NTSB report a fairy tale


Mechanical Failure Theory Out The Window

    An explosive new report has been issued by Commander William Donaldson documenting previously unreleased evidence in the downing of TWA Flight 800. The 109-page report, commissioned by a congressional subcommittee member was presented at a Washington, D.C. news conference on July 20.

    Donaldson, a retired Navy pilot and accident investigator has spent nearly a year and a half examining the case of TWA Flight 800. At the press conference held near the second anniversary of the nation's second most deadly air crash, Donaldson said all evidence shows that two missiles were fired in the vicinity of the airplane. The first round exploded in close proximity to the nose of the plane. The jetliner was engaged seconds later by another missile fired from a closer position. "It's no wonder that investigators did not find evidence of a direct missile hit", he said. "It was of a type specifically designed to explode near (rather than in contact with) its target."

    Dr. Vernon Grose, a physicist and former board member of the NTSB also attended the press conference. He had been called on by CNN to do six hours of live coverage two years ago on the night of the crash. Gross was subsequently hired as a consultant and has given over 170 appearances on CNN and nearly every other network, all supporting the official version of the crash. Grose also took part in Vice President Gore's White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security in 1997, and the past two years he has discounted the missile theory surrounding the downing of Flight 800.

    According to Roger Aronoff with Accuracy in Media, Dr. Grose spoke up following the news conference saying he felt betrayed. He thinks the NTSB and FBI have been lying and covering up. He has supported the NTSB's theory for the past two years but now says, "I'm not doing that anymore. I'm convinced there is a serious problem with this investigation."

    Grose told the Conservative News Service, "It disturbed me to see photographic evidence of impinging -- bent in, not bent out -- skin of the aircraft forward of the center fuel tank. That is sufficiently primary evidence that should not be explained away." In describing the debris recovered from around the area in which the fuel tanks are thought to have exploded Grose says, "The wreckage that they've assembled is imploded, rather than exploded at that point." (1)

    Captain Albert Mundo has been a member of TWA's cockpit crew for 33 years. In 1996 he was flying between New York and Greece and was the engineer on the previous leg of the TWA flight from Athens to New York prior to Flight 800. He spoke at the Washington press conference revealing that he had emptied the center fuel tank, going the extra step to actually ventilate the tank. Mundo says there should have been no fuel and fumes should have been minimal inside the tank. NTSB officials claim the crash was caused by the explosion of the center fuel tank. Despite the relevant nature of Captain Mundo's testimony, the NTSB did not allow him the opportunity to testify at their public hearing.


    Several leading theories have surfaced over the past twenty-four months as to the cause of the crash. Some have presented strong evidence linking the Navy as the source of a missile which took out the plane. Others with credible evidence advance the terrorist missile theory, while still others with little or no evidence to support the claim cite mechanical failure as the cause. Many of those who have taken exception to the government's conclusion say they don't know who was responsible, but they are certain that an external object brought the plane down.

    The WINDS asked Commander Donaldson why the crash investigation so quickly went into apparent cover-up mode, eliminating all possibilities but the one espoused by the bureaucratic agencies involved. He responded saying, "I think the Clinton administration had reason to believe there may have been a hostile act coming down the line. They may even have made some attempts to intercept it but they failed."

    The context in which this airliner was downed, whether from friendly fire or terrorist act, placed it only a few months prior to the presidential election in 1996. Mr. Clinton - always sensitive to public scrutiny - may have concluded his best course was to thwart any reflection on his administration resulting from the deadly crash. Donaldson pointed out that he had the capabilities to orchestrate such a move saying, "you have appointees that are close friends to the Vice President who are running the NTSB."

    "There are four or five countries and surrogate groups in the Middle East that would love to pull off something like this, in fact they even predicted it", Donaldson continued. "There was a communiqué that came in just six to eight hours before the shoot-down that predicted they would strike. They conveyed some epithet against a 'foolish president whose foolish threats will be answered. We will strike at a place that America never expects. We will strike at dawn and isn't dawn near.'

    "The White House just threw it out the window" Donaldson declared. "As soon as it was realized that the communiqué had come in to various newspapers in the Middle East, the White House immediately denied it had anything to do with Flight 800. The 'attack at dawn' [wording] may have been misleading but you have to understand the Arab thinking. They are Mecca centrist, the world is centered in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. The phrase 'the attack will come at dawn and isn't dawn near' [is understandable when one realizes that while] the attack came at 8:30 in the evening on the east coast, it was 5:30 in the morning in Mecca," he said. Out of the conflicting elements that make up this case, the one consistent factor is the administration's immediate cover-up posture and its intransigent stance in the face of a growing mountain of evidence to the contrary.


    Why would the White House, the NTSB and the FBI, facilitated by the media, all push the mechanical failure theory to the exclusion of the missile or terrorist bomb hit? John Roberts ll who worked in the Reagan administration considers a couple of reasons -- politics and money.

    Roberts says, "The president charged Gore with developing initial counter-terrorism recommendations within 45 days [after the crash] - well before the November election. But such recommendations might well have led to sweeping new security measures that could have cost the airlines as much as $1 billion." (2) How would the airlines respond? They began contributing money to the Clinton-Gore campaign coffers. Recent revelations regarding the Clinton administration reveal how willingly they accept such money, whether or not conflict of interest is involved.

    The President praised the Gore Commission's report pompously declaring, "We have to continue to fight terrorism on every front and the Vice President's action plan goes to the heart of this strategy." But as Roberts points out, "The promise of much tighter security was tantamount to a declaration of war against the airline industry.

    "Gore was in a politically impossible situation. His tough talk about new anti-terrorism measures had drawn praise in the press, but it had raised the hackles of the airline industry. The only way out, it seemed, was if investigators were to determine that the crash of Flight 800 had not been a terrorist act." (3)

    There was a political solution for Mr. Gore. He would simply call on his strategically placed special appointee. Roberts continues, "Perhaps not coincidentally, NTSB head Jim Hall emerged not long after to announce that the crash of Flight 800 was [in fact] due to mechanical failure - the one hypothesis for which there is as yet no physical evidence. Hall took the unusual step of giving background briefings to reporters at major newspapers to help spread the mechanical failure hypothesis. What none of these papers reported is that the NTSB chairmanship is a political appointment -- and that Hall is a longtime Gore crony who is described by an associate as 'a Personal Retainer to the Gore family.''' ((4)

   The vice president reneged on his pledge for new anti-terrorism measures and on September 19, 1996 sent a letter to the Air Transport Association assuring them that the Security Commission's recommendations would not cost the airlines any loss of revenue.

    "Miraculously enough - also on September 19 - The Washington Post and New York Times ran front-page reports claiming just that [mechanical failure]. The papers cited unnamed NTSB officials who now maintained that, indeed, some kind of malfunction appeared to be the cause of the center fuel tank explosion. These news stories were the direct result of background briefings given to reporters at the Post and Times by the NTSB. What the briefs failed to question is that the briefings were not delivered by investigators at the New York crash site -- the reporters were briefed at NTSB headquarters in Washington -- and had been orchestrated directly by NTSB chairman Jim Hall." (5)


    Donaldson related that, "By coming in with Janet Reno's Justice Department and shutting down the eyewitness testimony, [which would have indicated the cause] they were able to suppress what should have solved the problem right off the bat. You don't have to bring up the airplane from under water if you know it was shot down. The only reason you do a crash investigation is to determine the cause." But in this case the cause of the crash seems to have become the object which officials are most concerned with covering up.

    "I'm probably the only federally trained crash investigator that has ever talked to an eyewitness" [ to the crash] Donaldson said. "They covered up witnesses that were critical to early determination of how the airplane broke up. The FBI took the [eyewitness] statements - interpreted them their own way - put them on 302 forms- and locked them up!"

    The WINDS asked if Donaldson sees the FBI functioning largely as a tool of the Clinton administration. "There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that leads me to believe that", he said. "It's the only way the motive [for their actions] would be there. Their conduct is explainable in exactly that way, but the average FBI agent isn't necessarily aware of that."

    Asked if the White House has a direct stake in the outcome of this he said: "Oh yes. There are big stakes in this, I think it goes all the way up to the top. I think that if Congress will do what they should and really dig into this thing, there is going to be one hell of a shake up."

MORE EVIDENCE --- to cover-up

    Donaldson believes that evidence shows Flight 800 was downed by two separate missile explosions. He bases this judgment on both the physical location of parts in the debris field and upon eyewitness statements that indicate the involvement of two missiles. He believes the first detonation which took the nose off the plane was closely followed by the second hit near the tail section.

    Hundreds of individuals were eyewitness to the mid-air explosion. Donaldson's conclusions are supported by much indisputable testimony such as Barbara Pacholk's. "I know what I saw, I saw several fires go across the sky. One hit the plane at the tail and the second hit at the front, just before the wings. The fire came from both ends and met in the middle and exploded. Then the nose dropped, hung there for a minute. I understand that when a plane bursts into flames the flames fall, but this was a fire going up towards the plane." (6)

    It is commonly understood that the TWA 800 parts which landed nearest the plane's take-off point offered the best clues to what happened because they would indicate the location of the plane's earliest damage. Donaldson's evidence supports the idea that serious damage to the tail section occurred early in the sequence of events. Acknowledgment of this would force the NTSB to rethink its account of the plane's break-up, something they've gone the extra mile to avoid. It would require a different conclusion than its "mechanical failure" claim and, clearly, that's not an option they want to pursue.

    Randy Adams who captained a boat in the area had seen a large section of the tail, the vertical stabilizer, being loaded on board a salvage vessel. Significantly, the tail section was floating in the red debris field, the same location where the nose was found, the area nearest the shore. Another fact contrary to NTSB conclusions is shown in the tail section of the plane. It showed no sign of fire, smoke or sooting, this supports other evidence that the tail had been hit prior to the explosion of the fuel tank. Donaldson said NTSB documents purportedly showing locations in which various parts of the plane were found had not revealed this important information.

    The NTSB claims that after the plane's fuselage was severed forward of the wings, the remainder of the plane flew on for approximately two nautical miles and fell intact into the ocean in what has been called the green debris field.

    Donaldson also uncovered damning evidence that confirms the fraudulent, even criminal investigative/cover-up practices employed by FBI and NTSB officials. It reveals what some federal investigators do with primary evidence when it conflicts with predetermined conclusions. It began with the discovery of seat parts from the last row of the plane being found in the red debris field, instead of the green debris field where NTSB theory had placed it.

    Linda Kunz, a TWA employee and also part of the NTSB investigation team, learned how NTSB officials handle critical evidence when it is contrary to their presuppositions. While involved with the investigation, she caught the NTSB changing tags on these seat parts to indicate they had been found in the green debris field, another mile further from the shoreline. The placement of the tail section in the red area changes the whole crash scenario and is entirely incongruent with the NTSB conclusion. How will federal investigators make this obstinate fact fit into their picture?

    To document the falsification of evidence Kunz photographed it, a common investigative practice. It was an act of honor on her part, but the government's reaction reveals the depths to which the current Administration has fallen. Instead of legal or disciplinary action being leveled against the perpetrators of this criminal conduct, Kunz herself was removed from the investigation and threatened with prosecution for exposing the falsified evidence.


    In a telephone interview, media watchdog group ACCURACY IN MEDIA, told The WINDS that "the radar at McArthur Airport on Long Island had recorded a surface target [ship] three nautical miles to the south of the crash site that headed out to sea doing 30 knots when TWA 800 exploded. Donaldson said that for it to be recorded by the radar, its superstructure had to rise 60 feet above the water. Its size and speed rules out a merchant ship. Racing out to sea instead of heading for the accident site to see if it could be of help is highly suspicious. This was only one of four surface targets recorded on radar near the crash site that have not been [publicly] identified. Bill Donaldson said he had tried hard to get the FBI and the NTSB to tell him what ships these were, but they now claim they don't know."

    The Times of London reported that satellite images have proved FLT 800 was tracked and hit by a sophisticated missile. "An American spy satellite positioned over the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island is said to have yielded important information about the crash. A law enforcement official told The New York Post that the satellite pictures show an object racing up to the TWA jet, passing it, then changing course and smashing into it." (7)

    In an apparent attempt by the Navy to keep a lid on information a California newspaper reports, "A Navy captain assigned to the Pentagon told an Atlantic Fleet watch officer about 24 hours after the crash to keep the names of three merchant ships that could have been near Flight 800 "in-house Navy for the time being." The directive was noted in Atlantic Fleet logs released under a Freedom of Information Act request. (8) If three vessels in the area were merchant ships, what was the identity of the fourth? Obviously, the Navy didn't want the three merchant ships to reveal that.

    The Navy continued to demonstrate "defensive" behavior during the early days of the investigation, even when other agencies were on hand and offered their services. Kevin Gallagher, a member of the New York Police Department Scuba Team which took part in the TWA recovery made some relevant points. "Within hours after the crash the Navy took control of the recovery operation, prohibiting all non-Navy divers from diving for four days after the crash. During that four day prohibition, only divers from Navy Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) were allowed to dive." (9) James Sanders, retired police officer and author of The Downing of TWA Flight 800 says the exclusive purpose of EOD is to locate, recover, and dispose of explosives ordnance.

    In an interesting and probably coordinated move, the White House began taking preemptive measures against any Navy divers involved in the Flight 800 recovery who might consider talking about their work. At the very time the now infamous radar tapes were to be published in Paris Match magazine, a significant Executive Order (EO) was issued by the president. The effect of the EO was to remove whistle blower protection (the ability to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal) from certain Navy personnel. EO 13039 THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary EXECUTIVE ORDER - - - - - - - EXCLUSION OF THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE DEVELOPMENT GROUP FROM THE FEDERAL LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS PROGRAM [whistle blower protection].


    Major Frederick Meyer addressed the Granada Forum on March 12, 1998. "When you fly a helicopter at 120 knots over North Vietnam in the iron triangle - in the most heavily defended airspace in the history of warfare - you see a lot of missiles - you see a lot of flak - and I did - I saw a bunch of it - I know what it looks like. My purpose in being here tonight is to tell you that what I saw explode in the sky on July 17, 1996 was military ordnance...We're here to say it's no accident - somebody shot this aircraft down."

    Meyer, a New York attorney was witness to the events which led up to the fatal crash of FL 800. "I saw a streak of light moving very rapidly. It was red-orange in color - it resembled the path of a shooting star that you would see at night, they move very rapidly - they leave a trail of light. That's exactly what it looked like except... I saw it in broad daylight. There was a break - where it stopped - and then for an instant I saw nothing - and then suddenly right there I saw an explosion - high velocity explosion - military ordnance!... A second and a half or two seconds later - farther to the left but down - I saw a flash once again - high velocity explosion - brilliant white light.... A second and a half to two seconds after that - farther to the left but ever lower - I saw either one or two nearly concentric detonations - and from those detonations emanated this huge, slowly forming, low velocity explosion fireball."

    Major Meyer and co-pilot Chris Bauer were first at the crash scene. The plane was still falling out of the sky in pieces when they arrived. Meyer cautioned Bauer to stay back lest falling debris become enmeshed in the helicopter rotor system. Bauer remembers seeing the tail section falling separately from the main wreckage site by approximately one half mile or more.

    Meyer says that contrary to NTSB claims that "the fuel tank exploded and that's what brought the aircraft down. [Actually] the fuel tank explosion is the third [and final] event in the series."

    In a devastating revelation, Meyer unmasks the hypocrisy of NTSB officials who are purposefully obstructing a truthful investigation. "I had an opportunity to fly over with a friend of mine to the hanger at Calverton [the crash reconstruction site]. He took me into the hanger and introduced me to Bob Francis who was the person in charge of the investigation for the NTSB... 'this is Fritz Meyer. He is the pilot who was flying the night the plane went down.' We started talking. As we walked along Bob Francis turned and looked away from me and sort of.... collected himself.... and he turned back to me and he said: 'You know, we're getting away from that missile theory.' I laughed in his face and he was crestfallen - he was distraught - and after that when I just laughed right at him, we began to have a frank discussion.... We walked up to a nose wheel casting and it was all ripped and shredded - and we had a more or less candid discussion about the crash.... As we walked up he showed me this thing - it had striations across it - great deep cuts through the alloy of the wheel casting. And he said: 'You know my people tell me that this is a sign of a high velocity explosion.' Those were his words." Meyer continued, "I told this to a reporter about three months after and he picked up the phone and called Bob Francis and Bob Francis denied he had ever met me."

    Several individuals with high ranking military background are calling for an investigation of the investigators themselves. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the crash should be reinvestigated, without FBI involvement and Congress should investigate the FBI's handling of the case. Moorer believes "all evidence points to a missile."

    In an open letter addressed to "Fellow Americans" Admiral Moorer makes several cogent points worth consideration.

    These and a host of other pertinent questions have been asked by numerous individuals both inside and outside of government. Alongside Admiral Moorer, Ohio Congressman James Trafficant has called for congressional investigation into the crash. Representative Trafficant has shown remarkable interest in the unusual investigative practices used by the FBI and NTSB. He has also revealed an acute interest in the mounting accumulation of evidence implicating missile involvement.

    At the request of Representative Trafficant, Commander William Donaldson compiled the 109-page Independent Analysis Report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 to be presented to Congress through Trafficant's House Aviation subcommittee.

    But in a stunning reversal last week, only two days before the scheduled release of the Independent Analysis report, Trafficant issued "his own" report saying he now agrees with NTSB findings. Donaldson says it appears the administration has influenced Mr. Trafficant, since he issued his "report" without ever seeing the independent analysis and now supports the NTSB's position. Trafficant says there is "no new evidence" to support the missile theory. If, indeed, he was seeking "new evidence", even a casual perusal of the report he requested would precipitate an explosive congressional inquest. The often-true statement, "everyone has a price", may be appropriate here. A source close to the investigation indicated a bill that could put $51 million into his district may have become the deciding factor in the contest for truth in the TWA disaster for the present time.



  1. CNS NEWS- UP CLOSE, July 21, 1997
  2. American Spectator, July 1997
  3. ibid.
  4. ibid.
  5. ibid.
  6. THE NEW YORK POST, November 19, 1997
  7. THE TIMES OF LONDON, July 22, 1996
  9. POLICE MAGAZINE, July 1997


Flight 800 - Why Won't it Go Away?
Witnesses Allege NTSB Covering Evidence of Missile Attack
TWA Flight 800 Analysts Say FBI is Intentionally Obstructing Justice

Written 08/02/98

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