Flight 800, The Real Story


April 9, 2019 - San Francisco - CA - PipeLineNews.org – On July 17, 1996, a Transworld Airlines Boeing 747 transport with 230 souls aboard was destroyed by an explosion while in flight several miles off the eastern shore of Long Island, New York. To most Americans it is a distant memory of a devastating tragedy. To a relative few however, it is a deep unresolved hole in the truth, an affront to the dead, and a continuing battle on the part of the living to obtain the truth and achieve - albeit to a small degree - a sense of closure. These few are mostly relatives and friends of the victims, airline pilots, and airline personnel, and they have never ceased in their efforts to have the investigation re-opened. Their activities have waxed and waned, and now there seems to be light at the end of a very long tunnel.

The initial reaction of the public and of government officials was that the United States again was the victim of a terrorist attack. Soon the narrative of the government, specifically the FBI, began to change and proceeded in a manner that suggested a restructuring of the evidence to reach a pre-determined conclusion rather than an objective search for the truth.

The FBI concluded its investigation, and on November 18, 1997, declared the loss to be the result of an accidental internal explosion with no criminal component.

Many Americans, particularly aviation professionals, were left dissatisfied.

James Kallstrom, The Assistant FBI Director who was in charge of the investigation, had been called to a high-level White House meeting on August 23rd [ TWA 800, The Crash, the Coverup and the Conspiracy ,Jack Cashill, Regnery History, 2016, pps101-102]. Prior to that date what speculation there was seemed to point to a missile or bomb. After the meeting, the narrative abruptly changed now focusing exclusively on an accidental internal explosion.

Notably, many individuals and groups had conducted parallel investigations and continued to do so after what was purported to be the definitive result of a thorough investigation.

Shortly after the catastrophe the CIA, which would not usually be involved even peripherally in the investigation, produced what can only be termed - and this is stretching kindness – an animation, purporting to explain why more than 200 eye witnesses on the Long Island coast line mistakenly claimed to see a lighted column ascending from the surface and intersecting the 747 in flight. This trail could only mark the ascent of a missile aimed at the aircraft, a theory the government had to destroy.

The animation depicted the forward fuselage of the 747 detaching after an internal explosion, and the remainder of the burning craft smoothly ascending some 2000 feet before plunging into the ocean. The CIA claimed that it was this "zoom climb" that the witnesses mistook for a missile in the boost phase.

However, knowledgeable sources maintain that this version of events is aerodynamically impossible. An aircraft coming apart according to the depiction would pitch up violently and, travelling beyond its maneuver speed [V sub A for pilots reading this], would immediately break up structurally. It would not be capable of climbing; all of the parts would fall into the ocean, essentially as found. The depiction became a laughing stock and was immediately pulled. One can only guess at the motivation of the CIA not only to lie, but to lie so poorly.

In early 1997 a group of both civilian and military transport pilots, air crew, and many aeronautical engineers formed the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals [ARAP]. The group came together due to their individual suspicions as to the mishandling of the investigation and to determine the actual cause of Flight 800's disintegration and plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.

They were not satisfied with the official FBI and FBI managed National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] investigations on the basis of statements from on-the-scene personnel, and were amazed at the subsequent statement that an accidental internal explosion was the cause of the catastrophe. The members believed that the conclusion was not simply a mistake but ultimately was part of a carefully calculated malicious cover-up originating, most likely in the White House and requiring the acquiescence of high ranking FBI and NTSB officials; a clumsy attempt to discredit the sworn statements of more than 200 eyewitnesses, as well as the apparent lack of curiosity on the part of the press corps. The Clinton administration excelled in rewarding its friends and punishing its enemies. While the possibility of Middle Eastern terrorist involvement was initially mentioned, the press corps became strangely silent. One can only imagine the media uproar that would have ensued had the likely suspects been white supremacists.

The official narrative quickly began to shift, and the evidence was distorted to fit another politically convenient scenario.


President Clinton found himself in the closing phase of a race for re election. While the polls had given him a comfortable lead over a relatively weak GOP opponent, yet another terrorist atrocity on his watch {Three previous such incidents were: The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; the November 1995 car bombing in Riyadh, and the June 1996 bombing of the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, each of which was poorly handled} was a wild card he was not willing to play.

Over the years the scrupulous work of ARAP has yielded a mountain of evidence which indicates that a shoulder fired missile launched from a small boat was the probable cause of the downing of TWA Flight 800..

ARAP has continually sought to have the investigation with its spurious conclusion reopened. They have not yet prevailed but many feel that with President Trump, hardly an establishment figure, success may be at hand.

Among those who have also taken up the torch is retired TWA senior captain and Airline Pilots Association [ALPA] official, Al Francis. Captain Francis has flown transoceanic routes countless times during his career, including Flight 800. He recently spoke to a series of full capacity audiences at the Los Angeles Flight Path Museum.

Many in the audience were friends and relatives of those who lost their lives aboard Flight 800, and tragedy was written in their demeanor. A determination to bring justice to the dead and a form of closure to the living

was also evident.

The screen presentation and the accompanying commentary by Captain Francis was both compelling and eye opening. The assertions that follow were made by Captain Francis in his presentation and can be found on the ARAP website.

Captain Francis told of a powerboat that was rented by two middle eastern appearing men early on the day of the downing of Flight 800. It was never returned to reclaim the deposit, and it was later found abandoned with the entire internal area virtually sterilized so that no fingerprints or other trace evidence were found. It subsequently was ascertained that the drivers licenses used to rent the boat had been stolen.

Immediately after the destruction of Flight 800, Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom took over the investigation, an unusual occurrence given that the Department of Justice [DOJ] had not announced that criminal activity was suspected [Cashill, pps 63-64]. The NTSB is often the sole and usually the primary investigator of an airplane loss. In commandeering the investigation the FBI kept the NTSB out of the loop, even restricting their access to the reconstructed aircraft that had been placed in a Calverton, Long Island hangar.

Captain Francis spoke of knowledgeable eye witnesses who had been inside the hangar where the aircraft wreckage was housed for reconstruction and examination. These eye witnesses testified to having seen FBI agents power wash parts of the aircraft recovered from the sea, presumably to remove traces of explosive residue and to attempt to change the apparent damage by hammering flat the areas of the fuselage surface surrounding punctures [Cashill, p115] which would reveal direction of penetration. Pieces of evidence disappeared from the Calverton hangar and the customary protocols regarding chain of custody were absent [Cashill, p 115].

Colored tags were used to distinguish different fragments of the aircraft fuselage. Eye witnesses further told of seeing FBI agents repeatedly move tags from one piece of the recovered fuselage to another, thus distorting the original seabed debris field [Cashill,pps 184-185]. It became obvious that the FBI was reconfiguring the accident scene to conform to a predetermined outcome.

Hold on, much more to come, especially on the terrorist connection…and perhaps most significantly, why Flight 800?

©2019 Cheryl Gatesworth.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law