Accuracy in Media

At a recent Accuracy in Media conference on whistleblowers, retired Navy commander William Donaldson once again presented convincing evidence that a missile or missiles brought down TWA flight 800 in 1996. But a new wrinkle in his campaign to tell the truth includes a videotape showing how, based on eyewitness reports, the aircraft was hit. He also played, for the first time publicly, a tape-recorded phone conversation between my colleague on this broadcast, Reed Irvine, and James Kallstrom, the FBI agent in charge of the TWA 800 investigation, revealing the identities of some of the mysterious vessels in the vicinity of the crash.

Although the government continues to insist the plane crashed because of a fuel tank explosion, hundreds of witnesses saw a missile streak toward the plane before it exploded. The government has tried to discount or discredit all of this eyewitness testimony. At one point, the CIA was brought into the controversy, producing a videotape insisting that the eyewitnesses actually saw the plane itself climbing in the air after its nose broke off. This was physically impossible.

Donaldson has been investigating the crash for Accuracy in Media and works with a group of retired aviation professionals. Donaldson and his associates are the only crash investigators who have extensively interviewed the eyewitnesses. It’s true that FBI agents briefly interviewed many of them, but the FBI is not trained to investigate aviation disasters. For six months the real crash investigators from the government’s National Transportation Safety Board were not allowed to interview any of those eyewitnesses.

The FBI is trained to investigate criminal activity, and it took the lead in the investigation of TWA 800, even though a criminal cause of the crash has now been officially ruled out. But if everything is so innocent, in terms of criminal activity, then why did the FBI withhold identification of four surface vessels in the vicinity of the crash? The FBI refused to name these objects in correspondence with Rep. James Traficant, a member of the House aviation subcommittee.

In a tape-recorded telephone conversation with James Kallstrom, who ran the TWA 800 investigation, Reed Irvine managed to get him to identify some of them. Kallstrom identified three of them as naval vessels on classified maneuvers. He claimed the other object, racing out to sea at 30 knots, was a helicopter. When Reed questioned this, Kallstrom backed off, saying he originally thought it might have been a boat and that he was “very concerned” about it.

Donaldson’s theory is that agents of a hostile foreign country, probably Iran, shot down the plane, and that the U.S. government had vessels in place because it had reason to believe that something like this was going to happen. However, in a major fiasco, they failed to stop it. Rather than admit that their incompetence had resulted in the deaths of 230 people, officials of the Clinton Administration decided to try a cover-up. As we are recording this broadcast, the only national television network to have covered the new information uncovered by AIM is the satellite network America’s Voice, based in Washington, D.C. But AIM will persevere in spreading the truth nationwide.

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