5,719. 3/23/2004

“Later, when asked why he had taken no part in military operations that morning [September 11, 2001], [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld blithely insisted that it was not his job. ‘The Department of Defense,’ he told the 9/11 Commission in [March 23] 2004, ‘did not have responsibility for the borders. It did not have responsibility for the airports…a civilian aircraft was a law enforcement matter to be handled by law enforcement authorities and aviation authorities.’ Expanding on this theme, he explained that the Defense Department’s only responsibility when a civilian plane was highjacked was to ‘send up an aircraft and monitor the flight, but certainly in a hijack situation [the military] did not have authority to shoot down a plane that was being hijacked.’ This statement was flat out untrue, but none of the commissioners dared to call him to account.”

 – Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld, Page 7

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