Here are a few quotes that might help you out (bearing in mind that I'd trust Zelikow's version of events about as far as I could puke it...) These are pretty long, but hopefully they get to the meat of what you are looking for. Also, David Ray Griffin has a very good critique on the wonderous NEADS tape mentioned in the Larry Arnold testimony quote below which can be found here
MR. ZELIKOW: Conflicting Accounts. In May 2003, public http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hear..._2004-06-17.pdf
testimony before this commission, NORAD officials stated that,
at 9:16 NEADS received hijack notification of United 93 from the
FAA. This statement was incorrect. There was no hijack to report
at 9:16. United 93 was proceeding normally at that time. In this
same public testimony, NORAD officials stated that, at 9:24,
NEADS received notification of the hijacking of American 77.
This statement was also incorrect. The notice NEADS received at
9:24 was not about American 77. It was notification that
American 11 had not hit the World Trade Center and was heading
for Washington, D.C.
A 9:24 entry in a NEADS event log records: "American Airlines
No. N334AA hijacked." This is the tail number of American 11.
In their testimony, and in other public statements, NORAD
officials also stated that the Langley fighters were scrambled
to respond to the notifications about American 77 and/or United
93. These statements were incorrect as well. The report of
American 11 heading south as the cause of the Langley scramble
is reflected not just in taped conversations at NEADS, but in
taped conversations in FAA centers, on chat logs compiled at
NEADS, continental region headquarters, and NORAD, and in other
records. Yet this response to a phantom aircraft, American 11,
is not recounted in a single public timeline or statement issued
by FAA or DOD. Instead, since 9/11, the scramble of the Langley
fighters has been described as a response to the reported
hijacking of American 77, or United 93, or some combination of
the two. This inaccurate account created the appearance that the
Langley scramble was a logical response to an actual hijacked
Not only was the scramble prompted by the mistaken
information about American 11, but NEADS never even received
notice that American 77 was hijacked. It was notified at 9:34
that American 77 was lost. Then, minutes later, NEADS was told
that an unknown plane was six miles southwest of the White
House. Only then did the already scrambled airplanes start
moving directly to Washington, D.C.
Thus the military did not have 14 minutes to respond to
American 77, as testimony last year suggested. It had at most
one or two minutes to respond to the unidentified plane
approaching Washington, and the fighters were in the wrong place
to be able to help. They had been responding to a report about
an aircraft that did not exist.
Nor did the military have 47 minutes to respond to United 93,
as would be implied by the account that it received notice about
it at 9:16. By the time the military learned about the flight,
it had crashed.
At one point the FAA projected that United 93 would reach
Washington, at about 10:15. By that time the Langley fighters
were over Washington. But, as late as 10:10, the operating
orders were still "negative clearance to shoot" regarding nonresponsive
targets over Washington, D.C. The word of the
authorization to shoot down hijacked civilian aircraft did not
reach NEADS until 10:31.
Why did no one mention the false report received from FAA
that Flight 11 was heading south during your initial appearance
before the 9/11 Commission back in May of last year? And why was
there no report to us that contrary to the statements made at
the time, that there had been no notification to NORAD that
Flight 77 was a hijack?
GEN. LARRY ARNOLD: Well, the first part of your question --
Mr. Commissioner, first of all, I would like to say that a lot
of the information that you have found out in your study of this
of this 9/11, the things that happened on that day, helped us
reconstruct what was going on.
And if you're talking about the American 11, in particular,
the call of American 11, is that what you are referring to?
MR. BEN-VENISTE: Yes.
GEN. ARNOLD: The American 11, that was -- call after it had
impacted, is that what you're referring to?
MR. BEN-VENISTE: No. I'm talking about the fact that there
was miscommunication that Flight 11 was still heading south
instead of having impacted --
GEN. ARNOLD: That's what I'm referring to. That's correct. As
we -- as we worked with your committee in looking at that, that
was probably the point in time where we were concerned --
remember, that call, as I recall, actually came after United
175, as well as American 11, had already impacted the North and
South Towers of the World Trade Center. And then we became very
concerned, not knowing what the call signs of those aircraft
were that had hit the World Trade Center, we became very
concerned at that particular point that those aircraft, that
some aircraft might be heading towards Washington, D.C.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: General, is it not a fact that the failure
to call our attention to the miscommunication and the notion of
a phantom Flight 11 continuing from New York City south in fact
skewed the whole reporting of 9/11, it skewed the official Air
Force report, which is contained in a book called "The Air War
Over America," which does not contain any information about the
fact that you were following, or thinking of a continuation of
Flight 11, and that you had not received notification that
Flight 77 had been hijacked?
GEN. ARNOLD: Well, as I recall, first of all, I didn't know
the call signs of the airplanes when these things happened. When
the call came that American 11 was possible hijacked aircraft,
that aircraft just led me to come to the conclusion that there
were other aircraft in the system that were a threat to the
MR. BEN-VENISTE: General Arnold, surely by May of last year,
when you testified before this commission, you knew those facts.
GEN. ARNOLD: I didn't recall those facts in May of last year.
That's the correct answer to that. In fact, as I recall, during
that time frame, my concern was, why did -- the question that
came to me was, why did we scramble the aircraft out of Langley
Air Force Base, the F-16s out of Langley Air Force Base? And
there had been statements made by some that we scrambled that
aircraft the report of American 77, which was not the case, and
I knew that.
And I was trying to remember in my own mind what was it that
persuaded us to scramble those aircraft. And I thought at the
time it was United 93. But as I was able to -- we did not have
the times when these things were -- when we were notified of
this. I did not have that information at that time. I didn’t
MR. BEN-VENISTE: General Arnold --
MR. ARNOLD: And so we scrambled those aircraft to get them
over Washington D.C. to protect Washington D.C.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: According to our staff, you know that there
was a substantial problem in getting information from NORAD,
that we received information, we were told that the information
was complete. We went out into the field, our staff did, and did
a number of interviews. And as a result of those interviews, we
found that there were tapes which reflected the facts relating
to Flight 11.
And we found additional information by which we were able,
through assiduous and painstaking work, listening to any number
of tape recordings, to reconstruct what actually occurred, as
you have heard in the Staff Statement.
I take it you have no disagreement with the facts put forward
in the Staff Statement. That's been produced in advance for
comment, and I take it you're in agreement now with our staff's
conclusions with respect to those facts.
MR. ARNOLD: I am.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: We have -- and I'm not going to go through
it, but it is disturbing to see that there were efforts at
after-action reports which were available shortly after 9/11.
There were communications which our staff has received with
respect to e-mails that reflect some of the facts on nearly a
contemporaneous basis with the 9/11 catastrophe that reflect a
story which unfortunately is different from the one which was
presented to this commission earlier.
When you and General Eberhart were asked about the existence
of tape recordings reflecting these open-line communications,
both of you indicated that you had no such recollections.
GEN. EBERHART: Mr. Commissioner, I think it's important to
note that I did not testify in front of this commission. So to
say that I said that that day is categorically wrong.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: I'm sorry, sir. I'm sorry. You are correct.
I will refer to General Arnold's comments, both with respect to
MR. KEAN: This is the last question, Commissioner.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.
MR. ARNOLD: Yeah, the Northeast Air Defense Sector apparently
had a tape that we were unaware of at the time. And your -- to
the best of my knowledge, what I've been told by your staff is
that they were unable to make that tape run. But they were later
able to -- your staff was able, through a contractor, to get
that tape to run.
And so, to the best of my knowledge, that was an accurate
statement in May that I did not know of any tape recordings. If
I had had them available to me, I certainly would have been able
to give you more accurate information.
Our focus was on when the events occurred, and we did not
focus on when we -- we didn't have a record -- I did not have a
record of when we had been told different things.
MR. BEN-VENISTE: In order to clarify it -- and I apologize
again, General Eberhart -- the statement that I was referring to
was a statement which we are advised was made to the staff. It
was General McKinley, as well as General Arnold. When I asked
the question, "Let me ask you whether there's a regularly-made
tape recording of these open-line communications," General
Arnold answered, "Not to my knowledge" and General McKinley
answered, "Not to my knowledge."
It was through the painstaking investigation that discovered
these tapes and then our staff listening to those tapes which
assisted us in being able to provide the level of detail and
accuracy which we've done today.