sitemap Database of Events from July 2001 - December 2001

The Hull Thread

Chronology of Events From July 2001 - December 2001

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Sunday, July 8, 2001 LA Times
International investigators say they have evidence of a North African terrorist network loosely federated with Islamic militant Osama bin Laden that poses serious new security problems for the United States. A clearer view of this North African network, primarily composed of Algerians, emerged in recent months from informants, intercepted communications and evidence seized in a series of foiled attacks, including the 1999 arrest of would-be Los Angeles International Airport bomber Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who lived in Montreal. U.S. counter-terrorism agencies had been focused on Middle East groups linked to Saudi financier Bin Laden, who is wanted in connection with the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. But the chance discovery of the Algerian-led bomb plot targeting LAX galvanized European and North American agencies to move aggressively against suspected North African terror cells. A spate of arrests has followed from Germany to Canada. And more are expected. Since Ressam's arrest, no plot by any North African cell has succeeded, a record attributed to good luck and terrorist mistakes. A nervous Ressam, for example, was searched during a routine U.S.-Canada border stop and was discovered to be carrying bomb materials.

But "the Algerian terrorist cell network has become . . . particularly aggressive to us right now, and they're becoming more of a threat to the West than was previously thought," said a senior U.S. intelligence official. Jean-Louis Bruguiere, a top French anti-terrorism coordinator who testified against Ressam in a Los Angeles federal court in April, said that when he visited the U.S. he was "surprised by the low level of public awareness compared to the high level of the threat" Americans face from the Algerian cells. Testifying in the New York trial of an accused accomplice, Ressam said his colleagues are intent on exporting violence to U.S. soil. "If one is to carry out an operation, it would be better to hit the biggest enemy. I mean America," he told a federal jury. Ressam also identified a number of other Algerian terrorists who had been part of his original attack team, most of whom remain at large.

Today, counter-terrorism officials are pooling data, decoding seized documents, gathering and translating wiretap recordings and assembling information about the associates of terrorism suspects on at least four continents. "We are very concerned especially about security" for the Group of 8 economic summit in Genoa later this month, said one Italian diplomatic source. The cells have proved difficult to monitor because they appear to operate independently despite their various links to Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. For example, though many of the Algerians, Tunisians, Libyans and Moroccans have been trained at Bin Laden-run facilities in Afghanistan, once they leave the camps the North Africans are believed to be picking their own targets and carrying out their attacks with little direct assistance. Many of the groups dissolve after an action or encounters with police, and members form new cells in new locales under new identities, frustrating efforts to track and detect dangerous operatives, authorities concede. One senior European counter-terrorism official compared the Islamic terrorist groups to the AIDS virus, "mutating all the time. As soon as we understand a situation, in six months' time it's irrelevant. . . . There's always new people, new targets--it's constantly changing."

Evolution of an Algerian-flavored terrorist threat against the U.S. seemed to catch American intelligence officials by surprise. It grew out of the Algerian military's decision in 1992 to cancel elections that a popular Islamic coalition was poised to win. The military coup was scarcely opposed by the previous Bush administration, which was focused on events in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. Washington saw Algeria's suspended elections as an internal matter with implications only for the region. Within two years, however, terrorist violence spilled over into France. Now, as Ressam and others arrested in the LAX bomb plot have testified, radical Muslims of many national origins have come to view the U.S. in the same harsh terms as Bin Laden: as Islam's "greatest enemy." At a conference of Western intelligence officials a few weeks ago in Algeria, the Ressam case and evidence uncovered by recent arrests in Germany convinced many intelligence officials that the nature of Islamic terrorism has changed, according to a European law enforcement official familiar with the meetings.

Much of the confidential discussions focused on the rise of "informal terrorist cells" of North Africans that appear to have grown out of support networks originally intended to smuggle funds and weapons to insurgents in Algeria, the law enforcement source said. Although the cells appear to be independent, he said comparisons of groups in Canada and across Europe showed they were linked by common participants, communications and shared training experiences in Bin Laden-run camps--learning about explosives and armaments, urban warfare, sabotage, political assassination and other guerrilla techniques. Citing other similarities, the official noted: "They undertake the same kinds of operations. Members are the same age, often from the same part of Algeria. And they share an involvement in common crimes--such as stealing laptop computers and cell phones, and bank and credit card fraud--to support their activities." Another thing they share, say counter-terrorism officials, is a common objective: to kill as many people as possible for the greatest media impact. One intelligence analyst called it "McVeigh terrorism," a reference to Timothy J. McVeigh, who killed 168 people in a single bomb blast in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Last December, German police in Frankfurt arrested two Algerian and two Iraqi men on the eve of what they said was a planned bomb assault across the Rhine River in Strasbourg, France. Explosives, detonators and an arsenal of weapons were seized along with an amateur videotape eerily narrated by the suspected terrorists as the camera panned a crowded outdoor Christmas market, a cathedral and other possible targets. The German investigation got a boost last month when Spanish authorities, acting on a French arrest warrant, apprehended and jailed Mohammed Bensakhria, an Algerian who investigators say was a leader of the Frankfurt terrorist cell. Discovery of the explosives and weapons in Frankfurt increased the urgency of counter-terrorism efforts across Europe at the beginning of this year. British authorities launched Operation Odin, zeroing in on a London group believed to be a contact point for terrorist operatives in Europe and a recruitment center for North Africans to train in the Bin Laden camps.

In February, police in London detained 11 men--most of them Algerians--on terrorism, fraud and forgery charges. Wiretaps had revealed that members of the London and Frankfurt groups had been in close contact at the same time the Strasbourg bomb plot was being planned. One of the men arrested in London and currently fighting extradition to France was Mustafa Labsi, a former roommate of Ressam in Montreal. Labsi is believed to have accompanied Ressam to Afghanistan for terrorist training. Another of the London detainees was Abu Doha, who authorities believe is a key figure in the North African jihad network. In court testimony last week, Ressam named Doha as one of his contacts in the LAX bomb plot. nA senior American official said, without amplification, that Ressam has told investigators he received "instruction" from Doha while preparing his foiled attack on the Los Angeles airport. British authorities have since released Doha, a move that puzzles some European officials. The crown prosecutor's office discontinued Doha's case, a procedure that permits its reopening if new information is developed. The office declined comment on the matter. Seized from the Doha's flat were 200 propaganda videocassettes about the jihad in Chechnya, 100 black berets, a telescopic rifle sight and blank Italian, French and Spanish passports, according to an inventory prepared by Scotland Yard. British authorities also confiscated a credit card duplicating machine, laminating equipment, 20 credit cards, a series of passport photos depicting Doha in various guises and a large amount of cash in British pounds and Spanish pesetas.

U.S. officials are particularly interested in Doha, whom intelligence sources regard as an important player in the moujahedeen (holy warrior) network in Britain. "He gets people to go to the Afghan camps, gets money for [North African terrorist] groups and assists in the trafficking of false documents," said one senior U.S. intelligence official who also said Doha operates independently from Bin Laden. "Is he plugged into [Bin Laden's] network? Absolutely. But is he on the payroll? I doubt it," the U.S. official said. Even before Ressam's public testimony linking Doha to the LAX bomb plot, European intelligence sources also had confirmed that the London-based Algerian was in regular contact with one of Bin Laden's chief lieutenants, Abu Jaffar in Peshawar. "We do know . . . that Abu Doha was recruiting people for Abu Jaffar," said one intelligence source citing a conversation known to Western agents in which Jaffar pleaded with Doha: "Why don't you send me more fighters?"

Ressam, who said he attended Bin Laden's Khalden training camp with as many as 30 other Algerians in 1998, was carrying Jaffar's coded telephone number when he was arrested by U.S. Customs Service agents. And former Ressam roommate Labsi, who remains in British custody on a French warrant charging him with conspiracy to bomb a police station in Lille, France, during the Group of 7 summit in March 1996, remains under investigation by U.S. and European authorities looking into the LAX and Strasbourg plots. One Western European official characterized Labsi as an important fixture in the region's North African terrorist network. "We found Labsi everywhere," the official said. "He is an operations man. He's not a thinker but a fighter." In testimony, Ressam said he was relying on colleagues to help him in his plot to attack LAX. However, when Labsi and a colleague were stopped by British immigration authorities, Ressam said, he was forced to improvise and recruit other accomplices without a background in terrorist camp training.

Neither Doha nor Labsi has been charged publicly in connection with the LAX bomb plot. Also arrested but later released in London was Omar Mahmoud Abu Omar, an ethnic Palestinian twice convicted in absentia by Jordan on terrorist charges. Also known as Abu Qatada, Omar is an Islamic religious leader who has issued fatwas, or religious edicts, sanctioning terrorist attacks in support of Algerian causes. He also has championed Muslim fighting groups from Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, helping steer them to Bin Laden training camps, intelligence sources said. In April, Italian police, after consultation in Washington, arrested five Tunisians in Milan accused of operating still another logistical support group for Islamic terrorists. Italian officials said the Milan group falsified documents for North African immigrants recruited in Europe for jihad training in Afghanistan. Some also were recruited to reinforce Muslim fighters in war zones such as Chechnya, where Islamic insurgents are resisting Russian forces.

The Milan cell may have had contacts with 40 or 50 other Islamist recruiters in Europe, according to Italian investigating magistrate Stefano D'Ambrosio in a published report. The Milan group had also been in contact with the Frankfurt terrorist cell, officials told The Times, and authorities feared that the Tunisians might also be planning a terrorist action. Over the last year, Tunisian jihadists have been trying to form a unified fighting group, and their increasing militancy has alarmed counter-terrorism officials. Like the Algerians, they share goals similar to Bin Laden's Al Qaeda group and may work together at times, though operating independently, officials said. "The Tunisians are a threat," said one Western European intelligence analyst. "They are all over Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Although the threat of North African militants is freshly perceived by the U.S. and most European countries, the French have been zealously tracking many of its key members for years. For French investigators, the Ressam case actually began in 1996--more than three years before the Algerian was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border. The French were investigating Ressam and two of his Montreal roommates--Labsi and Said Atmani--for allegedly trafficking in false passports and other documents for Islamic militants in Canada, Europe and Turkey. In October 1999, French Magistrate Bruguiere flew to Montreal to press Canadian officials to search the residences of Ressam, Labsi, Atmani and other Algerian expatriates. His formal request for a Canadian search warrant had been pending since the spring of 1999, but French officials complained that the Ottawa government was "unhelpful" and skeptical that the Montreal Algerians were dangerous. At the same time, French investigators suspected several Canada-based Algerians of conspiracy in prior terrorist bomb attacks in France. Ironically, as negotiations between the French and Canadian governments dragged on, Ressam was acquiring the components for a bomb he planned to detonate on the eve of the millennium in a crowded LAX passenger terminal. Searches finally were conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in October and yielded the names of key members of the Algerian network in London and Pakistan who Ressam would later say had trained and guided him in his terrorist mission. Police also uncovered forged documents and stolen Belgian passports traced to a batch used by other terrorists in the network to move between countries under false names.

Ressam left Montreal in the fall to finish assembling his bomb in Vancouver. But the search results apparently spooked Canadian authorities who feared a terrorist attack in Montreal. A few weeks later, local police were alerted to watch public transit centers and other sensitive sites. In December, about the time Ressam was arrested at the U.S. border, Montreal police detected members of the Algerian group casing a subway station in the heart of the city near McGill University. At least three Algerians identified as suspected Ressam associates were recorded by security cameras taking videotapes of the central station, according to a Canadian law enforcement official involved in the investigation. He did not identify the Algerians caught on the surveillance tapes. "No one got much sleep for the next two weeks," the official said, recalling the extra police security maintained throughout Montreal until the new year arrived without terrorist incident.

In the U.S., Ressam's capture prompted authorities to launch one of the biggest dragnets in years. Hundreds of Algerians were stopped and questioned in major cities and border regions across the country. Ressam was convicted of terrorist activity by a Los Angeles federal jury in April and could face up to 140 years in prison. He since has agreed to cooperate with investigators in exchange for a reduced sentence. Ressam's cooperation and the spate of arrests involving North Africans in Europe provide substantial evidence that there is more than Bin Laden in the jihad terrorist threat to the U.S. "Bin Laden exists, but he is not responsible for all that happens," said one European counter-terrorism official. "It is a big forest and he is but one tree--a big one and a dangerous one, but there are others big and dangerous as well."

July 9, 2001
On Dec. 12, 2000 – more than four years after the tragic crash of TWA 800 – Jim Hall, chairman of the NTSB, sat uncomfortably across from Don and Donna Nibert. There was good reason for his discomfort. The Niberts, from Montoursville, Pa., had lost their 16-year-old daughter in the crash and had journeyed to Hall's D.C. office to find out why. Hall, arguably the least qualified and most political chair in NTSB history, surrounded himself with his director of research and engineering, legal adviser and two flight data recorder specialists.  At the request of Don Nibert, Glen Schulze, a Flight Data Recorder expert, joined this group as well. For the record, the FDR is a device that records precisely what the plane is doing, microsecond by microsecond. If a mechanical problem had begun to unfold within the center wing tank, the Flight Data Recorder would have picked up clues as the event spread throughout the 747. The same holds true if the plane had been blasted by a missile warhead explosion. Clues would begin to appear on the Flight Data Recorder.  As the meeting unfolded, Schulze made a lengthy, highly technical presentation to the NTSB's top FDR experts. He paused briefly after explaining the first four of his five explanatory flip charts, looked the NTSB experts in the eye and challenged them boldly:  "Hard evidence extracted from the NTSB's own reports is consistent with the FBI and NTSB withholding the last 4 FL 800 FDR one second data blocks and over 3,000 data bits from the public."

In a world with more honor, these would have been fighting words. Schulze had presented factual evidence, all of which originated within the NTSB laboratories, that its final Flight 800 FDR report was missing the last four seconds and 3,136 digital bits of flight parameter information. He also charged that, in response to at least three Freedom of Information Act petitioners, the NTSB had provided highly edited CD copies of the Flight 800 Cockpit Voice Recorder tape that were also missing those four seconds. By the year 2000, however, at least at the top rungs of the NTSB, "honor" was only a memory. If the science here is complex and not easily transcribed, the reaction of the accused needs no explanation. As Schulze notes reveal, "No NTSB staff member commented on or objected to the 4 missing seconds claim."

Instead, incredibly, Jim Hall made a petty complaint about the wording used by Schulze in a letter to the Niberts. In the letter Schulze had asserted that the characteristics and properties of the (NTSB) CD waveforms were "consistent with this CD being a crudely manufactured and bungled forgery of the actual TWA FL 800 FDR tape." Hall had little stomach for straight talk. Brushing Hall's complaint aside, Schulze presented more hard evidence to back up his charge that the CDs were crude forgeries. As he asserted, each CD released under FOIA should provide one consistent set of FDR information. This was not the case. Instead, each CD presented highly inconsistent data at the precise location on the tape 4 seconds of data appear to have been removed.  Schulze contended that the NTSB withheld from the public the fact that the FDR has the precise time, to the second, that the FDR ceased recording data. But instead of sharing that data – "too accurate" in the damning words of one NTSB expert – the NTSB used FAA and Navy radar data to manipulate the numbers and regain the four seconds missing from the FDR.

In fact, the embedded code shows that the FDR stopped recording at 00:31:08 Greenwich Mean Time, almost four seconds earlier than the cockpit voice recorder and radar data indicate. The implications of this discrepancy are huge. These four missing seconds would provide evidence as to what did happen to TWA 800 and may very well conflict with the official government theory that Flight 800 exploded due to mechanical failure. The NTSB experts presented no information to refute Schulze's factual presentation. They lamely offered the excuse that the "transient pulse" or spike marking the end point of altered data on the FDR was "normal and is the result of the erase head losing AC power." The experts could not, however, explain why this spike was removed from one of the three FDR versions the NTSB has fobbed off on the public. The only means by which scientific testing and analysis can confirm or deny NTSB/FBI tampering with the FDR is to release the original FDR tape to an independent laboratory. Don Nibert asked Jim Hall to approve such an independent test. Hall asked for the request to be put in writing. It was.

More than six months have now passed since Jim Hall and senior NTSB officials were presented with evidence that data they were releasing had been altered. A week after this meeting, with two years left on his tenure as chairman, Hall abruptly quit the NTSB.  The NTSB has been given ample opportunity to turn the original FDR tape over to an independent testing facility for analysis. This testing would either disprove criminal conduct on the part of senior government officials or provide the basis for felony indictments on a conspiracy to obstruct justice. The NTSB has "completely ignored and failed to respond to Mr. Nibert's perfectly legal and proper request as a FL 800 Family Member," Schulze recently revealed.

Based on the evidence, including the NTSB's refusal to place its own critical evidence to the test, Schulze unabashedly concludes, "It is my strong belief that the NTSB cannot release the FDR accident tape from FL 800 for the purpose of independent read-out and analysis without revealing their complicity in tampering with this most important piece of TWA FL 800 accident investigation."  Last week WND readers were presented compelling evidence that the FBI created a fictional witness report to enable the production of the CIA Flight 800 animation – a criminal act, conspiracy to obstruct justice. Now WND readers are presented with compelling evidence that the Flight 800 FDR was tampered with, quite possibly to remove any evidence contrary to the NTSB's claim that a mechanical failure doomed TWA Flight 800.

July 11, 2001  Open Letter from Ray Lahr to NTSB
Captain Ray Lahr (ret)
Malibu, CA 90265

Mr. Ronald S. Battocchi, Esq.
General Counsel
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L Enfant Plaza East SW
Washington, D.C. 20594

Dear Mr. Battocchi:

Isn t there some way we can resolve this matter without a lawsuit? The following is the content of your brief letter dated June 27, 2001.

Dear Captain Lahr: Thank you for your correspondence dated June 18, 2001. Mr. Campbell forwarded your letter to me for response. The file related to your FOIA request number 2001-0048 was reviewed, and it was determined that all appropriate procedures under the FOIA were afforded your request. Therefore, the June 13, 2001 response to your appeal concludes the NTSB s administrative process for this FOIA request. The June 13 letter addresses your appeal rights should you disagree with the Manging Director s decision. Sincerely, Ronald S. Battocchi, General Council

Here are the appeal rights that you referenced in Mr. Campbell s letter of June 13, 2001: You may appeal my decision under the FOIA to the district court of the United States in the district in which you reside or have your principal place of business, or in the District of Columbia. See 49 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B). Sincerely, Daniel D. Campbell, Managing Director

Permit me to explain my position. I was quite surprised when midway in the TWA 800 accident investigation, the CIA and the FBI aired a simulation on national television claiming that everything forward of the wing on TWA 800 was blown away, and then the aircraft continued to fly and climb over three thousand feet. My training and experience suggests that such a climb was impossible. Nevertheless, at the accident hearing, the NTSB revealed its own simulation which, with some modification, repeated the CIA claim. However, the NTSB did not provide the data, the calculations, or the reasoning used to produce its simulation. The NTSB produced its simulation in private without allowing participation or oversight by the other parties to the investigation. Now that is not a fair and correct process for a public accident investigation.

The NTSB included a small table of Boeing data on its website. Using that data, I was able to calculate that TWA 800 stalled within one and a half seconds after losing its nose. In that brief period, the aircraft could not have climbed more than two hundred feet. After the stall, the aircraft was in free fall. I have submitted these calculations to the NTSB and to everyone I know who was associated with the investigation. So far, no one has refuted the calculations. Instead, the NTSB hides behind the claim that Boeing will not allow them to release proprietary data. The NTSB will not say who in Boeing is not allowing the release of data, nor has the NTSB produced any document from Boeing directing the NTSB not to release data. I have worked with Boeing personnel on other accident investigations and found them to be very cooperative and forthcoming about releasing data pertinent to the investigation. The NTSB has already released the pertinent Boeing data relating to the TWA 800 noseless climb. It is difficult to imagine what type of additional proprietary data could reverse the imbalance causing the pitch-up and stall. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine why Boeing would want to withhold data from the public record that pertains to this climb. Certainly, no manufacturer is expected to design an aircraft that can sustain flight with the nose and cockpit blown off.

It is my firm belief that reasonable people can sit down and discuss the controversial climb of TWA 800 based on all of the evidence available. Once again, I repeat my request for such a meeting with the NTSB. I would welcome representatives from Boeing and the CIA and any other party with a legitimate interest in this matter

I believe we can resolve this matter without a lawsuit.


Ray Lahr

cc: Open Letter

July 11, 2001
On July 10, 1997, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall appeared before the House Aviation Subcommittee and had the following exchange with Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, in regards to TWA Flight 800:

Traficant: I would just like the panelists to answer my questions, yes or no. If you can't, just say you can't answer it. First question, Mr. Hall. Hypothesis and theories and opinion, not a fact, correct? Hypothesis is theory, correct?

Hall: Yes.

Traficant: To this point, has any physical evidence, conclusive forensic evidence, to prove it was a mechanical failure that caused the explosion of the center fuel tank? Yes or no.

Hall: We're looking at that.

Trafficant: I want a one [word] answer.

Hall: No.

This is a stunning admission. TWA 800 had exploded in the sky off the coast of Long Island nearly one full year before this exchange occurred. By this time, the flight data recorder had been recovered, the fuselage had been largely reconstructed, and 736 eyewitnesses had been interviewed. And yet the NTSB was admittedly no closer to proving a mechanical explanation for the crash than it was in October of 1996 when it went public with this conclusion. It gets worse. By this time, too, unbeknownst to Traficant, the NTSB had recovered and deciphered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). In fact, the agency had secretly contracted with Southampton (England) University's Stuart Dyne some months before to analyze the information that the CVR conveyed. But the results of that analysis Jim Hall was not about to share. In the video, "Silenced", and in the accompanying five-part series written for WorldNetDaily, we showed the larger picture of an obvious government conspiracy to suppress the truth, In the past two articles, we have shown more detailed evidence of witness tampering and Flight Data Recorder manipulation. In this article, we take a good look at the all-important CVR. Stuart Dyne knew his stuff. About this there was no dispute. The Airline Pilot's Association, among others, has commented favorably on a CVR study performed by Dyne on a Trident aircraft several years earlier:

"The study indicated that it should be possible to ... determine whether the explosion was a detonation (high explosive) or deflagration (low order, e.g. fuel-air) event, determine where the initiating event occurred and whether it was a fuel-air event or high-order event indicative of a missile." Dyne launched his TWA 800 study in England on March 3, 1997. He was confident that he could locate the point of initiation and identify which type of event, missile or mechanical, caused the plane to explode. At the investigation hangar on Long Island, members of the official Sound Spectrum Group, ALPA reps included, patiently awaited results of Dyne's analysis. They are waiting still. An ALPA document filed with the NTSB's Final TWA Flight 800 Report makes no bones about the pilot group's ultimate feeling of betrayal: "The NTSB and interested parties invested a significant amount of resources in supporting the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) sound spectrum activity. However, the Sound Spectrum Group has never met to review or discuss any of the testing that was conducted. The valuable data that was collected during those tests has never been published, nor has there been any group or Party opportunity to analyze the CVR from TWA Flight 800 in the light of the work that was done. Furthermore, the NTSB has not made the analysis of a third-party's study on this subject available to investigators or the public."

A member of the Sound Spectrum Group has told the authors of this article that the Flight 800 CVR recorded a vibration traveling through the frame of Flight 800 in excess of 2,000 feet per second. The Sound Spectrum Group knew from prior air disasters that a fuel-air explosion would send a vibration through the 747 frame at less than 350 feet per second. An investigation seeking the truth would have followed this significant evidentiary trail. The 2,000 feet per second vibration was a powerful clue the testing would not be favorable to a mechanical cause. The NTSB must have expected as much. In 1997, the agency withheld the mere existence of the Southampton tests from the press and public. The NTSB also inserted into the record factually false information to discredit the findings of the secret Southampton report should they ever be revealed, to wit: "The amplitude of the [CVR] noise was not a reliable means of comparison because these noise events typically overload the CVR recording system when occurred [sic]." One must ask, if such testing is not reliable why did the NTSB secretly fund the test? And where is the objective analysis from disinterested third parties confirming that the above NTSB statement is something other than propaganda?

The testing began one week before James Sanders and the Riverside, Calif., Press-Enterprise launched a series of articles providing hard evidence that missile-fire brought down Flight 800 and that elements within the FBI and NTSB were covering up the same. Please recall that Jim Hall of the NTSB admitted he still had no proof of a mechanical failure four months after these articles appeared. A missile theory should not have alarmed the authorities nor caused them to panic. But panic they did – harassing Sanders' wife, Elizabeth, and illegally seizing Sanders' journalistic work product, phone records and computer without a warrant or other legal authority. The sequence of events is critical here. If the English study pointed to a high order detonation, not a low order fuel-air event, it would have supported Sanders' missile-fire conclusion at exactly the wrong time for the NTSB. Given the NTSB's proven willingness to leak favorable information, even when inconclusive, the study must have supported Sanders. Had the third-party analysis favored a mechanical explanation – or even been neutral – the NTSB would have released the results in a heartbeat.

The NTSB's withholding of the test results suggests not so much discretion as an obstruction of justice long in progress. Certain individuals, we now know, had already altered the reconstruction, neutralized compelling witnesses to missile-fire, and apparently tampered with the Flight Data Recorder. There could be no turning back. The journalist who placed the conspirators within the federal government at risk had to be neutralized. The Southampton University testing and analysis had to be withheld not only to preserve a mechanical explanation but also to protect the outlaws orchestrating the cover-up.  And so the feds pressed on. The NTSB squandered millions more in illusory scientific analysis towards an end that held no promise from the beginning. And to preserve the illusion, the Justice Department pushed through the arrest and conviction of reporter James Sanders and his wife, Liz, for conspiracy.

July 15, 2001
Lisa Perry was standing on the front porch of her Fire Island vacation home five years ago when, she said, she noticed something like a bullet racing toward an airplane in the evening sky. A moment later she saw the plane break apart in a ball of fire. Perry was so shocked that she went back into her house and did nothing until later that night, when she heard that TWA Flight 800 had gone down in the ocean off Long Island, killing all 230 people aboard. Five years later, Perry is still convinced that a missile caused the explosion that brought down Flight 800, not an explosion in a fuel tank, as the National Transportation Safety Board now supposes. She's not the only one. Even as the victims' families began trickling into town yesterday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the July 17 crash, a separate group of people was meeting across Long Island to dispute the NTSB's findings. Members of the TWA Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, which sponsored yesterday's hearing, believe the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board ignored crucial evidence in their investigation: in particular, witnesses who thought they saw a missile shooting toward the plane. They cite evidence that there was a large boat in the ocean below the plane that was never identified after the crash, and that several witnesses said they saw a streak of light shooting toward the plane before the plane fell apart. "It's basically the hearing that never happened," said Tom Stalcup, who heads the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization. "The NTSB is overconfident about what happened. Eyewitness testimony clearly contradicts their theory." About eight of those witnesses gathered at the Wyndham Wind Watch Hotel in Hauppauge to tell their stories. When each was finished telling what they say they saw, the audience of about 30 was allowed to ask them questions. Stalcup said he would send the testimony to the FBI and the NTSB but he doesn't expect them to respond. Instead, he hopes that the media will tell these witnesses' side of the story. All the witnesses who spoke at the hearing said they saw either a point of light or a line of smoke shooting toward the plane before it exploded. All had different vantage points on the explosion: Some were on shore, one was on the fishing boat, one was in a helicopter and one was on a different commercial airline flight. "I saw a thing go up with a trail of smoke, and then I saw this cascade of light," said Suzanne McConnell of East Moriches, who was standing on her back porch. "You could see the plane break into two distinct pieces." Roland Penney of Center Moriches said he saw something similar from where he was standing near the shore. "We saw a stream of pencil-line smoke go up and then disappear for about a second and a half," he said. "Then we saw a big white light." Immediately after the crash many witnesses came forward saying they had seen something shoot into the sky before the plane crashed. But the NTSB concluded that after Flight 800 caught fire the plane continued to climb in the sky for several seconds before falling into the ocean. Therefore, investigators said that what people thought was a missile was actually the plane itself. Investigators announced last year that the plane most likely exploded after faulty wiring caused a spark in one of the plane's fuel tanks. But researchers with the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization and witnesses at yesterday's hearing don't buy that explanation. "There are too many of us that saw the same thing," said witness Bill Gallagher, a commercial fisherman based in Point Pleasant, N.J., who was on his boat at the time. "The truth needs to come out."

July 17, 2001  The Village Voice
Not many miles from where TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, south of East Moriches, Long Island, and just a few days before the fifth anniversary of the crash, eight eyewitnesses came to the Wyndham Wind Watch Hotel in Hauppauge to share their mem-ories of the tragedy. The official investigation has identified more than 200 people who reported seeing a streak of light before the explosion. These eight witnesses are not satisfied with the formal explanation of what they saw.

First up was Suzanne McConnell of East Moriches, who said that at around 8:30 that evening (July 17, 1996) she was sitting on her back deck overlooking Moriches Bay. "I said to my children, 'There goes a flare.' " She watched a trail of smoke climb up from the horizon over the barrier beach, followed by a burst of flames. " 'That was a really large flare,' I said to my husband. 'Maybe someone's in trouble.' " The next day she told her boss what she had seen. "I said, 'It's odd I saw this thing going up.' He said, 'Call the FBI.' I spoke to an agent, and he said, 'That's what everyone else is telling us.' "

The federal investigation of the crash ended last August. The unanimous vote by the National Transportation Safety Board accepted the conclusion of its technical staff that the plane, carrying 230 people on a trip to Paris, was downed by an explosion of flammable vapors in its almost-empty center fuel tank, probably caused by a short circuit. Dr. David Mayer, chairman of the NTSB's Witness Group, prefaced his remarks about witness reports by saying that whatever they saw, it could not have been a missile because the NTSB knew from the physical evidence that no missile hit the plane. The unofficial investigators carry on, regardless, certain that despite the multimillion-dollar four-year federal probe, eyewitness evidence has yet to be correctly interpreted, or even seriously considered. Indeed, only one of the witnesses who gave up a glorious Saturday afternoon to come to the windowless hotel meeting room had been interviewed by the NTSB.

McConnell was asked by the panelists if she saw the plane. (The panel was convened by the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, founded by Dr. Tom Stalcup, a physicist who works in Bourne, Massachusetts.) McConnell didn't see the plane, she said, but clearly saw two pieces "cascading down." The panel's questions attempted to illustrate that the CIA's account of the plane's flight path after the initial explosion was false. The CIA produced its account after studying FBI witness interviews, and they demonstrated their theory with the aid of a videotaped computer animation showing the burning plane climbing several thousand feet after exploding. This, and not a missile, was what people saw who reported a rising streak of light, the CIA said.

The NTSB, meanwhile, drawing on its understanding of how the plane broke up, argued that no witness could have seen the initial explosion, because, investigators said, it took place inside an intact airplane. But according to the NTSB argument, although the explosion was not visible, moments later, when the nose fell off, flames would have appeared. By that argument, the witnesses who saw a streak or flare culminating in an explosion were not seeing a missile, but TWA 800 climbing after the initial explosion and then being engulfed in a fireball when the fuel in the wing tanks ignited at the top of its climb. So the accounts of many eyewitnesses became the raw material for a theory viewed by many as fantastically unlikely. The very notion that the plane, missing its nose and with all its controls gone and its engines flaming out, could have climbed at all is questioned by pilots and experts in aerodynamics alike.

For Dwight Brumley, who was on another aircraft, there is no doubt that the streak of light was a missile.

Several witnesses at the hotel described the explosion as beginning with a white flash. Roland Penney, standing on Great Gun Dock on Fire Island and facing out over the ocean, watched as "a pencil line of smoke went up—it disappeared for a second and a half, and we thought it was a dud flare. Then there was a big, bright white light," followed seconds later by flames, which "broke in two," he said. And Darell Miron, at a campground at Smith Point Beach, said he saw "a streak of light heading up . . . then a brilliant starburst, all white, then below that, barrels of flame came down slowly."

According to some experts, a white flash can be a sign of the detonation of high explosives.

To Michael Wire, another witness at the hotel, that's not a bit surprising. He said he watched what appeared to be a firework come up from behind a house along the water a few hundred yards from where he was standing on a bridge in Westhampton Beach. The firework left a white smoke plume, he said, then a fireball erupted, and he heard a series of explosions, the first of which shook the bridge. "It was very loud, like a shock wave," he recalled. Both the CIA and the NTSB independently analyzed Wire's account and decided that his line of sight when he saw the "firework" coincided with where TWA 800 was when it first exploded, and so he was probably watching the airplane, not a missile.

At the NTSB's August meeting, Mayer gave many reasons why eyewitness recollections should not be taken at face value. Citing psychologists, he said memories are almost never perfectly recalled, but are corrupted by what is called "post-event information," which in this case could range from FBI agents' leading questions to the influence of news reports suggesting a missile was fired. Oddly, though, in some cases investigators decided to trust witnesses implicitly. Wire's recollection of where he was standing and where he was looking, for example, was apparently treated by investigators as utterly trustworthy, precise information.

For Dwight Brumley, who was sitting on the right side of US Air 217, a passenger flight approaching Providence at 21,000 feet at the time of the explosion, there is no doubt that the streak of light coming up from below and slightly behind him was a missile. "I watched it for seven to 10 seconds—it pitched over, and a small explosion appeared," he told the audience at the hotel. "Then, after a few seconds, it grew much bigger, then began to elongate as it extended downwards."

Brumley, according to CIA and NTSB investigators, could not have seen TWA 800 explode, because it was out of sight, directly ahead of and below his aircraft, at the time—an explanation Brumley roundly rejects. However, the account of another passenger on US Air 217 recently interviewed by the Voice is potentially more problematic for investigators. Sitting toward the rear of the plane, on the same side, 12-year-old Adam Coletti looked down and saw what looked like the wake of a boat. He saw the shape of a boat, he said. He turned to tell his mother across the aisle, he told the Voice; then when he looked back there was a redness where the boat had been. "It looked like it was red and kind of blinking, red, intense," the boy said. "I'm not sure if it exploded then, or if I turned again and looked back, but it was 10 to 15 seconds after I saw the red that I saw the explosion." The explosion, he said, had seemed to be stretching up from the boat. It "went up from the boat—just really quick," he said. Coletti's unique account does not, apparently, fit any of the TWA 800 investigation's suggested explanations for eyewitness evidence of the crash.

July 20, 2001  WorldnetDailly   Article by Jack Cashill - The Collapse of American Journalism
The call came in from CNN a few hours before show time. I was not to appear on "The Point" with Greta Van Susteren to discuss TWA 800. I can't say that I was surprised. What surprised me was that CNN had called me the day before to set this up. Like many Americans, I had all but written off CNN as a serious news organization. But when the call came, I presumed that the ascendancy of Fox – and the public acknowledgement of that ascendancy in a New York Times Magazine cover story – had shocked CNN into journalism. I was happy to participate. There was nothing tentative about the arrangement. The producer might or might not select someone to go on with me as counterpoint, she told me, but barring a confession from Gary Condit, the show would go on in any case. That night I organized my thoughts as though I were to be the only guest.

The next morning the producer called back. Jim Hall, the NTSB chair at the time of the crash and one of the "bad guys" in the documentary Jim Sanders and I had produced, had agreed to go on with me. Our dual appearance was posted on the CNN website. The producer also directed me to the studio in Kansas City where the interview would be shot. It was the local PBS station. I was pleased. The station had aired a half dozen of my other documentaries – most recently, an eyewitness account of the Holocaust by some 65 survivors – and I felt at home there.

After making the arrangements, I headed out in my Ford Taurus to a local public pool where I idled away my summer lunch hour. It was only then that it dawned on me. In six hours, I would have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to expose the most brazen cover-up in American political history. At this point, I actually prayed for guidance. It is not something I do enough of. Then it all came to me. I would not yell or argue or accuse. I would just calmly ask Jim Hall a few questions he could not answer and then ask him to step up and assume the role of genuine American hero – acknowledge the cover-up, admit his own role in it, and ask for the forgiveness of the almost too generous American people. Truth be told, I never envisioned him admitting any such thing. In fact, at this point, I could no longer envision him on the show at all. He was much too ripe, much too vulnerable. Unlike the man who appointed him chairman, Hall is not "an unusually good liar," nor is he fast on his feet. Someone, I surmised, would get to him or to CNN and call this whole thing off.

Someone did. I do not know who. But three hours before the show was to air, a crestfallen young producer called to tell me that I had been cancelled. As she explained, with undisguised irony, since Jim Hall now refused to appear on the show with me, I could not appear alone, as that would not be "responsible journalism." Jim Hall, however, having dispensed with me, could appear alone as that would be "responsible journalism." It didn't matter that this old Gore crony had quit his job at the NTSB the moment the Florida results were affirmed and took a job with Daimler-Chrysler's lobbyists, a move that was sleazy even by the admittedly humble standards of the Clinton White House. Not at all.

And so that night I watched 10 painful moments of responsible journalism. Van Susteren began by declaring that "at first, people suspected a bomb went off on the plane."  No Greta, check your own archives. As CNN and the networks first reported, people suspected a missile. With good reason. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of eyewitnesses, including military people in helicopters and on other airlines. At least 96 told the FBI that they had seen the object come off the horizon. Scores of them provided detailed drawings. As NTSB staffer Dr. David Mayer said of at least one of them, "Witness 649 described events that certainly do sound like a missile attacking the airplane." CNN itself reported that FAA radar had picked up a missile sighting, something that Hall himself would confirm in a memo a few months later.  "Top intelligence and security officials were told in a video conference from the White House Situation Room that radar tapes showed an object headed at the plane before it exploded."

But to Van Susteren, a missile strike had passed to the lowly realm of "the conspiracy theorists." She then posed the question to Hall. "Jim," she asked, "can you say with 100 percent certainty that the people who think that this flight was shot down, that they were wrong?"  Hall wouldn't answer. He clumsily headed off to Spin 101. "Greta," he intoned piously, "the first thing I need to say this evening is we all need to remember the 230 individuals who lost their lives in this tragedy." On and on he blathered while CNN cut away to images of the victim families. To her credit, Van Susteren tried again. "Does that mean, Jim, that you are 100 percent certain that those conspiracists who some say saw a white light traveling skyward, zigzagging, disappearing, then an orange ball of fire, can you say with 100 percent certainty that they are wrong?" Van Susteren seemed to be reading from my description of Mike Wire's testimony, the honest mechanic on the bridge with whom the CIA would create an entirely fictitious new interview to build its preposterous animation around. Hall danced some more. "Greta, in my mind, with 100 percent certainty, our investigators, based on the facts they developed, they are wrong, they are incorrect."


And that was pretty much it. There were no questions as to why the CIA fabricated the most important eyewitness testimony, no questions about the FAA missile sighting, the 736 eyewitnesses, the explosive residue found all over the plane, the altered and missing physical evidence, the abysmal failure of the NTSB to identify an ignition source or recreate an explosion after four years of trying. Nothing. I had just witnessed the culmination of five years of responsible CNN journalism, and it was frightening. Still, someone at CNN, at least, had tried. MSNBC assigned a self-described "summer intern" to wrap up its five years of responsible journalism.

We begin the video "Silenced" with a quote from Thomas Jefferson. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Enough said.

July 23, 2001   WorldNetDaily   Lies and Flagpoles
"He said that everything occurred between these two flag poles."
– Dr. David Mayer, NTSB, of witness 649. "[H]e was asked to describe how high in the sky above the house he thought that light appeared, and he said it was as if – if you imagine a flag pole on top of the house it would be as if it were on the top or the tip of the flag pole." – CIA Analyst No. 1, of eyewitness Mike Wire.

The skilled propagandist has a ready stock of tricks. One of them is to create detail so specific it enhances the credibility of a lie and yet so commonplace that no one would think to contest it or even check it – a detail like, say, a flagpole. On two different occasions, cited above, government agents used a flagpole reference to distort or discredit eyewitness testimony in the TWA 800 investigation. This, of course, might have been a coincidence. It might also have been a coincidence that these just happened to be the two most critical eyewitnesses in the whole investigation. It might even have been a coincidence that neither of these eyewitnesses ever referred to a flagpole and that in each case the agents conjured the poles out of thin air. But then again, maybe this wasn't a coincidence at all. Maybe the flagpole references suggest why the CIA was involved in the first place. At the time of the final NTSB hearing, in August of 2000, Dr. David Mayer headed up the NTSB's Orwellian-titled "Human Performance Division." His one and essential task at the hearings was to discredit the eyewitnesses. Ironically, his job was made simpler because he had never spoken to any of the more than 700 civilian eyewitnesses and none at all of the 96 eyewitnesses who reported seeing the streak rise off the horizon. As the experts will tell you, it is much easier to lie when you don't know the person about whom you are lying and easier still if that person is not in the room. This is likely why no eyewitnesses were allowed to testify at either NTSB hearing.

In December of 1997, days before the first NTSB hearing, the FBI prevented the NTSB from introducing any witness testimony. Wrote FBI honcho Jim Kallstrom to NTSB Chairman Jim Hall, "Until the NTSB has definitively determined an accidental cause for the crash, I believe it is prudent to withhold from public disclosure or discussion the identities of witnesses and the raw investigative details of the criminal investigation." Please note that this letter came after the FBI had called off its criminal investigation. By August of 2000, witnesses would have only caused problems for the NTSB whose "mechanical" thesis was now drafted in blood. But at this second NTSB hearing, investigators did at least discuss witness testimony. None proved more troubling for the NTSB than the still anonymous, Witness 649. Said Mayer, "Witness 649 described events that certainly do sound like a missile attacking the airplane."  649 had presented to the FBI a drawing so specific and so suggestive of a missile strike Mayer could not easily dismiss it. In fact, 649 described precisely what the witnesses had seen in the NTSB's missile test. He saw an object like "a firework," ascend "fairly quick," then "slow" and "wiggle" then "speed up" and get "lost." Then he saw a second object that "glimmered" in the sky, higher than the first, then a red dot move up to that object, then a puff of smoke, then another puff, then a "firebox." The "firebox" represented the explosion of the center wing tank. It was not the initiating event, as the NTSB would claim, but the culminating event. What 649 did not see – what no eyewitness reported seeing – was the 3,400-foot climb of a noseless airplane portrayed in the infamous CIA animation. In short, 649 presented a real problem for Dr. Mayer.

Mayer solved it with the flagpoles. As Mayer described it, everything 649 saw occurred "between these two flagpoles." Mayer then used an illustration to show where those flagpoles were located and vectored 649's line of sight from between those flagpoles out to sea. "So again," said Mayer, "it doesn't appear that this witness was looking in the right location to see where flight 800 would have been when it would have been struck by a hypothetical missile." If he were looking in the wrong direction, Mayer implied, none of his testimony could possibly matter. One major objection here. In none of the FBI notes does witness 649 ever mention a flagpole, let alone two flagpoles. With good reason. There weren't any at his location in Westhampton. Dr. Mayer – or perhaps some other agent who assessed the site – imagined flagpoles that did not exist and entered them into the official record. This is all easily verifiable, but who would bother checking a detail so commonplace and devoid of controversy? Indeed, no one would have had not the Internet emerged during the course of these hearings and turned ordinary citizens into private investigators.

The second case, more egregious still, involves a Philadelphia millwright by the name of Mike Wire. Although we have told his story before, it bears repeating in this context. Wire had been working all that day on a Westhampton Bridge. At day's end, he looked out towards the sea, and a white light caught his eye. Twelve days later, during a 90-minute interview at his Pennsylvania home, he told an FBI agent exactly what he had seen. Here is how the agent recorded the conversation on his "302:"  "Wire saw a white light that was traveling skyward from the ground at approximately a 40 degree angle. Wire described the white light as a light that sparkled and thought it was some type of fireworks. Wire stated that the white light 'zig zagged' (sic) as it traveled upwards, and at the apex of its travel the white light "arched over" and disappeared from Wire's view. ... Wire stated the white light traveled outwards from the beach in a south-southeasterly direction."  After the light disappeared, the 302 continues, Wire "saw an orange light that appeared to be a fireball."  After his July 1996 interview, Wire had nothing more to do with the investigation. He did, however, see the CIA recreation of the flight presented by the FBI in November of 1997, at least the abbreviated version shown on the news.  This CIA video proved to be the central, most visible element of a propaganda campaign designed to discredit the eyewitnesses. In an animated sequence, The CIA argued that when the nose of the plane broke off – due to a spontaneous explosion in the center wing tank – the plane pitched up and climbed like a rocket for more than 3,000 feet. According to the CIA, this climb, not a missile, is what the 736 official eyewitnesses actually saw.

For reasons that will soon become clear, the CIA chose to build its case squarely on Mike Wire's testimony. "FBI investigators determined precisely where the eyewitness was standing," says the CIA narrator of Wire while the video shows the explosion from his perspective on Beach Lane Bridge. "The white light the eyewitness saw was very likely the aircraft very briefly ascending and arching over after it exploded rather than a missile attacking the aircraft."  To be sure, this version of events does not at all square with Wire's detailed witness statement – his "302" in FBI speak – from July of 1996, recorded when his memory was at its freshest. The CIA animation converts Wire's "40 degree" climb to one of roughly 70 or 80 degrees. It reduces the movement of an obvious smoke trail from three dimensions, south and east "outward from the beach," to a small, two-dimensional blip far off shore. It places the explosion noticeably to the West of where Wire clearly remembers it. Most problematically, it fully ignores Wire's claim that the streak of light ascended "skyward from the ground" and places his first sighting 20 degrees above the horizon, exactly where Flight 800 would have been.

Two questions beg to be asked: How could the CIA recreate events at such obvious odds with the original and detailed 302 and why was the CIA involved in the first place? The second question might very well answer the first. The CIA was undoubtedly recruited for its skill in the arts of secrecy and deception. Who did the recruiting? You can bet it wasn't the FBI. That order had to come from above. Thus, the agency must have been horrified when the NTSB transcribed and carelessly released its conversations with the CIA. (NTSB Witness document, Appendix FF, Docket No. SA-516, April 30, 1999). In this document, CIA agents, believed to be Dave Donovan (identified in the transcript only as "CIA analyst #1") and Steve Case (identified only as "CIA analyst #2") acknowledges the problems that Mike Wire's original 302 would have presented. The agency "realized that if he [Wire] was only seeing the airplane, that he would not see a light appear from behind the rooftop of that house." As the CIA understood, the airplane did not come off the beach. Flight 800 was at least 20 degrees above the horizon. Wire must have seen something else. So, claimed the CIA, "We asked the FBI to talk to him again, and they did."

It was during this follow-up interview with the FBI, some time in 1997, that Wire was reported to have changed his mind, now admitting that he had first seen the light high above the roof top. How high? "[Wire] said it was as if – if you imagine a flag pole on top of the house it would be as if it were on the top or the tip of the flag pole."  Yes, another imaginary flagpole. In fact, Wire never told the FBI anything about a flagpole. He could not have. He never talked to the FBI, the NTSB or the CIA after July of 1996. The CIA and/or the FBI fabricated the entire interview and added the flagpole detail to make the interview seem real – even if here, on reflection, the flagpole reference seems somewhat forced.  This needs to be stressed: By their own words, captured in a transcript, CIA analysts either lied or were victimized by the FBI. Someone created a fictional interview with Mike Wire. This interview resulted in a costly animation and an even more costly misdirection of the investigation. This effort not only wasted taxpayer dollars but also discredited honest American citizens who had come forward with the truth. This someone – and whoever it was will not be hard to find – broke the law.  Why of all the eyewitness accounts did the CIA choose Mike Wire's? As we've suggested before, the 302 contains fairly detailed information about occupation and residence. There is much the CIA can infer from them about income and media access. Most of the eyewitnesses on this, the affluent south shore of Long Island, viewed the events from their boats, from their summer homes, from their yacht clubs. One eyewitness, a humble mechanic from Philadelphia, saw it on his work break before heading home the next morning. Give the CIA credit where it's due. Had the FBI not failed to redact Wire's name on the released 302, this story would have been lost to history.

"Most lies succeed," observes noted psychologist Paul Ekman of the University of California, "because no one goes through the work to figure out how to catch them."  Most Americans, including the major networks, could not be bothered to care about the lies they have been casually told. Alas, they have become so complacent that they can collectively shrug their shoulders and walk away from this transparent subversion of the rule of law.  Were it not for the tireless work of a number of private citizens, and the timely emergence of the Internet, these lies would never have been recognized.

July 26, 2001  WorldNetDaily
From the beginning, the NTSB had been searching to find even one scientist from a reputable lab or university anywhere in the world who would confirm through testing that a specific mechanical event could conceivably have brought TWA Flight 800 down. They were not having much luck. No one within the scientific community seemed willing to squander his or her reputation on so transparently false a hypothesis.  To be sure, with millions of future federal research dollars at stake, scientists would reject the "mechanical" thesis tactfully. But in the final analysis, they all said the same thing: No level of scientific analysis, no series of tests, could confirm even the remote possibility that a catastrophic mechanical failure destroyed the ill fated plane in mid-air. Early on, The NTSB tried to establish a very basic point – if a spark managed to enter the center wing tank (CWT) and ignite the fumes, the resulting flames would spread from compartment to compartment and create an "overpressure" capable of blowing the airplane to bits. In its own words, The NTSB "needed to investigate the phenomena associated with flame propagation in multicompartment, interconnected, and vented tanks representative of the accident airplane's CWT."

After two-years of exhaustive testing, here is what the investigating scientists concluded:

The ignition of Jet A fuel in one bay of the ¼-scale model resulted in transmission of the flame through the bay passageways and vent stringers and ignition in neighboring bays, illustrating the behavior of multicompartment flame propagation. Flamefront quenching was also observed to be a characteristic of flame propagation. "Flamefront quenching" means that this fuel would actually extinguish the flames, almost like water. Jet A fuel does not ignite readily like, say, gasoline. The tests told the NTSB that even if a spark could be identified, it could not cause the violent explosion that ripped apart the airplane. The NTSB did not give up. It contracted with two more research laboratories – Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Christian Michelson Research (CMR) – "to develop computer code models of the combustion process that occurs in a 747 CWT."  Although their words were again ever so polite, the known phenomenon of flamefront quenching made it impossible for any honorable scientist to develop a scenario supporting the NTSB's. Knowing who was paying the bills, SNL and CMR went through the motions, but in the end these scientists likewise failed to find any reasonable way to justify an imaginary scenario. These experts concluded:

In all the computer solutions, conditions were calculated that indicated that quenching could have occurred in some of the vents and passageways of the full-scale CWT geometry. … Incorporating the effects of quenching in the calculations appeared to significantly affect the differential pressure histories that developed across the internal CWT structural members. The NTSB grudgingly admitted to losing this battle, but given its easy access to the taxpayer's wallet, the agency was not about to abandon the war. By this stage it couldn't afford to. The NTSB needed some answer to steer the public away from the obvious missile theory. It would have to win by attrition, to wear the public and the media down. So the NTSB contracted with Combustion Dynamics Ltd. (CDL) "to evaluate the consistency between the computer calculations of the full-scale CWT combustion model and other information and evidence obtained during the investigation." By this time the NTSB had descended to hoping "that by conducting this evaluation ... it would be possible to narrow the number of probable ignition location(s) within the CWT." This hope was in vain. The NTSB had to concede defeat yet again: Therefore, the rules-based analysis did not provide a definitive determination regarding the probability that any given location within the CWT was the ignition location. But the scientists at CDL did discreetly extend the hope that if the NTSB were to expend a few million additional taxpayer dollars, the agency might walk away with at least some token of support from within the scientific community: However, the rules-based analysis did reveal that the pressure differentials produced by an internal fuel/air explosion were consistent with the overall level of damage observed in the CWT.

With hope still alive, the NTSB headed for Bruntingthorpe, England, to blow up a 747 CWT and to pray that CDL's "rules-based analysis" would prove to be something more than a polite gesture by scientists dependent on future government contracts. But by the time the dust had settled from the Bruntingthorpe explosion, the NTSB was forced to abandon rules-based analysis: The Board observed that the test parameters used resulted in a significantly more dynamic and destructive explosion within the test plane's CWT than was indicated by the accident airplane's wreckage. (The catastrophic nature of the damage to the test plane indicated that if such an event occurred in flight, it would likely result in the airplane instantaneously separating into four major components: left wing, right wing, forward fuselage, and aft fuselage.)

The "rules-based" analysis had literally been blown away. With all of its investigative hypotheses reduced to rubble, the NTSB chose to reconstruct the results in a way more to its liking: Finally, analysis of the results of computer modeling of combustion in a full-scale CWT under conditions simulating those of TWA flight 800 indicated that a localized ignition of the flammable vapor could have generated pressure levels that, based upon failure analysis, would cause the damages observed in the wreckage of the accident airplane's CWT. No outside scientific agency or person had made such a statement. In fact, all contracted testing and analysis ran counter to what the NTSB was now saying. But it no longer mattered. By this point the NTSB had shifted from scientific fact to sheer propaganda. Only its own controlled personnel could be coerced into conclusions that defied all scientific testing and analysis: Accordingly, the Safety Board concludes that a fuel/air explosion in the CWT of TWA flight 800 would have been capable of generating sufficient internal pressure to break apart the tank. This is fiction. Jet A's lack of flammability, according to the exhaustive analysis conducted under contract for the NTSB, created a high probability that the liquid would have extinguished any flames ignited by any known internal ignition source. Nor could defendants find a hypothetical spark of sufficient strength to ignite Jet A. To be sure, if an explosion in the CWT had occurred, it would have blown the CWT apart. In fact, an explosion had blown it apart. This, no one denied. But no scientific foundation existed to hypothesize how such an explosion could occur by purely mechanical means.

In its analysis, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers flatly rejected the hypothesis that an explosion occurred spontaneously. Said the IAMAW, "A high pressure event breached the fuselage and the fuselage unzipped due to the event. The explosion was a result of this event."  What the IAMAW is saying is that the initiating explosion occurred outside the plane, penetrated the fuselage, and caused the CWT to explode. But the NTSB was no more interested in hearing the truth from the IAMAW than it was from the scientific community. So it ignored the IAMAW report and the scientific data and generally bypassed the inconvenient step of first demonstrating that the explosion could occur from within. In that scientific testing had eliminated all hypothetical NTSB mechanical scenarios, the NTSB ceased scientific inquiry that would only cause further embarrassment and marginalize the mechanical conclusion it was charged with reaching.

From this point forward the board would descend from modern science to old-fashioned alchemy and sum it all up in a fable worthy of Harry Potter.

July 27, 2001  WorldNetDaily
There is a well known principle of logic known as "Occam's Razor" – the simplest explanation is usually the best one. Consider its application in the case of TWA 800: Hundreds of witnesses watch streaks of light head towards the plane; FAA radar picks up what appears to be a missile; and the plane explodes catastrophically without a word from the cockpit. The New York Times adds detail. On Aug. 14, 1996, four weeks after the crash, Don Van Natta Jr. reported that "the pattern of the debris they [investigators] have recovered off the ocean floor has also persuaded them that a mechanical malfunction is highly unlikely." Van Natta acknowledged too that "in 10 field tests at Calverton, L.I., chemists have detected residue consistent with an explosive" on the recovered aircraft. These tests, he added, rarely show false positives. But there is more. The Times article stated emphatically, "Now that investigators say they think the center fuel tank did not explode, they say the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane off Long Island."

Occam's Razor says, yes, missile – but the NTSB had little use for cutting to the clear conclusion.

If "senior investigators" were telling Van Natta that "the center fuel tank caught fire as many as 24 seconds after the initial blast that split apart the plane," NTSB "officials" were not so ready to concede. They needed a viable alternative explanation, a politically safe one like a mechanical failure, and would use their considerable powers to make the obvious explanation go away.  ''I don't think anything rules out anything at this point,'' Robert T. Francis, vice chairman of the safety board, told Van Natta. Although, as Van Natta reported, this finding "deals a serious blow to the already remote possibility that a mechanical accident caused the crash," he also acknowledged that NTSB "officials" were "unwilling to rule out a mechanical failure." Van Natta then added prophetically, "By keeping open the possibility of a malfunction, safety board investigators can continue to pursue all possibilities, no matter how remote." Truer words were never spoken. The NTSB would pursue the remotest possibilities imaginable, and with each new test, they would only move further from the truth. In the next four years they would not discover one new fact to revive a theory that was discredited within one month of the crash. But as Van Natta noted, "While investigators, speaking not for attribution, said they have concluded that the center fuel tank did not explode, publicly they have refused to say that." They dared not. They understood the consequences. With the investigators silenced, the "officials" would control the microphone. In time, they would wear the media and the public down and make the story go away.

To make their strategy work, NTSB officials hoped to find a lab or university somewhere in the world that would validate a mechanical explanation for the crash in much the way the CIA animation had invalidated the eyewitnesses. As related in Part 1 above, they did not succeed. Despite all the temptations to comply, the science community refused to provide the necessary cover. Without facts to back up its contrived hypothesis of mechanical failure, the NTSB resorted to fiction. It presented its conclusions to a distracted public and an increasingly docile media in a novella titled, "Factors Suggesting the Likelihood that a Short-Circuit Event Occurred on TWA Flight 800." One is hard pressed to identify a single fact in this tortured report. Guesswork and supposition run rampant. To reveal the conspiratorial intent of the NTSB, at least an element within the agency, it is useful to quote this document at length. Only the italics are added:

Much of the insulation on the wiring recovered from the accident airplane was cracked or otherwise damaged, often exposing the inner conductor. When powered, such damaged wires would be vulnerable to short-circuiting. Although some of the damage to the accident airplane's wiring insulation probably occurred as a result of the accident or search and recovery operations, the degraded condition of wiring insulation found during inspections of other transport-category airplanes of about the same age as the accident airplane suggests that at least some of the damage to the wiring insulation of the accident airplane very likely existed before the accident. Given what was found during the inspections of other airplanes, it is also likely that metal shavings and other contaminants were interspersed with the wiring system on the accident airplane before the accident. Evidence of arcing was found on generator cables routed with wires in the leading edge of the right wing, near the wing root. Although this arcing might have been caused by the breaking of the forward wing spar and subsequent fuel fire, it is possible that it could also have been caused before the explosion. Because this wire bundle included wires leading to the right main wing tank fuel flow gauge and right wing FQIS wiring that would have been routed to a connection in the CWT [central wing tank] at terminal strip T347, a short circuit in this bundle could have carried excess energy into the CWT FQIS.

A pause here is in order. Consider the choices the NTSB presents as to what caused the arcing found on the generator: a) the catastrophic breakup of the forward wing spar and the subsequent fuel fire, which did take place; b) a short circuit in the wiring, which might conceivably have taken place before the explosion. An honest investigation would focus on "a." The NTSB, however, focused on "b." To put this in perspective, it is as if the L.A. cops completely ignored OJ and went after the "Colombian drug dealers." The report stumbles forward:

In addition, two non-FQIS wires at body station (STA) 955, which would have been corouted in the same raceway as CWT FQIS wiring, were found with possible arcing damage. (Although the FQIS wiring recovered from this area did not contain evidence of arcing, it should be noted that some of the FQIS wiring from this area was not recovered.) These wires were located near structural repairs from a burst potable water tank and numerous other floor repairs. These repairs could have disturbed nearby wires, cracking or otherwise damaging the wire insulation, and could also have generated metal shavings. In fact, metal drill shavings were found adhered to fragments of a floor beam from STA 920, within 2 inches of where the CWT FQIS wiring would have been routed. This area is also near galley C, which was the site of numerous reported leaks in the 2 weeks preceding the accident. Leakage from this area could have dripped onto electrical wiring located immediately beneath the galley floor and caused a short circuit that affected the CWT FQIS wiring.

Repairs to the area around the upper flight attendant lighting panel could also have created conditions conducive to short-circuiting. A lighting wire and pin in that panel had been repaired on June 20, 1996, about a month before the accident. Although no evidence of arcing was found on the repaired wire, during the repair other wires bundled with it might well have been moved. The repaired wire was part of a bundle that branched off from a larger bundle that contained CWT and left wing FQIS wires that led to the upper deck AIDS unit and also contained high-voltage wiring for lighting; thus, manipulation of wires during the repair could have resulted in movement and cracking of these wires. In addition, there was evidence of extensive structural repairs in this area, and the cabin interior had been altered, both of which could have disturbed these wires and introduced metal shavings, possibly damaging the wire insulation. Further, condensation, which is common in transport-category airplanes, could have provided a mechanism for short-circuiting of such damaged wires when powered. Finally, in addition to being bundled with FQIS wires, the lighting wires were also bundled with CVR wires and No. 4 fuel flow wires along some portions of their path. Therefore, a short circuit involving these lighting wires could also explain the electrical anomalies indicated on the CVR recording and the No. 4 fuel flow indicator. Curiously, this report contradicts what the NTSB experts had stated in December of 1997 at the Baltimore NTSB hearings. Although they acknowledged that the flight crew observed an erratic fuel flow indicator for engine number 4, 10 minutes after take-off, they rightly dismissed this as "a common occurrence in the 747."

But now, two and one-half years later, the NTSB was desperate. They were forced to grasp at any straw. So an erratic fuel indicator once thought to be routine suddenly became a major lead in pursuit of the mythical spark that jumped into Flight 800's center wing tank: Although no evidence of arcing was found in any of the components connected to the CWT FQIS, investigators considered the possibility that a short circuit in one of those components could have been a source of excess voltage transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring. The interior of each of these components contained numerous complex wiring and circuit assemblies that could have obscured the evidence of a short circuit. Further, it is also possible that a short circuit at lower power or through moisture could occur without leaving evidence of arcing. Therefore, there are several possible locations at which a short circuit of higher-voltage wiring could have affected the CWT FQIS wires in the accident airplane. Further, as noted previously, there are several indications that possible anomalous electrical events occurred in the airplane just before the explosion. First, the captain's CVR [cockpit voice recorder] channel recording has two "dropouts" of background power harmonics, indicating some type of electrical anomaly, less than a second before the CVR lost power. Second, captain's comment about a "crazy" No. 4 fuel flow indicator were recorded on the CVR about 2½ minutes before it lost power, which also suggests that some type of electrical anomaly occurred that affected the wiring. And third, the recovered CWT fuel quantity gauge from the cockpit displayed a reading of 640 pounds, which does not agree with the quantity recorded by the ground refueler (300 pounds). Safety Board testing showed that applying power to a wire leading to the fuel quantity gauge can cause the digital display to change by several hundred pounds in less time than is required to trip the circuit breaker. This suggests that an electrical anomaly might have affected the reading of the cockpit gauge. These electrical anomalies were not necessarily related to the same event. However, it is possible that one or more of these anomalies were a manifestation of an electrical event that resulted in excess voltage being transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring. On the basis of this and other evidence previously discussed, the Safety Board concludes that a short circuit producing excess voltage that was transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring is the most likely source of ignition energy for the TWA flight 800 CWT explosion.

No other "evidence" was "previously discussed." All was vague guesswork, supposition heaped on top of speculation.

Exposed conductors on FQIS wiring (caused by either mechanical damage or cold-flow) within a fuel tank could provide a mechanism that would lead to arcing inside the tank, which in turn could ignite the flammable fuel/air vapor. Very little of the CWT FQIS wiring from the accident airplane was recovered, and, therefore, the degree to which the wiring in the tank might have been damaged before the accident could not be assessed. However, investigators found preaccident damage, including exposed conductors, on some of the recovered FQIS wiring from inside TWA flight 800's wing tanks, and damaged FQIS wiring was found inside the CWTs of several of the other 747 airplanes examined by the Safety Board. In addition, the presence of a conductive material, such as metal drill shavings or safety wire, could have provided a mechanism that would lead to arcing of FQIS components. Although no clear evidence of arcing was found inside TWA flight 800's CWT, fire damage along the route of the FQIS wiring was severe enough that it likely would have obscured any such evidence. Another potential source of ignition energy is resistance heating, which could have resulted from a thin filament being heated through contact with a wire, probe, or compensator exposed to excess voltage. Although no clear evidence of a filament ignition was found inside TWA flight 800's CWT, such evidence could also have been physically lost or obscured by fire damage. … The Safety Board contracted with two research laboratories, Sandia National Laboratory and Christian Michelsen Research, to develop computer modeling in an attempt to determine potential ignition locations. However, because of considerable uncertainties in some aspects of the methodology, the results of that modeling could not be used to determine the most likely ignition location.

Nonetheless, investigators examined all the recovered CWT components, which included portions of all seven fuel probes, one complete terminal block and one partial terminal block, and the compensator. None of the recovered probes or terminal blocks exhibited any noteworthy signs of damage. However, several plastic parts inside the compensator's innermost tube were found burned, with an apparent upward-flowing burn pattern, which investigators hypothesized could indicate that a fire initiated inside the compensator. Similar burn patterns were observed on the compensator believed by the FAA to be the ignition source for the surge tank fire in the 747 that experienced a fuel tank explosion in May 1976 near Madrid, Spain. (Although the Safety Board discounted the compensator as an ignition source in its October 1978 report of the Madrid accident, a different conclusion might have been warranted given what is now known about sulfides and other ignition-related phenomenon.) However, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the damage to the CWT compensator occurred before the explosion, and, therefore, no determination could be reached regarding the likelihood that the compensator was the ignition location. Therefore, the Safety Board concludes that the ignition energy for the CWT explosion most likely entered the CWT through the FQIS wiring, and, although it is possible that the release of ignition energy inside the CWT was facilitated by the existence of silver-sulfide deposits on an FQIS component, neither the energy release mechanism nor the location of the ignition inside the CWT could be determined from the available evidence.

Remember Occam's Razor – the simplest explanation is usually the best. The labored, labyrinthine explanation of the NTSB has "worst" written all over it.

The NTSB, however, was not the only organization to review the wiring. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers did its own assessment. These workers have far less interest in the hypotheticals of how a plane might work than in the reality of how it actually does. Unlike the NTSB, their analysis cuts right to the chase: We conclude that the existing wiring recovered from flight 800 wreckage does not exhibit any evidence of improper maintenance or any malfunction that led to a spark or other discrepancy. What did cause the center wing tank to explode? The IAMAW does not mince words: A high pressure event breached the fuselage and the fuselage unzipped due to the event. The explosion was a result of this event. The IAMAW is describing a missile or some other external force. But no one wanted to hear what the IAMAW had to say. "We feel that our expertise was unwelcome and not wanted by the FBI," read its final report. "The threats made during the first two weeks of the investigation were unwarranted and unforgettable." When released, the NTSB quietly tucked the IAMAW report away, and the major media never bothered to read it.

The actions and the motives of the NTSB are transparent. By August of 1996, it knew for a fact, as The New York Times reported, that "the initial blast that severed the plane occurred slightly forward of the spot where the wings meet the fuselage," not in the center wing tank. The agency hoped, however, that somewhere along the line a scientific test would produce a hypothetical setting in which a contrived mechanical initiating event would enter the realm of the possible. A compliant media would then take the hypothetical possibility and turn it into an established scientific fact. Unfortunately for the NTSB, that scientific hypothesis never developed. Instead, the NTSB reverted to what military people mockingly call SWAG analysis – as in "sophisticated wild-ass guess." But this time it was not even an honest SWAG. The NTSB case sums up thusly: We don't know how the mythical spark could have gotten inside the CWT and, once there, where the initiating explosive event occurred, but one thing we know for certain, it was not a bomb or missile.

Think about this: The NTSB combined a complete lack of physical evidence for mechanical failure with an equally complete lack of hypothetical scientific corroboration for mechanical failure to "prove" that Flight 800 was brought down by – what else? – mechanical failure, this despite the flat-out rejection of the same by the IAMAW and by "senior investigators" as early as August of 1996.

August 22, 2001   CDR William S. Donaldson, III, USN (Ret)
William S. Donaldson, 56, a retired Navy Attack Pilot, a nationally recognized aircraft crash investigator and local member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, died of a brain tumor August 22 at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County Maryland.

Bill Donaldson was an All-State football player at the Rancocos Valley Regional High School in New Jersey where he won a Football Scholarship to the University of Maryland and has since been inducted into the RVRHS Hall of Fame. He joined the Navy and entered flight school in 1965 and in 1968 he flew more than 70 Strike missions over North Vietnam and Laos in an A-4 Skyhawk off the aircraft carrier Intrepid. In later years he was the Air Traffic Control Officer on the carrier Forrestal and flew an A-6 Intruder off the carrier Eisenhower. In the mid 1980’s he was assigned to NATO in Naples Italy as a Nuclear Weapons Targeting Officer. Over his career he held assignments as Safety Officer and had extensive training in aircraft crash investigation and investigated numerous crashes, including one that was accidentally shot down by a missile. Bill was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Air Medal, 7th Award; Navy Commendation Medal (with Combat “V”) and numerous other medals and awards.

Bill retired from the Navy in 1991 and moved back to his family home on St. Clements Bay where he took up farming and was appointed to the St. Mary’s County Planning and Zoning Commission. In 1997, after reading an editorial by the Chairman of the NTSB about the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800, Bill had a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal that began a 4 year effort to bring to light the true cause of the crash. Over that time he was interviewed on several hundred radio programs and appeared on several national TV broadcasts as an expert aircraft crash investigator and vocal critic of the NTSB and FBI investigation. He founded the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP) and started a website,, to document the many discrepancies in the “official” version of the crash and to the end remained committed to proving that the aircraft was shot down. He was not alone in this crusade as there are hundreds of other aviation professionals who will carry on the fight.

Bill is survived by his wife Joyce, one son, Michael of Houston TX, a daughter, Teresa of Avenue, Maryland, three grandchildren, Christopher, Hailey and Hana, one brother, Robert who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, and two nieces Jennifer & Jessica

August 30 - 31, 2001  WorldNetDaily  - Articles by Jack Cashill
No one pursued the story behind the crash of TWA Flight 800 more doggedly than Don Van Natta Jr. of the New York Times, certainly not in the first few months after the crash. On Aug. 14, 1996, just four weeks after the incident, Van Natta reported, among other crucial findings, that "residue consistent with an explosive" had been identified by chemists in 10 field tests at Calverton, the center of the investigation on Long Island. Van Natta added the Times' imprimatur to prior reports on likely explosives from a variety of news sources. As early as July 22, CNN had reported that explosive residue had been detected "on the trailing edge of one wing near the rear baggage compartment of the jet."

On July 23, CNN quoted White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta as saying that investigators were "close to finding out what happened" to TWA 800. CNN also referenced Panetta's admission that "chemical residues had been found on some of the bodies and plane parts."  On July 23, Newsday reported that "a chemical test showed traces of a rare explosive on a wing from TWA Flight 800." Added one senior federal official on the condition of anonymity, "The divers reported pitting in the external metal portion of the section."  On July 31, Reuters reported that "samples of apparent residue found on the landing gear have been sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation."  On Aug. 1, CNN strongly implied that explosive residue had been found not only on the wreckage of the plane but also on the victims' bodies. When asked to respond to this allegation, FBI agent-in-charge James Kallstrom answered, "I haven't said I haven't found it. I just haven't commented on it."

By the end of August, the explosive residue story was well established. On Aug. 30, for instance, CNN reported that investigators had "admitted" that a second chemical had been found on the plane – chemicals officially identified by an FBI Lab report as cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX) and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN). The CNN story stated that the residue had been found not only in the passenger compartment but also in the cargo area. CNN acknowledged, too, that rows 23-26 seem to have taken the brunt of the hit. Rows 24 and 25 were missing and seats in row 23 had "fist-sized holes" punched into the back of them. These seats were located just a few feet behind the front edge of the right wing, "where the wreckage shows the greatest amount of fire damage." Yet within three weeks, CNN would all but drop any reference to explosive traces found on the plane. So would the other major media. So even would Van Natta and the New York Times.

Curious as to why, we called Van Natta and asked. His comments did not point the way to a grand media conspiracy. But they did lead us indirectly to a key witness not yet heard from in this investigation. We refer here to the St. Louis police officer who unknowingly planted what would prove to be the ultimate "red herring" of this whole investigation.  The phrase "red herring" has a long history. It derives from the practice by 17th century English foxhunters of using actual smoked herring to test and improve a hound's sense of smell. The pungent odor of the fish was a powerful distraction, but a well-trained hound could identify it, filter it out, and continue the pursuit of the fox being trailed. The phrase here works much too well. In mid-September 1996, the NTSB reported that the officer in question had carelessly spread explosive residue on the Flight 800 plane during a June 1996 dog training session and left it there. Van Natta admitted that this revelation sidetracked his pursuit of the explosives angle. It may have even confused Van Natta's sources within this highly-compartmentalized investigation, the ones who, weeks before, had been "absolutely convinced" that something other than a mechanical problem had caused Flight 800 to explode.

Van Natta's admission made us aware of just how critical a role the dog training story had played in the success of the cover-up. If it could distract the Times, it could easily send the rest of the media pack yelping in the wrong direction. And it did. CNN is a case in point. On Sept. 20 the network was reporting the dog-training story cautiously, acknowledging that "at least some of the residue was found in the curtain in the rear cargo hold where test packages were never located." But by the next day, CNN had fully snatched the bait. The headline of that article, "Investigators: Test explosives set back TWA bomb theories," well summarizes its slant. A few months later, Van Natta was promoted, transferred to Washington, and taken off the story. It is highly unlikely that his bosses did this to silence him. By this time, the trail had grown cold, and it would take more time, resources and good fortune than even the New York Times could muster to heat it up, especially with a government intent on throwing the media off the scent.

In fact, had not the Internet emerged as a popular force just about the time of the Flight 800 disaster, the story would have died with the 230 good souls on board. As no other medium before it, the Internet has enabled hundreds of interested citizens, many of them with a high level of aviation and/or investigative expertise, to participate in the unraveling of this, the most complex cover-up of our time. One of those citizens, a retired New Jersey homicide detective, volunteered to serve as a liaison between us and the St. Louis police officer. Just as this article was going to press, the detective relayed to us the officer's anxieties about his continued participation in our efforts. (We had asked to interview him on camera for an extended version of "Silenced" planned for theatrical release.) We chose to withhold his name from this story but to include his initial observations. As the official story goes, the FAA traced a likely source of the explosive residue to training exercise at the St. Louis airport on June 10, 1996. Given the almost random state of documentation for these exercises nationwide, this had to have been a laborious task.

On Sept. 20, 1996, the FBI found its way to the officer who oversaw the exercise. As it happens, this is the same date that stories about the dog-training exercise began to appear in the media. In other words, the Feds were leaking this particular story even before anyone had talked to the officer in question – compelling evidence the FBI was committed to pulling the media off the explosive residue story regardless of the facts. They already knew the truth. Now they had to create the lie. According to the FBI, airport management told the officer that a "wide body" was available for training at Gate 50 that day. The officer then withdrew some exercise "aids" from departmental supplies and drove to Gate 50. Once there, he walked up the exterior jetway staircase and boarded the plane. This information is documented in a letter from Assistant Director in Charge James K. Kallstrom to Rep. James A. Traficant, dated Sept. 5, 1997. According to the FBI, the officer "made no notations regarding the tail number of the aircraft, as it was not his policy to do so." As the officer told us, he made no notation of the gate either. He did tell us, however, that he listed specific start and stop times on the training form.

The officer told us and the FBI that he saw no TWA crew, cleaners, caterers or passengers when he boarded at 10:45 a.m. nor at any time when he was on board the 747. According to the FBI account, the officer concealed the training aids in specific places throughout the passenger cabin in a "zig-zag" pattern. The officer then returned to his car to retrieve the dog and reentered the plane with the dog at 11:45 a.m. According to the FBI, "the exercise lasted 15 minutes, and the dog located all the explosives." The officer then climbed back down the jetway with the dog, secured the dog in his car and climbed back up to retrieve the training aids from various locations throughout this large aircraft. He placed each aid on the galley counter before carting them all back out. The officer estimated that this activity took 15 minutes.

Based on the scenario developed by the FBI, the officer could not have left the plane earlier than 12:15 p.m. Given the time spent climbing up and down the jetway, a 12:20 or 12:25 p.m. exit is more likely. During this time, the officer saw no one else on board the plane. He did not expect to. He carried out these daily exercises in as "sterile" environment as possible – that is, without anyone present. Existing records play serious havoc with the FBI scenario. They show that Capt. Vance Weir of Fallbrook, Calif., piloted TWA No. 17119 – the plane that would become Flight 800 – from St. Louis to Hawaii that day and Thomas D. Sheary of Seminole, Fla., was first officer. Weir's "Pilot Activity Sheet" from June 10, 1996, adds important detail. It indicates that on this day and on this plane he flew out of St. Louis for Honolulu at 12:35 p.m. Please note the time of departure. Federal officials were aware of this time as well. The letter from Kallstrom to Traficant referenced above makes this clear:

The FAA in St. Louis provided the FBI with a copy of a TWA document listing gate assignments for June 10, 1996. This document, a copy of which is attached, shows that a 747 bearing TWA # 17119, which is the number for the 747 that was Flight 800, was parked at Gate 50 from shortly before 700 hours (7 AM) until approximately 1230 hours (12:30 PM) on that date. In other words, the plane that would become Flight 800 left the gate between 12:30 and 12:35 p.m. The police officer, however, did not leave the plane until 12:15 p.m. at the earliest and saw no one. To clean the plane, stock it, check out the mechanics and board several hundred passengers would take more than the 15-minute window of opportunity the FBI's own timetable presents. Much more. TWA regulations in effect in 1996 – provided by a TWA source for this article – mandated that the crew of a wide-body report for briefing 90 minutes before scheduled takeoff. The crew therefore had to report to the TWA airport briefing room no later than 10:20 a.m. for a scheduled 11:50 a.m. departure. Crew members had 30 minutes to complete their briefing and board the 747 as the regulations also mandated that they board one hour before scheduled takeoff. This means that the crew was most likely on the plane by 10:50 a.m. In the rare circumstance that a "scheduled" delay was known to be in effect during the 10:20 a.m. briefing, and the crew knew the length of the delay, they could have waited to board until 11:35 a.m., 10 minutes before the patrolman is alleged to have brought the dog onboard. In other words, the crew, the pilot, the first officer, the engineer and a minimum of 14 flight attendants were on board the 747 no later than 11:35 a.m. They would have been preparing the plane for a full load of passengers – stowing their belongings, performing safety equipment pre-flight, and checking food and beverage supplies. Besides a crew of at least 17, there would have been maintenance, food service and gate agents coming and going during the exact same period that the officer was alleged to be exercising his dog and seeing no one.

David E. Hendrix, an investigative reporter for the Riverside, Calif., Press-Enterprise newspaper, interviewed Captain Weir personally and First Officer Sheary by telephone. They told him they saw no dog or officer on the plane that day. How could they be so certain? As they told Hendrix, they have each flown commercial aircraft for 20-plus years, and neither has ever seen a dog training exercise on their plane in all that time. Nor, they said, have they ever had take-off procedures delayed because of such exercises. So if not the 800 plane, which "wide body" could the officer possibly have used? Gate 50 and 51 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, (now gates C-36 and C-38, respectively) are at the end of Concourse C. According to TWA records provided by the FBI, the future Flight 800 aircraft was indeed parked at gate 50. Parked at Gate 51 was another 747, Number 17116, the sister aircraft, a veritable clone. According to TWA records, both aircraft normally operated out of JFK in New York but were shifted to St. Louis for that day because other 747s were undergoing maintenance work. This second plane – bound for JFK International as TWA Flight 844 – would not leave the gate until 2:00 p.m. This later departure would have allowed TWA staff ample time to load and board the plane after the officer finished the training exercise at about 12:15 or slightly later. To be sure, this second plane was not parked at Gate 50 where the FBI conveniently alleges the exercise took place. But how could either management or the officer remember the site of a daily exercise performed 70 days prior? No known documentation puts the officer and his dog at this gate or on the Flight 800 plane. No one had anything but memory to call on. The officer told us that he believes the exercise took place on a plane other than the one to become Flight 800. In other words, he believes he boarded the 747 at Gate 51. All evidence suggests he's right.

Federal officials had searched the nation, and probably the world, to find an airport at which a dog exercise had taken place on a day when the Flight 800 plane was parked there. If the time of day did not square – and they knew it didn't – so be it. FBI agents chose not to interview Capt. Weir or First Officer Sheary. They couldn't. They did not want to hear any truth that would undermine the story they were ordered to create. Theirs was not a search for evidence. It was a search for an alibi. The murky documentation that made the search difficult for the feds would make it nearly impossible for a media that did not have access to it.

From day one, despite ample eyewitness testimony and troubling FAA radar data, federal authorities suppressed virtually all talk of a missile. When, however, it was revealed that explosive residue was found on the plane, the authorities had to at least allow for the possibility of an explosive device. For a variety of reasons, none of them related to the evidence, those in charge preferred a bomb to a missile. To this end, Robert Francis, the NTSB vice chairman in charge of the investigation, served as the chief disinformation officer. The word "missile" never seems to have passed his lips, even though all evidence pointed in that direction, including the PETN and RDX which are found in missile warheads and in solid fuels as well as in bombs. Even when Francis mentioned "bomb," he inevitably did so in the negative. As testament, consider his comment to CNN on Sept. 21, 1996, "If there was a bomb on the plane, there's going to be evidence that transcends what we're talking about here." Before news of the dog training broke, Francis had been sounding increasingly shrill and out of touch. When Don Van Natta Jr. of the New York Times reported on Aug. 14 that recent findings had dealt "a serious blow to the already remote possibility that a mechanical accident caused the crash," Francis stuck grimly to the spin. He told Van Natta, ''I don't think anything rules out anything at this point.''

After news of the dog exercise broke, the story began to spin back Francis's way. A Sept. 20 subhead from CNN – "Bomb not ruled out" – reveals just how matter-of-factly the media had begun to parrot the false dialectic between bomb and mechanical. It also suggests that "mechanical" was now the favored theory, at least by the NTSB and CNN. Still, the NTSB needed more. The media may have been accepting the fiction that a dog training exercise had taken place on the Flight 800 plane, but this was not enough. As CNN casually reported on Sept. 20, the training aids were "well-wrapped packages of explosives." If the explosives remained well wrapped throughout the exercise, the NTSB and the FBI could not make a convincing case that these training aids were the source of the residue. They had to go further. They would have to convince the media that there was not only an exercise on board, but that it was a sloppy, incompetent one. To pull this off, they needed a scapegoat and found one in an innocent African-American police officer with 17 years on the force, two of those dedicated to daily dog-training exercises. The feds could have cared less about his experience or his reputation. As they told the story, the officer was ill-trained and careless, spilling explosive material all over the plane and leaving it there.

The NTSB summarized its findings on this case in February 1997 in a letter from Chairman Jim Hall to acting FAA administrator Barry Valentine. "The dog handler," wrote Hall of the officer, "had spilled trace amounts of explosives while placing training aids on board the aircraft during a proficiency training exercise." This same officer, Hall added, "told investigators that he was aware that he had spilled trace amounts of explosives." "Based on interviews with the dog handler," the letter continued, "the safety Board determined that he had conducted the training exercise without taking adequate time and precaution when handling the explosive training aids." The letter goes on to chastise the officer, claiming that he had likely spilled residue from at least two different sources, all of which he had admitted to the authorities.

Says the officer of his treatment at the hands of the feds, "I am pissed off to this day." Although shaken by the experience, and understandably wary of the authorities, the officer tells a dramatically different story than the one served up by the NTSB. "I never lost any," he says of the explosives. "I never spilled any." The officer related this to us with clarity and conviction. He adds, "There was never any powder laying loose." As to his alleged confession of the same, he answers, "I just hate that they twisted my words. I know what I did and how I did it." To give further cover to this elaborate charade, Hall had to pretend that the St. Louis episode exposed some larger system-wide problem. In the letter, he demanded that the FAA "develop and implement procedures" to assure "an effective K-9 explosives training program." In much the same way, the NTSB would later argue for changes in the wiring and in fuel tanks to avoid explosions that never happened.

In this same letter, however, Jim Hall makes a curious admission: "During the recovery of wreckage from TWA Flight 800, trace amounts of explosives were found on the interior surfaces of the cabin and cargo area." Unexplained by Hall is how explosives could possibly have been found in the cargo area, an area in which no one claims the officer ever planted training aids. Even more problematic, the residue found within the passenger cabin – in an area that runs roughly from rows 17 to 27 on the right side of the plane – in no way matches the "zig zag" pattern in which the officer placed the aids. In fact, the officer made no placements within that area. The NTSB and the FBI had little need to explain anything. The major media had given up the hunt. Their lack of pursuit had allowed conjecture to harden into dogma without the benefit of added fact. By the time the FBI pulled out of the investigation in November 1997, it could say the following without fear of being challenged:

On June 10, 1996 the St. Louis Airport Police Department conducted canine explosives training aboard the victim aircraft. The residue collected after the explosion of Flight 800 was consistent with the explosives utilized during the exercise. This was brazen. The FBI was claiming that the four training aids placed by an experienced officer in "well wrapped packages" accounted for confirmed residue traces across a wide swath of the right side of the passenger cabin and in the cargo hold as well as reported traces on the wing and the front landing gear. The only explosive residue that no one could possibly blame the officer for was that reportedly found on the victims' bodies, reports attested to by no less than Leon Panetta and James Kallstrom. Is it no wonder that the forensic reports on these bodies seem to have vanished?

(FIRO, an independent research group headed by Dr. Thomas Stalcup, filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for all documents related to the "foreign bodies," i.e. shrapnel, removed from at least 89 victim bodies and turned over to FBI agents who stood by at each autopsy to seize it. The FBI says it cannot find even one page related to the seizure and testing of the shrapnel. We have found some of these documents as well as FBI documents revealing where some of the shrapnel was sent for further analysis. FOIAs have been filed.)

A year earlier, two months after the interview with the St. Louis police officer, James Kallstrom had been far less conclusive about the dog training. In his conversation with Jim Lehrer on the PBS "News Hour," Kallstrom admitted that he was not "absolutely" sure "that that's how the chemicals got there." The real proof, Kallstrom acknowledged, would be in the "evidence of the metal – the forensics to go with that." This is the "evidence that transcends" to which Robert Francis had alluded. As one source told the AP right after the dog training had been revealed, "Now we would definitely need pitting or blast damage to prove there was a bomb placed on board."

That's what it all would come down to – physical evidence of pitting or blast damage. There had been numerous, highly credible accounts of such damage. These accounts seem to center on two areas. One is the right wing which reportedly had shown signs of heat blast, pitting and explosive traces on the outside as well as explosive traces and damaged seats in the passenger cabin alongside the wing. Not surprisingly, the wings were left off the reconstructed plane at Calverton. The other is the area of the front landing gear. This area had also reportedly shown traces of explosive residue. Perhaps more importantly, its doors, as even the NTSB admits, had been blown inwards and off at the very start of the breakup sequence – this despite their location well forward of the center wing tank.

Was the FBI capable of removing such evidence? Senior NTSB investigator Henry Hughes certainly thought so. In May of 1999, he testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on administrative oversight and the courts chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley. "Another problem that occurred," Hughes told the committee, "and it was recognized about 2 months into the investigation, was the disappearance of parts from the hangar." Please note that it was almost exactly "2 months into the investigation" when the dog training story was introduced. Those responsible now understood that the proof of a missile attack might all come down to the "evidence of the metal – the forensics." As Hughes told the Grassley committee, on one particular day his team took a complete inventory of the hangar to see if anything would come up missing the following day. "Not to our surprise," he told the senator, "we found that seats were missing and other evidence had been disturbed."

Soon after, in something of a sting that Hughes encouraged the FBI to set up, the FBI caught two or three of its own agents in the hangar without authorization at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning. "I supervised that project," said Hughes of the work underway in the hangar, "and these people had no connection to it." According to Hughes, a "serious leadership problem during the course of the investigation" had plagued the NTSB. He referred here specifically, and by name, to one Robert Francis. "I have participated in over 110 major transportation accident investigation while with the NTSB," wrote Hughes to the committee at a later date, "and the TWA-800 investigation is the only one in which the NTSB Board Member in charge was never available to the investigative staff."

In 1995, in that most desperate year of his political career, Bill Clinton plucked Robert Francis out of an obscure FAA posting in Europe and designated him as vice chairman of the NTSB. Why Clinton picked Francis, we do not know. But the role he played in this investigation is unmistakable. For the first several months, he worked relentlessly to steer the media away from a missile or even a bomb. That accomplished, he more or less disappeared from the most controversial airline disaster ever, undermining his own staff and leaving the criminal obstructionists within the investigation to their work.

At a public forum some time later, Air National Guard pilot and crash eyewitness Maj. Fritz Meyer gave a very telling account of his own meeting with Francis in September of 1996, most likely before the dog story materialized:

During that time I had an opportunity to fly over with a friend of mine to the hangar at Calverton where we landed in the grass. This friend of mine is an employee in the FAA and he is also a weekend warrior with the air guard unit. He took me into the hangar and he introduced me to Bob Francis who was the person in the NTSB in charge of the investigation for the NTSB. He had known Bob when Bob had worked in the FAA – so they are old buddies and he introduced me. "This is Fritz Meyer. He is the pilot who was flying the night the plane went down." So we started talking and we got separated from the people – Adm. Christiansen – who had flown over to the hangar, and I was talking with just 4 people together. There was my friend, Bob Francis, a young lady from the NTSB – I can't remember her name – and myself. As we walked along Bob Francis turned and looked away from me and sort of collected himself, and he turned back to me and he said: "You know, we're getting away from that missile theory." I laughed in his face, and he was crestfallen – he was distraught – and after that when I just laughed right at him we began to have a frank discussion. As we walked along we walked up to a nose wheel casting, and it was all ripped and shredded – the tire was completely shredded, and it was lying on a table or a frame of some kind in the hangar and we had had a more or less candid discussion about the crash and as we walked up he showed me this thing – and it had striations across it – great deep cuts through the alloy of the wheel casting. And he said: "You know my people tell me that this is sign of a high velocity explosion." Those were his words. I made a mistake – I told this to a reporter about three months later, and he picked up the phone and called Bob Francis, and Bob Francis denied he had ever met me – had seen my face on television but he had never met me in person.

Encoded in Meyer's encounter with Francis is the DNA of the entire investigation: a conscious steering away from the obvious missile explanation, a begrudging acknowledgment of the physical evidence, a denial of everything afterwards, and the failure of the media to follow up. What causes a presumably good man like Francis to serve his staff and his nation so badly? In our experience, it is much less often lust for money or power than it is fear, a fear that can paralyze when citizens lose confidence in the media.

Consider, for instance, the following e-mail we received from the New Jersey homicide detective who served as our liaison to the St. Louis officer just as we were wrapping up this article (capitalization his):

Rec'd a call today from [the St. Louis officer]. I wasn't here, so he left a message in my voice mail. Thanked you and I for our support of him. BUT, it seemed apparent from what he said that the powers-to-be have come down on him and he's been told (read: ORDERED) to stay away from anything to do with TWA-800, and he mentioned specifically that he's been told not to assist you (with your next videotape). Unlike the first time I spoke with him, he hesitated frequently during his message, and I was left with the distinct impression that he was a little nervous, a bit uptight, maybe even a little scared. That was my cop-to-cop impression. Also, there was an implication during the message that should he violate the order against involving himself in anything TWA-800 related, then he might find his job in jeopardy. Thought I would pass this on FYI.

If you ever wonder why it is that "people just don't come forward," here is the answer in a nutshell. The power to silence dissent runs deep and far because we allow it to. But the sad truth is that when America ceases to be the home of the brave, it will also cease to be the land of the free.

September 4, 2001 NY Times     TWA800 Redux
For more than half a century, the Navy said a boiler was to blame for an explosion that sank the USS Eagle within sight of the Maine coast, killing 49 sailors. But now the Navy is rewriting the Eagle's record to reflect what survivors have said all along: A German torpedo sank the Eagle, asubmarine chaser. New evidence was presented to Navy Secretary Gordon R. England, who ruled in June that the sinking was due to an attack by an enemy submarine. The change means that those who died or were seriously injured will get Purple Hearts. Harold Petersen, one of the two living survivors, said he was gratified by the change but sorry it took so long. Mr. Petersen said that he still thoughtof the parents of the sailors who died and that he wished they could have known the truth. "They had to think all these years, `Who was so negligent that they allowed the boilers to explode and kill my child?' "said Mr. Petersen,79, of Rochester. "That's a hard thing." The Eagle sank on April 23, 1945,just two weeks before Germany surrendered. The 200-foot vessel was sailing off Portland,Me., when the blast broke it apart and sent water 300 feet into the air. A Navy court of inquiry was convened in Portland a week later. Five survivors testified that they saw a submarine surface after the explosion, Navy records show. Some said they saw a red-and-yellow marking on the submarine's conning tower. Survivors testified that the Eagle's boiler was overhauled just two weeks before the explosion. And no failures were reported with the same type of boilers on the 59 other ships in the Eagle class, said Paul Lawton, a Brockton,Mass., lawyer who teaches maritime history. Rear Adm. Felix Gygax, commandant of the First Naval District in Boston, wrote on June 1, 1945, "that there was at least equal evidence to support the conclusion that the explosion was that of a device outside the ship, the exact nature of which is undetermined. It might have been an enemy mine or an enemy torpedo." Still, Admiral Gygax ultimately endorsed the court's finding that the sinking was "the result of a boiler explosion, the cause of which could not be determined." No one is certain why the Navy stuck with that conclusion. Twelve days after the Eagle sank, the German submarine was sunk off Rhode Island. Before that, it sank another ship, a collier headed to Boston, killing 12 men. A crucial break came when Mr. Cavalcante uncovered records showing the German submarine U-853 was operating in the Gulf of Maine at the time of the explosion. The U-boat had an insignia of a red horse on a yellow shield. "We always wondered what really happened," said Frederick Westerlund of Brockton, who was 6years old when his father died. "It shouldn't have taken 56 years to get this straight."

September 12, 2001  AP
In the most devastating terrorist onslaught ever waged against the United States, hijackers crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center on Tuesday (September 11, 2001), toppling its twin 110-story towers. The deadly calamity was witnessed on television across the world as another plane slammed into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed outside Pittsburgh. Said Adm. Robert J. Natter, commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet: "We have been attacked like we haven't since Pearl Harbor." No one took responsibility for the audacious events that rocked the seats of finance and government and raised fear and outrage across the nation. Establishing the death toll could take weeks, but it was expected that casualties would be in the thousands. The four airliners alone had 266 people aboard and there were no known survivors. Federal authorities identified Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect as the FBI began an investigation. The nation's aviation system was shut down as officials considered the frightening flaws that had been exposed in security procedures. "Freedom itself was attacked this morning and I assure you freedom will be defended," said President Bush, who was in Florida at the time of the catastrophe. As a security measure, he was shuttled to a Strategic Air Command bunker in Nebraska before leaving for Washington. Officials across the world condemned the attacks but in the West Bank city of Nablus, thousands of Palestinians celebrated, chanting "God is Great" and handing out candy. At the Pentagon, the symbol and command center for the nation's military force, one side of the building collapsed as smoke billowed over the Potomac River. The television images were extraordinary: a plane slamming into the second tower as smoke poured from the first; the buildings tumbling down and vanishing in a gray cloud; bloodied survivors stumbling through the streets of Manhattan, covered with dust and ashes. The attacks altered the very skyline of Manhattan, destroying two buildings where 50,000 people worked. The first airstrike occured shortly before 8:45 a.m. EDT. By evening, huge clouds of smoke still billowed from the ruins. A burning, 47-story part of the World Trade Center complex collapsed in flames just before nightfall. The building had already been evacuated. The violence sent waves of fear across the continent and beyond. The aviation shutdown was the first in history. Financial markets were closed, too. Top leaders of Congress were led to an undisclosed location as were key officials of the Bush administration. Guards armed with automatic weapons patrolled the White House grounds and military aircraft secured the skies above the capital city. Evacuations were ordered at the tallest skyscrapers in several cities, and high-profile tourist attractions closed - Walt Disney World, Mount Rushmore, Seattle's Space Needle, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. "No one has been ruled out, but our initial feeling is that this is the work of bin Laden," said a high-ranking federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He is top of our list at this point." In Afghanistan, where bin Laden has been given asylum, the nation's hardline Taliban rulers rejected suggestions he was responsible. Bin Laden came to prominence fighting alongside the U.S.-backed Afghan mujahedeen - holy warriors - in their war against Soviet troops in the 1980s. But former followers say he turned against the United States during the 1991 Gulf War, seething at the deployment of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War campaign to oust Iraq from Kuwait. He has repeatedly called on Muslims worldwide to join in a jihad, or holy war, against the United States. Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, said he received a warning from Islamic fundamentalists close to bin Laden, but had not taken the threat seriously. "They said it would be a huge and unprecedented attack but they did not specify," Atwan said in a telephone interview in London. Eight years ago, the World Trade Center was a terrorist target when a truck bomb killed six people and wounded about 1,000 others. Tuesday's attack was far more deadly, and sure to be well above the 168 people killed in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

This is how Tuesday's mayhem unfolded: At about 8:45 a.m., a hijacked airliner crashed into the north tower of the trade center, the 25-year-old, glass-and-steel complex that was once the world's tallest. Clyde Ebanks, an insurance company vice president, was at a meeting on the 103rd floor of the south tower when his boss said, "Look at that!" He turned to see a plane slam into the other tower. "I just heard the building rock," said Peter Dicerbo, a bank employee on the 47th floor. "It knocked me on the floor. It sounded like a big roar, then the building started swaying. That's what really scared me." The enormity of the disaster was just sinking in when 18 minutes later, the south tower also was hit by a plane. "All this stuff started falling and all this smoke was coming through. People were screaming, falling, and jumping out of the windows," said Jennifer Brickhouse, 34, from Union, N.J. The chaos was just beginning. Workers stumbled down scores of flights, their clothing torn and their lungs filled with smoke and dust. John Axisa said he ran outside and watched people jump out of the first building; then there was a second explosion, and he felt the heat on the back of his neck. Donald Burns, 34, was being evacuated from the 82nd floor when he saw four people in the stairwell. "I tried to help them but they didn't want anyone to touch them. The fire had melted their skin. Their clothes were tattered," he said. Worse was to come. At 9:50, one tower collapsed, sending debris and dust cascading to the ground. At 10:30, the other tower crumbled. Glass doors shattered, police and firefighters ushered people into subway stations and buildings. The air was black, from the pavement to the sky. The dust and ash were inches deep along the streets. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said it was believed the after effects of the plane crashes eventually brought the buildings down, not planted explosive devices. At mid-afternoon, Giuliani said 1,500 "walking wounded" had been shipped to Liberty State Park in New Jersey by ferry and tugboat, and 750 others were taken to New York City hospitals, among them 150 in critical condition. Bystanders helped the injured, along with multitudes of emergency workers who poured into the area. It was feared that many police and firefighters were in the two buildings when they went down. Bridges and tunnels were closed to all but pedestrians. Subways were shut down; commuter trains were not running.

Meanwhile, at about 9:30 a.m., an airliner hit the Pentagon - the five-sided headquarters of the American military. "There was screaming and pandemonium," said Terry Yonkers, an Air Force civilian employee at work inside the building. The military boosted security across the country to the highest levels, sending Navy ships to New York and Washington to assist with air defense and medical needs. A half-hour after the Pentagon attack, a United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 jetliner en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashed about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. A congressman said the hijackers intended to send the plane to crash into Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. Minutes before the crash, a passenger told an emergency dispatcher in a cell phone call: "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!" Airline officials said the other three planes that crashed were American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 from Boston to Los Angeles, apparently the first to hit the trade center; United Airlines Flight 175, also a Boeing 767 from Boston to Los Angeles, which an eyewitness said was the second to hit the skyscrapers; and American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington-Dulles to Los Angeles that a source said hit the Pentagon.

The nightmare sent shockwaves across the country. The Federal Reserve, seeking to provide assurances that the nation's banking system would be protected, said it would provide additional money to banks if needed. The Department of Health and Human Services said 7,000 doctors and other health professionals were ready to help if needed. "We're at war," said Gaillard Pinckney, an employee at the Housing and Urban Development office in Columbia, S.C. "We just don't know with who." Felix Novelli, who lives in Southampton, N.Y., was in Nashville with his wife for a World War II reunion. He was trying to fly home to New York when the attacks occurred "I feel like going to war again. No mercy," he said. "This is Dec. 7th happening all over again. We have to come together like '41, go after them." The attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the lives of 2,390 Americans, most of them servicemen.

September 18, 2001    CNN
Two weeks before the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., FBI agents were at a flight school in Oklahoma asking questions about a man now suspected of having a link to those attacks, sources said. The agents, sources said, were interested in Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested August 17 in Minnesota on an alleged passport violation. Moussaoui was in custody at the time of last week's attacks -- being held as a material witness -- but authorities are investigating whether he and others were part of a broader plot to hijack and crash even more jets. The fact that FBI agents were at the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, two weeks before any attacks would seem to contradict the agency's assertion that it was not aware of any connection between aviation schools and suspected terrorists. "There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country," FBI Director Robert Mueller said Monday. In another development, the FBI was warned six years ago of a terrorist plot to hijack commercial planes and slam them into the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters and other buildings, Philippine investigators said. Philippine authorities learned of the plot after a small fire in a Manila apartment, which turned out to be the hideout of Ramzi Yousef, who was later convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Yousef escaped at the time, but agents caught his right-hand man, Abdul Hakim Murad, who told them about plots to hijack U.S. jets. In Oklahoma, Moussaoui had apparently raised suspicious because he sought training in flying commercial jets despite having a lack of experience. The possibility that pilots were being trained for terrorist plots was revealed earlier this year during testimony at the trial of four men charged with the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa. U.S. prosecutors believe Osama bin Laden -- described as the "prime suspect" in the hijackings -- was behind that plot as well. He, in fact, was indicted for the 1998 bombings. U.S. investigators also believe that two of the dead World Trade Center hijackers had toured the Oklahoma facility, seeking flight training. Those two hijackers later enrolled in a Florida aviation school. More than 50 people are in government custody, held either as material witnesses to the investigation or on possible immigration violations. They're all being questioned about the attacks, Mueller said, and their level of cooperation has varied. Almost 200 other people are being sought for questioning.

September 19, 2001 Jane's Security
Israel's military intelligence service, Aman, suspects that Iraq is the state that sponsored the suicide attacks on the New York Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington. Directing the mission, Aman officers believe, were two of the world's foremost terrorist masterminds: the Lebanese Imad Mughniyeh, head of the special overseas operations for Hizbullah, and the Egyptian Dr Ayman Al Zawahiri, senior member of Al-Qaeda and possible successor of the ailing Osama Bin Laden. The two men have not been seen for some time. Mughniyeh is probably the world's most wanted outlaw. Unconfirmed reports in Beirut say he has undergone plastic surgery and is unrecognisable. Zawahiri is thought to be based in Egypt. He could be Bin Laden's chief representative outside Afghanistan. The Iraqis, who for several years paid smaller groups to do their dirty work, were quick to discover the advantages of Al-Qaeda. The Israeli sources claim that for the past two years Iraqi intelligence officers were shuttling between Baghdad and Afghanistan, meeting with Ayman Al Zawahiri. According to the sources, one of the Iraqi intelligence officers, Salah Suleiman, was captured last October by the Pakistanis near the border with Afghanistan. The Iraqis are also reported to have established strong ties with Imad Mughniyeh. "We've only got scraps of information, not the full picture," admits one intelligence source, "but it was good enough for us to send a warning six weeks ago to our allies that an unprecedented massive terror attack was expected. One of our indications suggested that Imad Mughniyeh met with some of his dormant agents on secret trips to Germany. We believe that the operational brains behind the New-York attack were Mughniyeh and Zawahiri, who were probably financed and got some logistical support from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO)." Mughniyeh was the only one believed to have tried it before. On April 12th 1997, he was reported to be only two hours away from achieving the highest goal of any terrorist organisation (until last week): blowing up an Israeli El-Al airliner above Tel Aviv. A man carrying a forged British passport with the name Andrew Jonathan Neumann was in a Jerusalem hotel preparing a bomb he was supposed to take on board an El-Al flight leaving Israel, when it accidentally went off. Andrew Jonathan Neumann was very badly injured but strong enough to reveal later to the Israelis that he was not British but Lebanese, and that his operation was supposed to be a special "gift" to Israel from Imad Mughniyeh. "Bin Laden is a schoolboy in comparison with Mughniyeh," says an Israeli who knows Mughniyeh . "The guy is a genius, someone who refined the art of terrorism to its utmost level. We studied him and reached the conclusion that he is a clinical psychopath motivated by uncontrollable psychological reasons, which we have given up trying to understand. The killing of his two brothers by the Americans only inflamed his strong motivation." Experts on Iraq and Saddam Hussein also believe that Iraq was the state behind the two terror masterminds. "In recent months, there was a change, and Iraq decided to get into the terror business. On July 7th, they tried for the first time to send a suicide bomber, trained in Baghdad, to blow up Tel Aviv airport (Foreign Report No. 2651)." Our sources believe that it will be very difficult to get to the bottom of this unprecedented terror operation. However, they believe the chief of the Iraqi SSO is Qusai Hussein, the dictator's son, and his organisation is the most likely to have been involved. Mughniyeh, 48, is a "sick man", says an intelligence officer who was in charge of his file. He is considered by Western intelligence agencies as the most dangerous active terrorist today. He is wanted by several governments and the Americans have put a $2m reward on his head. It was the assassination of one man in March 1984 that is said to have made Mughniyeh the CIA's most wanted terrorist. Mughniyeh allegedly kidnapped the head of the CIA station in Beirut, William Buckley. The kidnapping triggered what later became known as 'Irangate', when the Americans tried to exchange Buckley (and others) with arms for Iran. However, the attempt ended in a fiasco. By one unconfirmed account, Mughniyeh tortured and killed Buckley with his own hands. A year later, in a combined CIA/Mossad operation, a powerful car bomb went off at the entrance to the house of Hizbullah's spiritual leader, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. Seventy-five people were killed. One of them was his brother. Hunted by the CIA and the Mossad, Mughniyeh hid in Iran. In February 1992, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked the convoy of the then head of Hizbullah, Sheikh Abas Musawi, in South Lebanon. Musawi, his wife and children were killed and the revenge attack followed a month later. According to press reports, Mughniyeh was called back into action and, in a well-planned and devastating attack, his people blew up the Israeli embassy in Argentina. The building was demolished and 92 were killed. Only last year, after a long investigation, did Argentina issue a warrant for Mughniyeh's arrest. The reprisal for the attack in Argentina came in December 1994, when a car bomb went off in a southern Shi'ite suburb of Beirut. Four people were killed. One of them was called Mughniyeh, but to the deep disappointment of those Israelis who planted the bomb it was the wrong one. Mughniyeh's life was saved, but his other brother Fuad was killed. Mughniyeh waited for his opportunity for revenge. Our Israeli sources claim to see Mughniyeh's signature on the wreckage in New York and Washington. How to counter this kind of terrorism? "To fight these bastards you don't need a military attack," said an experienced Israeli commando officer. "You only need to adopt Israel's assassination policy."

September 27, 2001  NewsMax Wires  Islamic Calendar for Sept. 2001   Jet hitting lower Manhattan

A calendar which was printed in Egypt and for the month of September shows a crashing passenger plane with Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop -- and which was printed in May, a full three months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America -- has caused an uproar in the Dutch town of Almere, Netherlands, the newspaper De Telegraaf reported yesterday.  The calendar was distributed at an Islamic school long before the World Trade Center attacks. Mayor Hans Ouwerkerk, who was alerted to the calendar's existence in the local Islamic school in the town of Almere, immediately notified the Dutch internal security service (BVD) about the strange coincidence. The BVD is reportedly investigating the matter. "I am supported by Allah, to die for Allah" was quoted on the calendar. The Almere Town Council has "urgently advised" the management of the Islamic School Foundation to "cooperate with the Dutch authorities and help determine the calender's origin." Deputy Mayor Henk Smeeman said the distribution of such controversial Islamic-extremist fundamentalist propaganda material "cannot be tolerated in Almere. The Town Council is a strong supporter of maintaining good intercultural relationships with one another," he said. Some of the calendar's other illustrations show a stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrator in front of the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem, an Egyptian military assault during the six-day war against Israel, and a futuristic image of a Palestinian "freeing" of Jerusalem. The head of the Islamic school, Mrs. Dekker, allegedly had a large number of calenders in her possession from the end of May to the beginning of June, well-informed sources informed De Telegraaf. When confronted with the calender images, she responded in a shocked, startled manner, asking "How did you get this" before shrouding herself in silence when further questioned by journalists. De Telegraaf also reported today that Dutch authorities abruptly closed the major traffic arteries into Rotterdam and Amsterdam through four river tunnels -- in immediate response to a highly detailed letter to the Dutch news agency ANP that described the exact time (8:10 a.m.) and the colors and types of vehicles that would have been used in a closely timed wave of suicide attacks at the height of rush hour in two of the world's busiest harbor cities.  Dutch police arrested a large number of individuals who had been identified by the anonymous tipster, who also warned that a great many other terrorist attacks would be carried out worldwide. Collapsing these riverine tunnels would have meant the immediate closure of these busy international harbors, seriously disrupting international trade.

September 27, 2001  NJ News - The Record
Mohamed Atta, suspected of being one of the hijackers of a jetliner that was flown into the World Trade Center, bought a one-way plane ticket to Spain from a South Paterson travel agent in July, sources said Wednesday. Days later, several media reports said, Atta held a clandestine rendezvous at a Costa Dorada beach resort with two other suspected hijackers. On July 6, Atta reportedly boarded a Swissair jet at Miami International Airport and arrived in Madrid the following day after changing planes in Zurich.From there, not all of Atta's movements are publicly known. The newspaper La Vanguardia reported that he arrived on July 16 in the city of Salou, a Spanish resort city on the Mediterranean coast. There, Spanish police believe, he met with Waleed M. Alshari and Wail Alshari, two other suspected terrorists, the newspaper reported. Spanish police believe that the Alsharis may have been traveling on false American passports, La Vanguardia said. U.S. authorities have said Atta and the two Alsharis were aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the Boston jet that hit the World Trade Center's north tower. Atta's July visit to Spain was reportedly not his first. In January, he is believed to have made a weeklong trip to the European country, flying the same route, Miami to Madrid, the Los Angeles Times reported. During one of the trips to Spain, "a senior Iraqi intelligence officer was also in the country," CNN reported, citing unnamed sources. Although terrorism experts have suggested the possibility of Iraqi involvement in the terror strikes, U.S. officials have not publicly raised the issue.

October 1, 2001  Open Letter from Ray Lahr to NTSB
Captain Ray Lahr (ret.)
18254 Coastline Drive
Malibu, CA 90265

Mr. Daniel D. Campbell
Managing Director
National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, D.C. 20594

Dear Mr. Campbell:

This letter pertains to the TWA800 transcript titled, “Correspondence from the CIA and Transcript of the CIA Briefing to the Witness Group, April 30, 1999, Docket No. SA-516, Appendix FF.”

Starting on page 52, line 21:

MR. WALTERS (ALPA): ……….. I want to know what it is we’re looking at on the airplane that is causing such a bright light that it can be seen 40 miles away.

CIA ANALYST #1: I would think that that light would be produced by fuel burning in some way. There was some residual fuel in the center fuel tank. If an explosion occurred, it’s the fumes that explode. It is not the liquid fuel. If the integrity of the center tank is ruptured and the fuel is now dispersed into the air, and it’s burning, that could be a source of that light.

MR. WALTERS: It could be. But typically, a fuel air mixture doesn’t burn that way. Typically. I mean –

CIA ANALYST #1: We did not address -- we left that type of analysis to NTSB, people that are looking at the plane itself. We’re saying this is where -- the plane was in this location when that light appeared in the sky.


CIA ANALYST #1: That’s what our analysis was.

MR. RODRIGUES (BOEING): To add to that, there’s residual fuel, 50 gallons, the airplane’s climbing so it has a nose up attitude and it has even more of a nose up attitude now because the nose is off, those 50 gallons to begin with are in the back part of the tank. The tank exploded and vented forward, the front part of the tank opened up. But the back part didn’t, at that point. So if this fuel is burning, it’s burning in the tank and in a way that would keep it from being visible, I think. So what’s actually burning is a question that kind of comes up.

MR. CAMPBELL (NTSB): If you don’t mind, I’m going to ask CIA Analyst #1 not to answer that question.

MR. LOEB (NTSB): He’s handled it fine. He’s already said that’s something he’s not going to analyze.

MR. RODRIGUES: We’ll have to try and deal with it.

MR. LOEB: I think there is an explanation, but we will obviously have to deal with that, and we’ll do so, Dennis. But it’s not something that they have done.


So, what is the explanation? How could fifty gallons burning in the back of that cavernous center fuel tank be seen at 40 miles? Fifty gallons would only be a small puddle in the back of that tank and it couldn’t run out with the nose high attitude. How could flames in that tank be seen at all from the side or back or top or bottom of the aircraft? There you had two parties to the investigation representing ALPA and Boeing who doubted that the flames could be seen unless one were directly in front of TWA800. I likewise do not believe that flames from only 50 gallons burning in the back of the center fuel tank could have been seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses several miles away (remember, most of them were looking at the side of the aircraft). The only thing that could have caused the huge explosive ball and trailing flames that were seen and heard and felt by witnesses for miles up and down Long Island would have been the rupture of a wing tank (or tanks) holding thousands of gallons of fuel.

I am curious about why you and Mr. Loeb would not let the CIA Analyst #1 answer the question by Mr. Rodrigues. Mr. Loeb promised that the NTSB “will obviously have to deal with that, and we’ll do so, Dennis.” (Dennis is the first name of Mr. Rodrigues).

How did the NTSB fulfill that promise?


Ray Lahr

Cc: Open letter

October 10, 2001 Transcript of David Schippers interview with Alex Jones

The FBI knows another terrorist attack is being planned now in Oklahoma City - attack site unknown.

The FBI has and is prohibiting their agents or local police from taking known terrorists into custody.

An Iraqi terrorist cell is involved and was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.

In the following interview, reference to Iraqi terrorists refers to Iraqi Republican Guard resettled near Oklahoma City by former Pres. George Bush after the Gulf War.

David Schippers Interview Alex Jones Radio Show Oct. 10, 2001

DS: Oklahoma City and, frankly, when I first heard the information, I just poo-pooed it, as did everybody else - they thought here comes another one of those crazy conspiracy theories, you know. The woman who is a former investigative reporter down in Oklahoma City wrote to me after I came back from Washington and just, you know - congratulations - you did a hell of a job. I wrote back and the next thing you know she wrote back again and told me that she had information indicating a middle eastern connection. I called her at that point and just for my own conscious if there was something out there I'd want to find out about it - she began to tell me what she had and she sent me a short summary - a couple of pages - laying out what she had garnered during her investigations. It really piqued by interest. So I asked her if she had more. She said yes she had an awful lot of stuff, but she wouldn't want to send it up through the mail or any other way. So she and her husband flew up to Chicago and brought a mass of information - I mean affidavits, all kinds of things.

AJ: And we've had Col. Craig Roberts, who was a detective working the case on this show many times, a month before attack, predicting one was imminent. He has all that same information. They actually arrested some of these guys and the Justice Dept. in 1995 said to release them.

DS: That's right - and the words out today that they are not even allowed to touch them, the Oklahoma City police are not allowed to touch these people. And from what I'm understanding, they are up to something again in Oklahoma City. I don't know what it is or what their target is but these same people are at it again. The terrible thing here else, something that few people know that there was a warning sent out. Have you ever heard ofYoussef Bodansky?

AJ: Yes.

DS: He is the guy that wrote the book about Bin Laden. He was hooked up with some Congressional leaders in the House - kind of an unofficial, for lack of a better word, a strike force, a task force on terrorism. They sent out a warning on February 19, 1995, saying there was going to be a massive attack by the terrorists in the heartland of the United States and it was going to be a federal facility. Everybody ignored it. By the way, I have seen that warning, I have seen that warning. I don't have it in front of me so I can't go into the specifics of it too heavily but at the same time, there was in that warning that there was going to be a massive attack in Washington - it took them six years to do it. The targets were going to be Washington, the White House and the Capitol Building. - And that they were going to use airliners to attack them.

AJ: Now later you got it from FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota that there was going to an attack on lower Manhattan.

DS: Yea - and that's what started me calling. I started calling out there. First of all, I tried to see if I could get a Congressman to go to bat for me and at least bring these people out there and listen to them. I sent them information and nobody cared. It was always, "We'll get back to you", "we'll get back to you", "we'll get back to you." Then I reached out and tried to get to the Attorney General, when finally we got an attorney general in there that I would be willing to talk to. And, again, I used people who were personal friends of John Ashcroft to try to get him. One of them called me back and said, "Alright I have talked to him. He will call you tomorrow morning." This was like a month before the bombing. The next morning I got a call. It wasn't from Ashcroft. It was from somebody in the Justice Dept.

AJ: One of his handlers.

DS: Yea, and I started telling him the situation and he said, "You know we don't start our investigations at the top." I said I would like to talk to the Attorney General because this is vital. He said, "We don't start our investigations at the top. Let me look into this and I will get back to you." As I sit here today, I have never heard from him.

AJ: Again, David Schippers, you are big in Washington, you were the top lawyer that got Clinton impeached, you are highly respected, you know the Senators, the Congressmen. You're calling up. You've got these FBI agents and others feeding you this information. They're being pulled off the cases, they're angry. That's even been in the news now, from Minnesota and Florida and Illinois. They know what's going to happen. The Sudanese in '96 and '98 tried to arrest Bin Laden for Clinton, tried to give us the names of Al Qaeda, Clinton wouldn't take it.

DS: Didn't want any part of it.

AJ: Wouldn't touch it. So we've got all this developing. We've got police officers and FBI on the ground who know who bombed Oklahoma City. They've got them in custody with blue jogging suits and bomb-making components. They are ordered to release them. All of this is unfolding - 3500 to 5000 Iraqi Republican Guard (living near OKC), we know there is a Saddam/Iraqi connection here - I mean they knew this. Why in the world, David Shippers, did they allow this to take place?

DS: I'll tell you something. This one of the things that, to me, it is almost inconceivable, inconceivable that with the knowledge they had that they would turn their back. Just assume that they had investigated and gone in after the Oklahoma City bombing , as they are going now. There never would have been an attack on the Trade Towers. If they had done, 5 to 6 years ago what they are doing now, there probably would have had Bin Laden and that gang all stopped by now. But, I don't know, as a human being, as a former prosecutor, as a lawyer and a guy who represents police and agents all over the United States, it is inconceivable to me that those bureaucrats in Washington would turn their back on the obvious for their own purposes.

AJ: And now the World Trade Center Complex is absolutely destroyed.

DS: Yes, 6000 people are dead. And there is more coming. There is more coming.

AJ: Now you say, from your sources, I know you represent a bunch of FBI agents who are hopping mad, you probably can't talk about the specifics, you say you are representing them. Are they getting ready to sue or something?

DS: Well they are hoping to, but what do you sue for? What I'm trying to do is get the people in Washington - you see these agents can't come out. The only information that I have is information that is public knowledge. They can't tell me anything that is confidential or anything that is secret, or anything like that. I'm talking about what is public knowledge and these guys can't say anything unless they are subpoenaed.

AJ: That's why you want to get into a court.

DS: I don't want to get into a court. I want to get them into the intelligence committee. I want to get them to talk to the Attorney General, to Gov. Ridge, to General Downing or to somebody who has the ability or the authority to go to the FBI bureaucrats and say "Butt out!" - we are going to do this right.

AJ: I'm sure you are aware that on the History Channel, they are reporting that we had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack and they allowed that to take place.

DS: Sure.

AJ: And now you see the UN empowered, the World Court empowered. It looks like the UN is going to get to take over that oil supply in Central Asia. The face scanning cameras - now they are on the fast track. This has sure brought the police state into a lot more focus.

DS: It sure has. I've been saying for years that once you have license, the next step is tyranny. It really is scary. The whole thing is scary. Remember the Palmer raids when they had the Reds scare in the early twentieth century and they just went out and rounded up everybody and threw them in jails and deported them. Our freedoms took a real hit. I hope to God that we don't run into the same thing this time. The people are saying, "I want to be safe." Who was it, Ben Franklin said if you give up your liberties for security, you will eventually lose both your liberties and your security.

AJ: Absolutely.

AJ: We're talking to David Schippers. We're discussing FBI agents across the country having prior knowledge of the attacks, trying to get these guys arrested or even to get a warrant, knowing they were associates of Bin Laden, others being trained at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, Clinton not wanting the names of Al Queda when they had the chance, there is so much evidence of prior knowledge. How did this happen with the Bush administration, when you are trying to get to Ashcroft and telling them that they is a plan to attack lower Manhattan very soon and what was the intel you were getting from these agents?

DS: Well, a lot of this wasn't coming from the agents. When the bomb hit (WTC attack) and everybody said we have to find the money (trail) and stop the money. The only place the money was actually identified and stopped was in Chicago. There was actually a lawsuit, a case filed here in Chicago, in which money that had been earmarked for Hamas, to be used for terrorism, was grabbed by the United States government - and seized and forfeited, and that was here in Chicago.

AJ: But that agent had to go through a lot of grief to get that done.

DS: An agent actually filed the affidavit. I'm not talking about anything that is confidential. This agent here in Chicago filed the affidavit where he laid out the whole way that the money moves, the way that it is handled, how it comes out of the middle east into Chicago area and into the United States, how it is covered, how the operatives are covered, how the money is transferred back and where it's kept while its here. And that affidavit ran like 30 pages - laying it out. And he had to go through hell on earth in Washington, he had to fight like a tiger - everybody in his own bureau and in the Dept. of Justice was against him - and still is.

AJ: Now the FBI agents in Minnesota knew about this and had the evidence but they couldn't even get a wiretap or a warrant to search these guys.

DS: Exactly.

AJ: We're talking about some of the actual hijackers.

DS: Exactly. And this woman who was talking to me, she had other contacts, who were in Naval Intelligence and other areas, and she was reporting that there was one of these terrorists who was involved in the bombing in Oklahoma City - was working at the Boston airport. A friend of mine who happens to be an agent had information that there were Hamas operatives working in baggage and areas at O'Hare Airport with free access to any part of the airport. But no one would listen. They just said it's not true, it can't happen that way. I'll tell you something. I don't know if it was because Clinton and his boys didn't want the United States to realize that Flight 800 was a terrorist attack and that Oklahoma City was a terrorist attack because they didn't want to admit that the intelligence of the United States was totally destroyed.

AJ: Well Craig Roberts says it best. They wanted to demonized the patriot organizations and create this internal security force to watch Americans....

DS: Exactly.

AJ: because the "precious Arabs", they can't do anything wrong.

DS: And that's exactly what they started. I forget which nitwit it was that came out and said you can blame the Rush Limbaugh's and the talk show hosts who are fomenting this terror.

AJ: That was Bill Clinton.

DS: Yea, Clinton made that statement. And they had a handy guy in McVeigh. I also know from affidavits that I have read that there were eyewitnesses who saw the middle eastern man running from the scene (OKC bombing) along side McVeigh.

AJ: And why don't the feds just release those 12 surveillance camera tapes if it is just McVeigh alone?

DS: Those surveillance camera tapes are going to show that there was a middle eastern man running with him. Some of these people who gave affidavits were interviewed by the FBI during the course of the investigation. They were interviewed about the second person that they saw and the agents tried to make them say or suggested to them that the second person was Nichols. Every single one of these people said absolutely not, it was a middle-eastern type individual.

AJ: Al Hussani (sp)

DS: Now, listen to this. None of those investigative reports; none of those 302s have ever surfaced. So the FBI comes up with all these thousands of documents which they claimed they overlooked but the key ones where they tried to get them to say it was Nichols never surfaced.

AJ: It is so important that all of you out there contact your representatives, contact the White House, contact the Justice Dept. and say talk to David Schippers. He's a man we can trust who helped get Clinton impeached. Talk about a dangerous job - who then wrote a book detailing the black mail, the intimidation by Clinton in the Senate. And now we find out that weeks and months before he had the news, the feds, the investigators telling him these terrorists are all over the place ... Now David Shippers, the knowledge, the information, you told me yesterday on the phone that it was lower Manhattan, months before, you are trying to get into see Ashcroft, they wouldn't let you do it. What were the reports you were getting about the attack on lower Manhattan?

DS: The original report that I got was that they had arranged for three attacks on the United States - one, they were going to take down an airline; two, they were going to attack a federal facility in the heartland of the United States; and the third one was going to be a massive attack in lower Manhattan.

AJ: The first was TWA 800, then Oklahoma City...

DS: The original intelligence that was reported to me, and this was not first hand obviously, that the original plan was a suitcase nuclear weapon.

AJ: Now we gotten that from Col. Roberts and a bunch of other people...

DS: I've ran into a lot of nuts who came up with a not of strange theories, outer space, and things like that. But these people who I was talking to were very, very credible people. For example, Jayna Davis took everything she had ...

AJ: Tell us who she is, one more time...for those who just tuned in

DS: She was an investigative reporter working for a TV station in Oklahoma City at the time of the bombing.

AJ: And they had these very middle-eastern Bin Laden, Saddam minions, interviewing these guys.

DS: Yes, absolutely. She identified by the name the guy who was the one. Recently, she came up with some evidence that another guy there actually admitted that he was part of the World Trade Center bombing. He's still walking around. I mean they are taking people into custody, they are offering rewards, but these guys are still there and still doing their little thing.

AJ: That's the point I'm trying to make. The government has their names, knows who the cells are, the 3500 Iraqi....

DS: I don't know if they do because when Jayna had all this material.. I'm talking about 3 giant loose-leaf binders full of affidavits and other material. This woman did a job of investigating that would make the Mossad look bad.

AJ: The New York Times came in and bought up her TV station and got rid of her.

DS: Well, they bought up the TV station and got rid of her and also tried to make her turn over notes and films and stuff like that but she beat them court. She's still got them.

AJ: Here's the bottom line question. The attack on lower Manhattan, the third big attack. We know you tried to get to the Attorney General. What did you say?

DS: My first move was to go through some of the people that I knew in Congress because I was working on two fronts. On the one hand I wanted to get someone to listen to Jayna about Oklahoma City; on the other hand, I was trying to get someone to understand that Hamas has infiltrated the United States so thoroughly that I don't how long it will take to run them out. All over the United States. They had a training camp for terrorism at Chicago.

AJ: There is a mosque at UT for the young Islamics, they raise money for terrorism right there. And nothing is being done.

DS: Bill O'Reilly had that guy from southern Florida University that raised money for Hamas. And whenever you mention Hamas, everybody says it's a humanitarian organization.

AJ: No, they're not.

DS: They're humanitarian like Hitler was humanitarian. They are terrorists and they will never be anything but terrorists.

AJ: And we are not supposed to criticize these people.

DS: No, you can't say anything. I just heard about the young man whose sister was injured in the World Trade Center and he put up an American flag and some American slogans on his locker at school. They gave him a ten-day suspension because they said it might be offensive to some of the Arab students.

AJ: They are saying the American flag is racist.

DS: Isn't that lovely.

AJ: Let's stop the evil American flag from being flown at your business or at your university, but let's leave the Hamas people alone.

DS: You know the guy that cut the throat of that bus driver in Tennessee was here on a one-month visa and he had overstayed his visa by what - a year and a half, two years. Until somebody starts listening, I'm telling you, I see on television, I see them saying that the president has said that these tapes that are coming from Bin Laden may very well be signals or codes to terrorists in the United States.

AJ: And why is every network running them?

DS: Bingo. You tell me. When they say that they may very well be signals, he can give all the signals he wants in Pakistan and Afghanistan but if the American networks don't carry it, then they won't out. But the American networks are saying that people have a right to know.

AJ: And they are calling for more attacks on the tapes.

DS: Yea, the latest tape specifically made reference to the heart of the United States.

AJ: Yea, attack the heartland - you said your intel or your sources....

DS: They are doing something down there in Oklahoma City. The folks in Oklahoma City tell me they are up to something. There are deliveries being made, there is material being moved and places being opened... One of the methods they use to cover their operatives while in the States is they set up some garbage or a pretend garage - or a filling station where they can all allegedly work. But they're not working there, it's not really a garage, it's just a location to cover them. I tried the House, I tried the Senate, I tried the Dept. of Justice, I didn't go to the FBI because I know there is a roadblock there and I didn't go to the Justice Dept. until Ashcroft got in there because I know there's roadblocks out there. These are the very people who put up roadblocks on the attack against the terrorists under Clinton, they are still there. They still constitute, almost like moat, between the people with information and the people who should hear the information.

AJ: Well we know that Clinton released 16 members of the FALN.

DS: Sure. Well he had to win New York didn't he? He had to win New York for Hillary.

AJ: So when you are talking to these people at the Dept. of Justice, folks at Congress, what do they say?

DS: They say, that's wonderful, we'll get right back to you. I have never got a call back. I was on a radio program out east, Pittsburgh, and I just hinted that the FBI was sitting on information when they should have been sharing it with others and, as a result, there was a breakdown in intelligence. And the next morning, I got a call from the office of the Speaker of the House, who happens to be an Illinois Republican.

AJ: Hastert.

DS: Yes, Hastert. They hadn't heard the show but they said we understand you've got some information, etc. I said, yes I do, I would really like to share it with somebody. I have at least two and maybe three witnesses that should be subpoenaed to come out there and testify in executive session and tell you what I was talking about. Ok. We'll get back to you. Never heard from them. Couple of days later, I got a call from the Senate Intelligence Committee. We hear that you've got information, etc. Yes, I have information and I'd be perfectly willing to bring it out to you. I'd be perfectly willing to have my witnesses go in there and testify but they have to be subpoenaed. And by the way, I will not talk to staffers because the staffers don't tell the Congressman what they found out. Ok, we'll get back to you. That was last week, I still haven't heard from them.

AJ: So bottom line - and my intelligence sources who were police officers who actually worked the case, FBI who worked the OKC bombing case, grand jury witnesses, are saying they are getting ready for something big, not just in Oklahoma, but out on the West Coast as well. That's the intel I'm getting and nothing is being done. They are just talking about national ID cards, face scanning, troops with no bullets in the airports, they are not going to arm the pilots, this is sick!

DS: The whole thing is unbelievable. You know, I talk to people who are in the media, people who are well aware of what is going on and they cannot believe that this is happening.

AJ: Can we get you on the O'Reilly factor to talk about this?

DS: I've been on O'Reilly but not to talk about this. You know Jayna was on twice and she laid it out. She got a call and she said that Dave Shippers was representing her - so I think that might have precipitated a call from someone in Washington who immediately said I'll get back to you and that was the end of it. Strangely enough, the one group I haven't heard from is the FBI intelligence people. Of course, if I did hear from them I wouldn't talk to them anyhow, because they are totally incompetent.

AJ: They got their funding tripled after OKC bombing....

DS: Sure, that's great and they can all sit around and tell everybody that their informants told them this or that. They are running around grabbing people they should have grabbed 5 years ago.

AJ: What are your sources saying about the Oklahoma City area?

DS: That somebody is up to something down there. I know of phone calls going to Iraq from some of these guys. I know of phone calls from one of the known, one of the named terrorists by the FBI, he is making calls to a place that is identical to one of the people that I am talking about. In other words, same place...

AJ: Did you see Bush show pictures of Bin Laden's minions?

DS: Yes, the most wanted.

AJ: But we have people involved, fingered, witnesses on tape there at the Oklahoma City bombing at the scene, later apprehended with the jogging suits, with the materials, then told to be released by the Justice Dept. back in '95.

DS: They don't want any part of it. Jayna's got the original police radio calls. And in the original calls, it said to be on the lookout for this truck that was being driven by a middle-eastern type individual. That was the original one and I remember, at one point, one police officer called in and said by whose authority do we stop this guy. And they said: authority FBI, Oklahoma City. Then shortly thereafter, the all-points-bulletins stopped and there was never another word. Remember how they said that he (McVeigh) had been with a militant group in Michigan and how we all have to hunker down because they crazy right wing maniacs are liable to do anything. Nobody wanted to tell it like it was because it would turn out that the crazy rightwing maniacs were right all along.

AJ: And had been warning people about the threat.

DS: Yea.

AJ: So where does it go from here?

DS: Well, I'm still trying, I'm still trying to get somebody to listen to me out there and to listen to my witnesses - and to, at least, take the material. You know, Jayna Davis, took the same stuff she showed me and walked into the FBI at Oklahoma City and said here, I have all this material, it may be of some assistance to you. They said, we don't want it. They refused to even take it.

AJ: You can see the motive. I see more intelligence funding, I see the cashless society with biometrics, I see an expanded UN, I see NATO planes patrolling our skies, I see global government being empowered and a takeover of the middle east and Central Asia. I see great dividends for them by allowing this to happen.

DS: I hope to God that you're wrong, I do. I can't fight or argue with you because it does seem to be heading that way. However, I think the problem is that they covered up the TWA 800 bombing, they covered up the Oklahoma City bombing, but when the whole world watched those two planes hit the Towers, there is no way they could blame that on a local group. They have to get into it now and I think - I'm not talking about Ashcroft or the president, I'm not talking about the street agent. They are the greatest men on the face of the earth, as far as I'm concerned - the FBI street agent, the guys out there going door to door.

AJ: Yea, but in Minnesota they did they job...

DS: Sure and they got hurt for it. AJ: and they got pulled off the case.

DS: And in Chicago, they did their job and they got pulled off the case. And down in Oklahoma City, you've got those three agents. And what did they do? The method by which they stopped them. They bring some garbage charge against them and then say well they are dissidents. They try to affect their credibility by that.

AJ: For trying to protect their country, the heroes get crucified.

DS: The heroes get crucified and the bureaucrats sit out there and tell each other what a great job they are doing until another city blows up. And then they say, they need more tools. They have all the tools in the world. They could have found the money (trail) years ago if they had just listened. Sorry, if I sound mad, I am.

AJ: No, I'm angry too. They've got biologicals, they've got chemicals. They've got suitcase nukes. As you said, that was the original plan. It could happen any time - from the same sources that you have that I have. David Schippers, I can only commend you for going public with this because you do have so much credibility.

DS: We've got to go public. We tried to do it the right way, we tried to do it by going to the people in whom you would normally repose your confidence and trust. It didn't work. Nobody cares.

Listen to the archive of the 10/10/01 Alex Jones Show, as David Schippers says the Government had prior knowledge of the 9-11 attacks. Click here to listen

October 11, 2001   NY Times
The assault in Europe on the network believed to be behind the terror attacks in the United States continued today, with the arrest of four people in Italy and Germany and charges brought against four people suspected of being Islamic militants in France. The action came one day after police in Ireland detained four men they suspect of possible links to Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi fugitive who is the prime suspect in the attacks in the United States. The Italian interior minister, Claudio Scajola, announced the detention of three men in Milan who are suspected of recruiting volunteers for terrorist training camps run by Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan. They were identified by news agencies as Lased bin Heni of Libya, and Riyadh Jelassi and Muhammad bin Belgacem Awadi, both of Tunisia.  Mr. Scajola said a fourth individual was detained by the police in Munich, suspected of having cooperated with the group in Milan. No further details were given. The arrests in Milan were made by police officers who raided an apartment in the early morning hours with a warrant to detain five men suspected of working for Mr. bin Laden's network, an Italian official said. Two men for whom warrants were issued were detained and a third was held for possession of false documents. Officials said the three other men who were sought had apparently fled Italy. The group in Milan was working to recruit men for training in Afghanistan, Mr. Scajola told reporters in Rome. He said the group was suspected of being supported by Mr. bin Laden and had been under surveillance for some time. He did not elaborate. The action by the Italian authorities was part of an antiterrorist sweep by a Milan prosecutor, Stefano Dambruoso, that led in April to the arrest of five other men with potential links to Mr. bin Laden. One of the men detained by Mr. Dambruoso in April, Essid Sami ben Khemais, a Tunisian, is suspected by the police in Spain of having met there last year with Mohamed Atta, the hijacker of one plane that rammed the World Trade Center. Mr. Atta traveled to Spain on two occasions before the Sept. 11 attacks, and the Spanish authorities suspect the two men may have met there. Spain, with a sizable North African and Arab population, has been used in the past as a point of entry and a temporary refuge for groups involved in terrorism. Mr. Scajola made his remarks after a meeting in Rome with the Spanish interior minister, Mariano Rajoy. Spanish officials have said Mr. Atta spent two weeks in Spain in July, after arriving there from Florida, though a meeting with Mr. ben Khemais would have had to take place during an earlier visit. The police activities represent a highly visible effort to crack down on Islamic radicals across Europe. In Ireland, the two men arrested were Zaid Haich, an Algerian, and Abdul Qadir, from Libya, who are suspected of using charitable organizations in Dublin to funnel money to supporters of Mr. bin Laden. The Irish economic boom of recent years has greatly increased the number of people of Arab descent who have come seeking jobs. Two other men, Abrahim Bazir and Muhammad al-Masrati, both of Libyan descent, were also detained. Mr. Bazir is a naturalized citizen of Ireland who has lived there for more than two decades. The Irish police said the four men, all in their 20's and 30's, were suspected of providing money and false documents to Islamic terrorists operating in Europe. The charges brought in France were the result of activities to prevent violence at a soccer game on Saturday between teams from France and Algeria, a French official said. Acting on information obtained through telephone taps, the French police arrested the men in their homes in Paris suburbs, seizing weapons, ammunition, bulletproof vests and a manual for making explosives, the official said. It was the first time teams from France and Algeria met in soccer since Algeria obtained its independence from the French in 1962. But the game had to be interrupted after large numbers of Algerian fans poured out of the stands and onto the field. The French declined to identify all the men, who were charged with conspiring to carry out terrorist acts. But one is named Nassredine Mamache, who was put on trial last month together with 23 other individuals whom the French charge with supplying weapons to the Armed Islamic Group, radicals who carried out a wave of bombings in Paris in 1995. Prosecutors in that case have accused Mr. Mamache of being a member of an extremist Islamic group, Takfir wal Hijira, a movement with roots in Egypt that is believed to have links to Mr. bin Laden. There appeared to be no direct connection between the French action and the attacks in the United States.

November 3, 2001 Indianapolis Star Justice Department won't let agent testify - JAMES PATTERSON
While Terry Nichols, already convicted on federal charges in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, returned to court Monday to face the state's case against him, the government was squirming to squelch evidence that Nichols and Timothy McVeigh did not act by themselves. Nichols' attorneys asked Judge Ray Dean Linder if former FBI Agent Dan Vogel could testify that he had received 22 affidavits from Oklahomans who had seen McVeigh in the company of Middle Eastern men in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the bombing, and on the day of the attack. Nichols' attorney, Barbara Bergman, said Agent Vogel, who has since retired, also wanted to testify that he had sent the 22 affidavits he got from former TV investigative reporter Jayna Davis to FBI Agent Henry C.Gibbons. But the FBI has not shared those affidavits with anyone, and may have destroyed them. On Monday, Judge Linderruled that Vogel could not testify for Nichols' regarding the affidavits because the Justice Department doesn't want the former FBI agent to be heard. "The ruling was that he (Linder) would not permit him (Agent Vogel) to testify because the Department of Justice had taken the position that it would not authorize his testimony," Bergman said Thursday.

Is our own Justice Department so terrified of the truth that it won't let a retired FBI agent testify about affidavits regarding the Oklahoma City bombing? Can the government legally do this? It can try, Bergman says. "The Supreme Court said (in United States vs. Touhy) that a state court judge could not hold an employee of the Department of Justice in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena if they had been ordered not to provide the information by their superior," Bergman said. "Tom Majors, who is an assistant U.S. attorney, testified at Monday's hearing that he had received a letter from the Department of Justice refusing to authorize such testimony." Like Vogel, Davis has been trying to get this story out. The former reporter, who prepared a series of investigative reports about the bombing for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City and testified before a grand jury in the case, met with Larry Andrews of the Oklahoma District Attorney's Office in 1997. She gave Andrews summaries of recorded statements with more than two dozen witnesses who identified several Arab men tied to various stages of the bombing plot. Also included in that packet were 200 pages of police and court records along with statements by law enforcement and intelligence sources that corroborated aspects of the eyewitnesses' testimony. In September of 1997 on the eve of Nichols' trial, Davis tried to turn the same evidence over to the FBI but they refused to take it. Davis' attorney, W. Dan Nelson, has sworn in an affidavit that he was there when his client also turned over the 22 affidavits to Vogel. Here's a portion of Nelson's affidavit:

"In connection with my representation of Ms. Davis, on January 28, 1999, I attended a meeting with Ms. Davis and her husband, Drew Davis, at the Oklahoma City FBI Offices at 50 Penn Place. We met with Dan Vogel, a Special Agent of the FBI. "The purpose of the meeting was for Ms. Davis to turn over to the FBI via Mr. Vogel copies of affidavits she had obtained from various individuals who had information that appeared to be relevant to the bombing. During the course of the meeting, Ms. Davis provided Mr. Vogel with twenty-two sworn affidavits. She also expressed concern about the safety of one of the witnesses."

In the time since Vogel turned over the affidavits to his superior, neither of the defense teams for McVeigh nor Nichols has seen them. There's not much doubt of McVeigh's or Nichols' complicity in the bombing, but withholding evidence that implicates other suspects in a murder case is obstruction of justice. It matters not if the entity withholding that evidence is the Justice Department. "What are they hiding?" said Chicago attorney David P. Schippers, lead impeachment lawyer against President Clinton. "What are they hiding that they won't let an agent testify? There is no excuse for it; none whatever. "You know the more things change, the more they stay the same," Schippers said. "I thought that was just confined to the Justice Department under Clinton. Apparently the Justice Department thinks they run the entire country."

November 5, 2001 Open Letter from Captain Ray Lahr to NTSB

Captain Ray Lahr (ret)
18254 Coastline Drive
Malibu, CA 90265

Ronald S. Battocchi, General Council
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L’Enfant Plaza East, S.W.
Washington D.C. 20594-2000

Dear Mr. Battocchi:

Thank you for your letter of October 31, 2001. However, it still doesn’t address the issue. Let me explain the issue again. The NTSB made some secret calculations which led to an absurd zoom-climb conclusion. Then when challenged, the NTSB hid behind the claim that it used secret data which was “proprietary”. I submit that this is contrary to the basic mandate of a public accident investigation. Data and calculations which are fundamental to the conclusions reached in an accident investigation should be verifiable by all parties to the investigation and should be public knowledge.

Any kid who has played on a teeter-totter understands the fundamental principles involved in this issue. An aircraft in flight is analogous to a balanced teeter-totter. Suppose we have 574,000 lbs (the weight of TWA 800) on one side of a teeter-totter. That is a lot of weight so it is placed close to the center support (the center-of-gravity of TWA 800 was at 21.1% MAC which was about one foot ahead of the center-of-lift of the wing at 25% MAC). In order to balance the teeter-totter, we place a light load at the other far end (in this case, the tail of TWA 800 was exerting a downward force of about 5,218 lbs at a point about 110 feet behind the wing’s center-of-lift). TWA 800 was in balance which is a requisite for stable flight (574,000 lbs x 1 ft = 5,218 lbs x 110 ft).

Now look what happened when the nose of TWA 800 was blown off. The nose weighed 79,394 lbs. The center-of-gravity of the remaining 494,606 lbs moved aft to 11 ft (57.8% MAC) behind the center-of-lift. Now both the weight of the aircraft and the downward force of the tail combined to produce a nose-up torque of about 6,000,000 ft lbs (494,606 lbs x 11 ft + 5,218 lbs x 110 ft). It is like the heavy rider on a teeter-totter jumping to the other side – both riders slam to the ground.

How fast did the teeter-totter slam down? Boeing said that after nose separation, the angular moment-of-inertia was 15,780,000 slug ft^2. Dividing that into the torque gives an angular acceleration of about 22 degrees per sec^2. In one and a half seconds, the aircraft had pitched through full stall and was in free fall. Assuming the wing held together, the most the aircraft could have climbed before stall was less than 200 feet. This data was provided by Boeing. You can see that the 3,000 ft zoom-climb proposed by the NTSB was quite impossible. Somehow, the NTSB made a mistake in its calculations.

I believe my FOIA citizen rights entitle me to access the records, and I repeat my appeal for the records of the NTSB regarding its hypothetical zoom-climb.


Ray Lahr

Cc Open Letter

November 6, 2001  Open Letter from Captain Ray Lahr to NTSB

Captain Ray Lahr (ret.)
18254 Coastline Drive
Malibu, CA 90265

Daniel D. Campbell, Managing Director
National Transportation Safety Board
490 L’Enfant Plaza East, S.W.
Washington D.C., 20594-2000

Dear Mr. Campbell:

Thank you for your letter of October 26, 2001, even though it again denies my FOIA request to access your records pertaining to the zoom-climb of TWA 800. The only reason that you have put forward for denying my request continues to be the pretext that you used information from Boeing that is considered to be “proprietary”, and that Boeing will not allow you to disclose the information. You have provided some papers to me that were purportedly sent to the NTSB by Boeing, but all information had been carefully redacted. Also carefully redacted were the identities of all parties within Boeing who I might contact for confirmation of the origin of these documents, and who I might query directly regarding Boeing’s opinion of the zoom-climb. We do know that Boeing publicly denied any knowledge of the data and conclusions used by the CIA in its nationally televised cartoon of the zoom-climb. We also know that the CIA received its data and conclusions from the NTSB. At any rate, for the following reasons, my FOIA request for access to the NTSB records regarding the zoom-climb still stands.

During my airline career, I was very active in ALPA safety matters from 1965 to 1985 when I retired. I participated in all of United’s accident investigations during that period, and as the ALPA Los Angeles Area Safety Coordinator, I also participated in accident investigations for other airlines that occurred in southern California. I got to know a lot of your good people very well during that period. In all of that time, there was never a question of the NTSB withholding evidence from the parties to the investigation. When it came time to interview witnesses, all interested parties participated. When it came time to determine the flight path and trajectories of the wreckage, all interested parties participated. And when it came to working with the manufacturers, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas were open and cooperative in every case. Perhaps you can understand my dismay with the TWA 800 investigation where the interested parties were excluded from these activities. A secret investigation is a meaningless investigation.

My particular interest in the TWA 800 accident pertains to the zoom-climb hypothesized by the NTSB. In my opinion, there is just no way a commercial aircraft can lose everything forward of the wing and continue to fly long enough to climb 3,000 feet. The cockpit and all control inputs were gone. The center of gravity shifted so far aft that the aircraft immediately pitched up past a full stall and became a freely falling object.

But for the moment, let us forget that this was a Boeing 747 shrouded in “proprietary” secrecy. My challenge to you and everyone on your staff is to show how any commercial aircraft could have climbed 3,000 feet under those circumstances. You pick the aircraft. When any aircraft in balanced flight experiences an instantaneous shift in the center-of-gravity from 21.1% MAC to 57.8% MAC, the pitch-up torque is overwhelming. Where are the aerodynamic forces that could nullify that torque and restrain the pitch-up long enough to keep the wing in a flying attitude that could generate the lift required to climb 3,000 feet?

If the NTSB can’t show how any commercial aircraft could have climbed 3,000 feet under the circumstances of this accident, then it is a tacit admission that the NTSB has lied to the public and issued a false conclusion in its accident report.

I look forward to your reply.


Ray Lahr

Cc:  Open letter

November 13, 2001  The O'Reilly Factor
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Unresolved Problem segment tonight, both black boxes have now been found and authorities are still maintaining that the most likely reason for the crash of Flight 587 was mechanical failure. But no one is ruling out sabotage. Joining us now from Washington is Vernon Grose, a former investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. Your old outfit held a press conference a couple of hours ago, Mr. Gross. And they basically said that this is what they got from the black box, that there was an airframe rattling noise for about two minutes and 24 seconds. It got louder. And as it got louder, the pilots indicated they were losing control of the plane. Does that tell you anything?

VERNON GROSSE, FMR. NTSB INVESTIGATOR: Well, it tells me that the flight was longer than some reports have called it. They said it was about 87 seconds, which is one minute and a half. And so it's longer. I don't know when the recording was really being tapped. It has 30 minutes to run. So it'll be interesting. I'm more concerned about what the NTSB says about that because if there's a rattling sound, it's probably has to do with the airframe maybe stalling.

O'REILLY: Yes, but they say they don't know why. I mean, they were flat out, "We don't know." And apparently, this started about 107 seconds after the plane started its takeoff. This mainframe rattling began. And then it got worse and worse and worse. And then the black box went off, which signified it was a catastrophe on board. Now people have obviously looking for, you know, did somebody fiddle with this plane, you know?

GROSSE: Right.

O'REILLY: What do you say?

GROSSE: Well, I think that has to be left open. And one of the things that I'm concerned about is the NTSB is a very objective body. And as a former member of the board, I'm concerned that they not jump in under pressure, either from economics or from the psyche of the nation that has a lot of fear, or when it comes in from political side. I don't want to see them yield to any of that. And I really felt they were premature when they started out right in Washington. Never even being on the scene to say every indication they had was that it was an accident.

O'REILLY: Yes, but you know why they're doing that, because the airline industry can't take another act of sabotage. That'll just puff them right out of the sky. Thousands of jobs will be lost. The nation will get another tremendous blow. So I mean, propaganda, you know, we use it, too. The United States uses it, too. But in the long run, I can't imagine the FBI and the NTSB covering up an act of sabotage. Can you?

GROSSE: Well, I tell you, I did 170 interviews on TWA 800, probably more than anybody else. And I do think there were at times a cover-up. So I'm a little concerned about that, that it not happen here.

O'REILLY: All right, let's talk about that. You don't believe it was an accident in TWA 800?

GROSSE: I still have reservations about TWA 800 as to whether the center wing tank was the initiating event. It did blow, but whether it was the initiating event, I believe is still up for grabs.


November 21, 2001 Reed Irvine Chairman, Accuracy in Media
Soon after the fall of Kabul, journalists discovered two houses in an upscale neighborhood, one bearing the seal of the Taliban and the Ministry of Defense, where a lot of interesting documents, papers and notebooks had been left behind when the Taliban made their hasty departure. On November 17, the New York Times ran a big page-one story by David Rhode on the revelations found in these documents about Al Qaeda’s activities and plans for future terrorist operations, including weapons they were thinking of using. There were references to chemical and biological weapons and even developing nuclear weapons. A page listing flight training schools in Florida torn out of a magazine and a form that comes with the Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 program that simulates flying airliners provided additional evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Times followed up with a story the next day that focused mainly on the notes and drawings of one unnamed individual who had described some proposed new weapons that a reporter for the London Sunday Times had described as "unnerving for the layman." The New York Times story by Rhode and James Glanz countered that opinion with evidence provided by scientists that the grandiose weapons for which this individual had drawn up plans were totally impractical. "But," the Times said, "chemical formulas written by him and by another man, a Bosnian, who left notes behind at the Taliban Defense Ministry in the same quarter of Kabul, show clearly that they knew how to make crude explosives. In an apparent reference to the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, one chemical formula at the Defense Ministry is annotated in Bosnian, ‘Was used in Oklahoma.’" This had been described toward the end of Rhode’s story the previous day a little differently. Discussing the house that bore the Taliban and Ministry of Defense seals, Rhode had written, "Upstairs, a room labeled ‘special office,’ had been mostly emptied, but numerous papers remained in desk drawers. Most of them were notebooks from students. One gave a detailed description of various ways to make nitroglycerin, dynamite and fertilizer bombs. A note next to one of the explosive formulas said, ‘the type used in Oklahoma.’"

That was the biggest news in the story if the formula was not ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, the ANFO bomb that Timothy McVeigh is supposed to have used to blow up the Murrah Building. "Supposed to have used" has to be said because there is a lot of evidence that an ANFO bomb alone could not have caused all the damage done to the Murrah Building and that smaller powerful bombs inside the building caused much, if not most, of it. Since the ANFO that the FBI says was in the Ryder truck failed to demolish a low concrete wall between it and the building, or knock down a nearby lamp post, it could not have destroyed the more distant reinforced concrete building.

The inspector general of the Justice Department said in his report on the FBI Crime Laboratory that the FBI analysis of the Oklahoma City case "merits special censure" because conclusions about an ANFO bomb were "incomplete," "inappropriate," "flawed," and nonscientific.

If Al Qaeda knew more than the FBI about the formula for the bombs used in Oklahoma City, that would show that it was involved in the bombing. The New York Times failed to acknowledge this, perhaps because its story did not make it crystal clear that the notation, "the type used in Oklahoma," meant that in Oklahoma, bombs made of nitroglycerin, dynamite and ammonium nitrate (a fertilizer), not just ANFO, were used.

A London Sunday Times story featured the information about the Oklahoma bomb and made it clear that the formula was notANFO. It said, "On one page, under the title Explosivija za Oklahomu, the owner of the notebook had scribbled formulas with inscriptions in English for TNT, ammonium nitrate and nitroglycerine. The Oklahoma bomb was made from ammonium nitrate and fuel oil."

That made it clear that there was a difference, but the story didn’t discuss its significance—the revelation that more sophisticated bombs were used in Oklahoma City and bin Laden knew it. This suggests that the Murrah Building was his second attack on a U.S. building. Many people saw swarthy John Does with McVeigh and Nichols. It is believed that they are shown on surveillance tapes the FBI seized. The Kabul discovery should force the release of those tapes and a revival of the search for the John Does.

December 2, 2001 New York Post
Litle wonder the National Transportation Safety Board has bleated for help from NASA to help them out in the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587. The NTSB has shown in the past that it is run by a bunch of bumbling bureaucrats who couldn't find a needle in a thimble. Here they were with 265 dead, and God knows how many mourners, giving us this claptrap that the tail fell off mysteriously.  "No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that," said retired firefighter Tom Lynch, who was doing his exercise march along Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Nov. 12.  "I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. "It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the righthand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car. "The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof' - the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. "It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." Lynch, who lives near the crash site in Belle Harbor, claims he has 13 people who saw the plane on fire before the breakup. Until the explosion the tail was intact. He contacted the FBI, NTSB, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. "I got no response from anyone," said Lynch, "Sabotage? That's for other people to decide. At first, we hear there were seagulls in the engine, the plane was caught in a jet stream and the tail fell off. No damn tail fell off until after the second explosion."

December 3, 2001 11:07 a.m. EST  
Flight 587 Eyewitnesses Insist Explosion Came Before Tail Broke Off
Two eyewitnesses to the Nov. 12 crash of American Airlines Flight 587 said over the weekend that investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board are wrong to focus on potential structural defects as the cause of the disaster - insisting instead that the plane's tail came off over New York's Jamaica Bay only after it exploded in a fireball. "It was after the explosion," eyewitness Tom Lynch, a retired firefighter, told the New York Post. "I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." "No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that," Lynch told the paper's Steve Dunleavy. The eyewitness said there was absolutely no doubt about what he saw.  "I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right-hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car."  He continued: "The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof' - the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." Lynch, who lives near the Belle Harbor, N.Y., crash site, said he knew 13 others who also saw the explosion and/or fire. One, retired police lieutenant Jim Conrad, told Dunleavy: "I saw exactly what Tom saw. I was near a stoplight at the Marine Parkway Bridge. First, the small explosion. The plane kept on going, tail intact, then the big explosion and the plane nose-dived. The first thing I said was, 'The bastards did it again.'" Lynch said he's tried to contact the FBI and the NTSB but they weren't interested in his story. Ditto Sens. Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and his congressional representative, Anthony Weiner, who also gave him the brush-off. "I got no response from anyone," he said. Last week asked New York state's newly appointed public security czar, James Kallstrom, why a traffic surveillance video that reportedly captured Flight 587's midair breakup has not been publicly released. "I have not seen the tape. I heard some mention of it. But I've not seen the tape and I really have no knowledge of it," Kallstrom said. "Why it hasn't been released, I suspect, is because the investigation is ongoing. But I don't know the answer to that."

December 10, 2001  YOWUSA.COM, Steve Russell - AA 587, Another TWA 800 Cover-up?

On the day American Airlines (AA) Flight 587 crashed, various government agencies initially treated the possibility of terrorism as a real possibility. However, within a few hours after the crash, they issued confident statements that precluded the possibility of a terrorist act, even though there was an obvious lack of substantial facts at that time. This quick about face was then followed by a long list of contradictory explanations that changed over time. Also many credible witnesses and experts were clearly ignored as well. The American economy is in a recession and record levels of layoffs are slamming the travel and tourism industry. A total collapse in these critical market sectors could spell economic tragedy for a nation of travellers who are now postponing non-essential trips. This would be reason enough for the government to tell everyone shortly after the crash that they should remain calm, as terrorism had been eliminated as a possibility.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 American Airlines Jet Crashes in NYC
Fighter jets flew over the scene in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens. All three metropolitan-area airports – Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, N.J. – were closed for several hours, and international flights were diverted to other cities. Major bridges and tunnels into New York were also closed for hours. The United Nations was partially locked down, and the Empire State Building was evacuated.

CNN, November 12, 2001 No terror link to plane crash
News of the crash sparked the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to scramble jets already on “strip alert” at a number of other bases around the country.

CNN,November 12, 2001 Governor: Pilot dumped fuel before crashing
As part of the increased post-September 11 security environment, the Pentagon ordered additional combat air patrols over the United States and its coastlines after Flight 587 crashed.  CNN confirmed Bush postponed a scheduled meeting with Russian and American reporters so he could meet with advisers to discuss the crash. “The president is on top of it. They’re alert; they’re watching everything else all over the country,” Giuliani said. “So I think people should remain absolutely calm. This can be handled, and we’re just being tested one more time. We’re going to pass this test, too.”

Why would an airplane crash that was not linked to terrorism prompt President Bush to discuss it with advisors? What kind of situation is Bush “on top” of? Why would the President and his advisors stop their other activities to discuss low-level details, such as ins and outs of vertical stabilizer structures, turbulence velocities and composite delamination problems? Could they have been talking about the economy instead?  Once the government agencies found some time to think things through, they began collectively formulating as many different theories as possible for the ensuing investigation. Eager for breaking news, the media released news stories about these and every other pundit theory under the sun, while carefully sidestepping the possibility of terrorism. The only mention of terrorism was a few token quotes from officials that it was not being ruled out.

Here is a summary of the trial balloon explanations organized in an approximate order of release.

Flight 587 -- Day One

Firstly, the White House went into damage control by announcing that it was not a terrorist attack.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 Official: Crash May Not Be Terror
WASHINGTON – White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there were no unusual communications from the cockpit of an American Airlines plane that crashed Monday in New York, and a senior administration official added, “It’s looking like it’s not a terrorist attack.”

Then, there was news that the flight had been delayed due to a technical problem.

BBC News, November 12, 2001 What went wrong?
Its original take off slot was reportedly delayed due to a technical fault, though it is not known what that problem was.

Next, the pilot apparently knew of a problem and dumped the fuel into the bay, but there was actually no technical problem before takeoff.

CNN,November 12, 2001 Investigators: No terror link to plane crash
“We have been advised that the pilot did dump fuel over Jamaica Bay before the crash, which is consistent with the pilot having some belief that there was a significant mechanical failure on the plane,” New York Gov. George Pataki said at an afternoon news conference. The plane had not been delayed by mechanical problems, said American Airlines Chairman Don Carty. “It was delayed at the gate, as so many airplanes are since the (September) 11th, largely to ensure that the security arrangements were fulfilled,” he said. “And they were.”

The FBI then confirmed reports that an explosion occurred on the plane.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 American Airlines Jet Crashes in NYC
Bush administration officials said the FBI believed an explosion occurred aboard the jet, and witnesses reported hearing one and seeing an engine fall off. But investigators suggested the noise was caused by a catastrophic mechanical failure, and a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “It’s looking like its not a terrorist attack.”

Then, there was no such explosion.

MSNBC,November 12, 2001 Jetliner crashes in New York City
Despite reports from witnesses that one of the jet’s engines exploded and separated from the aircraft shortly after the plane took off, an initial examination of the wreckage by explosives experts from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms found the pattern of the wreckage was not consistent with an explosion. <<

Flight 587 -- Day Two

Governor Pataki changed his initial announcement regarding the dumping of fuel.

CNN,November 13, 2001 Investigators find second recorder from Flight 587
Pataki said there were “inconclusive” reports the pilot dumped fuel into Jamaica Bay, an indication he may have known of a problem on board. Officials said the Coast Guard had found no evidence of a fuel slick in the waters off Kennedy airport.

Eventually, even the bird theory had a brief moment in the spotlight.

Aviation Now, November 13, 2001 AA Disaster Still Considered Accident
Investigators found what appeared to be bird remains inside one of the jets engines, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition Tuesday, helping bolster the theory that a bird strike may have started Monday’s chain of events. But a source with knowledge of the evidence significantly downplayed the bird-strike theory, telling that birds “don’t appear to be the cause” of the crash.

Despite previous assurances that it was not a terrorist attack, partly because they had no threats, reports of at least one threat did hit the media.

The Washington Times, November 13, 2001 Crash not seen part of terrorist warning
U.S. intelligence agencies received a warning that terrorists were planning an attack timed to Nov. 11 but so far do not believe yesterday’s airliner crash was part of an attack. One intelligence official said a warning was sent to senior Bush administration officials last week stating that unidentified terrorists were planning to carry out some type of mass attack on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day – at 11 a.m.

Attention then turned to wake turbulence from another plane.

The Washington Post, November 13, 2001 Pilots Struggled to Control Jetliner
The pilots on Flight 587 also spoke of encountering wake turbulence, which is believed to have contributed to other deadly airline crashes. Black said a Japan Airlines jumbo jet took off two minutes and 20 seconds before Flight 587 – a full 20 seconds longer than the normal separation time between takeoffs.

Flight 587 -- Day Three

Officials quickly changed their original statements again, this time concerning the distance between Flight 587 and the Japanese Airliner.

CNN,November 14, 2001 Crashed plane may have flown too close to another jet
A senior federal transportation official said investigators believe the American Airbus A300 was only about 90 seconds behind a Japan Airlines 747, a much shorter time span than originally reported.

Reports of rattling sounds heard on the cockpit voice recorder were earlier attributed to wake turbulence. Another theory was added to the mix, this time it was loose bolts.

Guardian Unlimited, November 14, 2001 Loose tail may have brought down Airbus
Instead, it is thought now that the pilots’ mentions of rattles, caught on the cockpit voice tape, might have been unwitting references to a loosening of the bolts fixing the vertical stabilizer to the tail.

Personally, I believe it would be impossible for the pilots to hear a few bolts rattling 177 feet away when you are travelling at several hundred kilometers per hour. After the third day, interest in this prematurely declared accident had waned, and practically all of the major news agencies had stopped covering what little developments were being made public. By day eight, there were some new developments that warranted attention after American Airlines inspected their fleet of Airbuses.

Flight 587 -- Day Eight

BBC News, November 19, 2001 American Airlines clears tailfins
American Airlines has announced that it discovered no defects with the tailfins on its fleet of 34 Airbus A300 aircraft during an investigation ordered in the wake of last week’s deadly New York crash. One issue being investigated by the NTSB is whether the tail was weakened in 1994 when the plane hit an air pocket while flying to Puerto Rico. The turbulence in that incident was so severe that 47 people were injured.

Despite their previous speculation of wake turbulence playing a significant role, the NTSB once again changed their statement.

MSNBC,November 19, 2001 NTSB: Jet flew into normal wake
Washington – An American Airlines plane that crashed last week, killing up to 265 people, encountered wake turbulence that was “not outside of normal limits,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Marion Blakey said Sunday.

The biggest contradiction made so far in this investigation is not like any of the previous trial balloon excuses reported so far. It is the tampering of time itself.

Tampering With Time

After recovering and analyzing the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), the NTSB issued all the relevant details to the media. TIME magazine and every other major form of media published very fancy diagrams explaining the short and fatal trip based on the NTSB information. A basic version of these diagrams looks like this: See pages 1 and 2 of this pdf file. What is important is the fact that the data from takeoff to crash lasts a total of 144 seconds. However, what very few organizations reported, was that on November 20 the NTSB published an update on their web page which deleted 41 seconds from this original timeline that everyone had previously taken as gospel.

NTSB,November 20, 2001 Update on NTSB investigation into crash of American Airlines Flight 587
The Safety Board has calculated that the time between flight 587’s liftoff from Runway 31L until the end of the recorded FDR data is 93 seconds. The CVR continued to record information for about 10 more seconds (this is a correction of the time announced last week); it is believed the CVR ends at or about the time of the plane’s impact with the ground. Therefore, the Board estimates that the time from lift off to impact was 103 seconds.

What is missing from this press release is any explanation, justification or even excuse as to how and where 41 seconds were removed from the timeline. A new example of this timeline based on the added information looks something like this: See page 2 of this pdf file. Another interesting point that seems to have gone unnoticed by the media is that the FDR data suddenly ends after only 93 seconds. Detailed specifications of the FDR state that they are capable of 25 hours continuous recording. Why did the FDR stop sending data? Perhaps the answer could be found by examining the container.

CNN,November 14, 2001 Crashed plane may have flown too close to another jet
The investigation was hampered by a damaged memory module that prevented access to valuable information from the Airbus A300’s flight data recorder. Investigators shipped the recorder to its manufacturer in Sarasota, Florida, for help.

Whatever was responsible for the unprecedented damage of the plane may have been responsible for the damage to the FDR. If so, it could mean that the cause of the crash came from within the aircraft itself and to the rear of the plane where the FDR is stored. It has been reported that the rudder information from the FDR became unreliable 2.5 seconds before it stopped recording. What, however, does the NTSB mean by “unreliable”? Had the rudder stopped sending data altogether, or was it at least sending something to the FDR? Perhaps they are calling the data unreliable because they do not like what they see.

It is widely believed that the NTSB has tampered with FDR data in previous investigations. Remember TWA 800? There was a storm of controversy surrounding the famous TWA flight 800 disaster. If you look at all the evidence the NTSB refuses to consider in this case, you cannot help but agree with those who claim that terrorists shot down TWA flight 800 with a surface to air missile.  Upon closer examination of public records, the American flight 587 and TWA flight 800 investigations appear to share two identical aspects: Missing or modified FDR data and the involvement of NASA.

TWA 800 All Over Again

The 41 missing seconds, and 2.5 “unreliable” seconds from Flight 587, demonstrate a striking resemblance to the protocol used in the TWA investigation.

Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, December 15, 2000 Analysis of Flight Data Recorder
In this detailed analysis he proves beyond any doubt that the NTSB is withholding data from the end of the FDR tape. The analysis shows that the printed data released by the NTSB, which was revised several times, does not match the analog tape segment waveform received under the Freedom of Information Act. Glen’s analysis shows that there could be up to 4 seconds missing from the end of the tape, or in the alternative, the end of the tape was edited to remove some data, causing the difference between the printed data and the waveform data.

Another similarity is the involvement of NASA.

Space.Com, November 29, 2001 - NASA Langley to Assist in American Airlines Flight 587 Inquiry
The plane’s tail section and rudder parts, made up of a composite of carbon-fiber reinforced epoxy, are on their way to NASA’s Langley Research Center, where scientists specializing in such materials can study them. Transportation safety board officials hope the scrutiny will lead to an explanation of how and why the tail section separated from the rest of the plane. Officials with NASA’s Office of Aerospace and Technology said the center has also participated in studies of debris from crash of TWA Flight 800 in July of 1996.

If NASA was involved and cooperated with the allegedly corrupt TWA investigation, why not bring them in again to hopefully come up with a believable explanation for an unbelievable crash? Despite the fact that dozens of credible witnesses came forward to testify they saw a missile hit TWA, the government ignored their testimony so as to arrive at a completely contradictory conclusion.

Persistence of Truth

After the crash of Flight 587, Jim McKenna, the Executive Director of the Aviation Safety Alliance appeared in the Newsroom where a chat participant asked him an interesting question.

CNN,November 13, 2001 Jim McKenna: What happened to American Airlines Flight 587?
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Mr. McKenna, have you heard whether any amateur video of this plane crash has turned up?
McKENNA: I haven’t. I’m sure if there was, some TV network would have bought and aired it.

That is of course, if the investigators had nothing to hide.

NewsMax.Com,November 16, 2001 FBI Sitting on Flight 587 Videotape
A videotape that could show exactly what happened to American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed three minutes after taking off from New York’s JFK airport on Monday, is in the hands of the FBI – but the bureau has thus far declined to release it. New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tom Kelly confirmed to the Daily News Friday that the agency has given surveillance videotapes from Cross Bay Blvd. and Marine Parkway bridges to the FBI. When an Air France Concorde jetliner crashed after catching fire on takeoff from a rural French airport last year, an amateur video of the accident was released within 48 hours.  

What is also highly suspicious regarding this videotape is the fact it was initially given to the FBI and not the NTSB. The FBI is supposed to be the secondary investigating team being led by the NTSB. The FBI cannot take over until such time that the crash appears to have been a criminal act. But this is not the only video available.

Aviation Now, November 14, 2001 New Clues Deepen Flight 587 Crash Mystery
Black said a construction worker shot video of Flight 587’s takeoff roll, but turned his camera away as the A300-600’s gear was retracting.

This video has not been bought and aired on any major news television either. A big news agency will usually buy any footage it can get if it means an exclusive look at the final moments before a disaster. Since this footage was personally owned and not the property of any government agency, why did they manage to refrain from obtaining such an exclusive this time? As the NewsMax article above states, the suppressed footage may contain exactly what really happened. The government can only keep this knowledge hidden for so long. The truth will eventually be known.  The beauty of truth is that it has a strong persistence and tendency to reveal itself against the wishes of those that strive to keep it hidden. Recent statements regarding TWA 800 by key figures during the September 11 attacks are a perfect example of truth rearing its head in order to be heard.

George Stephanopoulos from ABC was in the special White House situation room when TWA was happening. He got to hear what was really going on, and he labels it a bombing.

Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, September 11, 2001 ABC News Special Report: America Under Attack (Transcript)
STEPHANOPOULOS: There are facilities in the White House, not the normal situation room which everyone has seen in the past, has seen pictures of, but there is a second situation room behind the—the primary situation room which has video conferencing capabilities. The—the director of the Pentagon, the defense chief can speak from a national military command center at the Pentagon. The secretary of state can speak from the State Department; the president from wherever he is and they’ll have this capability to video conference throughout this crisis and my time at the White House was used in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. In the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 bombing and—and that would be the way they would stay in contact through the afternoon.

In addition to the Freudian slips by Stephanopoulos, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts also slips up on two different programs, lumping TWA into the same category of admitted terrorist acts.

CNN, September 11, 2001 Associated Retired Aviation Professionals Larry King Live (Transcript)
We have always known this could happen. We’ve warned about it. We’ve talked about it. I regret to say, as – I served on the Intelligence Committee up until last year. I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800, we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing hard work of responding.

CNBC, September 24, 2001 Associated Retired Aviation Professionals CNBC News (Transcript)
You know, we’ve had terrorism for a long time now. We’ve had the Achille Lauro, the Munich Olympics, the pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, the TWA 800, the bombing of embassies, and it’s not going to disappear overnight.

If the similarities between TWA flight 800 and AA flight 587 are more than just coincidence, then a terrorist act against Flight 587 should be investigated openly and honestly. However, this is difficult without the video, but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence and expert opinions in the media, both of which go a long way to proving this theory.

Fighting Fires

The best indication that terrorist activity may have been involved is fire. Nearly all of the theories that the NTSB put forward involved standard conditions like turbulence and structural weaknesses. The NTSB and media outlets initially reported several witness descriptions of fire and explosions during the flight. However, the NTSB later announced that the engines were working properly and they, along with the media, quickly stopped reporting any views of explosions that would undermine their non-terrorism theories. As reported above, the FBI apparently announced that an explosion occurred aboard the jet, but this fact was later retracted. The fire and explosions that forgotten witnesses describe is very similar to the imagery on the video the FBI refuses to release.

NewsMax.Com, November 17, 2001 Flight 587 Video Shows ‘Puff of Smoke’ in Sky
Though Flight 587 probers have not released the key videotape, shot from a Metropolitan Transportation Authority highway surveillance camera, reporters from New York’s Daily News were allowed to view it Friday. “The tape… shows a white outline of the jetliner against a clear sky in fairly steep decline,” the News reported in Saturday editions. “Seconds later, the outline disappears and the video shows a blurry, white, undefined patch as the plane apparently breaks apart.”  Visible in one of the final frames of the sequential videotape is “a puff of white smoke in the sky.”

Credible witnesses such as a firefighter and a policeman that understand fire and explosions have also been ignored; despite the fact that their descriptions seem to corroborate the video.

NewsMax.Com,December 3, 2001 Flight 587 Eyewitnesses Insist Explosion Came Before Tail Broke Off
“It was after the explosion,” eyewitness Tom Lynch, a retired firefighter, told the New York Post. “I’m telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion.”  “No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that, “ Lynch told the paper’s Steve Dunleavy.  “I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right-hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car.”  “The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof’ – the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I’m telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion.” Lynch, who lives near the Belle Harbor, N.Y., crash site, said he knew 13 others who also saw the explosion and/or fire. One, retired, police lieutenant Jim Conrad, told Dunleavy:  “I saw exactly what Tom saw. I was near a stoplight at the Marine Parkway Bridge. First, the small explosion. The plane kept on going, tail intact, then the big explosion and the plane nose-dived. The first thing I said was, ‘The bastards did it again.’”  Lynch said he’s tried to contact the FBI and the NTSB but they weren’t interested in his story. Ditto Sens. Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and his congressional representative, Anthony Weiner, who also gave him the brush-off.  

The majority of evidence indicates a catastrophe involving fire, explosions, and massive structural damage that, given the current circumstances, are more consistent with terrorist activity than with a freak accident. Additionally, there are many prominent people trying to tell us so. If you listen carefully enough, you will hear the pin drop.

Spin, More Spin and Haunting Questions

Six major corporations control America’s main media outlets and a collapse of the air travel and tourism industries would do immediate and deleterious damage to their advertising revenue streams. This no doubt is why they have actually avoided any form of true investigative journalism – they’d be cutting their own financial throats.  Ergo, most of the population will happily accept what they are being told, as opposed to the many knowledgeable experts do not believe so easily. It is the opinions of these independent experts we should be trusting, not the government musicians that are marching in lockstep to the sound of their own beat. A reliable airline industry source with intimate mechanical knowledge of the A300 aircraft told YOWUSA about his concerns. He could see a natural failure happening with the separation of the tail and one engine. However, the tail of Flight 587 and both engines separated. “This,” YOWUSA’s source stressed, “is an unnatural failure. Something else caused it.”  He also told YOWUSA that the Airbus has a considerable history of composite delamination problems. These and other fundamental Airbus design problems make routine servicing of the A300 type much more labour intensive than comparable Boeing aircraft.

Further, YOWUSA’s source is just one of a growing number of professionals who now question the government’s reasoning.

NewsMax.Com,November 17, 2001 Flight 587 Video Shows ‘Puff of Smoke’ in Sky  Independent aviation experts have generally scoffed at the NTSB theory.
“[747 wake turbulence] is not strong enough to be able to break off a tail or to compromise any sort of a normal airplane,” said ABC News aviation analyst John Nance on Friday. “They could turn a little airplane upside down. But especially an A-300, which is a jumbo jet – no way in the world should that ever have any potentially disastrous impact on the aircraft or the tail,” he explained.

Nine MSN, November 17, 2001 Experts probe American Airlines crash
“The wake vortex of a 747 should not bring down an aircraft,” said Tom Ellis, a spokesman for the Nolan Law Group, a Chicago firm that represents victims of airline accidents. “The A300 is designed to withstand forces of that nature. It should be well within its design tolerance. There’s got to be something that interferes with the ability to recover.”

News, November 15, 2001 Doomed flight mystery deepens
It is not unheard of for one engine to break away. Never two. Another expert said he had no recollection of such a strange air disaster. I can’t remember a crash where a plane broke up this quickly,” said former Federal Aviation Administration chief of staff Michael Goldfarb.

TIME, November 26, 2001 If Not Terror, What Was It?
“People are acting almost as if this airplane was randomly designed,” says Paul Czysz, a professor at Parks College of Engineering and Aviation at St. Louis University. “It was fatigue tested, and I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t come apart like that.”

If these witness are not convincing enough that NTSB logic and reasoning should not be believed, then what about a former NTSB official who knows exactly how they operate these investigations?

NewsMax.Com,November 12, 2001 Former NTSB Official Doubts Accident Caused Flight 587 Crash
Aviation expert and former National Transportation Safety Board official Vernon Grose said late Monday that he’s increasingly skeptical that the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 was purely accidental. “I am backing away from the ready idea that this is simply an accident,” Grose told Fox News Channel’s John Scott.

Judicial Watch, November 12, 2001 FBI Irresponsible In Making Early Statement That Crash Of Airliner Not Due To Terrorism
(Washington, D.C.) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government abuse and corruption, today watched, with horror, as yet another U.S. airliner exploded, apparently killing all passengers aboard.  Given the current state of affairs, obviously terrorism cannot be ruled out. Yet, in an apparent attempt to deflect blame from its continuing dismal performance in protecting the American people, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) waited no more than one-half hour before it proudly announced that “there is no evidence of terrorist activity.”  “In short, the FBI does not want to see reality, but instead continues to paint a rosy picture of its performance,” stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.

If we are to believe that it was a genuine malfunction of the aircraft and not terrorism, then the conduct of the FAA could indeed be very criminal.

The Sierra Times, November 14, 2001 Hard Scientific Evidence Proves United States Government Desperately Trying to Mislead the American Public
Trickier still for the NTSB, FAA and Airbus Industries, will be explaining to the general public why, with prima facie evidence proving catastrophic separation along a critical attachment line, the FAA and Airbus Industries failed to immediately ground all Airbus A300-600 models worldwide. This in order to conduct black light inspections of the stabilizer spars, panels, attachment pins, bolts and other critical components. Not only is grounding of this nature a normal operating procedure, it is also a legal requirement. Concorde’s grounding was based mostly on speculation, and partly on trivial circumstantial evidence, flimsier by far than the prima facie evidence already existing in the case of American Airlines Flight 587. In order not to ground all Airbus A300-600 series, the NTSB, FAA and Airbus Industries would have to be convinced that the reason for the crash of Flight 587 was strictly unique, a one-off that could not occur under similar flight conditions to any other Airbus A300-600 worldwide. The only reason unique enough to fit this requirement is an act of terrorism.

Flight 587 Was Terrorism

There is an old saying, “A fish stinks from the head down.” In this regards, the whole manner in which the American government has handled this disaster doesn’t even pass the “stink test.” At the executive level, the government reacted to Flight 587 as if it was a terrorist attack. Perhaps they quickly realized in their panic that the public could soon react as well if the situation was not sanitized soon after. From initial reactions by the government, to the reasoning for not grounding all Airbuses, the logic appears to have always been the same; this was a terrorist act.  At the congressional level, airport security has been given the good old boy compromise deal work over. Sure, Americans understand that aviation security is currently a bureaucratic mess that is struggling to look respectable, but the day Flight 587 crashed, Congress was still unable to reach an agreement on how to unravel this mess. The net result is that Congress procrastinated until it could reach a good old boy compromise deal (long after the crash of Flight 587) that both sides of the aisle could sell to their constituents when seeking re-election. In a word, Congress acted shamefully.

December 23, 2001  Electronic Telegraph (Filed: 24/12/2001)
THE man in seat 29C should have set every alarm in the airport and airline security system ringing. Refused entry to American Airlines Flight 63 from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris only 24 hours earlier, the man travelling under a British passport in the name of Richard Reid tripped almost every signal switch designed for a potential hijacker or suicide bomber. He was a young male, hairy and olive-skinned and travelling alone. Despite embarking on a transatlantic flight to a holiday destination, Miami, he had no checked luggage. According to unconfirmed reports he was flying on a one-way ticket. In America that is almost a guarantee that you will be subjected to a detailed scrutiny of your personal belongings and your body, including a scan of your footwear with metal detecting devices.

Reid, if that proves to be his name, was noticed in the departure lounge at Paris by Thierry Dugeon, a French television journalist on his way to Miami for Christmas. "There was nothing that made him stand out," M Dugeon said. In fact, despite delays in the flight that meant it did not take off until 12.15pm local time (11.15am GMT), two hours late, "Reid" did nothing to attract the attention of the flight crew until the Boeing 767, with 197 passengers and crew on board, was midway between the French and American coasts. It was three and a half hours into the flight, just on the "point of no return" when an aircraft with an emergency on board is most vulnerable. Sitting in 29C, an aisle seat, "Reid" rose to let the woman in 29A go to the lavatory. He then crossed the empty seat between them and sat in the window seat himself.

An American Airlines hostess saw him bending down in the footwell and holding and striking a match. Thinking that he was trying secretly to light a cigarette, she berated "Reid" and told him to put it out. He apologised, fellow passengers say. A minute or two later, as the woman passenger returned to her seat to find it occupied, the same hostess smelt something strange and saw "Reid" striking another match and holding it to his shoe. Witnesses differ as to exactly what he was trying to do, with some saying that he was trying to light the tongue of his black "high-top" basketball boots, and others reporting that he had stuffed papers into the shoes. The hostess leant across and tried to snatch the matchbox and he grabbed her hand, biting her fiercely. "Reid" was half-standing and his victim was screaming: "I need some help! I need some help." Eric Debry, 42, was sitting in 30C, immediately behind "Reid's" original seat. "I reached over the seat and pulled his arms back," he said. I jumped on his shoulder. Two other guys came and took his legs." But "Reid" proved to be too much of a handful for the three men even though Kwame James, 23, a professional basketball player of 6ft 8in and weighing almost 18st, was one of them.

"This guy was not much smaller than me, about six-four, six-five, around 220lb (16st) and he was incredibly strong," Mr James said in Miami yesterday. "He was almost possessed. We held his shoulders, held his upper body, held him by whatever we could, but he kept fighting back even with three or four of us on him." M Dugeon said he was out of his seat within a few seconds of seeing the fight break out 10 rows in front of him. He said he acted out of instinct. "It's three months after September 11. Of course the first thing you think is something like terrorism. "Ten rows in front of me it looked like a fight. I joined the fight. It's pure instinct. You hear a stewardess screaming on an aeroplane. What do you do? You fight." Mr Debry said "Reid" was held down for 10 minutes while others collected about 20 leather belts to restrain him. Members of the crew found some plastic tape restraints.

But "Reid" was still fighting hard against his captors and after 10 minutes or so the captain of the aircraft asked over the public address system if anyone on board was qualified to use the first aid equipment. Two French doctors came forward and injected "Reid" with sedatives. Then the captain announced that the aircraft was diverting to Boston, about two hours' flying time away, and the film Legally Blonde was played in an effort to reduce the tension on the plane. Even then, a small group of men were standing immediately around "Reid". Some questioned him, but he refused to say what he had been doing, only answering "You'll see", to repeated inquiries. After his British passport was found, he was asked if he was British. "No, I'm Jamaican," he snarled in reply.

Philippe Acas, 39, another French passenger said that a search of "Reid's" belongings also turned up two audio tapes that were handed to the pilot. "Reid" became animated again not long before the 767 touched down, but was subdued again with sedatives. By this time, Flight 63 had the sort of escort that no commercial airline pilot wants to see. Two Air National Guard F15s from Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts guided the passenger jet in to land at 12.50pm (5.50pm GMT) at Logan airport, the scene of the hijack of two of the September 11 jets."Reid" was removed by police and his shoes, which had been taken away and stowed at the back of the aircraft, were X-rayed before being taken for examination.

December 29, 2001 Electronic Telegraph
FBI agents are investigating the possibility that the shoe bomber Richard Reid was trying to mark the anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing with a suicide attack. He first tried to board a Paris to Miami flight on Friday, Dec 21, the 13th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988.
But it was not until 24 hours later that he managed to get a flight on the American Airlines service carrying 197 people. The 28-year-old Briton tried to bring down the airliner with a highly volatile explosive that could have gone off at any time, a Boston court heard yesterday. Reid, 6ft 4in, appeared at the hearing in handcuffs. He wore a bright orange prison jump suit and light slippers. He sat next to Tamar Birckhead, his lawyer, throughout the 90-minute proceedings, saying nothing and appearing composed. He had up to 10oz of TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, glued into the soles of his training shoes. The explosive can be made in a relatively simple process. Margaret Cronin, an FBI agent and specialist in hijackings, told Judge Judith Dein that he was carrying "functioning improvised explosives, or, in layman's terms, a home-made bomb". The device was enough to blow a hole in the fuselage of Flight 63, she said. His attempt to detonate the device was foiled by the alertness of an air hostess and the prompt action of several passengers. Reid, who converted to Islam while in prison in London, was remanded in custody on charges of intimidation or assault of a flight crew member. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. More serious charges are likely to follow.

December 31, 2001  NY Times    Bin Laden Sought Iran as an Ally, U.S. Intelligence Documents Say
Representatives of Osama bin Laden contacted Iranian intelligence agents in the mid-1990's in an attempt to forge an anti-American alliance of terror between Iran and Mr. bin Laden's network, Al Qaeda, according to United States intelligence reports. In 1996 a close ally of Mr. bin Laden sought out Iranian intelligence officers in Afghanistan to see if they would join forces with Mr. bin Laden to strike American targets, the secret intelligence reports say. That contact followed a visit to Iran in December 1995 by another bin Laden associate, according to the documents, which were obtained by The New York Times. Iranian intelligence agents responded that they were willing to meet personally with Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan, but it is unclear from the reports if such a meeting ever occurred, and if so, whether any agreement was reached. The intelligence reports, which remain classified, provide some of the most concrete evidence ever disclosed of Mr. bin Laden's attempts to forge an alliance with a major Middle Eastern country just as he was starting his terror campaign against the United States. Since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the debate in the United States over whether Mr. bin Laden has received state sponsorship has focused on inconclusive reports of contacts between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. But the secret intelligence reports show that Mr. bin Laden and his allies were eager to turn to Iran, which had a longer history of support for terrorist acts against the United States and Israel. Iran, dominated by Shiite Muslims, has tended to support Shiite- based extremist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon rather than Sunni Muslim extremists like Al Qaeda. Iran fiercely opposed the Taliban in Afghanistan, largely because the Taliban movement was dominated by Sunni fundamentalists. The fact that the Taliban had given Mr. bin Laden sanctuary in Afghanistan only made any alliance between Tehran and Mr. bin Laden, a Saudi exile, even more unlikely. But it appears that at least some Iranian intelligence officials believed that they could join with Mr. bin Laden's forces against their common enemy, the United States. A United States official declined to comment on the specific intelligence reports detailing contacts between bin Laden representatives and Iranian intelligence. But the official said there was no evidence "today" of an alliance between Al Qaeda and Iran. "In terms of the possibility of Al Qaeda operatives transiting Iran, or pitching up there overnight, that would not be surprising," the official said. "But the notion of a more formal, active cooperative arrangement between the two today, I would suggest they don't make very good bedfellows. There is no credible evidence that points in that direction of any alliance today." The intelligence reports say that on July 31, 1996, Abdullah Nuri, said to be a leading member of a Islamic militant group in Tajikistan and a close ally of Mr. bin Laden, contacted agents from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security in the northern Afghan city of Taliqan, not far from the border with Tajikistan. He asked for a meeting between Mr. bin Laden and an Iranian representative, an American intelligence report says. Mr. Nuri urged the Iranians to get in touch with Mr. bin Laden, who was said to be in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, at the time. In response, the Iranian intelligence officers made clear that they were willing to meet him but that he should go to Taliqan to see them.  Mr. Nuri replied that Mr. bin Laden was reluctant to travel to Taliqan, a part of Afghanistan where he might come under attack. Mr. Nuri urged the Iranians to send a representative to meet Mr. bin Laden in Jalalabad instead. The reports do not show whether the Iranians ever did so. The intelligence reports suggest that Mr. Nuri's efforts to bring Al Qaeda and Iranian agents together were not the first contacts. In December 1995, Mustafa Hamid, also known as Abu Walid, an Egyptian associated with Al Qaeda, visited Iran, according to an American intelligence report.  Mr. Nuri and Mr. Hamid apparently knew each other, because Mr. Nuri had introduced Mr. Hamid to an Iranian intelligence officer known as Rahmati in Taliqan, the intelligence report says. At the time of the contacts between Al Qaeda and Iranian intelligence, Iran was deeply involved in terrorist activities against the United States, American officials say.  In June 1996, Islamic militants bombed the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 members of the American military, and United States officials have said they suspect that at least some Iranian officials were behind the bombing plot. Last June a federal grand jury charged 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the bombing, and the indictment implicated Iranian officials, although none were identified or charged. Despite a series of recent political victories by reformists in Iran led by President Mohammad Khatami, hard-line elements of the Iranian security apparatus are still believed to support terrorist activities, prompting the State Department to describe Iran in a recent report as "the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2000."  United States officials say Mr. Khatami has little control over the security and intelligence officials who back terrorist groups. But in recent years, Iranian security forces have focused their support for organizations that aim their attacks at Israel, rather than the United States, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian group Hamas. Khobar Towers appears to be the last major anti-American terrorist operation supported by Iran.

The Bush administration, like the Clinton administration before it, has been eager to improve relations with Iran and has not talked of it as a possible target in President Bush's new global campaign against terror.  While intelligence and security officials in Tehran have long had an interest in anti-American terrorism, by the mid-1990's the Iranians were also playing a delicate balancing act in Afghanistan, making it difficult for them to consider an alliance with a terrorist leader under the Taliban's protection. Mr. bin Laden moved from the Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996. In fact, just as their intelligence officers were considering whether to meet with Mr. bin Laden, the Iranian government was moving to oppose the Taliban, which had just gained control in Kabul.  According to a United States intelligence report, on Sept. 28, 1996, Iran's National Security Council met and agreed to help create a northern front composed of Uzbeks, Tajiks and Shiites to counter the Taliban. The Iranian intelligence service and Iranian Revolutionary Guards were ordered to travel to Mazar-i-Sharif and Taliqan in northern Afghanistan to help forge the new opposition. A month later, during another Iranian security council meeting, senior officials agreed to push for the early liberation of Herat in western Afghanistan to ensure greater freedom of movement of Iranian-backed opposition forces and their supplies from Iran, according to the American intelligence reports.  Later, the Revolutionary Guards, a militant cadre in the Iranian security apparatus, were given the main operational responsibility for Iran's involvement in Afghanistan, the intelligence reports said. Eventually Iran joined forces with Russia in providing support for the Afghan opposition, and Iran's battle against the Taliban may have made it impossible for Mr. bin Laden to forge an alliance with Iranian intelligence. By June 1997 the Taliban had closed Iran's embassy in Kabul.