December 28th, 2011
01:47 PM ET

U.S. fighter jets intercept aircraft near Washington

Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched by the North American Aerospace Defense Command to intercept a civilian aircraft near Washington, D.C., NORAD said Wednesday.

The incident happened about 12:15 p.m. ET after the aircraft failed to establish radio contact, the agency said in a press release.

“The civilian aircraft re-established communications and was allowed to continue on its way without incident,” NORAD said.

Out of an abundance of caution, officials are being vigilant about security concerns around the holidays.

iReport: Witness describes fatal crash of F-18 jet in 2008

After the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 in September, two fighter jets were scrambled after reports of air passengers acting suspiciously on two flights. Although no problems occurred, authorities sent F-16s to shadow the flights just in case.

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soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. Al

    Where the hell were they on 9/11. Oh i forgot, George Bush was the president then. Mr. Cheney was in charge at that time, well he really was running the show most of the time. It seems as if i read somewhere the Air Force was ordered to stand down that day, thank you Mr. Cheney. You and Bush and several others should have been locked up some time ago.

    December 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric of Reseda

      Yes. Exactly. From the Secretary of Transportation Mineta at the 9/11 hearings: "There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, 'The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.' And when it got down to, 'The plane is 10 miles out,' the young man also said to the vice president, 'Do the orders still stand?' And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, 'Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?' Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant."

      People that want to paint the Truthers as full of it need to Google "Operatin Northwoods", as well as understand that it is a LONG used tactic of governments to use "false-flag" ops, as well as do stuff SO unbelievable, that people will indeed not believe it....

      December 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      What planet are you from? Bush ordered all planes grounded, and sent out fighter jets to take down any plane in the air. (I'm not a Bush Supporter, but do your research before posting.)

      December 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bullfeathers

      Did you immediately think to yourself, wow terrorists just commandeered 4 planes and are going to fly them into buildings? Did you immediately know which buildings they would fly them into? Did you expect Bush to begin shooting down every plane in the air? Or are you so blinded by hate for Bush you have completely stopped thinking rationally?

      December 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe t

      Dear Me:

      You're absolutely correct, Mr. Bush ordered all planes grounded and scrambled the fighters. AFTER 2 planes hit the Twin Towers, one hit the Pentagon and the Heros on Flight 93 took the SOB's out in Pennsylvania. I suggest you get your facts straight or were you part of his intellegence network to got 4,000 men and women killed in Iraq, based on completely fabricated data.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Tors

      If Bush's staff hadn't told him that he had to leave, he'd still be down in Florida reading that book to those kids. What a dope. There is simply no explanation for his inaction. He's just that stupid. What a horrible leader. Thanks for the senseless wars, Bush!

      December 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The Air Force did not stand down... Jets were scrambled and protocols were followed for a terrorist attack. Problem is that at the time there were no protocols in place for an attack originating in US air space and the jets were scrambled out to sea. By the time the mistake was realised it was too late. Obviously protocols have changed and now any flight commercial or private that flies into restricted air space and doesn't communicate, jets will be scrambled to assess the situation and if the situation warrants it, it will be shot down.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Do you think before you type?

      December 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Al, Your a dork. People like you I use to beat up in school. A low life coward..

      December 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      Maybe brilliant people like yourself, who can predict the future , should run for office, and really save this country from a certain path of destruction.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Dear joe t,
      I do have my facts straight, you and I both agree on the same thing. I just like to keep my answers short and simple; I didn't mention everything else.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      President Bush did not order the planes grounded. He did not know about anything until after the second plane hit the Tower. The FAA ordered all planes grounded and fighter planes were not scrambled until after the attack on the Pentagon and that order came from Secretary of Defense Rumsfield. Right after giving that order he headed over to the Pentagon and personally assisted in rescue efforts. Chenney should have given the order long before then. President Bush was not immediatelly notified and it was only a matter of about 30 minutes between the second and third planes hitting targets in NY and Washington. They would not have even had time to stop the fourth plane if it was not for the passengers of FLT 93. Someone else needs to get the facts straight. It was a royal screw up that started a decade before and is still happening with all the illegal immigrants we have in this country as well as national born terrorists that supported them.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • six

      Still blaming Bush for not shooting down a plane full of civilians? What if your parents were on one of those planes? Could you make that call? I am not heartless enough to say I could. Should he have employed the obummer tactic of do nothing instead? Nothing pleases you sacked libeerals. Get a job and psychiatric help then post your insane ramblings.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andy

    I'm getting rather tired of this hyper paranoid behavior. Couldn't we spend more money on schools, infrastructure and urban planning vs this kind of nonsense?

    December 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • richp

      No, that would stifle the growth of government and put a halt on the loss of rights and privacy. Big government whether democrat or republican does not like that.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakie

      an educated society is the biggest threat to any dictatorship.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NASA Brat

      Wouldn’t that be nice and I bet it could happen on the fuzzy little planet with pastel skies you come from. I'm willing to bet you were the loudest a few years back; bit*hing about lack of security and how'd we let 9/11 happen, and you'll be the first inline to point a finger at the government when it happens again, and it will happen again. These arab bedbugs are a focused rabble, dedicated to spreading hate and fear to anyone not living in the Bronze Age and following a brutal religious dictum.
      We do need to lessen our presence on the global stage and forcing our way of life down everyones throat, and that would free up some much needed $$ for the infrastructure, not to mention cancelling a lot of visa’s and sending a few million people back to where they are legal residents.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. robert

    My question is what would the fighters do if It did not open communications. Blow it out of the sky? What if it were a jet liner full of people. There is only one reason i can think of why they would scramble jets to intercept a plane.

    December 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      A jetliner's communications equipment will always be working. remember that a jet liner full of people crashed into a couple of buildings. OF COURSE they will shoot it down.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindley

      There are numerous procedures in place to alert aircraft that they are doing something ATC doesn't want them doing. Radio and light signals are tried first. An intercept is fairly far down the list, but once again, there are procedures in place.

      The intercepting fighter is supposed to buzz the offending plane close enough to be sure they have the pilot's attention, and then turn in the direction they want the plane to go. If the pilot turns that way-or, in general, just turns away from the area they're protecting-they may get a phone call later but otherwise no big deal.

      Deadly force is only used as a last resort, if the offending plane is clearly continuing to proceed against the desires of the fighters, and is approaching protected locations. Even if the pilot isn't familiar with intercept procedures, it's not *that* hard to figure out that you don't want to be flying towards the Pentagon when you have F-16s on your tail.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      they will step side by side and let him know that he needs to turn back

      December 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakie

      what people dont seem to realize is that shooting down an aircraft over a populated area is potentially just as deadly as it crashing on its own. they dont disintegrate or vaporize from a missile impact.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bd@db

    Stupid comment by a stupid poster. This has nothing to do with Obama at all, yet you had to throw him under the bus with a retarded comment about his being on vacation, not to mention that Bush took an average of 100 vacation days A YEAR. Don't be the moron your post makes you out to be. Now S T F U.

    December 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lolpls

    was it a grandma flying like the last time? yawn

    December 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Liberty Queen

    Well, don't forget folks, Darth Tricky-Dick Cheney, now a war criminal and mass murderer, ordered the stand-down of NORAD on 9/11, ordered the remote control jets into the twin towers and the subsequent blowing up of the twin towers so he and the Shrub Bush could have their little "Pearl Harbor" as a pretext for war on another sovereign country, Iraq, so their buddies could make billions selling weapons and oil. NORAD and the USAF failed the U.S. on 9/11 so they have alot to make up for.

    December 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Just because you posted the same thing under 2 names doesn't make it true. Why don't you agree with yourself using a third name? Watch, I'll show you how easy it is.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ima Dork

      I agree with you Liberty Queen. I couldn't have said it better myself.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kram

    Indeed, this country's paranoia about a boogieman around every corner is what's going to send it to the poorhouse. Oh, and here we go with Iran. Looks like the next war is in the making and the next step is to whip the feeble-minded into a frenzy over nothing. Again.

    December 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bruce

    Some people just don't get it, we have to be on alert or else something could really happen.

    December 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • richp

      Yea, there would be a lot less employed government theater agents :-)

      December 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rooster

      That is the most simple and true comment made, I want to see somebody tell the children that lost a parent or both parents on that day, that this security is not needed.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. joesmith

    and who can ever forget, " building seven "

    December 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Sigh, building 7 collapsed after being hit by falling debris from the twin towers.

      Adjust your tin foil hat please, your hairline is showing again.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. uscitizen

    We are the world police force.....lol

    December 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joesmith

    ah, the cnn filterers are at it again, just like they were when they, and bbc broadcast building seven had collappsed, when in fact it was still standing..only to fall mysterisly, an hour later

    December 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joesmith

    next up-what ever happened to Jack Wheeler..for sure you won't hear the real answer from cnn

    December 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    If Klaatu ever came I wonder how many seconds before he got fired on and Gort entered destruct mode.

    December 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tod Jones

    The "stand down order" came earlier in the summer, not too close to 9/11 so it wouldn't seem to be connected. But alas, it remained intact well after the horse was out of the barn...

    December 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Domenic A. Vadala

    I'm what you call a conservative Democrat; I voted for Gore, Kerry, and Obama. However I respect the job that President Bush did with regard to national security. Keep in mind that national security is just that...national security, or homeland defense. Those who say we use overly-draconian measures to defend ourselves can only do so because we haven't had an attack on our homeland in over ten years. George W. Bush and Barrack Obama are to be commended for the job that both of them have done in this regard. Furthermore, I would agree that any American President that would allow something like 9/11 to happen as a pretense for going to war should be impeached. However do mainstream people really think that's what happened? Seriously people.

    December 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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