There is something sad about Peter Goelz – something sad about the once-proud party that produced him, something sad about the unseemly process that raised him up.
That process transformed a man whose only prior transportation experience had been as a lobbyist for sleazy riverboat-gambling interests into the managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board.
What the process could not do, however, was change the man. Despite the Washington veneer, Goelz remains, at heart, the dirty trickster he once was.
On March 3, a day before the release of First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America, Goelz planted a hostile review of the book in Amazon. The “one-star” review reads as follows:
Garbage In Garbage Out, March 3, 2003
Reviewer: pgoelz1 from Alexandria, Va. This is another attempt to try and profit from tragedy. First it was the Navy who supposedly shot down TWA Flight 800 and tried to cover it up. Now with our fighting men and women held in somewhat higher esteem that theory seems almost unpatriotic. The authors now try and slightly shift the blame – but in the end, no matter how you slice it, it’s still all baloney. Save your money.
Goelz served with the NTSB during the entire course of the four-year TWA Flight 800 investigation – the last three years as managing director. That he conceals this fact in the review is at best duplicitous. That he finds the still unresolved death of 230 people worthy of a pun-filled prank is downright disgraceful.
To be sure, Goelz has good cause to conceal his role. The picture James Sanders and I paint of Goelz in “First Strike” does not flatter. It involves one example after another of misdirection and dissembling.
A political crony of NTSB Chairman Jim Hall, Goelz was invariably prepared to say what the situation demanded. He and Hall had gotten to know each other in the Clinton-Gore Tennessee campaign of 1992. Neither had any experience related to the work with which the NTSB is tasked, but Goelz had the ability to stay on message, a useful talent in Clinton’s Washington.
Instructive in the ways of Goelz’s style is his treatment of Kelly O’Meara. O’Meara had served as Long Island Congressman Michael Forbes’ chief of staff before becoming a reporter. In fact, it was her aggressive pursuit of the truth about TWA Flight 800 that led to her controversial departure from Forbes’ office.
Early in 1998, someone inside the NTSB had quietly released new radar data showing a large number of radar blips moving in unison between 22 and 35 miles south of the TWA 800 crash site. This piqued O’Meara’s interest. Reporting for Insight magazine, which is published by the Washington Times, O’Meara interviewed Goelz and asked him what the data meant – and why it had not surfaced before. O’Meara had no sooner left his office, however, than Goelz called Howard Kurtz of the rival Washington Post to plant a story defaming her. Kurtz would quote Goelz as saying: “She really believes that the United States Navy shot this thing down and there was a fleet of warships.”
As O’Meara’s audiotape revealed, however, it was the mocking and evasive Goelz who raised the issue of a missile, not O’Meara. Wrote Insight editor Paul Roderiquez: “In my experience as a veteran newsman, journalists would never roll over and allow government bureaucrats to use them to slime their colleagues. Yet that precisely is what recently happened.”
It is unlikely that Goelz knows what actually happened on the night of July 17, 1996. His primary role during the investigation was as spinmeister, as dissembler, as defamer-in-chief – the kind of role one perfects during the lowball no-holds-barred political campaigns he knew so well.
I had seen this side of Goelz two years earlier after I had written an article in support of the documentary Silenced that Sanders and I had produced. Goelz sent a typically rough-edged e-mail to the business magazine I edit trashing Sanders and me and accusing us of profiting from human misery. He also noted as an aside that Sanders’ most recent book was not selling well on Amazon.
The next day I happened to check the Amazon rating of my novel, 2006: The Chautauqua Rising. Until, this point it had enjoyed a five-star average rating out of five stars. The day before it had received a slanderous one-star review from an anonymous individual who had clearly not read it:
Yet another must read for the right-wing fringe, June 13, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from KC, MO. If you liked the Turner Diaries and Hunter, check this one out. At least Cashill knows sentence structure if nothing else. Yet another in the redneck, racist, “Oh my God, the liberals are ruining our nation” genre. Simplistic, predictable and well worth skipping.
Goelz comes from Kansas City. The review drips with the kind of petty sarcasm that defines his style. It also manages the neat paradox of defaming the book as “racist” while using a racist term like “redneck” to do so. In fact, the book is as un-racist as a book can be in that its heroes include a veritable U.N. of blacks, Jews, Amish and the Seneca Indian nation.
But as is evident throughout the TWA 800 investigation, Goelz and cronies never did have much use for truth. In “First Strike,” we argue that had we come clean on July 17, 1996, there would have been no Sept. 11, 2001. But spin trumped truth, trumped tragedy, trumped national security. Goelz and Hall and Robert Francis, the NTSB’s most subversive Clinton hack, transformed the once independent and effective NTSB into a political dumping ground and trivialized its mission.
Lord knows that the time for this kind of nonsense has long since passed. We are willing to put all of our information on the table if Peter Goelz and friends are willing to put theirs.
Anywhere. Any time.
Price slashed on “First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America”! New book by Jack Cashill and James Sanders says government lies upped drama ante for terrorists. From WND Books, available in ShopNetDaily.
Purchase Jack Cashill’s stunning documentary video, “Silenced: Flight 800 and the Subversion of Justice” from WorldNetDaily’s online store.
“Altered Evidence” from Flight 800
How the Justice Department framed a journalist and his wife. Also available from WorldNetDaily’s online store!