October 10, 2008

9/11 Disinformation: NORAD "only" defended U.S. airspace from "outside threats"

9/11 Disinformation: NORAD "only" defended U.S. airspace from "outside threats"

By Arabesque

Why did NORAD fail to intercept any planes on 9/11? There have been many explanations, but one is that "Norad's radars were spread around the periphery of the U.S., looking outward for potential invaders," claimed a 2002 Aviation Week article.

This false claim has since been spread by defenders of the official story to explain why NORAD failed to intercept any planes on 9/11. For example, Jefferson Flanders defending the 9/11 official story repeats the false claim:

"To the question of our air defenses, U.S. air defenses were faced outwards. We were not looking for internal threats. There was no direct link between our FAA and the military. They had to pick up a phone and call. I think we need to remember the pre-9/11 environment."
During a U.K. 9/11 Debate, Nick Pope also repeated the false claim that:
"There were clearly failures... none of this makes it an inside job... this was a totally new threat. All the training manuals, all the mindset of all the air traffic controllers, the officials was configured on a threat from outside. This was new to them. It was beyond their experience and some parts of the system didn't work."
Similarly, Popular Mechanics repeats the false claim that:
"...NORAD's sophisticated radar... ringed the continent, looking outward for threats, not inward. "It was like a doughnut," Martin says. "There was no coverage in the middle." Pre-9/11, flights originating in the States were not seen as threats and NORAD wasn't prepared to track them."
The claim that NORAD only was only prepared to reasonably defend against "outside threats" was repeated by General Richard Myers who said to the 9/11 commission:
"...we were directed to posture, looking outward, those were the orders that NORAD had, and it's had for, ever since the end of the Soviet Union when we had, at that time... So we were clearly looking outward. We did not have the situational awareness inward because we did not have the radar coverage."
But this claim is disinformation. In fact, in the very same interview with Richard Myers quoted above, Jamie Gorelick, a 9/11 commissioner debunked the claim:
"General Myers, if you listened to the Staff Statement this morning, I think that the question that has to be on the minds of the American people is, where was our military when it should have been defending us, and I think that is a fair question from a layman's point of view. And the response of NORAD, which you used to command, and which General Eberhart now commands, is that NORAD was not postured to defend us domestically unless someone was coming at us from abroad, and that has lots of implications. It has implications for where our fighters were to dispatch, how much we cared about the internal radars which didn't function particularly well, which you were, at NORAD, dependent on. It had implications for whether you can communicate with your fighter pilots when they're up in the air in the interior of the country. It has implications for how you quickly get authorities to the pilots. And so I want to explore very briefly this question with you, because for years the Department of Defense did, in fact, resist having a domestic mission. And, with all due respect, said this was a law enforcement function, we do not have a domestic role. It was very uncomfortable with that role, and I think it's important to address that. That's why I come back to this word posture, we were postured against an external threat. In my experience, the military is very clear about its charters, and who is supposed to do what. So if you go back and you look at the foundational documents for NORAD, they do not say defend us only against a threat coming in from across the ocean, or across our borders. It has two missions, and one of them is control of the airspace above the domestic United States, and aerospace control is defined as providing surveillance and control of the airspace of Canada and the United States. To me that air sovereignty concept means that you have a role which, if you were postured only externally you defined out of the job."
As Dean Jackson confirms, the claim that NORAD was "directed to posture... looking outward" is "[Utterly] false.... NORAD, since its inception in 1958, was tasked to monitor and intercept aircraft flying over American and Canadian air space seven days a week, 24 hours a day." A CNN article confims that NORAD, "is asked to investigate aircraft that do not file flight plans, contact ground controllers or identify themselves with transponders." Michael Ruppert explains in his book Crossing the Rubicon that "NORAD radar INCLUDES all FAA civil radar in the country and has added passive tracking abilities and the ability to determine altitude. The two systems are and were plugged in together on 9/11."

According to NORAD's own mission statement, the role of NORAD is to defend against both foreign and domestic threats.
Interceptions are standard operating procedure occurring hundreds of times a year. As well, NORAD gave three contradictory time lines and key officials most responsible for preventing the 9/11 attacks received promotions. Senator Mark Dayton stated that 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.”
In summary, the claim that NORAD's posture was against "outward threats" is a clear example of disinformation designed to mislead the public about NORAD's failure to defend the skies on 9/11. It is contradicted by NORAD's own mission statement and by the blatant fact that NORAD regularly intercepted aircraft hundreds of time a year.