“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.”
–Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002
Late 1980s, throughout the 1990s:
- The idea of using hijacked planes as weapons against buildings becomes common. There are attempted kamikaze attacks involving hijacked planes in Israel (1986), Turkey (1993) and France (1994). A suicide Cessna pilot hits the White House on Sept. 12, 1994. Tom Clancy publishes a novel in which the villain crashes an airliner into the Capitol (1994). Pentagon scenario planners bring up the possibility of a kamikaze-hijacking in a variety of reports (twice in 1993; 1999; 2000).
- News reports and trial cases reveal that Ramzi Yussef (convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) devised “Project Bojinka,” a plot including the idea of crashing hijacked airliners into American targets. Foreign and U.S. intelligence and defense agencies issue warnings and devise defense scenarios relating to the possibility that something like “Project Bojinka” can be attempted anywhere, at any time.
- The Department of Defense responds competently to these developments, by rehearsing a MASCAL (mass casualty) exercise based on the scenario of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. The live exercise of Oct. 24, 2000 involves rescue crews directed from a command center. A paper plane is set aflame within a scale model of the building. A military news-site later publishes an article about it. NOTE: The Pentagon is known to be ringed with anti-aircraft batteries.
- In the pilot episode of a short-lived TV series, “The Lone Gunmen,” the heroes narrowly avert the crashing of a remote-hijacked passenger plane into the WTC North Tower. This shows that even TV writers are speculating that someone could crash a hijacked plane into the Twin Towers.
- According to news stories of 4/13/04, the Defense Department considers holding yet another live exercise to rehearse for the contingency of a hijacked plane crashing into the Pentagon.
- The mass media warn that Osama Bin Laden is preparing to strike again. Sources report he has new and outlandish “Hollywood” ideas, like crashing a plane loaded with explosives into George W. Bush’s hotel at the July 2001 Summit of G-8 nations in Genoa, Italy. TIME Magazine: “According to German intelligence sources, the plot involved Bin Laden paying German neo-Nazis to fly remote controlled model aircraft packed with Semtex into the conference hall and blow the leaders of the industrialized world to smithereens. (Paging Jerry Bruckheimer)” TIME also writes, “If Bin Laden didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”
July 3, 2001:
- Bush biographer Jim Hatfield picks up on the “Genoa Warning.” In an article for Online Journal, he jokes: “Why would Osama want to kill his business partner?” He exposes a few facts about the Bush-Bin Ladin family business connections (The Carlyle Group) and about the CIA’s historic relationship with Al-Qaeda. Hatfield guesses that the CIA itself is spreading the Genoa rumor, in an effort to pump up Bush’s sagging popularity. (July 18, 2001: Jim Hatfield’s death in Arkansas ruled a suicide.)
July 20, 2001:
- G-8 Summit opens. Italy, citing the air-attack warnings, closes Genoa International Airport and installs anti-aircraft batteries around the G- 8 Summit locations. The U.S. Secret Service is apparently not satisfied. For safety, Bush and his entourage spend at least one night on a U.S. aircraft carrier. On the same night, Putin, Schroeder and Chirac carouse with Blair on an Adriatic cruise ship.
- Meanwhile, Genoa is under martial law. Italian federal stormtroops in Darth Vader costumes enclose entire neighborhoods with mile long, barbed-wire fences. Hooded undercover agents roam in the guise of “black-bloc” protesters. They start riots and then retreat behind federal Italian police lines. This is filmed from helicopters by the local police of Genoa, who object to the extreme measures. One protester is shot dead. (ARD-TV, Germany)
August 6, 2001:
- Bush receives a memorandum from CIA Director George Tenet entitled, “BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN U.S.” This “Presidential Daily Briefing” or PDB warns of potential terrorist hijackings in U.S. airspace. The PDB later becomes the object of a tug of war between the White House and the Kean Commission.
September 11, 2001:
- Early in the morning, the U.S. military begins air defense and mass casualty wargames. So far, we know definitely of:
- a NORAD exercise known as “Vigilant Guardian,” which included hijacking simulations and possibly involved the projection of false blips onto military radar screens; and2) an air-crash fire-drill at the National Reconnaissance Office near Washington, four miles from Dulles Airport.
- The NRO is the headquarters of the U.S. satellite surveillance system, which is run jointly by the CIA and Pentagon.
- Suddenly, the wargames are interrupted by word that a passenger plane from Logan Airport really has been hijacked. When the news arrives at a nearby airbase, the first question is: “Is this part of the exercise?” (Aviation Weekly, September 2002)
September 27, 2001:
- The LA Times reports on the “Genoa Warning.” Now Italian sources claim they developed the intelligence themselves. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also says he warned Bush that Bin Laden wanted to launch a kamikaze attack on the G-8 Summit. How did news of the plot circulate among the intelligence agencies of several countries?
May 15, 2002:
- The White House admits the existence of the August 6 PDB. The New York Post headlines the news: “Bush Knew.” The next day, Condoleeza Rice proclaims that “no one could have imagined” planes would be used as weapons. She says the warnings to Bush related only to “traditional hijackings,” not kamikaze attacks.
March and April, 2004:
- In testimony to the Kean Commission, both Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice once again insist that no one could have imagined hijacked planes would be used as weapons against buildings. Meanwhile, the White House finally gives in and publishes 1 1/2 pages (out of 11 total) of the August 6, 2001 PDB. What does the rest say?
April 13, 2004:
- At an evening press conference, Bush connects the “Genoa Warning” (kamikaze attacks) to the Presidential Daily Briefing of Aug. 6th, 2001 (domestic hijackings).
- “And I asked for the briefing [the PDB],” he says. “And the reason I did is because there had been a lot of threat intelligence from overseas. And so, “part of it had to do with the Genoa G-8 conference that I was going to attend. And I asked at that point in time, let’s make sure we are paying attention here at home, as well. And that’s what triggered the report.”
- Could “no one have imagined”? Perhaps inadvertantly, Bush has exposed his own national security adviser and his Secretary of Defense as liars.