U.S. Intelligence Source: We are Extremely Concerned

11 May 2005; 7:30 PM: There have been over a hundred documented cases of restricted airspace violations over Washington, DC within the last ten years, according to published FAA reports. Since September 11, 2001, there have been several significant breaches of airspace, although none to date has caused the level of reaction and near panic as we have seen today.

The Northeast Intelligence Network has received specific information from a well-placed source within the DC intelligence community, speaking on strict condition of anonymity, that current intelligence has recently been collected domestically and abroad from human and electronic sources that identify very detailed and specific threats to political, economic and strategic targets located within the continental U.S., including high value targets in Washington, DC., New York, and about two-dozen other cites across the U.S.

“We are reviewing very recent and highly credible information - information that was obtained within the last few months, of plans that include a significant series of attacks that involve the use of unconventional weapons.” We are talking about a mass casualty event or series of events with the use of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] and some rather unique delivery methods. We are also reviewing attack plans that include the use of aircraft of all types and sizes as well, even remotely controlled aircraft.” According to this source, intelligence officials are unsure whether the attack plans are intended to take place at the same time or will be a timed series of events. “We don’t have a handle on any sort of timetable, but I can tell you that we are very concerned with the short term,” stated this source.

Initial Reaction Inconsistent with Cessna Threat“Today’s events should make it obvious to anyone paying attention that we are anticipating a pretty significant event. The airborne threat was identified as a Cessna 150 -a two-seater - within seconds after it initially breached our [Washington, DC] airspace. Even fully loaded with fuel, how much damage could one expect to be caused by that aircraft,” asked the official rhetorically. “Now, look at how the security officials handled the situation on the ground at both the White House and the Capitol building. It should be obvious that we were expecting a mass casualty event, and our people were immensely concerned about what was in that plane after it failed to respond to repeated warnings from the ground and later from the air. I am talking about a weapon of mass destruction, from a biological or chemical payload to a small tactical nuclear device.” The source added: “That is what is keeping a lot of us awake at night. We are all convinced that it is merely when, not if, and also concerned that we won’t be able to completely stop what some see as the inevitable.”

Breach of Airspace: Chronology of Events (All times ET)

11:28 am: Federal Aviation Administration radar identified a two-seater, high-winged Cessna 150 aircraft after it breached the no-fly, restricted security zone over Washington, DC. DHS alerts were issued one minute later at 11:29. At that time, the aircraft was 21 miles or 17 minutes from the city. Intelligence and security officials on the ground in Washington were notified of the general threat.

11:29-11:55 am: FAA ground control attempts to communicate with the aircraft. They received no response. Concurrent with these attempts, two F-16 jet fighters were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base, encircled the Cessna and fired four warning flares when the Cessna’s pilot did not respond to radio calls. F-16 pilots remained uncertain of the pilot’s intentions and notified military commanders.

11:55 am: Two Black Hawk helicopters were dispatched from Reagan National Airport as the Cessna’s slow speed makes it impossible for fighter jets to escort.

11:59 am: Intelligence and security officials at several DC locations, including the White House and Capitol Building, were advised to alerted to a Cessna that entered restricted Washington airspace and was 15 miles north of the White House.

12:01 pm: The plane was just 10 miles away and the pilot was not responding to attempts to communicate with him, prompting the White House threat level to be elevated to “orange.”

12:03 pm: The Cessna was within three nautical miles, prompting the threat level to raise immediately to red and force the evacuation of both the White House and the Capitol Building.

12:11 pm: The threat level was lowered two levels to “yellow” after confirmation was received that the aircraft was successfully diverted.

12:14 pm: An “all clear” was issued