The timeline is important because if Cheney arrived at 10 a.m. it would have been about 20 minutes after the Pentagon was allegedly struck by a hijacked airplane at 9:38 a.m., too late for him to authorize the Air Force to shoot it down. Some 125 Pentagon employees perished in the attack.
Mineta testified "during the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, 'the plane is 50 miles out, the plane is 30 miles out.' And when it got to 'the plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the Vice President, 'Do the orders still stand?' And the Vice President...said, 'Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"
Since the airplane was not intercepted and destroyed, even though the vice president knew of it, "the orders" may have been to allow the plane to hit the Pentagon. All of this, and more, is contained in the March/April issue of "Tikkun" magazine, "a bimonthly Jewish critique of Politics, Culture & Society." The piece was authored by Dr. David Ray Griffin, a principal debunker of the accepted 9/11 dogma, and published by Rabbi Michael Lerner on grounds, "if his view is true, the position he articulates would provide adequate grounds for impeachment of the president..."
In Griffin's view, "the strike on the Pentagon was orchestrated by forces within our own government." If he's right, 9/11 was, indeed, the crime of the century, and what has been called a false flag operation involving the fabrication of evidence to make it appear the Taliban government of Afghanistan was complicit, paving the road for invasion.
To begin with, there's even a question of whether American Airlines Flight 77 under control of Al-Qaeda hijacker Hani Hanjour struck the Pentagon. It would require, Griffin charges, not only outfoxing military radar for over an hour but the quite miraculous performance of descending 7,000 feet in two minutes while executing a 270-degree banked turn and bashing into the Pentagon without touching or damaging the lawn, a feat of aeronautical magic.
Griffin, a professor of philosophy and theology at Claremont Graduate University, Calif., says the impact of the strike, unlike those of the two planes that struck the Twin Towers, did not create a dectactable seismic signal. "Also, according to photographs and eywitnesses, the kind of damage and debris that would have been produced by the impact of a Boeing 757 was not evident in the aftermath of the strike on the Pentagon."
Karen Kwiatkowski, then an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel employed at the Pentagon, writes of "a strange lack of visibile debris on the Pentagon lawn, where I stood only moments after the impact." Another witness was CNN's Jamie McIntyre, who reported live from the Pentagon that day: "The only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you pick up in your hand."
Griffin also quotes retired pilot Ralph Omholt, discussing the photographic evidence, who said, "There is no hole big enough to swallow a 757... There is no viable evidence of burning jet fuel... The expected 'crash' damage doesn't exist...Even the Pentagon lawn was undamaged!" So it may have been more than just a slip of the tongue when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld blurted about the "missile" that hit the Pentagon.
The CR report alleged there was no warning of an unidentified aircraft heading to Washington until 9:36 a.m., only "one or two minutes" before the Pentagon was struck, yet Mineta said Cheney knew of it at least 10 minutes earlier, time to order an evacuation.
"By omitting Mineta's testimony and stating that Cheney did not enter the PEOC until almost 10 a.m., the 9/11 Commission implied that Cheney could not have given a stand-down order to allow an aircraft to strike the Pentagon," Griffin writes.
The author goes on to say, CR's conclusion "contradicts Cheney's own account, which can still be read on the White House Website. Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" shortly after 9/11 Cheney said: '(A)fter I talked to the president...I went down into...the Presidential Emergency Operations Center...(W)hen I arrived there within a short order, we had word the Pentagon's been hit.' So he got there, as Mineta said, some time before the Pentagon was struck, not 20 minutes afterwards."
Griffin asserts the public has been fed three different yarns about why Flight 77 was not intercepted before hitting the Pentagon. Initially, military officials said no fighter jets were scrambled until after the Pentagon was hit; next, they said fighters were scrambled but did not arrive in time because of late FAA notification; finally, the CR found the FAA did not notify NORAD until after the planes crashed.
Particularly curious is that the FBI "immediately confiscated videos from security cameras on nearby buildings," and destroyed crash evidence, Griffin said. "After the strike, officials picked up debris in front of the impact site and carried it off. Shortly thereafter the entire lawn was covered with dirt and gravel, so that any remaining forensic evidence was literally covered up."
Griffin's views are akin to those published on Internet site "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," which has joined with Judicial Watch in calling for release of documents and physical evidence related to 9/11. The group's cofounder, James Fetzer, McKnight Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, calls Mineta's estimony "devastating."
"It pulls the plug on the Commission's contention there was no advance warning that the Pentagon was going to be hit," Fetzer said. "In fact, there are multiple witnesses who contradict the Vice President's account, including Richard Clarke, Condoleeza Rice, and several others. It had to have been a 'stand down' order, but the mere fact that he knew the plane was coming in and did not warn the Pentagon is proof this was an inside job," Fetzer said.
Philip J. Berg, former Pennsylvania deputy attorney general and member of Scholars, added, "Those who made it happen were obviously in the position to know that it was going to happen and therefore could have sounded a warning alarm. The case against Cheney is more powerful than the case against (Zacarias) Moussaoui(for willfully concealing advanced knowledge of the forthcoming 9/11 attack). No one is more culpable than the perpetrators. If Moussaoui deserves the death penalty, what does our Vice President deserve?"
Fetzer said the government's case against the hijackers is counterfeit. "A growing body of evidence supports the inference that these 19 men were patsies for forces within the United States government,"
(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based columnist, reporter, and publicist. Reach him at email@example.com).