Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO)


Springfield, Massachusetts


Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO) is acknowledging the 4th anniversary of the crash of TWA Flight 800 by filing a FOIA suit in U.S. District Court, Springfield, Mass. FIRO is seeking an injunction against the FBI to release accident data still being withheld from researchers. Incredibly, such data is also being withheld from other official parties to the investigation. The FBI even refused to share such source documents when requested at Congressional oversight hearings. 

FIRO is specifically seeking the FBI's forensic analytical results, which describe over 100 shrapnel-like objects, and which were never revealed to any other parties to the official investigation. Similarly, radar data seized by the FBI from the Sikorsky facility on Long Island have been withheld for 4 years. 

Last August, FIRO attracted national TV coverage (C-Span) of their press conference revealing previously unreleased NTSB radar data showing many unexplained vessels in the vicinity of the crash. One fast, high performance aircraft was tracked maneuvering in and out of a nearby military warning zone before, during, and after the crash.  There has still been no official response or explanation as to what these 30+ mystery vessels were, and why, despite being some of the closest, they did not contribute any of the 755  witness reports.

It is FIRO's contention that by continuing to keep such data secret and isolated from the official record, that the FBI and the NTSB are themselves undermining the credibility of their conclusions and of the overall official inquiry process. Such unnecessary secrecy creates skepticism and
lends credence to allegations of a cover-up. 

The NTSB will formally release their report on the accident in August with a conclusion based upon a hypothetical and spontaneous spark in the center fuel tank.  To date, no physical evidence has been found to support the "spark" theory.

After years of delay the NTSB has finally released the FBI's redacted eyewitness reports. These revealed that there were actually 755 witness reports despite FBI Asnt Director James Kallstrom's sworn testimony to a Congressional Hearing in 1997 that misrepresented the total number as "over 200 witnesses".

The Witness data and a summary can finally be viewed at:  www.twa800.com

The recent official TWA report to be included in the final NTSB report notes wryly that "These (witness) observations did not comport with the (upward) trajectory as depicted in the CIA videotape". Unfortunately the whole direction of the NTSB's investigation and conclusions are seriously compromised by this perception:  that the CIA's and the FBI's analyses lack credibility even among official parties to the investigation. FIRO has studied the CIA animation and related NTSB simulations in detail.  All are in significant conflict with FAA radar that tracked the true path of Flight 800.  See:  http://flight800.org/radar6.htm

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) final report to the NTSB also attests to serious flaws in the NTSB's process and conclusions.  Totally contradicting the NTSB, the IAMAW report even concluded that the physical evidence establishes that the CWT exploded as a result of the breakup of the a/c and not as a primary cause. They also draw attention to the existence of  16 previously denied penetrations of the aircraft body that go from out to in - indicating an external event and possible initiating event! 

FIRO therefore contends that the NTSB cannot reasonably conclude the official inquiry without acknowledging and seriously addressing all these many conflicts, anomalies and unexamined details. See also FIRO's testimony submitted to the House Aviation Subcommittee Hearing in 1998 included on FIRO website at:  http://flight800.org

It is now time for the media to start asking the FBI and the NTSB to show the factual basis and source materials their theories and conclusions are based upon. Blustering assertions of scrupulous diligence from high government officials should no longer be uncritically accepted.  Aviation safety depends on the official inquiry process being done well and being done credibly. On close examination, this investigation itself looks like an aviation disaster.

FIRO member Tom Shoemaker has followed this investigation rigorously at: 

For a web site that gives an overview, and links to many sites: http://www.angelfire.com/hi/TWA800/

FIRO does not endorse all the content in those sites, but they are useful for assessing the 4 year development of this story.

An associated current development in the story can be read about at:

About FIRO : FIRO is a group of over 50 citizen researchers who have been pursuing an independent investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 over the past two years. The group includes members with diverse backgrounds and expertise, including university researchers, engineers, technical, military, and aviation professionals. 

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