Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

TWA800 Lecture at Southampton College


July 30, 2003


Last night I attended a TWA 800 lecture at Southampton College, part of Long Island University.  Speaking were former FBI lead investigator Robert Knapp and CNN correspondent Christine Negroni. [author of Fatal Departure]  Ms Negroni has joined the NY aviation law firm, Kriendler and Kriendler as director of investigations following 9-11.  Her firm is involved in a lawsuit against Iraq for its I sponsorship of terrorist attacks. There were about ten in the audience, at least 3 of which were former TWA personnel, as well as the Suffolk County medical examiner.
Mr. Knapp began the lecture with his recollection of the events leading up to and surrounding TWA 800. He explained that terrorist activity since the first WTC attack had been closely watched.  Significant suspected terrorist activities had been under surveillance and at least one serious threat thwarted while the perpetrators were in the process of mixing their bomb materials.  When 800 went down, and the eye witness accounts came in, they immediately assumed it was a terrorist attack.  He insists, however, that no evidence supporting such a claim was ever found.  He agreed with the center fuel overheat/explosion theory.
Ms Negroni began by telling us about her book, which sounds like it is about the passengers and crew more than what actually happened.  We got the distinct feeling that she was just out to sell books.  She supports the fuel tank explosion theory and massaged the data to help support it.  She stated that there were 23 similar fuel tank explosions.  When pressed, she said that there were actually 26, and that half were military.  Further questioning revealed that any fire or explosion that included the fuel tanks was included in that number.  She mentioned the Thai airways jet that exploded and burned on the ground one hour before the prime minister was to have boarded.  This again was attributed to the center fuel tank.  She attempts to make us think that fuel tank explosions were not uncommon.  I worked for TWA for 14 years, and I had never heard of them.
I honestly think that she got emotionally involved in her investigation and her book was her emotional outlet, as is her hyping the book now.  Nothing contrary to the fuel tank theory was offered.  The TWA captain present asked if she had spoken with Commander Donaldson. She said no, adding politely that if people do not believe what the investigators have concluded then they should continue to question it, but that she is comfortable with the governments portrayal.
I am sure both speakers honestly believe what they told us.  However they offered nothing that helps me to believe it. I remain unconvinced.


 Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2001, 2002 & 2003  Robert E. Donaldson.  All rights reserved