How do you begin to unravel the conspiracy theories and mysteries surrounding the U.S. Air Force’s response on 9/11? Get your hands on over 30 hours of never-before-released NORAD tapes. Vanity Fair’s Michael Bronner did just that, and pieces together a picture of the “chaotic military history of that day—and the Pentagon’s apparent attempt to cover it up.” Complete with audio clips. (h/t bb.net)
By MICHAEL BRONNER
Tucked in a piney notch in the gentle folds of the Adirondacks’ southern skirts—just up from a derelict Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern rail spur—is a 22-year-old aluminum bunker tricked out with antennae tilted skyward. It could pass for the Jetsons’ garage or, in the estimation of one of the higher-ranking U.S. Air Force officers stationed there, a big, sideways, half-buried beer keg.
As Major Kevin Nasypany, the facility’s mission-crew commander, drove up the hill to work on the morning of 9/11, he was dressed in his flight suit and prepared for battle. Not a real one. The Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), where Nasypany had been stationed since 1994, is the regional headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Cold War-era military organization charged with protecting North American airspace. As he poured his first coffee on that sunny September morning, the odds that he would have to defend against Russian “Bear Bombers,” one of NORAD’s traditional simulated missions, were slim. Rather, Nasypany (pronounced Nah-sip-a-nee), an amiable commander with a thick mini-mustache and a hockey player’s build, was headed in early to get ready for the NORAD-wide training exercise he’d helped design. The battle commander, Colonel Bob Marr, had promised to bring in fritters.