The Secret Service Timeline--Updated
Over at JREF, Blue Collar Republican (aka John Farmer--see end for note) posts a graphic of a 9-11 Commission staffer's notes on a Secret Service Log of events on 9-11. This is the applicable portion:
And notes that this tends to support Mineta's testimony about the young man who told Cheney that the plane (which Mineta has consistently assumed was Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon) was 50 miles out, then 30 miles out, then 10 miles out.
Except, as pointed out by Gumboot in that thread, that the log entry does not start at 50 miles out. There are other problems with tying Mineta to those log entries, starting with the fact that Mineta's times are off for many events. For example, Mineta describes the scene at the White House when he arrives as chaotic, with people hurrying out of the building in panic. But this frantic evacuation of the White House did not happen when Mineta says it did (prior to 9:20). It happened at about 9:40, when word came of the Pentagon strike.
Mineta also said (during questioning by Tim Roemer) that the President was en route from Florida to Louisiana when he met with VP Cheney. But Bush did not leave Booker Elementary until 9:35 and was in the air at 9:55 (or 9:57 as other sources claim). And, as we shall see, those times become very significant when we look at the rest of the transcribed log:
Okay, so the Secret Service thought Bush left Booker at 10:05, and arrived at Sarasota Bradenton (airport) at 10:15? That's not correct, and it's not even close.
I wonder if this was some sort of attempt at constructing a timeline based on various accounts. I do note that the Washington Post's timeline, while getting Bush's departure time from Sarasota Bradenton correct, has both the Flight 77 discussion and the Flight 93 discussion involving planes that are X miles out and then X-20 miles out.
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, summoned by the White House to the bunker, was on an open line to the Federal Aviation Administration operations center, monitoring Flight 77 as it hurtled toward Washington, with radar tracks coming every seven seconds. Reports came that the plane was 50 miles out, 30 miles out, 10 miles out-until word reached the bunker that there had been an explosion at the Pentagon.
And Flight 93:
In the White House bunker, a military aide approached the vice president.
"There is a plane 80 miles out," he said. "There is a fighter in the area. Should we engage?"
"Yes," Cheney replied without hesitation.
Around the vice president, Rice, deputy White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, tensed as the military aide repeated the question, this time with even more urgency. The plane was now 60 miles out. "Should we engage?" Cheney was asked.
"Yes," he replied again.
As the plane came closer, the aide repeated the question. Does the order still stand?
"Of course it does," Cheney snapped.
But of course that latter incident sounds nearly exactly like what Mineta described later for the 9-11 Commission. One can understand why when compiling an initial timeline, Mineta's account was given credibility. He has no reason to lie, and indeed, I don't believe he is lying. He's just mistaken about the time, and because he's mistaken about the time he thinks the plane being referred to was Flight 77 and not Flight 93.
But the Commission was able to sift through dozens of accounts, logbooks and other data from that day and compile a more accurate timeline that contradicts Mineta's, and, I suspect, contradicts this timeline which appears to have been assembled after the fact by the Secret Service and transcribed by a 9-11 Commission staffer.
BTW, to make clear, John Farmer is not the same John Farmer who was a counsel to the 9-11 Commission.
Update: See the blog post of Miles Kara, the Commission staffer who wrote the notes. Here's a very interesting speculation on why Mineta's times were wrong:
There is just one question at issue. Why did Norman Mineta testify to a precise time that was inaccurate. We may never know the answer. For anyone that has worked in an operations or command center with world-wide responsibilities there is a logical explanation. He looked at the wrong clock; Central Time.