Feature

Eerie drills

The week's news at a glance.

Washington, D.C.

For two years before Sept. 11, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) practiced responding to terrorist attacks in which hijackers tried to fly airliners into U.S. targets, USA Today reported this week. In one drill, the target was the World Trade Center. In another, it was to be the Pentagon, until Defense officials scratched that scenario because it was “too unrealistic.” NORAD spokesmen said none of the exercises matched 9/11 exactly; for instance, the fictional terrorists took off from abroad, while the real ones hijacked domestic flights. President Bush has said that prior to 9/11, he never envisioned airliners being used as missiles. The White House said it had not been aware of the tests by NORAD, a joint U.S.-Canadian operation.

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