That's a very good question. Another might be, where's the evidence that happened at all? Alten doesn't present it, but in fairness he's not alone. We've often read the same suggestion, that "false blips" were intentionally added to FAA radar screens on 9/11, so confusing air traffic controllers, reducing the speed of any response, and therefore ensuring the attacks would be successful.
This may sound impressive in theory, but it only takes a moments consideration to realise some of the problems. Who is ever going to even allow the possibility of "false blips" being displayed to working air traffic controllers, for instance? Wouldn't that be astonishingly dangerous? If it happened, then wouldn't we expect those controllers to talk about all these mysterious signals? And how does it relate to what happened on 9/11, anyway? There was no time to respond to Flight 11 or 175, and no shootdown order even if that weren't true; and the problem with Flight 77 is it went missing from radar, not that there were multiple 77's. "False blips" simply aren't necessary.
Still, that's just our opinion. What really matters is the evidence. So where does the claim come from?
Crossing the Rubicon
It all started with a story in Canada's Toronto Star:
The final sentence is the one that's referred to most often. In Crossing the Rubicon, Mike Ruppert said:
Well, the article is clearly set in NORAD HQ, Colorado, so without further explanation it's reasonable to suppose they're referring to screens there. There's nothing in the article to say the "injects" affected FAA screens, though. Neither does the article describe the nature of the false information, or even say "radar screens". The term "inject" isn't specific to radar, and can be used in reference to any exercise scenario:
Perhaps these injects were simulated blips on a NORAD radar screen, but we can't say that for sure. And there's not a jot of evidence in this article to support the idea that there were false blips on FAA screens. None of this concerns Ruppert, though. He simply acts as though he's proved his case, saying elsewhere that there were "blips deliberately inserted onto FAA and military radar screens which were present during (at least) the first attacks".
Worse still, these claims have then been recycled elsewhere. Ruppert's own site contains a page "Simplifying the case against Dick Cheney" that includes a claim about "simulations that placed "false blips" on FAA radar screens". And the same story appears in other books. Barrie Zwicker also used the "blips deliberately inserted onto FAA and military radar screens" in his "Towers of Deception", for instance. These are all referenced back to Crossing the Rubicon, but readers who didn't have that book would be unable to see that there was no support for the FAA claim at all.
We've occasionally read that "false blips" may explain the reports of other potential hijacked aircraft.
Some have asked whether these "reports of 11 aircraft" might be a symptom of the "false blips". This seems unlikely, though, just from the context of the statement here: it's specifically talking about aircraft that are "off course" or "out of communication". It's all about unusual behaviour from an aircraft that you know, and have been monitoring, not some mystery unknown blip that's popped up out of nowhere.
And it's not as though it's unknown for planes to stray off course or temporarily lose radio contact. Normally these might be resolved in a minute or two, but if air traffic controllers are highlighting every problem they face at the current time, then it's not unreasonable to assume they'd flag up potential hijackings. Add human error (ATC and flight crews) and 11 issues, out of over 4,500 planes in or heading towards US airspace, doesn't seem too bad.
A story in USA today emphasises the point:
A mix of oddball problems, but on real planes. There's no evidence to tie them into "false blips", nor, if those blips were simply cover for the attacks, was there reason for them to go on throughout the morning. "False blips on FAA screens" make a very poor explanation for what happened here.
Phantom Flight 11
Others have suggested to us that false blips were behind confusion over the location of Flight 11.
This is stretching the facts a little. What the 9/11 Commission actually said was this:
There's no information as to how the report arose, so while the claim that "'Phantom flight-11' was a false blip" is written to suggest certainty, there's nothing in the Commission Report to support it. The reality is that the report on Flight 11 arose from a mixup over communications, and the man who made the call to NEADS has specifically told us it had nothing to do with any radar track. See Phantom flight 11.
As we've seen, there are some 9/11 researchers who state definitively that there were "false blips" on FAA radar screens. And yet, take a closer look and you find there's absolutely no evidence to support this. It's just another example of empty speculation being presented as fact, and another reason why you should be careful to verify 9/11 claims before accepting them as true.
(There are other issues to discuss here, however. The war games of 9/11, for instance, and the company Ptech. This is just the beginning, but related pages will follow to ensure you've a more complete picture of what's being claimed about the air defence system on 9/11.)