The NORAD 9/11 Tapes: Shocking but Not Incriminating
For several years, I've wondered about the failure to scramble fighter planes on 9/11 to intercept the hijacked jets. I've ready all the conspiracy theories, and agree that the series of coincidences is not plausible, and probably not random. However, now that the transcripts of NORAD's Northeast control center (NEADS) have been released, it seems very clear to me that whatever conspiracies might have been in play, NORAD's controllers weren't a part of it.
Michael Bronner, writing in Vanity Fair, uses the actual transcripts of NORAD/NEADS control room operations on that fateful day, with his explanation and commentary. Bronner, an associate producer on the movie United 93, has the background to interpret what the cryptic military language actually means--and most of his commentary is simply explaining what we hear (yes, you can actually listen to several brief clips).
The article is long, and includes large sections of actual transcripts. I recommend printing it out and reading carefully (and listening to some of the clips).
What I come away with...
What this article establishes in my mind is that NORAD's people behaved phenomenally well under conditions more stressful than any in history--but they had antiquated and inadequate equipment, antiquated and inadequate and in some cases completely false information, and no chance to preemptively block the hijackers from reaching their targets.
I commend their courage, and I thank Vanity Fair for running the article. Now...was there a conspiracy involving other aspects of 9/11?