Federal officials did not tell Washington, D.C., police that fighter jets and helicopters were being deployed to intercept an errant plane on Wednesday, reports the Washington Post. At the Homeland Security Operations Center, a command post started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the D.C. government relied on a sergeant to keep track of any potential crisis. But it was not until the air scare was nearly over that he got word to police commanders. At police headquarters, someone had disconnected a phone line that could have provided emergency news from the Federal Aviation Administration.
It was not until he heard fighter jets screaming past his office that D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey had an inkling of the events that had been consuming federal officials for a half-hour. Ramsey insisted that his sergeant was not told by his federal counterparts what was happening, but federal officials took issue with that account. D.C. officials the notification delay a dangerous one that prevented the city from mobilizing emergency workers and taking steps to protect the public.