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New at the 9/11 Timeline: Myers During the Attacks and More

 
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Shoestring
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:13 am    Post subject: Time-Waster in Chief: Richard Myers on 9/11 Reply with quote

Here is my new blog entry in which I examine the suspicious behavior of General Richard Myers, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the 9/11 attacks. Because General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was out of the country when the terrorist attacks occurred, Myers was the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. at this critical time. And yet he took no action in response to the crisis until well after the attacks ended. At times, he actually appeared to be deliberately time-wasting, thereby avoiding doing anything to protect the nation.

You can read the original article, with links to sources, on my blog, here: http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2020/12/time-waster-in-chief-general -richard.html

Time-Waster in Chief: General Richard Myers, the Highest-Ranking Military Officer in the U.S. During the 9/11 Attacks

General Richard Myers was the highest-ranking military officer in the country when America came under terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and yet he appears to have done nothing that would have helped protect the nation while the attacks took place.

Myers was, in September 2001, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--the second-highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military. However, when the 9/11 attacks occurred, General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was out of the country and so Myers was the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and took on the chairman's responsibilities until Shelton returned to the United States late in the afternoon of September 11.

Despite learning of the two plane crashes at the World Trade Center and the crash at the Pentagon shortly after they occurred, Myers did nothing of particular value in response to the attacks while they were taking place. His poor performance continued in the hours following the attacks and the few things he did that might have helped protect America from terrorists came well after the attacks ended, too late to influence the outcome of the crisis. Furthermore, he appears to have been, at times, deliberately time-wasting, engaging in unnecessary activities and thereby avoiding doing anything helpful.

Myers was on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, for a 9:00 a.m. meeting with a senator when he learned of the first crash from television. He was less than five miles from the Pentagon, which was where he ideally needed to be to respond to the crisis, and yet he only headed there after 9:37 a.m., shortly after the Pentagon was attacked and more than 50 minutes after the first attack on the World Trade Center.

He made no decisions and took no action between 9:03 a.m., when the second hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center, and 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was struck, even though he could easily have done so during this period when he talked over the phone with his executive assistant at the Pentagon and the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado.

He only reached the Pentagon's National Military Command Center (NMCC)--which he described as his "battle station when things are happening"--close to 10:00 a.m., only minutes before United Airlines Flight 93--the fourth and final plane hijacked that day--crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and the attacks were therefore over. Then, almost immediately after arriving at the NMCC, he abandoned his post, wandering off to search for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He was apparently away from the NMCC for close to 18 minutes while he carried out this needless task.

No attempt has been made to explain Myers's poor response to the 9/11 attacks. It is difficult to attribute the vice chairman's behavior to incompetence, though. Myers had decades of experience in the U.S. Air Force and had held a number of senior posts in the military. Notably, immediately before being appointed vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was commander in chief of NORAD. Since NORAD is the military organization responsible for monitoring and defending U.S. airspace, this role surely provided him with the ideal experience to respond effectively to attacks from the air, like those that took place on September 11.

We therefore need to consider if there were more sinister reasons for Myers's behavior. Did Myers perhaps have foreknowledge of what was going to happen on September 11? Were his inaction, time-wasting, and other failures intentional, carried out because he wanted the terrorist attacks to succeed? Was he trying to impair the U.S. military's response to the crisis so the attacks would progress unimpeded?

Could Myers have even been involved with planning 9/11? If so, he could have carefully prepared to act with negligence when the attacks took place.

MYERS WAS ACTING CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS ON SEPTEMBER 11
Richard Myers, an Air Force veteran and former fighter pilot, had been vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since March 2000. [1] Just over two weeks before 9/11, then-President George W. Bush in fact nominated him to be the nation's next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, although he would only take over that position on October 1 after being confirmed by the Senate on September 14. [2]

However, while the 9/11 attacks were taking place, he was in the position of acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This was because Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, had taken off early in the morning of September 11 to attend a NATO meeting in Europe and was consequently out of the country, flying over the Atlantic Ocean, when the attacks occurred. [3] "By law, as vice chairman, I was designated acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs during his absence," Myers noted. [4]

After his plane landed back at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, at 4:40 p.m., Shelton finally reached the NMCC at 5:40 p.m. that afternoon and was then able to resume his duties as chairman. [5] But, he noted, "Until I crossed back into United States airspace, all the decisions would be [Myers's] to make, in conjunction with Secretary [of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld and the president." [6]

As acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Myers was the nation's highest-ranking military officer, in the position of principal military adviser to the president, the secretary of defense, and the National Security Council. [7] He spent much of September 11 with Rumsfeld and consequently provided the "primary advice" to the secretary of defense throughout the day. [8]

MYERS LEARNED OF THE FIRST CRASH FROM TELEVISION
On September 11, Myers was scheduled to have a series of meetings with senators in preparation for his confirmation hearing to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 13. [9] His first meeting was to be with Georgia Senator Max Cleland at 9:00 a.m. in Cleland's office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. [10]

At 8:46 a.m., however, American Airlines Flight 11, which had been hijacked by terrorists, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and this was reported on television three minutes later, when CNN began showing video of the burning building. [11]

Myers learned of the incident as he was waiting in Cleland's outer office, prior to his meeting with the senator. He saw the coverage of what had happened on the television there and noticed text across the bottom of the TV screen stating that a plane had hit the North Tower. [12] He heard a reporter saying something like: "We think it was an airplane. We don't know if it's a big one or a little one." [13] "Must have been a light aircraft ... maybe on a sightseeing flight," he thought.

He took no action in response to the incident and proceeded into Cleland's office for his meeting. He then chatted with the senator about what had happened in New York for a short while. [14] Having noted that it was a beautiful, clear day, he wondered aloud, "How could a pilot be that stupid, to hit a tower?" [15] However, he supposedly assumed the crash was an accident and never considered that it could have been a terrorist attack. "It didn't click yet that it might have been intentional," he recalled. [16] He therefore went ahead with his meeting as if nothing unusual had occurred. [17]

SECOND HIJACKED PLANE CRASHED WHILE MYERS WAS MEETING CLELAND
But at 9:03 a.m., three minutes after the meeting began, a second hijacked aircraft, United Airlines Flight 175, crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. [18] Millions of people saw the incident live on television. Two crashes at the Twin Towers within minutes of each other could not have been a coincidence. It was now clear that America was under attack.

Meanwhile, Myers and Cleland had been discussing national security. [19] "By pure coincidence," according to the Washington Post, this included talking about terrorism. [20] They had talked about the country's need "to look at the question of terrorism and attacks on the United States," Cleland recalled. [21] "Ironically, we were discussing how best to defend the nation," he has written.

The two men learned of the second crash when they saw it on television, according to Cleland. While they were talking, Cleland's secretary, Elaine Iler, burst into the room in an agitated state and said, "You've gotta see the TV." Myers and Cleland followed her out to where the television was. "Almost as soon as we got into the room, we saw the second plane hit the tower at the World Trade Center," Cleland described. "For a moment, I thought it was a replay of the first plane hitting the tower, but it quickly became apparent there were two planes involved and neither of them was little," he added. [22]

Myers, however, recalled that he and Cleland learned of the second crash sometime after it occurred. On most occasions, he stated that they learned of it when someone interrupted their meeting and told them what had happened, rather than from seeing it on television.

On some occasions, Myers indicated that he and Cleland were notified very shortly after the crash took place. "[Cleland] had started preparing a pot of tea, but we hadn't taken a sip when a staff person came in from the outer office and informed us that the second tower had been hit," he described in 2009, in his memoir. [23] "We were about ready to get down to some serious conversation when a word came in from the outer office that they said the second tower had been hit," he told an interviewer in September that year. [24] "A couple of minutes into the meeting, one of the aides came in and said the second building had been hit," he recalled in 2011. [25] But on another occasion Myers indicated that he and Cleland may have learned of the second crash at a later time. Someone came in and alerted them to it "somewhere in the middle of that meeting," he said in 2002. [26]

However, in the first interview in which he described his experiences on September 11, five weeks after the attacks took place, Myers had contradicted these accounts, claiming that no one interrupted the meeting to alert him and Cleland to the second crash. "Nobody informed us of that, but when we came out, that was obvious," he said. [27]

Upon learning of the second crash, Myers realized this was a terrorist attack. "That's when we figured out something: that America, or at least the World Trade Center, is under attack," he recalled. [28] The crash was "no light aircraft accident, but certainly an act of unthinkable terrorist savagery," he wrote. [29]

If Myers was alerted to the second crash during his meeting with Cleland, it is unclear how long he remained with the senator after learning the extraordinary news. In his memoir, he wrote only that, after they were alerted to the second crash, he and Cleland "knew the interview was over and started out to the TV to see the South Tower erupting with smoke and flame." [30] And during a public event in 2006, he said only that the meeting "was over very quickly" after the crash occurred. [31]

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TALKED TO MYERS ABOUT THE ATTACKS
While Myers was with Cleland, sometime before 9:29 a.m., Colonel Matthew Klimow, his executive assistant, called him. Klimow, who was back at the Pentagon, had just been called by General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD, who'd said he urgently wanted to talk to Myers. [32]

Eberhart was is in his office at NORAD's headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and had realized a coordinated terrorist attack was underway when he saw the second crash on television. In response, he initially tried to contact Henry Shelton but, since the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was airborne, had been unable to reach him. He therefore tried to contact Myers instead. [33]

He called Myers's office and Klimow answered the phone. When he asked to speak to Myers, Klimow explained, "Sir, he's on Capitol Hill." "Man, it's urgent," Eberhart said. He then told Klimow, "Get hold of him, get him to a phone" and Klimow replied, "I'm on it."

Klimow then set about contacting Myers. He called the cell phone of Captain Chris Donahue, Myers's military aide, who was with the vice chairman on Capitol Hill. When Donahue answered, Klimow told him, "Chris, get the old man on the phone." Myers was apparently still in Cleland's office at the time, since Donahue asked, "Do you really want me to interrupt the senator?" "It's urgent!" Klimow exclaimed and he ordered Donahue, "Get in there!" Donahue then went and found Myers, and put him on the line.

Klimow asked the vice chairman if he was aware of what happened in New York and Myers said he had just been briefed on it by Cleland's staff. "It looks like there's a major hijacking underway and I recommend that you return to the Pentagon as soon as possible," Klimow said. He also told Myers: "NORAD needs to talk. It sounds pretty bad." He then asked, "Can you get back to the Pentagon?" "We're on our way back to the Pentagon now," Myers said. "I'll call NORAD from my sedan; I'll be there in 15 minutes," he told his executive assistant. Myers ended the call and Klimow then started preparing for his return to the Pentagon. [34]

The exact time when this call occurred is unknown. However, it apparently took place sometime before 9:29 a.m., since Klimow recalled that after he made it, he received a call inviting him to join the "significant event conference" and this conference call is known to have been convened at 9:29 a.m. [35]

NORAD COMMANDER TALKED TO MYERS
Presumably after he spoke to Klimow, Myers received a call from Eberhart. [36] Donahue approached him as he was leaving Cleland's office, and said Eberhart was on his cell phone and wanted to talk to the vice chairman. Myers then took Donahue's cell phone and spoke to the NORAD commander. [37]

The call was brief. "It was a short conversation," Myers commented. Eberhart updated Myers on what was happening and what NORAD was doing in response. He said both of the Twin Towers had been hit and there were "several hijack codes in the system." [38] He said the situation in the air was "confused" and there were "aircraft squawking that they had been hijacked." [39]

(He was referring to the fact that pilots can discretely notify authorities on the ground that their plane is being hijacked by punching a special four-digit code into the plane's transponder. However, none of the pilots of the four planes hijacked that morning did this, so it is unclear why Eberhart implied they had. [40])

Eberhart told Myers he was going to land aircraft at "the nearest suitable base" to sort things out. [41] "The decision I'm going to make is, we're going to land everybody and we'll sort it out when we get them on the ground," he said. [42]

He also told Myers that NORAD was scrambling fighter jets in response to the hijackings. [43] He would have been referring to two F-15s that were launched from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at 8:46 a.m. and three F-16s that were launched from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia at 9:24 a.m. [44] However, after hearing this, Myers did not discuss with Eberhart what "rules of engagement" the pilots of the fighters should follow.

Myers in fact said little during the call. He "mainly listened," he recalled. He told Eberhart he could not communicate with him over a cell phone, presumably because it was an unsecured line, and said he needed to get to the NMCC. [45] He said he was going to head back to the Pentagon and would talk to Eberhart again when he got there. [46]

It is unclear exactly when this call occurred. Eberhart mentioned the call when, in 2004, he spoke to the 9/11 Commission--the investigation created by Congress and the president in 2002 to examine the 9/11 attacks--about his actions on September 11, but failed to provide a specific time for it. He only placed it between when he saw the second crash on television--i.e. 9:03 a.m.--and around 9:30 a.m., when he left his office at Peterson Air Force Base to head to NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. [47] Myers has been equally unspecific. He told the 9/11 Commission only that he thought the call occurred sometime after the second crash at the World Trade Center, between 9:03 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. [48]

MYERS LEARNED OF THE PENTAGON ATTACK FROM HIS DRIVER
Myers recalled that "immediately" after the call with Eberhart ended, he set out from the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where Cleland's office was located, to return to the Pentagon. [49] As he was doing so, he learned there had been a third terrorist attack, this one at the Pentagon.

He was alerted to it by Dan Downey, his driver. Downey said: "Sir, just got a call from the office. The Pentagon's been hit." He apparently provided no further details of what had happened. [50]

Since the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m., Myers presumably learned of the attack shortly after that time. It is unclear, however, where he was and what he was doing at the time. He learned of the Pentagon attack "as we're leaving the building" on Capitol Hill, he said in an interview in 2002. [51] He told the 9/11 Commission he was notified about it "as he was getting into his car." [52] But in his memoir, he recalled being alerted to it during the drive to the Pentagon--"as we raced away from Capitol Hill." [53]

Myers promptly called Klimow to ask about what had happened at the Pentagon. Klimow told him that all the fire alarms were going off, and people were running around and shouting in the E Ring--the outermost corridor of the Pentagon. Myers asked Klimow if he was alright and Klimow said he was. He explained that the Pentagon must have been hit "on the west side of the building, near the helo pad."

He told Myers that the White House had said the combatant commanders would probably want to raise the threatcon--the terrorist threat condition--as they saw fit. He also said that "the FBI had been designated the lead civilian agency in the crisis, with the military standing by as needed if the terrorist attacks involved weapons of mass destruction," meaning chemical, biological, or radiological weapons.

Myers asked Klimow if the NMCC was up and running and Klimow said it was. "We're coming in," Myers told Klimow. "I'll be there in three minutes," he said and then instructed his executive assistant to meet him at the Pentagon's River Entrance. [54]

MYERS STOPPED TO TALK TO THE DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY
Myers's car drove across the Potomac River and subsequently pulled up outside the Pentagon. There, Myers found the steps of the River Entrance crowded with people who had evacuated and Klimow waiting calmly near the door. [55]

Myers had been thinking that he needed to "quickly get to the ... National Military Command Center." [56] And yet he did not immediately join his executive assistant and head there. Instead, he stopped to talk with Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense. [57] Wolfowitz had been evacuated from the Pentagon shortly after it was attacked and joined other Pentagon employees on the parade ground in front of the building. [58]

What the two men talked about is unknown. However, Myers soon continued on his way. He recalled that he only "stopped briefly" to talk to Wolfowitz. [59] He then grabbed Klimow by the arm, and the two men headed to the inner rings of the Pentagon and the NMCC. [60] They reached the command center by 9:58 a.m.

MYERS REACHED THE NMCC BEFORE 10:00 A.M.
The National Military Command Center is "the nerve center of the Pentagon," according to Klimow. [61] Myers described it as the U.S. military's "worldwide monitoring, crisis response center." [62] It is "a communications hub, a switchboard connecting the Pentagon, the civilian government, and the combatant commanders," he wrote.

The large Current Actions Center (CAC) within the NMCC was filled with computer cubicles, and when Myers and Klimow arrived there they found members of the armed forces at "their consoles, their telephones, and their computers, manning communication links around the world."

The two men then headed to the deputy director for operations' office--a small, windowless room located at one end of the CAC, which had several desks, a conference table, and lots of telephones. There, they found Captain Charles Leidig, the acting deputy director for operations, participating in the "air threat conference," which had been initiated by the NMCC at 9:37 a.m. and linked the command center to the White House, NORAD, and other agencies. [63]

Myers estimated that he reached the NMCC between 10:00 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. when he was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission. [64] Evidence shows, though, that he was there by 9:58 a.m. At that time, Leidig said over the air threat conference that Myers had recommended evacuating the Sears Tower in Chicago. [65] And Leidig told the 9/11 Commission he was "certain that the vice chairman was in the room" when the "Sears Tower issue" was discussed over the air threat conference. [66]

MYERS LEFT THE NMCC TO LOOK FOR RUMSFELD
Myers has acknowledged that the NMCC needed to be his command post that morning and described it as "essentially my battle station when things are happening." [67] And yet he left it soon after arriving. He decided to go all the way from the NMCC, in the basement of the Pentagon, to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, on the third floor of the E Ring, to see if he could find the secretary of defense.

He found thick smoke in the E Ring corridor and similar conditions in Rumsfeld's office suite, but no sign of Rumsfeld. [68] Rumsfeld had been in his office when the Pentagon was attacked but promptly headed out to inspect the crash site and help carry an injured person on a stretcher. [69] One of his aides therefore explained to Myers that the secretary of defense was outside, helping the wounded. Myers left a message for Rumsfeld, stating that he was returning to the NMCC, and then headed back to the command center. [70]

Myers appears to have spent up to 18 minutes away from the NMCC while he searched for Rumsfeld. He recalled seeing the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsing on television as he was leaving the CAC, which means he left there at 9:59 a.m., when the collapse occurred--perhaps only a minute or so after he arrived at the NMCC. [71] And he was apparently back in the NMCC by 10:17 a.m., since at that time Leidig mentioned over the air threat conference that the "vice chairman would like to know who's controlling the aircraft over Washington, DC." [72]

MYERS WORKED ON RULES FOR FIGHTER PILOTS WITH THE NORAD COMMANDER
Apparently after arriving back at the NMCC from his search for Rumsfeld, Myers spoke over the phone for the second time that morning with NORAD commander Ralph Eberhart. The focus of the call was establishing rules of engagement for fighter pilots defending U.S. airspace.

Myers and Eberhart had two immediate issues to resolve during the call, according to Matthew Klimow, who was with the vice chairman at the time. These were, "First, to determine when to pull the trigger for the shootdown of an airliner and, second, to clarify who would have the ultimate authority to give that command to shoot." It was important to settle these issues, since the two men "didn't want to put the burden of killing innocent passengers on the shoulders of a single fighter pilot," Klimow commented. [73]

By 10:30 a.m., Myers and Eberhart had agreed on the rules of engagement. Fighter pilots would "try to persuade a potentially hijacked plane to land, but if it was headed to a large city, take it down." [74] They decided to delegate the authority to order the shootdown of a suspicious aircraft to "the regional air defense commander," Klimow recalled. [75] Klimow was presumably referring to Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental United States NORAD Region.

And yet, after devising these rules, Myers and Eberhart made no effort to pass them on to the fighter pilots involved in the air defense response. Myers told the 9/11 Commission that in the "initial period"--apparently referring to the hour after he first arrived at the NMCC--he "did not do anything to ensure that effective rules of engagement were communicated to pilots." [76] And Eberhart said only that he "assumed" the rules were "passed to the level of the fighter pilot." [77]

Furthermore, during the call, Myers failed to tell Eberhart that Vice President Dick Cheney had just given his authorization for fighters to shoot down suspicious aircraft, despite the obvious relevance of this information to their discussion.

Shortly after 10:10 a.m., Cheney, who was at the White House, had been alerted to an unidentified aircraft approaching Washington that was believed to be hijacked. He was asked for authorization for the military to engage the aircraft and immediately gave it. Subsequently, at 10:14 a.m. and again at 10:19 a.m., someone at the White House relayed over the air threat conference that the vice president had confirmed that fighters were cleared to engage an aircraft if they could verify that it was hijacked. [78]

While it is unclear whether, at 10:14 a.m., Myers had arrived back at the NMCC from his search for Rumsfeld, he was there before 10:19 a.m. and therefore ought to have heard about Cheney's action when it was reported over the air threat conference for a second time. Indeed, he indicated in his memoir that he heard about it over the conference call. He described a military aide at the White House stating, "Vice President Cheney has forwarded the president's authorization to go weapons free if that plane is confirmed hijacked and threatens the White House or the Capitol." [79]

Even if Myers did not hear about Cheney's shootdown authorization over the air threat conference, someone in the NMCC who was monitoring the conference call presumably ought to have passed such important information on to him, considering he was the highest-ranking military officer in the country at the time.

And yet Myers apparently failed to tell Eberhart about Cheney's action. When the 9/11 Commission asked him if he communicated with NORAD "to inform them of the vice president's authorization and ensure that they understood their instructions," his answer was confused and inexplicit. "I'm not sure I didn't have that conversation with Eberhart on this," he said, adding, "I don't remember ... that being a simple issue we worked our way through." [80]

And Eberhart implied that Myers failed to tell him about Cheney's action. He told the 9/11 Commission that he believed he learned of the vice president's shootdown authorization from Major General Rick Findley, the director of operations at NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, and made no mention of Myers telling him about it. [81]

MYERS CONTINUED WORKING ON THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT WITH RUMSFELD
Donald Rumsfeld, after leaving the building to visit the crash site, finally went back inside and then joined Myers in the NMCC at around 10:30 a.m. [82] He immediately asked for an update, especially on the rules of engagement for fighters, and was told the policy Myers and Eberhart had just agreed on. [83]

Myers and Rumsfeld were then together for much of the day. "We joined up and we stayed joined the rest of the day," Myers recalled. [84] They were "never more than a few inches from each other," Victoria Clarke, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, who was at the Pentagon that day, wrote. [85]

At around 10:39 a.m., Rumsfeld, with Myers beside him, spoke over the air threat conference with Cheney and the vice president let him know he had authorized the military to shoot down suspicious aircraft. "There's been at least three instances here where we've had reports of aircraft approaching Washington--in a couple of those cases they were confirmed as hijacked aircraft--and, pursuant to the president's instructions, I gave authorization for them to be taken out," Cheney said. Rumsfeld asked, "Has that directive been transmitted to the aircraft?" and Cheney replied, "Yes it has." [86]

Rumsfeld's thoughts then "went to the pilots of the military aircraft who might be called upon to execute such an order." "It was clear that they needed rules of engagement telling them what they could and could not do--they needed clarity," Rumsfeld commented.

There were already "standing rules of engagement," he noted. [87] However, "There were no rules of engagement on the books about when and how our pilots should handle a situation in which civilian aircraft had been hijacked and might be used as missiles to attack American targets." "I'd hate to be a pilot up there and not know exactly what I should do," he told Myers. [88]

Even though rules of engagement had already been established by Eberhart and Myers, apparently due to Rumsfeld's concerns, the vice chairman and the secretary of defense "returned to further refine those rules." [89]

Rumsfeld has described some of the discussion they had as they worked on the rules. They talked about the possibility of a fighter pilot making "hand signals and communications, and flying in front [of a suspicious aircraft] and waving at them, and getting them to go in a direction that's not dangerous." The two men determined that if a suspicious aircraft was "going in a direction that's dangerous," meaning toward "a high value target on the ground," the fighter pilot would "have to shoot them down." [90]

Myers told Rumsfeld that "even a plane that appeared to be descending toward an airport in the Washington metropolitan area with no prior sign of hostile intent could suddenly veer off and strike any federal building in the DC area." By the time the plane crashed, he noted, "it's too late." He suggested that any plane within 20 miles of the White House that failed to land when ordered to do so might have to be shot down. [91]

The two men continued discussing rules of engagement for fighter pilots during a secure video teleconference that began at 11:00 a.m. For this, they moved from the deputy director for operations' office to the Joint Chiefs of Staff conference room--more commonly known as "the tank." [92] This tiny room was "the NMCC facility for secure teleconferences," according to Myers. They were joined there by Matthew Klimow; Victoria Clarke; Vice Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr., Rumsfeld's senior military assistant; Stephen Cambone, Rumsfeld's closest aide; and William Haynes, the general counsel of the Department of Defense.

The teleconference was intended to link the Defense Department's civilian and military leadership with the rest of the government. "The main issue under discussion," Myers recalled, "was rules of engagement for NORAD to follow should there be more hijackings." [93]

RUMSFELD APPROVED THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
At 12:19 p.m., Myers, Rumsfeld, and the other officials who had been in the tank for the teleconference moved to the Executive Support Center, a secure communications hub with a video teleconference facility on the third floor of the Pentagon. This was because they had started feeling unwell and then found that this was because the oxygen level in the room was dangerously low. [94] Even then, Myers and Rumsfeld's work developing rules of engagement was incomplete.

The vice chairman and the secretary of defense appear to have finished working on the rules at around 12:40 p.m., when Myers gave Rumsfeld an update on what he knew about the crisis and the military's response to it. Myers told Rumsfeld, among other things, that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had reported that five airliners inbound to the United States from the Far East--one of which had possibly been hijacked--had come too far on their journeys to head back due to low fuel and fighter jets had been scrambled to escort them. He also said NORAD had requested an additional Reserve call-up of air defense units and this request was going to be routed through the secretary of defense's office to the president. [95]

Rumsfeld brought up the subject of rules of engagement for fighter pilots. "I want to tie up the rules of engagement," he told Myers. He explained: "We need granularity here. This is not simple for a pilot, especially if he knows he's shooting down a plane over a civilian area like Washington." [96]

Myers told Rumsfeld he had received the final recommended rules of engagement from Ralph Eberhart. These were, he said, "If our fighters intercept an aircraft obviously heading for a runway, they will let it land, but if a plane is on a glide path toward a possible government target or civilian installation, they will shoot it down." Rumsfeld approved these rules. [97]

However, the rules were apparently only sent out about an hour later. The Department of Defense "did not circulate written rules of engagement until sometime after 1:00 p.m.," according to the 9/11 Commission Report. It in fact may have only done so at 1:45 p.m. At that time, it faxed a memo that included the rules to Andrews Air Force Base. [98] This was three and a half hours after Myers and Eberhart likely started work on the rules, and five hours after the first attack on the World Trade Center.

Since the attacks were long over by the time the rules of engagement were distributed, the hours Myers and Rumsfeld spent working on them were wasted. Their efforts were "an irrelevant exercise," journalist and author Andrew Cockburn noted, as the times at which the rules were completed and issued were "hours after the last hijacker had died." [99]

MYERS SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERED THE FIRST CRASH A POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACK
The behavior of Richard Myers appeared suspicious on numerous occasions on September 11. The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sometimes responded to the unfolding crisis with alarming inaction when he should have been responding with urgency; on other occasions, he appeared to be wasting precious time on pointless or unnecessary activities.

Evidence indicates that he did nothing to protect the United States while the 9/11 attacks were underway. And yet he was the highest-ranking military officer in the country for much of the day and so it was surely essential that he responded promptly and effectively. With his poor performance, he may have impaired the U.S. military's ability to respond to the terrorist attacks. His actions therefore require close scrutiny.

A couple of questions worth considering are why did Myers fail to take action after seeing on television that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center? and why did it apparently never occur to him that the incident may have been the result of terrorism?

Myers's response to the first crash was particularly odd considering that, during the period when he was its commander in chief, NORAD held exercises based around the possibility of terrorists crashing planes into buildings. An exercise in January 1999 called Falcon Indian was based around the scenario of suicidal terrorists planning to crash a stolen Learjet into the White House. Another Falcon Indian exercise in June that year was based around the same scenario. [100] And a Falcon Indian exercise in November 1999 was based around the scenario of terrorists hijacking an aircraft with the intention of crashing it into the United Nations headquarters building in New York. [101]

Since he was presumably aware of these exercises, Myers ought to have believed it possible that terrorists would deliberately crash a plane into a building and should therefore have acted as if the crash in New York might have been a terrorist attack when he saw it reported on television. He could easily have phoned his colleagues at the Pentagon to see if they knew anything about the incident. And his prearranged meeting with Max Cleland was relatively trivial and could have been canceled so he could return to the Pentagon right away in case a military response was necessary.

And yet Myers acted as if the unexplained crash of a plane into the World Trade Center was of no concern to him. After spending a short time reflecting on it, he simply thought, "Well, whatever" and then proceeded with his scheduled meeting. [102] "Maybe we should have known after the first one [that this was terrorism]," he has commented. However, his justification for doing nothing was that following the first crash but before the second one, "people still couldn't agree on what had actually happened." [103]

MYERS TOOK NO ACTION AFTER THE SECOND CRASH
Another important question is what did Myers do in the 34 minutes between 9:03 a.m., when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, and 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was attacked? Evidence indicates that he did alarmingly little during this critical period of time.

According to most accounts, Myers learned of the second crash at the World Trade Center when it took place or very shortly after. Cleland said he and Myers saw the crash on television, and Myers indicated on several occasions that he and Cleland learned of the crash soon after it occurred when someone interrupted their meeting and told them what had happened.

Myers should surely have headed back to the Pentagon right away after he learned of the second crash to help the military respond to the crisis, since it was then indisputable that America was under attack. And yet instead of doing so, he remained at the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a significant time.

The next things we know he did after finding out about the second crash were talking to Matthew Klimow, who called him from the Pentagon, and talking to Ralph Eberhart at NORAD headquarters. These calls appear to have taken place a significant time after the second crash. Myers apparently spoke to Klimow shortly before 9:29 a.m. and to Eberhart soon afterward.

This leaves a period of perhaps over 20 minutes unaccounted for. What did Myers do during that time? Did he continue talking to Cleland after he learned of the second crash? Did he watch the coverage of the crashes on television? If he did either of these things, it would have been the first of the numerous instances when he wasted time rather than responding effectively to the attacks.

Even when he talked over the phone with Klimow and Eberhart, Myers wasted the opportunities the calls provided to do something useful, such as issuing orders, in response to the attacks. He inadvertently admitted this when he was interviewed by the 9/11 Commission in 2004. He said that he "did not recall making any decisions or taking any actions between the time the second tower was hit and the time the Pentagon was struck," at 9:37 a.m. [104]

Furthermore, neither of the calls were initiated by him. Eberhart set about getting in touch with the vice chairman after he saw the second crash on television and Klimow phoned him after being called by Eberhart. Without Eberhart making the effort to contact him, therefore, Myers may have done nothing in response to the crisis before the Pentagon was hit.

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FAILED TO CONTACT MYERS ABOUT THE CRASHES
Aside from the numerous questions regarding Myers's behavior on September 11, it seems odd that Klimow--as Myers's executive assistant--made no effort to contact the vice chairman of his own initiative following the second crash at the World Trade Center. He presumably would have learned of the incident when it was shown live on television or very shortly afterward. He has not explicitly stated this. However, he has mentioned that the television was on in his office on the morning of September 11 and he saw the coverage of the first crash shortly after it occurred. "I looked up from my desk across the room to the television screen and there was that image of the World Trade Center smoking, and I was dumbfounded," he recalled. He thought the crash "must be an accident." [105] He presumably therefore would have seen Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower and realized immediately that this was a terrorist attack. Even if for some reason he did not, a colleague ought to have quickly alerted him to what had happened.

Why then did he subsequently fail to promptly contact the vice chairman to make sure he knew America was under attack, see what actions he wanted to take in response, and arrange for him to return to the Pentagon right away? Klimow has never recalled trying to get in touch with Myers of his own accord after the second crash and is instead only known to have contacted the vice chairman sometime later, after Eberhart called and ordered him to "get hold of [Myers], get him to a phone." [106]

MYERS MAY HAVE DAWDLED ON THE WAY TO HIS CAR
Another question worth asking in light of his general slowness in responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center is how long did it take for Myers to walk from the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where Max Cleland's office was located, to his car, in order to be driven back to the Pentagon?

Myers started making his way back to the Pentagon following his call with Eberhart, which presumably ended sometime before 9:30 a.m.--the time at which Eberhart left the NORAD headquarters building to head to the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center.

He apparently reached his car shortly after the Pentagon was hit. Although he has given vague and contradictory accounts of when he learned of the Pentagon attack, it seems likely that what he told the 9/11 Commission--that he was informed of it "as he was getting into his car"--is correct, since he has also stated that he learned about the attack from Dan Downey, his driver. Being as the Pentagon was hit at 9:37:46 a.m., he must have been told of the attack at 9:38 a.m. at the earliest.

Evidence therefore indicates that it took him eight minutes, at the very least, to get from the area outside Cleland's office to his car. Should the walk really have taken that long or was Myers time-wasting as he headed to his car, perhaps walking slowly when he should have been hurrying?

MYERS TOOK NO ACTION AS HE TRAVELED TO THE PENTAGON
As previously mentioned, Myers told the 9/11 Commission that he "did not recall making any decisions or taking any actions between the time the second tower was hit and the time the Pentagon was struck." But it appears he also failed to make any decisions or take action immediately after the Pentagon attack, while he was being driven to the Pentagon, even though the journey provided him with valuable minutes to make phone calls in which he could have carried out important tasks, such as issuing orders. Although he made one call during the journey--to Matthew Klimow--all he did in it was listen as Klimow gave a brief update on what had happened at the Pentagon and how the government was responding to the attacks.

The need for prompt action was even clearer by then, since the attack on the Pentagon showed that Washington, and not just New York, was a target. Perhaps the White House or the Capitol building would be attacked next. So why did Myers still do nothing in response to the crisis?

MYERS DELAYED GOING TO THE NMCC BY TALKING WITH THE DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY
Myers continued behaving with a lack of urgency when he arrived at the Pentagon. This is particularly odd because he has on numerous occasions acknowledged that he needed to be in the NMCC on the morning of September 11, as it was the best place for him to be to respond to the crisis, and he needed to get there as soon as possible after he realized America was under attack.

"In the event of an attack, standing procedures called for the vice chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] to move to an alternate command post at a remote location ... while the chairman held the fort at the National Military Command Center," he noted. However, since Henry Shelton, the chairman, was out of the country, Myers was the acting chairman and so "my command post had to be in the burning Pentagon," he wrote. [107]

After he learned the Pentagon had been attacked, while leaving Capitol Hill, his "first instinct was to get back to the Pentagon, to the National Military Command Center, as quickly as possible," he said. [108] "I felt I needed to get there as soon as I could," he commented.

"I had to ... quickly get to the command center, the National Military Command Center," he recalled thinking as he crossed the Potomac River on his way to the Pentagon. [109] He asked Klimow if the NMCC was up and running when he called him around this time because he knew he'd "need to be where we had the appropriate command and control apparatus." [110] Then, when he reached the Pentagon, his concern was, "Where can you best discharge your duties?" "Well, my battle station was in the National Military Command Center," he said. [111]

And yet after his car pulled up outside the Pentagon, instead of heading straight to the NMCC, Myers stopped outside the building to speak to Paul Wolfowitz. Why did he do this? Was it really necessary? Although Myers only "spoke briefly" with the deputy secretary of defense, he surely needed to get to the NMCC as soon as possible to help the military respond to the crisis and should therefore have foregone the opportunity to stop and talk to another senior official at this time. With the nation in the middle of a massive terrorist attack, every moment was precious and even the smallest delay could have had catastrophic consequences.

MYERS LEFT HIS 'BATTLE STATION' TO SEARCH FOR RUMSFELD
Myers did at least join Klimow at the River Entrance and go to the NMCC right after he finished talking to Wolfowitz. But why did he subsequently leave the command center almost immediately after he arrived there, simply to go and search for Donald Rumsfeld?

The 9/11 Commission pointed out to Myers that the first hour after he reached the NMCC would have been "life or death minutes." [112] There may have been essential tasks that, as acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he alone was able to carry out. Searching for Rumsfeld, in contrast, was a relatively trivial undertaking. Furthermore, Myers could have just phoned Rumsfeld's office and asked where Rumsfeld was or sent a junior staffer from the NMCC to look for the secretary of defense. Why did he forego these options?

The NMCC is in the basement of the Pentagon and, according to Myers, is "more or less" in "the center portion of the building." [113] It was surely a long walk from there to Rumsfeld's office, on the third floor of the outermost ring of the Pentagon. Myers was consequently away from the NMCC for up to 18 minutes while he went to the office to see if he could find the secretary of defense. During that time, he was presumably unable to do anything in response to the terrorist attacks.

The justification Myers gave for leaving the NMCC at this critical time was that he had determined it was acceptable for him to do so since the NMCC's deputy director for operations "was doing a good job of managing the information flow and keeping the chain of command plugged in." [114] But did this excuse him abandoning his post while the nation was under attack? The NMCC was, after all, "the duty station ... when you need to coordinate with lots of people and figure out what's happening," as Myers himself noted. [115] It was where he needed to be.

Indeed, Myers has inadvertently acknowledged why he should have stayed in the NMCC at the time. He told the 9/11 Commission his first thought when he reached there was, "What's next?" which implied that he'd recognized that additional attacks could be imminent. [116]

"Terrorists had staged major attacks in New York and Washington. Although we did not yet have reliable intelligence on when and where they would strike next, it seemed likely that they would," he wrote. [117] "We didn't know at that time if we were in the middle of a several-day long attack, what kind of attacks could come next, or who and what might be targeted," he commented. [118] If he believed more attacks were likely, Myers surely ought to have stayed in the NMCC so he would be in the best position to respond to them if they occurred.

By stopping outside the Pentagon to talk to Wolfowitz and then leaving the NMCC very shortly after arriving there to search for Rumsfeld, Myers appears to have been time-wasting again. By doing so, he delayed getting involved in the military's response to the attacks and may thereby have weakened the military when it was urgently needed, to protect the nation against terrorists.

MYERS WASTED TIME REFINING THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
There are questions about the actions of Richard Myers after he returned to the NMCC following his unsuccessful search for Rumsfeld that need to be addressed. In particular, why did the vice chairman spend so much time working on rules of engagement for fighter pilots? After all, Dick Cheney had given the military authority to shoot down hostile aircraft shortly after 10:10 a.m. This authorization was surely adequate for the time being, such that Myers could have focused on other tasks.

Even if Myers was unaware of Cheney's action, he himself had established rules of engagement with Ralph Eberhart by 10:30 a.m. Why, then, did he subsequently spend perhaps over two hours refining these rules in collaboration with Rumsfeld, such that they were only approved by the secretary of defense at around 12:40 p.m.?

Rules of engagement for fighter pilots were even "the main issue under discussion" during the 11:00 a.m. secure video teleconference Myers participated in that linked the Defense Department's leaders with the rest of the government. There were presumably numerous important subjects that needed to be addressed during the teleconference. Why then did the participants focus on something that had already been adequately dealt with?

It appears that in devoting so much time to refining the rules of engagement, Myers was yet again time-wasting. While he directed his attention to this likely unnecessary task, however, he avoided crucial activities, such as protecting America from further attacks that could have occurred at any moment.

Indeed, in the middle of refining the rules, Myers inadvertently revealed that he recognized more attacks might happen. Apparently shortly before midday on September 11, as he was leaving the Joint Chiefs of Staff conference room with Rumsfeld following the secure video teleconference, Rumsfeld suddenly stopped and called out to the officers in the NMCC, "Okay everybody, what else can the enemy do?" Myers immediately responded, "NBC," meaning a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. [119]

If Myers thought the terrorists were capable of carrying out something as devastating as an attack involving nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, his priority surely ought to have been preventing further attacks rather than wasting time refining rules of engagement that had already been agreed upon.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT WERE NOT PASSED ON TO FIGHTER PILOTS
Another question on this matter is why did Myers fail to issue the rules of engagement he developed with Eberhart once the two men agreed to them, shortly before 10:30 a.m.? Even if he wanted to refine these rules, he could surely have issued them at 10:30 a.m. and then sent out the refined rules once they were completed, with the instruction that they supersede the earlier rules. Instead, as he recalled, in the "initial period"--apparently meaning the first hour after he reached the NMCC--he "did not do anything to ensure that effective rules of engagement were communicated to pilots." [120]

Myers and Eberhart have inadvertently made clear the potentially catastrophic consequences of their failure to issue the rules of engagement as soon as they agreed to them. "Clearly, shooting down a civilian airliner with innocent men, women, and children on board was not a good option, but given the circumstances, it was really the only course of action to minimize the death and destruction planned by the hijackers," Myers wrote. [121] But, Eberhart pointed out, "Rules of engagement are only good if those engaged know the rules." And, he said, "No matter what the circumstance, the pilot would look toward his command for an indication of what to do." [122]

In other words, if a fighter pilot had received no rules of engagement, was therefore unsure whether they should shoot down suspicious aircraft, and consequently allowed a suspicious aircraft to continue on its course, countless people in addition to the plane's passengers and crew would have been killed if that aircraft subsequently crashed into another target like the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

MYERS WASTED TIME RAISING THE DEFENSE READINESS CONDITION
A further issue of concern is Myers's involvement in making the decision and giving the order to raise the defense readiness condition. The defense readiness condition, according to the Department of Defense, is a "uniform system of progressive alert postures for use between the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders of unified and specified commands, and for use by the [armed] services." [123] It can be one of five levels, with the lowest, Defcon 5, representing normal peacetime readiness and the highest, Defcon 1, representing maximum force readiness. [124]

Donald Rumsfeld gave the order to raise the defense readiness condition on September 11, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. However, Rumsfeld recalled that he discussed the issue with Myers before doing so. "It's a huge move, but it's appropriate," Myers had advised him. [125]

Apparently about 10 minutes was spent dealing with the task. The decision to increase the defense readiness condition was announced over the air threat conference at 10:43 a.m. The NMCC's deputy director for operations stated that the "secretary of defense has directed that we go to worldwide Defcon 3," which was an intermediate level that represented an increased state of military readiness. At 10:45 a.m., however, those on the conference call were instructed to "hold off on Defcon 3." But a minute later that instruction was overridden and it was announced that Myers was "directing worldwide Defcon 3." Finally, at 10:52 a.m., an emergency action message was released that directed going to Defcon 3. [126]

While the raising of the defense readiness condition on September 11 may appear like a serious attempt to protect the nation, some people have claimed it was unhelpful and possibly counterproductive. Increasing the defense readiness condition was "suited more to a Cold War conflict than to al-Qaeda's attack," some 9/11 Commission staffers commented. [127] John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, pointed out that the defense readiness condition was "devised to respond to a nuclear threat." [128] And Ralph Eberhart said Defcon 3 was "not intended for [events like] the attacks of 9/11." He said he thought raising the defense readiness condition would have had no benefits within the continental United States and could in fact have complicated the response to the attacks. [129]

If these criticisms were correct, why did Myers devote his time and energy to such an inappropriate task? Was this another instance of him time-wasting and thereby avoiding carrying out actions better suited to the problems at hand?

MYERS'S APPARENTLY BENEFICIAL ACTION WAS SOMEONE ELSE'S INITIATIVE
There appears to have been one exception to Myers's failure to do anything useful in response to the crisis on September 11 before Flight 93 crashed and the terrorist attacks ended. However, evidence shows that this action was in fact the initiative of someone else, which Myers simply endorsed.

At 9:58 a.m., Charles Leidig said over the air threat conference that Myers "recommends evacuating" the Sears Tower in Chicago "based on the flight plan of one of the possible hijacked aircraft." [130] The Sears Tower was then evacuated at around 10:02 a.m. [131] Had a hijacked aircraft subsequently crashed into it, the recommendation to evacuate the tower could have meant countless lives were saved.

However, Leidig later revealed that the recommendation was actually made by someone other than Myers. He told the 9/11 Commission that he recalled telling Myers there was a recommendation to evacuate the Sears Tower, and Myers said this was a good idea and the military supported it. [132]

MYERS ONLY TOOK ACTION TO PROTECT MILITARY FACILITIES AFTER THE ATTACKS ENDED
Richard Myers took a few actions on September 11 that might genuinely have been helpful as part of the nation's response to the terrorist attacks. However, all of them were taken after the attacks ended, too late to influence the outcome of the crisis.

The first of these actions was discussing with Donald Rumsfeld raising the force protection condition (FPCON) to the highest level. The force protection condition--known as the terrorist threat condition, or "threatcon," until June 2001--is a "standard for identification of, and recommended responses to, terrorist threats against U.S. personnel and facilities," according to the Department of Defense. [133]

It can be one of five levels. The highest level, Delta, means a terrorist attack has occurred or intelligence has been received indicating that action against a specific location is likely. A declaration of FPCON Delta on September 11 would have led to placing more guards on duty at military installations, having all vehicles on installations identified, and having all personnel positively identified, among other things. It would presumably therefore have meant U.S. military facilities were better defended against terrorist attacks.

Myers recalled that at some point after he arrived at the NMCC, he "recommended that all American military commands and units worldwide go to [FPCON] Delta." [134] And Rumsfeld recalled that after he arrived at the NMCC, he and Myers "discussed and I recommended raising ... the force protection level." [135] "If terrorists were executing a complex and massive attack ... our isolated naval, air, and ground bases overseas might be especially vulnerable, so raising the threatcon was essential," Myers has commented. [136]

It is unclear exactly when the decision to raise the force protection condition was made. It must have been after around 10:30 a.m., since that was when Rumsfeld entered the NMCC, and it was apparently before 10:38 a.m., since at that time Rumsfeld told Dick Cheney over the air threat conference that U.S. forces were "on Threatcon Delta." [137] The decision therefore appears to have been made roughly half an hour after the final hijacked plane--Flight 93--crashed. In other words, it was only made well after the terrorist attacks ended.

Furthermore, the decision may have been made in response to prompting by the White House rather than something Myers and Rumsfeld did of their own initiative. As Myers was being driven from Capitol Hill to the Pentagon, Mathew Klimow told him that "the White House advised that the combatant commanders will probably want to increase threatcon as they see fit." [138] It is surely possible that the decision to raise the force protection condition was only made as a result of Myers receiving this information.

DECONTAMINATION UNITS WERE ONLY SET UP AFTER MIDDAY
Another potentially useful action Myers took was arranging for decontamination units to be set up in case there was an attack involving weapons of mass destruction. However, as with making the decision to raise the force protection condition, he only did this well after the terrorist attacks ended. And, again, his action appears to have been the result of something other than his own initiative. In this case, it came about in response to an off-the-cuff enquiry by Rumsfeld.

As previously mentioned, after Rumsfeld asked, "What else can the enemy do?" as he and Myers were leaving the Joint Chiefs of Staff conference room following the 11:00 a.m. secure video teleconference, Myers responded, "NBC," meaning a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. This interaction apparently prompted Myers to give the order for special decontamination units to be positioned outside Washington and New York, ready to be used if there was a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack against one of these cities.

This was surely a sensible thing to do to prepare the nation for possible further acts of terrorism. However, the decontamination units were apparently only set up in the afternoon of September 11 since, in his memoir, Myers placed the question from Rumsfeld that prompted him to take action at just before midday. [139]

The exact time when the units were set up is unclear, but it must have been before 6:30 p.m. At that time, the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council held a teleconference during which it was "verified that counter-NBC decontamination units had been called out and deployed, standing by in case al-Qaeda decided to follow up with [weapons of mass destruction] attacks on our cities," Myers wrote. [140] By 6:30 p.m., of course, many hours had passed since the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked, during which a weapons of mass destruction attack could have occurred.

Contd. below

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:15 am    Post subject: Time-Waster in Chief: Richard Myers on 9/11 contd. Reply with quote

Article continued from above:

MYERS PASSED ON AUTHORIZATON FOR A PARTIAL RESERVE CALL-UP
One more potentially useful action Myers took was passing on authorization Rumsfeld had given for a partial call-up of the Air Force Reserves. Those activated included fighter pilots, air tanker crews, and communications specialists. "With the country suddenly at war, we would need all the help we could muster, and much of that help was in the Reserve and National Guard," Myers has commented.

The vice chairman's action presumably put the military in a better position to defend the nation against further attacks from the air, should any have occurred. However, like the two actions described above, it was done too late to make a difference to the outcome of the crisis. Myers only passed on Rumsfeld's authorization more than two hours after the attacks ended, following his move to the Executive Support Center at 12:19 p.m. [141]

Furthermore, by the time he took this action, U.S. airspace had been cleared of all air traffic except military and emergency flights as a result of the FAA ordering all airborne aircraft to land at the nearest airport, at 9:45 a.m. [142] This meant the danger of further hijackings or attacks from the air had been massively reduced and so the benefits of the partial Reserve call-up were presumably much less than would have been the case if it had been authorized earlier on.

EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE MEANT MYERS WAS WELL PREPARED TO HANDLE THE ATTACKS
Close examination of the actions of Richard Myers on September 11 reveals a pattern of negligence. In the most important hours of his military career, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff repeatedly either did nothing or wasted time engaging in unhelpful or unnecessary activities. What was the reason for this?

It might be claimed that Myers was simply incompetent. However, this seems unlikely in light of his decades of military experience and considerable accomplishments prior to 9/11. As a fighter pilot, he accumulated over 4,100 flying hours, including 600 hours of combat experience in the Vietnam War. He had also held significant positions in the military. During the 1990s, he served as commander of U.S. forces in Japan and commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific. And from August 1998 to February 2000 he was commander in chief of NORAD--the military organization responsible for defending U.S. airspace. [143]

He clearly possessed skills and experience that should have enabled him to competently respond to the 9/11 attacks. Matthew Klimow noted that his 600 hours of combat experience in Vietnam and his experience as NORAD commander meant Myers "understood the air defense scenario playing out" on September 11. [144] And during a 9/11 Commission hearing on the subject of national defense and crisis management on September 11, 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman pointed out to Myers, "Your service from '98 to 2000 commanding NORAD gives you particular authority in talking about this." [145]

MYERS QUICKLY INITIATED RETALIATION AGAINST AFGHANISTAN
It is also difficult to attribute Myers's inaction and time-wasting to incompetence since, in contrast to his slow and inadequate response when it came to protecting his country, Myers initiated preparations for military action against Afghanistan in retaliation for the terrorist attacks remarkably quickly. When it came to this task, therefore, he appeared highly competent.

At around midday on September 11, Vice Admiral Tom Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, confirmed to Myers and others in the NMCC that the day's attacks had undoubtedly been committed by al-Qaeda. [146] This prompted Myers and his colleagues to immediately start considering "some sort of response." [147]

Myers noted that Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership were in Afghanistan, a country in the area of responsibility of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which controlled U.S. operations in the Middle East. However, General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of CENTCOM, was out of the country that day, on the Greek island of Crete.

Myers therefore set about quickly getting him back to America to prepare a response to the attacks. He told Klimow to contact Franks and "ask him to get back to CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as soon as possible." "I want General Franks to start looking at options for al-Qaeda," he added. [148]

Presumably in response to Myers's instructions, Franks spent the evening beginning preparations for the military's response to the terrorist attacks from his hotel in Crete and flew back to America the following day. [149] Reflecting on the instructions for Franks he gave on September 11, Myers agreed that planning for a military response to the 9/11 attacks "began almost immediately." [150]

WAS MYERS COMPLICIT IN 9/11?
Since incompetence seems an unlikely explanation for Myers's behavior, we surely need to consider more disturbing possibilities. Did Myers perhaps have foreknowledge of what was going to happen on September 11 and also, for unknown reasons, want the terrorist attacks to succeed? If so, his inaction and time-wasting could have been deliberate attempts to impair the U.S. military's ability to respond to the attacks and thereby increase the likelihood that the attacks would be successful.

Could Myers have even been involved with planning the 9/11 attacks? If he was, he could have carefully arranged to engage in repeated time-wasting and inaction on September 11 when a fast, competent response would be imperative.

The apparently serious negligence of such a key figure during the worst attack on American soil since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941 is surely cause for serious alarm. It is one of the numerous aspects of 9/11 that need to be fully investigated as part of a new and unrestrained investigation of the terrorist attacks.

NOTES
[1] "General Richard B. Myers." U.S. Air Force, October 1, 2005; "Former Top U.S. General Gets $200,000-a-Year Board Gig." Chicago Tribune, March 15, 2006; Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security. New York: Threshold Editions, 2009, p. 7.
[2] "Bush Nominates Myers as Joint Chiefs Chairman." CNN, August 24, 2001; "Pentagon Chiefs' Records Reflect Modern Military." CNN, October 1, 2001.
[3] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski. NBC News, September 11, 2002; Hugh Shelton with Ronald Levinson and Malcolm McConnell, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2010, pp. 430-432.
[4] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 10.
[5] "9/11 Documentation, Andrews Air Traffic Control Tower." Andrews Air Force Base, September 11, 2001; Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 159.
[6] Hugh Shelton with Ronald Levinson and Malcolm McConnell, Without Hesitation, p. 432.
[7] Office of the Federal Register/National Archives and Records Administration, The United States Government Manual 1999/2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999, p. 178; "Our Leaders." U.S. Department of Defense, n.d.
[8] Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron, part II. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, August 1, 2002; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004.
[9] "Interview, General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, With Petty Officer Quinn Lyton, USN." Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, October 17, 2001; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech." Speech, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, August 3, 2012.
[10] "Larry King Interviews Bob Dole, Max Cleland." Larry King Live, CNN, November 20, 2001; Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[11] "CNN Sept. 11, 2001, 8:48 a.m.-9:29 a.m." CNN, September 11, 2001; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, pp. 4-7.
[12] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, pp. 7-8.
[13] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[14] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 8.
[15] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers." Council on Foreign Relations, June 29, 2006.
[16] "General Richard B. Myers." Veterans Chronicles, Radio America, April 14, 2009.
[17] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers."
[18] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 8.
[19] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers."
[20] Peter Carlson, "Political Veteran." Washington Post, July 3, 2003.
[21] U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Holds Hearing on Nomination of General Richard Myers to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 107th Cong., 1st sess., September 13, 2001.
[22] Max Cleland with Ben Raines, Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed, and Karl Rove. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009, p. 170.
[23] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 8.
[24] "General Richard Myers on 9/11." Federal News Network, September 11, 2009.
[25] Jim Garamone, "Former Chairman Myers Recalls 9/11 Pentagon Attack." American Forces Press Service, September 9, 2011.
[26] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[27] "Interview, General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, With Petty Officer Quinn Lyton, USN."
[28] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[29] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 9.
[30] Ibid. p. 8.
[31] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers."
[32] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[33] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart." 9/11 Commission, March 1, 2004; "Kevin's NORAD HQ Notes: Interview With General Ralph Eberhart." 9/11 Commission, March 1, 2004; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 465.
[34] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 9; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[35] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 37; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[36] However, in his memoir, Myers claimed that he spoke to Eberhart before he was called by Klimow. See Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 9.
[37] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 9.
[38] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers." 9/11 Commission, February 17, 2004.
[39] Jim Garamone, "Former Chairman Myers Recalls 9/11 Pentagon Attack."
[40] "Government Official Has New Evidence Regarding Hijacked Airlines." Live Event/Special, CNN, September 11, 2001; Sylvia Adcock, "Voices Reveal 'Problem' on One Doomed Flight." Newsday, September 13, 2001.
[41] Jim Garamone, "Former Chairman Myers Recalls 9/11 Pentagon Attack."
[42] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers."
[43] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers"; Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[44] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL: 1st Air Force, 2003, pp. 57, 63; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 20, 27.
[45] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[46] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[47] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart"; "Kevin's NORAD HQ Notes: Interview With General Ralph Eberhart."
[48] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[49] "Interview, General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, With Petty Officer Quinn Lyton, USN."
[50] "General Richard B. Myers."
[51] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[52] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[53] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 9.
[54] Ibid. pp. 9-11; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[55] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, pp. 11, 151.
[56] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[57] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers"; "Statement of General Richard Myers, USAF, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004.
[58] Paul Wolfowitz, interview by PBS, Campaign Against Terror. PBS, April 22, 2002; "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview With Sam Tannenhaus, Vanity Fair." U.S. Department of Defense, May 9, 2003.
[59] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[60] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[61] Ibid.
[62] "Statement of General Richard Myers, USAF, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
[63] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, pp. 151-152; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[64] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[65] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript. U.S. Department of Defense, September 11, 2001; Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript. U.S. Department of Defense, September 11, 2001.
[66] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, USN, Commandant of Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy." 9/11 Commission, April 29, 2004.
[67] U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Holds Hearing on Nomination of General Richard Myers to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 10.
[68] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 152.
[69] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 37; Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy. New York: Scribner, 2007, pp. 1-2; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11. Washington, DC: Defense Department, Office of the Secretary, Historical Office, 2007, p. 130.
[70] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, pp. 152-153.
[71] Ibid. p. 152.
[72] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript; Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript.
[73] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[74] Garrett M. Graff, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019, p. 236.
[75] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[76] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[77] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart."
[78] Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 41-42.
[79] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 152.
[80] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[81] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart"; "Kevin's NORAD HQ Notes: Interview With General Ralph Eberhart."
[82] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 43-44; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, pp. 130-131.
[83] Garrett M. Graff, The Only Plane in the Sky, p. 236.
[84] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing.
[85] Torie Clarke, Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game. New York: Free Press, 2006, p. 225.
[86] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 43.
[87] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Eighth Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, March 23, 2004.
[88] Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown: A Memoir. New York: Sentinel, 2011, p. 340.
[89] "Testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld Prepared for Delivery to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." 9/11 Commission, March 23, 2004.
[90] "Secretary Rumsfeld Interview With the Washington Post." U.S. Department of Defense, January 9, 2002.
[91] Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, p. 340.
[92] Joseph M. Wassel, interview by Alfred Goldberg and Rebecca Cameron. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, April 9, 2003.
[93] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 155.
[94] Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11, p. 132; Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, pp. 340-341; Garrett M. Graff, The Only Plane in the Sky, pp. 277-278.
[95] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 157.
[96] Torie Clarke, Lipstick on a Pig, p. 225.
[97] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, pp. 157-158.
[98] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 465.
[99] Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld, p. 7.
[100] "NEADS AOR Hijack/WMD Scenarios." U.S. Air Force, 2003.
[101] U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, Implications for the Department of Defense and Military Operations of Proposals to Reorganize the United States Intelligence Community. 108th Cong., 2nd sess., August 17, 2004.
[102] "HBO History Makers Series: Richard B. Myers."
[103] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[104] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[105] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[106] Ibid.
[107] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 10.
[108] Jim Garamone, "Former Chairman Myers Recalls 9/11 Pentagon Attack."
[109] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[110] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 11.
[111] "Interview, General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, With Petty Officer Quinn Lyton, USN."
[112] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[113] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[114] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 152.
[115] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[116] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[117] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 153.
[118] "Statement of General Richard Myers, USAF, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
[119] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 156; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech"; Garrett M. Graff, The Only Plane in the Sky, p. 302.
[120] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview of General Richard Myers."
[121] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 157.
[122] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart."
[123] Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Washington, DC: Joint Staff, November 8, 2010, as amended through April 15, 2011.
[124] "DEFCON DEFense CONdition." Federation of American Scientists, April 29, 1998.
[125] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Eighth Public Hearing; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 326; Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, p. 338.
[126] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript; Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 554.
[127] John Farmer et al., "A New Type of War: The Story of the FAA and NORAD Response to the September 11, 2001 Attacks." Rutgers Law Review, September 7, 2011.
[128] John Farmer, The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009, p. 235.
[129] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward 'Ed' Eberhart."
[130] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript; Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript.
[131] "CNN Sept. 11, 2001, 9:29 a.m.-10:11 a.m." CNN, September 11, 2001; "Terrorists Attacks in Both Washington, DC, and New York." Breaking News, CNN, September 11, 2001.
[132] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, USN, Commandant of Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy."
[133] William M. Arkin, "Building up a False Sense of Security?" Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2002; Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.
[134] "What is Threatcon Delta?" Slate, September 12, 2001; Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 153.
[135] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Eighth Public Hearing.
[136] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 10.
[137] Air Threat Conference and DDO Conference, Transcript; Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript.
[138] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 10.
[139] Ibid. p. 156; Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[140] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 160.
[141] Ibid. p. 157; Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, p. 342.
[142] U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Statement of Jane F. Garvey, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, Before the House Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 107th Cong., 1st sess., September 21, 2001; "Chronology of the Attacks of September 11, 2001, and Subsequent Events." Federal Aviation Administration, April 15, 2002; Alan Levin, "For Air Traffic Controllers, a Historic Achievement." USA Today, August 12, 2002.
[143] James Dao, "A Low-Key Space Buff: Richard Bowman Myers." New York Times, August 25, 2001; "Pentagon Chiefs' Records Reflect Modern Military"; "General Richard B. Myers."
[144] Matthew Klimow, "Marshall Center STACS Graduation Speech."
[145] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Twelfth Public Hearing.
[146] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 156.
[147] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.
[148] Richard Myers with Malcolm McConnell, Eyes on the Horizon, p. 156.
[149] Tommy Franks with Malcolm McConnell, American Soldier. New York: HarperCollins, 2004, pp. 243, 247-248.
[150] Richard Myers, interview by Jim Miklaszewski.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:30 am    Post subject: New at the 9/11 Timeline: Myers During the Attacks and More Reply with quote

From the History Commons Groups blog:

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Richard Myers's Actions During the Attacks, Pre-9/11 Warnings About Al-Qaeda, and More

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. The majority of these deal with events that took place on September 11, 2001, with a particular focus on the actions of General Richard B. Myers, the highest-ranking military officer in the United States when the terrorist attacks occurred; others describe notable incidents that occurred before 9/11, such as warnings issued by key individuals about the threat posed by al-Qaeda and discussions within government agencies about killing Osama bin Laden.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers Learned of the Attacks on the World Trade Center

Many new timeline entries provide details of the response of Myers to the 9/11 attacks. Myers was at the time vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. However, General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was out of the country for most of the day of September 11 and so Myers stood in for him as acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Myers was on Capitol Hill, about to go into a 9 o'clock meeting with Senator Max Cleland, when he learned of the first crash at the World Trade Center from seeing it reported on television. He went ahead with the meeting and, he has recalled, learned of the second crash at the WTC when someone came in and passed on the news of what had happened.

In response to the second crash, General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD, called Colonel Matthew Klimow, Myers's executive assistant, at the Pentagon and said he urgently wanted to talk to Myers. Klimow then called Myers and let him know that NORAD needed to speak to him. Eberhart reached Myers while he was on Capitol Hill, and updated him on what was happening and the actions NORAD was taking in response to the attacks.

Myers subsequently headed back to the Pentagon and, as he was setting out, was informed that the Pentagon had just been attacked. Klimow, meanwhile, received a call from Shelton's plane, which was flying the chairman to Europe, and during the call passed on the news of the Pentagon attack.

While Myers was on the road, he called Klimow and was given an update on what had happened at the Pentagon. After his car reached the Pentagon, he joined Klimow at the River Entrance and the two men then headed to the National Military Command Center (NMCC).

Myers Responded to the Attacks from the Pentagon's National Military Command Center

They reached the NMCC at around 9:58 a.m. and Myers started participating in a conference call being conducted from there. However, he soon decided to leave the center to search for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but was unable to find him. Apparently shortly after returning to the NMCC, he asked Klimow to check that a special military plane called the National Airborne Operations Center had been launched in response to the attacks.

Myers talked to Eberhart for the second time that morning after he reached the NMCC and the two men discussed "rules of engagement" for American fighter jets launched in response to the attacks, but they subsequently took no action to ensure the rules they established were passed on to the pilots of the fighters. Furthermore, during the call, Myers failed to pass on the important information that Vice President Dick Cheney had authorized the military to shoot down suspicious aircraft.

After Rumsfeld arrived in the NMCC, at around 10:30 a.m., he and Myers continued work on the rules of engagement that the vice chairman had established with Eberhart. Then, at 11:00 a.m., the two men, along with several more senior officials at the Pentagon, participated in a secure video teleconference with other government agencies where the main issue discussed was the rules of engagement for fighters. As Myers and Rumsfeld left the conference room following the teleconference, the secretary of defense suddenly asked those in the NMCC what else they thought the terrorists could do and Myers immediately suggested the possibility of them committing an attack involving nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

Myers subsequently instructed Klimow to contact General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the US Central Command, who was away in Europe, and tell him to return to the US and start considering how the military should respond to the terrorist attacks.

Myers and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Relocated to the Executive Support Center

There had been concerns about the deteriorating air quality while Myers, Rumsfeld, and their colleagues were participating in the secure video teleconference, and an air quality expert subsequently warned that the oxygen level in the NMCC was dangerously low. This led Myers, Rumsfeld, and their entourage to leave the NMCC shortly after midday and relocate to the Executive Support Center (ESC), a secure communications hub on the third floor of the Pentagon.

Shortly after they arrived at the ESC, Myers gave Rumsfeld an update during which he mentioned that he had received the final recommended rules of engagement for fighters from Eberhart, and Rumsfeld then approved these rules. But written rules of engagement were apparently only circulated by the Department of Defense at 1:45 p.m., hours after the terrorist attacks ended.

Additionally, at some point after Myers, Rumsfeld, and their colleagues arrived at the ESC, an Army officer who had witnessed the Pentagon attack spoke to them about what he'd seen and confirmed that the Pentagon had been hit by an American Airlines plane. Rumsfeld also called Sergei Ivanov, the Russian defense minister, and requested that the Russian military stand down an exercise it had been conducting near Alaska.

Around 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Myers and Rumsfeld went outside to inspect the site of the Pentagon attack and observed the damage to the building. Rumsfeld subsequently visited the crash site again, accompanied by a number of aides and also Senators Carl Levin and John Warner, whom he had invited to visit the Pentagon. And at 5:25 p.m., he announced to his colleagues that, despite the unprecedented attack there, the Pentagon would open as usual the following day and he wanted everyone to report for work.

At 6:30 p.m., Myers participated in a secure video teleconference held by the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council during which the committee's members discussed how the US should respond to the terrorist attacks. Then at 10:30 p.m., the vice chairman held a "war council" meeting with the senior directors of the Joint Staff, where "planning for future action" was discussed.

Local Police Secured the Pentagon Site

A few entries describe events that took place at the Pentagon on September 11, which Myers was not involved with. Members of the Arlington County Police Department arrived at the Pentagon minutes after it was attacked and promptly started securing the perimeter of the Pentagon Reservation. And yet, despite the extensive security measures that were implemented, a crew apparently made up of illegal immigrants was later allowed by the Secret Service to enter the Pentagon site to help clean up debris, even though its members had no identification with them.

Additionally, at some point after Chief Edward Plaugher of the Arlington County Fire Department reached the Pentagon following the attack there, he told a senior military official that he thought the NMCC was unsafe and needed to be evacuated, but the official refused his advice.

FBI and CIA Experts Gave Warnings Before 9/11 About the Threat Posed by Bin Laden

Most of the other entries describe events that took place before 9/11, which dealt with concerns regarding the threat that al-Qaeda and the group's leader, Osama bin Laden, were believed to pose to the US, and the fear that a major terrorist attacks was going to take place.

In late 1999, John O'Neill, the FBI's top expert on al-Qaeda, told a group of CIA officials of his concern that an attack was imminent and the terrorist group was going to try to bring down the WTC. In July 2001, Richard Blee, head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, told other senior CIA officials that he thought bin Laden was comparable to Adolf Hitler before World War II and the threat posed by al-Qaeda would be significantly reduced if he was killed. Around the same time, Cofer Black, director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, told a visiting group from the Middle East that a major attack against US interests was going to occur.

A few days later, Blee went to Black with evidence that had been compiled suggesting al-Qaeda would attack the US in the near future, and the two men then presented this evidence to CIA Director George Tenet. Tenet was so unsettled that he immediately went to the White House with his two colleagues, and they showed the information to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and other officials there.

Warnings about the terrorist threat were also made by Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin met George W. Bush at a summit in June 2001, he warned the US president about Islamic extremists who he said could cause a "major catastrophe." And just two days before 9/11, he phoned Bush and told him Russia believed a terrorist event that had been "long in preparation" could be imminent.

Fear of al-Qaeda led to discussions about assassinating the group's leader. Around late June 2001, the CIA held two exercises at its headquarters where the issues around killing bin Laden with an armed drone aircraft were considered. A short time later, a meeting was held at CIA headquarters during which A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard, the CIA's executive director, asked representatives from various agencies if they thought a man in a video should be assassinated, based on evidence that he was bin Laden.

Finally, an entry describes how a major sovereign wealth fund bought a huge amount of two-year Treasury notes on September 10, 2001, which significantly increased in value in response to the attacks the following day, thereby making the buyer millions.

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