sitemap Text of Second Reply From NTSB to Donaldson

 Text of Second Letter From James Hall, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, to Commander Donaldson

"There has always been one goal and one goal only-- to find out what caused this tragedy."

James E. Hall - Chairman NTSB
October 29
, 1997

Dear Commander Donaldson:

I am in receipt of your letter of   September 18, 1997,  and I have also reviewed your comments as reported in the  Washington Times of September 27, 1997.

Let me reiterate one fundamental point. The FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board have conducted two cooperative but parallel investigations into the tragedy of TWA flight 800. The FBI's investigation, because of its mission, has focused on potential mechanical or aircraft explanations. At times during the investigation we have assisted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in their efforts, and at times they have assisted us. The cooperation between the two agencies through these past 14 months has been outstanding. There has always been one goal and one goal only-- to find out what caused this tragedy.

Mr. Donaldson, you may wish to disagree with the hundreds of professionals at the Safety Board, FBI and other organizations, agencies and corporations who have dedicated much of the last 14 months to this investigation. That is your right. Let me reiterate what the National Transportation Safety Board investigators have found so far. There is as yet no physical evidence that a bomb or missile caused TWA flight 800 to crash.

Let me also quote the FBI's Jim Kallstrom from a recent letter to family members.

"...We in law enforcement have not found any evidence to date that this tragedy was caused by a criminal act or an act of terrorism. In other words, we see no evidence of a bomb, a missile, or any other type of device causing the event which led to the breakup and tragic results."

I have referred your new statements on Jet A fuel to our technical experts and have asked them to review them and to respond appropriately. I can only say that the aggressive certainty of some of your statements appears not to be justified. I will, of course, share our staff's observations with you when they are completed.

As to your apparent belief that the tragedy of flight 800 was the result of "an act of war by a foreign enemy," may I suggest that any evidence or comments you have in this regard be shared directly with the FBI. As I mentioned earlier, it is the FBI who has taken the lead in the criminal investigation, and I am sure they would appreciate any information you might wish to share with them. Below is Mr. Kallstrom's address for you convenience.

Mr. James K. Kallstom

Assistant Director in Charge

Federal Bureau of Investigations

26 Federal Plaza

New York, New York 10278

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and experience with the Safety Board on this most important investigation.


Jim Hall


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