Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coast Guard admits Sept. 11 training exercise was a bad idea

For anyone who still thinks it impossible that the U.S. military was caught napping on the fateful day that terrorists crashed jumbo jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001 comes news of an internal U.S. Coast Guard investigation that found that scheduling a training exercise on the Potomac River on the anniversary of that attack was a mistake. Gee, you think? False reports of gunfire near the Pentagon, where President Barack Obama was attending a memorial ceremony, prompted FBI agents to rush the scene and caused the grounding of 17 flights at nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the New York Times said, citing a report yesterday by the Associated Press. CNN and Fox News reported the shots on television after hearing about them on a police radio, even though no shots were actually fired, the Times said. Instead, the exercise raised unnecessary fears that Washington had again come under attack on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the report found. The Coast Guard said it did not know that Obama was in the vicinity and would not have conducted the drill if it had known, and promised to use more-secure communications in the future. Of course, the biggest question has to be why the Coast Guard didn't figure any of this out before. Like the incident in April when an airplane painted to look like Air Force One caused panic in New York City when it flew dangerously close to skyscrapers in a publicity exercise without notifying local authorities, federal authorities display stupidity at best or contempt for the citizenry at worst when they pull such stunts. If it's only stupidity, it certainly seems a likely explanation for what happened, or failed to happen, on the real Sept. 11.

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