tv TWA 800 CSPAN December 3, 2016 4:30pm-5:44pm EST
part of and basically message is look the government is not going to convince a young guy who either converted or -- convincing him not but to pen game in mum communities in minimizing the extremism in their own communities and radicalization process. so a lot of this is sort of good old fashion community policingng you know how to we talk to communities bring them forwarden gauge them in a common effort so that's important right now because -- because for for a variety of reasons but when we unlike europe, the good news is, that we do not have a general -- sort of a generational radicalization problem. we have cases. but we're not dealing with 3,000. 4,000 people going to damascus w to get trained and then returning to either france or germany or geography helps us in that regard. and so there's a lot of emphasis
on working with arab and muslim communities because it is the it shall it's the mom, it's the mother. it's the ex-wife it's the father who knows something terribly wrong is going on with their son or daughter. and can must feel comfortable coming to, you know, either the fbi or the government officials to disclose their own concerns. an second piece to it, of course, which is the access people have to weaponry that can kill a lot of people so that's what we have to get very serious about. whether it's terrorism watch list and purchase of guns or having more stringent gun laws. so those are two ways this whicl we can do it and that's whyw people like me are very, very passionate and critical of some of the thaings you're hearing coming out of this transition and some of the people who support the president-elect about, you know, about islamic community our muslim communitieo
and arab communities. i will tell you as someone who has been in counter terrorism for a slorng time one of the things that makes our nation safer than most we have our vulnerabilities we have safer than most is that we don't have radicalized immigrant population. you have the mexican in l.a. the cubans in florida. the irish in boston where i live and muslims in dearborn. right all feel a common identity with the united states and if we do things that will isolate those communities, not only is it the wrong thing to do or inconsistent with what those communities are able to offer us, but i think in the long-term it would actually mac us less safe. >> security mom is the naiflt book and unclassified guide to protect homeland and your home juliet is the author. >> here's a look at the books that are being published this week, in the undoing project, michael lewis p analyzing if two psychologist who is's work of conventional thinking on how we
make decisions decisions and usn behavioral economic pps cnn writer thomas lake has the first book by network politic edition unpress detected which chronicles the 2016 presidential election and collection of essays range from femme theism and neuroscience to psychological and art to a woman with looking at women looking at women in the. in the glass universe recalls the women who acted as human computers at the harvard college observatory in the mid-19th century and their impact on astronomical discoveries. yale professor fall use empathy runs counter to our better judgment. based on irrational emotion in against empathy. and in the man with the poison gun, historian explains how the trial of kgb assassin changed soviet international operations. look for these titles in book stores this coming week and watch for many authors in booktv
on c-span2. [inaudible] i'm going to attack off my jacket. okay. we might have a few late comers but they will be through the back. so first of all we would like to welcome you to the twa museum and it's our pride and joy we hope you enjoy it. and we'd like -- we also if you want to tour the museum you have to go back out and around ab and we have a flight 800 room that might be of interest to you especially after you hear that. my pleasure to welcome jack to the museum for this
presentation. you're going to do question and answers so q and a after his speech. okay. so welcome jack. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you for having me and this is a great venue i suspect first time booktv has ever done one from an airplane hangar. this is my tenth booktv the one closest to my heart for a variety of reasons, and let me just start with a little background and many of you know on july 17th, 1996 at 8:19 p.m. left jfk in bound for paris 12 minutes later 8:31 popular off long island it was blown out of the sky. 230 people were killed. 53 of them were twa employees.
many of you in this room knew at least some of those people. there is a memorial in their honor here at the museum, and if i door for coming here spread some conspiracy theory, i would be dishonoring their memory had an i would be insulting you, and instead i'm here to tell you what happened on the night of july 17th, 1996 and then the night and day and months and years thereafter. there are people many this room who know a whole lot more about aviation than i do, and at the end of my conversation i'm going take question and answers because i know some of you have firsthand experience with this tragedy. here's what we know. in the last few years, researchers have unearthed a mother load of new informs from of all places the central intelligence agency, the cia. through a excellent question
with the cia is doing involving itself in a nest forecast airplane crash. we'll get to that in a minute, and we've also gotten some interesting videos. and some it a lot of whistle blowers from inside the investigation have come forward so the state of our knowledge today is much better than what it was 20 years ago. when i say we, i'm gong to give credit to the people who have done a lot of research here like sometimes partnering james sanders, business and some of the other people christina who came here and spoke tomorrow cbs producer. ray lare former -- eastern aret pilot and also investigators attorney john clark good at actress and media -- [inaudible] and hank senior sbn investigators so they deserve credit for digging up the information i'm going to share. i want that to be known. sips since the book has come out
i've heard from 100 individuals within military and aviation industry supporting my thesis most of them worked for and at the investigation itself. many of them are still angry about with the experience and what happens to them. here's what we know. now, according to an air traffic controller, in fact, this will contact me after the book came out and e-mailed me today curiously saying he loved the book and that he thanked me for treating his story accurately because i wrote about him. i did not release his name. he worked with 38 years as an air traffic controller once to keep his pension. he says for children and that is you hear from a lot of people. but what he told me that night this is a quote, he said a primary radar return indicated vertical movement intersecting pwa800 that's what they have on their screen in west bury and
that is where precipitated the panic in washington, d.c. that was the first notice and whether the eyewitnesses came out of the aircraft control center in new york said something happened to this plane and seconds before this intersected that airplane it disappeared. and the pw800 notation disappeared from the screen. the supervisor comes over to tell my correspondent have you seen anything like this ever before? and he said yeah. they do missill test so something not unknown to him. next day he comes back in and he wantses to review the tape. and he goes to the supervisor can i take another look at that tape who says no -- it's gone. it's been table. this is a violation of all protocol now the only person who is spoken about what happens next in washington is richard clark the formaller anti-terror
czar he spoke it shall a liar and bragger so it's hard to sort through his information and get the truth but at least fend some time on this. >> else who writes about that period of time in that administration is completely silent about the event. not a word. even though it was the number one news story in 1996. and it was -- richard titled it the almost war and clark is convening a meeting of the -- anti-terror group in the situation room in the white house at 9:00 a half hour after the crash. i know from hirnt's log and from my sources within the white house, that the clintons returned to the white house just about 8:30 after some are you teen fundraising nearby. they retreated to the family quarters and there they stayed for the rest of the night and
not out of the situation room. many my source was a very good source. i asked who was with them in family quarters he has one name. and that was sandy burger. now burger is the deputy national security advisor -- his was a national security advisor -- and like i said this elsewhere, he knew when the conversation got political, he left the room. burger was political guy. political decisions were about to be made. among them was the insertion of the fbi into the investigation. one of the most helpful to come into the story later on and i'll tell you about it name is vernon a former mtsb board member. only fife on the national transportation safety board it is a powerful position. and vernon is one of the leading experts in the country on plane crashes. he was so knowledgeable that cnn called him in that night to do
on air -- interpretation of the events on air commentary. he spent next six hours there. and as he tells many me he goes i wasn't there a couple of hours and then the fbi had taken over the investigation. he goes as a former board member i knew this was unprecedented and illegal because ntsb set up to be independent, and at that point they sacrificed their independence and they yielded to the fbi. now, no one knew at that time it was that some other insertion was taking place on that very first day. and this we know the who will treasure-trove of cia dhaments we have unearthed and here's what we know. according to their own documents, quote, that t.i. that's the director are of intelligence became involved in the missile theory the day after the crash occurred. the cia has absolutely no
business being involved in this kind of event. especially since the year before in 1995, the department of justice sent out a memo often known as the wall memo and it says is that there's a wall between the intelligence gather and cia and the criminal investigators in the fbi and members shall meet. this can note collaborate because it would be, you know, a violation of people's rights. who knows. and george in 2004 at that point was the director of central intenls the head of the cia, and he told the 9/11 commission that he was first one who introduce that notion to the public. and he wasn't the only one to talk about it but he was the first one to do it.
but as cia documents approve cia and fbi for next 16 months would collaborate on the investigation but they did not say outright is that collaboration was the divert of the investigation. the cia had no other role to become incredit clear when you reads their documents than to make all talk of missiles go away because on the opening nite that's all people were talking about. within first two hours, we know that there was threetion one amateur video taken of the complete sequence of events. some of you may have seen it. it was aired on msnbc to begs any knowledge but two or three times. i talked to one of the fellow tech director and he said you know we shared a few sign and three guys in suits came and copies to keep our mouths shut or else, and that was the end of that.
thousand, the best elaboration of what we're seeing i got from a 747 pilot and he was willing to give me his name which you allow me to use his name which is a sign of some confidence. he was laid up in a hong kong hospital. with a back surgery and his wife came to visit and they have nothing to do but watch tv for several weeks during the sequence of events he said we watched the videos over and over again. he said here's what we see. he said there's a bunch of people around on the dc, and then someone says look at the fireworks and then they see -- and this is a lot of other people would say the same thing. they see this object come up up off the horizon with a red burning and great smoky contrail heading out to sea in a arch over, and then i disappear for a second and then a bright white flash, big orange o fireball and plane falls out of the sky. he saw this, he said 30 to 50
times. he saw the video. nelson deville would write a novel around this video night fault worth reading you haven't read it. quite fun. now we get into the cia documents and they get real interesting. on july 30th, 13 days after the crash, the cia -- analyst and i know the name of the head guy may or may not mention later meets with the fbi and missile team only two or three man missile team and he -- headlines the memo to his superior and all names hold which is interesting. he tells the superior that he just met with the missile team. the missile team has already interviewed 144 excellent eyewitnesses to a missile attack on flight 800.
he said the evidence for a missile tack for a service to air missile is overwhelming. their words he said these men are mainly professionals and their testimony is too consistent for it to be anything but a missile attack. now the cia analyst bragged to his superior how he diskowrminged diskowrminged fbi from going to the report just about ready to be published. and he was successful. because that report never came forward. between july 30th and august 17th someone gets to the gi. they came to the job e intend ising to do it justice. someone gets to them before august 17, because on august 17th fbi speak to the first time to "new york times" about eyewitnesses. now, the fbi qowld would speak
exclusively to knock times and became dependent on that relationship. and, in fact, at the heart of this -- story a media scandal more than anything else it is a media scandal and at the heart of the media scandal is "the new york times." but i meet with "new york times" and story is reported on august 17th so they met on the 15th or 16th about two or so weeks after the muscle team met with the cia, and then "new york times" called that there are fewer than a dozen credible eyewitnesses and "new york times" allowed to interview just one eve those eyewitnesses he's a good witness named mike et ruses l on a barge doing surveying work and he's pretty knowledgeable. and he said he sees that out of the corner of his eye a bright white flash and then the plane fall needsly ousts sky. now, two things that the --
deny happen but the purpose was then to switch the scenario from missile to bomb. for whatever reason administration decided to live with a bomb because it wasn't as scary as a missile by the way this crash to go place two days before the start. so there's at at stake in keeping airlines flying and keeping, you know, commercial traffic in taber. keeping people away from feeling insecure about airplanes. in total "the new york times" would interview before it was through -- the fbi would interview 258 eyewitness who is saw an october streaking up and hitting the airplane. 96 of them saw it come up over
the horizon and tracked it all the way up. now of those 258, you know how many the "new york times" would interview before the investigation was over? zero -- i'm talking 20 or 30 of them. i mean they're sell there and they want to tell their story. zero they would speak to not a single one of those 258 official fbi witnesses. now, 250 people in all gave a report to fbi thousands more saw it because i know people who chose not to talk to the fbi and they have good reason as it turned out. but between the 15th or 17th and 23rd. "new york times" kept running more stories about bombs. on the plane pcn on the plane, mistrace of a missile residue found inside and outside of the plane. on the 23rd of august, they ran this headline above the fold right.
crime evidence found that the device exploded in cabin of twa200 that's above a fold in "new york times." crime evidence found and there are pointing to a bomb but they're not riling out missiles but exploded in cabinets -- above the fold left clinton science welfare reform bill and democratic national convention. one of those headlines had to go. and it was this one. and then the bomb talk just started going away. the day before the 23rd i'm sure the justice department was aware that the fbi had been talking too much. so the head of the fbi investigation jim is called to washington for his first meeting in washington. all right heading up this meeting as the information suggest is deputy attorney general jamie gorili name will play in this so keep track of
that. her name is reno who was essentially a figure head, attorney general and didn't trust them and they worked around her like they worked around tony in the national security counsel. they're through sandy burger, and there is no record of what took place on that meeting on the 2 nd but we do know that all behaviors began to change immediately afterwards. from the 22nd on, there would be no more interviews with eyewitnesses for at least several months and then those took place later for the wrong reasons. we know that on the 23rd faa started searching all over the world to see if they could find a day and a place where twa flight 800, the plane was used for a dog training exercise with training aids explosive train aring aids that took them several weeks to find that.
and then a series of events begun to happen between the 23rd and 19th of september there was more story it is that a bomb has to do in new york time didn't knows quite what direction to take partly because fbi tonight know what direction to take and then on september 19th story switches to washington. and now it is ntsb reading the direction. >> and what they say is that -- perhaps it was a mechanical failure afterall. it, you know, they said mechanical failure alone might just explain what happens. well this was a problem still because we had all of the residue trace was explosives found on the plane and headline and so how do we reconcile these two? well the next day the fbi puts out a press release that the
plan has been used for a training exercise in st. louis six weeks before this happened. on the 21st of september, "the new york times" run ares an article says that very same thing, and basically kills the investigation. and the people who are -- serious investigators are saying it is going to be hard for us to make our case now that there was this saying that bomb training exercise sloppy, explosives, et cetera, et cetera. by the 11:st neither the fbi or "new york times" talked to cops who -- did the training. the first fern in the media to talk to that cop was me. six years after the fact, no one had talked to him in that time. and what they decided was that, you know, he did his exercises and he's an african-american guy still as he told me pissed all of a sudden to this day about
what they did to him. because what they do is ruin his reputation. they ruined his reputation and tiewk him. they concluded that he had -- a sloppy exercise and filled training all over the plane and no account for the explosive residue found on the plane but stuff that was found on the wing, you know it was not camable of getting out there and doing that but that didn't matter. all of the stuff on curtain separating back and front no that didn't matter but they went with it. here's what they could have found out within hours worth of information. "new york times" qowf known this. the fbi all of this cop told, put on his report was the time of the exercise. and he did an exercise on the 747 on june 20*9 in st. louis on a wide body. and he did it from 10:45 to 12:15 p.m. here's what the fbi knew.
is that 1:30 the 800 plane left the gate. what the fbi did not say is that there were 400 people onboard and they were bound for hawaii. now some of you worked on loading international flights know you can't do that in 15 minutes. the cop did his exercise on a completely sterile plane. it was no one onboard his plane for the whole time he did the exercise. they could have proved that in an hour, and easily proved and he can't dispute it. that plane left at 12:35, 400 people stopped fully ready to go to honolulu, and they were supposed to believe in a 20 minute exercise 20 minute period in an hour and a half exercise it doesn't mac any sense and another problem with it, obviously, if. the atu and no way match the composition of the residue found on the plane. nor does it match where they
placed it. the placement is wrong. composition is wrong. the plane is wrong. it was a total lie. there's no euphemism to disguise what they did did and they sacrifice this guy's career to get it done and he's humiliated to this day got a letter from the fda condemning et cetera and he had to live with this but that was the cover they needed that was all of the cover they needed now from that point on from september 21st to 2nd on government move to a fully different mode that was mechanical failure modes and some of you able to talk about that. few remember like getting punched in the stomach when they heard about that and people who work in fuel tank and fuel tank people have to bear of front of that story. that there was something wrong with fuel tank and it blew up as a matter of fact when i get e-mail of people reading the book phyt tank people are the angriest i'll tell you that. [laughter]
at that point too -- the ntsb shut out of witness review. they're supposed to have done the interview that witnesses are supposed to review are the statement and totally shut out, in fact, humiliated sent home and last night wouldn't let them look at the interview after the fbi done them. instead -- the fbi handed the interviews over to the -- cia. who else? to examine interviews and to decide what it is that the eyewitnesses saw. they have absolutely no experience in this. they had not only no experience, but they have no legal justification for this. now, the fbi wasn't eying per to do this. you could see that. so when they -- they gave them cia witness statements in small doses. and time. they only gave them finally one-third of the total eyewitness statement. i don't know why this is heard but only working from a third of them. didn't matter.
on december 31st, 1996cia analyst randolph if you're watch ing give me a call some time comes to the conclusion that -- all he needs to explain what these people saw is contained within the one plane itself is all he saw was flight 00. he just decides that the nose of the plane was blown off. then the plane tilted almost 90 degrees up about 70 or 80 degrees, and then noseless and people in this room know what else a crock this is, shot up about 4,000 peats and then in the course of that, deceived people into thinking they were seeing a missile. now i've talked to many aviators they hit their head when they saw that one. it can't happen. ..
>> nose of the plane falls off, shoots upright, this is what it is. then one heroic character from the fbi stands up, and i've identified this guy by name. i'm not sure whether i should mention him tonight. he's, basically, the held of the now two-man missile team. the fact there's only two men on the fbi missile team tells you something.
but on april 29, 1997, he meets with the cia, and he says i don't buy this for a moment. he says, we have at least 30 eyewitnesses who saw the object coming in the opposite direction, so it couldn't have been twa and a crippled flight that they saw. he said, we have at least eight eyewitnesses who saw the missile hit the airplane. all the radar data disagrees with what you're trying to sell us. i insist that you go back to the drawing board and start over, because this -- i won't buy this. i don't buy this. now, the other members of thes missile team, apparently, according to cia analysts, was okay with the cia. this one guy refused not to do it. i'm going to name him. his name is steve balm garre, steve, if you're listening, get in touch. he then -- and i don't think he knew this until recently -- on that same, april 29th, 1997, day
that he's fighting with the cia either in washington or in new york, he ends up in north carolina -- at least on paper, he does -- interviewing one of the key eyewitnesses in this book. and this story is witness number 73. i start out the book with the story of witness 73. some of you have read this. and here's -- i'll just replay the story a little bit. on, in 2009, the summer of 2009, i get a call out of the blue, and she goes, jack cashill? i said, yeah, she goes, this is witness 7 3w, do you know who i am? i said, yes, i do. she goes, that's me. here's the story. and the fbi writes out what are calls 302s, witness summaries. and here's the fbi's witness summary from july 20, 1996, says about their interview with witness number 73. i'm going to call her sandy,
it's the name i give her in the book, it's not her real name. sandy tells them she's on the beach with two of her in-laws, and she's an aviation, she has an interest in aviation because she's a travel professional. she's tracking flight 800 as it comes across the sky. she says she thought it was awfully low, and she was right, because they had held the altitude down for innocent reasons. and then she says, i see this object come up off the of horizon, zigzags over, bam, it explodes right outside the right wing, bam, another explosion. then, she said, i see the nose of the plane come off, you know, and it stalls and falls right out of the sky, breaks into flames in an orange fireball. now, three days after the crash sandy had explained and told the fbi the break-up sequence of that aircraft with the nose coming officer before anyone -- off first before anyone knew. it would take them weeks to map
out the debris field before they could validate what she said. but no one saw it more clearly than she did. and she cooperated fully with the fbi three days later. and her two in-laws wanted nothing to do with it. her husband, who wasn't with her, almost broke off their engagement. they were engaged at that a time, because she talks to the fbi. in-laws were really upset that she gave them their names, but they refused to talk. they saw what she did. maybe they had good reason. on the same day that steve balmgard is protesting to the cia in washington or new york, he's down in north carolina interviewing -- probably unknown to him -- sandy. same day. because the cia said, oh, we'll take care of it. yeah, they took care of it. they put a new 302 into her file, okay? and here's what sandy told me when we talked in 2009, because i asked her, i said tell me about the second interview. she said, oh, there's a lot you
don't know about that. i said, what? she goes, well, in the second interview -- she has just found out about it -- it said i had had several long island iced tea cocktails that night -- [laughter] and i said, and? she goes, i don't even know what a long island iced tea is. could it have been another drink? no. are you sure? i don't drink at all. then she says there's something you don't know. what was that? there was no second interview. the cia had fully manufactured a second interview that same day to negate her testament on the same day that the fbi, head of the missile team gave them grief about what they were doing. and then there's something -- and then i said to her, there's something you don't know. she goes, what's that? i said, you're not the only one. as i explain, they did that to several key eyewitnesses, that is create, manufacture out of whole cloth fully new witness statements to justify the theory
they were trying to sell. and a later meeting, and this was made public in about 1999 with the ntsb, the cia analysts conceded that only one witness had actually reported seeing the crippled plane with the nose come off, and it was the man on the bridge. and i've gotten to know the man on the bridge pretty well, and his wife. great characters. his name is mike wire, worked out of philadelphia, he was a mill wright. and when they closed the case in 1997, they showed for one time -- and many of you have seen this -- the animation showing the plane flying along, nose blows off spontaneously, fuel tank explosion. guys who work in fuel tanks -- and a plane shoots up 3-4,000 feet. confuses the eyewitnesses. the eyewitnesses did not see a
missile. it sounds like soviet propaganda if you've ever seen the language and the graphics. and they built it all around -- they finally conceded that the ntsb some years later, around the testimony of this one man, mike wire, the man on the bridge. and it turns out, of course, that they based it on a second interview with mike wire, because in his first interview, he says exactly what sandy says. i saw this thing come up off the beach, blah, blah, blah. and the second he goes, no, unit see it come -- i didn't see it.com come off the beach. yeah, it could have been flight 800, to of course. they just made that up and put it into the record. there was no second interview with mike wire. there was no second interview with sandy. a fellow who was flying above it who was a navy guy with real missile experience and everything saw it out of his plane, a u.s. airplane, and they made up a new interview for him.
because in his thing he said i saw a missile going from right to left. they said in his second, new 302, no, he saw it going from left to right. must have been flight 800, right? these are the ones we've been able to prove. and finally, going through cia documents, we just found them a year or so ago, we find out that they say, this is a quote, that the maximum calculated altitude for twa 800 post-explosion was 14,500 feet. they knew that. not the 17,000 plus feet they sold to the american people. they showed that video once. when the fbi closed the case in november, and no one in the media even asked what's the cia doing here? let alone this stuff is nuts. how can you possibly be trying to sell us this? now, then another -- james
sanders who worked with me on one previous book and who was the earliest explorer on this, calls me one day about a year ago and goes, jack, you won't believe what happened. they just sent me the video. and i said, the video? you know? jim has been sending freedom of information act requests to the fbi for some time. when we get it and look at it, we realize it is not the video from july 17th, but it's almost as useful. it's a video we knew about from july 12, 1996. and it was a video of, shot on the south coast of long island by an amateur. both the fbi and the cia talked about it. but it was a video of an apparent missile test. the defense intelligence agency had reviewed the video early on and said, yeah, this is the surface-to-air missile we're looking at. and they talk about the smoke trail going up, blah, blah, blah. well, when we saw the video, we saw there was more than just a smoke trail coming up, we saw
the flaming debris coming down. this was five days before twa flight 800 went down on the south coast of long island, an obvious missile test taking place. now, that wouldn't matter a whole lot except when the fbi closed its case in november 1997, they said there had been no missile tests in the area for at least two years. they know that this happened. they knew about this video. they did not enter that video into evidence. and from the cia documents, we also know that many eyewitnesses saw what looked like a missile test on july 7th, 1996. so you have july 7th, you have july 12th, july 17th, you don't have to be a math major to see the sequence here. it's every five days. after my book came out, i heard from other people who said, you know, i don't know if this matters, but on july 7th i was camping and i saw this. yeah, it does matter, because that was what was going on.
now, from 19 -- november 1997, the case was basically closed. the ntsb held two hearings. no eyewitnesses were allowed to testify. first time ever, totally up precedented. unprecedented. the, basically, they get away with it. the most successful cover-up in american peacetime history. the great untold story of our times. and 53 of your colleagues died without justice being brought to their, them or their families. now, i'm going to jump ahead a little bit. and i'm going to take some questions and answers here and add some other little useful anecdotes. but the deputy attorney general who oversaw this investigation in may of 1997 after this is essentially put to bed, gets a new job despite the fact she has no experience in either mortgage or finance. she's named vice chairman of fannie mae. [laughter]
and the next five and a half years, next six years she'll make $25 million. as vice chairman of fannieplay. and then -- fannie mae. and then a burst of patriotism, she steps down to take one of five democratic positions on the 9/11 commission. so she is, basically, overseeing the events leading up to september 11th. in april 2004, attorney general john ashcroft testifies to the 9/11 commission, and he says, this is a quote: the single greatest structural cause for september 11th was the wall. this is the wall memo that prevented the cia and fbi from speaking to each other. i should note that the head of the fbi missile team that i mentioned protested loudly about the wall in the runup to
september 11th, and he went public with this protest. because there was a terrorist afoot in america, he said, and we can't look for him because we're the investigators and that's an intelligence issue? this is nuts. well, two weeks after he says that, he goes, people are going to die. two weeks later, this fellow joins 18 of his buddies, and they hijack the four planes and kill 3,000 people. because of the wall. and so, full disclosure, ashcroft continues, compels me to inform you that the author of the wall memorandum is a member of this commission. the author of that wall memo was jamie. so as the nation learned in the aftermath of 9/11, the wall that was breached all too easily to protect the secrets of twa 800 held all too firmly when it came to protecting the security of the united states. and that's where we are today. now, i'm going to close with one last anecdote, because it's a
sort of lighter, fun anecdote. and then we'll take some questions. and when we take questions, by the way, if you could speak up, because we're just picking up the ambient noise. in early july of this year, accuracy in media -- excellent organization out of washington -- hosted a press conference at the national press club on twa flight 800, and they invited me to speak. and i talked to vernon gross, the ntsb board member, the night before. excuse me. if i start coughing, by the way -- [laughter] ignore it. [laughter] so ver, no i didn't even know he lived in washington. why don't you come down to the press conference, you know, and check it out. so he comes down. and we invite him up to speak, and he speaks for about ten minutes. and then he says to me afterwards, by the way with,
tomorrow i'm having lunch with the chairman of the national transportation safety board, you know? do you want to come? yeah, sure, why not? [laughter] well, so i go to lunch, and i meet the new chairman of the national transportation safety board, his name's christopher hart. and i'm looking for a point of connection with christopher hart. and i'm trying not to push my book. vernon is, but i'm not, i'm just laying back trying to convince him that i'm sane and this is a story worth looking at. and then i realized what it was, he mentioned he had been on the board between 1989 and 1992 when clinton replaced him. now, what was interesting about that was i had written about that in the book, but i didn't know who hart was, anything about his background. other than that, he had an aerophysics degree from princeton, a law degree from harvard and as "the washington post" pointed out at the time,
he was replaced by jim hall who was, whose best qualification was his driver's license, right? [laughter] this is what "the washington post" said at the time. and i said, yeah, i wrote about that in my book. and he said, i posted that on my wall, you know? [laughter] the article from "the washington post." well, here are two things i didn't know about christopher hart until i met him. one, he's democrat. so they replaced a democrat with a democrat. replaced a democrat with extraordinary credentials with one that's got no credentials. the other thing is this, he's an african-american, right? so to replace a black democrat with a white half-democrat is an act of the foresight of the clinton administration to pack these boards with people who were going to come in handy. well, he adds two more people before 1996. both of them political operatives. so by the time 1996 comes, jim hall is now the chairman, and
you have three of the five board members, and and so when the fbi illegally takes over the investigation, they just roll over. take it. you know? and they watched it all happen. and that's what i found out. so anyhow, that's, that's how clever in a sense this was, and what was other side a sort of -- otherwise a sort of awkward, improvised cover-up that was done essentially just to kick that can down the road past november and hope for the best, and they've kicked it now for 20 years. let's hope they can stop kicking, a little help there -- [inaudible] so thank you very much and appreciate your coming today. [applause] now, questions? you just speak pup, okay? you might -- speak up, okay? you might want to stand up, if you can. take off your seat belts. [laughter] >> so i'm just gathering then that the reason for the cover-up was the military screwed up, and clinton wanted to cover that up.
>> i would say, you know, when i started this investigation, i, you know, there's a certain thing called confirmation bias. you see a set of facts, and you want them to confirm what you hope will be the outcome. well, when i fist got into this in the year 2000, i hoped the outcome would be terrorists. i would feel more comfortable with that. i remember when pierre salinger came forward and said it was the navy, i thought, it can't be the navy. that's almost unpatriotic of him to say that. well, unfortunately, the evidence overwhelmingly points to naval involvement on the night of july 17th. now, there may have been some rogue element that snuck in there, there may have been an allied ship in the maneuvers, i don't know. i do not know literally who fired the missile, but i know that missiles were fired, and i know that missiles took down flight 800. the evidence overwhelmingly argues for naval involvement. and the smoking gun was there
from the beginning. and that is that what everyone acknowledged -- except "the new york times" which chose not to acknowledge anything -- there was a navy p3 orion hovering right above twa be 800 when it blew up. there were technical manuals in which the p3 is used as a communications mode and was called a cooperative engagement capability where various ships and sub a marines cooperate to -- submarines cooperate to do a missile test or shoot other missiles out of the sky, planes out of the sky. and it was sitting right there. we also know there were other ships in the area, at least three submarines and one cruiser. so we know they were there. we know that. now, who fired what, i do not know. but, yes, navy was there. yes, sir. >> twa -- [inaudible] in your book you mentioned three submarines -- >> yes. >> the -- [inaudible]
, wyoming and -- [inaudible] >> yes. >> there was an article that came out on the internet, which i don't trust the internet terribly, but it playfully said that the missiles -- [inaudible] >> yes. >> which was not even commissioned until a year and two days after the accident. >> that's right. no, i know. i've seen that report. it has a ring of credibility to it. i've tried to check it out, because there are a couple of names mentioned who were on the sea wolf. and i've tried to contact those people, and guess what? they don't return my phone calls. [laughter] >> what a surprise. >> yeah. i wouldn't rule that out. that was not mentioned as being right. the fbi conceded there were three submarines, the ones you mentioned, and the uss normandy in the immediate vicinity of the crash. we also know that from day one the navy was lying to the fbi. the navy never came forward.
christina boar yesson who spoke here was witness to one incident where someone asked why is the navy involved in this investigation when the navy may be the culprit? and what they did is they picked up this guy, and they hustled him right out of the room, you know? >> oh, yeah. >> at least two eyewitnesses to that. so that said, i just -- the navy would not have and could not have covered this up on its own. it had to come from above. yes, sir. >> do you have any theories of motive? >> motive, accident, you know? >> just an accidental -- >> yeah, right. a lot of people ask -- have asked me, was there anyone on the plane who deserved his or or her own missile? the answer is no. the u.s. navy would not shoot down one of our own aircraft to -- but we know in 1998 the u.s. navy did shoot down an iranian airbus. accidents can happen. >> [inaudible] it would just be embarrassing.
>> i would say the reluctance to admit it had a lot to do with the election in 1996, because the navy wasn't going to -- they couldn't have kept this under wraps. they might have fudged a little, but they weren't going to keep it under wraps. sir. >> -- [inaudible] i don't know if your book or other reading i've done, i read that the doctor that performed the autopsy found a large amount and specifically those people seated -- [inaudible] specifically he found large amounts of shrapnel and much of it tested positive for solid rocket fuel propellant. any thoughts on how that was covered up or what might have been going on there? because i've also heard that the autopsy doctor has been silenced as well. >> well, you know, those of you who saw christina here in july, she wrote and directed a documentary with tom -- [inaudible] called twa flight 800 which is excellent.
it came out three years ago. and two of the people who -- they had at least half a dozen high-level whistleblowers participate. two of them were the pathologists. and when i was watching that, i thought you could have made a separate documentary -- and it would be a gruesome one -- on what happened to the bodies. because in a fuel tank explosion, they're going to burn. it's going to be ugly, but they're going to burn. but in this case they were, in some cases the dna were fused from one body into another. there are pieces of bone flying around like arrowheads, sticking into the side of the fuselage. and they showed some of this. and these guys gotta have pretty tough stomachs to do this. but, yeah, the injuries were not at all consistent with a fuel tank fire, at least to those that were in the place where the explosive devices were most damaging. yeah, good question. yes, ma'am. >> what did they do with all the wreckage? did they destroy it? >> no.
the greater part of the wreckage was reassembled at the call veriton hangar in long island where they did the investigation, and it has since been shipped to the ntsb training facility in virginia. and it's used as sort of like a dumb show for people when they walk them through and say, see? no holes here, no missile struck here, you know? it's use -- its use is very questionable. mike? >> as you point out, this is -- [inaudible] commercial airliner shut down by a navy destroyer. i thought it was '91, you said '88. >> yes. >> anyway, we shot down a iranian airliner at the beginning of the gulf war or shortly thereafter. and the captain testified that the aircraft, the iranian airliner -- [inaudible] diving and turning and accelerating toward his ship, and he gave them command to fire. okay.
but unfortunately, the russians had a satellite parked above the black sea that night and recorded everything. and they said, no, no, that iranian airliner was at 22,000 feet in the middle of an airway -- [inaudible] well, the navy had to eat crow. i'm sure the captain got a promotion. but -- [inaudible] no one's ever seen the satellite pics -- [inaudible] do you know anything about that? >> yeah. there were allegedly three satellites that had flight 800 in its view. one of the parents from pennsylvania whose daughter was killed in the crash, there was a group of french students, like 15 of them who were going to paris that night, he used his -- as a family member, he was allowed certain leeway, and he got to talk to them, said there were three satellites that night, and they were all malfunctioning.
[laughter] this' what he was told finish that's what he was told. that's literally what he was told. and yet when the cia created its animation of the zoom climb, of the nose falling off and the plane shooting up, they claim that infrared seven sr.s on u.s. satellite blah, blah, blah, but they've never shown any images. they are talking out of school. it didn't show anything like that. yes, terry. >> [inaudible] >> well, a lot of twa people. i know i've talked to a lot of angry twa people about this one. let me talk about boeing, first. boeing and twa took the fall, basically. why would they do that? in boeing's case, it was pretty obvious. they were in the middle of a merger talk with mcdonald douglas which would have given them a lock on the commercial airline market. in the same week -- and this was at that time, exactly that time -- in the same week that
the department of justice approved that merger, they turned down a merger between office depot and staples which would have given them a 6% lock on the crucial office supply market. so boeing, if they wanted to survive, really didn't have much choice. twa, i've heard a lot of stories about why twa went along, and, you know, probably not the place to go into now, but afterwards we might want to talk. i've talked to many, many twa people who have their theories. anyhow, a lot of people think it was the death knell of the airline. four years later it would be out of business. and merging with american airlines at least for some unhappy, short period and then moving on. yeah, it's unfortunate. yes, sir. >> i work --
[inaudible] [laughter] >> in answer to your question, i was at christina's slide show she had here. one of her slides had what they say was the rest of the airplane, and it was all ground up -- [inaudible] she showed large hoppers full of -- [inaudible] >> and then i think they had second thoughts, and they took it down to virginia and reconstructed it. >> i think there's a lab for that. >> oh, absolutely. >> recycling. >> yeah. >> [inaudible] >> right. well -- >> i worked a little on -- [inaudible] i remember immediately after when this went down, within a
week -- [inaudible] fuel pump shorting out the center tank. well, there's no fuel pumps -- [inaudible] >> yeah. >> [inaudible] we knew they were lying. >> you know, and at the end of the day after four years, they, the spark that sets off the fuel tank is of unknown origin, right? the overheated, then the overheating of the center fuel tank from sitting on the runway at jfk, it was 71 degrees. these planes sit on runways in cairo and phoenix all the time. >> [inaudible] >> right. >> my experience was -- [inaudible] >> yeah. >> but it wouldn't have made any different if there was two gallons or 20,000 gallons in there. you have -- [inaudible]
>> and it did explode. i mean, some -- >> right. >> -- seconds after the whole plane caught fire and what not. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. >> [inaudible] >> yes. >> [inaudible] >> no, i have heard that story, yeah. i've heard that story several times, and, in fact, nelson demille, has anyone read nightfall, his book?
a little steamy opening chapter. i just listened to it driving back cross country, and it's a lot of fun. it's about -- it's based around the misvideo, and he comes -- missing video, and and he comes to the same conclusion i was. he knew a lot of fbi agents, and every time he ran into one, he'd get that same stonewall, you know? he said, now, the nypd or suffolk county police would be much more forthcoming, but the fbi, it was a fuel tank explosion, you know? >> sure, it was. >> they've got their marching orders, and they do it. the fellow on the missile team i referred to earlier, he did his 20 years and got out, and i think that's because -- for certain people, that kind of culture is very difficult to abide when something's going wrong n. the back, yes, sir. >> a few weeks ago i attended a lecture, and i happened to be in california. i have a friend in long beach --
[inaudible] i told him i was coming there -- [inaudible] so -- i said, you know, people at the twa museum, they'll look you right in the eye, and they'll flat out tell you that plane was shot down. there's no doubt -- [inaudible] talk among boeing people, the engineers, that plane was shot down. >> yeah. >> now, at the same time, he also sent me a video clip of george stephanopoulos -- [inaudible] >> on 9/11? >> well, when he talked about -- and then he goes back and talks about how flight 800 was shot down, oops, i mean -- >> right, right. >> here's my question. the cover up that, you know, we're talking about here is so
massive beyond anything you could almost believe. we're talking about the faa, the ntsb, the fbi, the cia, people -- [inaudible] putting in other people's files. "the new york times" reports if a dog gets hit in new york city, we've got 50 reporters -- [inaudible] and all of a sudden they're shut down. >> right. >> so when you look at all of this, when you think of all the time, all the effort finish. [inaudible] and at the same time clinton was president, you know? the fbi and the cia, military people, he was not their favorite guy. >> no. >> he was a draft dodger, why would they protect him? so with all this finish. [inaudible] but my question is this, with all of the massive work that it took to do this -- [inaudible] question is not only why would they protect him, but -- [inaudible] we screwed up? we're going to write a check. we messed up. what would have been the fallout from that?
>> no, in fact -- >> [inaudible] so much per person, here's so much for the airplane, we messed up, we had a missile test going on out there, and that would have been the end of it. so my question is, why. >> i will -- here's my best answer, is that on the night of july 17th, 996, they -- 1996, they panicked, and then they decided to kick this can down the road. and once you start kicking it, you can't kick it back. then what you're doing is you're covering for yourself. and despite all the people who seem to be involved, i don't think there's -- other than a couple people in the navy, i don't think there's 6-10 civilians who really know what happened that night. and here's, here's what they share with us. stephanopoulos, you're right, talks about it accidentally on 9/11, right? helys a book about -- he writes a book about it, he doesn't even mention the incident. george tenet, who's the head, you know, who oversaw the
cover-up from the cia position writes a book, doesn't mention it. leon panetta is the one who alerts clinton, doesn't mention it. bill clinton writes a 900-page book, one paragraph. hillary clinton, 500-page book, one-third of a sentence. louis freeh, head of the fbi at the time, two sentences. i mean, the senate select committee on intelligence which covers all of those matters, certainly everything that's involved with the cia from 1996-97, doesn't mention it. it's a conspiracy of silence. they've kicked it down a memory hole. my hope, and this is bizarre, i'm going to put out an appeal right now, is i think the one person of conscience in all of this who's suffered most from having to leave with this was the head of the fbi investigation, jim call strom, who's now on fox as their terrorist go-to guy, which means fox won't talk about this.
but i know he's tortured. i know family members who have come up to him in his face and said, you're lying. he's the public face of this investigation, and if anyone, i think, has an interest in coming forward and just clearing the air, i think it would be he. and what i would recommend -- because who arrests who at this point? i would say what you need is, like, a south africa style truth in reconciliation commission where you just, okay, we're going to waive all punishment, and let's just sort out the facts and hope this doesn't happen again. yes, sir. >> i have an interesting how this is working out. i've been in aviation maintenance since 1988 with twa -- [inaudible] in the kansas city area. i started out as an airplane he can tradition -- [inaudible] replacing all the wire. supervision, management, you know, the whole line. i'm in safety now, that part of the house.
but through all of us, you talk about kicking the can along, we're still kicking the can. we have a potential burden of grief -- the a terrible burden of grief for those who lost loved ones, a terrible financial burden. we're still kicking this can down the road trying to keep fuel tanks from exploding that don't explode. right now here in kansas city we're installing -- [inaudible] gas systems that are hugely expensive on every single aircraft across the board, you know? and you just, like you say, this reconciliation. when is it going to stop? because we're just pouring money and, you know, resources down this hole. >> and, you know, what happened is you know immediately after this crash, had they really thought it was a fuel tank explosion, they would have grounded all the 747s. certainly air force one, which is a 747. but that didn't happen. yeah. >> i was managing -- [inaudible] 737s at the time. they grounded 737s and said
you've got to look at everything in your tank, all your wiring. we pulled all -- we said, you know what? we're just going to pull all the wiring, we grounded our whole fleet, pulled the wiring out. all of that, we found one with wire, and these were old, 200 basics -- [inaudible] 737s. we found one wire on our fleet of, i think we had 18 737s at the time. one wire that had one spot, and it was in a conduit on the outside of the front -- [inaudible] you would think that you would find some mechanical, some electrical problem. i have yet to see one in all of these years. >> and that's why at the end of the investigation for the ntsb, they simply concluded, uh, you know, must have been of unknown origin, you know? they don't know where the spark came from. and then we found out, by the way, from the cia documents that their head of their, of their --
the witness team at the time, a guy named david mayer, was working with the cia. he'd worked with them for 16 months. so the ntsb is working with the cia? i mean, there are people in the ntsb who were problematic. most of the people, by the way, 99% of the people involved in the investigation were doing the right thing, or trying to. including the fbi. but there were a few key positions that weren't. and they just allowed things to happen. and when you meet, you know, my -- in fact, i was just talking to this air traffic control guy i mentioned earlier, he just e-mailed me today. he said, you're right, you know, you were right to mention pensions. he goes, because i said the word pension is like, you know, for us is the word omert is in sicily, it guarantees silence. he said, i worked 38 years as an air traffic controller. they take that away from me, i'm finished, you know? and that is -- for the people that work in and around government, it has a great silencer. also what happens is so many of
these people end up working for defense contractors. and then if they go public, they not only risk their pensions and their freedom, but they risk their whole company's connections with the government. so there's a lot of low-level fear among people who know stuff. and like i say, there's only a handful of, i'll say, bad people involved. but a lot of people just afraid to speak out. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] >> the captain of the coast guard boat, i do not know about that. there is, i will say that there is just one angle of the story we have not talked about is this, is that on the night of july 17th, 1996, the coast guard went out there, as did a lot of commercial fishermen and private yachtsmen and stuff. and many of them heard the distinctive ping from the black boxes, flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder. they're actually orange boxes,
you know, but they're -- so it was only 120 feet of water, it was calm. other than the bodies, this is the first thing that gets picked up. it took them a week to retrieve them. during that week they were putting out various stories, oh, they must be damaged, they must be buried x. i've seen the video of the actual navy divers finding them, and it's just sitting there on the floor, big orange box. they pick it up, oh. i mean, and they were innocent. they just picked it up saying, wow, we found them. because then when they tested them, of course, they revealed nothing. and then one of the family members was able to bring in an audio expert, and he said, yeah, the final seconds have been edited out. and the ntsb didn't even disagree with that. it's one of those things that are missing like the 116 pieces of the plane that were sent to the fbi lab and never seen again. so so many things were subtracted, deleted, removed, stolen, covered up, destroyed,
but the one thing they could not silence were the eyewitnesses. and they are the most critical part of this testimony, and they are continuing to speak out to this day. why don't we take one more question, and then i think we ought to wrap it up here before you guys melt. >> [inaudible] >> you guys all right? [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> any other questions? yes, mike. >> [inaudible] had all the missile residue -- [inaudible] >> yeah. >> for 18 months and stalked
his -- [inaudible] they didn't want that word, "missile," to ever be mentioned again. [inaudible] this is just a shame, to think the investigation from day one -- >> as a matter of fact, that's what got me started. because four years after the crash, i met james and elizabeth sanders who came to kansas city to speak to a large twa group. and you're right, sanders, an investigative reporter, terry stacy was a 747 manager and pilot working at the investigation, and the first -- what happened is, and liz sanders was a twa trainer.
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