Email from Reed Irvine of AIM to David Westin, President of ABC News

From: Reed Irvine <>
To: David Westin <>
Date: Thursday, June 01, 2000 10:25 PM
Subject: 6/1/00 TWA 800 story

June 1, 2000
Dear David:
    I helped Lisa Stark get an interview with CDR Bill Donaldson on TWA 800 for this eveneing's World News Tonight. Your camera crew went all the way down to his farm in southern Maryland  to tape him for an hour. He tells me that the crew was fascinated by the information he was putting out. What got on the air was a shot of him walking  and Lisa Stark saying that he had vowed never to give up the fight to get the truth out. 

    It must be very demoralizing to your correspondent and your cameramen to see ABC News denying viewers access to expert information that is critical of the government line that the 260 eyewitnesses who told the FBI that they saw a streak of light going toward the plane immediately
before the explosion saw only the burning plane, no missile. Common sense should tell you that is nonsense. The radar data released last year prove that the disabled plane did not gain altitude. It fell. The proof is that it its speed increased from 385 knots to 460 knots within 10 seconds of the explosion. That's because it was falling. It is laughable to think that a noseless, powerless plane could shoot up 3000 feet as the CIA claimed. That was too much even for the NTSB, which reduced the alleged ascent drastically.

    The other day I heard an expert say on TV that if two eyewitnesses who have not had any contact with each other both provide essentially the same account of an incident, that is strong evidence that what they are saying is correct. If 50 eyewitnesses who are accurate in their observations only 10 percent of the time all tell essentially the same story, there is a 99.5 percent chance that the account is accurate. The govenment realized that it had to do something to discredit 260 eyewitnesses who told similar stories about seeing a streak of light if it wanted
to avoid being forced to admit that a missile downed TWA Flight 800.  

    Have someone go to Bill Donaldson's web site, and check out the FBI eyewitness reports recently released by the NTSB and appendix FF, which was attached. The appendix is the transcript of a meeting at which a CIA analyst explained how he hit upon the idea of discrediting nearly all of those bothersome eyewitnesses by claiming that all they saw was the burning plane, which they mistook for a missile. You will find that the CIA claims to have relied heavily on the statement given to the FBI by Michael Wire, eyewitness 571, who, the analyst
said, is one of the few people who saw the entire event. And what he saw, the analyst says, is the noseless plane climbing 3000 feet and then plunging into the ocean.  

    Michael Wire's FBI 302 does not support this claim, and he told me that the CIA had never discussed this with him. He said  that if they ever do, he will tell them that he saw what he at first thought was "cheap fireworks" rising from the other side of a house near the beach about 900
feet in front of him.  The reason he said "cheap fireworks" was because it zigzagged. He said that as it went out to sea, he lost sight of it for a few seconds and the next thing he saw was a large fireball that immediately plunged into the ocean at about a 30 degree angle. He believes that
what he saw was a missile that hit  TWA Flight 800 and blew it up.

    That, Mr. Westin, is the witness that the CIA analyst said was "driving" their analysis. Do you get the impression that someone is lying?

    Your report was very condescending toward experienced, intelligent and dedicated individuals like Bill Donaldson who have put enormous amounts of time and energy into trying to find the truth about the crash. They are countering the lies told by the sources the media rely on for their information.

    That is why I say that the media, for the most part, have abandoned investigative reporting and are practicing "mouthpiece" journalism. They report whatever they are told by the official sources they rely upon for their stories. That makes life much more simple and comfortable for them. They mouth the government line that there was no evidence that a missle struck the plane (disregarding the evidence provided by 260 eyewitnesses).  It would never occur to a mouthpiece journalist to dig into the records, where they would find, contrary to official claims,  that traces of explosive residue were found both inside the plane and on the leading edge of the right wing. 

    The traces inside the plane were explained with a story that a test with an explosive-sniffing dog had been made on this aircraft in St. Louis and that explained the residue. Those who probed deeper found that the test was performed on a different plane. Part of the wing, where an Egis machine at Calverton  found 12 positive hits for explosive residue,  was sent to Washington for checking at the FBI lab. The lab ruled out ten of the hits, but Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, the most competent explosive expert in the lab who, you may recall, exposed the incompetence and dishonesty of many of the agents assigned to the lab, told me that they did not use the proper techniques for checking what the machine at Calverton had detected.

    You may ask what motive would the government officials have to lie about the cause of the crash. Many believe it is because this was an accident caused by a Navy missile or missiles that went astray. Bill Donaldson thinks it was a terrorist act. In either case, a decision was made
by the White House to conceal the truth. In March 1997, after Salinger and Sanders charged that the Navy was involved, an executive order was issued declaring that the Whistleblower Protection Act would not apply to all the personnel who worked on the salvage operation. 

    Why? There would be no need for that if the explosion was caused by the fuel tank. But if missile parts were found in the wreckage, that would confirm the Salinger/Sanders charges, and they didn't want the salvage personnel to tell what they found.

    Why did they prosecute Jim Sanders and his wife over a couple of small pieces of foam rubber from a seat on the plane? If the reddish residue on those swatches was glue, as the FBI claimed, and not missile exhaust as Sanders claimed, why didn't the FBI let CBS News go ahead and test the swatch Sanders had given them. If they found it was glue, it would have discredited Sanders. By confiscating it, the FBI showed that it feared that Sanders was right and that CBS would  report that.

    Since ABC News bought the fuel tank explosion theory when it touted it on Prime Time Live on June 4, 1997, it would be expecting too much to think that you would switch from being a mouthpiece for the government and actually report the evidence found by independent investigators that has convinced people like Adm. Thomas H. Moorer and former NTSB Board member Vernon Grose that the government has been caught lying. I'm sure you find that hard to believe.

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