From: Reed Irvine <email@example.com>
June 1, 2000
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
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
Have someone go to Bill Donaldson's web site, www.twa800.com
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
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
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
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.