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NORAD drills foreshadowed 9-11 attacks.

In her April 8 testimony to the 9-11 investigative commission, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice publicly testified that the Bush administration's intelligence assessments prior to 9-11 did not anticipate the use of hijacked airliners as terrorist weapons. In this she essentially reiterated a claim she made at a May 16, 2002 White House briefing: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile...."

Four days after Rice's April 8 testimony, the Project on Government Oversight released documents from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) describing exercises that anticipated--in eerie detail--the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

"In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, [NORAD] conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties," reported the April 19 USA Today. "One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets performed a mock shoot down of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. Ill a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon--but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic...."

"A White House spokesman said ... that the Bush administration was not aware of the NORAD exercises," continued the paper. "But the exercises using real aircraft show that at least one part of the government thought the possibility of such attacks, though unlikely, merited scrutiny."

It's also worth remembering, as this magazine reported two years ago (see "Foreknowledge and Failure" in our June 17, 2002 issue), that Bush administration officials were aware of, took seriously, and moved to prevent a terrorist threat to use hijacked aircraft as missiles in an attack on the June 2001 G-8 Summit in Genoa, Italy.
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Title Annotation:Insider Report
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 17, 2004
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