By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid
December 20, 2001

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The National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, has secretly had all the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 except the reconstructed fuselage and one engine destroyed. Millions of dollars were spent recovering the wreckage from the ocean and transporting it to Calverton, where the fuselage was assembled as a mock-up to impress the public with what a thorough job the investigators — the NTSB and the FBI—were doing. That was for show, but there was other wreckage that they didn’t want shown. Journalists and private investigators were not allowed into the Calverton hangar. Why?

The answer is that they might have taken note of physical evidence in the wreckage that cast serious doubt on the government’s claim that a fuel tank explosion was the initiating cause of the crash. For example, Major Fritz Meyer, who was piloting an Air National Guard helicopter when he saw TWA Flight 800 struck by missiles that created high energy explosions, was later allowed to see the wreckage in the Calverton hangar. One of the things he noticed was the heavy damage done to the nosewheel and tire. The vice chairman of the NTSB told him experts said that a bomb caused the damage.

Since the nosewheel door had been blown in, not out, that meant that the high explosive was attached to a missile. Now the nose wheel and what remained of the tire have been recycled. Another item that has certainly been destroyed is part of the tail assembly of a Firebee drone painted international orange that was found with the wreckage. We know about that because the FBI had an official of the maker of the Firebee, Teledyne Ryan, fly to Calverton from San Diego to see if he could identify this interesting item. He sent a request to the company for a parts list and drawings of the Firebee’s tail assembly.

That suggests that he recognized it, but he wanted to see the drawings to make sure. Not knowing that I knew he had sent for the drawings, he told me that it was only junk. That lie convinced me that it was from a Firebee used by the Navy in an exercise testing its ability to shoot down a cruise missile off Long Island that night. TWA 800 was destroyed. So was the drone. That evidence was hidden. Now it’s been destroyed.

Some of the incriminating evidence was probably destroyed or altered long ago. The FBI had a special place where they took items like the Firebee tail which they didn’t want non-FBI members of the investigation team to see. There was the foam rubber from certain seats that had a red residue on it. One investigator wondered why the FBI wouldn’t tell them what it was. He sent two small samples to Jim Sanders, a writer, who had the residue tested. He reported it was consistent with missile exhaust. The FBI claimed it was glue, but it never released its test results.

Sanders and his wife were prosecuted for abetting the removal of evidence from a crash site. They were convicted of a felony. They are appealing, and papers related to the appeal were served on the NTSB last year. The destruction of the evidence that could exonerate them began soon after. The NTSB claimed all interested parties were notified, but the Sanders were not.

Reed Irvine can be reached at ri@aim.org

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