Cheney in charge of NORAD

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It's claimed by some researchers that the American air defence system was given a "stand down" order on 9/11, in order that the attacks would be successful. If you find it hard to believe a military sworn to protect the nation would abandon that duty, and subsequently cover it up, then you're not alone. But there is, we're told, an explanation. Dick Cheney was in charge of NORAD on 9/11, and he used this opportunity to ensure it could not do its job:

Big claims, but for evidence we have to look a little further back. One early devotee of the "Cheney in charge" theory was Mike Ruppert, whose From The Wilderness site offers more detail on the allegations here:

This seems a little clearer, although it's still not exactly proof. Cheney being given the task of overseeing the "Office of National Preparedness" surely doesn't demonstrate that he was personally involved with everything they did. Still, at least we now have a reference to the mandate that supposedly gave Cheney all this power. Here’s what it says.

There's nothing about NORAD here. The order mentions the Department of Defence, yes, but only in connection with “programs dealing with weapons of mass destruction consequence management “. This seems to be more about planning and training for what might happen if a WMD were to be used in a US city. To claim this let Cheney take charge of NORAD exercises on 9/11 is reaching, to put it politely. So how does Ruppert justify it?

Ruppert places great weight on the talk of “planning and training”, but those words occur in this context (from the above link):

So the mandate is talking about planning and training that relates to “programs to deal with the consequences of a potential use of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapon in the United States” (our emphasis). It’s disaster planning, not NORAD exercises.

This isn't just our view, either. In April 2002 the House of Representatives held a hearing to discuss the new Office, and here's the background they provided:

Again, this is all about helping first responders. It's consequence management, ensuring that the emergency services and other organisations can respond to such disasters properly. And note that the ONP isn't about somehow taking over and running exercises itself. This is more about coordinating what's already out there, and making sure it's working in the most efficient and economical way. Please don't just believe us, follow the link and read the testimonies from various witnesses for yourself.

And then review the reason this page exists:

Even a cursory inspection of the Office of National Preparedness reveals its creation did not give "direct control of all wargame and drill operations" to anyone. There's no reason whatsoever to believe that Cheney "was solely in charge of the overlapping NORAD drills and wargames on the morning of 9/11", and we'd dispute the claim that they "prevented Standard Operating Procedure from being implemented, and any of the hijacked planes being intercepted", too (though that's another story). The allegations may look significant, but look at the details and it's plain they're based on semantics and assumptions stretched to breaking point: there's no real substance here whatsoever.