because it did not respond to radio calls.  If controllers hadn't been trying to contact the plane for other reasons, they may have taken hours to notice.

        •  And let's not forget.... (4.00)
          ...that the tapes of interviews done with air traffic controllers on 9/11 were taken, smashed, cut up with scissors and deposited in trash cans "around the building" by an executive at the FAA.

          Now, mislaying them is something you could say was understandable, if extremely incompetent. But destroying them FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS? That's deliberate concealment of evidence, and to me it indicates that someone, somewhere, was saying the words "Where are the fucking interceptors? Why aren't there jets in the air?" on the day.

      •  I too tend to be (4.00)
        dubious of this explanation.  Our military has been dealing with plane highjackings within U.S. airspace since the sixties or seventies.  The detection of and response to the apparent 9-11 highjackings should have been routine and in fact immediate response to apparent highjackings in the US has been routine for the past 3 decades at least.

        This is like Sherlock Holmes' dog that didn't bark in the night.  It should have but it didn't.  Why?

        •  Hijacking Response (none)
          Pre 9/11, standard hijack-ing response might have been to track the plane but definately was not to even consider shooting it down.  Previous hijackings all had the hijackers announcing to the media they had control of the plane and hostages and then making some sort of demand.  The standard response was to avoid inciting the hijackers into killing hostages and buy time to figure out a rescue plan.

          On 9/11, the hijackers did not announce to the media they had control of plane.  Information that the plane was hijacked had to come from unofficial channels and it appears to me that all branches were throughly unprepared for such an incident.

          It certainly appears to me from reading excerpts of the 9/11 report that NORAD had no plan for an airplane that was a threat already being in US airspace.  While I find this to be gross incompetence on the part of the national defense establishment, it seems a lot more likely to me than NORAD intentionally diing nothing.

          Looking at the chronology put together by the 9/11 comission, it's not clear who would have ordered NORAD to do nothing.  Bush after his "My Pet Goat" incident spent the rest of the day flying around   like a scared little rabbit.  Intentionally doing nothing makes no sense either.  Can you imagine how much more "Strong Leader" spin we would have had to endure if Bush had managed to do something to thawrt one of the planes?  It would have been endless.

          It's hard to accept that $400+ billion defense budgets do not create a plan and infastructure to defend the country but it's really the only explanation that makes any sense.

          •  Standard highjacking (none)
            procedure also includes "interception" and certain graduated steps starting with signaling the wayward airplane to change course and follow the interceptor jet to land.  Nothing like that happened.  

            It wasn't till nearly one half hour after the FCC determined that the first plane wandered off course did jets get scrambled to intercept and by then it was way too late.  So where was the dog?  Why the hell didn't it bark?

      •  If not, why not? Remember the PDB? (4.00)
        That PDB Bush had six weeks prior to 9/11 which was entitled something like: "Planes will be flown into buildings by terrorists"?

        So, why did not the order go out for the military protectors, NORAD, etc. to be ready to protect US cities in the event this happened? Shouldn't that order have gone out immediately? Of course, the vacations should have been cancelled and all military alerted, and so on.

        •  Clinton made preparations... (none)
          During the Olympics in Atlanta, there was a perceived threat that someone might hijack a small cargo plane (think UPS or FedEx), possibly bringing along explosives, and then fly it into one of the Olympic venues.

          Clinton's administration had armed Blackhawks and armed fighter jets in the area during peak times, and expanded the restricted airspace to provide more opportunity for interception should a plane go off course.

          So, to re-iterate your point: Why wasn't this done over NYC under Bush?

          I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. -- Mark Twain

          by vinifera on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 07:13:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Incompetence as smoke and mirrors... (4.00)
      Incompetence is a 2fer for these jokers.

      First, it provides total cover and allows for unmitigated waste and corruption...

      ...think Iraq war.

      Second, it increases people's mistrust of our current structure of government.

      These jokers are doing planned incompetence...and doing it well.

      9/11...Iraq...Katrina...it is all the same gameplan.

      With 9/11, the planned incompetence is so outlandish, it is surprising that the American people bought it.  The Payne Stewart plane example is just one of many that demonstrate the effectiveness of NORAD, a capacity which was built up over 50 years and at an expense of trillions of dollars.

      Winners from 9/11: George W. Bush and a whole ream of military and homeland security contractors.

      With Iraq, the low number of troops initially used even though 10 years before the key players, including Powelll believed in overwhelming force, is the first example of planned incompetence.  The second is the rotating viceroys, none of whom were ever given a plan to execute.

      Winners from Iraq: George W. Bush and a whole slew of military contractors.

      With Katrina, "Brownie" is the most glaring example to date of the useful idiot.  He was setup.  Just think if Bush had been able to strongarm the governor and bring troops into Louisiana.  

      Winners from Katrina: unknown if any yet.

      •  One Katrina winner (none)
        They had mercenaries patrolling streets in America for the first time.

        Think about that. Not just our National Guard, but mercenaries.

        Blackwater, et al who our tax dollars have been paying to operate in Iraq.

        Now -- did you hear the hue and cry -- "Get these hired guns off the streets of America?" No.  

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