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CNN's disgrace

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 07/21/2001 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Jack Cashill, the producer of a video that shows the evidence that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by missiles, was invited to appear on Greta Van Susteren’s show on CNN on July 17, the fifth anniversary of that tragic accident. This had been set up the day before, with Cashill as the only guest. The next day, the producer told him that James E. Hall, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board under President Clinton, would also be on the show.

Only a few hours before the show, the producer told Cashill that Hall would not do the show with him and they had decided to have Hall as the only guest. Cashill says, “Someone upstairs told her that responsible journalism means I can’t appear on the show without a counterbalance, but it’s OK for Jim Hall to appear by himself.” A lot of viewers who had expected to see Cashill were angry when CNN put on only Jim Hall.

Hall had meekly obeyed orders from the FBI not to allow any eyewitnesses to testify at the NTSB public hearing on the evidence in the case. Greta Van Susteren showed her hand by asking Hall if he was “100 percent certain that the conspiracists (sic) who say they saw a white light traveling skyward, zigzagging, disappearing and then an orange ball of fire … are wrong?” Hall said, “(W)ith 100 percent certainty … based on the facts that we developed, they are wrong.”

The alleged “proof” is found in a transcript of a talk given to the NTSB witness group by a CIA analyst that is on the NTSB and other TWA 800 Web sites. The analyst said they had been trying to figure out what source there could be for the streak of light that 260 eyewitnesses said they had seen. On Dec. 30, 1996, he got the idea “that you can explain what the eyewitnesses are seeing with only the burning aircraft.” He claimed he got this idea from the FBI reports of their interviews of one man, who, he said, “may be one eyewitness” who saw the whole thing. That man is Michael Wire, who six days after the crash told the FBI in a phone call what he had seen and then provided greater detail in an interview six days later.

The FBI reports say that standing on a drawbridge near Westhampton, Long Island, Wire saw a zigzagging white light going “skyward from the ground” at about a 40-degree angle. He first saw it “just above the rooftop” of a house that blocked his view of the beach. It arched over and headed out to sea on a southeasterly course. He lost sight of it just before he saw an orange fireball falling into the ocean, trailing fire, that disappeared behind a house east of the one where he first saw the white light. He then heard the first and loudest of four explosions. It shook the 70-ton bridge.

Wire’s account of what he saw did not fit the CIA analyst’s theory that the white light Wire saw was TWA 800. Wire told the FBI he had seen the white light come “off the beach” and “off the ground,” first appearing just above the roof top of a house. It was climbing at about a 40- degree angle and zigzagging. That could not have been TWA 800, which was about 10 miles away at an altitude of 13,800 feet, and was not zigzagging upward at a 40-degree angle.

The CIA analyst’s story was pure fabrication. He didn’t dream that his talk and Wire’s FBI reports would ever be made public. He told the witness group that there was a problem with Wire’s first interview, but that was cleared up when the CIA had the FBI interview him again and Wire said that he first saw the light higher in the sky than the FBI report indicated. The analyst didn’t mention the problem of the 40-degree-angle-zigzagging ascent. Wire was not re-interviewed by the FBI – he has never changed his story, and he says that the CIA claim that all that he saw was TWA 800 nonsense.

The CIA produced a video based on this fabrication, showing the crippled jet, minus its nose, climbing like a rocket. The FBI showed this when they announced that they were ending their investigation. Portions of it were aired by the television networks without exposing its absurdity. Hall won’t debate anyone who knows this, because the Big Lie would be exposed. CNN’s substitution of Hall for Cashill in the name of “responsible journalism” is a disgrace.

The executive producer of Greta Van Susteren’s show tells me that they are considering revisiting TWA Flight 800.


Reed Irvine is the chairman of Accuracy In Media, a media watchdog group based in Washington, D.C.


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