April 14, 2004

Also, they knew Michael Jackson liked children, but they had no indication that he was some kind of whacked-out nutcase

Cheryl pointed out this article to me; let me quote a bit of it before I comment.

[I]n April 2001 NORAD requested that war games run by the Joint Chiefs include an ''event having a terrorist group hijack a commercial airline . . . and fly it into the Pentagon."

...Commander Dan Hetlage confirmed the account, saying: ''That scenario was rejected because it would have become a whole exercise in and of itself. It wasn't looked on at the time as being practicable."

The NORAD proposal is the clearest sign yet that national security officials were worried before 9/11 about terrorists using hijacked airliners as missiles, despite testimony that senior leaders, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, didn't know of such concerns.

A secret Aug. 6, 2001, memo prepared for President Bush said Al Qaeda terrorists in the United States might be planning to hijack airliners, but it did not raise the possibility that Al Qaeda could slam those planes into buildings -- let alone the Pentagon, which was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.

Rice testified before the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks last week that ''it did not raise the possibility that terrorists might use airplanes as missiles."

I don't have much to add to the main point of the article. I just want to point out -- what, the Bush administration didn't think the fact that terrorists might be planning to hijack airplanes in the United States -- whether they were going to fly them into buildings or not -- was a big, big deal? How would having that extra bit of information change one's response to the situation? "Eh, a couple planes here and there, that's not such a -- what? A building? You get right on that!"

Posted by Francis at 02:46 PM

Right. Like Bush would have said, "Don't worry about it. Airplanes only hold, what, two or three hundred people? No big whoop. Let's talk about tax cuts."

To top it off, the Genoa summit - which Bush attended - had its airspace closed off due to security advisors wishing to avoid someone crashing an airplane into a building of world leaders. So for anyone to say they couldn't imagine planes being used as missiles is a crock of shit. Thomas Harris imagined a frickin' blimp crashing into the Super Bowl!

Posted by: Doug at April 14, 2004 03:56 PM