U.S. senator convinced TWA crash caused by sabotage


July 19, 1996

CHICAGO (CNN) -- A U.S. senator
briefed Friday by FBI Director
Louis Freeh on the investigation
of the crash of TWA Flight 800
said it looked "pretty darn
conclusive" that either a bomb or
a missile caused the explosion.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah,
chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, told CNN his
conclusions come after "various
conversations" with government
officials. Freeh briefed Senate
leaders on Capitol Hill Friday.
"I won't go so far as to say it
was terrorism, but there was
sabotage here," Hatch said. "It
looks like that."

"We're looking at a criminal
act," Hatch said. "We're looking
at somebody who either put a bomb
on it or shot a missile, a
surface-to-air missile."

Hatch said the National
Transportation Safety Board
should now turn the investigation
over to the FBI, because the
crash was not related to an
aviation problem, in his opinion.
"It's very -- almost 100 percent
unlikely that this was a
mechanical failure," Hatch said.
"It looks pretty darn conclusive
that it was an explosion caused
either internally or externally
that was caused by a criminal