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paulthompson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-04 06:11 AM
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The Rumsfeld and Myers 9/11 mystery
There has been some discussion on this board lately about where Rumsfeld was during the 9/11 attacks. I've put together some new timeline entries on this, which will go into the next update. A lot of thanks go to things I've found on this board. I've also added Myers to this, since he's AWOL much of the morning too.

Anyone have anything to add or disagree with about the below? No matter how you slice it, there's a whole lot of lying going on. It's just a question of who's wrong.

(Before 8:46 a.m.) Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Representative Christopher Cox (R) are meeting in Rumsfeld's private Pentagon dining room, discussing missile defense. Rumsfeld later recalls, "I had said at an 8:00 o'clock breakfast that sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve months there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people again how important it is to have a strong healthy defense department that contributes to -- That underpins peace and stability in our world." (CNN, 12/5/01) Wolfowitz recalls, "And we commented to them that based on what Rumsfeld and I had both seen and worked on the Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, that we were probably in for some nasty surprises over the next ten years." (Defense Department, 5/9/03) There are confused accounts that Rumsfeld says "I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event" just before the Pentagon is hit by Flight 77, but such comments may have been made around this time instead (see (Before 9:38 a.m.)). Rumsfeld says, "And someone walked in and handed a note that said that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. And we adjourned the meeting, and I went in to get my CIA briefing ... right next door here (in my office)." (CNN, 12/5/01)

(After 8:48 a.m.) Air Force General Richard Myers, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sees the first WTC crash on television. Myers is acting Chairman of the US military during the 9/11 crisis because Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Henry Shelton is flying in a plane across the Atlantic. (ABC News, 9/11/02) He sees the TV in an outer office of Senator Max Cleland (D), but he says, "They thought it was a small plane or something like that," so he goes ahead and meets with Cleland. He says "nobody informed us" about the second WTC crash, and remains oblivious that there is an emergency, only leaving the meeting with Cleland right as the Pentagon explosion takes place at 9:38. Then he speaks to General Ralph Eberhart. (AFPS, 10/23/01) Yet, in testimony on September 13, 2001, he states, "after the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was at that point to start launching aircraft." (Myers Confirmation Testimony, 9/13/01) NORAD claims the first fighters are scrambled even before the first WTC hit. (NORAD, 9/18/01) In his 2004 testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Myers' account changes again. He says that he gets a call from Eberhart, and then "shortly thereafter that the Pentagon was hit as we were on our way back to the Pentagon." (Independent Commission, 6/17/04 (B)) Myers' claim that he is out of the loop contradicts not only his previous account but also counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke's account of what Myers does that day. Clarke has Myers taking part in a video conference from about 9:10 until after 10:00 (see (9:10 a.m.), 9:28 a.m., (Between 9:45 - 9:55 a.m.), and (After 10:06 a.m.)). If Myers is not involved in this conference, then his whereabouts and actions remain unknown until traveling to the Pentagon and showing up at the NMCC around 10:30 (see (Before 10:30 a.m.) and (10:30 a.m.)).

(After 9:03 a.m.) Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has recently left a meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (see (Before 8:46 a.m.)). Wolfowitz later recalls, "We were having a meeting in my office. Someone said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Then we turned on the television and we started seeing the shots of the second plane hitting, and this is the way I remember it. It's a little fuzzy. ... There didn't seem to be much to do about it immediately and we went on with whatever the meeting was." (Defense Department, 5/9/03) Rumsfeld recalls, "I was in my office with a CIA briefer and I was told that a second plane had hit the other tower." (Independent Commission, 3/23/04) Assistant Defense Secretary Torie Clarke recalls, "A couple of us had gone into the secretary's office, Secretary Rumsfeld's office, to alert him to that, tell him that the crisis management process was starting up. He wanted to make a few phone calls. So a few of us headed across the hallway to an area called the National Military Command Center (around 200 feet away). He stayed in his office." (Defense Department, 9/15/01 (B))

(9:10 a.m.) Roughly at this time, Counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke reaches the Secure Video Conferencing Center next to the Situation Room in the West Wing of the White House. From there, he directs the response to the 9/11 attacks and stays in contact with other top officials through video links. On video are Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, CIA Director Tenet, FBI Director Mueller, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson (filling in for the traveling Attorney General Ashcroft), Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (filling in for the traveling Secretary of State Powell), and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers (filling in for the traveling Chairman Henry Shelton). National Security Advisor Rice is with Clarke, but she lets Clarke run the crisis response, deferring to his longer experience on terrorism matters. Clarke is also told by an aide, "We're on the line with NORAD, on an air threat conference call." (Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, pp. 2-4, Australian, 3/27/04) The 9/11 Commission acknowledges the existence of this conference, but only gives it one sentence in a staff report about the day of 9/11: "The White House Situation Room initiated a video teleconference, chaired by Richard Clarke. While important, it had no immediate effect on the emergency defense efforts." (Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04) Yet, as the Washington Post puts it, "everyone seems to agree" Clarke is the chief crisis manager on 9/11. (Washington Post, 3/28/04 (B)) Even his later opponent, National Security Advisor Rice, calls him 9/11's "crisis management guy." (UPI, 4/10/04) The conference is where the government's emergency defense efforts are concentrated (see for instance (Between 9:15 - 9:25 a.m.), 9:28 a.m., (9:30 a.m.), and (Between 9:38 - 9:45 a.m.)).

(Before 9:38 a.m.) Representative Christopher Cox later claims he is still meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. They are still discussing missile defense, apparently completely oblivious of the approaching Flight 77. Watching television coverage from New York City, Rumsfeld says to Cox, "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us." According to the Telegraph, Flight 77 hits the building "moments later." (Telegraph, 12/16/01) In another telling, Cox claims that Rumsfeld says, "If we remain vulnerable to missile attack, a terrorist group or rogue state that demonstrates the capacity to strike the US or its allies from long range could have the power to hold our entire country hostage to nuclear or other blackmail. And let me tell you, I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event." Rumsfeld repeats that sentence for emphasis. According to Cox, "Within minutes of that utterance, Rumsfeld's words proved tragically prophetic." Cox also claims, "I escaped just minutes before the building was hit." (Rep. Cox Statement, 9/11/01) However, Rumsfeld claims that this meeting with Cox ended before the second WTC crash (see (After 9:03 a.m.)). Cox himself said that after being told of the WTC, "(Rumsfeld) sped off, as did I." Cox says he immediately headed to his car, making it impossible for him to still be in the Pentagon "just minutes before" it is hit. (AP, 9/11/01) Another account puts Rumsfeld's "I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event" comment two minutes before the first WTC crash, when Rumsfeld supposedly makes other predictive comments (see (Before 8:46 a.m.)). (AP, 9/16/01 (C))

(9:38 a.m.) There are conflicting accounts of what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld does in the 35 minutes between the second WTC crash (see (After 9:03 a.m.)) and the Pentagon crash. In his 9/11 Commission testimony, he covers the time with a "shortly thereafter:" "I was in my office with a CIA briefer and I was told that a second plane had hit the other tower. Shortly thereafter, at 9:38, the Pentagon shook with an explosion of then unknown origin." (Independent Commission, 3/23/04) In the book Bush at War, Bob Woodward writes, "Aware of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Rumsfeld had been proceeding with his daily intelligence briefing in his office" when the Pentagon gets hit. (Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, 11/02 , p. 22.) However, according to counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke, Rumsfeld joins a video conference shortly after the second WTC hit (see (9:10 a.m.)) and stays with the conference, apparently from his office. After being told the Pentagon has been hit, Clarke says, "I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn't get hit" (see (Between 9:38 - 9:45 a.m.)). The military response to the 9/11 crisis is being coordinated in the NMCC, apparently located only around 200 feet away, directly below Rumsfeld's office. (Defense Department, 9/15/01 (B), Reuters, 9/11/01) At 9:39, Captain Charles Leidig, a low ranking officer temporarily in charge of the NMCC, is handling a crisis teleconference. He mentions reports of a crash into the opposite side of the Pentagon, and requests that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld be added to the conference. (Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04) As one magazine has noted, "On Sept. 11, the normal scramble-approval procedure was for an FAA official to contact the (NMCC) and request Pentagon air support. Someone in the NMCC would call NORAD's command center and ask about availability of aircraft, then seek approval from the Defense Secretary - Donald H. Rumsfeld - to launch fighters." (Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02) But rather than join the NMCC conference, Rumsfeld goes out of the Pentagon to see the crash site, and remains out of contact for some time (see (After 9:38 a.m.) and (10:30 a.m.)).

(After 9:38 a.m.) By all accounts, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is in his Pentagon office when Flight 77 crashes, though accounts differ as to what he's doing there (see (9:38 a.m.)). Rumsfeld later relates what he does next: "I was sitting here and the building was struck, and you could feel the impact of it very clearly, and I don't know what made me do anything I did, to be honest with you. I just do it instinctive. I looked out the window, saw nothing here, and then went down the hall until the smoke was too bad, then to a stairwell down and went outside and saw what had happened. Asked a person who'd seen it, and he told me that a plane had flown into it. I had been aware of a plane going into the World Trade Center, and I saw people on the grass, and we just, we tried to put them in stretchers and then move them out across the grass towards the road and lifted them over a jersey wall so the people on that side could stick them into the ambulances. I was out there for awhile, and then people started gathering, and we were able to get other people to do that, to hold IVs for people. There were people lying on the grass with clothes blown off and burns all over them. Then at some moment I decided I should be in here figuring out what to do, because your brain begins to connect things, and there were enough people there to worry about that. I came back in here, came into this office. There was smoke in here by then." (Defense Department, 10/12/01) Versions of this story appear elsewhere. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/12/01, CNN, 12/5/01, ABC News, 9/11/02, Defense Department, 5/9/03) Rumsfeld says the crash site is "around the corner" from his fourth floor office (ABC News, 9/11/02) , but it fact it is on the opposite site of the huge Pentagon. (Reuters, 9/11/01) Rumsfeld says he reaches the crash site "moments after" the crash, which would be an impressive feat given the over 1000 feet distance. (Independent Commission, 3/23/04) One report even has Rumsfeld pull budget analyst Paul Gonzalez to safety from the burning wreckage. (Telegraph, 9/16/01 (B)) However, Gonzalez later offers his own detailed recollections of pulling other people to safety which fail to involve Rumsfeld in any way. (Washington Post, 3/11/02) Assistant Defense Secretary Torie Clarke, in the Pentagon at the time, says Rumsfeld is "one of the first people" outside (Defense Department, 9/15/01 (C)), and has him outside for "about half an hour." (Defense Department, 9/15/01 (B)) A Pentagon spokesman has Rumsfeld helping for "15 minutes or so..." (Reuters, 9/11/01) In another account, he loads the wounded onto stretchers for 15 minutes. (Scripps Howard News, 9/11/01) Rumsfeld supposedly helps at the crash site until a security agent urges him to leave. (Washington Post, 1/27/02) But in his 2004 testimony to the 9/11 Commission, he no longer mentions helping the wounded, merely saying, "I went outside to determine what had happened. I was not there long because I was back in the Pentagon with a crisis action team shortly before or after 10:00 a.m." (Independent Commission, 3/23/04) But there are no photographs or eyewitness accounts of Rumsfeld outside the Pentagon that morning, except for one photograph of him walking down a sidewalk with some aides. In counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke's account, Rumsfeld never leaves a video conference for very long, except to move from one secure teleconferencing studio to another elsewhere in the Pentagon. (Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, pp. 8-9)

9:46 a.m. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office and acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Myers' office report to the NMCC teleconference that they are still trying to track down Rumsfeld and Myers, respectively, and bring them into the conference. (Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04) Rumsfeld is apparently outside the Pentagon looking at the Flight 77 crash site, though Richard Clarke suggests Rumsfeld is elsewhere in the Pentagon for much of the time (see (After 9:38 a.m.)). Myers' whereabouts in the period after the Pentagon crash have not been fully explained (see (Before 10:30 a.m.)). Rumsfeld and Myers don't enter the NMCC until about 10:30 (see (10:30 a.m.)).

(Between 10:00 - 10:30 a.m.) In Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's testimony before the 9/11 Commission, he states that he returns from the Pentagon crash site "by shortly before or after 10:00 a.m." (see (After 9:38 a.m.)). Then he has "one or more calls in my office, one of which was with the president." (Independent Commission, 6/17/04 (B)) According to the 9/11 Commission, the call with Bush has little impact: "No one can recall any content beyond a general request to alert forces." The possibility of shooting down hijacked planes is not mentioned. (Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04) Then Rumsfeld goes to the Executive Support Center before finally entering the NMCC (see (10:30 a.m.)). Acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers repeats all these details. (Independent Commission, 6/17/04 (B)) The Executive Support Center has secure video facilities (Washington Times, 2/23/04), so Rumsfeld it is possible Rumsfeld joins or rejoins the video conference that Richard Clarke claims Rumsfeld is a part of much of the morning (see (After 9:03 a.m.) and (Before 9:38 a.m.)

(10:10 a.m.) All US military forces are ordered to Defcon Three (or Defcon Delta), "The highest alert for the nuclear arsenal in 30 years." (ABC News, 9/11/02) (10:10, ABC News, 9/11/02, 10:10, CNN, 9/4/02, Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, p. 15, 12:00, Telegraph, 12/16/01) Rumsfeld claims that he makes the recommendation, but it is hard to see how he can do this, as he says he discusses it with acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers in the NMCC first, and neither of them arrive there until about 10:30 (see (10:30 a.m.)). (Independent Commission, 3/23/04) One media account has the command implemented after 10:30, but the massive blast doors to US Strategic Command, headquarters for NORAD in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, are closed for the first time in response to this command at 10:15. (BBC, 9/1/02, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02) In another account, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers gives the Defcon order by himself. But President Bush has also said he gives the order. (Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04)

(Before 10:30 a.m.) Acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers enters the NMCC, though exactly when this happens isn't clear. He was on Capitol Hill, in the offices of Senator Max Cleland (D), and counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke claims Myers takes part in a video conference for much of the morning (see (After 8:48 a.m.)). Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who enters the NMCC around 10:30, claims that as he entered, Myers "had just returned from Capitol Hill." (Defense Department, 3/23/04) In Myers' testimony before the 9/11 Commission, he fails to mention where he was or what he was doing from the time of the Pentagon crash until about 10:30, except to say, "I went back to my duty station. And we - what we started doing at that time was to say, 'OK, we've had these attacks. Obviously they're hostile acts. Not sure at that point who perpetrated them.'" (Independent Commission, 6/17/04 (B))

(10:30 a.m.) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld finally enters the Pentagon's National Military Command Center (NMCC), where the military's response to the 9/11 attacks is being coordinated. (shortly before 10:30, Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04, 10:30, CNN, 9/4/02) Rumsfeld later claims that he only begins to gain a situational awareness of what's happening after arriving at the NMCC. (Independent Commission Report, 6/17/04) Rumsfeld was in his office only 200 feet away from the NMCC until the Pentagon crash; what he does there during that time is disputed (see ). He then went outside to the Flight 77 crash site (see (9:38 a.m.) and (After 9:38 a.m.)) and then stayed elsewhere in the Pentagon (see (Between 10:00 - 10:30 a.m.)). Brigadier General Montague Winfield later says, "For 30 minutes we couldn't find him. And just as we began to worry, he walked into the door of the National Military Command Center." (ABC News, 9/11/02) Winfield himself apparently only shows up at the NMCC around 10:30 as well (see 8:30 a.m.).
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gandalf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-04 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks, Paul
for your ongoing research.

I will read it later in the train...
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hedda_foil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-04 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bless you, Paul, for your incredible work.
And for giving DU props for helping your research.
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-04 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
3. kicking
Let's get something real to the top of this board. Good work as usual.
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demodewd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-04 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. boo hoo
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-04 01:44 PM
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4. MegaKickoes
Thanks Paul. This is important,
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