9/11 Commission Report
Chapter 1, Page 31
"The defense of U.S. airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with preexisting training and protocols."
Cheney recalls taking charge from bunker
WASHINGTON (CNN) --As horrified Americans watched the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, unfold on their television sets, Vice President Dick Cheney directed the U.S. government's response from an emergency bunker.
After the planes struck the twin towers, a third took a chunk out of the Pentagon. Cheney then heard a report that a plane over Pennsylvania was heading for Washington. A military assistant asked Cheney twice for authority to shoot it down.
"The vice president said yes again," remembered Josh Bolton, deputy White House chief of staff. "And the aide then asked a third time. He said, 'Just confirming, sir, authority to engage?' And the vice president -- his voice got a little annoyed then -- said, 'I said yes.'"
It was a rare flash of anger from a man who knew he was setting the tone at a White House in crisis.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES
Public Hearing; Friday, May 23, 2003, Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216
MR. MINETA: No, I was not. I was made aware of it during the time that the airplane coming into the Pentagon. There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, "The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down 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 turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?" Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant. And --
MR. HAMILTON: The flight you're referring to is the --
MR. MINETA: The flight that came into the Pentagon.
MR. HAMILTON: The Pentagon, yeah.