Gannett News Service:

"Congressional Panel Rejects Flight 800 Missile Theory"

WASHINGTON- Members of a key congressional subcommittee yesterday
rejected theories that a missile shot down TWA Flight 800 or that the
White House is imposing a hush-up on the 1996 crash.

"We find it inreliable to conclude that anything other than the center
wing fuel tank and an (internal) explosion was responsible", said Rep.
John Trafivant Jr., D-Ohio, during a hearing of the House's Subcommittee
on Aviation.

"There was no evidence of damage from a missile at all", he said.

Traficant, with the go-ahead of subcommittee chairman John Duncan,
R-Tenn., has been heading the subcommittee's informal review of TWA
Flight 800's disintegration on July 17, 1996.

It was enroute from New York to Paris when it plunged into the Atlantic
near Long Island, killing 230.

The FBI and federal crash investigators have rejected missile scenarios
and concluded that a spark of unknown causes ignited fuel vapors in a
central fuel tank.

But nearly three years after the crash, the National Transportation
Safety Board has yet to spell out its findings in a final report - a
process that typically occurs within about 12 months after an accident.

And doubters have been aggressively promoting a possible government
cover-up of a missile attack on the aircraft.