MR. HAMILTON: Mr. Secretary, we’re very pleased to have you here this morning. I understand your time is short and you’ll only be able to spend a few minutes with us. We’re grateful for the time that you’re able to make available. It might very well be that we’ll have some questions that we would want to submit to you in writing subsequently.
MR. MINETA: And I will submit those to the Commission in writing.
MR. HAMILTON: We thank you for that. I wanted to focus just a moment on the Presidential Emergency Operating Center. You were there for a good part of the day. I think you were there with the vice president. And when you had that order given, I think it was by the president, that authorized the shooting down of commercial aircraft that were suspected to be controlled by terrorists, were you there when that order was given?
MR. MINETA: No, I was not. I was made aware of it during the time that the airplane coming into the Pentagon. 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. And —
MR. HAMILTON: The flight you’re referring to is the —
MR. MINETA: The flight that came into the Pentagon.
MR. HAMILTON: The Pentagon, yeah.
MR. MINETA: And so I was not aware that that discussion had already taken place. But in listening to the conversation between the young man and the vice president, then at the time I didn’t really recognize the significance of that.