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

Vice President Dick Cheney was in control of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on September 11, 2001. He had the power – and used it – to prevent NORAD from stopping the hijacked planes0 .

Background

The claim is made by the prominent American radio host and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones1.

Mike Ruppert, founder and editor of the website “From the Wilderness”, which often deals with conspiracy theories, has stated a similar claim in his book “Crossing the Rubicon”:

This press release was issued May 8, 2001, about a month prior to the change in NORAD’s intercept protocols. While a bit vague in some areas, it does establish certain things. Dick Cheney was charged to oversee the creation of an approach that was “seamlessly integrated and harmonious.” He was also placed in a supervisory management role over the activities of the entire effort, which were operational under FEMA’s supreme command. “Planning and training” were specifically addressed so this would automatically include war game exercises like Tripod II and all the NORAD/Joint Chiefs wargames of 9/11: Vigilant Guardian, Vigilant Warrior, Northern Vigilance, etc.2

Michael Kane has written about “Crossing the Rubicon”:

On May 8, 2001 – four months prior to 9/11 – the president placed Dick Cheney in charge of “[A]ll federal programs dealing with weapons of mass destruction consequence management within the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies…” This included all “training and planning” which needed to be “seamlessly integrated, harmonious and comprehensive” in order to “maximize effectiveness.” This mandate created the Office of National Preparedness in FEMA, overseen by Dick Cheney. 15 Dick Cheney was placed directly in charge of managing the seamless integration of all training exercises throughout the entire federal government and all military agencies. On 9/11 Cheney oversaw multiple war games and terror drills, including several exercises of NORAD, the Air Force agency whose mandate is to “watch the sky.”3

Facts

NORAD
Prior to September 11, 2001, the primary task of NORAD was surveillance of the airspace outside the United States and Canada to intercept and identify missiles and bomber planes on their way to American and Canadian air space, primarily from the Soviet Union and later Russia4.

NORAD was not tasked with surveillance of the American and Canadian civilian air space. Even the international part of civilian aviation was considered a threat and was therefore not included in NORAD’s directives.

This was changed after the terror attack on September 11, 2001:

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the AWC’s mission of Aerospace Warning and Aerospace Control has expanded to include the interior airspace of North America.5

Furthermore, the American aviation authorities, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), were in charge of contacting NORAD in the event of a hijacking. NORAD was only authorized to send up fighter jets to escort the hijacked plane to a safe landing at an airport as stated in FAA directive 7610 at that time:

7.1.4 Control responsibilities for U.S. Airspace

  1. When hijacked aircraft is within FAA radar coverage, escort aircraft shall be controlled by the appropriate FAA facility.
  2. When a hijacked aircraft is not within FAA radar coverage but within military radar coverage, escort aircraft may be controlled by the military for the escort phase only.
  3. When escort aircraft are under military control, separation between the escort aircraft/hijacked aircraft and other IFR traffic is the responsibility of the FAA. Separation shall be provided through the application of appropriate altitude reservations as required.
  4. When escort aircraft is under FAA control, standard air traffic control separation shall be applied. In no case shall any clearance or instruction to the aircraft compromise ATC standards.
  5. When tanker aircraft are employed, the designated tankers and escort aircraft shall be under FAA control, and appropriate aerial refueling procedures shall apply.6

Office of National Preparedness
Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal agency for natural disasters and man-made catastrophes (FEMA). FEMA handled the response to the hurricane Katrina in 2004 and the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf in 2010.
In 2001, FEMA was headed by Joe Allbaugh. In May that year, he was appointed to lead the new Office of National Preparedness directly under Vice President Dick Cheney:

Therefore, I have asked Vice President Cheney to oversee the development of a coordinated national effort so that we may do the very best possible job of protecting our people from catastrophic harm. I have also asked Joe Allbaugh, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to create an Office of National Preparedness. This Office will be responsible for implementing the results of those parts of the national effort overseen by Vice President Cheney that deal with consequence management. Specifically it will coordinate all Federal programs dealing with weapons of mass destruction consequence management within the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. The Office of National Preparedness will work closely with state and local governments to ensure their planning, training, and equipment needs are addressed. FEMA will also work closely with the Department of Justice, in its lead role for crisis management, to ensure that all facets of our response to the threat from weapons of mass destruction are coordinated and cohesive. I will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.7

This new agency was intended as a government response to catastrophes. There is nothing in the announcement that even hints at NORAD being involved in any way. NORAD is a military organization, where FEMA is a public adminitrative organization.

Logic

A scenario where the Vice President is giving orders to NORAD in a crisis situation not to prevent a terror attack is completely removed from reality. The President, and in special situation, the Vice President, give orders to the top level of generals. The Vice President does not call, and has not called, radar operators directly to say “This is Dick Cheney, I am hereby ordering you not to intervene with the hijacked planes.” Such a scenario belongs in pulp fiction and Hollywood B-movies, not in the real world.

It is in conflict with the alleged purpose of the conspiracy that the FAA would contact NORAD, if FAA’s directive would be annulled.

It is self-contradicting that Dick Cheney should have ordered the military not to intervene with regard to three of the planes, Flight 11, Flight 175, and Flight 77, if, as is also claimed by conspiracy theorists, the military was ordered to scramble fighter jets to intercept the fourth plane Flight 93 and shoot it down8.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Without witnesses
  • Undocumented
  • Self-contradicting

Sources

  1. Wargames Were Cover For the Operational Execution of 9/11, Alex Jones og Paul Joseph Watson, opdateret 20 september 2004, PrisonPlanet.com:

    “In May of 2001, by presidential order, Cheney was handed direct control of all wargame and drill operations. This meant he was solely in charge of the overlapping NORAD drills and wargames on the morning of 9/11, that prevented Standard Operating Procedure from being implemented, and any of the hijacked planes being intercepted.”

  2. Alex Jones, Wikipedia.
  3. Crossing the Rubicon, Mike Ruppert, side 414
  4. Crossing the Rubicon, Simplifying the case against Dick Cheney, Michael Kane
  5. NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command
  6. FAA Order 7610: Escort of hijacked aircraft
  7. NORAD, Air Warning Center
  8. National Communications System Volume IV, Number 7
  9. Flight 93 was shot down

Q & A