9-11 Commission Report Tidbits

Note: This post will be updated throughout the day. Keep checking back.

Rich Lowry at The Corner notes that Richard Clarke “outed” a camp where we expected to be able to target Osama bin Laden. From the Commission report:

“Even after bin Laden’s departure from the area, CIA officers hoped he might return, seeing the camp as a magnet that could draw him for as long as it was still set up. The military maintained readiness for another strike opportunity. On March 7, 1999, Clarke called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and bin Laden. Clarke later wrote in a memorandum of this conversation that the call had been approved at an interagency meeting and cleared with the CIA. When the former bin Laden unit chief found out about Clarke’s call, he questioned CIA officials, who denied having given such clearance. Imagery confirmed that less than a week after Clarke’s phone call the camp was hurriedly dismantled, and the site was deserted. CIA officers, including Deputy Director for Operations Pavitt, were irate. ‘Mike’ thought the dismantling of the camp erased a possible site for targeting bin Laden.”

There are plenty more nuggets being served up at The Corner this afternoon.

Opportunity Missed

Given what we know about the United Flight 93, it’s too bad this never came to pass [Page 25]:

At 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried to call his wife, Julie. He left a message on their home answering machine that the plane had been hijacked. He then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.

… At 9:03:11, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

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Where Where The Military Fighter Jets?

Scrambled with no targets and no chance [Page 37]:

F-15 fighters were scrambled at 8:46 from Otis Air Force Base. But NEADS did not know where to send the alert fighter aircraft, and the officer directing the fighters pressed for more information: “I don’t know where I’m scrambling these guys to. I need a direction, a destination.”

…In summary, NEADS received notice of the hijacking nine minutes before it struck the North Tower. That nine minutes’ notice before impact was the most the military would receive of any of the four hijackings.

Thus the military did not have 14 minutes to respond to American 77, as testimony to the Commission in May 2003 suggested. It had at most one or two minutes to react to the unidentified plane approaching Washington, and the fighters were in the wrong place to be able to help.They had been responding to a report about an aircraft that did not exist.

Nor did the military have 47 minutes to respond to United 93, as would be implied by the account that it received notice of the flight’s hijacking at 9:16. By the time the military learned about the flight, it had crashed.

Other Takes

Jeff Goldstein calls the coverage of the reports conclusions “some sort of crazy Rorschach test for the politically motivated”, then gives links to prove it.

James Joyner notes that the report indicates – no FBI shake up needed.

Powerline notes a story about the ever truthful Sandy Berger.

Get Your Copy

We’ve got a roundup of links to mirror sites serving up the report here.

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9-11 Commission Report Download Links