Accuracy in Media

In reporting the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 on October 31 many reports alluded to the cause of the crash of TWA Flight 800. The Washington Post said, “A fuel tank explosion, such as the one that brought down TWA Flight 800 in 1996, is unlikely in this case.” The New York Times said that it had been determined that fuel vapors in the center wing fuel tank had exploded, bringing down that TWA plane. Bob Hager on NBC?s “Meet the Press” said that the cause of the TWA crash was “mechanical,” which is another way of describing the fuel tank explosion.

Some reports refrained from discussing the cause of the TWA crash, but none that we saw reported that the fuel tank explosion is only a theory and that the government?s forty-million-dollar probe of the TWA crash has failed to find an ignition source that could have caused the fuel tank to explode. None pointed out that in order to test the damage that a fuel tank explosion might have caused, the investigators had to use hydrogen and propane gas, because it is very difficult to create an explosion using modern Jet fuel.

Another problem with the government?s theory of the cause of the TWA crash is that the fuel tank that they say was the cause of the explosion is located 80 feet to the rear of the tip of the plane?s nose. It would be impossible for an explosion in this tank to cause the heavy damage that was done to the nose of the aircraft. The nose wheel doors were blown in and the right nose wheel and tire were badly mangled.

Some people have great difficulty believing that our government could lie about the cause of a plane crash that claimed 230 lives because, they say, cover-ups and lies by government officials, employees and military personnel cannot be kept secret. They are certain that some honest person in the know would blow the whistle on the cover-up.

Unfortunately, whistleblowing is not encouraged in the government or the military. Whistleblowers nearly always pay a heavy price for telling the truth even though they are covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act. In the case of the TWA 800, as soon as Pierre Salinger charged that there was a cover-up, Clinton issued an executive order decreeing that Navy personnel who had participated in the salvage of TWA 800 were not covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

There are a lot of things the Navy divers could reveal that would tell what really happened to TWA Flight 800. The salvage operation was carried out under tight security. We have good reason to believe the divers found parts of the missile that shot the plane down. We also know that the “black boxes” were recovered within 24 hours after the crash, but the Navy claimed it took a week to find them. They feared they would reveal information about the crash that the government was trying to hide.

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