sitemap Database of Events from April 2000 - June 2000

The Hull Thread

Chronology of Events From April 2000 - June 2000

(Articles from news sources have been placed within for educational, research, and discussion purposes
only, in compliance with "Fair Use" criteria established in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.)


April 2, 2000  Associated Press
A man from Yemen, with suspected links to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, was arrested Sunday trying to cross into neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said. Ahmed Abdullah, 32, from the Yemen capital of San'a, was arrested along with two Pakistanis — Bilal, who has one name, and Muzafar Khan — in Torkham, the border crossing at the foot of the Khyber Pass that links Pakistan and war-scarred Afghanistan. Abdullah was arrested with a considerable amount of money, according to Mokharam Khan, a Pakistani official in Torkham. He refused to give the amount. He said the men were trying to cross into Afghanistan without Afghan visas. He also said that the Pakistani authorities had received information that Abdullah was affiliated with bin Laden. Abdullah arrived in Pakistan two days ago from Bangladesh, according to Janullah, a reporter for a Pashtu-language newspaper who interviewed the Yemeni national in Torkham. Abdullah denied having links with bin Laden and said he and his companions were going to Afghanistan to preach Islam. He didn't say what he was doing in Bangladesh, but U.S. intelligence canceled a planned visit by President Clinton to a village in Bangladesh two weeks ago because of terrorist threats believed to emanate from bin Laden's Al Qaida group. Clinton's tour of South Asia ended in Pakistan on March 25 amid some of the tightest security the federal capital of Islamabad has seen. Pakistani officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two Pakistanis were suspected of being affiliated with the Harakat-ul Mujahedeen group, which sends fighters to Indian Kashmir to fight Indian troops in the territory.

April 9, 2000  The Glasgow Sunday Herald
A powerful American lawyer is refusing to release evidence which he claims could clear the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing unless he is paid $250,000 (£160,000). James Shaughnessy, who acted for PanAm during a civil action taken by the families of the Lockerbie dead, wants the money in return for access to the series of documents, testimonies of intelligence officers and secret reports. The Scottish lawyers acting for the Libyan accused are to issue subpoenas against Shaughnessy in the US Courts to secure the evidence, fearing that unless a court order is issued he could destroy the documents. Shaughnessy, a partner of the Manhattan law firm Windels, Marx, Davies and Ives, insists the evidence he has would not only damage the prosecution case against Abdel Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, but would also exonerate them of all charges. The evidence he has allegedly points towards Palestinian terrorists putting the bomb on the plane after penetrating a covert US intelligence drug route into America. The Libyans are to appear in Holland next month on charges of murdering the 270 people who died when PanAm flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. Shaughnessy may be dragged before the Grievances Committee of the US courts and de-barred from practising law for attempting to sell the evidence. He could also be committing a major breach of the lawyers' ethical code as the evidence is the property of PanAm. Shaughnessy gathered it while building a defence for the airline during the civil court case. The evidence, currently in a secret location known only to Shaughnessy, allegedly proves the attack was planned and carried out by Palestinian terrorists, based in Germany, acting on behalf of Iran in revenge for America shooting down a civilian airbus, in which 290 people died. PanAm was ruined by the civil case and found guilty of wilful misconduct over its security for allowing the bomb on to the plane. In an attempt to defend PanAm, Shaughnessy claimed the US government knew there had been threats of an impending terrorist attack on a PanAm plane. When PanAm lost the civil case, the US government moved to impose a multi-million dollar fine against Shaughnessy for linking it unnecessarily to the disaster. Shaughnessy submitted an affidavit to the courts as part of his defence against the sanctions. In the affidavit - which until now has been secret - Shaughnessy says he took statements from two ex-CIA officers, a German intelligence agent and a serving senior intelligence analyst with the US Drug Enforcement Agency. In it, Shaughnessy says a US military intelligence agent showed him "documentation concerning the involvement of the US intelligence community in narcotics trafficking into the United States". This was substantiated by a CIA officer. An ex-German intelligence agent told Shaughnessy the bomb was connected to Palestinian terrorists rather than Libyan assassins, and a US Drug Enforcement agency officer said drugs had been smuggled through Frankfurt airport. The affidavit also reveals the contents of reports from US intelligence on Palestinian terrorists operating in Germany. The reports show "how and where" the bomb got onboard flight 103. Shaughnessy's affidavit also reveals details of polygraph (lie detector) tests on two former PanAm employees, which he believes show they switched the bag in Frankfurt containing the bomb.

April 14, 2000  
Are Boeing and the NTSB looking for a way out? Boeing and TWA settle case? NTSB finds no definite cause? Boeing does not have to raise the missile defense in a multimillion dollar lawsuit?   Boeing Submission to the NTSB (Slow download)
Lawyers for Boeing and TWA told a federal judge yesterday that they wanted to begin settlement talks to try to resolve more than 200 lawsuits filed by families of people killed in the crash of TWA Flight 800. "I think we ought to address settlement and address it seriously," said Seattle-based attorney Steven Bell, who represents Boeing. In a brief pre-trial conference in Manhattan, Bell said both sides had a "window of opportunity" to negotiate since the National Transportation Safety Board has postponed a final ruling on the cause of the crash. A board meeting to vote on a final report and cause was originally scheduled for June, but the NTSB said this week it is now scheduled for Aug. 22 and 23. Lawyers for the victims' families have asked to take depositions from NTSB investigators, but they won't do that until after the final board meeting. But the legal positions of Boeing and TWA were dealt a setback in the case last month when a federal appeals court upheld Judge Sweet's ruling that a 1920s law limiting monetary damages did not apply. A legal source said the higher court ruling may have been what motivated the defendants to talk about settling the cases.

April 14, 2000   UPI
This website has linked Osama bin Laden to: the Egyptian wing of Islamic Jihad, funding by Iran, to the TWA 800 missile attack, the World Trade Center bombing, and EgyptAir 990. The announcement of bin Laden's successor confirms this pattern.

U.S. intelligence has identified the designated successor of ailing terrorist leader Osama bin Ladin, according to U.S. government sources. United Press International has learned that the CIA believes Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the Egyptian terror group al-Jihad, will assume control of bin Ladin's terrorist finances, operations, plans and resources.
Bin Ladin is said to be suffering from a bone marrow disease, in addition to kidney failure. Ayman Al-Zawahiri is already closely associated with bin Ladin, serving as his sometime - spokesman and identified by the U.S. State Department as a key leader in bin Ladin's new World Islamic Front, an alliance of various terrorist groups formed to carry out a holy war against America and its allies. Al-Zawahiri is the operational and military leader of al-Jihad, also known as Islamic Jihad, an extremist group active since the late 1970s whose goal is to overthrow the Egyptian government. He is believed to be in Afghanistan, where bin Ladin has resided for at least a year. Al-Zawahiri was the second signer on a "fatwa," or declaration of holy war issued by bin Ladin in February 1998, that called for the killing of all Americans and their allies, civilian or military. "We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson," states the "fatwa." In its original incarnation al-Jihad was believed to be responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Al-Jihad has split into two factions, one of them controlled by al-Zawahiri. The group has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since 1993, according to the State Department.

Al-Zawahiri, 49, was born in Giza, Egypt, according to a White House declaration in 1995 that identified him as a terrorist. He was reported to have participated in a planning meeting of Hezzbollah, a pro-Iranian group in Lebanon, to set up attacks on U.S. interests on all continents. He is also reported to be behind "Islamic terrorist operations" in Bosnia with U.S. and international peacekeepers his primary target. Al-Hayat, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported last year that al-Zawahiri had vowed to take revenge on the United States for its support of Israel, its ongoing war with Iraq and its military presence in the Middle East. According to intelligence sources, Bin Ladin's failing health makes it impossible for him to continue overseeing his organization, the Islamic Salvation Foundation or al-Qaida. Dubbed by President Clinton "the pre-eminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today," and on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List," bin Ladin has been variously linked to the World Trade Center bombing in New York, bomb attacks against U.S troops in Saudi Arabia, and the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998 that killed 257 people and injured 5,500 more. At the time of the embassy bombings, a reporter in Pakistan, Rahimullah Yusufzai, said he received a call from Ayman al-Zawahiri, who identified himself as a spokesman for bin Laden. "I have nothing to do with the bombing of American embassies in Africa, but I urge the Muslims all over the world to continue their jihad against the Americans and Jews," al-Zawahiri, told the reporter on bin Ladin's behalf.

Bin Ladin hasn't been seen in more than a year, and the last event he was associated with publicly was the embassy bombings. Bin Ladin controls about $300 million of his Saudi Arabian family's estimated $5 billion fortune, and he uses it almost exclusively to fund his international operations. He is said to be behind terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and building roads, tunnels, and hospitals in Afghanistan and Sudan.

April 17, 2000  The Glasgow Sunday Herald
The Pan Am baggage handler who was in charge of loading luggage onto Flight 103 has admitted for the first time that he knew US intelligence agencies used the airline to smuggle drugs and that their covert operation could have been penetrated by terrorists who planted the bomb on board Flight 103. The claims made on the eve of the Lockerbie trial by Roland O'Neill, from Frankfurt, could throw allegations that Libya was behind the bombing into complete disarray. It would also seriously undermine the position of the Scottish prosecution team which is preparing the criminal case against Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. Their trial will begin at Camp Zeist on May 3. O'Neill's admissions back up long held suspicions that Palestinian terrorists operating in Germany were behind the bombing. The extremists, it is claimed, penetrated the US drugs operation and swapped a bag containing drugs on the flight bound for America for a bag carrying Semtex. On the eve of the Lockerbie trial, O'Neill invited the Sunday Herald yesterday to his Frankfurt home because he wanted to explain how he has been tormented for the last 12 years by the fear that he could have unwittingly placed the explosives on board the aircraft. O'Neill was told for the first time yesterday by the Sunday Herald that he had failed four key questions during a lie detector test investigating his role in the Lockerbie bombing. The result of the test pointed towards O'Neill being the man who ordered that the bomb be placed on the plane. O'Neill insisted that he did not lie in the polygraph but he did admit that he knew the Drug Enforcement Agency - an arm of US intelligence - was using Frankfurt as a route to smuggle heroin into America as part of a secret plan to finance the freeing of US hostages in Beirut. O'Neill's polygraph showed that he lied when he said he did not know who ordered the switching of the cases and when he said he did not order the switching of the suitcases himself. O'Neill also allegedly lied in the test when he said he did not see the cases being switched and when he said he did not know what was in the switched suitcases. O'Neill was unaware that he had failed these four key questions in the polygraph test, the results of which were leaked to the Sunday Herald from sources close to the Lockerbie investigation in America. "I do recall about a year before the bombing that two suitcases filled with drugs, belonging to two women were ordered to go on board a Pan Am flight without being interfered with - opened or X-rayed. That was on the orders of US agents - either the DEA or the CIA. I can't remember which," said O'Neill. "I could have unwittingly been part of the this conspiracy. Security at Frankfurt airport was incredibly slack. It is entirely possible that a bag of drugs was switched for a bag containing Semtex. I often think to myself, 'my God, I could have picked up that bag and put it on board flight 103.' It terrifies me. "What I do think I remember about that night was that it was very hectic and I think some baggage loaders just picked cases from one aircraft, which was not a Pan Am plane, and left it at the side of Pan Am 103 so that it could be loaded on board. Maybe there is a chance that one of these was unchecked and unscreened. This could have been from any flight and from anywhere. "I did not order the cases to be switched. I did not see who switched the cases. I did not know what was in the case. I was asked if I wanted to take a lie detector test and I said, 'OK' as I had nothing to hide." He added: "I can't accept that Libya is responsible for this, you know. There has to be another reason behind this - quite possibly the activities of American intelligence agencies may be involved. Remember if you wanted to bring something - drugs or a bomb - into the airport it could be done. There was really no security. If anyone had a security badge, like I did, they could just walk through with a bomb, put a baggage tag on it and put it on a plane. And that would be it - boom."

April 20, 2000   Boeing Submission to the NTSB
Are Boeing and the government agreeing to close this case without a finding a cause? This file is a slow download so be patient.

April 25, 2000
Prosecutors will request a postponement in the trial of two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 following the introduction of new witnesses by the defense. Proceedings are scheduled to begin May 3 following two delays since Libya leader Moammar Gadhafi surrendered Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah last year to stand trial .  "The crown office has requested a delay because the defense has introduced a new witness list," said Crown Office spokesman Howard Hart. He added that a special pretrial hearing would be held at the special Lockerbie court at Camp Zeist on Thursday, "when the court will decide whether or not to grant it." The request for a delay of several weeks was in response to the submission of 119 new witnesses and new evidence, said Hart. The request follows reports of troubles in the prosecution's case following the resignation in January of chief prosecutor Lord Andrew Hardie. Hardie was replaced by Colin Boyd, Scotland's solicitor-general and the former No. 2 man on the prosecution team. Prosecutors claim the Libyans placed a suitcase bomb on a flight originating in Malta and routed the bomb onto the Pan Am airliner in London via a change of planes in Frankfurt, Germany. The men, employed by the Libyan national airline in Malta, were allegedly undercover intelligence agents. In January, Scottish legal sources reported that a star witness had backpedaled on his earlier account that he saw one of the men place the suitcase on the conveyor belt in Malta.

May 14, 2000   The Glasgow Sunday Herald
The two Libyans accused of downing PanAm 103 could not have planted the bomb, according to a devastating scientific report submitted by one of the Crown's star witnesses. The report threw the prosecution case into disarray and forced the adjournment of the Lockerbie trial on Thursday for 12 days. The report concludes that the Semtex bomb was attached to the inside of the aircraft in the cargo hold and was not concealed, as the prosecution case alleges, within a cassette player packed into a suitcase which was stored within a luggage container in the cargo hold.  A senior legal expert said of the new development last night: "I think this case is ready to collapse. The prosecution are running around like headless chickens. They know its going to go belly up but they don't want the fallout to hit them. At this point, I think the prosecution have no anticipation of a conviction, but they are going to try and drag out the case for as long as possible so they can say that they tried their best." Senior Crown Office sources have admitted to the Sunday Herald that the report submitted to the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, just days before the trial started provided such startling new evidence that the prosecution had no alternative but to seek an adjournment to consider the future of the trial. In a stunning own goal for the prosecution, Edwin Bollier, who is listed as prosecution witness number 548, delivered a detailed analysis of the explosion to the Lord Advocate, claiming the Crown's version of the bombing was scientifically impossible. The potentially lethal blow comes from the man that the Crown intended to call to crucially link the Libyans to the bomb's timing device. Bollier's Swiss company, MEBO, is said by the Crown to have made the timer used to detonate the bomb.  The prosecution case stands and falls on proving that the Libyans placed the bomb inside the cassette player. If the bomb was placed on the inner wall of the cargo hold, as the Bollier report claims, the link between the Lockerbie bombing and the Libyans would be broken. The Crown clearly states that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, placed the cassette player, packed with explosives, into a suitcase containing clothes and an umbrella onto a flight leaving Malta. The bomb later exploded over Lockerbie. Bollier, who was legally manufacturing timing devices, initially told Scottish police, prosecutors and the FBI that recovered fragments of the timer found in woodland near Lockerbie were fragments of timers he had sold to the Libyan government. But Bollier later changed his mind. In September last year, when he claims he was finally shown the actual pieces of the timer by police in Dumfries, Bollier was adamant that the fragments were not the same timers he had produced. Following this, Bollier commissioned scientists, who he refuses to name, to investigate the downing of PanAm 103. Their findings make up the report he has submitted to the Lord Advocate. In effect, Bollier has become a hostile witness to the prosecution who could now destroy the Crown's case. Crown sources said: "The last thing the prosecution wants to do now is call Bollier, but they know that if they don't call him then the defence will. It's a horrible Catch-22 for the Crown. The prosecution needs to establish a link between the Libyans and the timer, so the prosecution has to call him, but if they call him he will destroy the prosecution case. It's lose-lose, whatever way you look at it." Bollier's report also says the blast damage to the aircraft shows that the bomb was placed directly on the inside wall of the cargo hold. The report claims that the shape of the wreckage fragments also proves the bomb was attached to the aircraft's inner wall rather than inside the luggage container. It also says that if the bomb was held in a cassette player, in a suitcase and in a luggage container, the shockwave of the explosion would have been muffled by its surroundings and not being powerful enough to down the plane. The report pin-points a specific spot on the inner wall of the cargo hold which it says was the position of the bomb. The authors claim this can be worked out by the shape of the wreckage, adding: "Previous forensics examinations should have come to the conclusion that the explosion did not occur inside the luggage container." The bomb, the report claims, was placed behind a fibre-glass shell inside the cargo hold. Panels of the fibre-glass shell could be unscrewed and lifted off.

The position of this website is that Osama Bin Laden, while funded by Iran, brought down TWA 800 using three missiles shot off while the the US Navy (and the US Coast Guard?) were on a classified (anti-terrorism) mission off the shores of Long Island. Thus it is interesting that President Clinton chose the following topic to discuss at the Coast Guard graduation ceremonies ...

May 17, 2000  The Associated Press
President Clinton today accused the terror network allegedly operated by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden of plotting to harm Americans gathered for millennium celebrations. "Last December, working with Jordan, we shut down a plan to place large bombs at locations where Americans might gather for New Year's Eve," Clinton said in commencement remarks to 184 cadets at the Coast Guard Academy. "We learned the plot was linked to terrorist camps in Afghanistan and the organization created by Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 1998 bombings at our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which cost the lives of Americans and hundreds of Africans," Clinton said. Shortly after the plan was uncovered, a Customs agent in Seattle discovered bombmaking materials being smuggled into the United States, Clinton said, "the same material used by bin Laden in other places." It was the president's most extensive discussion of bin Laden's activities. Clinton was making the point that the new Coast Guard graduates will face a range of threats to America's security, from terrorism to smuggling to the spread of disease. "Today and for the forseeable tomorrows we and especially you will face a fateful struggle between forces of integration and harmony and the forces of disintegration and chaos," Clinton said. After Clinton spoke, each cadet was presented with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as an ensign. Ensigns begin their a five-year service obligation with a tour of duty aboard a Coast Guard cutter.

May 31, 2000   The Associated Press
Government investigators fired Stinger missiles into the air from a Florida beach last month to help determine if the 1996 explosion and crash of Trans World Airlines Flight 800 was caused by a missile, The Washington Post reported. Investigators said it will take several weeks to analyze data from the unannounced tests, but initial observations turned up nothing to challenge the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary conclusion that no missile hit the plane, the Post said on their Web site late Wednesday, quoting unidentified sources familiar with the tests. NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said he could not confirm the report. Board investigators wanted to cover all possibilities by making a scientific comparison between what witnesses said they saw and the appearance of a missile in the same atmospheric conditions and lighting as the evening of the crash, the Post said.

June 4, 2000 CBS
An Iranian defector claiming to have run Iran's terrorism program told CBS News 60 Minutes that Iran planned and financed the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103, in which 270 people died.
The CIA began debriefing the man, who claims to be Ahmad Behbahani, the coordinator of Iran's overseas acts of terrorism for at least the past decade, after 60 Minutes interviewed him and checked his story with administration officials in Washington. He is now in protective custody in Turkey. Intelligence officers who have debriefed the man tell 60 Minutes he is "in intelligence," but say nothing more. Stahl told CBS Radio News that Behbahani claims to have orchestrated all Iran's overseas assassinations and major acts of terrorism over the past ten years, until about four months ago. "He told us about several different acts of terrorism that he says the Government of Iran was not only involved in but directed, planned, financed," Stahl said. One of those acts was the bombing of Flight 103. "Obviously, it's an interesting report," Secretary of State Albright said Sunday on CNN's Late Edition. "We'll have to see it. "The Pan Am 103 trial is going on now. I think it's inappropriate to comment on the specifics of it," she said, adding that "I'm sure that [the prosecutors] will consider all the facts." Behbahani claims he has documents that can prove Iran orchestrated the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, for which Libyan agents Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima are being tried by Scottish judges in a Netherlands courtroom. "He says that Iran hired the Libyans, brought them to Libya, trained them, the bomb was built in Libya and then they were sent off to perpetrate the crime," Stahl said. Defense lawyers for the two Libyans have made clear they intend to cast suspicion on a Palestinian group as the party responsible for the bombing, which killed 259 passengers an 11 people on the ground. Under questioning by the defense, Scottish detective Gordon Ferrie confirmed in court that a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist group was initially suspected in the bombing, but was later dropped as a suspect, for lack of evidence. A spokesman for that group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, is denying any involvement. Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper has reported that a British public relations firm working for the Libyan government is looking for Israeli intelligence officers to testify for the defense, and place the blame on Palestinian terror groups. In recent testimony experts said that the bomb that brought down Flight 103 took only a millionth of a second to blow a fatal hole in the fuselage of the jumbo jet. The bomb was inside a luggage container on the left side of the front of the plane, researcher Christopher Peel said. His testimony bolstered the prosecution case that a powerful plastic explosive hidden in a suitcase downed the jet. The defense has raised questions about the exact placement of the bomb in the aircraft. Peel, a chief researcher at the British government's Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), said the bomb was in the lower part of a luggage container and very close to the wall of the container, supporting testimony from other witnesses.

June 4, 2000   Reuters
CBS television said on Sunday that a senior Iranian intelligence service defector had claimed the bombing of a Pan Am aircraft over Scotland was masterminded by Iran and not Libya. The defector, now in protective custody in Turkey, told an associate producer of the "60 Minutes" current affairs program that he had documents to prove Tehran was behind the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. The Iranian, who had been in a refugee camp in Turkey, was now being de-briefed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials, the program said. The CIA would only say he "was in Iranian intelligence," a Washington official told CBS. CBS said its producer entered the refugee complex in disguise and without a camera to make contact with the man who claims to be Ahmad Behbahani, who coordinated all of Iran's overseas acts of terrorism for at least the past decade.  "He told us it was Iran, not Libya, that planned and directed the blowing up of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people," the CBS program said in its introduction.  "If his story can be confirmed, and American intelligence is trying to do that right now, it would not only disrupt the trial of the two Libyans charged with that bombing, it could interfere with the Clinton administration's efforts at relaxing and improving relations with Iran," it added.  Iran vowed the skies would "rain blood" after the USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air flight in July 1988, killing 290. It was widely assumed at first that Tehran ordered the destruction of the Pan Am airliner with Syrian-sponsored help.  Behbahani, who said he had lost a power struggle in Tehran, was arrested then escaped, told the CBS producer he was responsible for the Lockerbie attack.

The producer said: "It all began, he says, when he proposed the job, along with a blueprint, to Ahmed Jabril, the radical Palestinian terrorist.  "Jabril replied by saying he agreed with the plan and that he sent a list of requirements which included explosives and other things that he needed in order for the operation to be carried out."  The producer added: "He (Behbahani) said after that we proceeded by bringing in a group of Libyans into Iran and training them at a special site, which was called the Lavison School, for a period of 90 days, and he was very proud to also mention that the bomb was so very sophisticated that it required that kind of intensive training."  Robert Baer, a former CIA terrorism expert, tested Behbahani for the CBS program with a "control question" which no one outside the intelligence community could have known. He answered correctly.  Baer, who worked on the CIA's Lockerbie inquiry, told CBS: "He's the only person that has tied Libya and Iran into Pan Am 103, into the Lockerbie bombing. This is the first authoritative source that I've ever heard that connected the two countries together. It was always a mystery."  Baer said: "The CIA for about 6 to 7 months accepted the hypothesis that Iran, after the shoot down of the Airbus would take revenge against the United States."  The former agent added: "There were pieces of solid evidence that Iran was planning to shoot down an American airliner, but none of it was absolutely conclusive.  "And then once the forensic evidence was found on the ground which pointed at Libya the prosecutors and investigators were forced to drop the Iranian angle and look at Libya instead. It was totally forgotten."  Behbahani also told Baer he had evidence that Tehran bombed Khobar Towers, the U.S. military complex in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen 19 American soldiers were killed in the 1996 attack.  The program played an audio tape of Behbahni in which he said Jabril's group under the direction of Iran, had coordinated an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994. His account named the hit squad, many of them Syrians, the program said.  Before CBS could secure Behbahani's documents the Turkish authorities took him to a more secure custody.  On Behbahani, the producer said: "I traced the tone of someone who was extremely bitter, and was willing to go to any lengths in order to get revenge. He had fallen out of favor with the Iranian officials, with the government of Iran, and he just wanted to get back at them, at any cost."

June 5, 2000   Electronic Telegraph   Issue 1837
An Iranian defector claimed yesterday that he orchestrated the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. A man who identified himself as Ahmad Behbahani said in an interviewed for a programme broadcast by CBS television last night that he had been in charge of Iran's state-sponsored terrorism operations for more than a decade until four months ago. He told journalists for the network that among the operations he had masterminded was the bombing of Flight 103, which killed 270 people when the Boeing 747 crashed on to Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988. Two Libyans are standing trial for the bombing in a Scottish court in Holland. According to a press release for the 60 Minutes programme, Behbahani told CBS his organisation recruited the Libyans, trained them in Iran and gave them a bomb to put in the aircraft. Behbahani was identified by British parliamentarians in 1996 as being the head of the intelligence section of the Iranian president's office under President Rafsanjani. He was said to have organised a dozen assassinations in Europe between 1986 and 1999. The report by the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, headed by Lord Avebury, said Behbahani was a relative of Mr Rafsanjani and "designates the targets for assassination as well as deciding which organ is to carry out the plots". Lord Avebury said yesterday: "If this man is Behbahani, then obviously he was a crucial figure in the intelligence set-up in Iran and his information would be extremely important." There had been a major shake-up of Iran's intelligence operations and prominent members of the organisation had been arrested in January, about the same time that Behbahani told CBS he had lost power in Iran, Lord Avebury said. Intelligence sources in Washington confirmed that they were aware of the defection of Behbahani, who was now in Turkey. They also said he was being interviewed by American intelligence agencies who would be asking him about Lockerbie. One source said: "Clearly if he checks out and his knowledge of Lockerbie has bearing on the trial, we would pass it on to the appropriate authorities." Patrick Clawson, an expert on terrorism at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said: "If this man is who he says he is, it is quite an impressive defection. I believe that his dates do go back to that period [1988] and he would clearly know a great deal about what Iran had to do with it if anything. If I were a lawyer on either side at the Lockerbie trial, I would want to know what he had to say. It could turn the whole thing on its head."

June 9, 2000  Dan's Papers - Long Island.  Article by Jerry Cimisi
Boeing's Report to NTSB Finds No Evidence of Electrical Ignition Source on Flight 800. In a document dated April 28, 2000, the Boeing Corporation submitted a fifty-two page report to the National Transportation Safety Board detailing the aircraft company's investigation into the possible causes of the explosion of TWA Flight 800 almost four years ago, July 17, 1996. In summary, Boeing said there was no indication that an electrical spark ignited the center wing fuel tank, a scenario the NTSB has long claimed as the most likely cause (no matter that no specific mechanical evidence has been found to support this theory). A few lines into the report, it reads, "This tragic accident launched the most complicated and comprehensive wreckage recovery, aircraft reconstruction, and accident investigation in the history of commercial aviation."  In "Appendix A - Investigative Evidence," the report says, "No evidence was found to support a conclusion that specific electrical systems or component of the 747-100 Fuel Quantity Indicating system (FQIS) ignited a fuel/air explosion." There are seven tanks in a 747-100. Fuel indicators display how much fuel is in each tank. Under the oversight of the NTSB, the recovered fuel indicator from the center wing fuel tank was analyzed where it had been manufactured, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Some components of the indicator were damaged. "It was found that all five of these components had failed either because of saltwater exposure or because of impact." No evidence was found that the indicator failed or was damaged by "excessive energy being introduced into the center fuel tank...." The fuel probes, which measure the actual amount of fuel, also showed no evidence of electrical anomalies. It had been theorized that an electrical arc due to damaged wiring caused the fuel to explode, but, the report reads, "There was no evidence of arcing on any of the pieces and fragments of fuel probes." A meeting was held at a NASA laboratory to study the Fuel Quantity Indicator System wire, and again failed to come up with signs of electrical arcing. A separate electrical system for monitoring fuel is the fuel flow system, which is placed in the fuel line to each engine. The cockpit Voice Recorder for Flight 800 has the captain saying, "Look at that crazy fuel flow indicator there on number four."  Maintenance records show that in the two years previous to the destruction of Flight 800, the plane had undergone nine maintanence actions in regards to the fuel flow system; three were in regard to the number four engine fuel flow. The work done in those maintenance actions, according to the report, were, "replacement of flight deck indicators, cleaning of connectors, and replacement of actual fuel transmitter...." The report goes on to say that the NTSB's own study of recovered fuel control equipment showed "there was no physical evidence or an internal failure of the engine No. 4 fuel flow indicator...." Recovered wire bundles from the fuel flow indicator systems also showed "there was no indication that any damage had occurred that might account for the erratic fuel flow indication. There was no evidence of arc damage other than that caused by the accident itself." The "Summary" of this section of the report says, "None of the fuel system components inspected and analyzed showed any evidence of being the ignition source that initiated the accident." Because the 747 was a quarter of a century old, there had been speculation that this had been a catastrophic, if rare, failure of an ageing craft. In 1998 the Aging Systems Task Force was formed by the Air Transport Association to study the capability (and possible erosion) of systems in aircraft more than twenty years old. The task force studied eighty-one planes. According to the Boeing report, "No wiring safety-of-flight concerns were identified that would require immediate action on any of the inspected airplanes." It had also been speculated the fuel scavenger pump might have been operating improperly: specifically, operating without having been turned on. But tests conducted at Wright-Patterson Air Force base showed "no signs of electrical stress or failure." The NTSB report said, "No evidence was found that the scavenge pump in the accident airplane had been powered at the time of the accident." According to the Boeing report, the company thoroughly investigated possibilities of electrical arcing. "It has been postulated that two bare wires with their exposed conductors lying very close together, but not shorting, may result in an undetected ignition path in the fuel tank."  In one test Boeing stripped a wire entirely of its insulation and with another wire "had its insulation removed in a smaller area to expose the conductor." The wires were placed close together, but not touching: specifically at a distance of the width of the insulation of the second wire, which was about ten millimetres or 10/1000 of a metre. A charge of 1,100 V ac rms, 60 Hz was needed to bridge this small gap. When the space between the wires was reduced to one millimetre, or 1/1000 of a metre, the arcing voltage required was 350 V ac rms Hz. When the wires were tested at 13, 000 feet, the approximate altitude of Flight 800 at the time it exploded, the ten millimeter gap required 800 V ac rms, 60 Hz and a four millimetre gap to arc at 350 V ac rms, 60Hz. The report concludes: " develop an ignition path as a result of damaged wiring in the tank is highly unlikely because the spacing of the two exposed surfaces must be held extremely close together over an extended period of time without actually being in short or intermittent short condition." The thickness of the insulation of all bundled wires is ten millimetres; thus the electrical cores of two touching wires are twenty millimetres apart. Boeing did further tests in this matter to ascertain if any sort of debris between two such exposed wires could lower the voltage needed to cause a spark and found that this hardly changed the above results: "...a voltage level greater than 350 V ac was required for a breakdown between electrodes with conductive debris (steel wool) between them." Further along this line, Boeing took "center tank quantity probes, compensators and wiring that had been in service for twenty-three years." They were "subjected to abnormally high voltages through a range of altitudes from sea level to 50,000 feet." The result was that "breakdown values" were almost exactly the same for old wires as they were for newer wires. "The breakdown at sea level was always greater than 3,100 V ac (4,3000-V peak). The breakdown values at the accident altitude...were always greater than 1,700 V ac (2,400 V peak)." The Fuel Quantity Indicating System operates at 30 V. Fuel Probes were subjected to high voltage that caused arcs, then were submerged in Puget Sound for four weeks. Even after this long submersion evidence of the arcing could still be found. The fact that no such evidence was discovered on wiring in the recovery of TWA Flight 800 points to the likelihood that electrical arcing as an ignition source did not occur. When Boeing, at the request of the NTSB, removed wiring from other planes for inspection, "the results showed that damage to the wiring was insignificant and was mainly related to removal of the wiring from the airplane for this study."

While the Boeing report may be controversial for not merely showing the NTSB's theory is extremely improbable, Boeing has also been under fire in recent months in regards to the Flight 800 incident and air accident investigations as a whole. In the autumn of 1999, Boeing announced that it would look for evidence that a missile or bomb brought down Flight 800. It would oversee its own tests. Recently, a company spokesman, Russ Young said, "We asked that there be testing done on parts that had not previously been tested." Boeing contracted an outside lab, AR Tech Testing, in Chantilly, Virginia, which, among other equipment, used a scanning electron microscope to look for evidence that the plane had been brought down by a criminal act. Last November, Young was quoted in The Seattle Times as saying, "The NTSB seems to have crossed off various theories, but there has been no 'Eureka!' discovery." But in a phone interview on June 1, Young said that no evidence of a missile or bomb has been discovered by these tests. Many families of the victims of Flight 800 are sueing TWA and Boeing. When Young was asked if the lack of missile/bomb evidence then made Boeing culpable, he responded that such was not necessarily the case. "This just tells us what it wasn't; it doesn't tell us what it was." He went on to say that there has been talk of settlement between Boeing and some of the families. "That is customary in most lawsuits." But he added no settlement has been reached and as of now the case against Boeing will go into court in Manhattan on February 1, 2001. Meanwhile, if Boeing's report to the NTSB seems to absolve itself of any mechanical failure in connection with the death of the 230 people on board the plane, there are those who question the logic of having one of the interested parties play any role in the investigation of a transporation accident. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who in May of 1999 led hearings concerning the FBI's conduct and procedures of the Flight 800 investigation (on crticism that the Bureau was pushing too hard to find a bomb or missile the cause of the explosion of the plane), said that Boeing, in continuing to pursue the bomb/missile theory was damaging the company's own public relations and putting it at odds with the conclusions of other governments investigatory agencies such as the NTSB, FBI and ATF. It must be added that the Bureau of Acholol, Tobacco and Firearms has no expertise in terms of investigating transportation accidents. Perhaps Grassley meant the CIA, which concluded that the eyewitnesses, who saw apparent missile streaks ascend or shoot across the sky, were actually seeing the plane rise up after it had first exploded. Many eyewitnesses have denounced the CIA version of events. At any rate, a report by Rand, one of those organizations referred to as a "think-tank," described the NTSB as understaffed and underfunded, and said that the "party system" could only encourage analysis and conclusions that were in the interests of the parties undertaking them. The report, in part, read, "NTSB investigations of major commercial aviation accidents have become nothing but preparation for anticipated litigation." The NTSB's 1999 budget was $55 million, which is about the cost of one jetliner. In fact, recently the NTSB has been doing its own last minute "missile theory" investigation. In May, off the coast of Pensecola, Florida, NTSB investigators videotaped the paths of Stinger missiles being shot off into the sky. The missiles were launched from Elgin Air Force Base, under meteorological conditions that most closely matched those of July 17, 1996, when Flight 800 was destroyed. The purpose of the missile shoots is to determine if they match eyewitness accounts of the incident. The FBI, which led the interviewing of eyewitnesses, did not give the NTSB those interviews until almost two years later. On August 22-23, the National Transportation Safety Board is scheduled to have its final - and public - board hearing on the matter of Flight 800. Each team of investigators (metallurgy, data recorder, etc.) will present their work to the five board members who will vote on whether to accept the findings for each category of the investigation.

June 11, 2000
An Iranian defector who said he could prove Iran was responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing has been exposed by the CIA and FBI as an impostor, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. CBS News 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt said the allegations were not unexpected. "We expected the CIA and FBI to do this." The man, who had given his name as Ahmad Behbahani and said he was a former Iranian intelligence officer, had told 60 Minutes associate producer Roya Hakakian that he had documents showing Tehran was behind the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. But following debriefing sessions in Turkey, where the man is in protective custody, the CIA and FBI have concluded the 32-year-old defector is not Behbahani, the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. The man "lacks basic knowledge of Iran's intelligence apparatus" and "has been lying about lots of stuff," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. However, a British Iran expert said after the 60 Minutes broadcast but before the newspaper report that it was possible Iran rather than Libya planned the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing, saying Behbahani had been involved in international terrorism. The man's real identity had not been established, the newspaper said. "He knows a few things, but nothing very much — stuff that could have possibly come from somebody else," the official was quoted as saying. "But when it comes to serious stuff that he should know, he comes up empty. He still has not provided anything that has led CIA and FBI folks to believe his story." The defector told producer Hakakian that he had documents to prove Iran trained a group of Libyans to carry out the Lockerbie bombing. Lord Avebury said in a telephone interview that a parliamentary report he wrote in 1996 named Behbahani as an Iranian official responsible for international terrorism. "He was at that time an official in (Akbar Hashemi) Rafsanjani's office, when Rafsanjani was president, who was responsible for links with the Ministry of Intelligence in planning and carrying out (attacks)," he said. Asked how he knew that, Avebury said: "The information came from Behbahani's brother, who left Iran and spilled the beans." He said Iran had not actually denied employing Behbahani. "I thought they'd been very careful in the phraseology of the denial. In fact he worked in Rafsanjani's office and not in the Ministry of Intelligence, so what they are saying is not technically a lie," he said. Iran suggests Behbahani made false claims to gain asylum abroad. "Those Iranians who wish to be granted asylum in Western countries are usually trying to achieve their aims through libellous statements against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said last week. Avebury said fear of Iranian retribution may well have motivated Behbehani to flee, but that his claims seemed valid and might affect the Lockerbie trial. "What he is (reported as) saying now tallies with what we said in the report," he said. "I'm sure what he's saying can be corroborated and that the CIA will be checking what he is saying against their records. "It would be very interesting to have the complete transcript. The obvious thing is for the Scottish police to go (to Turkey) and conduct their own inquiries."

June 12, 2000   Letters to Editor - Washington Post
I read with great interest the June 1 front-page story about the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) performing missile tests to help evaluate eyewitness data of the Flight 800 accident off Long Island, N.Y., in 1996. What manner of thorough investigation would conduct such experiments almost four years after the event?  Although former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom testified to a congressional aviation subcommittee hearing in July 1997 that there were "over 200 witnesses" and later that year FBI Assistant Director Lewis Schiliro submitted written testimony referring to "244 witnesses," FBI files contain 755 eyewitness accounts. More than 100 of these witnesses reported large flare-like objects that "streaked up from the surface." Despite having no contact with witnesses, the CIA came up with the theory that this was a collective optical illusion. Reporter Don Phillips gave a nod to the "cottage industry" that this accident has generated. But it is not the accident, but the inconsistent, secretive, highly compartmentalized and expensive official investigation that spawned this cottage industry. By stalling for four years, the NTSB blurred the many awkward facts and anomalies. The "cottages" are full of hard-nosed skeptics who have been watching closely for years.  GRAEME SEPHTON, Shutesbury, Mass.

Why is the NTSB testing Stinger missiles in southern Florida, where the light pollution will not remotely match the level near Long Island? Also, Stingers are mostly contact missiles that would leave burn marks or residue. The Navy primarily uses what is known as "expanding metal rod" surface-to-air missiles that explode in front of a target. Millions of tiny metal rods then make holes in the plane's skin, and the air speed rips the plane apart. If the rods penetrate the engines or fuel tanks, they can cause an explosion, leaving little, if any, residue for investigators to find. JOHN C. FAULKENBERRY, Monroe, La.

June 13, 2000   Aviation Now and Aviation Week & Space Technology
Information in the soon-to-be-made-public docket on the EgyptAir Flight 990 investigation casts serious doubt on the much-publicized theory that a first officer purposely flew the jet into the ocean, sources with knowledge of the probe tell and Aviation Week & Space Technology .  The theory was given life after preliminary analysis of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) revealed an EgyptAir pilot left alone in the cockpit -- most likely first officer Gameel el-Batouty -- manually disconnected the autopilot just before the aircraft began a steep dive. Analysis of the flight data recorder (FDR) showed that about 20 seconds into the dive, the Boeing 767-300ERís elevators were being moved in opposite directions, or ďsplit.Ē Investigators considered this a clue that Batouty and captain Ahmed al-Habashy, who re-entered the cockpit as the dive began, were battling for control of the airplane.  But follow-up analysis of both the CVR and FDR revealed details that donít fit well with the suicide theory. Investigators found that the split-elevator readings came when the 767 was traveling well beyond the aircraftís designed maximum operating speed – possibly close enough to the speed of sound to create a physical anomaly that could cause the elevators to split without any input from the cockpit, sources said.   Further, said experts with FDR analysis experience, the recorders arenít designed to collect data at such speeds, meaning any readings during that part of Flight 990ís descent could be unreliable. Data recorded at the instant the elevators reportedly split also indicates significant abnormalities with either the FDR data or the forces acting on the jet, sources said. The FDR indicated abnormal flight control surface deflections at that instant, including movements of the 767ís outboard ailerons. Those control surfaces are used only during takeoff and landing, and should not have been movable at the speed that Flight 990 was traveling, sources said.  The 767 had an advanced FDR, but the recorder canít tell investigators what forces were being applied to the control column, control wheel, or rudder pedals. Movements of flight control surfaces such as the elevators offer the only clues to what the pilots were doing. After five days of FDR analysis and one day of CVR analysis turned up no obvious factors that would have triggered a dive, investigators began to consider ďa deliberate actĒ – suicide. Sources with knowledge of the probe believe results from the follow-up recorder analysis, combined with other findings, show that several other possibilities – including a mechanical failure – havenít been exhaustively explored by investigators and must be considered.  The docket is slated to be made public within the next few weeks.

June 16, 2000   New York Times
n Sunday, June 4, the CBS News program "60 Minutes" showed a striking report as its lead segment: A man claiming to be Ahmad Behbahani, a "czar of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism," was being held under armed guard in Turkey, where he was seeking to get his story out. Interviewed off camera, he told a compelling story. Among other things, he said that he had planned the bombing of the Pan Am jet over Scotland in 1988, as well as two other terrorist acts that have been tied to Iran, the bombing of the Khobar Towers building in Saudi Arabia in 1996 that killed 19 American soldiers and the attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 86 people. Nearly two weeks later, "60 Minutes" is still not sure who the man is, and the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are saying he is an imposter. In addition, "60 Minutes" has backed off somewhat on his importance.  "Our source, who is at a high level in our government and whom we trust totally, has told us that the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have concluded he was in Iranian intelligence, but not as high up as he claimed he was," said Lesley Stahl, the correspondent who reported the story.  The program used a former C.I.A. terrorism specialist, Robert Baer, as a consultant, and he managed to ask the man a question about an assassination in Iran that, Mr. Baer said, only someone directly involved could have known.  "We had Baer, who is a very good guy, saying frankly this guy knows some things," said Don Hewitt, the executive producer or "60 Minutes."  But Mr. Hewitt acknowledged that "when you're in this world, you often have no idea what the truth is," and that was one reason he had hesitated to go with the segment. Mr. Hewitt said he decided to show the interview after Ms. Stahl reported receiving word from the C.I.A. that the agency's chief in Ankara had interrogated the man for two days, a sign of his importance, and finally secured a comment from an official in Washington that the man was at least "in Iranian intelligence."  But a week later, The Washington Post reported that officials in the C.I.A. and F.B.I. had concluded that the man was "an imposter who lacks basic knowledge of Iran's intelligence apparatus." The newspaper also reported Iran's denial that the man was Ahmad Behbahani and that the Iranian intelligence ministry identified him as Shahram Beladi Behbahani. One main area of dispute was the man's age. The experts cited in The Post said the man would have been no more than 20 when the Pan Am jet exploded, too young, they said, for such an assignment. Ms. Stahl said, "To be fair we did hear some discrepancy about his age." But she added that they had information the man is 38, not 32. She said Mr. Bani-Sadr had seen a photograph of the man they spoke to and had said he "looked like" Ahmad Behbahani.  "60 Minutes" had hoped to have additional evidence on the story, perhaps this week. The program had been told that a section of videotape from a Iranian newscast might show the man they questioned in a security detail for the former Iranian leader Hashemi Rafsanjani. But when "60 Minutes" asked for the tape to be sent from Ankara by Federal Express, it mysteriously disappeared somewhere in Istanbul -- twice. This led Ms. Stahl to believe that someone did not want "60 Minutes" to see the tape. "I have to say the loss of that tape does add to my suspicions," she said.  Ms. Stahl also said she wondered why anyone would believe an identification offered by the Iranian intelligence ministry, and why her interview subject, if he really is no one important, had not been released from custody.  "Why go to these lengths to keep him hidden?" Mr. Hewitt asked. "If he's a fake, trot him out." Instead, he said, the man is still apparently being held by the Turks, outside the reach of the press. Ms. Stahl said: "I don't know what to think.  Of course, it goes without saying that if we were wrong, perhaps we should have waited. But I'm suspicious of everybody in this story."

June 18, 2000   The Washington Post
Egyptian authorities have suggested to U.S. investigators that co-pilot Gamael Batouti was not alone in the cockpit when EgyptAir Flight 990 abruptly dived into the Atlantic Ocean last fall. The sounds were recorded after the captain left the cockpit, about a minute before the plane's final dive and 12 minutes into the Oct. 31 flight from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Cairo. The Egyptians also said that damaged parts found in the crash indicate that a mechanical problem could have caused the dive, but U.S. authorities said they doubt that theory. The Egyptian suggestions were part of a meeting in late April between senior Egyptian and U.S. safety officials, including National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall. Sources from both countries confirmed details of the meeting, as well as more recent suggestions that Egyptian investigators have offered on the cause of the crash. The April 28 meeting appeared to be more than just an effort by the Egyptians to persuade the NTSB to consider that a mechanical problem caused the crash. The Egyptians are upset at what they see as a failure by U.S. investigators to consider all the evidence in the crash, compounded by news reports--often based on leaks from U.S. sources--that sometimes use the word "suicide." The Egyptian government and EgyptAir have hired several well-known law firms, public relations firms and former safety board officials, including former NTSB chairman Carl Vogt. But some investigators believe that the Egyptians are losing a war of perceptions, because they have been reluctant to present their theories to the U.S. public. In the April meeting, the Egyptians detailed three main points to the NTSB:

* There is no evidence that Batouti committed suicide. Batouti was in good spirits before the flight, even offering some pills of Viagra, the male impotence drug, to a friend from the stash he was taking back to friends in Egypt.

* If Batouti did initiate the dive, he may have been responding to a sudden mechanical problem or to something he--and possibly another crew member--saw in the cockpit or outside. There is some indication that as the plane dived, there was coordination between two or three crew members working to save the plane.

* The Boeing 767 has experienced problems with elevator controls, and the safety board should consider whether the dive was initiated by an uncommanded downward deflection of the elevators, flat panels on the horizontal tail section that control the aircraft's up and down movements.

In the weeks since the meeting, Egyptian investigators said they have seen marks on one of the six hydraulic actuators that move the elevators, possibly indicating it jammed. If two actuators jam on one elevator panel, Boeing simulations have shown, the elevator could move involuntarily. Four of the plane's six actuators have been recovered. Egyptian sources also said rivets were found sheared in opposite directions on a bell crank that helps transmit commands to the elevator. That also was found on parts of an Aeromexico plane that experienced a sudden, uncommanded elevator movement on the ground, they said. U.S. investigative sources said almost every part of the plane was damaged by the crash, and their metallurgists do not believe that any damage they have seen indicates an actuator jam. Those U.S. sources said Batouti could have controlled the plane by doing what would be natural for any pilot--pulling back on the control column. Flight 990 had four pilots, allowing each rest time across the Atlantic. The cockpit voice recorder revealed that as the plane climbed over the ocean, the captain decided to take a break. U.S. investigators said there was no evidence that anyone other than Batouti was in the cockpit when, according to data from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, someone cut off the autopilot. Six seconds later the plane went into a dive that eventually approached the speed of sound. The Egyptian investigators told the safety board that a voice can be heard on the tape about a minute before the dive, after the captain left the cockpit. They say that voice says either "control it" or "control light." The voice cannot be identified. Those words could mean that someone else in the cockpit might have pointed out an anomaly to Batouti, according to the Egyptian investigators. U.S. investigative sources said voice recorder specialists could not tell what was said. The Egyptians said there is further evidence of cooperation in the cockpit after the captain returned when he, the co-pilot and possibly another crew member were involved in efforts to save the plane. The flight data recorder shows that the dive was initiated by a downward deflection in the elevators as the plane flew at 31,000 feet. The captain returned to the cockpit before the plane descended to 28,000 feet, the Egyptians said, and at about 24,000 feet the plane began to recover from the dive. Shortly thereafter, both engine fuel levers were turned to "off," the first step in restarting engines that had cut off because of the near-supersonic speed, the Egyptians said. But U.S. sources have said this would make no sense if the crew was trying to save the plane. The voice recorder indicates someone said, "Shut the engines." Someone replies, "The engines are shut." Egyptian investigators told the safety board this also indicates cooperation in the cockpit. But U.S. investigative officials said that if crew members were cooperating at that point, why didn't someone advance the throttles, as if trying to gain power, just as someone shut down the engines? U.S. investigators say further proof that there was no cooperation in the cockpit comes just before the end of the voice recorder tape. The two elevators--which normally move in tandem--moved in opposite directions. That could happen if two pilots were commanding the elevators to move in opposite directions. But the Egyptians said that the data recorder at that point is less reliable because of the plane's high speed. U.S. investigators said they believe that the refined data back them up. The Egyptians also asked again the true mystery of the crash: If Batouti did it, why? Batouti, they said, came from a good family, and one of his two sons was about to be married. He had one daughter with lupus, but she was doing well in treatment in California. Batouti was bringing back two tires for a vehicle in Egypt, as well as the Viagra. In general, he appeared to be in good spirits and happy to be going home. The FBI said earlier it could find no evidence to explain why Batouti would deliberately down the plane. So if it did happen, the Egyptians say, it is possible that something he saw influenced him to take the action. The Egyptians noted that radar showed several "primary" targets--planes with the transponder turned off, missiles, flocks of birds or even atmospheric clutter--in the area that night, some of which lasted several minutes and moved at high speed. A "primary" target is any object hit by radar beams that does not have a transponder to report an aircraft's identity and altitude. The Egyptians say that they are not proposing some missile theory but that investigators should look into the possibility that something outside the plane startled Batouti. U.S. sources said all military airspace in the area was "cold" that night, meaning that no military planes or weapons were engaged in training or tests.

June 19, 2000     Letter from Cmdr. Donaldson to James Hall

Mr. James Hall,
Chairman National Transportation Safety Board
490 L'Enfant Plaza East, SW Washington, DC 20594

Dear Chairman Hall:

In your response to my letter of February 19, 2000, dated May 17, 2,000, you stated, "On August 22 and 23, 2000, the board will meet in public to discuss the final accident report, which will address technical issues raised in your letter."

My February 19, 2,000 letter discussed the evidence available on the Islip ASR-8 radar videotape of a missile impact on TWA 800. It also discusses the clear presence (established on radar) of a separate missile debris field. The existence of that debris field was independently predicted by both myself [in the Wall Street Journal, 24 April 1997] and U.S. military missile experts working with the FBI more than three years ago.

The "technical issues" as you call them, that factually support an antiaircraft missile attack on TWA flight 800 are myriad. This letter is a discussion and partial checklist of those "technical issues" which must be addressed at the August hearing if it will indeed be the "final accident report". These issues are hereby submitted for the public record because the loss of TWA Flight 800 was assuredly no accident:


Not once in the 46 months while this investigation has languished in the offices of the NTSB has the administration treated witnesses with any semblance of respect. Indeed, the political leadership in the Justice Department and the NTSB were so fearful that the public might give credence to witness testimony if appearances were made before the media, not a single minute of testimony was taken nor even the word witness itself was allowed to be spoken in the 1997 public hearing.

We know now the CIA's videotape production alleged to depict what the witnesses saw was based on the testimony of a single witness who like all the rest was never even interviewed by the CIA. That witness was Mr. Wire. The problem is his FBI 302 form [the alleged source of CIA information] agrees with his current statements that he thought he saw something launched from the beach but totally disagrees with the CIA's video depiction.

Mr. Chairman, this administration has run a simple shell game on the American people, you know the game, find the pea under one of three walnut shells. Except in this case the pea is hundreds of witnesses. First the Justice Department shilled for the NTSB then the CIA shilled for the Justice Department.

Those unnamed CIA analysts also made several ridiculous assumptions; that only one weapon could have been fired at TWA, and even more ludicrous, that the weapon only produced noise at the site of the aircraft explosion.

FBI 302 forms and notes taken during interviews with eyewitnesses indicate that very large numbers of persons observed a missile attack on TWA flight 800. The following witnesses provided descriptive accounts of events that match part of or all of the profile of a shoulder- fired missile engagement: Witnesses 8 ,9, 34, 36, 39, 59, 72, 73, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88, 92, 96, 108, 129, 144, 145, 151, 152, 153, 157, 158, 178, 175, 178, 179, 185, 186, 197, 221, 233, 243, 249, 251, 268, 276, 277, 280, 286, 334, 341, 352, 354, 359, 361, 363, 364, 367, 369, 379, 380, 385, 386, 391, 392, 409, 411,412, 427, 434, 435, 436, 463, 465, 467, 469, 472, 473, 478, 484, 485, 486, 492, 493, 496, 497, 498, 499, 502, 503, 507, 506, 508, 525, 529, 532, 535, 536, 540, 541, 542, 543, 547, 548, 562, 563, 567, 571, 575, 590, 602, 606, 634, 637, 638, 641, 642, 643, 649, 650, 665, 668, 675, 678, and 754.

In many cases these witnesses described a vertical or near vertical launch from the surface, a supersonic track opposite or near opposite the course of the aircraft, the exact burn time of the shoulder fired missile rocket motor, the proper smoke trail during rocket burn from the missile, the proper appearance of the missile after rocket motor burnout (lost sight or missile trailing thin smoke), the missile maneuvering for the intercept, the proper speed and angle of climb of the missile, the proper total flight time of the weapon, and even missile impact on the aircraft's wing root. Note: The forensic evidence overwhelmingly indicates a missile hit in the left wing root [front wall #2 main tank].

By July 20, 1996, only three days after the aircraft was shot down, elements of the Suffolk county marine police and the FBI realized that these eye witnesses were pointing to at least two distinct missile launch positions offshore.

A memorandum drafted by deputy inspector Douglas S. Matulewich of the Suffolk county marine police September 18, 1996, explains how the global positioning system [GPS] was used with a hand bearing compass at eight witness locations to establish two probable missile firing positions at the points where witness sight bearing lines crossed. These people were most assuredly not pointing at the crashing aircraft.

A memorandum drafted by FBI Special Agent Stephen Bongardt  on October 14, 1996 passes the identical information up the FBI chain of command. This document further stipulates a recommendation to use side scan sonar to find and recover Stinger missile ejector cans [the missile's first stage] and, or MANPADS launching tubes.

There is a significant body of evidence that indicates SA Bongardt's commendable efforts to initiate side scan sonar search for weapon artifacts [based on analysis of credible witness testimony] was successful. There is an irrefutable body of evidence I introduced before the Aviation subcommittee in the house on 6 May 1999, that proves the Justice Department manned a six month secret search for missile components that was funded through the NTSB. Throughout that period of time, you and other members of the NTSB consistently denied the possibility of a missile attack, indeed, you vigorously and pro-actively spun your theory to the media.

In the fall of 1997, approximately one year after the law enforcement memos were released, operating without foreknowledge of the Suffolk county police/FBI effort, I used GPS and a hand bearing compass with a different mix of eye witnesses and came to an absolutely independent but nearly identical conclusion, that the aircraft had been ambushed by at least two missiles fired from offshore.

After recent review of the 755 FBI 302 forms just released by your office, almost 4 years after the fact, and meshing that information with our additional witnesses not interviewed by the FBI, there is a significant body of evidence indicating there was a third firing position ashore.

Although MANPADS missiles fired from shore would have been out of range of TWA flight 800, such an attempt as part of a multiple weapon engagement would have been tactically sound. If such a missile was fired it would completely discredit the widely published CIA "speed of sound analysis" used by the administration in a sophomoric attempt to undermine witnesses statements. Although officials immediately put out false information that Flight 800 was out of range of a Stinger missile, it was clearly within range according to military Army experts quoted on page 2 of Mr. Bongardt's memo.

In their public position, CIA analysts inexplicably erred by assuming the only source of antiaircraft weapons sound that evening had to come from the location of the aircraft's first explosion more than 7.3 nm offshore. This is ridiculous for many reasons.

Both the probably of hit [Ph] and the probability of kill [Pk] go up dramatically as the numbers of missiles simultaneously launched at a single air target increase. Ph and Pk further increase when the firing points are widely dispersed while overlapping in-range fields of fire. For example: assuming the use of a missile with a three nautical mile range, if one firing position was on the beach, another 2 nm offshore and a third at 5 nm offshore on a north south line perpendicular to the flight path of the aircraft; when the target passed between two adjacent sites it would come in range of two missiles attacking from opposite directions. If the aircraft passed over the center of the line it would come under attack from all three missiles.

These are basic precepts of military antiaircraft weaponeering. The CIA should have expected any serious attempt at downing an airliner, particularly when at least three shoulder-fired missiles were available, would involve multiple weapons properly deployed. In addition, several of the eyewitnesses in the recently released 302 forms saw multiple missiles and one eyewitness saw three missiles. See,, (witnesses 396 & 397) and

Analysts should have expected loud launch, acceleration and sustainer rocket burn and sound barrier noises to originate along the entire tactical firing line. Those unexpected noises during a mild summer evening would cause people to immediately look up and see a closer event, depending on the missile firing order, happening either before or after TWA 800 was actually hit by an in-range weapon fired from sea.

Further compounding this inexplicable conduct by the CIA is the fact that White House antiterrorism staff admitted to the Times of London less than five weeks after the shoot down they had seen intelligence reports of three Stinger missiles smuggled into the country five months prior to the event.

The sights and sounds of that shore based missile shot are documented by witnesses in different locations who reinforce each other's testimony of hearing noises, looking up to see a streak either climbing or already at altitude and going south out to sea.

It strikes this investigator as extremely odd and perplexing that the CIA would attempt to maintain that extremely credible witnesses at Dockers restaurant were only looking at the burning aircraft. Several police officers, who were located at least 60 seconds at the speed of sound from the aircraft explosion point, testified they heard crackling thunder, then looked up and saw a streak going out to sea. If what they heard was the exploding aircraft, then 60 seconds after the initiating event, TWA flight 800 was already in the water!

Center tank explosion was not the initiating event

Proper analysis of the aircraft debris clearly show the initiating event that caused the breakup of the aircraft was a massive Hydraulic Ram over-pressure of the fuel in all three left wing tanks. There is evidence that, nearly simultaneous to this event, the center wing tank bottom floor was domed up, most probably by a fuel air explosion in the bay containing the air-packs and hot engine bleed air ducts underneath the CWT tank.

The left wing structure failed at its strongest point why? Mr. Chairman, there's no easy way to say this, for almost four years now, because of your insistence on a center wing tank initiating event, NTSB investigators have been looking for non existing mice all-the-while there's been an elephant sized clue you have ignored right in front your face.

The common wall between the center wing tank and the left wing number two main tank  was shattered into small pieces by this initial explosive ram hydraulic force and documented by department of defense missile expert, Mr. Richard Bott. His excellent drawings also show severe damage to the front wall of the number two main tank, [ front spar] much of which remains missing. The entire left wing eventually separated from the aircraft at its strongest point because of this initial asymmetrical loss of structural integrity of the number two main tank and the left side wing box. The severe aerodynamic loads, applied when dynamic stability was lost and when nose and tail came off, finished the job. The failure of the NTSB to study and report in detail the unique damage to the left wing is very disconcerting to this investigator. Any time a wing separates from an aircraft in an airborne crash break up sequence, it is a major event that demands meticulous study.

DOD missile expert hired then ignored by DOJ and the NTSB Brass In the fall of 1996, FBI agents tracking missile evidence brought in Mr. Richard Bott, a DOD missile expert from the Navy's China Lake Air Weapons facility to study the aircraft wreckage. His October, 1997 report clearly indicated that shoulder-fired weapons employed by terrorists or third world armies against large aircraft were a severe threat noting 26 such incidents had occurred world wide prior to flight 800. Mr. Bott laid out four forensic criteria to be expected if a large aircraft was hit by such a weapon in a full fuel tank. All four were in evidence on flight 800. In his 20 page report he explained the odd damage found on flight 800's left wing, a subject the NTSB has refused to address for almost 4 years.

Mr. Bott included seven recommendations in his report. They were succinct and to the point. He recommended detonation of live warheads in full inboard 747 fuel tanks, firing both live and inert missiles at full tanks etc.

He was aware the small warheads on these weapons would be contained in a deep fuel explosion. That is, the dense fuel would stop the small metal fragments from the warhead and not leave tell-tale damage on parts of the aircraft. He also was aware, 747 wing tanks have common side-walls therefore a sealed full wing becomes a nearly homogeneous hydraulic containment vessel. Because he knew, liquids are non compressible he understood if a high-explosive event or extremely high kinetic energy hit occurred anywhere inside the wing tanks the shock would be immediately conveyed through the fuel to all inside parts of the wing.

The top left wing skin failed instantly at the initiating event, why?? Some of the earliest pieces of metal in the debris field came from the top of the left wing Mr. Bott surely realized that, in-flight, a 747's upper wing skin is carrying the entire weight of the aircraft because of the partial vacuum that forms above the wing. At the same time it is carrying this normal flight load, the upper skin itself is under a high compression load imposed by the upward bending moment of the entire wing structure [when the wing lifts the weight of the aircraft on takeoff the wing tips bend upward causing the top skin to pinch together under compression]

The combination of those forces makes the upper wing skin the weak link in the structure when exposed to a high-energy shock wave. The fact that the right wing was unaffected, the left wing lower skin was unaffected and only the left wing upper skin suffered from this asymmetrical damage, proves the left wing was subjected to an in-tank HE bomb or a antiaircraft weapon detonation that generated a high energy shock wave in the fuel of the left wing tanks.

Bruntingthorpe Explosion proves NTSB theory wrong Destructive testing done by the NTSB and FBI at Bruntingthorpe England on a Boeing 747, proved that when 8 lbs. of propane gas, [not a low volatility liquid jet fuel] mixed with air in an explosive atmosphere, is ignited in the center wing tank, the resulting damage to the tank left side wall [the CWT, #2 Main common wall] is exactly opposite of what was found on flight 800. The test explosion destroyed and caused massive structural failure of the CWT top, bottom, front and back walls leaving the side-walls barely damaged [cracked].

This would not be a surprise to a good high-school physics student because on both TWA 800 and the test aircraft the CWT side walls were buttressed by tons of fuel [or water] in each wing. In order to damage the side walls from an explosion inside the empty Center tank, the gross tonnage of fuel in the wings must be instantly displaced. No matter how powerful an explosion in the center tank it won't move that wing fuel before first taking the path of least resistance and totally destroying the remainder of the tank not backed by fuel mass.

This testing disproved the NTSB's theory that the CWT explosion was the initiating event that caused the crash of TWA Flight 800. On Flight 800 the CWT's left side wall was shattered into small pieces by an overwhelming hydraulic force acting in the opposite direction coming from the #2 main, inside the left wing moving into and under the CWT.

Mr. Chairman, again I must be blunt. I cannot imagine a military crash investigation team finding the evidence you have in your possession, not immediately testing the metal in the common wall between the center wing tank and the number two main tank to determine which tank exploded first. As I testified before the Aviation Subcommittee on 6 May, 1999, I would testify in any court in the land, failure to do such testing before closing the case in my opinion would be criminal malfeasance.

NTSB fails to find any CWT ignition source Despite 46 months of efforts, the NTSB his failed to find a defect in any Boeing aircraft that could have led to the ignition of a fire in an internal tank much less an explosion.

NTSB fails to prove CWT flammable at FL 800's explosion point The NTSB's extensive flight testing has proven the Boeing 747 100 classic aircraft, while using Jet-A fuel in the environment TWA 800 was operating, demonstrated a non agitated CWT tank was not flammable much less explosive at the altitude at which TWA 800 actually did explode [13,800 ft.]

CIT proves NTSB theory wrong, even if the marginally flammable tank ignites, it would not explode In tests commissioned by the NTSB at California's Institute of Technology [CIT] researchers were only able to ignite a 1 gal. puddle of jet A fuel in a test chamber evacuated to a pressure altitude of 14,000 ft. by using a Driver This device spews 2,000-degree flaming gas at over 20 times ambient pressure into the center of the test chamber.

Under the above conditions, when flames from the Driver lick the surface of the fuel puddle it ignites a thin vapor layer laying over the liquid [but only at pressure altitudes of 14k and above], eventually raising the pressure in the sealed test chamber to less than 40 psi. before the fire snuffs itself out. See my letter to you dated 23 May 2000.

In the actual aircraft this is little more than half the pressure required to cause the tank to fail and open a seam. Furthermore, the 747 CWT has four large air vents designed to maintain ambient air pressure equilibrium in the tank during dynamic flight conditions [climbs and dives]. This design feature that allows the free flow of air, in and out, virtually precludes the center wing tank from failing from the impotent pressures generated in the CIT tests.

April, 1997 the nonsense theory begins In April 1997, you began an earnest release of trial balloons to spin the media. Literally ignoring witnesses, the physical evidence, the bizarre damage in the number two main tank, the inexplicable loss of the left wing, debris field evidence, radar evidence, positive hits of high explosive RDX and PETN residue on debris [HE in missile warheads] and a multimillion dollar search for missile parts being conducted by the FBI, you announce in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that it "wasn't a missile". Instead, it was a first in the annals of aviation, an explosion of stable jet A-1 kerosene in the center wing tank, ignition source unknown.

The corollary to this theory, because you were unable to find a perfect through hole in the center wing tank, was that a missile wasn't the source of ignition. That theme was picked up and expanded by the FBI when they dropped the investigation in November of 1997.

The FBI's media routine simply paraphrased was, "there aren't any holes in the aircraft caused by a missile, therefore a missile didn't bring this airplane down". How that was done with a straight face amazes me. Tons of aircraft skin and parts were not recovered, nor can the hundreds of pounds of shattered metal that was recovered from the probable impact area be reconstructed.

This may have been the perfect grist for morning television show tours of the Calverton hangar but it is nonsense for two reasons;

1. Just as witnesses have stated, the entry point was through the missing front wall [forward spar] of the number two main tank and. 2. A high explosive detonation of a missile warhead in a sealed full fuel tank doesn't leave a discernible entry hole because the weapon itself destroys the evidence by shattering the entry wall of the tank with hydraulic RAM over pressure. See our video demonstration at


William S. Donaldson, Cmdr. USN, Ret.

June 22, 2000   CNN
The families of crew members killed when EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic last October filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the aircraft's manufacturer and parts manufacturers, claiming mechanical malfunctions, not a pilot's suicide, doomed the plane.  The suit alleges that Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and Parker-Hannifin Corporation were negligent in the design and manufacture of the aircraft. The suit does not specify damages sought by the family members. All but one of the six plaintiffs are family of captains of the doomed flight.  "Despite all the rumors that have gone all over the world about the suicide, it doesn't make any sense," said attorney Gerald C. Sterns.  "We think it's a mechanical issue. What I can't do is pinpoint it at this point."  The Batouty family has strenuously denied that the co-pilot had a suicide motive. Families of the other crew members also don't believe the co-pilot is responsible, Sterns said. Boeing officials wouldn't respond directly to the lawsuit because they hadn't seen it.  A spokesman for Pratt & Whitney, also named in the suit, said company policy is to avoid responding publicly to lawsuits but said the aircraft's engines have never been implicated in the EgyptAir crash.