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Is U.S. Navy coming clean on TWA 800?

Posted By Jack Cashill On 01/23/2013 @ 7:18 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

A WND article I wrote recently comparing the Benghazi cover-up to that of TWA Flight 800 16 years prior attracted the attention of a still simmering Naval Academy graduate – “Graduate” – who would like see the TWA 800 mystery re-opened and resolved.

In our 2003 book, “First Strike,” James Sanders and I had argued for the possibility of terrorist involvement in the destruction of TWA Flight 800 with 230 people on board on the night of July 17, 1996.

When Graduate approached me, he first asked if I was still arguing for a terrorist-related incident. I replied, “I am totally confident of a missile strike, but I am fully agnostic as to who fired it. Am open to best evidence. After we presented initial theory, I have seen almost nothing to confirm.”

In Sanders’ defense, he had always believed that the U.S. Navy had accidentally shot down the 747. He made this case in his 1997 book, “The Downing of TWA Flight 800.” His research got his wife, Elizabeth, and him arrested and convicted on federal conspiracy charges.

In working with Sanders, I convinced him that unless we were 100 percent confident of Navy responsibility, we should not assign blame and instead keep the door open to other possibilities, including Islamic terrorism.

Graduate has no interest in being as politic as I have been. He is sure the Navy was responsible. I present his case as he presented it to me.

As he tells it, Graduate has a very sensitive White House source who described for him the dynamics of the White House Situation Room in the moments prior to the loss of TWA Flight 800.

Apparently, a number of senior military and civilian government personnel had gathered to watch in real time, on a battlefield monitor, a Navy demonstration then taking place in the Atlantic south of Long Island.

On display, according to Graduate’s source, was a secret anti-aircraft missile developed for the Seawolf class of attack submarines. The Navy planned to use the missile to defend the subs when sailing ahead of the fleet without air cover, especially in shallow water when vulnerable to shore-based defenses.

A second Navy source described for Graduate the missile and swivel-tube concept, taken from a British design and upgraded for use in Seawolf class submarines.

The multi-tube launcher swivels to point the missile in the desired direction before launch. Once out of the tube, the missile is no longer under control of the submarine’s weapons software.

As I understand it, this lack of control, especially in a highly trafficked area like the south shore of Long Island, necessitated a second sub with missile capacity to be used as a backstop.

An errant missile and its would-be interceptor may well account for what two Air National Guard Blackhawk helicopter pilots saw that evening. Capt. Fred Meyer and his two-man crew had been practicing instrument approaches at the nearby Gabreski Field.

At about 8:30 that evening, with his copilot flying an approach, Meyer pressed his face up against the windscreen to scan for a Cessna said to be in the area. It was then that he saw a red-orange streak of light in the sky flash very rapidly from west to east for about three to five seconds.

Get Jack Cashill’s groundbreaking exposé, “First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America”

From 10 miles away, as Meyer saw the streak, it “was moving in a gradually descending arc” that resembled “the path of a shooting star.” There was a break, where it seemed to stop, and then for an instant Meyer saw nothing.

“And then suddenly,” says Meyer, “I saw an explosion, high velocity explosion, military ordnance, looked like flak in the sky.” No more than two seconds later, farther to the left but down, he saw a flash once again, a “high velocity explosion, brilliant white light.”

His copilot, Capt. Chris Baur, saw “an object that came from the left. And it appeared to be like – like a white-hot, like a pyrotechnic.” The “incendiary device” Baur saw was moving in the opposite direction from the one Meyer saw when “it made the object on the right explode.”

“Is that pyro?” asked Baur, himself an experienced former Army helicopter pilot.

“No pyro I’ve ever seen,” answered Meyer, who had won a Distinguished Flying Cross for his many rescue missions over North Vietnam.

The pilots and their flight engineer, Dennis Richardson, all saw what came next: “a huge, slowly forming, low-velocity explosion fireball” that descended almost gracefully to the sea.

That “fireball” was the explosion of the center fuel tank that authorities would later say was the initiating event in the plane’s destruction. Meyer dismissed the official theory out of hand.

“What I saw explode in the sky was definitely military ordnance,” he said. “I have enough experience with it to know what it looks like. I saw one, two, three, four explosions before I saw the fireball. So the fuel in this aircraft eventually exploded. But the explosion of the fuel was the last event, not the initiating event. The initiating event was a high-velocity explosion, not fuel. It was ordnance.”

The New York Times confirmed the same. On Aug. 14, four weeks after the crash, the Times stated emphatically, “Now that investigators say they think the center fuel tank did not explode, they say the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane off Long Island.”

But then the media came to their collective senses and remembered that they had a president to re-elect just as they did after the Benghazi disaster in September 2012. All talk of missiles and even bombs went away.

I present this evidence in the hope that those who know more will come forward. In allowing the media to assure the president’s re-election in 1996 through their silence, we encouraged them to do the same in 2012.

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