Associated Retired Aviation Professionals


By Reed Irvine 
August 15, 2001 

Ms. Gwendolyn Turner
Executive Officer 
Correspondence Section 
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Ms. Turner:

I have received a copy of a letter signed by you in response to a letter to the Attorney General charging that the NTSB, FBI and CIA all obstructed justice in the investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 five years ago. Your response states: “The (WorldNetDaily) articles have been reviewed in this section, and we have found no credible evidence in them to substantiate Mr. Cashill’s conclusion that the federal agencies attempting to ascertain the cause of the destruction of TWA Flight 800, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), were engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” 

Accuracy in Media has been supporting independent investigations of the cause of the TWA 800 crash since 1997. We have had input from experienced military and commercial pilots who have had crash investigation experience and who have put in hundreds of hours voluntarily to ascertain the truth about what caused the crash. One thing they all agree upon is that the explanation adopted by the three named government agencies is not believable for many reasons. Permit me to list a few. 

1. The center wing fuel tank was empty, according to Capt. Albert Mundo, who was the flight engineer on the flight from Athens to New York. He had depleted the fuel to zero using the sump pumps to transfer the last 300 lbs. to the no. 2 main tank. Jet-A fuel is very stable and there are no precedents for it to cause an explosion unless it is violently agitated to generate volatile fumes and there is a good ignition source. The tests conducted by the NTSB failed to find any ignition source and failed to show that the temperature of the fuel would have resulted in just the right degree of volatility to generate explosive fumes if there had been an ignition source. Furthermore, they point out that in the event the temperature had been just right and an ignition source had existed, there was not enough energy in that fuel tank to do the tremendous damage done to that very strong aircraft. There have been three other Boeing 747s that have suffered comparable damage and high explosives were involved in all three cases. The NTSB claims there was a center-wing fuel-tank explosion involving a Boeing 737 on the ground in Manila. There was a fire, but no fuel-tank explosion. So little damage was done to the aircraft that it could be towed off the tarmac. Cmdr. William S. Donaldson’s report states, “There has never been an in-flight explosion in any Boeing-built airliner of a Jet-A kerosene fuel vapor mixture in any tank caused by mechanical failure.”

2. The fuel-tank-explosion theory is inconsistent with the distribution of the wreckage in the debris field. The first major component of the plane to be detached was 21 feet of the nose, which was found in the red zone, the debris field closest to JFK. 

3. Our experts all agree that there is no way the severance of the nose and the damage done to the cockpit of the plane, including the implosion of the nosewheel gear doors and the damage to the nose wheel, could be caused by a fuel-tank explosion far to the rear. 

4. In the early stages of the investigation, the team working on the missile theory had what was recognized as the most plausible explanation of the crash. All the eyewitness testimony, the configuration of the debris field, the damage to the plane, the presence of explosive residue both inside and outside the plane, and the implausibility of the spontaneous fuel-tank explosion theory gave support to the missile theory. It was discarded because it was claimed there was no evidence in the wreckage that a missile had hit the plane or exploded near it. But James Kallstrom himself admitted that not enough of the wreckage had been recovered to make that claim. Vernon L. Grose, a former NTSB Board member who defended the NTSB’s position in scores of TV appearances, changed his mind after attending a news conference featuring experts with the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals and eyewitnesses. He said the NTSB had withheld important information from him.

5. It has been reported that the FBI investigators concealed parts of the wreckage from representatives of the parties to the investigation and even the NTSB personnel. They had a special area where they stored evidence they did not want others to see. In addition, they altered the evidence. Hank Hughes, a veteran NTSB crash investigator, has reported seeing an FBI agent pounding wreckage from the plane with a hammer to straighten it out. That’s a crime, but no one was indicted for it. A TWA employee assigned to the investigation caught agents changing the color tags on seats to change the location in which they were found. She had photographs taken by police officers to prove the tampering, but she was removed from the investigation. Those who altered the evidence were kept on the job.

6. James D. Sanders, who was writing a book about the crash, was sent two small strips of foam rubber from seat backs in three rows that were impregnated with a red residue. Capt. Terry Stacey, a TWA pilot assigned to the investigation, thought the residue might have been deposited by a missile. The FBI would not tell the parties to the investigation what its analysis had revealed, and so Capt. Stacey sent the two samples to his friend, Jim Sanders, to have them analyzed. Elemental analysis showed that the residue could have come from solid rocket fuel. When Sanders published the results, James Kallstrom, the FBI assistant director who had taken charge of the investigation, claimed it was only glue. The results of the FBI’s analysis have never been made public. And that may be because it never had the residue analyzed. Mary Tungol, a special agent who was assigned to the FBI crime lab at that time, told me that she recalled being given two strips of reddish material to analyze. She said that all she did was verify that the material was polyurethane foam. She said she was not asked to analyze the reddish residue. Stacey, Sanders and his wife were all charged with conspiring to remove evidence from a crash site. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders were convicted of a felony and sentenced to perform community service. Stacey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was dropped from the investigation. Sanders was allowed to photograph the wreckage at Calverton to use in his defense. Those photos when compared with earlier photos show significant alterations in the evidence, and he documented this in his book, “Altered Evidence.”

7. The machine installed at Calverton to detect explosive residue detected 12 hits on the leading edge of the right wing. That part of the plane was flown to Washington for retesting in the FBI crime lab, where ten of the hits were declared to be false positives. The part was then lost. Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, the FBI’s leading explosives expert who exposed the incompetence and corruption of the FBI crime lab, says they did not use the proper procedures when they checked the part. Whitehurst, who was responsible for the FBI buying the machine, says that it is highly reliable. 

8. AIM’s principal investigator, Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III, USN (Ret.), by interviewing captains of scallop boats who had been hired to trawl far beyond the time when the search for bodies and wreckage had ended, learned that they were hired by the FBI to try to find missile parts. Donaldson obtained both the instructions and the map of where the search was to take place that had been left on one of the boats by the FBI. The FBI also had Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical of San Diego send one of their executives to Calverton to see if wreckage they had found together with TWA debris could be identified as part of one of their Firebee drones, which are painted international orange. When he got there and was shown the parts, he asked TRA to fax him engineering drawings and a list of parts for the Firebee tail assembly. The fax was sent to a Long Island housewife by mistake. She gave it to a local newspaper, which published a story about it. I interviewed the TRA executive. His answers were evasive and contradictory. The executive said what the FBI showed him was not orange, and that it was “just some scrap metal off the ocean floor.” He said he sent for the drawings “to prove to the FBI that it was not a Firebee part.” He denied having requested a parts list until I told him I had a copy of it.

9. This helps explain why President Clinton abruptly issued Executive Order 13039 withdrawing protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act from miltary and civilian personnel working on the salvage operation. It also explains why a large commercial salvage vessel on the spot was not used in the salvage operation. The operation was delayed for several days while two navy salvage vessels were sent up from Norfolk, Va. 

10. Proof that there was a conspiracy to obstruct justice is found in Appendix FF of the NTSB’s final report. This is a transcript of an explanation by a CIA analyst of how they set out to prove that the hundreds of eyewitnesses who said they had seen missiles down TWA 800 were all mistaken. They decided to claim that every single one of these eyewitnesses had mistaken TWA 800 for a missile after its fuel tank blew up. They claimed that the loss of its nose caused the plane to tilt up and climb 3000 feet like a rocket. The CIA did not interview a single eyewitness nor did they get any input from the eyewitnesses except through the interview reports provided to them by the FBI. The analyst claimed they relied heavily on what eyewitness #571, Michael Wire, told the FBI he had observed. The analyst said he was an excellent witness and perhaps the only one who had seen the entire sequence of events. The CIA produced a video simulating the crash that was supposed to be based on what Michael Wire told the FBI. This was used to convince the gullible that people on the shore on Long Island, 10 or 12 miles from TWA 800, saw it climbing from 13,700 feet to 17,000 feet after its fuel tank exploded and mistook it for a missile. A lot of those people told the FBI that they saw what they first thought was a flare or fireworks rising at a steep angle from the surface close to shore and then level off and streak out to sea where its flight ended with a big explosion. Michael Wire was one of them.

The CIA analyst, whose remarks to the NTSB Witness Group are found in Appendix FF, did not dream that Michael Wire, the foundation on which this scenario was constructed, would ever surface to contradict him. When I told Michael Wire what the CIA analyst claimed he had told the FBI, he was indignant. The CIA analyst claimed that Wire’s first interview with the FBI was troubling, because he had said he caught sight of something zigzagging upwards just above the roof of a house on the beach. He said they had the FBI interview Wire a second time and that he then said that he first saw this object well above the roof top. That was a necessary change, because at 13,700 feet TWA 800 could not appear to be just above a nearby rooftop. Wire was interviewed by the FBI six days after the crash by phone and then face to face six days after that. That was long before the CIA got into the act. He told the same story both times, and he was never interviewed again. He has exposed the CIA analyst’s lies, lies which expose the conspiracy among the CIA, the FBI and the NTSB to try to convince us that no one, beginning with Mike Wire, really saw anything in the sky that night but TWA 800 after its fuel tank blew up. None of the many eyewitnesses I have talked to, including Wire, have anything but contempt for the CIA video, which was unveiled by James Kallstrom and shown on all the major TV news shows. It is a fraud, and the Justice Department should be prosecuting those responsible, not helping them cover up their lies.

11. The analysis of the primary radar data obtained by the Flight 800 Independent Research Organization shows that the plane did not climb 3000 feet after it lost its nose and probably all of its power. The radar data show that its speed increased from 385 knots to 460 knots. This proves that it was in a free fall. If it were climbing (which would have been impossible) its speed would have been reduced.

Ms. Turner, if those who composed and approved the letter you signed wish to discuss this matter and see the evidence that we and others have collected over the past four years, I will be happy, as will many others, to provide them with the evidence that proves that the Clinton administration conspired to cover up the cause of the crash of TWA 800. President Bush apparently does not want to expose the crimes of his predecessor, but if the Justice Department perpetuates this and other cover-ups of serious crimes, those responsible will go down in history as worse than those who initiated them. They will send a message to the rising generation of politicians that they can get away with anything. I can’t believe that this is the message that Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to send.

Sincerely yours,

Reed Irvine

cc: William S. Donaldson, III
Dr. Tom Stalcup
Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Adm. Mark Hill
Dr, Vernon L. Grose
Capt. Howard Mann
Capt. Al Mundo
Michael Wire
Frederick C. Meyers
Jack Cashill
James D. Sandersain Page

Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2000 William S. Donaldson III.  All rights reserved