Accuracy in Media

The tenth anniversary of the destruction of TWA Flight 800 shows that government and media cover-ups do succeed. The prevailing myth is that the fuel-tank somehow exploded, causing the plane to crash. But the evidence shows it was destroyed by missiles. The possibility of a terrorist attack, which would have been a huge embarrassment for the Clinton Administration, cannot be ruled out.

It is an event that should be treated as an ongoing investigation, and it’s still not too late to determine the truth of what happened. What is not in dispute is that at 8:19 p.m. on July 17, 1996, the Boeing 747 took off from Kennedy Airport in New York, headed for Paris. About 12 minutes into the flight, the plane exploded, killing all 230 people aboard, as the burning wreckage fell into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island.

Some 260 people, unknown to each other, witnessed an object flying toward Flight 800, and of those, 92 saw the object rise from the surface. These are all people who gave sworn statements to the FBI. The eyewitnesses include highly reliable people like Maj. Fred Meyer, an attorney and pilot who is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Vietnam. The night that TWA 800 went down, Meyer was flying a helicopter for his National Guard unit, and had perhaps the best perspective of anyone who witnessed the tragedy. I described in a commentary last November his frustrating experience trying to describe to the FBI what he saw, and other examples of the compelling evidence that strongly indicate that TWA 800 was brought down by missiles, and covered up by the government. The evidence includes explosive residue found in the wreckage, radar data, and testimony of a cover-up by Hank Hughes, a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The commentary was in response to a program on the National Geographic Channel that basically presented the NTSB’s theory of what happened: namely that fuel vapors in the center-wing fuel-tank exploded when a spark from an unknown source, perhaps faulty wiring, caused the explosion. In their scenario, the explosion caused the nose of the jet to break off, and the fuselage climbed some 3,000 feet. All of the eyewitness, they said, saw burning fuel coming down, not missiles going up.

Several recent articles in the mainstream media that refer to TWA 800 do so in the context of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) failure to equip all new planes with a system that would prevent them from blowing up in the manner that they claim was the cause of TWA’s demise. The Washington Post article says that “Investigators concluded that a spark in the center fuel tank of the TWA jetliner caused vapors to ignite and explode. Since the crash, the aviation industry has focused on eliminating sparks in fuel tanks. But NTSB officials say pumping nitrogen into fuel tanks?a process known as ‘inerting’?would be more effective.”

But such a “conclusion” does not explain the eyewitness accounts of missiles hitting the plane.

There are several people who deserve a lot of credit for digging for the truth in this matter. One was the founder of Accuracy in Media, the late Reed Irvine, who worked tirelessly to press the government and the press to uncover the facts of the case.

Two other people deserve credit for keeping this story alive, even today. One is Jack Cashill, the award-winning author and documentary producer, who has written a series of articles for WorldNetDaily leading up to the 10th anniversary. I particularly recommend his article on the eyewitnesses, and his article on the so-called “zoom-climb” theory used to explain what the eyewitnesses supposedly really witnessed. A more recent article was a rebuttal of CNN’s 10th anniversary special on the subject.

The other is Capt. Ray Lahr, a former Navy pilot, a retired United Airlines pilot and a former safety representative for the Air Line Pilots Association. Lahr has doggedly pursued a lawsuit seeking to require the NTSB and CIA to show how they came up with the “zoom-climb” theory. Lahr’s most recent article on the subject was also carried by WorldNetDaily, and is definitely worth your time.

Ironically, June 30 was the 50th anniversary of another tragic plane crash that involved a TWA plane and a United Airlines plane, killing all 128 people over the Grand Canyon. It changed forever the dynamics of commercial flight. According to an article in the St. Petersburg Times, “It prompted an outcry that accelerated the creation of the modern air traffic control system and the birth of the Federal Aviation Administration.”

In that case, it appears, some lessons were learned. But in the case of TWA 800, the lesson is that a cover-up, apparently concocted for political reasons on behalf of the Clinton Administration, can succeed.

Many highly credible people who have investigated the story have concluded that the government lied about the cause of the destruction of TWA 800. The case should be re-opened. It’s never too late to find the truth.

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