By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Referring to the period between the first hijacking, at 8:14 a.m. and the crash of the fourth plane, at 10:03 a.m., Dayton said: "During those entire 109 minutes, to my reading of this report, this country and its citizens were completely undefended."
"According to [the 9-11 Commission's] findings, FAA authorities failed to inform military command, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, about three of the four hijackings until after the planes had crashed into their targets at the second World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the ground in Pennsylvania, which was not their target. NORAD then scrambled one of only two sets of fighter planes on alert in the entire eastern third of the country, one in Massachusetts and one in Virginia, but it didn't know where to send thembecause the hijackers had turned off the plane's transponder so NORAD couldn't locate them on their radar, and they were still looking for it when it exploded into its target at 8:46 a.m."
"The second hijacking began, according to [the commission's] report, one minute later. NORAD wasn't notified until the same minute the same plane struck the second World Trade tower. It was five more minutes before NORAD's mission commander learned about that explosionwhich was five minutes after thousands of Americans saw it on live television. By this time, the third plane's transponder was off. Communication had been severed, yet it was 15 minutes before the flight controller decided to notify the regional FAA center, which in turn did not inform FAA headquarters for another 15 minutes."
At 9:25 a.m. on September 11, Dayton said, "FAA's National Command Center knew that there were two hijacked planes that had crashed into the two World Trade Centers, and a third plane had stopped communicating and disappeared from its primary radar, yet no one in FAA headquarters asked for military assistance with that plane, either. NORAD was unaware that the plane had even been hijacked until after it crashed into the Pentagon at 9:34."
"The NORAD mission commander ordered his only three other planes on alert in Virginia to scramble and fly north to Baltimore. Minutes later, when he was told that a plane was approaching Washington, he learned that the planes were flying east over the Atlantic Ocean, away from Baltimore and Washington, so that when the third plane struck the Pentagon, NORAD's fighters were 150 miles awayfarther than they were before they took off."
"By then, FAA's command center had learned of the fourth hijacking and called FAA headquarters, specifically asking that they contact the military, at 9:36 a.m. At 9:46 a.m., the FAA command center updated FAA headquarters that United flight 93 was '29 minutes out of Washington, D.C.' Three minutes later, [the commission's] document records this following conversation between the command center and FAA headquarters:
"Command center: 'Uh, do we want to, uh, think about scrambling aircraft?'
"FAA headquarters: 'Oh God, I don't know.'
"Command center: 'Uh, that's a decision somebody's going to have to make probably in the next 10 minutes.'
"FAA headquarters: 'Uh, yeah, you know, everybody just left the room.' "