Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

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October 5, 2001

Letters Editor

To the Editor:

    The Defense Department was quick to report that our satellites detected a surface-to-air missile launched in Ukraine that may have downed the Russian airliner over the Black Sea. In a related story (p. 32, 10/5/01),  the Post reported that "there have been no known instances in which a civilian airliner was mistakenly shot down during testing exercises."   It would be more accurate to say there have been no admitted instances. Hundreds of eyewitnesses saw what they believed to be a missile heading toward TWA Flight 800 before it crashed. The official finding was that a fuel tank explosion caused the crash and that all the eyewitnesses had mistaken the airliner, climbing and trailing burning fuel, for a missile.   

     The FBI reports of what the eyewitnesses saw can be found on  Michael Wire, eyewitness #571, was described by an analyst involved in the production of the CIA video simulation of the crash as the best eyewitness they had. 
      Wire told the FBI he saw what he thought was a "cheap firework" ascending from the beach. He first saw it just above the roof of a house and that it arched over, went out to sea, and ended with an explosion that shook the 70-ton bridge on which he was standing. 

      The CIA analyst falsely claimed that Wire changed his story, saying that what he saw was high in the sky when he first saw it. That was necessary to because the airliner was high in the sky, and Wire's statement was to be the basis of the claim that all the eyewitnesses mistook the plane
for a missile. The FBI and NTSB both bought this.

     Radar data show the plane did not climb after the explosion and that a supersonic object was on a course intersecting with the plane. The Defense Department refuses to disclose what its satellites revealed about that. It won't acknowledge that missiles were fired in what James Kallstrom told me was "a classified Navy maneuver."

      On Sept. 11, George Stephanopoulos, a senior Clinton adviser turned ABC correspondent, said on camera that there was a meeting in the most secure White House situation room in "the aftermath of the TWA 800 bombing."  He hasn't explained why he referred to it as a "bombing" and why it warranted a meeting in that room. Get the answers to those questions and the Post might find a precedent for an airliner to be shot down by a missile during a testing exercise. 
 Reed Irvine
Accuracy in Media Inc.

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