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An open letter to
Chris Matthews

Dear Chris,

Your cable show “Hardball” is the one Democrat-hosted show I watch. I do so for one reason: You have the integrity to ask tough questions even to people on your own side. There are two such people you need to question hard, and both of them are very much in the news. One is the man of the hour, Sen. John Kerry.

On Sept. 24, 2001 you missed an opportunity with Kerry. That was understandable. Kerry surprised you by what he said. He did not surprise me. I was waiting for it. Two weeks earlier, on Sept. 11, he had set the stage on Larry King when he suggested that the destruction of TWA Flight 800 in July 1996 was the result of a terrorist act.

“I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800,” Kerry told King, “we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing [sic] hard work of responding.” This was a critical admission. Many of us who have looked closely at the still officially unsolved destruction of TWA 800 believe it to have been the result of a terrorist act, a precursor to 9-11.

I did not hear Kerry myself that day, but several people informed me of his comments, at least one of whom called Kerry’s office for clarification. She was told that she must have misunderstood. I checked the transcripts. She did not misunderstand at all.

On Sept. 20, 2001, John Kerry’s hometown Boston Globe decided who was to blame for our failure to respond after TWA 800’s demise. That person just so happened to be the one man standing in the way of Kerry’s quest for the Democratic nomination, Al Gore. The paper traced the failure to a series of campaign donations from the airlines to the Democratic National Committee in 1996. Although its claims were largely accurate, the Globe was the only major paper in the country to run with this story. I suspected then – and still do – that someone in the Kerry camp led The Globe reporters to the story. How else would they, and they alone, have found it?

So I watched with keen interest, Chris, when Kerry appeared on your show four days later. He did not disappoint.

“You know, we’ve had terrorism for a long time now,” he told you with a straight face. “We’ve had the Achille Lauro, the Munich Olympics, the pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, the TWA 800, the bombing of embassies, and it’s not going to disappear overnight.”

“Chris,” I yelled at the screen, “nail him on this.” But you obviously did not hear me, and I do not think you really heard him. Like Larry King before you, you moved on to the next question. The remark was not intended for you in any case. It was intended, I believe, for Al Gore.

In our book, “First Strike,” James Sanders and I make this arguably prophetic comment:

John Kerry seemed to have his sights on Al Gore’s Achilles’ heel. After the events of Sept. 11, the story of how Al Gore helped subvert the investigation into TWA 800 and undermine airport security may yet prove to be a career-killer. Kerry’s “slips” may have put Gore out of the race even before he got in.

Two weeks after advanced copies of “First Strike” started circulating around Washington, Gore withdrew from the presidential race. His withdrawal shocked Washington. It did not shock Sanders and me. We expected it. Kerry plays hardball, too.

While I have your attention, Chris, there is one other person you need to put on the spot. Her name is Jamie Gorelick, former deputy attorney general under the figurehead, Janet Reno. You probably know her. Last week, UPI reported that the high-level 9-11 panel on which she sits “was rocked Thursday by the bizarre revelation that two of its senior officials were so closely involved in the events they are investigating that they have had to be interviewed as part of the inquiry.” One of the two was Gorelick.

Sanders and I were not among those rocked.

“Her appointment to this select ten-person commission has raised no eyebrows,” I reported in WND many months ago. “It should have.” As was made clear on these pages and in our book, Gorelick was the one person at Clinton’s Department of Justice responsible for containing – some would say “corrupting” – the investigation into the downing of TWA Flight 800. If you want details, Chris, we’ve got them.

The search for “prior knowledge” is at the heart of the 9-11 commission. As I wrote last year and as recent news bears out, “No one on the commission is in a better position to shed light on this issue than Gorelick.” This presumes, of course, that congressional Democrats appointed Gorelick because they wanted her to shed light and share information. The cynic in me, however, suspects that Gorelick was appointed for rather the opposite reason.

Chris, neither Kerry nor Gorelick will talk to Sanders or me. They have to talk to you. Do us proud, my man, and play some hardball.

Get Cashill’s eye-opening “First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America” at ShopNetDaily.