William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
39175 Cobrumís Wharf Road
Avenue, Maryland 20609
Mr. Paul Marone
I received your fax on 24 September 1999. Frankly, I am surprised your office is still stuck with the failed logic and administration hyperbole supplied by NTSB attorneys that you used in your July 1998 report to Rep. Duncan. I will be glad to put your fax up on my web site and let it speak for itself, however, I am compelled to set the record straight in the process.
Traficant / Donaldson Contacts
Mr. Traficant likes to say "after working closely with Cmdr. Donaldson Ö.." First of all, I was recruited to go see Mr. Traficant by a private investigator, John Culberson, that still works with your office. The fact is, there were no contacts between myself and the Congressman from my first and only briefing in September of 1997 until his histrionic attempt to undercut my testimony before the Aviation Subcommittee on 6 May 1999. Considering at that time I introduced forensic evidence of a covert $5.5 million FBI search for specific stinger missile parts, in precisely the area Mr. Traficant knows the FBI was unable to identify a high-speed boat, and precisely where witnesses point to as the origination of a high velocity flare, his conduct can only be explained as shilling for the Administration.
Its true that I wrote questions Mr. Traficant forwarded to the FBI and NTSB. One question asked if they had identified all surface vessels near Flight 800 when it exploded. The negative answer returned four months later and well after the FBI stopped its investigation, should have spurred your office to request hearings and put FBI agents under oath. I would have been glad to supply a long list. Instead, Mr. Traficant's superficial report whitewashed one of the worst deceptions ever perpetrated on the American people by the Justice Department and effectively subverted any chance the Aviation Subcommittee had to perform timely oversight.
I stopped providing new information to your office in the spring of 1998 when you refused to put me through to Mr. Traficant and repeated promises to set up briefings for the Chairman and Subcommittee members never materialized.
The CIA and the Cartoon
Paul, your admiration for the CIA's expertise in discerning the cause of a civil aircrash from third person interviews, conducted by FBI agents without aviation or missile training, is a bit overblown. Maybe you have seen too many movies because I can't recall anything the CIA has done right since Jimmy Carter had Admiral Stansfield Turner dismantle their HumInt (human intelligence) capability in the 1970's. If you can determine the names of these secret CIA analysts, who worked so diligently to provide cover for their own agency, whose bosses failed to recover hundreds of Stinger missiles after the Afghan war, I'd like to have the list.
Despite the fact most witnesses visually observed a high velocity "streaking flare", these secret rocket scientists claimed what they saw was the noseless747 zoom-climbing 3000 ft. They introduced the fictitious climb and a distorted "sound analysis" in the infamous CIA cartoon purely as red herrings to discredit all witnesses with a broad brush. The CIA improperly assumed the only possible source of sound that evening was from the exploding 747, not so. When you actually interview real witnesses like those at Dockers Restaurant who heard "two, not one, explosion or claps of rolling thunder" then looked to sea and observed a streaking flare climbing from north to south out to sea prior to a bright fireball and flaming falling aircraft debris, the CIA's theory falls apart. Why? Because Dockers Restaurant is over 70 seconds at the speed of sound from Flight 800's explosion point. Therefore, if what the witnesses heard was the exploding aircraft, then it would have been in the water before they heard it, and they could not possibly have seen anything moving anywhere!
Paul, we now have the Navy Supervisor of Salvage Report as well as precision maps used by the FBI, the radar data, the debris field and statements from the captain of the Rude who's computers precisely predicted the ballistic impact point of the aircraft on the surface of the Atlantic.
As you said, it is hard to dispute physics: radar, the Rude's ballistic computers, the debris field and witnesses all confirm Flight 800's main wreckage (less the Nose and Tail components) fell in a perfect ballistic arc. From its explosion point, 2.3 nautical miles high, it traveled 2.4 nautical miles down range to ocean impact about 38 seconds later. It didn't fly, it didn't climb, it didn't turn, it impacted precisely on course line with a dispersal pattern of heavy debris (engines) only a few hundred feet right and left. Failure to consider the real "physics" (radar hits on the main wreckage) proves CIA malfeasance; proactively creating their own data makes it criminal malfeasance! Boeing made the extraordinary statement in a press release that " Boeing was not involved in the production of the video shown today, nor have we had the opportunity to obtain a copy or fully understand the data used to create it." At that point, Mr. Kalstrom panicked and pulled the CIA cartoon!
The CIA knows a two-stage Stinger missile, launched from on or near shore, would precisely fit the description of sounds heard at Dockers Restaurant.
When the missile fires, the 1st stage ejector motor produces a loud, sharp report. About a half second later the main booster lights with a loud burn punctuated 1 second later with a loud crack when the 2 1/2 inch diameter, 5 foot long missile breaks the sound barrier. 1.5 seconds into the 2nd stage rocket burn, the missile is at mach 2.2 making a loud crackling noise while in the lower atmosphere.
Instead of libeling witnesses, the CIA should have assumed a near simultaneous two or even three missile MANPAD attack on Flight 800, with the close inshore missile(s) launched out of range.
Paul, anyone familiar with military or civilian high power rifle fire knows a rifle makes three distinct noises. They are: the crack of the shot, a sizzle noise from the supersonic bullet and a thud or smack on target impact. In light or no wind conditions, such as were present 17 July 1996, the crack-sizzle-thud can be heard a mile or more away. A Stinger missile is 1600 times heavier than a 30 caliber bullet, reaches the same velocity and it's rocket motor burns 6 1/2 seconds. Anyone at CIA that tells you a Stinger can't be heard very far away needs to fire his dope peddler. Whatever he is smoking is affecting his job performance.
An FBI missile team agent has admitted to me they were very concerned with an inshore boat captured on radar. Also, Mr. Kalstrom in a perplexing unexplained comment over the PA system to investigators at Calverton said "we are going to get that son of a bitch in the canoe". A Stinger can be fired from any open boat. My question is, where was the canoe and why did Kalstrom want to get him? Kalstrom needs to be put under oath to answer these and many other questions. Thanks to your boss that won't happen soon.
The China Lake Report
Paul, do you really believe a civil servant would contradict a personal friend of the Vice President who happens to be running the investigation without a piece of missile in hand? Do you really believe he would tell a congressional staffer from the same political party, his personal suspicions? It is obvious you don't know how to interpret a civil servant's "snap shot analysis" that was so politically hot Mr. Bott's bosses wouldn't even endorse his findings. You didn't question why just a short snapshot report was done to evaluate the possibility of a missile hit, taking a year, when 10's of millions were spent in failed attempts to prove every other asinine theory, like EMI! I know the FBI consulted at least three other military missile commands. Where is the paper trail?
You have totally ignored the only military report in writing and Mr. Bott's seven recommendations intended to counter the real ongoing world-wide MANPADS threat to aviation safety. You don't question why it took the FBI four months to bring China Lake into the investigation to begin with. When Mr. Bott first came aboard, the FBI was already covertly dredging for stinger missile parts.
He explained the four damage criteria expected to be unique to a weapon hit in a nearly full inboard fuel tank. All four criteria were strongly in evidence. To protect himself from political repercussions, he provides parsed statements about finding no proof of missile impact (to comply with official FBI criteria). Of course he said that - the Administration refused to do the tests he recommended needed for that proof after blatantly ignoring the Flight 800 anomalies in evidence!
Mr. Bott did a commendable job in identifying damage done to Flight 800 from a missile hit in the front wall of the number two main tank. The NTSB political leadership refuses to do the missile tests or the edge metal analysis that would easily determine which tank, center wing or number two main tank, exploded first. The cover-up goes on.
The Impossible Cover-up
Paul, you and your boss, in press releases and theatrical public statements repeatedly say that I believe hundreds, if not thousands of people, are involved in a cover-up or are incompetent. You don't use the same assumptions with Waco or Ruby Ridge and nothing is farther from the truth.
This investigation was ordained to fail when, in the first few days, the Justice Department imposed draconian "need to know" criteria, not only immediately freezing out NTSB investigators and party investigators from witnesses and real evidence, but dumbing down their own FBI agents. For example, one of the closest and most qualified witnesses observed the destruction of Flight 800 from the right side, row 5 window seat of USAir flight 217, less than 2.4 NM miles away. He was a navy master chief, and a fully qualified combat control center watch-officer aboard missile ships.
He observed a very fast, climbing, streak of light coming from behind his aircraft, moving right to left, slightly converging on his aircraft's course (radar shows his course as 011 degrees). He then saw an explosion and fireball begin to immediately descend toward the ocean before it was obscured by the right wing.
Two FBI agents from the Pensacola Florida office did a cursory interview of this vital witness that was cut short by a call to a bank robbery. He was never interviewed again by anyone until we interviewed him. The CIA cartoon, supposedly drawn from the FBI interviews, specifically and grossly distorts this witness's testimony. They change his right to left flare to a left to right flare (to agree with Flight 800's flight path crossing in front and a mile underneath USAir 217). They make no mention of the very high speed of the flare (much faster than his aircraft). They altered the flight path of the flare from an estimated 335 degrees to that of Flight 800's course, 071 degrees, a change of 96 degrees of heading to the right. To make matters worse the master chief first observed the flare rising from the surface at a point Southeast of Flight 800, exactly coinciding with other witnesses' observations and the position of an unidentified boat.
The FBI missile team didn't interview him. They must not have had a need to know!
Somehow the data was changed. It doesn't take thousands for a cover-up, only a few in the right positions when vital information is censored or strictly controlled by a politically corrupt Justice Department. The existence of this witness is extremely embarrassing to the Chairman of the NTSB and FBI officials who have repeatedly testified the closest witnesses were 10 miles away, they were only off by over 7 miles!
Mr. Traficant and Personal Integrity
Paul, you and I have a vastly different view of "high personal integrity", I will admit that your boss is a very likable fellow, gifted with a unique ability to turn a political cow patty into chocolate mousse. His leap from Federal Criminal defendant directly into a seat in the US Congress was a masterful manipulation of his constituents. More impressive still was his ability to quietly pay off his civil fine for conviction of Federal income tax evasion on the alleged Mafia bribe money while building an image as a public crusader for the American way.
I would have never discovered any of this had he not stepped over the line, shilling for the Administration trying to paint me as a conspiracy nut during Congressional testimony on 6 May 1999.
Paul, neither you, your staff, nor your boss could muster up the courage to attend any of the briefings I gave to the media. Admiral's Moorer and Hill, as well as past NTSB Board Member, Dr. Vernon Gross, not only attended but had the courage and moral fiber to state on the record that they did not believe the NTSB's explanation of a mechanical failure explosion. Admirals Moorer & Hill flatly stated that they thought the aircraft was shot down. Dr. Gross said that our investigation uncovered enough evidence to convince him the plane could have been shot down. They all called for a congressional inquiry, where is it?
How do you have the audacity to ignore Admiral Tom Moorer on a issue of National Security? He is the only Naval officer to have been Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Commander in Chief Atlantic, Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He holds the Nation's 2nd highest award for valor in combat, the Silver Star.
During Mr. Hall's testimony at the May 1999 hearing, while heaping syrupy praise on Mr. Hall, your boss feigned shock and dismay that I would question the competence or integrity of the Chairman of the NTSB. The fact is, Mr. Hall is a Tennessee Lawyer whose singular qualifications for his politically appointed office was fund-raising and flacking for Mr. Gore's 1992 campaign. He and Dr. Loeb have turned a simple aircraft shoot-down into an expensive three and a half year farce. I called for Mr. Hall's resignation in the first correspondence sent to him, because of an irrational letter he had published in April 1997 that prejudiced his own investigation. He stated "it wasn't a missile" in the Wall Street Journal while he was paying for the FBI's covert Stinger search, six full months before Mr. Bott's China Lake Report. I stand by that evaluation.
Early last month a Lufthansa Cargo India flight was fired on by what could only be a MANPADS missile. At 2:30 in the morning the aircraft in a right turn at 3000 ft. was near Karachi airport. Aircrew from several locations observed a rapid flare leave the surface, overtake and explode above Lufthansa. The weapon burst brightly lit the cockpit. Lufthansa cancelled flights into Karachi and filed a protest. After some delay, authorities in India announced it was a meteor shower. Where did they get their advice, from your office?
W. S. Donaldson, Cmdr. USN-Ret.
cc: Aviation Subcommittee