Monday, September 20, 2004

The Riddle of the Transponders

What was the value-added benefit for the 9/11 hijackers in turning off their transponder signals?

The planes remained visible to radar; the transponders merely ID'd the flights. And yet the transponders of all four flights were switched off. What was gained?

I think the answer is found in the proliferation of wargames on September 11, particularly the exercise called "Vigilant Guardian": the live-fly simulation of hijackings in the US Northeast staged by the Joint Chiefs and NORAD the very morning of the attacks. (Health advisory to coincidentalists: chew carefully before digesting.)

At one time on 9/11, as many as 22 aircraft appeared to be hijacked. Suddenly, the virtue, now verging on necessity, of switching off the transponders becomes evident. With loss of transponder signals the planes became bogies, and discriminating real from simulated hijackings became next to impossible.

This confusion compounded the paralysis already introduced to the system by drawing most of the Eastern seaboard's combat-ready interceptors into Northern Canada for the wargame "Northern Vigilence," and changing the standing orders for a shootdown in June 2001 by removing the discretion of field commanders and placing it solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense.

For more regarding the multiple wargames of 9/11, see chapter 19 (a .pdf is available online here) of Michael Ruppert's soon-to-be-released Crossing the Rubicon.


Blogger spooked said...


This is really an incredibly important issue for understanding what happened on 9/11. I haven't had to time to think it through, and I haven't read Ruppert's book yet, but from an analytical perspective, it is fascinating to think about the implications of these wargames and the highjackings. Were the hijackers allowed to take over the planes as part of the wargame? Was there some sort of bungled sting operation that got merged with the wargames? Who piloted the planes into the WTC and Pentagon? Was what happened on 9/11 planned by someone in charge of the wargame? Or did something go wrong with the wargame scenario?

I'm still struggling to understand the simplest way to fit this all together.

2:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for more on the wargames

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Blogger Vanished friend said...

Jeff, have you seen the "Lone Gunmen" pilot episode? Scenario 12-D?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

War Games were operational cover for the attacks, it was the perfect staging platform to confuse the civilian air traffic controllers and a lot of military pilots too the ones who didn't know what the heck was going on.

3:30 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


A smart ass might suggest turning off the transponders is what caused physics to suspend it's own laws, and allow kerosene to "melt" steel at the WTC towers and WTC 7.

A smart ass might, I won't ;<)

I know you monitor IP's, friend

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