In addition to the four pilots on Flights 11 and 93, furthermore, the four pilots on Flights 175 and 77 failed to do this as well.
In "Silver Blaze," the absence of an intruder was shown by the dog that didn't bark. On 9/11, the absence of hijackers was shown by the pilots who didn't squawk.
12. Were bin Laden and al-Qaeda Capable of Orchestrating the Attacks?
For prosecutors to prove that defendants committed a crime, they must show that they had the ability (as well as the motive and opportunity) to do so. But several political and military leaders from other countries have stated that bin Laden and al-Qaeda simply could not have carried out the attacks. General Leonid Ivashov, who in 2001 was the chief of staff for the Russian armed forces, wrote:
Only secret services and their current chiefs---or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations---have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. . . . . Osama bin Laden and "Al Qaeda" cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders.
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the former foreign minister of Egypt, wrote:
Bin Laden does not have the capabilities for an operation of this magnitude. When I hear Bush talking about al-Qaida as if it was Nazi Germany or the communist party of the Soviet Union, I laugh because I know what is there.
Similar statements have been made by Andreas von Bülow, the former state secretary of West Germany's ministry of defense, by General Mirza Aslam Beg, former chief of staff of Pakistan's army, and even General Musharraf, the president of Pakistan until recently.109
This same point was also made by veteran CIA agent Milt Bearden. Speaking disparagingly of "the myth of Osama bin Laden" on CBS News the day after 9/11, Bearden said: "I was there [in Afghanistan] at the same time bin Laden was there. He was not the great warrior." With regard to the widespread view that bin Laden was behind the attacks, he said: "This was a tremendously sophisticated operation against the United States---more sophisticated than anybody would have ascribed to Osama bin Laden." Pointing out that a group capable of such a sophisticated attack would have had a way to cover their tracks, he added: "This group who was responsible for that, if they didn't have an Osama bin Laden out there, they'd invent one, because he's a terrific diversion."110
13. Could Hani Hanjour Have Flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon?
The inability of al-Qaeda to have carried out the operation can be illustrated in terms of Hani Hanjour, the al-Qaeda operative said to have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
On September 12, before it was stated that Hanjour had been the pilot of American 77, the final minutes of this plane's trajectory had been described as one requiring great skill. A Washington Post story said:
[J]ust as the plane seemed to be on a suicide mission into the White House, the unidentified pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver. . . . Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm.111
But Hani Hanjour was not that. Indeed, a CBS story reported, an Arizona flight school said that Hanjour's "flying skills were so bad . . . they didn't think he should keep his pilot's license." The manager stated: "I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had."112 A New York Times story, entitled "A Trainee Noted for Incompetence," quoted one of his instructors as saying that Hanjour "could not fly at all."113
The 9/11 Commission even admitted that in the summer of 2001, just months before 9/11, a flight instructor in New Jersey, after going up with Hanjour in a small plane, "declined a second request because of what he considered Hanjour's poor piloting skills."114 The Commission failed to address the question of how Hanjour, incapable of flying a single-engine plane, could have flown a giant 757 through the trajectory reportedly taken by Flight 77: descending 8,000 feet in three minutes and then coming in at ground level to strike Wedge 1 of the Pentagon between the first and second floors, without even scraping the lawn.