Sunday, 18 March 2018

Media Business Middleman Was Shown an Unreleased Video, Which Revealed That 'Something Other Than a 757 Hit the Pentagon on 9/11'


The Pentagon crash site

Larry Garrison, a leading "story broker" whose job is to deliver tabloid stories to television news programs, was sent a video in the months after 9/11, which clearly showed that the Pentagon was hit by something much smaller than a commercial airliner--perhaps a missile--on September 11, 2001. However, when he passed copies of this video on to news organizations, they refused to broadcast the footage and instead sternly warned him to cease trying to get it released.

While a few videos showing the attack on the Pentagon have been released in the years since Garrison received this footage, they appear to be different to what Garrison was sent. Furthermore, none of them have been of sufficient quality to determine conclusively what hit the Pentagon on September 11. The type of aircraft involved in the attack has therefore remained a subject of controversy.

If Garrison's account is accurate, though, and the video Garrison was sent was authentic, the implications could be huge. If the Pentagon was hit by something other than a Boeing 757--the kind of aircraft that, according to the official narrative of 9/11, crashed into it--this video could reveal that the public has been seriously deceived. And if the footage was made public, its release could lead to a complete reassessment of the 9/11 attacks.

THE PENTAGON WAS SUPPOSEDLY HIT BY A HIJACKED 757
The Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m. on September 11 by American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757-200, according to the official account of 9/11. [1] This plane had taken off from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, at 8:20 a.m. that morning, bound for Los Angeles. But at 8:51 a.m., the pilots communicated with air traffic controllers for the last time and in the next few minutes, it is believed, the plane was hijacked. [2] The five alleged hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and the hijacker who allegedly took over the plane's controls was a 29-year-old called Hani Hanjour. [3]

After previously heading west, at 8:54 a.m. Flight 77 veered off its assigned course over the Ohio-Kentucky border and flew south. Two minutes later, radar contact with it was lost. Minutes after that, it turned eastward. Then, at 9:34 a.m., as it approached Washington, the plane began a 330-degree turn and descended toward the headquarters of the Department of Defense. Three minutes later, it crashed into the west wall of the Pentagon at the first-floor level, at approximately 530 miles per hour. [4]

A total of 189 people died in the attack, 64 of them on the plane and 125 working at the Pentagon. [5]

While this account seems quite straightforward and was accepted as true in the 9/11 Commission Report, Garrison received a video that indicated it was false and something other than Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.

'STORY BROKER' WAS TOLD ABOUT A VIDEO THAT SHOWED A MISSILE FLYING INTO THE PENTAGON
Larry Garrison, president of SilverCreek Entertainment in Los Angeles, is what is known as a "story broker." Story brokers "place themselves as middlemen between the supply of human drama and the demand for it--so news organizations have to do business with them," according to the New York Observer. [6] Garrison "gets paid to bring tabloid stories to TV news programs," The Atlantic reported. [7]

He is the "king" of his line of work, according to numerous sources at the ABC network. [8] He has decades of experience in the media business, and has produced and brokered major news stories for ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, NBC News, and other major media organizations. [9]

In his memoir, The NewsBreaker, Garrison recalled that a few months after 9/11, he received a curious e-mail from someone who referred to himself by the pseudonym "Carl." Garrison was initially suspicious about Carl, assuming he was just a hoaxer trying to cash in on the tragic events of September 11. However, Garrison wrote, "when he told me he had a video of a missile flying into the Pentagon, not a passenger jet, I listened." Carl stated that he would like to meet Garrison and show him the video. He added, however, that "the FBI was trying to stop him from showing it to anyone."

Although Carl's claim was extraordinary, Garrison felt this man was trustworthy. "For the most part, my 20-plus years of experience helps me weed out the fakes; this guy sounded real," he has commented. He apparently talked with Carl on the phone after receiving the e-mail and "could feel the sense of urgency in his voice, and the sincerity." [10]

After researching the attack on the Pentagon and noting various anomalies that had been highlighted by commentators on the Internet, Garrison wanted to get hold of the video that Carl said he possessed. Although he was unable to persuade Carl to meet up in person, Carl did e-mail him a copy of the video. It turned out to be devastating.

Although the footage was less clear than the story broker would have liked, Garrison recalled, "it left no doubt whatsoever that what hit the Pentagon on 9/11 wasn't a 757." While the quality of the image made it impossible to determine for sure what crashed into the Pentagon, the object in the video "looked like a smaller plane or [a] cruise missile."

Upon consideration, Garrison decided it was more likely a missile, since he felt there had been greater damage to the reinforced walls of the Pentagon than a small plane could have caused. He concluded: "When I look at some of the news archives and compare the damage to the Pentagon to other concrete buildings that have been hit with a cruise missile, I have no doubt in my mind that something other than a 757 hit the Pentagon on 9/11." [11]

NEWS ORGANIZATIONS REFUSED TO BROADCAST THE FOOTAGE
Garrison initially felt certain that once he passed on this astonishing video to the news networks, what it showed would become a major story and the "media machine" would then "mobilize all of its resources to discover, or uncover, what really happened." He soon found that his assumption was wrong.

After receiving the video from Carl, he contacted a couple of major news organizations. When he explained to them what he had, the people he talked to replied enthusiastically: "Oh, my God! Get that tape over here right away!"

He sent them copies of the video and then waited for a couple of days, expecting to see the footage appearing and being discussed on the news. Instead, however, the people at the news organizations called him back and warned him to abandon his efforts to get the video released to the public. He was told: "Larry, you need to listen to me on this. The video never existed. You never saw it. This could cause some real trouble if you pursue it any further." [12]

Garrison had initially been determined to help the public understand what had happened on September 11. On the day of the terrorist attacks, he recalled, "The one thing I did know was that I would find answers sooner than most and I felt obligated to make sure that [the public] knew everything I knew." [13] But what he was now being told and the manner in which it was said led him to have a change of heart.

"I remember hanging up the phone knowing that I could be putting my family and myself at risk if I tried to push the issue, and I knew there was no way to protect myself," he wrote. Therefore, he added, "I backed off." [14]

VIDEOS OF THE PENTAGON ATTACK THAT HAVE BEEN RELEASED ARE UNCLEAR
In the years since Garrison was sent this revelatory footage of the Pentagon being hit on September 11, a number of videos that show, or relate to, the attack on the Pentagon have been released, but these appear to be different to what Garrison received. This means a crucial piece of evidence related to the 9/11 attacks is still being withheld from the public.

Two videos showing the Pentagon being hit were officially released by the Department of Defense in May 2006. [15] They had been recorded by security cameras north of the crash site, at a checkpoint that cars went through on their way to a parking lot at the Pentagon. [16] However, Garrison apparently referred to these in his memoir and made clear they were different to the video he saw.

He mentioned another video, besides the one Carl sent him, that had been "recently released" and showed "something that to many does not look like a plane" crashing into the Pentagon. [17] His memoir was published just a few months after these two videos were released and the videos indeed showed "something that to many does not look like a plane" hitting the Pentagon. The Washington Post described the object in them as "a silver speck low to the ground" while the Associated Press described it as just "a thin white blur." [18]

Five frames from a video that showed the Pentagon being hit were released unofficially to news organizations in March 2002. [19] These, however, were just excerpted from one of the videos that were officially released in May 2006. [20] They were therefore unrelated to the video Garrison was sent.

A few more videos related to the Pentagon attack were released by the FBI in late 2006, but these were also apparently different to the video Garrison received. Unlike Carl's video, they either didn't show the Pentagon being hit or didn't show the attacking aircraft--or missile--flying toward the building.

Among them was footage, released in September 2006, recorded by six security cameras at a Citgo gas station near the Pentagon. [21] The video had been confiscated by the FBI within minutes of the Pentagon attack. A supervisor at the gas station had said the security cameras there were "close enough to the Pentagon to have recorded the moment of impact." [22] However, this was apparently not the case. Judicial Watch, the public interest group that obtained the videos from the FBI, noted that the videos showed that "the Citgo cameras did not seem to capture the actual attack." [23]

The final video related to the Pentagon attack to be made public was recorded by a security camera on top of the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and was released in December 2006. But this too failed to shed any light on what crashed into the building. The image quality was poor, and a "close examination" of the recording by CNN revealed only "the subsequent explosion and no image of the jet" that supposedly flew into the Pentagon. [24]

LACK OF FOOTAGE OF THE PENTAGON ATTACK MADE GARRISON SUSPICIOUS
Larry Garrison's claim that something other than a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon on September 11 is supported by various pieces of evidence, in addition to Carl's video, that cast doubt on the official account of the Pentagon attack. Indeed, Garrison has indicated that a reason why he wanted to see the video Carl described to him was that he had considered some of this evidence.

He was suspicious that no footage had been released showing Flight 77 as it rapidly descended toward the Pentagon. "From the day of the attacks, I was bothered that not one picture or video was captured of the jet that flew at a very low altitude near our nation's capital and targeted the center of our country's military might," he wrote. While several people had come forward claiming to have witnessed the Pentagon attack, "not one piece of video for the networks to play over and over in the days after the attacks" had surfaced. Video that aired showed the aftermath of the Pentagon being hit but not the impact itself.

Having visited Washington and its surrounding areas many times, Garrison commented that he felt "very safe in saying that there are more reporters, cameras, and video cameras per capita there than any place in the world." He therefore found it "hard to believe that not one camera captured the 757 screaming above a very densely populated area toward the Pentagon." [25]

Garrison also questioned whether Hani Hanjour, the hijacker who allegedly flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon, had the necessary skills to carry out the attack and whether it was even possible to fly a Boeing 757 into the Pentagon in the way that supposedly occurred.

757 PILOT SAID THERE WAS 'ZERO' CHANCE OF A NOVICE CARRYING OUT THE PENTAGON ATTACK
A few weeks before he received the e-mail from Carl, a man had phoned him and claimed that "he had evidence that it was impossible for the damage at the Pentagon to be caused by a passenger jet, because it was impossible for a plane of that size to fly at an altitude that low, at that speed."

A few days later, Garrison questioned one of the pilots of a 757 he was about to board for a business trip. Garrison asked the pilot, who said he had accumulated thousands of hours of flying time in his career, "if he had the skill to fly a 757 10 to 20 feet off the ground at a speed of over 500 miles an hour," meaning in the way that Flight 77 was allegedly flown toward the Pentagon. "Chuck Yeager couldn't do that!" the pilot replied. (Chuck Yeager was a flying ace and test pilot who became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound.)

The pilot explained that planes the size of a passenger jet "do not react in an instant" and "the control inputs take longer to change the plane's altitude." The large surface areas and the weight of the plane "would make it impossible to have the degree of control you would have to have to fly at that altitude without crashing into the ground," he said. "I really don't think it would be possible," he concluded.

Garrison then asked the pilot what he thought the chances were of a novice with very limited training--i.e. someone like Hanjour--being able to hit a target with pinpoint accuracy. "Zero," the pilot replied. He added that a passenger jet's autopilot "isn't even that good and, if it were on, it would not allow the plane to fly at a low altitude, let alone treetop level." [26]

HIJACKER ALLEGEDLY AT THE CONTROLS OF FLIGHT 77 WAS AN INCOMPETENT PILOT
In fact, not only was Hanjour a novice who'd never flown a jet airliner before September 11, people who met him found him to be a hopeless pilot with nothing like the level of skill necessary to fly a commercial aircraft across America and then crash it into the side of the Pentagon.

For example, a flight instructor who trained him for about four months in 1998 recalled that Hanjour had "a poor understanding of the basic principles of aviation and poor judgment, combined with poor technical skills." [27]

Instructors at a flight school he attended early in 2001 found his piloting skills "so shoddy and his grasp of English so inadequate that they questioned whether his pilot's license was genuine," according to the New York Times. One person who worked at the flight school at the time commented: "I'm still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all." [28]

And an instructor at a flight school in the Washington area, which he arrived at just under a month before September 11, described him as a "poor student" who had "particular difficulty landing the aircraft." [29]

PHOTOS OF THE CRASH SITE LOOKED 'LIKE A MISSILE HIT' THE PENTAGON
Garrison was also troubled by the fact that, in photos, the impact site at the Pentagon seemed inconsistent with how one might expect the location where a large plane had crashed to appear. To begin with, he wrote, "the grass right in front of the impact point was not burnt at all," even though "a hundred tons of plane and jet fuel had crashed and exploded a few yards away." "In fact," he commented, "it looked like the landscapers had just cut it."

Secondly, he thought the hole in the building supposedly made when Flight 77 crashed into it appeared too small. "The jet's wingspan is over 123 feet," but, he wrote, "the hole isn't [that wide]--not even close." He noticed that windows were unbroken "where there should have been holes caused by the wings and engines."

He spoke with experts about this anomaly and all of them told him that "it is impossible for there not to be any signs of impact points from the 12,000-pound engines on the side of the building." The photos of the Pentagon, he concluded, looked "like a missile hit, instead of a plane crash site."

Garrison was also surprised at the lack of debris at the scene of the attack. "In the pictures that were broadcast of the Pentagon, there was very little of the aircraft shown," he noted. "In my mind, a plane weighing 220,000 pounds at takeoff should have left more than a few pieces of wreckage," he commented. [30]

We can see that, aside from Carl's video, there are numerous reasons for questioning the official narrative of the Pentagon attack.

MANY UNRELEASED VIDEOS RELATED TO THE PENTAGON ATTACK EXIST
A question worth considering is where was the camera that recorded the video Garrison was sent located? It has in fact been reported that dozens of videos related to the attack on the Pentagon exist, besides the two released by the Department of Defense in May 2006, and the videos from the Doubletree Hotel and the Citgo gas station.

After the Defense Department officially released the two videos showing the attack, in May 2006, CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre reported that there were "at least 80 other tapes" related to the Pentagon attack "that the government is holding onto." Carl's video might have been one of these. CNN was told, however, that the videos "don't really show much." [31] Indeed, a list that has been released, of videos related to the 9/11 attacks that the FBI possesses, reveals that many of the videos related to the Pentagon attack were recorded only after the attack occurred. [32]

However, "sources" told CNN that "at least one of the tapes from a security camera at a nearby hotel may have captured the plane [that hit the Pentagon] in the air." [33] Indeed, the Washington Times reported that a "security camera atop a hotel close to the Pentagon may have captured dramatic footage of the hijacked Boeing 757 airliner as it slammed into the western wall of the Pentagon," and the hotel's employees had "sat watching the film in shock and horror several times before the FBI confiscated the video as part of its investigation." [34] Whether this footage came from the Doubletree Hotel or another hotel near the Pentagon was unstated.

Additionally, a camera operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation may have captured the attack, so this could have been the source of Carl's video. Reporter Sandra Jontz, who was at the Pentagon on September 11, was escorted out to an area in front of the crash site following the attack. While there, she recalled, she noticed "a Department of Transportation camera that monitors traffic backups pointed toward the crash site." [35]

SOME SECURITY CAMERAS WERE DESTROYED WHEN THE PENTAGON WAS HIT
It is also plausible that, in addition to the two cameras at the checkpoint that cars went through on their way to a parking lot at the Pentagon, at least one more of the Pentagon's security cameras captured the crash. The Washington Times noted that the attack "occurred close to the Pentagon's heliport, an area that normally would be under 24-hour security surveillance, including video monitoring." [36]

However, the camera on the building that was closest to the point of impact was destroyed when the Pentagon was hit. And a camera on the heliport was also destroyed when the attack occurred. These two cameras were found to provide no information related to the attack, according to Steve Pennington, a private consultant responsible for the Pentagon's security cameras. "We looked and there was nothing there," he said. [37]

Connectivity to other cameras on the west side of the Pentagon that overlooked the area where the crash occurred was cut when the building was hit, according to John Jester, chief of the Defense Protective Service--the law enforcement agency that guarded the Pentagon. A colleague in his communication center, where the cameras were monitored, told him just after the building was hit that the cameras had been "knocked out." [38] It seems plausible, though, that at least one of these cameras could have captured the approaching aircraft--or missile--in the moments before the attack occurred, before getting disconnected, and this camera might therefore have been the source of Carl's video.

Curiously, some of the Pentagon's security cameras, which were in the right positions to have possibly captured the attack, were out of operation on the morning of September 11, supposedly due to construction work that was taking place at the time. [39] "Other cameras would normally look at that area [where the attack occurred]," Pennington recalled, "but because that area was being renovated, a lot of the connectivity of those cameras and the infrastructure that allowed those cameras to be connected back to the building had been removed or destroyed." Consequently, he commented, these cameras "weren't capturing images and offering fields of view." [40]

GARRISON'S ACCOUNT INDICATES WE HAVE BEEN MISLED ABOUT THE 9/11 ATTACKS
If Larry Garrison's account of being sent unreleased footage that disproved the official narrative of the Pentagon attack is true, the implications are devastating. It means an important video exists, which quite clearly shows the Pentagon being hit on September 11, but this video has been withheld from the public. It means the Pentagon was hit by something much smaller than the Boeing 757 that was officially claimed to have crashed into it, such as a missile. It implies that people who claimed they witnessed a large commercial aircraft crashing into the Pentagon were either mistaken or lying. And it means the public has been lied to about the events of September 11.

If the video Garrison received indeed shows something other than a Boeing 757 crashing into the Pentagon, this gives rise to many questions that need to be addressed. In his memoir, Garrison stated some of these. For example, he asked, "What really happened to the 757 and its passengers that no one caught on tape or on film, crashing into the Pentagon?" [41]

Partly based on his inability to get Carl's video shown on television, he asked, "Why would the media organizations refuse to report on valuable pieces of these important stories" such as the events of September 11? "Did the news programmers not believe the evidence that was put in front of them?" he wondered or, "Did higher-ups in the government put pressure on the networks to not follow up on these leads?"

Clearly, Garrison's account could be explosive. "The implications that over 3,000 people lost their lives [in the 9/11 attacks], and the news that has and is still being delivered to the public may not be entirely true, is outrageous," Garrison wrote. The repercussions of members of the public finding out they have been seriously misled about the 9/11 attacks would likely be huge.

All the same, if footage exists that disproves the official account of what hit the Pentagon on September 11, this footage needs to be released as a matter of urgency. "It is [the media's] responsibility, with the trust that we put in them, to report what the truth is, even if we don't like the answers," Garrison commented. [42] The FBI must be aware of the video that Carl sent to Garrison, if Carl's claim that the bureau "was trying to stop him from showing [the video] to anyone" was true. Presumably it has a copy of the video, which it could release to the public.

Once members of public have seen this video, we will be able to decide for ourselves whether we think the official account of the Pentagon attack is correct.

NOTES
[1] Paul F. Mlakar et al., The Pentagon Building Performance Report. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2003, p. 12; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 10.
[2] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 8.
[3] "The Hijack Suspects." BBC News, September 28, 2001; "September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts." CNN, August 28, 2017.
[4] Arlington County, Virginia, report, Titan Systems Corp., Arlington County: After-Action Report on the Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon. 2002, p. 9; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 9-10; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11. Washington, DC: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2007, pp. 12-17.
[5] Anthony Summers, "The Eleventh Day." New York Post, September 11, 2011.
[6] Rebecca Dana, "Fixer, Story Broker Larry Garrison Books Ramsey's Non-Killer." New York Observer, October 16, 2006.
[7] Sheelah Kolhatkar, "The News Merchant." The Atlantic, September 2010.
[8] Rebecca Dana, "Fixer, Story Broker Larry Garrison Books Ramsey's Non-Killer."
[9] Sheelah Kolhatkar, "The News Merchant"; "SilverCreek Entertainment." SilverCreek Entertainment, n.d.
[10] Larry Garrison with Kent Walker, The NewsBreaker: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the News Media and Never-Before Told Details About Some of the Decade's Biggest Stories. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006, p. 103.
[11] Ibid., pp. 105-107.
[12] Ibid., p. 107.
[13] Ibid., p. 102.
[14] Ibid., pp. 107-108.
[15] "Original September 11 Pentagon Video: 1 of 2." Judicial Watch, May 16, 2006; "Judicial Watch September 11 Pentagon Video: 2 of 2." Judicial Watch, May 16, 2006; Robert Burns, "Video Shows Plane Hitting Pentagon." Associated Press, May 17, 2006; Jerry Markon, "Videos Released of Plane Crashing Into Pentagon." Washington Post, May 17, 2006.
[16] "The Stories Behind the Stories." On the Story, CNN, May 20, 2006; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, p. 161; List of videos related to the 9/11 attacks. Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.
[17] Larry Garrison with Kent Walker, The NewsBreaker, p. 104.
[18] Robert Burns, "Video Shows Plane Hitting Pentagon"; Jerry Markon, "Videos Released of Plane Crashing Into Pentagon."
[19] "Bush Will Send Special Envoy Zinni Back to Mideast; Accusations of Greed Over 9/11 Fund." NewsNight with Aaron Brown, CNN, March 7, 2002; "Pentagon Photos Released." Associated Press, March 8, 2002.
[20] Robert Burns, "Video Shows Plane Hitting Pentagon"; Jerry Markon, "Videos Released of Plane Crashing Into Pentagon."
[21] Randy Hall, "Cameras Near Pentagon Missed 9/11 Attack, Group Says." CNSNews.com, September 15, 2006; "Citgo Gas Station Cameras Near Pentagon Evidently Did Not Capture Attack." Judicial Watch, September 15, 2006; "Judicial Watch September 11 Pentagon Citgo Video." Judicial Watch, September 15, 2006.
[22] Bill McKelway, "Three Months on, Tension Lingers Near the Pentagon." Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 11, 2001.
[23] "Citgo Gas Station Cameras Near Pentagon Evidently Did Not Capture Attack."
[24] "Hotel Security Video Shows 9/11 Pentagon Blast, But no Plane." CNN, December 3, 2006; "FBI Releases New Footage of 9/11 Pentagon Attack." KWTX, December 4, 2006; "Judicial Watch Obtains Security Camera Videos From Doubletree Hotel That Show 9/11 Attack on Pentagon." Judicial Watch, December 7, 2006; "Doubletree Hotel Video of 9/11 Pentagon Strike." YouTube video, April 6, 2007.
[25] Larry Garrison with Kent Walker, The NewsBreaker, pp. 103-104.
[26] Ibid., pp. 104-105.
[27] Statement of [Name Redacted]. Canfield, Shapiro, Baer, Heller & Johnston, LLP, May 1, 2002.
[28] Jim Yardley, "A Trainee Noted for Incompetence." New York Times, May 4, 2002.
[29] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of Benjamin L. Connor." 9/11 Commission, April 12, 2004.
[30] Larry Garrison with Kent Walker, The NewsBreaker, pp. 105-106.
[31] "The Stories Behind the Stories."
[32] "Declaration of Jacqueline Maguire." Scott Bingham v. United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, September 7, 2005; List of videos related to the 9/11 attacks.
[33] "The Stories Behind the Stories."
[34] Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, "Inside the Ring." Washington Times, September 21, 2001.
[35] Chris Bull and Sam Erman (Editors), At Ground Zero: 25 Stories From Young Reporters Who Were There. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, p. 281.
[36] Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, "Inside the Ring."
[37] Brian Austin and Steve Pennington, interview by Diane Putney. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, November 9, 2006; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, p. 153.
[38] John Jester, interview by Alfred Goldberg, Diane Putney, and Stuart Rochester. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, October 19, 2001; John Jester, interview by Diane Putney. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, January 31, 2006; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, p. 153.
[39] Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, p. 244.
[40] Brian Austin and Steve Pennington, interview by Diane Putney.
[41] Larry Garrison with Kent Walker, The NewsBreaker, p. 108.
[42] Ibid., pp. 112-114.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The Indifference and Inaction of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz During the 9/11 Attacks


Paul Wolfowitz

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had a crucial role to play in the military's response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and yet he did nothing to help protect his country until the attacks were over and it was too late for him to make a difference to the outcome of the crisis.

As the second-highest-ranking official in the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz surely had critical duties to perform and should have promptly taken action when America came under attack. Furthermore, since he was at the Pentagon when the attacks occurred, he was in a good location to help the military respond to them. And yet he appears to have reacted to the catastrophic events with indifference.

He continued with a previously scheduled meeting after he learned about the crashes at the World Trade Center. Even when the Pentagon was attacked, 34 minutes after the second crash at the World Trade Center occurred, he initially made no effort to help the military respond to the crisis, even though more attacks could have been imminent, which he should have been trying to prevent.

Astonishingly, Wolfowitz has claimed that when he felt the Pentagon shake and heard a thud when it was hit, he did not realize an attack had taken place there. Instead, he said, he thought there had been an earthquake.

He only became involved in the military's response to the crisis when, after initially being evacuated from the building, he went to the Pentagon's National Military Command Center (NMCC). But it appears that by the time he reached the center the attacks would have ended and so any actions he took would have been inconsequential.

The indifference exhibited by the deputy secretary of defense when he learned of the attacks and his failure to take action when he should have been doing everything in his power to help protect America are quite chilling. And yet Wolfowitz has never had to explain his lack of response to the crisis on September 11. We therefore now need to look closely at his actions that day and contemplate why he behaved as he did.

It is plausible that Wolfowitz's inaction was simply due to incompetence. However, statements Wolfowitz made in the years following 9/11 indicate that he actually felt the attacks were beneficial for the United States. We surely must consider, therefore, the disturbing possibility that he may have known in advance what was going to happen on September 11 and wanted the attacks to succeed. Consequently, when the attacks occurred, he deliberately avoided doing anything that might help stop them before all the intended targets were hit.

WOLFOWITZ WAS AT THE PENTAGON WHEN THE ATTACKS BEGAN
Paul Wolfowitz was attending a meeting in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's private dining room at the Pentagon when the attacks began on September 11. The meeting, which had commenced at 8:00 a.m., was attended by a number of members of Congress and various military officials, and was intended to discuss defense budget proposals. [1]

Shortly before it ended, Rumsfeld was given a note, which informed him that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. (This plane was American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the North Tower at 8:46 a.m.) Rumsfeld has commented that he assumed at the time that the incident was an accident. [2] Therefore, the secretary of defense and those with him "went on with our breakfast." [3]

None of the meeting's participants appear to have diverted from their schedules after the meeting ended, at around 9:00 a.m. "We all went on with the day's business," Secretary of the Army Thomas White recalled. [4] "We all proceeded back to our offices," Vice Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr., Rumsfeld's senior military assistant, said. [5]

Wolfowitz went to his office, just a short walk away from Rumsfeld's office, where he was due to attend a routine meeting. It is unclear whether he was alerted to what had happened in New York during the meeting in Rumsfeld's private dining room. He was certainly informed about the incident, though, after he entered his office. Someone there mentioned that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. The television was turned on and, Wolfowitz described, those in the office "started seeing the scenes of what was taking place up in New York." [6]

Even though the cause of the crash was unclear at that time, we might reasonably expect Wolfowitz to have taken a close interest in what had happened right away. While the crash may have turned out to have been an accident, he surely should have considered it possible that the incident was a terrorist attack and have acted accordingly.

In fact, Victoria Clarke, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, noted, "Even in the accidental crash scenario, the military might be involved in some way." [7] And yet the deputy secretary of defense made no attempt to take action in response to the crash. "Like so many other people, I didn't quite believe what was really happening," he has remarked. [8]

WOLOFWITZ SAW THE SECOND CRASH ON TV BUT CONTINUED HIS MEETING
Wolfowitz and those with him then saw the second hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 175, crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade Center live on television, at 9:03 a.m. "We started seeing the shots of the second plane hitting," Wolfowitz recalled.

It was then clear that America was under attack. And yet Wolfowitz still did nothing in response to the crisis. "I sat here thinking that something terrible was going on in New York," he recalled. "But," he commented, "it was up there, not here." He therefore continued his meeting as if nothing unusual had happened. "There didn't seem to be much to do about it immediately and we went on with whatever the meeting was," he said. Wolfowitz and those with him apparently carried on with the meeting until 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was attacked.

Although his office was on the opposite side of the Pentagon to where the attack occurred, the deputy secretary of defense felt the building shake when it was hit and, he recalled, heard "a dull, thud-like noise." And yet Wolfowitz has claimed that, despite presumably having realized earlier on that America was under attack, it did not occur to him that the noise and the shaking were the result of the Pentagon being struck. Remarkably, he said, he initially thought they were caused by an earthquake. "I didn't put two and two together," he commented. "My first reaction was an earthquake," he said.

And even though his country had been attacked three times in less than an hour, the deputy secretary of defense still made no attempt to get involved in the military's response to the crisis and apparently wanted to continue his business as if nothing unusual had occurred. "It was clear something had happened, but it still wasn't clear that there was anything to do," he has commented.

Wolfowitz only got up to leave his office when he heard someone say a bomb had gone off on the other side of the building and the Pentagon needed to be evacuated. "Pretty quickly" after the attack on the Pentagon occurred, he recalled, a "few people" came into the office and told him to get out of there. He also recalled that the Marine sergeant who worked outside Donald Rumsfeld's office was "very anxious" to get him away from the Pentagon. He was evacuated from his office by his "security people" and taken out of the building. [9]

General Richard Myers, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recalled bumping into Wolfowitz outside the Pentagon at this time and Wolfowitz saying he was "relocating for continuity reasons." [10] Wolfowitz was taken to the parade ground in front of the building, where many other Pentagon employees had gathered. From there, he presumably would have been unable to do much to help the military respond to the attacks, even if he had chosen to take action. But about 10 minutes after he left the building, he received an instruction, apparently from someone in Rumsfeld's office, to return to the Pentagon. [11]

WOLFOWITZ RETURNED TO THE PENTAGON AFTER EVACUATING
After he re-entered the building, Wolfowitz may have gone to the Executive Support Center (ESC)--a secure communications hub with a video teleconference facility, located on the third floor of the Pentagon. The ESC is "the place where the building's top leadership goes to coordinate military operations during national emergencies," according to Victoria Clarke. [12] Clarke, who went to it following the attacks on the World Trade Center, said that Wolfowitz "came in" at some point that morning. [13]

Wolfowitz has only recalled, however, that, after returning to the building, he went to the National Military Command Center. [14] The NMCC is "a communications hub, a switchboard connecting the Pentagon, the civilian government, and the combatant commanders," according to Myers. [15] It was also "the focal point within [the] Department of Defense for providing assistance" in response to hijackings in U.S. airspace, according to military instructions. [16] Other key officials, such as Rumsfeld and Myers, went to it in order to respond to the crisis that morning. [17]

Once he was in the NMCC, Wolfowitz appears to have finally started taking action in response to the terrorist attacks. He became one of the "small number" of people who were in the "command group" in the center, he recalled, and he participated in "discussions by secure video conference." [18]

However, the fourth and final plane to be hijacked that day--United Airlines Flight 93--apparently crashed in a field in Pennsylvania just after 10:00 a.m. Therefore, by the time Wolfowitz did anything to help protect his country, the attacks were likely already over and there would have been nothing the deputy secretary of defense could do to influence the outcome of the crisis.

WOLFOWITZ WAS TAKEN TO A SECURE LOCATION
After spending some time in the NMCC, Wolfowitz told Donald Rumsfeld he ought to leave the Pentagon. But Rumsfeld refused to do so and ordered Wolfowitz to go instead. Wolfowitz was therefore flown by helicopter to Site R, the alternate command center inside Raven Rock Mountain, on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. [19]

Site R was a duplicate of the NMCC and was intended to serve as the Pentagon's primary command center if the NMCC was destroyed in an attack or needed to be evacuated. [20] Wolfowitz was unhappy about being sent there, though. [21] "He didn't want to leave" the Pentagon, Edmund Giambastiani commented. [22]

Furthermore, after he reached the alternate command center, Wolfowitz had difficulty participating in the government's response to the attacks since, he described, "equipment [there] didn't work" and "communications didn't work." [23] He recalled that he consequently "spent most of the afternoon being virtually out of touch with everything that was going on." [24]

At around 4:00 p.m., he decided that he "could be useful somewhere else" and suggested to Rumsfeld that he go to "Langley"--presumably referring to the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia--and "get briefed on what we knew about what went on" during the attacks. Rumsfeld told him to go ahead and do this. Wolfowitz was therefore driven away from Site R, but he then decided he should just go home. He therefore went to his home and stayed there for the rest of the day. [25]

WOLFOWITZ WAS SECOND IN COMMAND AT THE PENTAGON
Paul Wolfowitz, as we can see, appears to have only taken an active role in the military's response to the catastrophic events of September 11 after the terrorist attacks ended. His inaction before that time is particularly alarming because, as deputy secretary of defense--the second-highest-ranking official in the Department of Defense--he surely had critical duties he needed to attend to from the outset of the crisis.

Deputy secretary of defense is a powerful position. By law the person who holds this post "takes precedence in the Department of Defense immediately after the secretary [of defense]." [26] According to the United States Government Manual--the official handbook of the federal government--while the secretary of defense "exercises authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense," the deputy secretary "is delegated full power and authority to act for the secretary of defense and to exercise the powers of the secretary on any and all matters for which the secretary is authorized to act pursuant to law." [27] Roswell Gilpatric, deputy secretary of defense from 1961 to 1964, described the individual who holds this post as "a junior partner and alter ego for the secretary [of defense]." [28]

WOLFOWITZ WAS FIRST IN THE 'LINE OF SUCCESSION' TO REPLACE RUMSFELD
Furthermore, it was crucial for Wolfowitz to promptly get involved in the military's response to the 9/11 attacks because if Donald Rumsfeld had been killed or incapacitated in the attacks he would have been required to take over the secretary of defense's duties. This is because the deputy secretary of defense is first in the "line of succession" to assume responsibility as the acting secretary of defense if this is ever necessary. The deputy secretary is required by law to "act for, and exercise the powers of, the secretary [of defense] when the secretary dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office." [29]

It was in fact, reportedly, this requirement that led to Wolfowitz being ordered to leave the Pentagon and go to Site R on September 11. Journalist and author James Mann stated that the decision to activate the alternate command center and Rumsfeld's decision to send Wolfowitz there were "an echo" of what is known as the "continuity of government plan." [30] Rumsfeld explained that on September 11, "Defense Department officials executed our continuity of government plans ... to ensure that at least some of America's leadership in all branches of the federal government would survive an enemy attack." [31]

"That's why [Wolfowitz] left, was to separate [Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz] ... to provide continuity," Kevin Kellems, Wolfowitz's special adviser, commented. [32] In other words, positioning Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld at different locations meant that at least one of them would be sure to survive and be able to carry out the duties of the secretary of defense if the Pentagon was attacked a second time.

In light of this consideration, we can see that Wolfowitz's failure to promptly take action in response to the attacks could have had serious consequences for the military chain of command. In particular, because Wolfowitz stayed in his office after learning of the crashes at the World Trade Center instead of leaving the Pentagon or going to a more secure location within the building such as the ESC or the NMCC, he, along with Rumsfeld, could have been killed or incapacitated if the area of the building they were in had been hit when the Pentagon was attacked. (Rumsfeld, like Wolfowitz, stayed in his office after learning of the attacks on the World Trade Center. [33]) If both men had been killed or incapacitated when the Pentagon was hit, America could have been left without a secretary of defense to command the military at this critical time, while it was under attack.

And since Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz both stayed at the Pentagon for at least an hour after it was hit (the decision to send Wolfowitz to Site R was only made "sometime after 10:37" a.m., according to Edmund Giambastiani [34]), both men could have been killed or incapacitated, thereby possibly leaving the country without a secretary of defense, if the building had been attacked a second time.

WOLFOWITZ HAD YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WORKING FOR THE GOVERNMENT
We need to determine why Paul Wolfowitz failed to take action to protect his country on September 11. Surely the Pentagon's second in command should have been actively involved in the military's response from the outset of the crisis. Why then did he do nothing to help for the entire time the nation was under attack?

It might be argued that Wolfowitz's inaction was simply due to incompetence. This possibility seems unlikely, though, since Wolfowitz had years of experience working for the government, which included serving in senior Pentagon positions, before 9/11. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for regional programs from 1977 to 1980 and under secretary of defense for policy from 1989 to 1993. [35]

Furthermore, just months before 9/11, he appeared to recognize that the U.S. needed to be prepared to deal with surprise attacks. During a speech on June 2, 2001, he discussed the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. He proposed that it was necessary to replace a "poverty of expectations" with "an anticipation of the unfamiliar and the unlikely." By doing so, he said, it would be possible to overcome "the complacency that is the greatest threat to our hopes for a peaceful future." [36] And yet despite having this remarkable foresight of the kinds of challenges that lay ahead for America, he displayed an apparent inability to deal with "the unfamiliar and the unlikely" when, little over three months later, the nation again came under attack.

Since incompetence seems an unlikely reason for Wolfowitz's inadequate response to the 9/11 attacks, we need to consider if there is a more sinister explanation. For example, might Wolfowitz have known in advance what was going to happen on September 11 and wanted the attacks to succeed? If so, his inaction when the attacks occurred could have been a deliberate effort to do nothing that might help stop the attacks before all the intended targets were hit.

WOLFOWITZ QUICKLY DETERMINED WHO WAS TO BLAME FOR 9/11
Supporting the possibility that Wolfowitz had foreknowledge of 9/11 is the fact that the deputy secretary of defense was apparently able to establish what had happened on September 11 and who, according to the official story, was to blame within hours of the attacks, before any proper investigation had taken place.

This detail was revealed by Larry Di Rita, a special assistant to the secretary of defense who accompanied Wolfowitz to Site R on September 11. Di Rita recalled a video teleconference that Wolfowitz participated in while he was at the alternate command center and commented, "It is remarkable to me how much [the teleconference's participants] started to piece together in so short a period of time what [the attack] was and what the likely responses needed to be." He continued, "Not so much, 'We've got to go to war in Afghanistan,' but, 'This is very likely al-Qaeda.'" "It was quite impressive the degree to which these decision makers [and] policy makers had a sense of it," he remarked. [37]

It is possible that Wolfowitz was able to "piece together in so short a period of time" what had happened and that al-Qaeda was supposedly to blame for the attacks due to quick thinking and well-informed analysis. It is also possible, though, that Wolfowitz's ability to rapidly determine what had happened was a result of the deputy secretary of defense having foreknowledge of what the attacks would entail and who would be blamed for them.

A detail that supports the contention that Wolfowitz may have wanted the 9/11 attacks to succeed is the fact that he apparently wanted the U.S. to adopt a more aggressive military stance at that time. Wolfowitz is a "foreign policy hawk who believes the United States should use its superpower status to push for reforms in other nations," according to the Associated Press. [38] It is possible, therefore, that he wanted the U.S. to be attacked so as to create a pretext for military action.

Di Rita described how Wolfowitz's desire for a more hawkish foreign policy was evident on September 11. Recalling the video teleconference Wolfowitz participated in while at Site R, he commented, "Everybody [on the teleconference] was operating with a clear sense that we had to respond in a very dramatic way." He also said that as early as the afternoon of September 11, while they were being transported from Site R back to Washington, DC, "[Wolfowitz] and I were doing rough sketches of what we thought we were going to need to prosecute a war in terms of the budget." [39]

WOLFOWITZ CALLED 9/11 'AN EXTREMELY VALUABLE WAKE-UP CALL'
Furthermore, in the years after the attacks, Wolfowitz indicated that he thought 9/11 had some benefits for the U.S. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, "9/11 really was a wake-up call" and opined, "If we take proper advantage of this opportunity to prevent the future terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, [then] it will have been an extremely valuable wake-up call." [40]

And in an interview with James Mann, he similarly suggested that 9/11 could wake America up to the threat of terrorism and thereby lead to a bigger attack being prevented. "For me, September 11 was a transforming event," he said, "in the sense of seeing that terrorism had the potential to kill not just three thousand people, but three hundred thousand or three million." [41]

If Wolfowitz had foreknowledge of 9/11 and felt, before September 11, that an attack on the U.S. would have some benefits, might he have decided to do what he could to ensure the 9/11 attacks were successful so as to bring about these supposed benefits? If so, this could help explain why he did nothing to help protect his country when the attacks occurred.

Award-winning journalist Eric Boehlert has commented on Wolfowitz's striking lack of response to the attacks on September 11. "One peculiarity I've always wondered about is why Paul Wolfowitz ... was so completely clueless the morning of the deadly attacks," he wrote. "As the events unfolded live on television and senior administration officials scrambled to make sense of the horrific events, Wolfowitz appeared to be in a haze," he added. [42]

Since Wolfowitz was one of the most powerful men at the Pentagon, his behavior on September 11 needs to be investigated thoroughly. We surely need to find out the reasons for this man's chilling inaction at probably the most important time of his professional life, when his country was under attack.

NOTES
[1] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, April 19, 2002; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS, Campaign Against Terror. PBS, April 22, 2002; Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part I. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, July 18, 2002; "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair." U.S. Department of Defense, May 9, 2003; Steve Vogel, The Pentagon: A History. New York: Random House, 2007, p. 428.
[2] Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown: A Memoir. New York: Sentinel, 2011, pp. 334-335.
[3] Steve Vogel, The Pentagon, p. 428.
[4] Thomas White, interview by PBS, Rumsfeld's War. PBS, August 12, 2004.
[5] Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part I.
[6] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS; "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair."
[7] Torie Clarke, Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game. New York: Free Press, 2006, p. 218.
[8] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS.
[9] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS; "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair."
[10] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers." 9/11 Commission, February 17, 2004.
[11] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS.
[12] Torie Clarke, Lipstick on a Pig, p. 219.
[13] Victoria Clarke, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, July 2, 2002.
[14] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS.
[15] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security. New York: Threshold Editions, 2009, p. 151.
[16] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CJCSI 3610.01A: Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects. Washington, DC: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 1, 2001.
[17] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers"; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, pp. 43-44.
[18] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair."
[19] Stephen I. Schwartz, "This is Not a Test." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2001; Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron; Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part II. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, August 1, 2002; Steve Vogel, The Pentagon, p. 441.
[20] Patrick Creed and Rick Newman, Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11. New York: Presidio Press, 2008, p. 174.
[21] "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair."
[22] Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part II.
[23] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron.
[24] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS.
[25] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron.
[26] U.S. Code Title 10, 10 USC § 132 (2017).
[27] Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, The United States Government Manual 1999/2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999, p. 177.
[28] Shannon E. Mohan and Erin R. Mahan, Deputy Secretaries of Defense, 1949-2017. Washington, DC: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2017, p. ii.
[29] U.S. Code Title 10, 10 USC § 132.
[30] "Secret 'Armageddon Plan' in Motion on 9/11." ABC News, April 25, 2004.
[31] Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, p. 338.
[32] "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair."
[33] "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 'Deserted His Post' While America Was Under Attack on 9/11." Shoestring 9/11, May 25, 2017.
[34] Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part II.
[35] "Paul Wolfowitz: Deputy Secretary of Defense." U.S. Department of Defense, March 16, 2005; "Paul Wolfowitz Fast Facts." CNN, December 15, 2017; "Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz." White House, n.d.
[36] "Commencement Address at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point." U.S. Department of Defense, June 2, 2001; James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet. New York: Viking, 2004, p. 291.
[37] Lawrence Di Rita, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Stuart Rochester. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, June 27, 2002.
[38] "Bush Picks Wolfowitz to Head World Bank." Associated Press, March 17, 2005.
[39] Lawrence Di Rita, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Stuart Rochester.
[40] "Wolfowitz Interview With the San Francisco Chronicle." U.S. Department of Defense, February 23, 2002.
[41] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, p. 363.
[42] Eric Boehlert, "Why Was Wolfowitz so Clueless on the Morning of 9/11?" HuffPost, September 15, 2006.