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Why was a Rookie Navy Captain in Charge of the US National Military Command Center while the 9/11 Attacks were Unfolding?


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Felb. 6, 2015

We are offering a Series of Consensus Points from the 24-member 9/11 Consensus Panel, which presents considerable new evidence about 9/11 in the form of its 44 Consensus Points to date.  The official claims regarding 9/11 are contradicted by facts that have been validated by a scientific consensus process, based on a standard medical model of investigation.  


The task of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), explained The 9/11 Commission Report, was “to gather the relevant parties and establish the chain of command between the National Command Authority – the president and the secretary of defense – and those who need to carry out their orders.”1 The person responsible for gathering these parties was the NMCC’s deputy director of operations (DDO). In September 2001, the DDO was Army Brigadier General (BG) Montague Winfield. However, other people trained for this role can serve as the acting deputy director of operations.2

On the issue of who served as the DDO on the morning of 9/11 from 8:30 until some time after 10:00, there are two conflicting accounts. For almost two years after 9/11, it was generally assumed that the DDO’s duties were carried out by Winfield himself. But on July 21, 2003, the Pentagon provided a briefing for nine members of the 9/11 Commission staff, who were told: “On 9/11, the acting-Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) was Navy Captain Charles Joseph Leidig.”3 Both accounts are supported by evidence.

This Point is, accordingly, divided into two parts: Official Account #1 and Official Account #2.

Official Account #1

Brigadier General Montague Winfield carried out the tasks of the DDO on the morning of 9/11, as shown by several facts.

1. TV specials the week of the first anniversary of 9/11 portrayed Winfield as on duty in the NMCC.

  • Winfield and the National Military Command Center were featured in a retrospective CNN program in which Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said: “Brigadier General Montague Winfield was in command of the military’s worldwide nerve center that morning.”
  • After the attack on the Pentagon, Starr said: “Winfield and his staff never feel the impact. . . . Winfield is running a secure phone call with the White House, the FAA, and the North American Air Defense Command, NORAD.”4
  • Winfield was treated the same way in a 2002 ABC special, in which he gave a dramatic account of the military’s attempt to stop United Flight 93 (which, the 9/11 Commission claimed, crashed in Shanksville, PA).5

2. General Richard Myers, who on 9/11 was the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in his 2009 book: “Army Brig. Gen. Montague Winfield was the duty officer in charge of the center that morning . . . . General Winfield was doing a good job of managing the information flow and keeping the chain of command plugged in.”6

3. Winfield’s biographical statement says: “Brigadier General Winfield served as the Deputy Director for Operations, J3, in the National Military Command Center. He was present as the General Officer in Charge during the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”7

Accordingly, although the Pentagon had initially said through spokespersons, including Winfield himself, that Winfield was the DDO during the attacks, the Pentagon later said that this original story was not true.

The Rejection of Official Account #1 (Substituted for “The Best Evidence”)

In spite of what the public had been previously led to believe, nine 9/11 Commission staff members – as explained in the Introduction, above – were told by the Pentagon on July 21, 2003, that a different officer, Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, was serving as the DDO during the attacks.8

On April 29, 2004, Leidig was interviewed by five members of the 9/11 Commission staff. According to the staff-written preamble to the taped interview’s transcript, Winfield was in “a USAF-convened session for general officers who rated Air Force Officers,” and “[s]uch meetings are not disturbed unless the reason is significant.”9

In May 2004, 9/11 Commission staff members held two interviews with Commander Patrick Gardner, who referred to Leidig as the Acting DDO on 9/11.10

Official Account #2

According to the Pentagon’s briefing of nine members of the 9/11 staff on July 21, 2003:

  • “[T]he acting-Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) was Navy Captain Charles Joseph Leidig, a trained back-up filling in for the Operations Team 2 leader, Army BG Winfield, who was at an unrelated, closed-door personnel meeting convened by the Air Force to discuss the rating of Air Force officers.”
  • “Captain Leidig was the primary DDO during the innitial phase of the NMCC’s reaction to events as they unfolded; BG Winfield transitioned into the position upon his return to the NMCC.”11

Additional information was provided on April 29, 2004, when Miles Kara and four other members of the 9/11 Commission staff held an interview with Leidig.12

  • The preamble, prepared by Kara, indicated: “On 9/11 Captain Leidig was the action Deputy Director for Operations (DDO). . . . He was sitting in place of the Operations Team 2 DDO, then Brigadier General Montague Winfield, USA, who was attending a meeting elsewhere in JCS spaces. The meeting was a USAF-convened session for general officers who rated Air Force officers. Such meetings are generally not disturbed unless the reason is significant.”13
  • Leidig provided information about himself: “He had been on the Joint Staff since mid-July and qualified to be a DDO about a month previous to 9/11. He was qualified to substitute for any of the DDO’s who led the five Command Center watch teams.”14
  • About replacing Winfield, Leidig stated: “General Winfield asked him the afternoon before if he would sit in as DDO for Operations Center Team 2. By agreement, he came in at 0830, received the intelligence . . . , and assumed the duty of Deputy Director of Operations. The Assistant DDO was Commander Pat Gardner, USN. He couldn’t recall the names of the other Operations Team 2 personnel on watch that day.”15
  • After describing the sequence of events that occurred while he was the acting DDO, Leidig said that General Myers, at some point, “realized the coordinator was not a General as the position called for” and his “guidance was to get General Winfield briefed up and in the chair.” Finally, “General Winfield took over at some point in relation to the report of the Pennsylvania crash.”16

In the two interviews with Commander Patrick Gardner held by 9/11 Commission staff members in May 2004, Gardner confirmed Leidig’s statement in his April 29 interview that Gardner served as the Assistant DDO while he (Leidig) was the Acting DDO on 9/11.17

At June 17, 2004, there was a 9/11 Commission hearing, at which the public was first informed of Leidig’s role as DDO on 9/11. After Chairman Thomas Kean introduced him,18 Leidig provided to the Commission a brief statement, in which he said:

  • “Approximately two months prior to 11 September 2001, I assumed duties as the Deputy for Command Center Operations. . . . I qualified in August 2001 to stand watch as the Deputy Director for Operations in the NMCC.”
  • “On 10 September 2001, Brigadier General Winfield, U. S. Army, asked that I stand a portion of his duty as Deputy Director for Operations, NMCC, on the following day. I agreed and relieved Brigadier General Winfield at 0830 on 11 September 2001.”19

The Best Evidence

CONTINUE........ !!