September 11, 2006
Captain Charles Leidig, a low ranking officer temporarily in charge of the NMCC, is handling the NMCC’s crisis teleconference. He mentions reports of a crash into the opposite side of the Pentagon, and requests that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld be added to the conference. [9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004] As one magazine has noted, “On September 11, the normal scramble-approval procedure was for an FAA official to contact the [NMCC] and request Pentagon air support. Someone in the NMCC would call NORAD’s Command Center and ask about availability of aircraft, then seek approval from the defense secretary—Donald H. Rumsfeld—to launch fighters.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/2002] Rather than join the NMCC conference, Rumsfeld has already gone out of the Pentagon to see the crash site, and remains out of contact for some time. It is unknown if Rumsfeld had a cell phone or pager, and if so, why he cannot be reached.
Two seconds after 9:39 a.m., reporter Jim Miklaszewski states on NBC News, “Moments ago, I felt an explosion here at the Pentagon.” [Name Missing, n.d.] However, no media outlets record video footage of the Pentagon crash, and the cause of the crash remains unknown for some minutes afterward.
The Flight 93 hijackers (probably inadvertently) transmit over the radio: “Hi, this is the captain. We’d like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board. And we are going to turn back to the airport. And they had our demands, so please remain quiet.” [Boston Globe, 11/23/2001; MSNBC, 9/3/2002; Longman, 2002, pp. 209; 9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004] The controller responds, “United 93, understand you have a bomb on board. Go ahead,” but there is no response. There was a very similar “bomb on board” warning from the same flight at 9:32 a.m. (see (9:32 a.m.)). The 9/11 Commission indicates that these are separate incidents. [9/11 Commission, 6/17/2004] Cleveland flight control apparently continues to wait for FAA superiors to notify NORAD. Earlier in the morning, Boston flight control directly contacted NORAD (see (8:37 a.m.)) and local air force bases when they determined Flight 11 was hijacked.
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