Monday, July 17, 2006
Key facts missing
from CNN report
Posted: July 17, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the destruction of TWA
Flight 800, the investigation of which represented the most
conspicuous and consequential misdirection of justice in American
history. This column is the final installment of an in-depth
series analyzing the incident and presenting several compelling
reasons why the investigation must be re-opened.
By Jack Cashill
A NOTE FROM ARCHIVIST DAN MARTIN:
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
On Thursday, I spoke at some length to Jim Polk, one of the producers
of CNN's misbegotten special on TWA Flight 800. Although gracious
enough, Polk could do no better than repeat the authorities' mantra,
''There is no physical evidence of a missile strike.''
As I tried to explain, there was a reason why. The evidence had
systematically been lost, stolen, concealed, erased, deleted, denied,
or simply ignored. This is not a matter of conjecture. This is a
matter of fact.
No fewer than four serious professionals within the investigation
made specific allegations of evidence theft or tampering: Linda Kunz
and Terrel Stacey of TWA, Jim Speer of TWA and ALPA and Hank Hughes of
the NTSB. Their allegations were taken seriously. Kunz and Speer
were suspended from the investigation, Kunz permanently. Stacey was
arrested. And Hughes was denounced by the FBI.
In addition, TWA's Liz Sanders was convicted of conspiracy for
introducing her reporter husband, James, to Terrel Stacey. James
Sanders was also convicted for receiving information from Stacey.
From day one, certain key officials had been systematically
subtracting data from the investigation's information bank. As a
result of this quiet calculus, officials were able to reduce the 116
suspicious pieces of physical evidence the FBI admittedly sent to
Washington for further testing to ''not one scintilla'' without
attracting much attention.
The comprehensive listing of this evidence should not strike the
reader as extraordinary. There is a binary quality to any such
investigation. Yes or no. Open or shut. Explosive device or
mechanical failure. Internal explosion or external explosion. To
transform an external explosion into a mechanical failure someone has
to alter or suppress every known variable, and that's exactly what
A summary here is in order.
- Break-up sequence. In August 1996, investigators concluded
that a narrow strip of the fuselage ahead of the right wing was the
first to have been blown off the plane. By August 2000, the NTSB
would make the fuselage strips along the right wing disappear
- Satellite data. The CIA video claimed the infrared sensor of
an American satellite captured the break-up sequence, a claim repeated
at the CIA's briefing with the NTSB. At the FBI's final press
conference on the same day, the word satellite was not mentioned once.
Family members were told all three satellites were malfunctioning on
- Radar data. On July 17, 1996, the FAA rushed the radar data to
Washington, initiating a crisis meeting at the White House. In
November 1996, the NTSB chairman's report acknowledged a high-speed
projectile had ''merged with TWA 800,'' at least as it appeared on
radar. The NTSB then leaned on the FAA to agree that it had not.
Before the investigation was through, the projectile would become
alternately an ''anomaly'' or a ''ghost'' or a Navy P-3.
- Naval presence. Despite at least six credible sightings of a
Navy warship off Long Island after 3 p.m. on July 17, the Navy
insisted it had none within two hundred miles of the crash site.
Under duress in November 1997, the FBI admitted the Normandy and now
three submarines—Trepang, Albuquerque, and Wyoming—were in the
''immediate vicinity'' of the crash site.
- Mystery ships. For five months the FBI denied the existence of
a ''surface vessel'' that it would later identify as being three miles
from the crash site, having a speed between twenty-five and
thirty-five knots, and fleeing the scene. The FBI finally admitted
its presence but never identified it.
- The P-3. On July 17, the P-3 crew, one mile from the crash,
allegedly saw and heard nothing. While official Washington was in a
state of near war, the plane was dispatched to run a routine sub
exercise off the coast of New Jersey and/or Virginia. In addition,
the plane’s transponder was said to have been broken, allowing
authorities to identify it alternately as the small plane that buzzed
US Air 217 and the source of the mystery blip on the radar.
- Photographic evidence. The New York Times described one
amateur photo image as a ''cylindrical object with one end aglow.''
The FBI quickly took custody of the photos and the negatives and would
not even share the original with the NTSB. Another photo of a likely
missile-exhaust trail was ''microscopically analyzed'' and judged to
be a ''speck of dirt,'' a speck that appeared on only the one critical
- Video evidence. One amateur video showing a missile attack
made its way to MSNBC where it aired a few times before being seized
by the FBI. Nelson DeMille built his novel, ''Night Fall,'' around
- Underwater imagery. The FBI made sure investigators could not
take an unabridged look at the ocean floor as videotaped by the Navy.
ALPA investigator Jim Speer learned the hard way. The FBI would not
let him look at the unedited tape.
- Explosive residue. Traces of explosives were found inside the
plane and out by EGIS technology at the Long Island site. The
equipment had registered at least twelve confirmed hits for explosive
residue, probably many more. On September 20, 1996, the FBI released
the specious St. Louis dog-training story, and all residue became
irrelevant, including that on the victims' bodies.
- Residue trail. Capt. Terrel Stacey identified a
reddish-orange trail across the cabin interior in rows 17 through 19.
James Sanders had a sample tested. Ninety-nine percent of its
elements were consistent with those in an incendiary warhead. After
the story broke, officials would tell the media there was no residue
trail and that Sanders' sample was actually a 3M adhesive. When
tested independently, the 3M adhesive in no way matched Sanders'
- The scavenge pump. In late 1996, the scavenge pump was
considered the prime suspect in the ignition of the alleged fuel-tank
explosion. What made the pump so attractive was that it had not been
found, at least not ''officially.'' In time, the NTSB would exonerate
the pump, but the pump's mysterious absence filled the information
breach nicely for months. In fact, the pump had showed up on official
documents early in the investigation. These documents are still
- The nose gear door. ''Jet’s Landing Gear Is Said To Provide
Evidence of a Bomb,'' declared the headline of the New York Times on
July 31, 1996. The doors had not yet been found. If they had been
blown inward, officials could hardly deny an external explosion. As
it turned out, they were blown inward. In the summer of 1996 these
revelations would have blown open the investigation. And so, although
logged in during the month of August 1996, the doors were ignored for
more than a year and ''rediscovered'' only after public interest in
the story had waned.
- The right wing. ALPA investigator Jim Speer identified a
leading edge wing-rib damaged in such a way he thought it merited
testing for explosive residue. Maj. Fritz Meyer confirmed it. On
July 23, 1996, Newsday added detail, reporting that ''a chemical test
showed traces of a rare explosive on a wing from TWA Flight 800.''
After being sent to the FBI lab, says Jim Speer, ''The part has not
been seen since for five years now.''
- Witness drawings. Inexplicably, the FBI has been ''unable to
locate'' thirty of these drawings. This has proved to be the standard
FBI and CIA excuse for the failure to release documents under the
Freedom of Information Act that prove either too embarrassing or too
- Passenger seats. The seats had great evidentiary value. ''Not
to our surprise,'' the NTSB's Hank Hughes told a Senate committee,
''We found that seats were missing and other evidence had been
disturbed.'' TWA employee Linda Kunz and two New York state troopers
caught certain NTSB officials changing tags on seat parts. Over TWA's
protests, Kunz was removed from the investigation and threatened with
- Metallurgy. From the beginning, as investigator Jim Speer has
attested, NTSB management attempted to interpret evidence in ways that
denied the possibility of a missile, often to the point of absurdity.
- Keel beam. At its final hearing, the NTSB claimed that the
''forward portion of the keel beam'' was recovered from the Red Zone,
the area closest to JFK. As FBI documents show, however, and as the
New York Times reported, the keel beam was among the last parts to hit
the water, not the first. It was subsequently relabeled to fit the
exploding fuel tank canard.
- Flight data recorder. The FDR was likely removed, examined,
replaced, and reconstructed for one purpose: to suppress evidence of
an external explosion. ''The NTSB cannot release the FDR accident
tape from Flight 800 for the purpose of independent read-out and
analysis,'' says audio expert Glenn Schulze, ''without revealing their
complicity in tampering with this most important piece of TWA Flight
800 accident investigation.''
- Cockpit voice recorder. Like the FDR, the CVR allegedly could
not be located for a week despite sitting in 120 feet of water just 10
miles off Long Island's south shore. The Navy's Capt. McCord had
argued that both ''pingers'' must have been ''broken, destroyed or
covered with sand or other material.'' When found, the CVR was sitting
uncovered on the ocean floor. Its pinger was clearly neither broken
nor covered. The NTSB also found it necessary to withhold analysis
done on the CVR in England. A vibration traveling through the frame
of Flight 800 in excess of two thousand feet per second could not be
explained as a fuel-air explosion.
- Medical forensics. As the Suffolk County coroner implied, the
horrific injuries to certain passengers ''took more force than even
flying debris and 400-mph winds within the cabin could have
produced.'' FBI officials took exclusive hold on whatever knowledge
could be gleaned from the foreign objects inside the victims' bodies
and won't let go.
- Climb analysis data. Retired United pilot and ALPA
investigator Ray Lahr requested through FOIA the calculations used by
the NTSB to determine how TWA 800 could climb ''several thousand feet
with the nose blown off.'' The CIA now says it can find no documentary
evidence that any analysis of this subject was ever conducted by its
- The center wing tank floor. The massive piece of flooring that
photos had shown sweeping upward as a result of a likely missile blast
had been mashed down for the reconstruction of the plane. Said the
NTSB's Hank Hughes of one FBI agent, ''I saw him in the middle of the
hangar with a hammer in the process of trying to flatten a piece of
- Eyewitness reports. The subtraction of eyewitness evidence is
even more flagrant than that of the physical evidence. No
eyewitnesses were allowed to testify at any NTSB hearing. The CIA
attempted to remove all eyewitness reports from the realm of the
credible with a single fifteen-minute showing of its animated video.
The CIA reduced the 270 witnesses who had seen a streak to one, the
man on the bridge, Mike Wire, about whom they fabricated a follow-up
- MISIC analysis. Analysts from the Defense Intelligence
Agency's Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MISIC) arrived on the
scene in Long Island just two days after the crash and interviewed a
reported thirty-four key eyewitnesses. The MISIC analysis, however,
has all but disappeared from the public record. In the FBI's report,
it barely merits a footnote.
I would be happy to sit down with the FBI, the CIA, and the NTSB, and certainly CNN to discuss what I know.
Please contact me through my website.
Read previous installments in this series:
data prove CIA 'zoom-climb' a fraud"
people saw plane shot out of the sky"
Clarke's politicized exit strategy"
secret the Times has kept"
Jamie Gorelick knew"
evidence from victims holds key"
the FBI misled the public"
inconvenient truth for Al Gore"
man on the bridge and CIA deception"
Related special offer:
Jack Cashill's groundbreaking exposé, "First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America"
Jack Cashill is an Emmy-award winning independent writer and producer with a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue.
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