Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
Aviation Mishap Analyst
P.O. Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624
Web site:
Press Release

Washington, DC - May 24, 1999 - For Immediate Release

Donaldson Exposes Traficant's Duplicity on 
TWA Flight 800

Today, Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, an Independent Air Crash Investigator probing the July 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, publicly released a statement and letter to the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation.  In the letter, intended to amplify the record of Cmdr. Donaldson's testimony before the Subcommittee's Hearing to Reauthorize the NTSB on May 6, 1999, he asked the Chairman to have Ohio Democrat James Traficant recuse himself from further involvement in the TWA Flight 800 matter.

Donaldson based his request on his discovery, after testifying before the committee, of Traficant's extensive history of Mob activity and two previous Federal prosecutions by the Justice Department.  Donaldson points out that when Mr. O'Nesti, Traficants' senior political advisor and manager of Ohio's 17th Congressional District office, pled guilty to two organized crime felonies in a sealed Federal plea bargain in 1998, it was precisely coincidental to Traficant's "sudden and severe change of heart" in supporting Donaldson's Flight 800 investigation.  Prior to that point he was a strong supporter of the outside investigation.  After Mr. O'Nesti's guilty plea, Mr. Traficant avoided all contact with Cmdr. Donaldson and proactively attacked the Donaldson investigation.

Cmdr. Donaldson's Statement:
"On 6 May 1999 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Aviation during their hearing on the reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board.  (See attached press article).  I proposed, in the presence of Mr. Hall, the Chairman of the NTSB and his staff, that they be removed from office based on the abuses of power and malfeasance discovered in our investigation into the loss of TWA Flight 800.  I strongly recommended the NTSB be reorganized without political appointees and that Title 49 and Title 18 which were severely abused by this administration, be reformed. 

Despite the fact I brought documents and maps into the hearing that proved the FBI's intention to conceal evidence of a missile attack on TWA Flight 800, they were ignored.  Instead of developing and pursuing facts from a two year investigation, Mr. Lipinski, the ranking democrat and Mr. Traficant, even more so, engaged in a partisan game of shoot the messenger.  Several of Traficant's comments were slanderous.

Having a fill of Traficant's duplicity for the second time in less that a year, our investigation immediately began checking his background and motives.  What we found was very disturbing and is partly documented in the attached letter and news report.  Mr. Traficant's background and actions have caused me to reconsider other previous events.

Coercion may also explain the strange behavior of Mr. Bruce Klappa on 16 and 17 July 1998.  Mr. Klappa, the manager of a prominent downtown Washington club, was  contracted to provide a large Ballroom for our press conference on Monday July 20, 1998.  At that time, immediately after Mr. Traficant's report, we were to publicly release our Interim Report to Congress. Mr. Klappa breached the contract without cause late on Thursday afternoon, went into his office, locked the door and refused to answer the phone. The issue was suddenly resolved Friday morning, 15 minutes after I informed Traficant's office we intended to cancel the news conference, sue the manager, subpoena phone records and discover who was tampering with our investigation.

Traficant's assistant blamed the NTSB as the possible source of intimidation of Mr. Klappa, however the issue will likely not be resolved unless Mr. Klappa, now out of state, is placed under oath."

Cmdr. Donaldson will be making appearances on the West Coast the second week of June at Pebble Beach, the Naval Postgraduate School and in Hollywood. Call 301-769-3353 prior to 7 June 1999 for West Coast press availability.