Saturday, March 12, 2005

Liar Myers, Pants On Fire

On March 10th, during the House hearing on the 2006 Defense budget, an aggressive Rep. Cynthia McKinney pursued Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers on many subjects, one of which was the war game exercises taking place on the morning of September 11th 2001. The hearing was made available yesterday on c-span's website; Mckinney's questions are about 26 minutes into the video.

The story started out on February 16, when during the House hearing on the Defense Appropriations bill, Congresswoman Mckinney was obstructed from asking Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Myers about the multiple war game exercises taking place on the morning of September 11th (Video). About a month later, on March 10th, Rumsfeld and Myers came better prepared for the war game question, while Mckinney did not. Rumsfeld even went out of his way to assure there was enough time (much unlike on Feb. 16) for the question. Mckinney asked if the war game exercises compromised fighter response. Myers, readily referring to the testimony of Gen. Ralph Eberhart (only briefly mentioned in the back of 9/11 Commission's report in note 116 of chapter 1) assured Mckinney that the war games did not interfere, but actually enhanced the military's response to the attacks.

However in the referred to testimony, Eberhart only commented on one war game: Vigilant Guardian, and neglected to report the other war games or the confusion experienced between Vigilant Guardian and the real hijackings. For instance, NEADS Commander Col. Robert K. Marr Jr originally thought the attacks were part of the exercise, as did his deputy Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins, who said "everybody" at NEADS first thought the attacks were part of Vigilant Guardian. Even Gen. Arnold himself told ABC's Brian Ross on Sep. 11 2002, that as the attacks began, the first thing he thought was: "Is this part of the exercise?"

In addition, Gen. Richard Myers is actually on record confirming the existence of another war game entitled Vigilant (aka Amalgam) Warrior, which was a live-fly training exercise involving actual aircraft. As documented on page 5 of Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies, when asked about fighter response at approximately 9:38am on 9/11, Gen. Myers replied "Not a pretty picture … We're in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise, but … Otis has launched two birds towards New York." This was over an hour after the first plane had been confirmed hijacked and almost an hour after the World Trade Center had been hit. Myers stated on March 10th that it would've usually taken about 30 minutes to an hour to man the necessary battle stations, however the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard -- a regular participant in the Vigilant Warrior exercise and the first squadron to arrive over New York on 9/11 -- were, under regular circumstances, kept on 24 hour alert and able to be airborne within five minutes of getting the call to scramble.

When a private or commercial aircraft moves significantly off its flight plan, it is a US legal requirement that fighter planes be sent up to investigate. Between September 2000 and June 2001, the US military affectively launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions in order to intercept suspicious flights. A well-documented case illustrating the efficiency of these types of intercepts occurred in 1999 when golfer Payne Stewart's plane veered off course. Fighters were scrambled along side the private jet about 20 minutes after contact had been lost. The contrasting lack of US military response on 9/11 was commented on by Commander in Chief of the Russian Air Force, General Anatoly Kornukov, who, on the day after the attacks stated "Generally it is impossible to carry out an act of terror on the scenario which was used in the USA yesterday…As soon as something like that happens here, I am reported about that right away and in a minute we are all up."

Both Vigilant Warrior and Vigilant Guardian were conducted in conjunction with another large scale exercise entitled Global Guardian, which is an annual exercise simulating US response/retaliation procedures to a nuclear strike. When the attacks began on 9/11, planes were gassed up on the ground armed with nuclear weapons as part of the Global Guardian exercise.

Also being conducted on the morning of September 11th was operation Northern Vigilance, which inserted false blips onto FAA and military radar screens and drew fighters away from the North East Air Defense Sector (NEADS).

In addition, John Fulton, who is Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division at the National Reconnaissance Office, was participating in a NRO/CIA joint exercise that simulated a plane crashing into a building.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Tanker said...

buckdevlin,

How do you know Amalgam Warrior and Vigilant Warrior were the same exercise. I'm having trouble finding it in your source.

4:36 PM  
Blogger BuckDevlin said...

From: http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/norad/reg11003.htm

The first word of the exercise identifies the agency. HQ NORAD exercises are identified using the word Vigilant or Amalgam. The second word identifies the type of exercise. Warrior means it is a FTX or field-training exercise, meaning it involves the flying of actual aircraft.

The below source confirms Amalgam Warrior and Vigilant Guardian are linked exercises run in conjunction with Global Guardian.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/dod/sustain/document.html#Exercises

6:15 PM  

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