Important “Open Letter to Norman Mineta” concerning his 9/11 Commission-censored testimony



Editor’s Note:

An open letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta regarding the omission of his 5/23/03 testimony to the 9/11 Commission from the Commission’s Final Report. That testimony included eye witness accounting of events that occurred in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) the morning of 9/11/01. Additionally, as of the time of this letter, it appears that an effort has been made to conceal Secretary Mineta’s testimony from the public by editing it from video archives of the 5/23/03 hearing on the 9/11 Commission website (the testimony is not deleted from the .pdf and .html archive).


Dear Secretary Mineta

Portrait of Norman Mineta

On May 23, 2003 you testified before the 9/11 Commission in public hearing as to your experience on the morning of 9/11/01. During your testimony you stated that you arrived at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) underneath the East Wing of the White House “at about 9:20 a.m.”, at which time Vice President Richard Cheney and other staff was already present in the center, with Mr. Cheney clearly in command. You also state in your testimony that you had believed based on a conversation that took place between Mr. Cheney and an unnamed “young man” that a shoot down order had been given by the Vice President prior to your arrival, because, in your words…

“There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, “The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to, “The plane is 10 miles out, “the young man also said to the vice president, “Do the orders still stand?” And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”

You made it clear during your testimony to the Commission that you had arrived at the PEOC prior to the Pentagon attack and that the plane the young man was referring to was Flight 77 that reportedly hit the Pentagon at 9:37. Your testimony made it clear that you were not confusing flight 77 and flight 93, which crashed at 10:10 a.m. in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Considering the timeframe and that Shanksville is 170 miles from Washington D.C., the distances announced by the young man could not have had any meaningful relevance to Flight 93. Also, when asked by Commission Co-Chair Hamilton if you knew beforehand (before it crashed) about Flight 93 you said “I did not”. You were clearly lucid about the timeframe of the conversation and the strange response by the vice president, which occurred in your words “about five or six minutes” after your arrival at the PEOC, or around 9:25 or 9:26.

Your testimony was consistent with statements made by Mr. Cheney during an interview September 16, 2001 with Tim Russert of “Meet the Press”;

Cheney: “…when I arrived there (PEOC), within short order, we had word the Pentagon’s been hit.”

It was also consistent with the report of that morning according to Richard A. Clarke in his book “Against All Enemies”. Furthermore, your testimony is in synch with the published timing of the approach of flight 77 according to the recently released Staff Report 3 by the 9/11 Commission. In this report the Commission states that Flight 77 was 60 miles out at 9:25, and 38 miles out at 9:29. This trajectory fits with your description of events and persuasively matches your account with the approach of the aircraft that struck the Pentagon.

What is strange and unexplained is that despite your testimony and the numerous public reports and statements which support it including Mr. Cheney’s, in its final report the 9/11 Commission gives the time for the arrival of the Vice President to the PEOC as 9:58, an almost 38 minute difference from your public testimony, and at the least 20 minutes later than the Vice President himself claimed on national television. While the Commission report states that there “is conflicting evidence about when the vice president arrived in the shelter conference room”, it does not resolve nor make any comment as to the fact that your testimony is discarded in its entirety.

According to David Ray Griffin, who has analyzed this topic and many others in detail in his important recent book “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions”:

“In constructing its revisionary timeline, the Kean-Zelikow Commission implies that either Mineta was lying or else his memory of his experiences that morning had become very confused. But it is hard to imagine what motive Mineta would have for lying about his time of arrival at the PEOC and about what he observed there.”

There is another disturbing aspect to the discarding of your testimony by the 9/11 Commission. It appears that the Commission has attempted to conceal your testimony by editing out that part of your public testimony in which you describe your experience in the PEOC from the video archive on the 9/11 Commission website (Day 2: Panel 1 – Windows Media).

The PEOC chronology is not the only significant timeline revision made by the 9/11 Commission in its report. During the final 9/11 Commission hearing, the longstanding timeline for FAA and NORAD response was drastically rewritten to conflict with previous official testimony and records disseminated to the public by NORAD and the FAA. The new timeline appeared to absolve the military of responsibility for failure to execute standing protocols on 9/11.

The omission of your testimony from the Final Report and editing of the video is not the only case of the 9/11 Commission tampering with public testimony records on its own web archive. As of this writing and for quite some time, General Major Larry Arnold and Colonel Alan Scott have been omitted from the archived agenda of the Commission hearing of the same day (5/23/03) as your testimony. Both individuals gave substantial testimony on that day, and like your own, that sworn testimony conflicted prolifically with revisions applied much later to the timeline by Phillip Zelikow and the 9/11 Commission. And so we now see that not only did the commission revise history on the last day of Commission hearings and in their report, but they also have attempted to conceal that public testimony which conflicts with their revision. These two circumstances alone lend credence to the conclusion arrived at by David Ray Griffin. According to Griffin…

“The purpose of the 9/11 Commission…was not to provide ‘the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11’. The purpose was to argue that the US Government was not itself complicit in the attacks.”

A thorough review of the 9/11 Commission hearings makes it quite evident that Griffin’s hypothesis can be narrowed even further as it applies to the FAA and NORAD failures on 9/11. The strategy of the 9/11 Commission was to pin the failures on the morning of 9/11 on the FAA, while deflecting attention away from the military and the executive branches of the government. This is abundantly evidenced by the aggressive questioning given to FAA officials on the last day of hearings, while the Commission treated in particular Admiral Charles Leidig, who reportedly manned the NMCC National Military Command Center nerve center of the military communications structure – with kid gloves. This is despite the fact that Leidig makes the claim that the NMCC staff first learned about the second World Trade Center attack by seeing it on TV, a full 30 minutes after the FAA Boston Center had contacted NEADS, the Northeast Air Defense Sector branch of NORAD. The Commission implies that the FAA didn’t use common sense and pick up the phone to call the NMCC. But the testimony of FAA Officials Monty Belger, Acting Deputy FAA Administrator on 9/11, and Ben Sliney, Operations Manager of the Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, VA on 9/11, reveal that there was in fact no excuse for the military to not have situational awareness throughout the events that morning. According to Belger…

“There were military people on duty at the FAA Command Center. They were participating in what was going on. There were military people in the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization in the situation room. They were participating in what was going on.”

And according to Sliney…

“…available to us at the (FAA) Command Center, of course, is the military cell, which was our liaison with the military services. They were present at all of the events that occurred on 9/11.”

Clearly the Commission made a deliberate choice to avoid pursuing the possibility of any military accountability for failed response on the morning of 9/11. Because the mainstream media has scarcely cast a critical eye on the proceedings and report of the 9/11 Commission, the majority of the American public is still doing their homework on these critical issues despite overt attempts by some to brand any 9/11 questioner as a conspiracy nut or extremist. Fortunately, the discarding of your testimony is amongst the most graspable of issues for a budding 9/11 questioner to verify by simply comparing the 9/11 Commission Report (see p. 40) with the written transcript of your testimony archived on the 9/11 Commission website archive (see see Transcript for Fri, May 23, 2003), then comparing that with the edited video (see Panel 1 Windows Media for Fri, May 23, 2003).

In 19 days and over 100 hours of public testimony, there was scarce illumination into the events of the crucial 2 hours between 8:00 and 10:10 a.m. the morning of 9/11. Your testimony and the testimony of Major General Larry Arnold, as well as that of Colonel Alan Scott on 5/23/03, are amongst the few glimpses we have seen. The record clearly reveals that that important original testimony has been revised, discarded, and concealed by the 9/11 Commission. And as has been well reported by Mike Ruppert and Michael Kane of From The Wilderness and others, there is scarcely a mention of the multiple live-fly drills being conducted the morning of 9/11. There is clear indication via recorded conversation that the actual hijackings were initially thought to be a part of these drills as exemplified by the response of NEADS to the first contact from FAA (NEADS: “Is this real-world or exercise?”). A full understanding of the drills is crucial and the fact that the Commission did not explore this topic is disturbing and must be corrected.

Secretary Mineta, your testimony serves to provide an important point of reference for evaluation and revelation of the 9/11 Commission and the veracity of its report. Given the facts in this matter, it is perhaps a rhetorical request to ask you to comment on your testimony to the 9/11 Commission and the Commissions actions to discard and attempt to conceal it from the public. Nonetheless the request is hereby made with great respect to your office and your service to this nation.

Very Sincerely,

Gregor Holland, US Citizen

Los Angeles, CA



Concerned individuals are encouraged to take “The Mineta Test”. Here’s how:

  1. Read the 9/11 Commission testimony of Secretary Mineta from May 23, 2003 (see day 2: full transcript, p. 11-13).
  2. Compare it to the 9/11 Commission Report PEOC timeline (see Chapter 1: “We Have Some Planes” p. 40).
  3. Verify that the 9/11 Commission Archive has edited the Mineta testimony from the video. (see Day Two: Panel 1, Windows Media ).
  4. Get your friends and family to take the test.
  5. Call your Congressional Representative and get them to take the test. Then ask them if they are confident in the 9/11 Commission Report given the preceding information as well as the many additional serious unanswered questions that still exist over 6 months after the adjourning of the Commission.
  6. Contact your local media and get them to take the test. Make them accountable if they are not writing about the many remaining unanswered questions, including the War Games taking place on 9/11.
  7. Be encouraged by Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (link).
  8. Refer also to the open letter to Richard A. Clarke written by Kyle Hence available at
  9. Be encouraged by this.


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