The 90-Minute Stand Down on 9/11: Why Was the Secret Service’s Early Request for Fighter Jets Ignored?

The 90-Minute Stand Down on 9/11: Why Was the Secret Service’s Early Request for Fighter Jets Ignored?

Shortly after the second World Trade Center tower was hit, at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, an officer at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, DC, was notified that the Secret Service wanted fighter jets launched over the nation’s capital. It was now obvious the U.S. was under terrorist attack, and Washington would have been an obvious potential target. And yet the Secret Service’s request came to nothing.

No fighters had taken off from Andrews by 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was hit. Nor had any launched by the time Flight 93 apparently crashed in Pennsylvania, shortly after 10:00 a.m., while flying toward Washington. In fact, fighters did not launch from Andrews until over 90 minutes after the second attack in New York. The first fully armed fighters did not launch from there until more than two hours after that attack. So why was the Secret Service’s early request for help not acted upon? Why did fighter jets only take off from this massive Air Force base to defend the capital well after the morning’s attacks had ended?

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