Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
April 5, 1999
Aviation Mishap Analyst
P.O. Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624
Web site: twa800.com
Mr. Philip M. Condit
The Boeing Company
P.O. Box 3707, Mail Code 10-10
Seattle, WA 98124-2207
Mr. Gerald L. Gitner
Trans World Airlines
One City Center
515 North Sixth St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Re: The unexplained loss of
TWA Flight 800
Over the last four months our investigation into the loss of TWA Flight
800 has produced information far surpassing that contained in our July
20, 1998 Interim Report to Congress. We can now prove, before a jury or
other independent fact-finding body, that the aircraft was shot down. We
can also explain why the Administration covered it up and expose some of
the methods they employed to do so.
Your corporations are being scapegoated and defrauded by Administration
officials because, had the truth about this incident been reported before
November of 1996, it could have derailed the reelection of Clinton/Gore.
Exposed now, it could send guilty parties to jail for Misprision of Felony
We can provide your attorney's with witnesses, documents, or reference
material that will support the following text:
White House knowledge of a threat
prior to the loss of TWA Flight 800
Witnesses or "Untouchables"?
The Administration knew that in 1996, surrogates from rogue states had
access to MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) or shoulder-fired
missiles in mid-eastern weapons bazaars. $5,000 would acquire the least
capable model, the Russian SA-7. $50,000 would buy the most capable, the
Chinese Vanguard, a deadly new missile upgraded from US Stinger technology
transferred to the Chinese in the early 90's. Superior to the Stinger,
this missile has a much longer range. The Administration also knew Iran
had a limited number of US Stinger missiles in inventory.
The Administration was aware that, worldwide, MANPADS missiles had already
claimed 26 civil transport aircraft and was only a matter of time before
a U.S. Flag carrier would be targeted and hit. They knew the Administration
had dodged a bullet in 1994 when Maryland State Police found a fully armed
French Mistral MANPADS missile ready to fire on its tripod directly under
a busy northeastern air route.
In response to sanctions unilaterally levied against Iran by Mr. Clinton
in 1995, Iranian surrogate's car bombed US troops in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
and later smuggled MANPADS missiles into the US from across the Canadian
border. Iranian officials warned the Administration that they considered
enactment of the Iran/Libya Sanctions Act tantamount to an act of war!
When Mr. Clinton signed the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, a decision
was made by the Iranian Supreme Council to approve attacks on major American
targets. Terrorist surrogate groups from nine countries were summoned to
Tehran to meet with Iranian officials in June of 1996. Later that month,
a huge truck bomb was deployed against the US Air Force barracks complex
at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Three weeks later, TWA Flight 800 was
shot down only hours after an explicit warning of an attack was received
in London and Washington that taunted the President.
The White House, the CIA and the FBI were aware of the threat and they
knew preventing that attack was their primary responsibility.
We can show the Administration anticipated incorrectly that, if the missiles
were used, they would be targeted against Olympic air traffic landing or
taking off in the Atlanta area.
We can provide testimony that immediately after Flight 800 was shot down,
Mr. Clinton called an FBI command post supporting the Olympics and informed
them Flight 800 was downed with shoulder-fired missiles.
The White House, the CIA and the FBI political leadership have waged an
unrelenting disinformation campaign from the onset. This has ranged from
the White House spokesman stating, "Anyone in government that says this
was a missile only has half a brain", and to the CIA cartoon that libeled
hundreds of eyewitnesses.
The day after Flight 800 was shot down, the Justice Department, helped
by 1,000 FBI agents, began the process of converting hundreds of witnesses
into the first American "untouchable cast". The political leadership of
the NTSB aborted its mission in one surrender of its responsibilities after
another. When the Justice Department illegally ordered the NTSB crash investigators
to have no contact with witnesses or their statements, and the NTSB complied,
the investigation was over, the cover-up and Misprision of Felony Homicide
At the NTSB Public Hearing in December of 1997, the word "witnesses" was
not even mentioned. Before and since, they have been ridiculed, slandered
and liabled in official videotapes and statements made by government spokesmen.
On March 15, 1999 the derailment of the Spirit of New Orleans after she
hit a steel truck at a railroad crossing in Bourbonnaise IL, prompted a
media wide call for witnesses by NTSB officials. It seems a witness was
needed to prove the truck had driven around the safety gate. Apparently,
investigations are much simpler and witnesses more creditable for the NTSB
when there is no White House interest.
We have access to 107 witnesses on 4 aircraft, 19 boats, and 31 locations
ashore. They were located in a 360° circle around the missile engagement.
Their live testimony alone will prove the aircraft was shot down. This
is why the Justice Department has kept air crash investigators away from
witnesses for 2 1/2 years and also one reason they are conducting a malicious
show-trial prosecution of author and outside investigator James Sanders
and his wife. It's hard to interview witnesses from a Federal prison. The
FBI failed to identify and interview 17 of these people. Among these 17
are witnesses on a boat who may have seen the escaping shooter.
Justice Department suppression of Missile
It appears, aggressive FBI missile-team field agents eventually solved
the problem as to the cause of the crash, but had no support in the FBI
leadership. In fact, the FBI leadership seems to have deliberately withheld
vital information from their own agents.
George Gabrial, the senior FBI Agent on Long Island and personal friend
of Mr. Kalstrom, was a close witness on his boat. We can provide witnesses
who overheard him say he believed what he observed was a missile. FBI missile-team
members did not know he was a witness until we informed them.
The FBI has videotape that was shown to military experts of a missile shot
from off the coast of Long Island that failed to engage a target. This
first attempt was nearly coincidental to the Khobar Towers attack 3 weeks
before Flight 800ís loss.
By late September, 1996, FBI missile-team members had established informal
liaison with military missile guidance experts. By that time the FBI knew
witnesses at sea on all sides were pointing to a missile launch a few miles
southeast of Flight 800's explosion point. What they observed fit the profile
of a MANPADS missile engagement.
In December 1996, FBI missile team members told military experts that two
separate commercial fishermen dredged up and threw back a MANPADS first
stage, the missile ejector-motor can. The ejector motor, about the size
of a Coke can, fires in the tube, ejecting the missile, then drops in the
water when the missile 2nd stage booster ignites.
The fishing vessel Alpha Omega recovered one of these motor cans in early
October, 1996, while trawling for scallops about 2 nautical miles from
Flight 800's explosion point. The crewman, not realizing the importance
of his find, noted the two distinctive ignition wires attached to the can
before he threw it overboard.
Despite overwhelming forensic evidence of a weapon impact in the number
2 main tank of the left wing and witness testimony of a missile attack,
the Administration would not fund military missile experts or allow the
FBI to trawl for missile parts until after the November 1996 elections.
The Alpha Omega was one of five trawlers contracted by the Navy Supervisor
of Salvage for trawler operations. When FBI agents finally came aboard
in November 1996 to begin trawling and brought pictures of three objects
they were looking for, it was that point the crewman told them they were
too late, he had already found and discarded an ejector can!
Responding to the previous findings, Special Agents Bongardt and Otto took
a live ejector motor can from a Stinger missile aboard all the trawlers
under contract, showing it to captain and crew.
Interrogated for hours, the Alpha Omega crewman insisted the can he found
had the same features, ignition wires, etc. but was somehow different.
That interrogation should have prompted the FBI leadership to suspect they
may have been dealing with the longer-range Chinese Vanguard or Russian
It is clear from the Supervisor of Salvage's operational trawling maps
depicting "missile firing zones" and the FBI Trawling Operations Manual
in our possession, that the Justice Department's intent was to find and
hide from "other Interested Parties", missile ejector cans, missile battery
cooling units and the last Flight 800 Scavenge Pump the NTSB was trying
to blame as a source of a spark.
The $ 5 million trawling operation was funded by NTSB, contracted to civilian
scallop boats through the Navy Supervisor of Salvage from 4 November 1996
until it was suddenly terminated on 30 April 1997, yet the trawlers were
manned 24 hours a day by teams of FBI agents. Up until 30 April 1997 the
scallop boat captains had been told the operation would continue indefinitely
for months or even years. FBI agents got the word via cell phone to shut
down the operations. On two of the boats, when the captains refused to
stop until the Navy contractor on board told them to, the agents threatened
force to make the captains shut down. The first agent backed down when
the captain told him he would go anywhere at gunpoint, but the agent could
expect to be charged with piracy on the high seas when they got ashore.
The second agent backed down when the captain informed him that he was
armed also and he was the captain and they weren't going anywhere!
The FBI's trawling plan was flawed in the following ways.
a. The missile firing zones depicted on the charts were 1.75 NM and
2.7 NM radius circles. These distances are accurate for two types of MANPADS
but the Chinese Vanguard exceeds those ranges.
b. They used the last transponder response from the aircraft as the
aircraft explosion point. The aircraft was travelling east over 2,900 feet
between each transponder response. A two-second error would move the trawling
off by 1/4 mile.
c. They failed to notice, until December 1996, a recorded surface radar
contact only 2.9 NM from Flight 800 when it exploded!
d. They failed to identify that boat!
e. They failed to adjust the trawling lines to cover that boat's surface
track while it was in range of TWA Flight 800.
The FBI told military experts they had a witness who perfectly described
a MANPADS engagement terminating in an impact on Flight 800ís left wing
root. It includes boost; sustainer-motor burn and total missile fly-out
time typical of the US Stinger and its copies.
Military thermal imaging of B747-100ís provided to the FBI by China Lake
Naval Air Weapons Facility, indicate a MANPADS missile fired from a low
forward quarter would guide toward the three air pack exhaust ports, directly
under the center wing tank and not, as publicly stated for the engine nacelles.
attached Thermal Imaging.
Military computer modeling of the TWA 800 engagement, using Stinger data,
shows the missileís velocity would degrade to 400 meters per second as
it climbed through 13,700 ft. This would cause the circular error probability
(CEP) to expand to 20 ft. or more, allowing an impact almost anywhere on
Stinger guidance technology provides a last instant steer-forward command
to avoid a miss by flying through an engine exhaust plume. Such a command
would explain a missile, fired from in front, steering for the air pack
exhausts under the center wing, impacting forward on the left wing root
The Stinger, for example, has a two-pound warhead with three fusing options,
contact, penetration and time-out.
Using stinger missile fly-out data provided to the FBI by military experts,
the combined velocity of missile body and aircraft at impact would be 1950
If the cockpit voice recorder hasn't been tampered with, an audio laboratory
should be able to discern this velocity through its analysis of recorded
frequencies. This may be why the NTSB has refused to allow the Cockpit
Voice Recorder group to convene and study the data generated from the Bruntingthorpe
tests done in England.
E = ½ MV2 would predict kinetic energy available at impact
of over 1.2 million foot pounds.
The kinetic energy from a missile body entering the number two main, ¾
full of fuel, at mach 1.8 would cause the tank to burst from hydraulic
Fused for penetration, the two-pound high explosive warhead, bursting in
the fuel could impart an additional 200-PSI spike of hydraulic ram overpressure.
Jet fuel is over 700 times the density of air. A MANPADS missile warheadís
fragments would be stopped in a few feet of fuel, negating high velocity
fragment damage to aircraft components. Mr. Kalstromís public statements
repeatedly used the lack of high velocity fragment damage as an excuse
to ignore witnesses and shutdown the investigation.
The Navy China Lake missile impact "Quick Look Engineering Study" identified
4 criteria for expected damage if a shoulder fired missile hit a 747-100
inboard main fuel tank. All four are caused by hydraulic over pressurization
of fuel tanks. All four are in evidence on the left wing. None of these
criteria have ever been seen in previous air crashes.
The China Lake reportís first two recommendations were to detonate shoulder-fired
missile warheads in fuel tanks to determine if the fragments would be trapped
and to do live firing of these missiles at inboard main tanks to compare
to left wing damage on Flight 800.
Mr. Kalstrom ignored all seven recommendations; cherry picked statements
out of the China Lake report and used them out of context in the media
to argue the aircraft was not shot down.
When Mr. Kalstrom was faced with having to take action on the China Lake
report he chose to shut down the investigation.
At the time the FBI investigation was prematurely shut down in November
of 1997, the FBI had failed to identify a fast moving boat captured on
radar only 2.9 nautical miles from Flight 800 when it exploded. Mr. Schirilo,
who replaced Mr. Kalstrom, admitted that fact in a letter to Congressman
After his retirement, Mr. Kalstrom was taped stating the boat captured
on radar was really a helicopter. Considering the radar target was non-transponder
and was tracked on the surface at speed below 36 knots for 35 minutes prior
to disappearing over the horizon, even FBI agents have acknowledged Mr.
Kalstromís excuse is nonsense.
Witnesses afloat and ashore observed a six second missile burn (Stinger
rocket burn is 6 ½ seconds) coming from the near vicinity of the
Senior Justice Department officials need to be compelled to answer under
oath why testing essential to determine if Flight 800 was brought down
by a shoulder fired missile was not funded and why they ignored the forensic
evidence, military experts, witnesses and their own FBI field agents.
The search for the Black Boxes
TWA Flight 800 was the 27th civil aircraft shot down worldwide
by shoulder fired missiles. The Administrationís actions have greatly increased
the danger of a recurrence, not only because of the deception of this case
but because administration policy deliberately fails to link any terrorist
act to the government of the Sponsor State. This provides political cover
for the Administration's lack of action and sanctuary to deadly enemies.
Discovery of the plight of the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder
and their two Ducane pingers, after water entry, may be the key to unlocking
the cover-up. We can show a Grand Jury how Mr. Clinton personally involved
The NTSB is extremely sensitive to the subject of Black Boxes. They opened
the boxes without any investigators from the Interested Parties present.
They refused to allow TWA's investigator to listen to the voice recorder
more than once.
The Voice Recorder has a "sound like damaged tape" precisely seven seconds
prior to its end. Seven seconds prior to missile impact would be coincidental
to MANPADS booster ignition. A visually bright event that could be seen
by the First Officer.
Dr. Loeb has refused to release Addendum number two to the Flight Data
Recorder Analysis that was written to rebut our interpretation of the last
data line. The NTSB even refuses to let the Voice Recorder Analysis
The Administration's explanation of the circumstances under which the USS
Grasp" divers found the Digital Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice
Recorder is highly questionable.
According to divers we interviewed and the Navy Supervisor of Salvage Report,
Navy divers from the USS Grasp found the recorders during Dive #2 and Dive
#3 on the evening of 23 July 1996. The Administration maintains these same
divers found them more than 24 hours later at 2330 hours on 24 July 1996.
East coast TV news coverage ends at 23:30.
The most probable motive for this deception was to ensure investigators,
who are Parties to the Investigation, were not witnesses when NTSB/FBI
officials were alleged to have first opened the boxes in Washington during
the early morning hours of 25 July 1996.
The boxes should have been found in the aircraft tail cone section, or
within its debris. Instead, divers from the Grasp found each box 30 feet
apart on a hard sand bottom, devoid of any attached debris and neither
Ducane Pinger was operating. They appeared just as they would if dropped
overboard from a boat!
Somehow both Ducane Systems fixed themselves while in FBI custody.
They were found to be fault-free in laboratory test days later.
The small cylindrical Ducane Pingers are mounted on the narrow front face
of each oblong rectangular box. They are protected from damage because
they are bolted firmly to the inside angle of a short piece of angle iron.
Because of their shape, the probability of either free falling box landing
on the bottom with the pinger stuck in the sand, would be akin to a free
falling domino landing on it's end and remaining standing in that position.
The only way Ducane Pingers can be silenced under water without evidence
of damage is by partly unscrewing the battery connection.
The probability of both undamaged Ducane Pingers failing simultaneously
in a shallow open ocean environment, on top of a hard sand bottom, approaches
that of a spontaneous aviation kerosene explosion in an ignition-free Boeing
747-100 fuel tank.
We consider the fact the NTSB has remained mute about these alleged Ducane
failures is Prima Facie evidence of either abject incompetence on the part
of the NTSB who should have opened an inquiry into the cause, or proof
of a cover-up of NTSB misconduct.
Weeks Marine, Inc. was verbally contracted by both the Coast Guard and
FAA officials the night of the crash to position for salvage operations.
were on site the next morning with the best salvage equipment available
in the Atlantic. It was superior to Navy assets, but Weeks Marine was
stood down by the NTSB. It would be five more days before Navy divers would
be on scene to recover recorders, bodies, etc! Why the forced wait?
Holding Weeks Marine, Inc. to standby while ordering Navy assets to respond
from far away points deliberately condemned victims trapped in bottom wreckage
to five additional days of ravage by natural elements. This grossly compounded
the grief of the families and put at risk the ability of medical examiners
to identify all remains. The White House was responsible for this order.
Circumstantial evidence indicates the Administration, knowing the aircraft
to be shot down, may have ordered a covert recovery, laboratory examination
and reinsertion of the recorders to ensure the aircrew did not describe
the attack on audio tape. Scuba divers could have recovered the recorders
on the afternoon of 18 July and dropped them back overboard after 10 am
22 July, before the USS Grasp and Navy divers were on scene. During that
period of time NOAA research vessel Rude and the motor vessel Pirouette
were simultaneously sent 5 miles off the main debris field on a "wild goose
chase" by the NTSB. Both ships had been mapping that field with side scan
Properly done, a scuba team equipped with a Ducane locator amplifier tube,
held over the side, could position a small boat directly over active Pingers,
dive and recover the boxes in a single effort. Active pingers can be detected
by divers300 yards away.
We have a witness that has passed a polygraph test and has provided a sworn
affidavit that a member of the NTSB leadership told him the recorders were
found and examined by 20 July. The Coast Guard told both TWA maintenance
and Congressman Forbes that the recorders were found on 18 July. The next
day, 19 July, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was told the
aircraft was shot down by terrorists. Senators Hatch
and D'Amato made public statements to the same effect.
White House, NTSB and Justice Department officials need to be compelled
to explain these events and their actions under oath. We also have other
individuals who have asked to remain anonymous who should be questioned
Despite a steep learning curve and the best efforts of some if its most
aggressive field agents, FBI leadership has demonstrated itself to be functionally
illiterate in the critical areas of; military weapons and tactics, radar
interpretation and air crash investigation. The fact the White House failed
to immediately assign appropriate elements of the Department of Defense
as lead investigators in the missile inquiry is inculpatory.
Gentlemen, we have the "FBI Trawler Operations Manual" and Operations Order
as well as other documents left behind aboard a contract boat by FBI agents.
If found, the Justice Department intended to hide from your companies;
the last fuel scavenge pump, a missile ejector can and the missile battery
I will point out the coincidence of the Clinton Administration's pro
Arab, anti Israeli policy shift and the arrival on our shores of a creditable
anti-aircraft threat under the control of rogue states. In 1994, the Maryland
State Police found a fully armed French MANPADS missile, the Mistral, ready
to fire on its tripod, directly under a heavily used air corridor near
Our research also found U.S. Stinger technology transferred to China
in the early 90ís enabling them to produce the Vanguard, a quality shoulder
fired Chinese missile. It was deployed first in 1996. If past history is
an indicator, the China / Iran weapons transfer link bodes ill for future
In a worse case scenario, absent a respected American Commander-in-Chief,
Iranís Supreme Council, or other rogue state, could successfully shutdown
or disrupt major traffic hubs worldwide by activating surrogate cells armed
with Vanguard. If they can shoot down one, why not a half dozen on a single
Gentlemen, the time to act is now, regardless of any arrangements you
may or may not have had to accept. Once the American people understand
the truth, your corporations will be indemnified against any further political
extortion from this administration.
We would ask, in the interest of long term air safety, that you take
an aggressive and public pro-active stance. Challenge the Administration;
educate the media and the electorate. Severance from a politicized and
fraudulent Federal investigation is no penalty and maintenance of the status
quo is certainly no prize.
William S. Donaldson
The Honorable Slade Gordon
Unites States Senate
The Honorable Orin Hatch
Unites States Senate
The Honorable George Boinovitch
Unites States Senate
The Honorable John J. Duncan, Jr.
U. S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Henry Hyde
U. S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Porter Goss
U. S. House of Representatives
Judge Kenneth W. Starr
Independent Counsel USDJ
District Attorney James M. Catterson, Jr.
Suffolk County Office of the District Attorney
Air Attachéí, Embassy of France
Air Attachéí, Embassy of Italy
Gen. Avi Barber
Air Attaché, Embassy of Israel
Adm. Jay Johnson
Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. G. W. Prueher
Commander in Chief, Pacific
Vadm. W. J. Fallon
Commander, Second Fleet
Vadm. H. E. Browne
Commander, Third Fleet
The Families of TWA Flight 800
P.O. Box 1061, Clifton Park, NY 12065