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9/11 Commission Cites Confusion, Chaos During 2001 Terror Attacks
VOA News
18 Jun 2004, 13:55 UTC

The government commission investigating the 2001 terrorist assault on this country says the United States' civil aviation and military defense systems were critically unprepared for the attack by al-Qaida hijackers, who crashed passenger jets into New York and Washington.

A report released Thursday by the commission studying the September 11 attacks listed a number of official lapses. Among them was a complaint that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the agency that controls all civilian air travel was too slow to sound the alarm to military commanders when it became clear that multiple hijackings were under way. As a result, efforts to intercept the jets were tangled and confused.

Communications problems at the time of the attacks extended to the White House, where officials had great difficulty keeping Vice President Cheney in contact with President Bush, who was away from Washington at the time.

Since 2001, a White House spokesman said, officials have made "significant improvements" to the nation's air defense procedures.