Structural Deep Events and January 6

October 04, 2021

[by Peter Dale Scott | via CovertAction Magazine | September 27, 2021]

In The American Deep State I wrote about America’s structural deep events (SDEs), in which “from time to time dark forces intervene to redirect American policies, such as … 9/11, which launched the global terror war.”[1] I also suggested that there were common features linking America’s structural deep events, above all their involvement with the so-called “shadow government” or “Doomsday Network” set up in the 1950s to provide “continuity of government” (COG) in the event of a devastating nuclear attack.

Another feature of these structural deep events is that, while they are attributed to very marginal elements—such as a disgruntled ex-Marine, or 19 angry Arabs—sooner or later key figures in power, in the course of a cover-up, are caught lying about what actually happened.

In the case of 9/11, Vice President Cheney provided two incompatible accounts of when he arrived at the underground Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), where crucial decisions were made in the half-hour between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m., including the decision to implement COG. Cheney himself told NBC five days later that he arrived to make decisions at the PEOC shortly before the Pentagon was attacked (at 9:37 a.m.).

Vice President Dick Cheney watching the news on the attacks on the World Trade Center, Septemper 11, 2001
Photo released by the White House of Vice President Dick Cheney watching the news of the attacks on the World Trade Center in his office on September 11, 2001, before being led to the underground White House bunker. [Source:]

But in December, after disturbing allegations about Cheney’s activities in the PEOC were made by eyewitness Norman Mineta, Cheney gave a later arrival time to Evan Thomas of Newsweek: “Shortly before 10 a.m., the Cheneys were led into the PEOC conference room. [T]hey looked up at the TV screens. It was 9:58 a.m.”[2]

Vice President Cheney with Senior Staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC)
Cheney in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) beneath the White House on the morning of 9/11. [Source:]

How did the 9/11 Commission resolve this conflict? By accepting the second time as if unquestioned, and simply ignoring the earlier, much more corroborated story. And how did it deal with Norman Mineta’s very disturbing testimony? By simply ignoring it as well.[3]

Norman Mineta - Wikipedia
Norman Mineta [Source:]

I can now be slightly more specific about those dark forces, in two respects. To begin with, in all of America’s SDEs to date, an initial, more marginal plot for a deep event was then piggy-backed on and exploited, for a different goal by a more institutional plot.

In the case of 9/11, there was indeed a plot of al-Qaeda Arabs to capture U.S. passenger planes, perhaps to fly them suicidally, but also imprecisely, into the areas of New York and Washington.[4] This plot was detected and exploited by an American dark force, using the Arabs as designated culprits in a piggy-backed plot with a much more ambitious target: to fly planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.[5]

I can also be more specific than before about this second dark force. In earlier books I have written about how, in each of America’s SDEs, a major role has been played by the COG apparatus, also known as the “Doomsday Network”—i.e., the communications network developed over decades at considerable expense to provide the skeleton for governing authority after a decapitating nuclear attack. More specifically, America’s SDEs have involved those individuals charged with secret COG planning for America’s secret Doomsday Network, as well as the COG/Doomsday Network itself.[6]

It is now quite clear to me, as it was not before but should have been, that those planning for the Doomsday Network were also in charge of operating it, if it was ever used. I will argue in this essay that two men known to have planned the Doomsday Network in the 1980s and 1990s were also part of the dark force which caused 9/11 to happen, and then officially implemented the COG plan which had already been used on that day.

The two men were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both part of a secret committee appointed by Reagan to plan for, in effect, a post-constitutional replacement of constitutional authority. Notably, neither man was a part of the U.S. Government while serving in this COG-planning capacity. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Rumsfeld was CEO of G.D. Searle, a Big Pharma corporation. Cheney, initially a congressman, became CEO in the ’90s of Halliburton, the giant oilfield service corporation.[7]

Rumsfeld, center, in the Oval Office with President Ronald Reagan, left, and Secretary of State George Shultz on November 3, 1983. [Source:]

Evidence that COG planners were also potential operators was discovered by accident, in May of 1961, by Kennedy’s White House assistant Fred Dutton. In that month he wrote a memo to his superiors of a startling discovery: “the existence of classified letters from President Eisenhower to ten private citizens throughout the country giving them authority over various parts of the economy and total society in the event of a declaration of a national emergency…”[8]

Fred Dutton - Wikipedia
Fred Dutton [Source:]

This was in response to the vulnerability revealed by the USSR’s successful launch of Sputnik, after which Ike’s cabinet commissioned, in the event of a nuclear attack, new “executive agencies” to provide “the means by which a fragmented federal government could begin to exercise authority over a devastated nation.” [9]

Why did Eisenhower add private corporate managers to U.S. armed forces and law enforcement as a replacement for a constitutionally elected government? He may well have been concerned about anti-democratic groups then spreading within the U.S. armed forces and police, especially after the Supreme Court decision in 1954 to enforce school desegregation nationwide. Some of these right-wing cliques had actually established contact with post-war fascist residues in Europe.

Dwight D. Eisenhower | The White House
Dwight Eisenhower [Source:]

But it did not take long for Eisenhower’s emergency alternative (soon to become known to those in the know as the “Doomsday Project”) to become anti-democratic as well. A dangerous feature of the Doomsday Project was that in it there was no real separation of powers: Those who were planning for post-attack structures, like Frank Stanton, were also charged with implementing them. From the standpoint of preserving American democracy, this would prove to be a fatal weakness.

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Frank Stanton, former CBS President, was one of six people designated by President Eisenhower in the 1950s to run the U.S. government in the face of a nuclear crisis. [Source:]

Under both Republicans and Democrats in the 1970s—a decade of assassinations, massive anti-war protests, and black militancy—the powers of the Doomsday Project continued, without interruption, to grow. For example, both Nixon and Ford expanded the development of plans to establish government control in the event of any (as opposed to post-nuclear) “national emergency.”[10]

Financial expert Howard J. Ruff commented that, since the enactment of Executive Order 11490 in 1969, “The only thing standing between us and a dictatorship is the good character of the President and the lack of a crisis severe enough that the public would stand still for it.”[11]

Primary view of object titled 'Lyndon Johnson'.
Lyndon Johnson, in a suit, standing beside a large sign which reads: “Site of the Nation’s First Federal Underground Center, Denton, Texas.” Opened in February 1964, this center ultimately became known as the “FEMA Region VI Federal Regional Center”. It was the first protected underground federal regional emergency operating center built in the nation. [Source:]
Introduction - Samuel Huntington
Samuel Huntington [Source:]

In that troubled era, among the many establishment figures warning that America was becoming ungovernable was Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington, who co-wrote (for David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, of which he was a member) a book arguing that America’s problems stemmed “from an excess of democracy.”[12]

Huntington then joined the Carter administration as a consultant to National Security Adviser (and former Trilateral Commission Director) Zbigniew Brzezinski.[13] Together the two were responsible for the creation in 1979 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition to its high-profile public functions, FEMA inherited the secret function of sustaining and enhancing the Doomsday Project (or COG).[14]

Thinking Zbig: America's grand strategist | Financial Times
Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski [Source:]

Under Reagan, FEMA’s public role of disaster relief

…was neglected and starved of resources, while the [secret function] flourished. FEMA set up a “Civil Security Division” with a training center for over 1,000 civilian police to handle riots and political disturbances (not disaster relief). A file was gathered on U.S. left-wing activists, and internment camps were planned. One national training exercise [REX 84] envisioned incarcerating 100,000 “national security threats.” [15]

In particular,

…a small division of FEMA, the National Preparedness Division (NPD), was charged with developing a classified computer and telecommunications network to insure [sic] the continuity of the government in the event of a nuclear attack.[16]

This network, known in house as the Doomsday Network, mushroomed; at a cost of billions, it became a global secret communications network from which those administering FEMA’s legitimate functions were excluded.

Thus, for example, in 2005, when FEMA’s civilian administrators were struggling to restore communications after Hurricane Katrina, the resources of the Doomsday Network, which would have been of vital use, were unavailable (and probably unknown) to them in their lawful activity.[17]

Zeitoun FEMA and Hurricane Katrina | GradeSaver
New Orleans residents plead for assistance from FEMA that was not forthcoming during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. [Source:]

But when Oliver North was engaged in unlawful arms sales to Iran, the Doomsday Network (known then as Flashboard) was available to him, as a necessary way to avoid bureaucratic review.[18]

North’s manic overreach with FEMA’s secret powers aroused widespread resentment inside Washington, and soon led to leaks. In July 1987 Alfonso Chardy reported in the Miami Herald that North’s and FEMA’s plans envisaged

…suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, emergency appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law during a national crisis.[19]

That Chardy’s claims were not unfounded was confirmed during the Iran-Contra hearings, when Congressman Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) asked North if he was involved in “plans for continuity of government … a contingency plan … that would suspend the American constitution.” The Democratic Committee Chairman, saying that “that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area,” directed North not to answer. The New York Times transcribed the hearing. But did not consider that the possible suspension of the U.S. Constitution was worthy of a news story.[20]

Oliver North | Biography, Iran-Contra Affair, & Facts | Britannica
Oliver North testifying in Iran-Contra hearings. [Source:]

9/11, COG, and the 9/11 Commission Report

On 9/11, with Bush away from the capital, Cheney and Rumsfeld implemented the COG plan which they had been secretly planning for two decades. The 9/11 Commission Report confirms this fact, which had immense consequences.[21]

Under COG, according to The Washington Post, Bush

…dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington [to Site R, Raven Rock Mountain Complex]. Known internally as the COG, for “continuity of government,” the administration-in-waiting is an unannounced complement to the acknowledged absence of Vice President Cheney from Washington for much of the past five months.[22]

According to Professor Shirley Anne Warshaw,

Cheney jumped into action in his bunker beneath the East Wing to ensure continuity in government. He immediately began to create his shadow government by ordering one hundred mid-level executive officials to move to specially designated underground bunkers and stay there twenty-four hours a day. They would not be rotated out, he informed them, for ninety days, since there was evidence, he hinted, that the terrorist organization al-Qa’ida, which had masterminded the attack, had nuclear weapons.[23]

Vice President Cheney with Senior Staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC)
Cheney conferring with his lawyer David Addington in the PEOC as he prepares to run his shadow government. [Source:]

It would appear that this “shadow government” finalized such long-standing COG projects as

  1. warrantless surveillance, in part through the USA PATRIOT Act, whose controversial provisions were already being implemented by Cheney and others well before the Bill reached Congress on October 12.
  2. the militarization of domestic security under NORTHCOM, so that the Pentagon would be involved in the surveillance of U.S. citizens.
  3. Department of Homeland Security’s Project Endgame—a ten-year plan to expand detention camps at a cost of $400 million in fiscal year 2007 alone. This means of handling protest movements, which Rumsfeld and Cheney had rehearsed in REX 84, was an important corollary at the time to the decision, already reached, to again conduct a major war in Central Asia.

Congress, however, was not told that the U.S. was now under a continuity of government status until February 2002:

Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-SD) said he had not been informed about the role, location or even the existence of the shadow government that the administration began to deploy the morning of the Sept. 11 hijackings. An aide to House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO) said he similarly was unaware of the administration’s move.[24]

The radical alterations in previous decades of COG planning were now clear. Eisenhower’s project of a successor government was implemented by Cheney and Rumsfeld as a shadow government, one existing alongside the still-existing government, but at a higher level of secrecy to which America’s constitutional government and its citizens were denied access.[25] It was this anomaly that led me to suggest, in The Road to 9/11, that America was now being governed by a “deep state.”

Cheney on 9/11 used COG to sideline, not just Congress, but Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top leaders of the Bush administration. To accomplish his goals, according to Barton Gellman of The Washington Post,

[T]he vice president and his lawyer [David Addington] had to set the government’s legal direction.… By the afternoon of September 11, Addington had made contact with Timothy Flanigan, the deputy White House counsel. Flanigan’s boss, Alberto Gonzalez, was stranded in Norfolk.… Flanigan was in the [White House] Situation Room on September 11. When Addington reached him from the [underground] bunker, Flanigan patched in the Justice Department Command Center across town. There he found [sic] a young attorney named John C. Yoo [who] had taken leave from university life to join the [Justice Department’s] Office of Legal Counsel as a deputy.[26]

The important connection between these two lawyers, who shared extraordinarily similar views on the importance of prerogative powers, did not occur by accident. Yoo, the young deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, with only two months of government experience, was presiding at the Justice command center. Why such a junior official? Because Attorney General Ashcroft and those directly under him (his deputy Larry Thompson, and his assistant David Ayres) had all been ordered by the PEOC under COG rules to go elsewhere.[27]

The Cheney-Addington-Yoo channel persisted, and was used for Yoo’s still-withheld 50-page memo on torture: “In an interview after leaving government, Yoo said Addington and Flanigan assisted in the preparation of that memo.” [28]

The Shadow Government after 2001

Shortly before leaving office. Reagan officially changed the purpose of COG planning: it was no longer for arrangements “after a nuclear war,” but for any “national security emergency.” This was defined in Executive Order 12656 of 1988 as “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”[29] It was under this expanded authority for COG that Cheney and Rumsfeld were able to implement it on 9/11. And we appear to be still officially in that state of emergency today.

Three days after 9/11, Bush used his authority under the National Emergencies Act to declare two White House Declarations of Emergency: Executive Order 13223 of September 14, 2001 (“Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty”), and Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001 (“with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism).” Both of these EO titles point to foreign concerns; yet somehow, as we shall see in a moment, COG, which authorized Cheney’s shadow government, continues to exist beyond Congressional purview.

PHOTO: President George W. Bush speaks by telephone from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., with New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Governor George Pataki, Sept. 13, 2001.
George W. Bush on the phone after 9/11. [Source:]

One of the post-Watergate restrictions in the Act is that a state of emergency will lapse after a year, unless the president renews it. Year after year, every September, presidents have renewed them: first, Bush, then Obama and Trump. On September 9 of this year, even as I was predicting Joe Biden would soon do the same, Biden renewed EO 13223.[30]

Another of the law’s restrictions specifies that:

Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated (50 U.S.C. 1622, 2002).

The law does not permit Congress to review an emergency; it requires Congress to review it.

Yet in twenty years Congress has not once met in public session to discuss the State of Emergency declared by George W. Bush in response to 9/11, a State of Emergency that remains in effect today. Appeals to the Congress to meet its responsibilities to review COG have fallen on deaf ears, even during periods when the Congress has been dominated by Democrats.[31]

During this state of emergency, COG planning has continued to expand and Congress continues to be excluded from access to it. In 2007, Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 with classified Annexes, setting out what FEMA later called “a new vision to ensure the continuity of our Government.”[32] Congressman Peter DeFazio of the Homeland Security Committee twice requested to see these Annexes. When his request was denied, DeFazio made a second request, in a letter signed by the Chair of his committee. The request was denied again.[33]

COG’s Partial Implementation on January 6, 2021, and What Was at Stake

Many readers may not know that on January 6th, the day of the insurrection at the Capitol, COG was implemented again.

Congressional leaders reach deal on Jan. 6 commission, but McCarthy has  concerns
January 6th Capitol riot. [Source:]

The details are still in dispute, but on that day something like the following real-time report either happened, or almost happened:

Congressional leadership is being evacuated to D.C.’s Fort McNair, as lawmakers were forced to shelter in place and halt debate over the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, U.S. law enforcement official said. The southwest Washington, D.C. Army base has been the backup location for Congress to meet in case of terrorist attack.[34]

Fort McNair is indeed a designated COG site for the relocation of Congress, and a relocation of Congress there was actually rehearsed back in 2004.[35]

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Fort McNair Army Base. [Source:]

It has been alleged, and also denied, that the reported evacuation to Fort McNair occurred. That it did occur would seem to be implied by a passage in a new book by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year:

At Fort McNair, meanwhile, about 150 National Guard members secured the entrances to the base, which was being treated as a continuity of government site since the Congressional leaders were there. They were getting the extra protection typically provided when the country was under attack.[36]

One person who realized the political consequences of this evacuation was Mike Pence, who by all accounts refused to comply with it. According to the account by Leonnig and Rucker, again disputed:

At 2:26, after a team of agents scouted a safe path to ensure the Pences would not encounter trouble, [Secret Service agent] Giebels and the rest of Pence’s detail guided them down a staircase to a secured subterranean area that rioters couldn’t reach, where the vice president’s armored limousine awaited. Giebels asked Pence to get in one of the vehicles. “We can hold here,” he said. “I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” Pence told him. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.” … Around this time, [Pence’s national security adviser, ret. Lt. Gen. Keith] Kellogg, ran into Tony Ornato in the West Wing. Ornato, who oversaw Secret Service movements, told him Pence’s detail was planning to take Pence to Joint Base Andrews. “You can’t do that, Tony,” Kellogg said. “Leave him where he’s at. He’s got a job to do. I know you guys too well. You’ll fly him to Alaska if you have a chance. Don’t do it.”[37]

Pence, by this account, refused to be disempowered on a pretext of COG, the way that Ashcroft had been disempowered back on 9/11.

Security video used in the second Trump impeachment trial shows Mike Pence being evacuated from the Senate chamber during the Capitol attack.
Mike Pence being evacuated from the Senate chamber during the January 6th Capitol riot. Pence subsequently refused to get in a car that would have transported him away from the Capitol to Joint Base Andrews and disempowered him. [Source:]

Anthony Ornato was a Trump loyalist whom Trump, after trying unsuccessfully to install him as head of the Secret Service, had brought into the White House as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. In this capacity,

Ornato was among the coordinators of the June photo op for which Trump marched through Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Square to stand with a Bible – after peaceful protesters were forced from the area by troops on federal order, sparking uproar in political circles as well as among the public. Ornato also assisted in the planning of many Trump campaign rallies.[38]

Anthony M. Ornato | FLETA
Anthony M. Ornato [Source:]

At first glance, the astonishing slowness of the National Guard’s response to the Capitol violence might seem attributable to pro-Trump elements in the Pentagon. One man named was General Charles Flynn, brother of Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had “reportedly advocated declaring martial law as part of an effort to overturn the election.”[39]

Charles Flynn, brother of former national security adviser, tapped to lead  US Army Pacific | Stars and Stripes
General Charles Flynn [Source:]

But in the long run the delay in summoning the Guard may have done more to weaken than to strengthen Trump’s political chances. This was the case with the delay of arrests in the October 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, seen (according to The New York Times) “as a precursor to the violence unleashed at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.”[40]

The FBI had been aware of the kidnap plot from its outset; the plotters included three FBI informants, including one “who’d advised them on where to put the explosives — and offered to get them as much as the task would require.”[41] Yet the FBI, as always, delayed arrests until enough indictable actions had been committed to ensure convictions in court.

8th person arrested over alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen  Whitmer - ABC News
Three of the people indicted for a plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer were FBI informants. [Source:]

Something similar appears to have happened on January 6. Here too the FBI had informants among those arrested at the Capitol, including one, Thomas Caldwell, who was allegedly a leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group accused of being the principal organizer of the attack.[42]

Thomas Caldwell, Capitol Rioter Who Used to Work for FBI, Was Using  American Flag as Crutch
Thomas Caldwell at Capitol riots. [Source:]

And here too the delay in response allowed multiple crimes to be committed, and subsequent arrests to be made. By August 30, 639 people had been charged in the Capitol insurrection.[43] Among them are several members of at least four of the right-wing militia groups that are now a clear domestic threat to the security of this country.[44] Some of those arrested have already agreed to turn state’s evidence, and testify for the prosecution.

On January 6, according to Leonnig and Rucker, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Trump’s post-election replacement for Mark Esper, was pushing for a vigorous law enforcement response by 2:45 p.m. They attribute the delay in the arrival of Guard units from Maryland and Virginia to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who “hadn’t gotten around to” authorizing their call up “until more than two and a half hours after the Capitol was breached.”[45] It may be relevant that, among the leaders in Trump’s Pentagon, McCarthy had been singled out by Defense News in December as a long-time defense official who would probably be kept on by Biden.[46]

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Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy [Source:]

In Conclusion …

It is far too early to state with confidence what really happened on January 6. But I feel confident in calling it a Structural Deep Event, one in which COG was involved, and about which we can expect lies in high places.

As I said at the outset, in all of America’s SDEs to date, an initial, more marginal plot for a deep event was then piggy-backed on and exploited, for a different goal, by a more institutional plot.

It would appear that, on January 6, insurrectionary militias like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys plotted to use violence to forestall the confirmation of Biden as President. This plot was itself blocked (in other cases, one might have said, “trumped”) by a more institutional plan to use this very violence against the insurrectionists.

Trump comments embolden far-right Proud Boys | Financial Times
Proud Boys. [Source:]

Time may someday confirm if members of the Secret Service used COG powers to augment the first plot, and if Ryan McCarthy delayed the arrival of the National Guard as part of the institutional response.

Or, if previous SDEs like the JFK assassination and 9/11 are a precedent, we may still be debating these issues decades from now.

Here is a more confident prediction. As I wrote in Deep Politics, the Warren Commission Report combined a finding that a disgruntled lone assassin killed John Kennedy with non sequitur recommendations that the Secret Service, together with the FBI and CIA, should increase and coordinate more closely the surveillance of organized groups.[47]

In like fashion, the 9/11 Commission Report, after confirming that COG was implemented on 9/11 (Report, 326, cf. 38), and also that “We did not investigate this topic” (Report, 555n9),[48] concluded with a recommendation that planning for “continuity of operations” should be increased (Report, 398).[49]

Relying on these precedents and absent a major political change, I predict that the House select committee investigating January 6 will recommend that the surveillance of Americans be increased, perhaps with greater NSA/CIA/FBI coordination.

But this would be exactly wrong.

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Reps. Bennie Thompson (right) and Liz Cheney, joined by fellow committee members, speak to the media after a July 27 hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. [Source:]

This country is not suffering from a deficit of secret surveillance powers. It is suffering from a surfeit of secret powers, most of them never constitutionally authorized—powers that successively contribute to more and more deep events that are then used to justify their own further proliferation.

Just as foolish U.S. operations in Central Asia led to the formation of, first, al-Qaeda and, then, ISIS, so successive molestations of this country by its shadow government have led to the rise of outlandish and malevolent right-wing militias.

This country must move in the opposite direction. I can think of no better first step than to end the State of Emergency proclaimed in 2001, as a first step in dismantling the apparatus of fear and domination that has so distorted this country.

In my books I have called upon Congress to do this. But Congress will not take this action until the American people, aware at last of what has been going on, force them to do so.

  1. Scott, The American Deep State, 9.

  2. Evan Thomas, Newsweek, December 30, 2001, I argue in The Road to 9/11 that Cheney may have entered the PEOC twice, the second time after making an important COG phone call to Bush (Scott, The Road to 9/11, 200-03, 221-22).

  3. For Mineta’s allegations and the Commission’s handling of them, see Scott, The Road to 9/11, 199-206.

  4. Enough is known about the training of the alleged Arab hijackers to assert that they never approached the level of competence needed to fly a jet airliner into a specific building.

  5. In the case of 9/11, I suspect there also may have been a third dark force with a third and far more lethal goal, to bring the Twin Towers, in a yet another piggy-backed plot, to the ground for insurance purposes. In this essay I will not discuss the possible third plot.

  6. For an overview of COG involvement in previous structural deep events, see Scott, The American Deep State, 109-20.

  7. In 1994, Tim Weiner reported in The New York Times that what he called “The Doomsday Project” – the search for “ways to keep the Government running after a sustained nuclear attack on Washington” – had “less than six months to live.” [See Tim Weiner, “Pentagon Book For Doomsday Is to Be Closed,” The New York Times, April 18, 1994,] Weiner’s language was technically correct, but also very misleading. In fact, COG planning now simply continued with a new target: terrorism. On the basis of Weiner’s article, the first two books to discuss COG planning, by James Bamford and James Mann, both reported that COG planning had been abandoned. Tim Shorrock in 2008 repeated that “the COG program was abandoned during the Clinton administration,” and Shirley Anne Warshaw in 2009 wrote that “the Clinton administration … shut down the super-secret Project.” But on this specific point, all these otherwise excellent and well-informed authors were wrong.

  8. Excerpt from August 19, 1961, memorandum to National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy from

    Presidential Assistant Frederick G. Dutton,

  9. Matthew L. Conaty, “The Atomic Midwife: The Eisenhower Administration’s Continuity-of-Government Plans and the Legacy of ‘Constitutional Dictatorship,’” Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 3, Spring 2010, 7-8.

  10. Executive Order 11490, October 28, 1969; Executive Order 11921, “Emergency Preparedness Functions,” June 11, 1976, Federal Register, vol. 41, no. 116 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office (GPO), June 15, 1976, pp. 294-300, quoted in Diana Reynolds, “FEMA and the NSC: The Rise of the National Security State,” Covert Action Information Bulletin, 53, 1990, 33.

  11. Howard Ruff, How to Prosper during the Coming Bad Years (New York: Warner Books, 1979), 150.

  12. Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuki, The Crisis of Democracy, Trilateral Commission Report, 113.

  13. The Carter administration should perhaps be remembered as the Trilateral Administration: The Trilaterals in it included President Carter and Vice President Mondale, National Security Adviser Brzezinski, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Secretary of the Treasury Michael Blumenthal (Jay Peterzell, “The Trilateral Commission and the Carter Administration,” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 12, No. 51 December 17, 1977,, 2097-2104).

  14. After Carter’s defeat in 1980, Huntington continued to serve as a member of FEMA’s Advisory Board. Brzezinski rejoined him in government as a senior consultant to the George H.W. Bush administration.

  15. Charles Perrow, “Using Organizations: The Case of FEMA,” Items, Social Science Research Council, June 11, 2006,

  16. Ibid.

  17. Perrow, “Using Organizations.”

  18. When North had to send emergency instructions for arms delivery to the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, instructions that directly contravened the embargo prohibiting such sales, he used the Flashboard network to avoid alerting the Ambassador and other unwitting personnel. The records of the President’s Special Review Board (Tower Board) set up under Reagan to review Iran-Contra, are stored at the Reagan Library. In Box 93199 is a folder, “Flashboard SRB 1178.” I hope some younger scholar will FOIA for this folder and analyze it.

  19. Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald, July 5, 1987. In October 1984 Jack Anderson also reported that FEMA’s plans would “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, effectively eliminate private property, abolish free enterprise, and generally clamp Americans in a totalitarian vise.”

  20. The New York Times, July 14, 1987.

  21. “For the first time in history… contingency plans for the continuity of government had been implemented” (9/11 Commission Report, 326, cf. 38). Many have found this crucial but underreported fact hard to believe. The first two print reviews of The Road to 9/11, both favorable and intelligently written, both reported that I speculated that COG had been imposed on 9/11.

  22. Barton Gellman and Susan Schmidt, “Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2002,

  23. Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney (Stanford, CA: Stanford Politics and Policy, 2009), 164-65.

  24. Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin, “Congress Not Advised of Shadow Government,” The Washington Post, March 2, 2002; cf. “‘Shadow Government’ News To Congress.” CBS News, March 2, 2002, “Key congressional leaders say they didn’t know President Bush had established a ‘shadow government,’ moving dozens of senior civilian managers to secret underground locations outside Washington to ensure that the federal government could survive a devastating terrorist attack on the nation’s capital, The Washington Post says in its Saturday editions. Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) told the Post he had not been informed by the White House about the role, location or even the existence of the shadow government that the administration began to deploy the morning of the Sept. 11 hijackings.”

  25. In the early stages of COG planning, provisions were made for the post-nuclear survival of Congress at GREENBRIER, an underground redoubt under a West Virginia hotel constructed in 1959-62. It was dropped from COG planning in the 1980s and is now a tourist site.

  26. Barton Gellman, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (New York: Penguin Press, 2008), 133–35. Yoo has denied this, assuring me that on 9/11 he had no contact with either Cheney or Addington. I believe Gellman.

  27. Attorney General Ashcroft, in Chicago that morning, had been told by Rice with Cheney in the PEOC on his return to join his deputy, Larry Thompson, and his assistant, David Ayres, who had already been sent out of Washington to a classified COG site. Because of traffic conditions, Ashcroft was ultimately redirected that afternoon to the FBI Crisis Management Center. See John Ashcroft, Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice (New York: Center Street, 2006). Yoo’s eventual boss at the OLC, Jay Bybee, had not yet been appointed. Bybee’s position, as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, required Senate confirmation. His name had been submitted to the Senate on September 4, 2011, one week before 9/11.

  28. Gellman, Angler, 191.

  29. The provisions of Executive Order 12656 of Nov. 18, 1988, appear at 53 FR 47491, 3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 585, Washington Post (March 1, 2002) later claimed, falsely, that Executive Order 12656 dealt only with “a nuclear attack.” Earlier there was a similar misrepresentation in the New York Times (November 18, 1991).

  30. Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks, The White House, September 09, 2021, We can expect similar action this month to renew EO 13224, the authority under which he is withholding reserves of the Afghan Government from the Taliban.

  31.  One Congressman explained to a constituent that the provisions of the National Emergencies Act have now been rendered inoperative by COG. If true, this would seem to justify Chardy’s description of COG as a suspension of the Constitution.

  32. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Continuity Directive 1link. NSPD-51 also nullified PDD 67, Richard Clarke’s COG directive of a decade earlier; and it referred to new “classified Continuity Annexes” which shall “be protected from unauthorized disclosure.”

  33. Scott, The American Deep State, 40.

  34. Natalie Andrews, “Congressional Leaders Evacuated to DC’s Fort McNair,” Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2021, at 3:46 p.m. ET,

  35. Mark Preston, “Senate ‘Meets’ at Fort McNair: Hundreds Participate in Disaster Drill,” Roll Call, January 20, 2004,

  36. Carol Leonnig and ‎Philip Rucker, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year (New York: Penguin Press, 2021), 181. On July 15, 2021, one week before the book’s release, an advance story read: “The top Democrat and Republican, as well as fellow leaders Chuck Schumer and Kevin McCarthy, were transported from the Capitol to Fort McNair, an Army post in southwest Washington, during the chaos, the book says” (Oma Seddiq, “Pence refused to leave the Capitol during the January 6 riot despite Secret Service agents urging him to evacuate, saying, ‘I’m not getting in the car’: book,” Yahoo!Money, July 15, 2021, But this exact passage does not occur in the book; it is only implied.

  37. Leonnig and Rucker, I Alone Can Fix It, 466-67; cf. Woodward and Costa, Peril, 244.

  38. Victoria Bekiempis, Guardian, December 31, 2020,

  39. Rebecca Shabad, “D.C. National Guard chief: Pentagon took 3 hours to greenlight troops during Capitol assault,” NBC News, March 3, 2021,

  40. Neil MacFarquhar, “Defendant in Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor Is Sentenced to Six Years,” New York Times, August 25, 2021,

  41. Ken Bensinger, “Watching the Watchmen,” BuzzFeed News, July 20, 2021,

  42. “Man charged in Capitol riot worked for FBI, lawyer says,” AP, February 9, 2021, “Thomas Caldwell, who authorities believe holds a leadership role in the extremist group, worked as a section chief for the FBI from 2009 to 2010 after retiring from the Navy, his lawyer, Thomas Plofchan, wrote in a motion urging the judge to release him from jail while he awaits trial. The defense said Caldwell, who has denied being part of the Oath Keepers, has held a top-secret security clearance since 1979, which required multiple special background investigations, according to Plofchan. Caldwell also ran a consulting firm that did classified work for the U.S. government, the lawyer said.”

  43. “639 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far. This searchable table shows them all,” Insider, August 30, 2021, 2021-1.

  44. Jaclyn Diaz and Rachel Treisman, “Members Of Right-Wing Militias, Extremist Groups Are Latest Charged In Capitol Siege,” NPR, January 19, 2021, “People allegedly affiliated with organizations such as The Three Percenters, The Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Texas Freedom Force, and other self-described Nazis and white supremacists were among the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building, according to federal investigators.”

  45. Leonnig and Rucker, I Alone Can Fix It, 481; cf. 473.

  46. Jen Judson and Aaron Mehta, “Army secretary McCarthy could be asked to stay in Biden administration,” Defense News, December 9, 2020, In fact, McCarthy resigned on January 20.

  47. Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 280; citing Warren Report, 25-26, 463.

  48. 9/11 Report, 555n9: “The 9/11 crisis tested the U.S. government’s plans and capabilities to ensure the continuity of constitutional government and the continuity of government operations. We did not investigate this topic, except as needed to understand the activities and communications of key officials on 9/11. The Chair, Vice Chair, and senior staff were briefed on the general nature and implementation of these continuity plans.” In other words, the 9/11 Commission itself was NOT briefed.

  49. I discuss this utilization of Structural Deep Events as part of a strategy of tension in Peter Dale Scott, “Systemic Destabilization in Recent American History: 9/11, the JFK Assassination, and the Oklahoma City Bombing as a Strategy of Tension,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, September 22, 2012, If my prediction holds true, then January 6 should be seen as having contributed to a prolongation of this strategy of tension.