Friday, April 27, 2007
The four lies of Norman Mineta
The first lie of Mineta is that Cheney was in the PEOC as early as 9:25. Evidence against:
- White House transcript
- White House notes
- White House record, PEOC Shelter Log, Sept. 11, 2001
- USSS report, "Executive Summary: U.S. Secret Service Timeline of Events" Oct. 3, 2001
- USSS memo, OVP 9/11 Timeline, Nov. 17, 2001
- Statement of Dick Cheney
- Statement of Lynne Cheney
The second lie of Mineta is that he himself was in the PEOC at 9:20 already. Evidence against:
- The implausible narrow timeline for his actions between 9:03 and 9:20
- His phone call out of his car to Richard Clarke, which occurred at about the same time he allegedly entered the PEOC
- His own statement that he arrived at the White House when people were running out of it as well as the Old Executive Office Building, an incident that happened at 9:40~9:45, according to all sources (CNN, Richard Clarke, Bob Woodward)
The third lie of Mineta is that the FAA - which he had an open line to during his time in the PEOC - was tracking Flight 77 since 9:25. Evidence against: There is not one single person, neither in the FAA nor somewhere else, who knew Flight 77's position at 9:25.
- The controllers of Washington Center didn't know where it was at 9:25 - here's a dialogue between a FAA controller from Washington Center and a NEADS technician:
WASHINGTON CENTER: Now, let me tell you this. I—I'll—we've been looking. We're—also lost American 77—
WATSON: American 77?
DOOLEY: American 77's lost—
WATSON: Where was it proposed to head, sir?
WASHINGTON CENTER: Okay, he was going to L.A. also—
WATSON: From where, sir?
WASHINGTON CENTER: I think he was from Boston also. Now let me tell you this story here. Indianapolis Center was working this guy—
WATSON: What guy?
WASHINGTON CENTER: American 77, at flight level 3-5-0 [35,000 feet]. However, they lost radar with him. They lost contact with him. They lost everything. And they don't have any idea where he is or what happened.
- FAA headquarters didn't know where it was at 9:25:
The center also contacted the West Virginia State Police and asked whether any reports of a downed aircraft had been received. At 9:09, it reported the loss of contact ((to Flight 77)) to the FAA regional center, which passed this information to FAA headquarters at 9:24.
Source: 911 Commission Report.
- Nobody else in the FAA knew where it was at 9:25:
We have reviewed all FAA documents, transcripts, and tape recordings related to American 77 and have found no evidence that FAA headquarters issued a directive to surrounding centers to search for primary radar targets. Review of the same materials also indicates that no one within FAA located American 77 until the aircraft was identified by Dulles controllers at 9:32.
Source: 911 Commission Report.
- The Secret Service, who was directly linked to the FAA radar data with an own display, didn't know where it was at 9:25. They learned about an incoming plane the first time at 9:33 - after being alarmed by Dulles TRACON controllers - causing them to order an immediate and quick evacuation of the White House.
Sources: 911 Commission Report, Richard Clarke "Against all Enemies"
The fourth lie of Mineta is that he issued the general order to all planes to land at the nearest airport while he was in the PEOC. Evidence against: The order was submitted to the pilots at 9:45. According to Don Phillips, a Washington Post reporter, aviation specialist and FAA insider, the order was given by FAA hadquarters, very probably Monte Belger, because they couldn't reach Mineta to ask him for authorization.
According to insiders, that honor belongs to Monte Belger, at the time the No. 2 official at the FAA. A precise, diligent career bureaucrat known among colleagues as "the Forrest Gump of the FAA," Belger was on a phone bridge with controllers at the David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va., and ordered flights grounded 15 minutes before Mineta was even notified of the attacks. So, when the secretary issued his blunt order—"Monte, bring all the planes down!"—Monte had already done so.
FAA officials and beat reporters have known this for months. "Any clued-in transportation reporter knows what went on that day," says one. But Mineta apparently does not. After he gave his congressional testimony, FAA officials, including Belger, who is a consummate team player, kept quiet in deference to their boss. Though beat reporters knew the truth as long ago as November, none came forward for fear of being frozen out.
Until last Tuesday, when, at the end of a speech before the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., the Washington Post's veteran transportation reporter Don Phillips let the cat out of the bag. Phillips told his audience he felt it necessary to make a "historical correction," although FAA officials had begged him to maintain the fiction. Phillips proposed, charitably, that Mineta's order was a simple misunderstanding; that the secretary was unaware that "[f]or at least 15 minutes before Mineta's conversation with the FAA, controllers were bringing the planes down ... at the nearest airport." Phillips continued:
I'm told by very high sources that it happened this way: First, the decision was made on a regional basis by some gutsy local FAA officials, and the FAA command center and headquarters officials agreed that it should be spread to the whole country. First, [the FAA] acted. Then they sought permission. A top FAA official ... then called Mineta, finding him in a bunker with the vice president and other officials. He explained the plan, and Mineta agreed.
Then there was a pause in the conversation. You know what many of us do when there is a pause in the conversation. We try to fill the dead time. The FAA official, unfortunately said something like, "Of course we could have let them go on to their destinations, or ..." Big mistake. Norm heard that throwaway line as saying the FAA was still considering letting them go on to destination. He then fired off his now-famous order.
So it took the FAA more than 15 minutes before they detected him in the PEOC and informed him about the order. But according to Mineta, while he was in the PEOC, he was in contact with Belger since 9:25 (if not earlier). Why did Belger not ask him for authorization at 9:45, why did he have to search for him?
The last article - "The Mineta Myth" - suggests that Mineta liked to swagger a little bit about his role in the attacks. But the similarity of his testimonial account and the incidents inside the PEOC as described in the 911 Commission Report (Chapter I.3, Section "United 93 and the Shootdown Order") is striking and show that he didn't fabricate a story out of the blue. Only his times and the identity of the plane were false.
The next blog entry will deal with the real identity of the plane that Mineta was talking about.