“God, I hope so,” said Mack. He explained that “his boat was out there.” If it wasn’t a terrorist, it was likely a Navy accident.
FAA radar had captured four unidentified tracks “consistent with the speed of a boat” within three to six miles of Flight 800′s course at the time of its midair breakup.
The fact that three of the radar tracks disappeared right after TWA 800 crashed argues strongly that these were the submarines Kallstrom had identified, the Albuquerque among them, and that they submerged almost immediately.
One “surface vessel” less than three miles from the crash scene headed away from the area at 30 knots. In response to questions from a congressional subcommittee, the FBI’s No. 2 man on the investigation, Lewis Schiliro, claimed that the “the FBI first noted the presence” of this ship in January 1997, an astonishing five months after the disaster.
Although the FBI was allegedly unable to identify this ship, Schiliro added the meaningless disclaimer that “based on our investigative efforts, we are confident it was not a military vessel.”
According to the FBI, this surface vessel had a “speed between 25 and 35 knots, is believed to be at least 25-30 feet in length, approximately 2.9 nautical miles from the position of Flight 800 at the time of the initial explosion.”
Radar, however, is unable to judge the length of the ship. That detail was added to suggest a pleasure craft and not a Navy ship whose length might be measured in the hundreds of feet.
In any case, the ship was fleeing the scene. When questioned, Kallstrom identified this vessel as “a helicopter.”
By the time of its final press conference in November 1997, the FBI knew that all of the stories that the Navy had previously offered about the USS Normandy being the closest asset of consequence at 181 miles away were patently false.
At this juncture, all information about any aspect of the case from any source should have been considered suspect.
“We left no stone unturned,” Kallstrom claimed when the FBI withdrew from the case. “In fact, we looked under every rock multiple times.”
But Kallstrom never bothered to explain these numerous discrepancies or shifting stories. The crew of the sub were not in a position to add much clarity.
Even if they had been allowed to talk, as Mack explained, very few of his colleagues, if any, would have known exactly what happened that night. Later, when he inquired, he got no straight answers. He has been troubled by it ever since.
Said Mack, “I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that we shot the plane down.”