Twenty years ago this Sunday, TWA Flight 800, a 747 bound for Paris, exploded off the coast of Long Island, killing all 230 people on board.
In the last few years, researchers have unearthed an astonishing treasure trove of CIA documents, secured a confirmed video of a Long Island missile launch five days before TWA 800's demise, and persuaded numerous witnesses and whistleblowers from inside the investigation to come forward. Here is what we now know.
- According to an traffic controller at NY TRACON, "A primary radar return (ASR-9) indicated vertical movement intersecting TWA 800," and then "TWA800" disappeared.
- As anti-terror czar Richard Clarke tells it, he immediately called a high level meeting in the White House situation.
- Illegally, but publicly, the FBI seized control of the investigation from the NTSB within hours of the crash.
- According to CIA documents, "The DI [Directorate of Intelligence] became involved in the 'missile theory' the day after the crash occurred."
- The CIA's George Tenet told the 9/11 Commission in March 2004 that a "wall" prevented the CIA and FBI from cooperating on national security issues.
- As the CIA documents prove, the CIA and FBI collaborated uneasily on the TWA 800 investigation for the next 16 months, wall or no wall.
- According to the CIA, within two weeks of the disaster, FBI agents had interviewed 144 "excellent" eyewitnesses to a likely missile strike and found the evidence for such a strike "overwhelming."
- The CIA analyst boasted of discouraging the FBI from releasing its missile report. He seems to have succeeded.
- Two weeks later, the FBI permitted the New York Times to interview one and only one eyewitness. He saw the event out of the corner of his eye and thought it was a bomb.
- The NTSB eventually identified 258 eyewitnesses who had seen a glowing object streaking towards TWA 800. At least 56 had followed the object from the horizon.
- The Times interviewed none of 258.
- At the FBI's direction, the Times ran an above-the-fold, front-page headline on Aug. 23, 1996, "Prime Evidence Found That Device Exploded in Cabin of TWA 800."
- On Sept. 19, the Times signaled the government's switch from a "bomb" to a "mechanical failure alone" explanation.
- On Sept. 20, to make sense of the switch, the FBI claimed the TWA 800 aircraft had "previously been used in a law enforcement training exercise for bomb-detection dogs."
- As was easily proved, the test in question did not take place on the TWA 800 plane, and the training aids did not match in placement or in composition the explosive residue found.
- The eyewitnesses were not so easily explained away. With the NTSB illegally shut out of witness review, the FBI turned the task over to the CIA.
- Working with just one-third of the witness statements, the CIA concluded that the eyewitnesses saw the nose-less aircraft ascend more than 3,000 feet, mimicking the path of a missile.
- In April 1997, a dissenter on the FBI missile team demanded to know why the CIA failed to account for the eight witnesses who saw an object "hit the aircraft."
- In a later meeting with the NTSB, the CIA analysts conceded that only one witness had reported seeing the crippled plane climb, the man on the bridge, Mike Wire.
- The CIA created its specious animation around Wire's perspective. The FBI showed the animation once, when it closed the criminal case in November 1997.
- To sell this lie, as the CIA documents prove, the CIA created at least three critical witness statements from whole cloth, including Wire's, and flagrantly corrupted more than 200 others.
- In a March 1999 memo, a CIA analyst conceded the "maximum calculated altitude" for TWA 800 post-explosion was 14,500 feet, not the 17,000 feet of the zoom-climb animation.
- The FBI claimed the U.S. Navy had not tested missiles off Long Island for at least two years. A video recently released by the FBI shows a missile launch in those same waters on July 12, 1996, five days before TWA 800's destruction.
- In reviewing the video at the time, analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency found it to be "consistent with the exhaust plume" of a missile.
- The CIA acknowledged the existence of that video within two weeks of the crash and conceded that at least four witnesses had reported seeing a missile launch on July 7, 1996, as well. (I heard from a fifth last week).
- The deputy attorney general who successfully oversaw the investigation, Jamie Gorelick, left the DOJ in 1997 to take a job with Fannie Mae. She would make more than $25 million over the next six years.
- In 2004, Gorelick left Fannie Mae to become a 9/11 commissioner.
- In April 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft testified to the 9/11 Commission, "The single greatest structural cause for Sept. 11 was the wall."
- "Full disclosure," Ashcroft continued, "compels me to inform you that its author is a member of the commission." Yes, that commissioner was Jamie Gorelick.
- As the nation learned in the aftermath of 9/11, the "wall" that was breached all too easily to protect the secrets of TWA 800 held much too firmly when it came to the secrets of our enemies.
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To learn more, please check out my new book, "TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover Up, The Conspiracy."
Those with inside information can reach me through my website, Cashill.com.
Media wishing to interview Jack Cashill, please contact [email protected].
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