sitemap Donaldson Letter to FBI

Text of Letter to Director of the FBI

"In order to deflect the gross tonnage of debris to the positions found in the field,
much of it thousands of feet right of course, either the aircraft was hit by an
Amtrak metro-liner on the left side or by a powerful anti-aircraft weapon."

Cdr. William S. Donaldson, USN/RET     Avenue, MD 20609
December 3, 1997

Mr. Louis Freeh

Director of the FBI

935 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Washington, DC 20535-001

Director Freeh,

In an attempt to keep you apprised of substantive problems with the scripted promotion of mechanical failure undertaken early in the investigation by Mr. Hall, I have previously forwarded copies of our correspondence pertaining to the FL800 incident. Considering your New York offices recent abandonment of its law enforcement responsibilities, let me refresh your memory and provide the following reality check:


In the entire history of American turbine powered civilian air transport, there has never been an in-flight fuel tank explosion in any aircraft caused by mechanical failure! (Laws of probability do not support the NTSB theory.)

Jet A-1 fuel used by FL800 is safer than all it predecessors. It cannot be made to explode in-flight unless the tank is first exposed to shock. (Chemical properties of the fuel do not support the NTSB theory.)

The fuel temperature in TWA 800's centerwing tank (CWT) was well below minimum flammability much less at explosive vapor temperatures. (Environmental conditions do not support the NTSB theory.)

There is no source of ignition in the B747 CWT. (Aircraft design does not support the NTSB theory.)

Conventionally designed aircraft can not fly much less generate lift to climb absent the gross tonnage of fuselage forward of the wing. (Laws of physical science and principles of aerodynamics do not support the NTSB theory.)

The 12 or more explosive chemical residue hits by BATF's EGIS 3000 equipment are physical evidence of high explosive involvement. (Leading edge hi-tech forensic evidence does not support the NTSB theory.)

Testimony from eyewitnesses along 11 nautical miles of shore front show first sightings of ascending objects that cross correlate to a launch position well away from FL800's track. (Eyewitness testimony does not support the NTSB theory.)

The medical examiners report shows a uniform instantaneous cause of death and evidence of high velocity metal in the cabin. (Post mortem examinations do not support the NTSB theory.)

The debris field shows that TWA FL800's nose forward of the wing was shattered after being hit from the left by a huge force that distributed the gross tonnage as much as 2900 ft. Right of the projected aircraft track. (Debris field evidence does not support the NTSB theory.)

The debris field of significant metal parts is only 8400 ft. Long and fits the ballistic geometry of instantaneous airframe break-up at 13,700 ft. The debris field is only 7300 ft. Long when CW504 is removed. (Ballistic geometry does not support the NTSB theory.) CW504 (the first metal part in the field) is a debris field anomaly probably because of a significant downward velocity vector from the CWT explosion.

The historical mishap record that most closely predicts expected airframe damage due to a centerwing tank explosion airborne was the loss of SUPER CONSTELLATION 1649 N7313C on 26 June 1959. The center wing tank filled with high octane aviation gasoline vapor exploded due to lightning strike at 11,000 ft., near Milan, Italy. Although the right wing failed and all souls were lost, the aircraft fuselage remained totally intact. Not even a single piece of luggage separated from the aircraft prior to ground impact. (The historical record of airframe damage during in-flight centerwing tank explosions does not support the NTSB theory.)

The forward cabin debris shows through holes from left side to right side. (The forward cabin debris does not support the NTSB theory.)

The debris field shows initial cabin integrity was lost first, 16 feet forward of the centerwing tank at FS800, forward left had cargo by. (The cabin break-up sequence does not support the NTSB theory.)

The FBI has withdrawn before a cause has been determined. (The FBI does support the NTSB theory.) Why?

Collusion with NTSB Goals, Suppression of Eyewitness Evidence

Mr. Freeh I will be candid, the fact that the FBI is now joining in lockstep with the NTSB political script sadly was not a surprise to me, because of what I had discovered on Long Island. Mr. Kallstrom's agents who "turned over every rock ten times," failed to tape critical eyewitness testimony, failed to establish visual bearing lines from the witnesses who observed ascending objects, failed to get elevation measurements, failed to get relative motion statements and in some cases failed to even go to the observation point, that is except from some eyewitnesses who didn't see a missile!  Like Mrs. Sahid.

Multiple witnesses   tell me agents on rare second or third visits to persons who saw ascending objects tried to get the witness to change their original stories? Many of these people are now afraid of and disgusted with their own government, the administrations mantra "No evidence of a criminal act" is turning normal American citizens into bitter cynics.

Your CIA Contract

It was entertaining but like most cartoons grossly abused universal laws of nature. Like Newton's law of gravitation, Newton's first and second law of dynamics, Newton's law of hydro-dynamic resistance, and fundamental principles of aerodynamic lift, drag, dynamic stability and jet engine mechanics. Other than that, it was a media masterpiece. It sure worked for the news entertainment crowd. Perfect junk science fluff for television.

There are a few things these unnamed Rocket scientists missed:

The CIA assertion that a precise radar correlation of aircraft track was done with eyewitness observations is ridiculous. The closest radar coverage to the incident, the ASR-8 feed (from Islip to the New York Tracon) was controlling on IFF transponder symbology or secondary radar only. IFF symbology can be off the actual aircraft track by 3 nm and often is. Only highly calibrated military fire control radars have the precision capability inferred by the CIA cartoon. If they had bothered reading the meteorology observation taken at the nearest airport only 12 minutes after the incident, they would have discovered, a thin scattered cloud layer was pervasive throughout the area at 8000 feet. That layer explains witness difficulty seeing the aircraft before an explosion because they couldn't observe it at an oblique angle through the clouds when the 747 was on top at 13,700 feet. It also explains why some witnesses who watched the bright missile exhaust climbing outbound lost sight a few seconds prior to warhead detonation.

If your people had continued the commendable job the county police started and actually developed witnesses who observed ascending objects, as they were doing, you would have provided the CIA with data showing the object was moving three times faster then a 747 and was first sighted close to shore.

The most outlandish abridgment of testimony and obstruction of justice in the cartoon was the amateurish depiction of sound analysis. It was fatally flawed in two ways:

(1) the assumption the only source of sound was at the aircraft and

(2) failure to consider or explain the number of explosions heard by witnesses.

Mr. Dougherty's testimony (1st visit not followed up by the FBI) is illustrative of this sophistry. He was one of several sober adults north east of the mishap site. They observed a missile like object tracking out to sea after hearing, "thunder like sounds" and "strange crackling noises". Then in sequence they observed: the missile disappear in the cloud/haze, a bright white glow, the burning pieces falling through the cloud, and finally two loud explosions! Mr. Dougherty's observation point was 62 seconds by sound from the aircraft explosion point. It takes heavy debris only 32 seconds to fall from 13,700 feet. By the way gravity is fairly reliable. Why doesn't the New York office just have the cartoon changed and get the 747 to zoom climb to 30,000 feet that should cover it. After all the first cartoon's pilotless 747 is already the current record holder in the zoom climb category.

They failed to address two "bright", "hard", "high velocity", "ordinance", explosions 3 seconds apart, in addition to the large petroleum agreed to by witnesses airborne, on land and sea. The NTSB theory accounts for only one tank capable of fuel air explosion. Has the FBI and CIA lost their ability to count?

The fuselage nose section (forward of the L2 & R2 doors did not remain together prior to water impact, it was shattered into at least 4 separate major groups of parts, one impacting 2000 ft. Right of the aircraft's extended course line while the others landed on or to the left of that course. In fact had the nose section not been broken up, it's high cross sectional density and relatively streamlined shape would have carried it down range beyond the majority of debris.

The abrupt 3000 ft. climb is impossible because of aerodynamics and engine mechanics reasons. Where is the actual wind tunnel data that proves a noseless 747 will fly?

Computer simulations by Boeing or anyone else are worthless if a series of highly improbable assumptions are in the model. What assumptions are in the model?

Without military fire control or height finding radar, no physical evidence exists of a climb above 13,700, why make such a ridiculous assumption based on a few highly filtered eyewitness comments.

The Actual Debris Field

Mr. Freeh after four days of meticulously graphing each significant piece of aircraft wreckage and studying the ballistic geometry required to produce the debris field, I've come to the unfortunate realization that using this data alone, your New York office and the NTSB had to have been certain this aircraft was downed by missile attack very early in the recovery effort.

The Blast Field

There are two distinct fields not three; the first I'll call the blast field and the second the terminal field. The blast field is composed of all debris from FL800's nose back to FS 1000 and those parts originating from below the center wing tank. The blast field has a trapezoid shape with a 4000 ft. base oriented parallel and just to the left (north) of the aircraft projected course line, 071°. (See Fig. 1). The western most side is 4000 ft. In length and the eastern 3500 ft. in length. The southern Apex of the trapezoid is 3000 ft to the right of the extended aircraft projected course line! The debris found at the apex includes parts from: forward lower cargo bay left side (FS860), forward lower cargo bay centerline (FS880).

The Train Wreck At 13,700 ft.

From a physics point of view, TWA FL800 at the time of the incident represented a force of about 465 million foot pounds of inertia oriented on a vector of 071 true at 13,700 ft.

In order to deflect the gross tonnage of debris to the positions found in the field, much of it thousands of feet right of course, either the aircraft was hit by an Amtrak metro-liner on the left side or by a powerful anti-aircraft weapon.

Much of the forward fuselage debris is strung out of a 160° axis which closely matches observed eyewitnesses missile intercept angles as well as known fuselage through holes!

Because the wind was very light and almost on the tail, the maximum windage offset of falling metal debris would be approximately an additional 200 ft. down range. The same offset would be nearly universal throughout the field on similar heavy debris, but proportionally further for lighter debris.

This massive deflection of tons of debris to the right particularly part well away from the centerwing tank, such as outer left wing skin, nose gear doors and hardware, forward cabin framing (FS240) etc. are absolute and irrefutable physical evidence of a massive blow to the forward fuselage from the left side.

The Terminal Field

The terminal field is composed of all of the remaining aircraft major parts, engines, wings, tail, main fuselage etc. Heavy parts are contained in an oval pattern roughly 1000 ft long and 500 ft. wide oriented with the long axis parallel and the left of the extended aircraft track (see fig. 1). This shape is characteristic of a 50° to 60° down surface impact angle and consistent with the ballistics expected of a non flying high density mass. Burning fuel and minor lightweight parts were scatted much further east primarily because of tidal action and the explosion when the flaming wing tanks hit the ocean surface.

Obstruction of Justice by Political Intercept

Mr. Freeh I am keenly aware of the justice departments suppression of the EGIS 3000 high explosion residue evidence gathered by BATF. Having consulted with both the equipment manufacturer and independent high explosive experts the picture is clear.

The EGIS 3000 equipment used on recovered debris is allegedly the most sensitive in the world.

The BATF operators of the equipment are allegedly the best qualified anywhere in the world.

The nitrogen compounds in PETN and other explosive residues that the machine documents are very soluble in seawater.

Despite the fact explosive experts have told me they would expect even massive contamination of debris by high explosive residue to wash off of aluminum debris in a few weeks of salt water immersion the EGIS 3000 justified its expense by scoring a dozen or more hits of residue on both internal and external structure.

Confirmation of EGIS 3000 "hits" by the FBI laboratory would by definition have to be made with less sensitive (inferior methodology because checking an EGIS 3000 with another EGIS 3000 would violate normal scientific protocol.

A perplexing decision was made to pressure wash debris brought ashore prior to examination. It washes away both DNA and chemical residue evidence.

A political decision was made to change the navy divers mission from debris recovery to primarily victim recovery, which increased critical salt water emersion time for explosive residue evidence.

A political decision was made to categorize at least 10 valid EGIS 3000 hits as false positives based on inferior FBI lab methodology!

A political decision was made to categorize the two hits that were confirmed by the FBI lab as contamination from a drug dog training event staged aboard the aircraft months earlier, therefore somehow demeaning EGIS 3000 hits?

By confirming the two EGIS hits from porous material from inside the cabin that would be expected to retain higher levels of residue for longer periods then would contaminated aluminum thorough testing by inferior FBI methodology, the more sensitive EGIS 3000 was in fact proven to be operating normally.

Mr. Freeh, as an experienced open ocean scuba diver and retired naval officer, I find the political decision to deliberately expose the navy divers to higher risks by changing their mission to; primarily seeking out then untangling human remains from extremely hazardous wreckage versus the safer more professional previous mission of recovery of debris and collateral recovery of bodies to be questionable. I would also suggest there is an appearance of reckless endangerment in furtherance of conspiracy to obstruct justice by your New York office.

The Autopsy Evidence

The medical examiners universal cause of death of FL800's crew and passengers was cranium/ cervical spine separation due to ligament failure. In layman's terms, fatal whiplash. These injures are totally consistent with a massive blow left side forward fuselage, forward fuselage failure, violent pitch up and the violent deceleration associated with the actual sequence of events.

These injuries are not at all consistent with your contract cartoon, any yaw, pitch or angular deceleration force strong enough to break everyone's neck would have immediately flamed out all four engines. These huge turbo fans are sensitive to abrupt changes of angle of attack (the angle the slipstream strikes the first stage of compressor and stator blades at the engine front).

Row 19 seats and victims left the aircraft instantly virtually with the part enclosing the R2 door and were found in the very early debris field. Their injuries being consistent with the other passengers prove the universal fatal event was prior to or coincidental to first loss of airframe integrity,

X-ray examination of remains showed extensive small metal fragment contamination throughout the victims bodies. When the medical examiner pointed out a deep chest penetration by metal fragment of a first class passenger, your investigators told him it wasn't evidence because the fragment came from an aircraft part. End of subject! Frankly, I've seen better police work in Pink Panther movies. Could it possibly be the same force that shattered the nose and drove tons of debris well right of aircraft track broke off and propelled this non-evidence fragment into the victim?

The Integrity of Senior FBI Officials

If you think the tone of this letter questions senior FBI officials integrity in your New York office let me assure you that is exactly my intent.

Specifically, three working days prior to Mr. Kallstrom's Tuesday multimedia infomercial announcing the FBI's abandonment of its mission, I was informed by congressman Trafficant's staff they expected a joint FBI/NTSB news conference the next day or sometime immediately after Congress adjourned but didn't know where. Unable to locate anything in Washington, DC, I contacted the New York office of the FBI. Expecting a truthful answer from anyone who might answer in that office, I identified myself and asked when and where the TWA FL800 news conference would be held. After a five minute hold Mr. Valiquettee came on the line to answer and informed me no such news conference was scheduled nor was in planning. When further pressed as to how congressional staff might be so misinformed, he said a local New York paper had printed an incorrect story.

This sort of elitist behavior goes to character and belies your agencies public image. Specifically it proves to me in a personal and very explicit way, senior FBI officials should no longer be assumed trustworthy when dealing with TWA FL800.

Unanswered Questions

I'll close with the following questions:

Why did your agents peremptorily threaten various persons and corporations with obstruction of justice persecutions? Who in the FBI made that decision?

Why did the FBI maintain a secure hangar space at Calverton to the exclusion of non-FBI and NTSB personnel?

Who did the FBI contract to do the debris field ballistic geometry analysis?

Why is it that non-FBI/NTSB mishap investigators have not yet been given full access to all debris 16 months after the fact?

Why were non-FBI and NTSB personnel excluded from Navy salvage ship operations after first being part of the recovery team on board?

Why didn't the FBI do missile warhead testing with weapons of any meaningful size?

Why did the FBI go to the CIA (who have operating constraints within the United States) instead of military experts to evaluate radar, and eyewitness data?

Why did your agents attempt to convince eyewitnesses they didn't see what they thought they did?

Why didn't your New York agents take substantive data from and follow up with witnesses who were adamant they observed ascending objects?

What were the investigative results of the Lufthansa 405    (Click for FAA transcript)  and Pakistani air sightings of ascending objects in the Long Island area     (Click for details)  that proceeded and followed the FL800 incident?

Why did the FBI find it necessary to have the White House resend the whistle blower protection act for personnel in the Navy recovery team by executive order?

Why would you make a statement like, "we need to get past this and move on" months ago on national television?

Do the Saudi bombings and the FL800 investigations have anything in common other then the FBI's strange inability to vigorously pursue and resolve the issues?

Is the United States government being covertly intimidated by a political entity in the Middle East?

Mr. Freeh what is the mission of the FBI; to protect the Washington politician dejour from their own folly or to preserve the constitution and protect the American people?

You have the power to fix this, use it!


William S. Donaldson

cc. Mr. James E. Hall, Chairman NTSB

Mrs. Garvey, Administrator Federal Aviation Administration

Senator Slade Gorton, Chairman Subcommittee on Aviation

Representative John J. Duncan Jr., Chairman Subcommittee on Aviation

Chief of Naval Operations

Commander in Chief Pacific

Commander Third Fleet

Commander Carrier Group Six

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