"As the evening of July 17, 1996 began, Eastenders on Long Island's south fork had no idea that only a few miles away a joint naval task force was assembling for a critical test of a top secret weapons system. In towns like Westhampton, Mastic Beach, and along the Shinnecock Bay Inlet, as midweek parties began, as recreational boaters set out into the warm night, they could not have foreseen the light show that would soon light up the skies. At 2000 hours, July 17, 1996, a world away from the town of Southampton's resort beaches, military zone W-105, thousands of square miles of ocean located south and southeast of Long Island, was activated by the United States Navy. Within minutes, from different locations around the sector, military activity increased as the various units participating in the operation deployed their aircraft and surface vessels. . . . . "
Re: The unexplained loss of TWA Flight 800
Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
Aviation Mishap Analyst
P.O. Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624
April 5, 1999
Mr. Philip M. Condit
The Boeing Company
P.O. Box 3707, Mail Code 10-10
Seattle, WA 98124-2207
Mr. Gerald L. Gitner
Trans World Airlines
One City Center
515 North Sixth St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Re: The unexplained loss of TWA Flight 800
Over the last four months our investigation into the loss of TWA
Flight 800 has produced information far surpassing that contained
in our July 20, 1998 Interim Report to Congress. We can now
prove, before a jury or other independent fact-finding body, that
the aircraft was shot down. We can also explain why the
Administration covered it up and expose some of the methods they
employed to do so.
Your corporations are being scapegoated and defrauded by
Administration officials because, had the truth about this incident
been reported before November of 1996, it could have derailed
the reelection of Clinton/Gore. Exposed now, it could send guilty
parties to jail for Misprision of Felony Homicide.
We can provide your attorney's with witnesses, documents, or
reference material that will support the following text:
White House knowledge of a threat prior to the loss of TWA
1. The Administration knew that in 1996, surrogates from rogue
states had access to MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense
Systems) or shoulder-fired missiles in mid-eastern weapons
bazaars. $5,000 would acquire the least capable model, the
Russian SA-7. $50,000 would buy the most capable, the Chinese
Vanguard, a deadly new missile upgraded from US Stinger
technology transferred to the Chinese in the early 90's. Superior to
the Stinger, this missile has a much longer range. The
Administration also knew Iran had a limited number of US Stinger
missiles in inventory.
2. The Administration was aware that, worldwide, MANPADS
missiles had already claimed 26 civil transport aircraft and was
only a matter of time before a U.S. Flag carrier would be targeted
and hit. They knew the Administration had dodged a bullet in
1994 when Maryland State Police found a fully armed French
Mistral MANPADS missile ready to fire on its tripod directly
under a busy northeastern air route.
3. In response to sanctions unilaterally levied against Iran by Mr.
Clinton in 1995, Iranian surrogate's car bombed US troops in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and later smuggled MANPADS missiles into
the US from across the Canadian border. Iranian officials warned
the Administration that they considered enactment of the
Iran/Libya Sanctions Act tantamount to an act of war!
4. When Mr. Clinton signed the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act of
1996, a decision was made by the Iranian Supreme Council to
approve attacks on major American targets. Terrorist surrogate
groups from nine countries were summoned to Tehran to meet
with Iranian officials in June of 1996. Later that month, a huge
truck bomb was deployed against the US Air Force barracks
complex at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Three weeks later,
TWA Flight 800 was shot down only hours after an explicit
warning of an attack was received in London and Washington that
taunted the President.
5. The White House, the CIA and the FBI were aware of the
threat and they knew preventing that attack was their primary
6. We can show the Administration anticipated incorrectly that, if
the missiles were used, they would be targeted against Olympic air
traffic landing or taking off in the Atlanta area.
7. We can provide testimony that immediately after Flight 800 was
shot down, Mr. Clinton called an FBI command post supporting
the Olympics and informed them Flight 800 was downed with
8. The White House, the CIA and the FBI political leadership have
waged an unrelenting disinformation campaign from the onset.
This has ranged from the White House spokesman stating,
"Anyone in government that says this was a missile only has half a
brain", and to the CIA cartoon that libeled hundreds of
Witnesses or "Untouchables"?
1. The day after Flight 800 was shot down, the Justice
Department, helped by 1,000 FBI agents, began the process of
converting hundreds of witnesses into the first American
"untouchable cast". The political leadership of the NTSB aborted
its mission in one surrender of its responsibilities after another.
When the Justice Department illegally ordered the NTSB crash
investigators to have no contact with witnesses or their statements,
and the NTSB complied, the investigation was over, the cover-up
and Misprision of Felony Homicide had begun.
2. At the NTSB Public Hearing in December of 1997, the word
"witnesses" was not even mentioned. Before and since, they have
been ridiculed, slandered and liabled in official videotapes and
statements made by government spokesmen.
3. On March 15, 1999 the derailment of the Spirit of New Orleans
after she hit a steel truck at a railroad crossing in Bourbonnaise IL,
prompted a media wide call for witnesses by NTSB officials. It
seems a witness was needed to prove the truck had driven around
the safety gate. Apparently, investigations are much simpler and
witnesses more creditable for the NTSB when there is no White
4. We have access to 107 witnesses on 4 aircraft, 19 boats, and 31
locations ashore. They were located in a 360 circle around the
missile engagement. Their live testimony alone will prove the
aircraft was shot down. This is why the Justice Department has
kept air crash investigators away from witnesses for 2 1/2 years
and also one reason they are conducting a malicious show-trial
prosecution of author and outside investigator James Sanders and
his wife. It's hard to interview witnesses from a Federal prison.
The FBI failed to identify and interview 17 of these people.
Among these 17 are witnesses on a boat who may have seen the
Justice Department suppression of Missile Evidence
1. It appears, aggressive FBI missile-team field agents eventually
solved the problem as to the cause of the crash, but had no support
in the FBI leadership. In fact, the FBI leadership seems to have
deliberately withheld vital information from their own agents.
2. George Gabrial, the senior FBI Agent on Long Island and
personal friend of Mr. Kalstrom, was a close witness on his boat.
We can provide witnesses who overheard him say he believed
what he observed was a missile. FBI missile-team members did not
know he was a witness until we informed them.
3. The FBI has videotape that was shown to military experts of a
missile shot from off the coast of Long Island that failed to engage
a target. This first attempt was nearly coincidental to the Khobar
Towers attack 3 weeks before Flight 800ís loss.
4. By late September, 1996, FBI missile-team members had
established informal liaison with military missile guidance experts.
By that time the FBI knew witnesses at sea on all sides were
pointing to a missile launch a few miles southeast of Flight 800's
explosion point. What they observed fit the profile of a
MANPADS missile engagement.
5. In December 1996, FBI missile team members told military
experts that two separate commercial fishermen dredged up and
threw back a MANPADS first stage, the missile ejector-motor can.
The ejector motor, about the size of a Coke can, fires in the tube,
ejecting the missile, then drops in the water when the missile 2nd
stage booster ignites.
6. The fishing vessel Alpha Omega recovered one of these motor
cans in early October, 1996, while trawling for scallops about 2
nautical miles from Flight 800's explosion point. The crewman, not
realizing the importance of his find, noted the two distinctive
ignition wires attached to the can before he threw it overboard.
7. Despite overwhelming forensic evidence of a weapon impact in
the number 2 main tank of the left wing and witness testimony of a
missile attack, the Administration would not fund military missile
experts or allow the FBI to trawl for missile parts until after the
November 1996 elections.
8. The Alpha Omega was one of five trawlers contracted by the
Navy Supervisor of Salvage for trawler operations. When FBI
agents finally came aboard in November 1996 to begin trawling
and brought pictures of three objects they were looking for, it was
that point the crewman told them they were too late, he had
already found and discarded an ejector can!
9. Responding to the previous findings, Special Agents Bongardt
and Otto took a live ejector motor can from a Stinger missile
aboard all the trawlers under contract, showing it to captain and
10. Interrogated for hours, the Alpha Omega crewman insisted the
can he found had the same features, ignition wires, etc. but was
11. That interrogation should have prompted the FBI leadership to
suspect they may have been dealing with the longer-range Chinese
Vanguard or Russian SA16/18 missiles.
12. It is clear from the Supervisor of Salvage's operational trawling
maps depicting "missile firing zones" and the FBI Trawling
Operations Manual in our possession, that the Justice Department's
intent was to find and hide from "other Interested Parties", missile
ejector cans, missile battery cooling units and the last Flight 800
Scavenge Pump the NTSB was trying to blame as a source of a
13. The $5 million trawling operation was funded by NTSB,
contracted to civilian scallop boats through the Navy Supervisor of
Salvage from 4 November 1996 until it was suddenly terminated
on 30 April 1997, yet the trawlers were manned 24 hours a day by
teams of FBI agents. Up until 30 April 1997 the scallop boat
captains had been told the operation would continue indefinitely
for months or even years. FBI agents got the word via cell phone
to shut down the operations. On two of the boats, when the
captains refused to stop until the Navy contractor on board told
them to, the agents threatened force to make the captains shut
down. The first agent backed down when the captain told him he
would go anywhere at gunpoint, but the agent could expect to be
charged with piracy on the high seas when they got ashore. The
second agent backed down when the captain informed him that he
was armed also and he was the captain and they weren't going
14. The FBI's trawling plan was flawed in the following ways.
a. The missile firing zones depicted on the charts were 1.75 NM
and 2.7 NM radius circles. These distances are accurate for two
types of MANPADS but the Chinese Vanguard exceeds those
b. They used the last transponder response from the aircraft as the
aircraft explosion point. The aircraft was travelling east over 2,900
feet between each transponder response. A two-second error
would move the trawling off by 1/4 mile.
c. They failed to notice, until December 1996, a recorded surface
radar contact only 2.9 NM from Flight 800 when it exploded!
d. They failed to identify that boat!
e. They failed to adjust the trawling lines to cover that boat's
surface track while it was in range of TWA Flight 800.
15. The FBI told military experts they had a witness who perfectly
described a MANPADS engagement terminating in an impact on
Flight 800ís left wing root. It includes boost; sustainer-motor burn
and total missile fly-out time typical of the US Stinger and its
16. Military thermal imaging of B747-100ís provided to the FBI
by China Lake Naval Air Weapons Facility, indicate a MANPADS
missile fired from a low forward quarter would guide toward the
three air pack exhaust ports, directly under the center wing tank
and not, as publicly stated for the engine nacelles. See attached
17. Military computer modeling of the TWA 800 engagement,
using Stinger data, shows the missileís velocity would degrade to
400 meters per second as it climbed through 13,700 ft. This would
cause the circular error probability (CEP) to expand to 20 ft. or
more, allowing an impact almost anywhere on the aircraft.
18. Stinger guidance technology provides a last instant steer-
forward command to avoid a miss by flying through an engine
exhaust plume. Such a command would explain a missile, fired
from in front, steering for the air pack exhausts under the center
wing, impacting forward on the left wing root leading edge.
19. The Stinger, for example, has a two-pound warhead with three
fusing options, contact, penetration and time-out.
20. Using stinger missile fly-out data provided to the FBI by
military experts, the combined velocity of missile body and aircraft
at impact would be 1950 ft/sec.
21. If the cockpit voice recorder hasn't been tampered with, an
audio laboratory should be able to discern this velocity through its
analysis of recorded frequencies. This may be why the NTSB has
refused to allow the Cockpit Voice Recorder group to convene
and study the data generated from the Bruntingthorpe tests done in
22. E = Ĺ MV2 would predict kinetic energy available at impact
of over 1.2 million foot pounds.
23. The kinetic energy from a missile body entering the number
two main, ĺ full of fuel, at mach 1.8 would cause the tank to burst
from hydraulic overpressurization.
24. Fused for penetration, the two-pound high explosive warhead,
bursting in the fuel could impart an additional 200-PSI spike of
hydraulic ram overpressure.
25. Jet fuel is over 700 times the density of air. A MANPADS
missile warheadís fragments would be stopped in a few feet of
fuel, negating high velocity fragment damage to aircraft
components. Mr. Kalstromís public statements repeatedly used the
lack of high velocity fragment damage as an excuse to ignore
witnesses and shutdown the investigation.
26. The Navy China Lake missile impact "Quick Look Engineering
Study" identified 4 criteria for expected damage if a shoulder fired
missile hit a 747-100 inboard main fuel tank. All four are caused
by hydraulic over pressurization of fuel tanks. All four are in
evidence on the left wing. None of these criteria have ever been
seen in previous air crashes.
27. The China Lake reportís first two recommendations were to
detonate shoulder-fired missile warheads in fuel tanks to determine
if the fragments would be trapped and to do live firing of these
missiles at inboard main tanks to compare to left wing damage on
28. Mr. Kalstrom ignored all seven recommendations; cherry
picked statements out of the China Lake report and used them out
of context in the media to argue the aircraft was not shot down.
29. When Mr. Kalstrom was faced with having to take action on
the China Lake report he chose to shut down the investigation.
30. At the time the FBI investigation was prematurely shut down
in November of 1997, the FBI had failed to identify a fast moving
boat captured on radar only 2.9 nautical miles from Flight 800
when it exploded. Mr. Schirilo, who replaced Mr. Kalstrom,
admitted that fact in a letter to Congressman Traficant.
31. After his retirement, Mr. Kalstrom was taped stating the boat
captured on radar was really a helicopter. Considering the radar
target was non-transponder and was tracked on the surface at
speed below 36 knots for 35 minutes prior to disappearing over the
horizon, even FBI agents have acknowledged Mr. Kalstromís
excuse is nonsense.
32. Witnesses afloat and ashore observed a six second missile burn
(Stinger rocket burn is 6 Ĺ seconds) coming from the near vicinity
of the unidentified boat.
33. Senior Justice Department officials need to be compelled to
answer under oath why testing essential to determine if Flight 800
was brought down by a shoulder fired missile was not funded and
why they ignored the forensic evidence, military experts, witnesses
and their own FBI field agents.
The search for the Black Boxes
1. Discovery of the plight of the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit
Voice Recorder and their two Ducane pingers, after water entry,
may be the key to unlocking the cover-up. We can show a Grand
Jury how Mr. Clinton personally involved himself.
2. The NTSB is extremely sensitive to the subject of Black Boxes.
They opened the boxes without any investigators from the
Interested Parties present. They refused to allow TWA's
investigator to listen to the voice recorder more than once.
3. The Voice Recorder has a "sound like damaged tape" precisely
seven seconds prior to its end. Seven seconds prior to missile
impact would be coincidental to MANPADS booster ignition. A
visually bright event that could be seen by the First Officer.
4. Dr. Loeb has refused to release Addendum number two to the
Flight Data Recorder Analysis that was written to rebut our
interpretation of the last data line. The NTSB even refuses to let
the Voice Recorder Analysis group reconvene!
5. The Administration's explanation of the circumstances under
which the USS Grasp" divers found the Digital Flight Data
Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder is highly questionable.
6. According to divers we interviewed and the Navy Supervisor of
Salvage Report, Navy divers from the USS Grasp found the
recorders during Dive #2 and Dive #3 on the evening of 23 July
1996. The Administration maintains these same divers found them
more than 24 hours later at 2330 hours on 24 July 1996. East
coast TV news coverage ends at 23:30.
7. The most probable motive for this deception was to ensure
investigators, who are Parties to the Investigation, were not
witnesses when NTSB/FBI officials were alleged to have first
opened the boxes in Washington during the early morning hours of
25 July 1996.
8. The boxes should have been found in the aircraft tail cone
section, or within its debris. Instead, divers from the Grasp found
each box 30 feet apart on a hard sand bottom, devoid of any
attached debris and neither Ducane Pinger was operating. They
appeared just as they would if dropped overboard from a boat!
9. Somehow both Ducane Systems fixed themselves while in FBI
custody. They were found to be fault-free in laboratory test days
10. The small cylindrical Ducane Pingers are mounted on the
narrow front face of each oblong rectangular box. They are
protected from damage because they are bolted firmly to the inside
angle of a short piece of angle iron. Because of their shape, the
probability of either free falling box landing on the bottom with the
pinger stuck in the sand, would be akin to a free falling domino
landing on it's end and remaining standing in that position.
11. The only way Ducane Pingers can be silenced under water
without evidence of damage is by partly unscrewing the battery
12. The probability of both undamaged Ducane Pingers failing
simultaneously in a shallow open ocean environment, on top of a
hard sand bottom, approaches that of a spontaneous aviation
kerosene explosion in an ignition-free Boeing 747-100 fuel tank.
13. We consider the fact the NTSB has remained mute about
these alleged Ducane failures is Prima Facie evidence of either
abject incompetence on the part of the NTSB who should have
opened an inquiry into the cause, or proof of a cover-up of NTSB
14. Weeks Marine, Inc. was verbally contracted by both the Coast
Guard and FAA officials the night of the crash to position for
salvage operations. They were on site the next morning with the
best salvage equipment available in the Atlantic. It was superior to
Navy assets, but Weeks Marine was stood down by the NTSB. It
would be five more days before Navy divers would be on scene to
recover recorders, bodies, etc! Why the forced wait?
15. Holding Weeks Marine, Inc. to standby while ordering Navy
assets to respond from far away points deliberately condemned
victims trapped in bottom wreckage to five additional days of
ravage by natural elements. This grossly compounded the grief of
the families and put at risk the ability of medical examiners to
identify all remains. The White House was responsible for this
16. Circumstantial evidence indicates the Administration, knowing
the aircraft to be shot down, may have ordered a covert recovery,
laboratory examination and reinsertion of the recorders to ensure
the aircrew did not describe the attack on audio tape. Scuba divers
could have recovered the recorders on the afternoon of 18 July
and dropped them back overboard after 10 am 22 July, before the
USS Grasp and Navy divers were on scene. During that period of
time NOAA research vessel Rude and the motor vessel Pirouette
were simultaneously sent 5 miles off the main debris field on a
"wild goose chase" by the NTSB. Both ships had been mapping
that field with side scan sonar!
17. Properly done, a scuba team equipped with a Ducane locator
amplifier tube, held over the side, could position a small boat
directly over active Pingers, dive and recover the boxes in a single
effort. Active pingers can be detected by divers300 yards away.
18. We have a witness that has passed a polygraph test and has
provided a sworn affidavit that a member of the NTSB leadership
told him the recorders were found and examined by 20 July. The
Coast Guard told both TWA maintenance and Congressman
Forbes that the recorders were found on 18 July. The next day, 19
July, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was told the
aircraft was shot down by terrorists. Senators Hatch and D'Amato
made public statements to the same effect.
19. White House, NTSB and Justice Department officials need to
be compelled to explain these events and their actions under oath.
We also have other individuals who have asked to remain
anonymous who should be questioned under oath.
20. Despite a steep learning curve and the best efforts of some if
its most aggressive field agents, FBI leadership has demonstrated
itself to be functionally illiterate in the critical areas of; military
weapons and tactics, radar interpretation and air crash
investigation. The fact the White House failed to immediately
assign appropriate elements of the Department of Defense as lead
investigators in the missile inquiry is inculpatory.
21. Gentlemen, we have the "FBI Trawler Operations Manual"
and Operations Order as well as other documents left behind
aboard a contract boat by FBI agents. If found, the Justice
Department intended to hide from your companies; the last fuel
scavenge pump, a missile ejector can and the missile battery
TWA Flight 800 was the 27th civil aircraft shot down worldwide
by shoulder fired missiles. The Administrationís actions have
greatly increased the danger of a recurrence, not only because of
the deception of this case but because administration policy
deliberately fails to link any terrorist act to the government of the
Sponsor State. This provides political cover for the
Administration's lack of action and sanctuary to deadly enemies.
I will point out the coincidence of the Clinton Administration's pro
Arab, anti Israeli policy shift and the arrival on our shores of a
creditable anti-aircraft threat under the control of rogue states. In
1994, the Maryland State Police found a fully armed French
MANPADS missile, the Mistral, ready to fire on its tripod, directly
under a heavily used air corridor near Westminster Maryland.
Our research also found U.S. Stinger technology transferred to
China in the early 90ís enabling them to produce the Vanguard, a
quality shoulder fired Chinese missile. It was deployed first in
1996. If past history is an indicator, the China / Iran weapons
transfer link bodes ill for future air commerce.
In a worse case scenario, absent a respected American
Commander-in-Chief, Iranís Supreme Council, or other rogue
state, could successfully shutdown or disrupt major traffic hubs
worldwide by activating surrogate cells armed with Vanguard. If
they can shoot down one, why not a half dozen on a single day?
Gentlemen, the time to act is now, regardless of any arrangements
you may or may not have had to accept. Once the American
people understand the truth, your corporations will be indemnified
against any further political extortion from this administration.
We would ask, in the interest of long term air safety, that you take
an aggressive and public pro-active stance. Challenge the
Administration; educate the media and the electorate. Severance
from a politicized and fraudulent Federal investigation is no
penalty and maintenance of the status quo is certainly no prize.
William S. Donaldson