Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Letter to the Editor Newsday magazine

Wed, 23 Aug 2000

To the Editor:

As a member of the Flight 800 Independent Researchers' Organization (FIRO), 
I wish to respond to comments published in your article today.  These 
comments were attributed to Jim Hall, chairman of the National 
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  This letter is my own personal 
viewpoint, and is not an official FIRO response.

There are several comments that, without a deeper analysis, can be quite 
misleading.  I hope to provide some analysis via this letter.  Readers may 
conduct their own analysis by visiting the FIRO Web site.  There, the myth 
of a spontaneous explosion of the Center Wing Tank (CWT) is systematically 

Chairman Hall is quoted as saying, "I know that, at the outset, many have 
believed that the crash of Flight 800 was caused by a criminal act.”   
According to the scenario presented by investigative reporter James Sanders 
(who is not a FIRO member), the missile strike upon Flight 800 was an 
accident by the American military.  Although a missile strike COULD have 
been a criminal act, ruling out criminal activity does not necessarily rule 
out a missile strike.

Chairman Hall is also reported to have said that investigators never found a 
shred of evidence that would point to sabotage.  Sabotage is an act that is 
internal by nature, usually involving either the surreptitious placement a 
bomb or surreptitious mechanical damage.  FIRO has never alleged either.  
Evidence of a missile was reported by hundreds of eyewitnesses.  FIRO 
presented two eyewitnesses at a press conference last year in Uniondale, 
Long Island.  One witness TRIED to get Federal investigators to interview 
her, but they refused.  The other witness was interviewed, but the agents 
tried to convince him that he had actually seen falling wreckage.  He still 
stands by his recollections, consistent with a missile.  Recently, an 
eyewitness alliance published a full-page newspaper ad that declares their 
stories have been suppressed.  Ruling out sabotage does not rule out a 
missile strike.

Chairman Hall said it was unfortunate "that a small number of people, 
pursuing their own agendas, have persisted in making unfounded charges of a 
government cover-up . . . "  FIRO has never officially charged that an 
active cover-up has taken place -- although many members hold that as a 
personal view.  The official FIRO position has always been to declare only 
that which can be supported by the evidence.  The official FIRO position is 
that the investigation contains many serious flaws and anomalies.  If we 
ever do obtain solid proof of an active cover-up, we will be glad to share 
it with the media, and to post it on our Web site at:  My 
personal goal is to unravel the government story to find any cover-up that 
might exist.

It is quite significant to note that FIRO does not have an "agenda", other 
than the pursuit of the supportable truth about Flight 800.  Our group 
ranges widely across the educational, political, and economic spectrum.  It 
includes people with backgrounds in physics, radar, chemistry, military, 
aviation (including a former crash investigator), and journalism.  FIRO 
holds no official view regarding "who" fired the missile.  We have ruled out 
nearly every other possible cause of the disaster that killed 230 people.

The physical and scientific evidence supports a missile strike as the cause 
of the crash, and refutes the CWT story.  A recent engineering study 
commissioned by the Air Transport Association confirms that there are no 
design flaws in the fuel systems of the 747, nor any other major airliner.  
If the Flight 800 crash was caused by a design flaw, why did it take 27 
years of flying 747s before the first "spontaneous explosion" occurred?  If 
this was a design flaw, why don't cars blow up in like manner -- since there 
are also wires inside automotive fuel tanks, and since gasoline is far more 
volatile than jet fuel?  If this was a design flaw, why did Federal 
investigators conduct their own tests of missiles off the Florida coast?

Ruling out criminal activity does not rule out a missile strike.  Ruling out 
sabotage does not rule out a missile strike.  Making bogus claims about a 
design flaw does not rule out a missile strike.  Making snide remarks about 
"a small group of people" does not rule out a missile strike.  Those of us 
that do not believe the official version will continue seeking the truth.  
So far, nothing the NTSB has said has convinced me.

Thomas F. Kovach
Binghamton, NY

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