September 14, 2001: The Director of the Air National Guard explains why jets failed to scramble towards the hijacked aircraft for so long. He says that before 1997, 100 bases defended the US, but since then the number was reduced to 7, with only 2 fighter planes in each defending the entire country from external threats. This is despite numerous air force bases on the East Coast that claim they have battle ready fighters on alert 24 hours a day. These include bases in Westfield, Massachusetts, Syracuse, New York, Hartford, Connecticut and Andrews, Virginia, all of which were better positioned than the bases ultimately chosen. Some of these bases have websites that get changed after 9/11, erasing claims that they have battle ready fighters on alert. In 1999, when Payne Stewart's plane went off course fighters were scrambled from 4 different bases (none of the official 7) and reached his plane in under 10 minutes. There are numerous other examples of fighter scramblings since 1997 that seem to contradict the "only 7 bases" story. [ABC News, 10/25/99, Dallas Morning News, 9/16/01]
From the Complete 9-11 Timeline by Paul Thompson. A vital online resource for anyone wanting to investigate 911 and the war on terror.
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