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Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Secret Service in NYC on 9/11

Edit: 11/5/06 I'm going to be updating this post with more information which I've found since I wrote it (and perhaps changing the wording around), but you can find a cached version of how it looked before I started this process here.

Now, no doubt you are aware that the Secret Service's largest field office was located in WTC 7. What you may not know, though, is that 100 extra agents were in NYC on 9/11 in preparation for the U.N.'s General Assembly which was scheduled to open that day. Was 9/11 in NYC designated as a National Special Security event due to that opening? Usually, the General Debate begins a few days after the General Assembly opens. That is what was postponed until November, lasted only one week instead of the more typical two weeks and was classified as a NSSE when it happened. George Bush was scheduled to speak near the end of the General Debate in September. Anyway, here are some quotes regarding the Secret Service in NYC on 9/11.

In an interview with Barbara Riggs (the first woman Deputy Director of the Secret Service) she says
The Secret Service New York Field Office is its largest field operation, employing over 200 personnel. An additional 100 employees were in New York to plan, implement and staff the foreign dignitary details for the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
The General Assembly was scheduled to open that day, but the opening was postponed until the following day due to the attacks. Kofi Annan addressed the General Assembly on September 12th. Much of their session was postponed until later in the year, when it was classified as a NSSE (as the previous year's assembly had also been) which puts the Secret Service in charge. A few quotes about NSSE's follow:

A portion of PDD-62, which is a classified document, deals with the coordination of Federal anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism assets for events of national interest.

When an event is designated a National Special Security Event, the Secret Service assumes its mandated role as the lead agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan.
Certainly, we emphasize the importance of prevention and deterrence when we are developing an operational security plan, but we are also prepared to respond tactically to a threat if the situation dictates. As a result, we will employ a number of our specialized units during the course of this event.
A variety of training initiatives are conducted to include simulated attacks and medical emergencies, inter-agency tabletop exercises, and field exercises.

The Secret Service apparently had at least three (and probably at least four) military unit working under them in New York on 9/11.
First, the 1108th U.S. Army Signal Brigade from Fort Detrick archive:

When four communications soldiers from the 1108th Signal Brigade were on temporary duty to New York City Sept. 11 to support the Secret Service in preparing for the United Nations General Assembly 56, they had no idea how life-altering their trip would be.

You can read about some of my adventures in trying to record that story after it went 404 here.
Two of the soldiers mentioned in this story, Stephen Atha and Robert Curtis used to have webpages made up for them in a location called Salute to the Netcom heroes. You can read about some of my adventures trying to document those pages after they were all blacked out and then went 404 here. A third soldier mentioned in this group, Justo Andaluz, made a complaint to Gateway computers, which you can read here. All of these sources would seem to add to the evidence that these soldiers have been involved with working at other NSSEs- the Winter Olympics for Andaluz and the 2005 Presidential Inauguration for Curtis and Atha.

Military unit number two- Air Force Protective Communications Support team (Scott AFB) archive (article on page 8) screenshot 1 screenshot 2. Quote:

Tech Sgt. Shawn Haynes and Staff Sgts. Craig Walentowski, Mark Provo and Lonnie Wells, of the Air Force Protective Communications Support team, were on temporary duty in New York City to provide communications support for the Secret Service for United Nations General Assembly 56. They left Scott AFB Aug. 27 and were scheduled to return Oct. 5, before their mission was cut short by the destruction of the World Trade Center Sept. 11.
"We were there to provide radio, telephone, computer, cellular phone, and paging support for the assembly," said Sergeant Haynes.
The four had left a morning briefing and begun preparing for the day's mission when the first airliner struck the north tower.

Mark Provo audio interview in the Library of Congress
Part 1 archive
Part 2 archive

Military unit number three
Navy EOD MU 6, Jim Prewitt, team leader archive

That morning, Prewitt, assigned to EOD Mobile Unit 6, was working as a team leader with the U.S. Secret Service in New York City. While on his way to a brief in building seven of the World Trade Center Complex, the first plane struck the north tower.

Probable military unit number four:
754th Explosive Ordnance Disposal company (Fort Monmouth), Richard Spanard and team
Richard J. Spanard, Beta Tau ’93 (Slippery
Rock University) is a U. S. Army
captain and commander of an Explosive
Ordnance Disposal company
based in northern New Jersey. On the
morning of September 11, he was enjoying
breakfast at a deli 50 feet from
the World Trade Center twin towers
when the first plane hit. General
hysteria inundated the deli. Spanard
decided that he and the three
soldiers with him should move to
number 7 World Trade Center, where
they had a scheduled meeting.

Please let me know if you are aware of other military units which were working with the Secret Service on 9/11/01 in New York City in addition to the ones above.

Now, from an interview with Bob Weaver, the Assistant Special Agent in charge of the US Secret Service New York Field Office(WTC 7):
At this point in the conversation, a colleague handed Weaver a picture of his former office in flames.

"I can't believe this picture," he said, the tone of his voice lowering. "There are flames shooting out of my office. There is no other fire on that side of the building (the West Broadway side) but there is in my office. It's incredible.

"I knew we lost everything in the attack, but I guess my friend wanted to be sure I didn't forget."

That would be an interesting picture to see, I think.

As Cynthia McKinney asked Richard Myers (with Donald Rumsfeld present) and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Tina Jonas on March 11th, 2005:

CMK: Mr. Chairman, begging your indulgence, was September Eleventh declared a National Security Special Event day?

RM: I have to look back; I do not know. Do you mean after the fact, or

CMK: No. Because of the activities going on that had been scheduled at the United Nations that day.

RM: I'd have to go back and check. I don't know.

From the 9/11 Commission report, we see that the Secret Service had been involved with potential threats posed by airplanes as far back as 1996-

Clarke had been concerned about the danger posed by aircraft since at least the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. There he had tried to create an air defense plan using assets from the Treasury Department, after the Defense Department declined to contribute resources. The Secret Service continued to work on the problem of airborne threats to the Washington region. In 1998, Clarke chaired an exercise designed to highlight the inadequacy of the solution. This paper exercise involved a scenario in which a group of terrorists commandeered a Learjet on the ground in Atlanta, loaded it with explosives, and flew it toward a target in Washington, D.C. Clarke asked officials from the Pentagon, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Secret Service what they could do about the situation. Officials from the Pentagon said they could scramble aircraft from Langley Air Force Base, but they would need to go to the President for rules of engagement, and there was no mechanism to do so. There was no clear resolution of the problem at the exercise.

Also from the Barbara Riggs interview we get a confirmation the the Secret Service was aware of potential hijackings in real time for at least some part of the morning:
Thru monitoring radar and activating an open line with the FAA, the Secret Service was able to receive real time information about other hijacked aircraft. We were tracking two hijacked aircraft as they approached Washington, D.C. and our assumption was that the White House was a target. While the White House was evacuated, the Secret Service prepared to defend the facility.

A quote from an exerpt of Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies:
I resumed the video conference. "FAA, FAA, go. Status report. How many aircraft do you still carry as hijacked?" Garvey read from a list: "All aircraft have been ordered to land at the nearest field. Here's what we have as potential hijacks: Delta 1989 over West Virginia, United 93 over Pennsylvania. . . ."

Stafford slipped me a note. "Radar shows aircraft headed this way." Secret Service had a system that allowed them to see what FAA's radar was seeing. "I'm going to empty out the complex." He was ordering the evacuation of the White House.

Ralph Seigler stuck his head into the room, "There has been an explosion in the Pentagon parking lot, maybe a car bomb!" . . .

Roger Cressey stepped back in to the video conference and announced: "A plane just hit the Pentagon." I was still talking with FAA, taking down a list of possibly hijacked aircraft. "Did you hear me?" Cressey was on loan to the White House from the Pentagon. He had friends there, we all did. "I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen," I replied, "so the whole building didn't get hit. No emotion here. We are going to stay focused. Roger, find out where the fighter planes are. I want Combat Air Patrol over every major city in this country. Now." source

Of course, we also know that the Secret Service had been concerned about planes crashing into the White House before this:
The plane that slammed against the White House early Monday morning had been detected by radar at National Airport minutes before the crash, according to federal investigators who are trying to determine why Secret Service officers guarding the mansion weren't warned of the aircraft's approach.

Frank Eugene Corder, 38, a student pilot with a history of alcohol and drug abuse, stole the single-engine Cessna from an airfield north of Baltimore and died in the crash, officials said. Initial interviews with associates of Corder suggest the crash was intentional, federal officials said, but they said they did not believe it was politically motivated.

FBI and Secret Service investigators plan to pore over Federal Aviation Administration records to determine what the FAA's radar showed, whether it seemed to indicate a potential threat, and what was done with the information, federal sources said. source
(early AM September 12th, 1994)


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