William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
39175 Cobrumís Wharf Road
Avenue, Maryland 20609
TWA Flight 800 Investigation:
After Three Years, No Answers,
Many More Questions!
Transworld Airlines Flight 800 was the 27th
Air Transport worldwide to be lost to Man Portable Anti-Aircraft Missiles.
At 8:31 p.m. EDT, 17 July 1996, a shoulder-launched missile was fired from
a small boat less than 3 nautical miles southeast of the aircraft. It punched
through the Boeing 747-100ís left wing root and detonated in the six-foot
deep fuel of its inboard number 2 main wing tank. The warhead caused a
massive Ram hydraulic over-pressurization of all three left wing tanks,
blowing the top skin open on the left wing and blasting into the empty
center tank. The fuel stopped warhead fragments inside the massive #2 tank.
Secondary fuel/air explosions under and in the center tank were followed
by nose, tail and left wing catastrophic failures.
The above paragraph is not just a theory. Itís the way a non-political
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) final report should start.
It is based on overwhelming forensic evidence of left wing damage and over
a hundred eyewitnesses surrounding the missile engagement. Flight 800 was
the 27th air transport aircraft lost to these weapons in the last 20 years.
The 28th was a 727 downed in Africa in a civil war last year.
The American people will not read such a report because a political
decision was taken immediately in the White House in deference to 1996
election goals. It appears the President or senior staff imposed an information
blackout. Public officials in three departments suppressed witnesses, real
evidence and intelligence linking the event to expected terrorist responses
to severe economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Iran's Supreme Council considered
the Iran/Libya Sanctions Act, signed into law by Mr. Clinton that spring,
an act of war. Representatives from terrorist organizations in nine countries
were called to Tehran the first week of June. The U.S. Air Force Khobar
Towers barracks complex in Saudi Arabia was attacked on 25 June 1996, killing
19 service members. The attempt partly thwarted by alert Air Force police
was an effort to replicate the Beirut mass casualties in the Marine barracks
bombing that forced Reagan out of Lebanon. Three weeks later TWA was shot
down. The FBI immediately blanketed both events and began a Justice Department
stonewall. Not until August 1998, when two Embassies were blown up simultaneously
in Africa, was the administration forced to admit a terrorist problem.
Even then, they only scapegoated the operation's leader, Osama Bin Laden,
instead of laying the blame on a sponsor state.
In historical perspective, the shoot down of Flight 800 was but one
in a long series of murderous attacks on U.S. interests fomented by the
Iranian revolution and carried out by surrogates since the 1979 fall of
the Shah of Iran.
In August of 1996, 5 weeks after the event, the Times of London broke
the Flight 800 story. They named an Iranian sponsored terrorist group,
identified the route the missiles took to get here, had quotes from senior
Iranian officials taking credit and even a statement from the White House
staff admitting they were aware of intelligence reports of terrorists smuggling
Stingers into the U.S.
Failure of Due Diligence
Most adults understand that if they fill their car with Kerosene, similar
to Flight 800's fuel, it won't run. That's because, even with today's hot
auto spark plugs, kerosene vapors can't be made to light. Yet the media
willingly accepts the government theory of a kerosene explosion in a spark
free aviation fuel tank. Furthermore, they bought the idea that this unexplained
phenomena, that supposedly occurred for the first time in 12 million takeoffs,
was concurrent with hundreds of witness reports of streaks of light rising
from the surface to the aircraft, which is also an event never seen before
in America. The media's acceptance that the identity of hundreds of eyewitnesses
should still be held as "top secret", even after the FBI officially declared
that no foul play was involved, is equally mystifying.
The apathy and gullibility of the American media, willing to repeat
as fact anything spun by this administration, together with a handful of
presidential appointees following orders in the White House, the CIA, the
Justice Department and the NTSB are collectively responsible for the biggest
political deception in American history.
The White House
If the truth is not being covered-up:
Why has the White House physical visitor log for 17July 1996 been secret
for so long? White House staff stonewalled a FOIA request for over 11 months.
They recently released a computer generated partial list and anti-terrorism
personnel who met at 9:30 P.M. were not included.
If Mr. Clinton wasn't anticipating such an attack, why was the US Military
in the highest state of alert since the Cuban missile crisis?
Immediately after the shootdown, hundreds of miles away, sailors aboard
ship reported the captain of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy told
his crew the airliner was downed by shoulder-fired missiles, inferring
the ship may be called to action. If not informed by the chain of command,
how could he know those facts?
Why did the President call the FBI command post supporting the 1996 Olympic
games in Hoover Alabama and tell them the aircraft was downed by a shoulder
Why did the President express great anxiety in a call to a civil servant
on 18 July 1996 that Governor Pataki's New York State Police divers would
recover TWA Flight 800's black boxes before the Navy could take over?
Why did the President sign Executive Order 13039 on 11 March 1997 taking
away the Whistle Blower protection act for Navy units participating in
the Flight 800 recovery?
Why did Presidential spokesperson, Mike McCurry, say, "Anyone in government
who says this was a missile only has half a brain!", at the same time the
administration was dredging for missile parts?
Why did the administration breech a verbal agreement with Weeks Marine,
Inc., properly contracted by the Coast Guard and the FAA the night of 17
July to begin a massive salvage effort the morning after the crash, only
to wait 6 days for the Navy to arrive with far less capability?
Why did the administration publicly empathize with surviving family members
then excoriate the Suffolk County medical examiner at public hearings for
not providing death certificates when the White House decision to delay
underwater salvage 6 days for the Navy was the probable cause that forced
20 families to wait a year to have their loved ones remains recovered and
identified by DNA testing?
If the truth is not being covered-up:
The Justice Department
Why did the CIA, who has no role in air crash investigation or practicing
aeronautical engineers, and failed to check their data with Boeing, produce
a slick but impossible computer simulation video of a noseless 747 zoom
climbing 3,000 feet?
Why did they ignore computer ballistic curves done aboard the NOAA ship
Rude that found all the major debris the next day, 18 July 1996? The Rudeís
computer proved the aircraft never climbed or flew, as alleged by the CIA,
but fell on a normal ballistic curve from its last radar transponder point.
When Rude went to that predicted impact point she found the main fuselage
with her side-scan sonar.
The CIA computer simulation of the wing and fuselage flight path varies
radically, as much as 150 kts slower than its actual horizontal velocity
vector captured on radar? Why did the CIA ignore the radar?
Why didnít the CIA interview a single witness before producing this video
used by the FBI on National television to slander hundreds of highly credible
Considering the NTSB had the only qualified
air crash investigators, if not a cover-up:
Why did the Justice Department violate Title 49 of the US Code by ordering
NTSB investigators to stay clear of all the witnesses and any evidence
developed by the FBI?
Why are the names, positions and testimony of witnesses still being held
secret by the Justice Department three years later and after the FBI dropped
Why did the Justice Department write off a dozen or more high explosive
residue hits on Flight 800 debris as being contaminated from a dog handling
exercise done 10 June 1996 in St. Louis when no written record of such
Why would the FBI find the recollection of the dog trainer credible when
his first two guesses as to the date of his training, the aircraft wasn't
in St. Louis, and in the third guess the aircraft's recorded departure
time was in conflict with his testimony?
Why would the deputy Director of the FBI lie about identifying every boat
when they failed to identify the one boat captured on radar almost underneath
Flight 800 when it exploded? That boat was within Stinger missile range
when it sped away?
Why would he compound that cover-up by telling journalists it was a helicopter?
Why would the FBI run a covert Stinger missile recovery effort for six
months, replete with an operational order, drawings of missile parts and
Why would those maps be altered deleting stinger range rings before being
published in the Navy's Supervisor of Salvage report?
Why would the administration lie about the aircraft being outside the Stinger's
range and altitude reach when the FBI had military computer modeling proving
Flight 800 was well within range?
Why would the FBI show a video to military experts of a missile shot in
the same area a few weeks earlier, but not share that information with
congress or other investigators?
Why would the Justice Department publicly seek to arrest and begin to prosecute
Captain Terrell Stacey, TWA's disgruntled Flight 800 investigator on trumped
up theft of government property charges the day before the NTSB's December
1997 public hearings?
Why did they do the same to James Sanders, author of the "Downing of Flight
800" and his wife Elizabeth, a TWA training supervisor.
Why would the Justice Department publicly release multiple affidavits from
Mob figures during the week of the NTSB hearings tying the district manager
of the only Congressman questioning the FBIís TWA investigation to organized
crime? After the manager pled guilty to two felonies, why is Justice holding
his affidavit secret?
Why would the FBI contract the Navyís China Lake Naval Air Weapons facility
experts to study the debris for a year then ignore the engineering report
that recommended detonating shoulder fired missile warheads in full 747
inboard fuel tanks and firing missiles at those tanks to replicate missile
damage found on Flight 800?
Why would the FBI deputy director assure the American public there was
no evidence of a missile impact on TWA Flight 800? There is a 45 square
foot hole in the front wall of the number 2 main tank and the wing root
fairing in front of that tank was shattered and fell first into the debris
Why make that statement when the massive left wing damage can only be explained
by a high explosive detonation in or near the number 2 tank?
Why did the Deputy FBI Director shut down the investigation when he received
the China Lake report?
Why were the seven recommendations in the China Lake military report (
all intended to more easily detect shoulder-fired missile attacks and reduce
the threat), ignored?
Why did the FBI conceal from congress and the parties to the crash the
reported discovery of shoulder-fired missile components only 2 miles from
Flight 800ís explosion point by the scallop boat Alpha Omega, in October
Why are the high explosive tests done by the FBI on a 747, front wall #2
main tank, at Bruntingthorpe England, secret?
Why is the FBI keeping the identity of commercial and military ships secret?
If the truth is not being covered-up:
On 6 May 1999, in testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee, in
the presence of the Chairman and senior staff of the NTSB, I recommended
the NTSB be reorganized and the current leadership be replaced without
political appointees. We brought forth proof of the administration's covert
missile recovery operation and pointed out the deceptive role played by
the NTSB Chairman. We also pointed out incredibly, the protocol to determine
which aircraft fuel tank exploded first had not yet been done. I further
stated if an NTSB final report comes out without these minimum, common
sense tests and the missile tests recommended by China Lake Naval Air Weapons
Systems Command, I would file the appropriate criminal complaints. Refusal
to do these tests is an admission of cover-up, for the results would either
confirm or irreversibly refute the administration's theory.
Why does the NTSB insist a spontaneous explosion in the center wing tank
caused the loss, when there is no source of ignition and they havenít even
done the preliminary microscopic edge metal analysis to determine whether
the center tank or itís next door neighbor, the more damaged number two
main tank, exploded first.
Why does the NTSB continue to insist jet fuel vapors spontaneously exploded
the center tank @ 13,700 feet when their own Flight test showed flammable
aviation kerosene vapors (six times heavier than air) donít even form well
enough on the surface of the liquid fuel to be lit by a match until the
aircraft climbs above 14,000 feet?
Why did the chairman of the NTSB publish an article in the Wall Street
Journal titled "Its wasnít a missile" at the very time he was funding a
multimillion dollar covert FBI dredging operation to recover missile parts.
The maps show that ¾ of the dredging was outside of the aircraft
Why did the NTSB feign difficulty in finding underwater debris for weeks
when the research vessel Rude, using its side-scan sonar, radioed them
the dimensions of the debris field and locations of all large under sea
objects the first day and provided detailed maps the second day?
Why is there a 30-hour discrepancy between when the Navy recovered the
black boxes and when the NTSB said they were found?
Why is the NTSB mute about the strange 7-day failure of both black box
Dukane underwater pinger locators that were later found to be operating
normally when checked in the LAB?
Divers assured this investigator that neither undamaged pinger was operating
when they found the boxes. These failures are extremely unlikely and demand
a formal explanation from the NTSB. Where is it?
Why has the administration failed to mention the large number of surface
vessels captured on radar on the Ambrose/Nantucket traffic lane, 10 miles
south of the shoot down?
Why has the NTSB stalled in completing a final report for over 3 years?
Is it because the parties to the crash are prohibited by law from making
independent statements or investigations until after the Final Report?
Why did the NTSB produce fraudulent videos of exploding center wing tanks
they filled with propane and highly explosive hydrogen gas, instead of
aviation kerosene that won't even burn and release them to the media?
Why did Dr. Loeb of the NTSB go on national television in June of 1997
and tell the American people 747's center wing tanks were dangerously hot?
Why didn't they retract that statement when I showed them a simple, no
cost, 2-minute procedure that proved them wrong?
Why weren't the black boxes "officially found" on 18 July 1996 and when
they weren't, why was there no urgency to do so?
Why didn't the urgency to recover victim's bodies quickly, using the professional
salvage crews of Weeks Marine, Inc. who were already on hand, override
waiting six days for the Navy? Who made that decision?
Why can't the NTSB explain the last data line on the Flight Data Recorder?
Why is the NTSB holding results of cockpit voice recorder tests done in
Bruntingthorpe England secret from NTSB and Party analysts?
No public official, including the President of the United States, has
the authority to conceal a fatal attack by terrorists on the American people.
Such an act would be misprision of felony homicide and misprision of treason.
The ball is still in the NTSB's court. After stalling for more than three
years, protecting administration officials, it is well past time they do
their duty or resign.
Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN Ret.