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After 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001: NORAD Operations Center Receives Many False Reports of Hijackings

William Glover.William Glover. [Source: Thomas Doscher / US Air Force]The NORAD operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, receives numerous reports from the FAA of additional hijacked aircraft, but most of these reports turn out to be incorrect. Lieutenant Colonel William Glover, the commander of NORAD’s Air Warning Center, will later recall that after 9:03 a.m., when the second plane hits the World Trade Center, those in the operations center are “starting to receive reports… that we have these hijackings coming in.” He will say, “We had all these other reports coming in now, we were receiving from FAA, that there’s other issues on there.” (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 9/8/2011) According to Glover, the FAA says to NORAD, “Hey, this may be a possible hijack, or this aircraft may be a possible hijack.” As a result, those in the operations center “did not know how many more there were. Were there five, six, seven, or eight?” (BBC 9/1/2002) Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of operations, will similarly recall: “Lots of other reports were starting to come in. And now you’re not too sure. If they’re that clever to coordinate that kind of attack, what else is taking place across North America?” (Simmie 12/9/2001) According to Glover, the uncertainty about how many additional hijacked planes there are will lead NORAD to implement a limited version of a plan called SCATANA, which clears the skies and gives the military control of US airspace (see (11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Scott 6/3/2002; 9/11 Commission 6/17/2004) However, most of the additional hijackings that the FAA is reporting to NORAD turn out to be false alarms. Glover will say that most of the reports “were not true.” (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 9/8/2011) According to the 9/11 Commission Report, there are “multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft” during the morning (see (9:09 a.m. and After) September 11, 2001). (9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 28)

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