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The U.S. Government, Not the Hijackers, 'Chose' the Date of the 9-11 Attacks


December 10, 2002

by Barbara Honegger

From the start, the Bush Administration has insisted that anything like the 'planes-as-weapons' scenario of 9-11 was 'unthinkable' before 9-11. That's a Huge Lie. On Sept. 11, 2001 they had a brand new counter-terror emergency response plan in place at the Pentagon for exactly that scenario, and had a counter-terror 'war-game' set to begin on exactly that scenario that very morning in the nation's capitol.

This brief sets forth the growing reasons to believe that the date for the attack was not 'chosen' by the hijackers at all, but that one of them learned that a counter-terror war-game/exercise simulating a scenario like the one that actually took place on 9-11 was planned for that morning, and then 'piggybacked' the "real thing" on top of it. Here are some of the critical 'burning data points':

1) Military aircraft had more than enough time - nearly three quarters of an hour -- to respond to and intercept the 9-11 Pentagon plane after all key decision makers were 100% certain the Twin Tower hits had been terrorist attacks and that Flight 77 had also been hijacked, but didn't do so 'in time'. This is beyond comprehension over the nation's capital unless some previous piece of information or mental set led them to assume the Pentagon plane could not be a terrorist vehicle, or at least confuse them as to whether it was or not. If those looking on from inside the Pentagon as 9-11 unfolded believed flight 77 was, or might be, part of a "Red Team" counter- terror exercise set for that very morning, it would explain the otherwise incomprehensible delay, almost to the point of paralysis, in effectively scrambling interceptors.

2) For the above to be the case, an actual counter-terrorist simulation/war-game/exercise had to have been planned for that very morning, 9-11. More specifically, it would have had to have been a counter-terrorist war-game involving the same or a very similar scenario as what actually began to take place - i.e. a plane or planes crashing into a building or buildings in the Washington, D.C. area.

3) The above, in fact, did happen. On Aug. 22, 2002 Associated Press ran the following story (version carried in "Top U.S. Intelligence Agency was to simulate plane crash into government building on September 11, 2001. U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings. Full story at:

4) After reading the above article about NRO's planned 9-11 exercise or a scenario similar to what actually happened that morning, I was certain that the 'revelation' was a 'partial hangout' - i.e. that other federal agencies in the D.C. area, both military and civilian, also had 'war-games' on the plane-into-building scenario scheduled for the morning of 9-11.

5) A search of the Washington Post and New York Times for the week after 9-11 revealed the following amazing facts which require the context provided by 3) and 4) above to be meaningful:

The Washington Post reported on 9/16/01 that the original pilot of Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, former F-4 fighter pilot Charles Burlingame had, in his last Navy job developing anti-terror strategies for the Navy before retiring to fly for American Airlines, drafted the Pentagon's emergency response plan in case it was hit by a civilian airliner. Also, on the morning of 9-11, Pentagon medic Matt Rosenberg was in the health clinic on Corridor 8, "Grateful for an uninterrupted hour in which he could study a new medical emergency disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of an airplane crashing into the Pentagon." Clearly, the disaster plan Rosenberg was reading just before Burlingame's plane hit the Navy Command Center was part of the very plan Burlingame himself had put together.

Precisely what the above means in the context of the counter- terror 'war-game' planned for that very morning with the full knowledge of key personnel in the military and CIA (NRO, the one agency which, so far, has acknowledged having a plane-into-building simulation on 9-11 is staffed by military and CIA personnel) is not yet clear, but one thing is certain. It is absolutely and completely beyond coincidence.

6) With this new context, we can now see why the leak of the exact wording (not the fact of, which had already been reported in the Washington Times two weeks after 9-11) of a Sept. 10, 2001 NSA intercept so worried and infuriated Vice President Cheney that he demanded an FBI investigation of members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee Joint 9-11 investigation to determine who might have leaked it. That key intercept between the leader of the 9-11 hijackers, Mohammad Atta, and the 'mastermind' of the 9-11 plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, said: "The Match is about to begin. Tomorrow (i.e. 9-11) is zero hour." "Match", of course, is what you would expect if the speaker were referring to his discovery of the date that the U.S. Government had selected to conduct its counter-terror simulation/exercise on the scenario of plane(s) crashing into government buildings - one that was about to turn very real when the terrorists 'piggybacked' their long-planned plot onto it. On 9-10-02, Knight-Ridder reported that U.S. intelligence officials now believe that in that critical "Match" call, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave Atta coded approval for the four teams of hijackers to proceed. On the contrary, given the new context in which this all finally begins to make sense, Atta was merely communicating to his boss, or vise versa, the date that the U.S. government exercise was to take place. Bin al Shibh, Atta, and Mohammad didn't 'choose the date'. The U.S. Government did.

This also explains the choice of date for the attack, which was the date chosen for the 'emergency' preparedness exercise. 9-11 is U.S. abbreviation for 'emergency', and that's precisely the kind of code name the military and intelligence communities like to give their 'exercises. Islamic radicals, rather, choose significant anniversary dates for their attacks - such as August 7 for the twin bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa. To bin Laden and his followers, August 7 is their "Pearl Harbor" anniversary - the day U.S. troops, then under orders from first President Bush's Secretary of Defense Cheney, landed in Saudi Arabia following Saddam Hussein's August 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait. I've checked ten years of back papers: Sept. 11 is not among the 'anniversary' dates for radical Islamicists. They didn't choose it. (President Bush is also keenly aware of August 7 as the key 'anniversary' date in bin Laden's mind -- that's why he requested the one brief he was given before 9-11 on possible terror attacks on the U.S. mainland, held at his Texas ranch, the day before -- Aug. 6, 2001).

7) We also know why it was Vice President Cheney who was so upset that the content of the "Match" call was made public. Now, someone might figure out that it was he - having been charged by President Bush on May 8, 2001 (Time magazine) to lead a high-level task force to identify the U.S.'s vulnerabilities to domestic terrorist attack and figure out ways to fix them -- who was 'in charge' of the 'plane(s)- into-building(s)' counter-terror 'exercise' the morning of Sept. 11. That's why he was in the White House Sit Room; and why President Bush kept reading to grammar school kids in Florida long after he should have instantly broken it off to perform his emergency duties as Commander-in-Chief. The reason was that Bush 'knew' - or thought he knew - that it was 'just a game.'

8) Finally, for all of this to 'work', the bad guys had to have at least one person among them who had fooled U.S. intelligence into believing that he was 'one of us.' That person, almost certainly, is Khalid Shaikh Muhammed -- the only person about whom all information is still classified, even his name, even though reams have already been written about him in the open press. He is also the only living 9-11 operative still at large. And for good reason. Vice President Cheney, President Bush, CIA Director Tenet, CIA officer and chief of NRO's strategic gaming division for their 9-11 'plane-into-building' exercise, John Fulton, and all the others who were so stupid as to risk thousands of innocent American lives on the bet that their star 'informant, Khalid Sheikh Muhammed had really been 'turned' -- don't want him to talk about what he knows. And he knows a lot. On Sept. 10, 2002, Knight-Ridder quoted a top U.N. counter-terror expert that Mohammad is probably also the only person who has all the pieces to the 9-11 puzzle. Not surprisingly, CIA Director Tenet has also classified all information about what President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condolezza Rice, and everyone else at the White House were told about Khalid Sheikh Muhammed.

9) It's time for the Joint House/Senate Intelligence Committee 9-11 investigation, and the future independent 9-11 investigation, to insist on any time, any where, on demand surprise searches of all Bush Administration files on 9-11. This, after all, is the Administration that insisted that anything like the 'planes as weapons' scenario of 9-11 was 'unthinkable' before 9-11. Right. They had a brand new counter-terror emergency plan in place at the Pentagon for exactly that scenario, and had a counter-terror 'war-game' set to begin on exactly that scenario that very morning. Just couldn't imagine. Because putting together counter-terror exercises like the one that was to take place the morning of 9-11 in the nation's capitol was precisely the right thing to do, the fact that everyone in the Administration from the President on down has so completely lied about it shows that they have something terrible, indeed, to hide. In this brief, we've begun to discern its shape.

P.S. Prof. John Arquilla, an information warfare and Special Operations expert at the Naval Postgraduate School, told The Monterey Herald (7/18/02): "The idea of such an attack (like 9-11) was well known. It had been war-gamed as a possibility in exercises before Sept. 11, 2001."