FAA Controllers Had To Be Part of the 9/11 Hijacking Exercise
This was the first notification received by the military-at any level-that American 11 had been hijacked:
FAA: Hi. Boston Center TMU [Traffic Management Unit], we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.
NEADS: Is this real-world or exercise?
FAA: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.
If the controllers were NOT involved:
a) why does the military ask them if the hijacking was part of the exercise, and
b) why does the FAA they have to tell the military that the hijacking wasn't an exercise?
I suppose the commission put this passage in the report to illustrate the confusion going on that morning, but they oddly fail to explain the fact that there was a hijacking exercise going on that morning.
Note, the FAA is not taken aback by the odd question: "Is this real-world or exercise?" They responded immediately as if they knew what was going on.
But in any case, since the FAA was involved in the hijacking exercise that morning, are we really supposed to believe that the FAA wasn't confused by the real hijackings going on? Wouldn't this confusion have cost precious minutes in the response?
Another question: how did the FAA decide the hijacking was real and not part of the exercise, since at minimum, they knew there was a hijacking exercise going on?