Prelude 9/11 morning Flight 11 hijacked Flight 175 hijacked WTC 1 hit Flight 77 hijacked WTC 2 hit Flight 93 hijacked Pentagon hit WTC 2 collapses Flight 93 crashes WTC 1 collapses WTC 7 collapses Epilogue

Claim

A “stand down” order was issued which meant that the U.S. Airforce was not to shoot down the hijacked planes0.

Background

The claim is used together with another claim, namely that then Vice President Dick Cheney allegedly first had ursurped power over the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which is the combined military organization that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for North America and then used that power to issue a so-called “stand down” order. This meant that the U.S. Airforce was forbidden to take to the air in an attempt to stop the hijacked planes, either by forcing the planes to land or, as a last resort, to shoot them down. Thus, Dick Cheney must be one of those directly responsible for the terror attack which must be a so-called “inside job”.

The ensuing investigation revealed that the United States Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, who, together with Dick Cheney, had been escorted to “The Presidential Emergency Operation Center” (PEOC) at the White House shortly before the Pentagon was attacked. At that time, Dick Cheney was commander in chief. Mineta was later questioned by the 9/11 Commission, on May 23, 2003:

“During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, “The plane is 50 miles out”. “The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to “the plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the Vice President, “Do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”

Based on this, it is claimed that Norman Mineta is talking about a “stand down” order0.

Facts

Up to September 11, 2001, the task of NORAD was to keep the airspace outside North America under surveillance to detect possible nuclear attacks, primarily from the Soviet Union/Russia. After the terror attack, NORAD was also to keep the airspace inside North America under surveillance.

If the whole testimony is considered1, and not merely a brief quote, it becomes clear that the opposite is the case, namely that Mineta is talking about a “shoot down” order that was issued by President George W. Bush when it became clear that a terror attack on the United States was underway. It was this order that Cheney followed.

MR. KEAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. When you were being prepared in the sense of preparing yourself to take your role in the Cabinet, were you briefed in any way, or what part of the possibility of terrorism occurring was part of your preparation? I mean, as you’ve looked at all the vast things you have to understand for your position, was the possibility of terrorism and what you might have to do in the result of terrorism a large part of that briefing, a small part of that briefing?
MR. MINETA: The nature of what was happening in the civil aviation industry in the United States at that time did not put terrorism high on the list of priorities. We were still dealing with the whole issue of delays, of congestion, of capacity issues, and so terrorism was really not something that I was prepared to deal with except as it came up on that tragic day.
MR. KEAN: So you had to improvise, in a sense, based on what was happening and the news reports you were getting.
MR. MINETA: Absolutely. And in terms of what motivated me to bring all the aircraft down, as you see one thing happen, that’s an accident. When you see two of the same thing occur, it’s a pattern. But when you see three of the same thing occur, it’s a program. And so at that point I decided to bring all the aircraft down. …
MR. HAMILTON: We thank you for that. I wanted to focus just a moment on the Presidential Emergency Operating Center. You were there for a good part of the day. I think you were there with the vice president. And when you had that order given, I think it was by the president, that authorized the shooting down of commercial aircraft that were suspected to be controlled by terrorists, were you there when that order was given?
MR. MINETA: No, I was not. I was made aware of it during the time that the airplane coming into the Pentagon. There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, “The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to, “The plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the vice president, “Do the orders still stand?” And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?” Well, at the time I didn’t know what all that meant. And —
MR. HAMILTON: The flight you’re referring to is the —
MR. MINETA: The flight that came into the Pentagon.
MR. HAMILTON: The Pentagon, yeah.
MR. MINETA: And so I was not aware that that discussion had already taken place. But in listening to the conversation between the young man and the vice president, then at the time I didn’t really recognize the significance of that. And then later I heard of the fact that the airplanes had been scrambled from Langley to come up to DC, but those planes were still about 10 minutes away. And so then, at the time we heard about the airplane that went into Pennsylvania, then I thought, “Oh, my God, did we shoot it down?” And then we had to, with the vice president, go through the Pentagon to check that out.
MR. HAMILTON: Let me see if I understand. The plane that was headed toward the Pentagon and was some miles away, there was an order to shoot that plane down.
MR. MINETA: Well, I don’t know that specifically, but I do know that the airplanes were scrambled from Langley or from Norfolk, the Norfolk area. But I did not know about the orders specifically other than listening to that other conversation.
MR. HAMILTON: But there very clearly was an order to shoot commercial aircraft down.
MR. MINETA: Subsequently I found that out.

Norman Mineta is not quite clear on what precisely the order is but finds out later that it is a “shoot down” order.

Logic

If there had been a “stand down” order, it would mean that the planes were hijacked and that al Qaeda was carrying out their planned terror attack. The claim is thus self-contradictory, since the terror attack can no longer be an “inside job”.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Undocumented
  • Self-contradicting

Sources

  1. National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States, Public Hearing, Friday, May 23, 2003

Q & A