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8 years later, TWA 800 case just heating up! ^ | Friday, July 16, 2004 | Jack Cashill

Posted on 07/16/2004 4:53:39 AM PDT by JohnHuang2

Edited on 07/16/2004 4:55:29 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

Last July 17, the major media made no comment that seven years prior, on July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded off the coast of Long Island, killing all 230 people on board.

If the media took note of the date "July 17" at all last year, it was only to observe that American soldiers had found it scrawled on walls throughout Iraq. July 17, after all, was Iraq's national liberation day, the day Saddam helped lead the Baath Party to power in 1968, the day he seized the presidency in 1979, and not impossibly, the day he took his revenge on the United States in 1996.

This year, as every year, thousands of TWA Flight 800 family members and other interested parties will honor the date. Among them is Capt. Ray Lahr. Just last week, the retired United Airline pilot learned that his case against the National Transportation Safety Board and the Central Intelligence Agency is still on track. On Monday, Aug. 2, Lahr and his attorney, John Clarke of Washington, will square off against the NTSB and the CIA at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Lahr is hoping to force the NTSB and CIA to disclose the data upon which they based what Lahr calls "the impossible zoom-climb." As the agencies and Lahr both understand, the zoom-climb is the Achilles heel of the TWA Flight 800 investigation.

The FBI first publicly advanced the zoom-climb scenario when it bowed out of the case in November 1997. Its agents did so to negate the stubborn testimony of the hundreds of eyewitnesses who had sworn they saw a flaming, smoke-trailing, zigzagging object destroy TWA Flight 800.

To make its case, the FBI presented a video prepared by the CIA. A key animation sequence in that video showed an internal fuel tank explosion blowing the nose off the aircraft, which then "pitched up abruptly and climbed several thousand feet from its last recorded altitude of about 13,800 feet to a maximum altitude of about 17,000 feet." This rocketing aircraft, claimed the video, looked like a missile and confused the eyewitnesses.

This animation was essential to close the investigation. Without it, there was no way to explain what these hundreds of eyewitnesses – many of them highly credible – had actually seen. A veteran safety investigator and a serious researcher in the field of gravity, Ray Lahr watched this animation in utter disbelief. He knew this scenario to be impossible, and he set out to prove it. When he learned that not a single eyewitness had seen the plane ascend, including airline pilots who had watched it from above, he redoubled his efforts to discover the basic physics behind the alleged zoom-climb. For the last several years, however, despite numerous FOIA requests, the NTSB has refused to cooperate. The impressively stubborn Lahr finally took the agency to court.

Lahr has done an excellent job pulling the sometimes-fractious TWA 800 community together to assist him. Many key people have filed sworn affidavits with Lahr, including retired Rear Adm. Clarence Hill, and their collective commentary has to impress even the most skeptical of observers. All of this evidence, including the court papers, can be found at, as well as in past articles on WorldNetDaily.

One question that has never been resolved is just how the CIA animation project came to pass. Two recent books, however, do shed light on the dynamics of the video's creation. One is the much-discussed "Against All Enemies," by Richard Clarke, then chairman of the Clinton administration's Coordinating Security Group on terrorism. The second is Murray Weiss's recent and highly readable book, "The Man Who Warned America," on the subject of John O'Neill, a terrorist expert with the FBI who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Within 30 minutes of TWA Flight 800's destruction, Clarke relates in his book, he had convened a meeting of the CSG in the White House situation room. "The FAA," Clarke reports, "was at a total loss for an explanation. The flight path and the cockpit communications were normal. The aircraft had climbed to 17,000 feet, then there was no aircraft."

Clarke here serves up two significant untruths in a book replete with them. The first is that the Federal Aviation Administration was at "a total loss" for an explanation. In fact, it was the FAA that prompted the meeting and did so for a very specific and frightening reason: Its personnel believed the aircraft had been attacked. As NTSB Chairman Jim Hall would report in a confidential November 1996 report, "Top intelligence and security officials were told in a video conference from the White House Situation Room that radar tapes showed an object headed at the plane before it exploded."

Clarke also deceives the reader about altitude. The FAA never reported an altitude of 17.000 feet – nothing close. The FAA knew that the last recorded altitude of TWA Flight 800 was "about 13,800 feet" as even the CIA animation later admits. In the retelling, Clarke pads in the zoom-climb differential on the night of the crash and attributes it falsely to the FAA.

Weiss, who had excellent access to O'Neill's FBI colleagues, gets much closer to the truth as to the motive behind the emergency White House meeting. "The FAA," he writes, "initially reported spotting a radar blip on their tapes that indicated there was another plane or projectile near TWA Flight 800 when it exploded." This much is true. Weiss, however, is misled on his next point, namely that the FAA told the FBI one day later that "there was no blip. There were no missiles picked up on the JFK scanners." The sighting was an "anomaly."

In truth, to its credit, the FAA refused to change its story despite the pressure to do so. When in November 1996, the NTSB leaned on the FAA to "agree that there is no evidence that would suggest a high speed target merged with TWA 800," the FAA refused.

"We cannot comply with your request," the FAA's David Thomas responded. "By alerting law-enforcement agencies, air-traffic control personnel simply did what was prudent at the time and reported what appeared to them to be a suspicious event. To do less would have been irresponsible."

To set the record straight on this issue, Ray Lahr persuaded one key witness, James Holtsclaw, to go public for the first time. In 1996, Holtsclaw was serving as the deputy assistant for the Western Region of the Air Transport Association. Within a week of the crash, Holtsclaw received the radar tape directly from an NTSB investigator frustrated by its suppression. "The tape shows a primary target at 1200 knots converging with TWA 800, during the climb out phase of TWA 800," swears Holtsclaw on the Lahr affidavit.

In fact, before the investigation was through, authorities would introduce five different explanations to rationalize away that "blip." This obvious dissembling may explain why investigators felt the need to smuggle out evidence. Holtsclaw's informant would be the first of several – at least four of whom would be either suspended from the investigation or arrested.

Within weeks of the crash, the FBI would interview more than 700 eyewitnesses. By its own count, 270 of them saw lights streaking upward toward the plane. Defense Department analysts also debriefed some of these witnesses, 34 of whom, according to the FBI, described events "consistent with the characteristics of the flight of [anti-aircraft] missiles." There were also scores of witness drawings, some so accurate and vivid they could chill the blood.

About four weeks after the crash, Clarke reports in "Against All Enemies," he met with O'Neill, who told him that the eyewitness interviews "were pointing to a missile attack, a Stinger." Given what the FBI knew at the time, this much seems credible.

"[TWA 800] was at 15,000 feet," Clarke allegedly responds. "No Stinger or any other missile like it can go that high." One would think that on so sensitive and contentious a point, Clarke would have made an effort to get the altitude of TWA 800 right or even consistently wrong. He does neither. In his scarily sloppy book, the boastful Clarke finesses credit for the zoom-climb and, in a stunning revelation, seizes full credit for deducing the exploding fuel tank part of that scenario even before the NTSB did.

Clarke, however, has had a hard time keeping his story straight. In an earlier New Yorker article on O'Neill soon after Sept. 11, Clarke tells reporter Lawrence Wright that it was O'Neill who insisted that TWA Flight 800 was out of the range of the Stinger, and O'Neill who believed that the "ascending flare" that the witnesses saw must have been something else, like "the ignition of leaking fuel from the aircraft."

Weiss likewise gives all credit to O'Neill for the zoom-climb scenario, thinking that it is indeed "credit" O'Neill deserves. Weiss contends that O'Neill not only conceived the zoom-climb scenario, but that he also "persuaded the CIA to do a video simulation of his scenario." Under an eight-panel recreation of the zoom-climb in the photo section of his book, Weiss writes that O'Neill used the CIA video simulation "to quash any fears that the disaster was a terrorist event." This last point is tellingly true.

Clarke and O'Neill have not been the only two agents angling for credit. The best-documented claim, in fact, comes from "CIA Analyst 1" during his April 1999 grilling by a few honest, rank-and-file NTSB investigators. As the CIA analyst relates, the zoom-climb insight came to him like an epiphany. He traced the moment of awareness to the precise hour of 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, 1996.

Said the analyst, "There was a realization, having all the data laid out in front of me, that you can explain what the eyewitnesses are seeing with only the burning aircraft." The analyst came to his startling conclusion after reviewing only about 12 percent of the interview statements. The CIA did no interviews of its own.

What puzzled the NTSB guys was just how many eyewitnesses actually saw a plane with a ruptured center fuel tank rocketing upward with burning fuel spewing behind it (especially with the center fuel tank being essentially empty at take-off). The CIA cited only 21 witnesses. But as the questioning of CIA Analyst 1 wore on, it became clear there were fewer still. An NTSB investigator finally sighed in frustration, "If it's only one or two of [the eyewitnesses], it's not representative of all of them."

Analyst 1 then pulled out his trump card, his key witness, the man who had seen everything: "That [zoom-climb] is something that a few eyewitnesses saw. The guy on the bridge saw that." As we have documented on these pages before, the man on the bridge saw no such thing. The CIA or the FBI (or both or Richard Clarke) manufactured an interview with this man, Mike Wire of Philadelphia, out of whole cloth. Wire's "second interview" is the most crucial bit of evidence in the entire investigation, the evidence around which the zoom-climb scenario was created, and it's fully and provably counterfeit.

Whether Clarke or O'Neill or the CIA analyst were responsible for the zoom-climb scenario individually or together is not relevant to technicians like Ray Lahr. Nor has he focused on how an FBI middle manager like O'Neill could have breached the historic wall between the two agencies and enlisted the CIA in a project that would take at least 11 months from conception to execution. No, what most troubles Lahr is how three men with no discernible aviation or engineering experience could possibly have used any science whatsoever to arrive at such critical conclusions.

The truth of the matter proves elusive. The CIA analyst lied shamelessly in his testimony. Richard Clarke lies shamelessly throughout his book. The jury is still out on O'Neill, but the evidence is not encouraging. As Weiss well documents, O'Neill maintained a wife and two children in New Jersey and simultaneously cajoled at least three women in three different cities into thinking that he was going to marry them. What is more, despite maintaining two households, O'Neill somehow managed to live extravagantly on a government salary. In an otherwise flattering profile, Weiss concedes of O'Neill, "He always seemed to be lying about some aspect of his life."

Whether O'Neill helped conceal the demise of TWA Flight 800 remains unclear. Although Weiss attributes both the zoom-climb scenario and the final TWA 800 report to O'Neill, no reporter made this connection while he was alive. In her book on the crash investigation, "Deadly Departure," CNN reporter Christine Negroni does not even mention O'Neill. In her FBI-friendly book, "In The Blink of an Eye," AP reporter Pat Milton pays O'Neill little heed, but she does reveal that upon hearing the news of the crash, John O'Neill's first call went to none other than Richard Clarke, and it is O'Neill, Clarke's best friend in the FBI, who plays the role of tragic hero in "Against All Enemies."

Ray Lahr will leave it to other courts to establish who was the architect of the greatest peacetime deception in American history. His interest is the zoom-climb scenario itself, according to Weiss, "the most significant part" of the final case-closing FBI presentation.

"A little basic physics," adds Weiss naively, "helped explain what witnesses saw and heard in the summer skies off Long Island." Lahr is hoping that the federal courts will finally force the NTSB and CIA to explain finally what those "little basic physics" are.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: clarke; clarketreason; clarkeweasel; concpiracy; conspiracy; klintonkommies; richardclarke; treason; twa800; twaflight800
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To: JohnHuang2

This is an important story. It is consistent with other known information regarding spill patterns showing the cockpit separated before the center fuel tank blew, how people died with necks broken in the same direction, positive missile fuel residue tests, Iranian terrorist claims of responsibility, secret storage of key aircraft salvage, removal of whistleblower protections from naval rescue squads by Clinton's executive order, prosecution of dissenters, press complicity in a reelection year, etc. This glove fits.

21 posted on 07/16/2004 5:39:22 AM PDT by OESY
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To: Red Badger
Michael Moore is working on a powerful documentary about this -- trust me!


22 posted on 07/16/2004 5:39:32 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2

My question about all this is stuff is this: Can a stinger missile reach 13,500 feet? or even 18,000 feet?

23 posted on 07/16/2004 5:40:12 AM PDT by pctech
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To: JohnHuang2

Where is Michael Rivero when we really need him?

24 posted on 07/16/2004 5:43:47 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: JohnHuang2
Any credible article on this topic wouldn't rely on this lie...

"Its agents did so to negate the stubborn testimony of the hundreds of eyewitnesses who had sworn they saw a flaming, smoke-trailing, zigzagging object destroy TWA Flight 800."

...for support. That is, unless someone can find evidence that "hundreds" of eyewitnesses ever said any such thing. To date, that has NEVER happened.

25 posted on 07/16/2004 5:44:27 AM PDT by Rokke
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To: JohnHuang2

Good morning to you, my ever vigilant Freeper!

26 posted on 07/16/2004 5:47:37 AM PDT by G.Mason (A war mongering, red white and blue, military industrial complex, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
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To: Rokke

Where would those "hundreds of witnesses" have been ? I thought the TWA 800 happened over the ocean ?

27 posted on 07/16/2004 5:48:06 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: muawiyah
re: "accidental shootdown of an airliner leaving Iran"

This was not an accidental shoot down. The crew of the navy ship that fired on the aircraft intended to bring it down and was very accurate and efficient in the accomplishment of that mission. The airliner refused to identify itself, would not activate it IFF system, flew directly at the navy ship at a higher than normal rate of speed and did so at at time when several surface vessels were harassing the ship. The crew of the ship had but a minute or so to make a decision as to the intentions of the approaching aircraft. Remember, they had no visual contact with the target, just a radar contact that was displaying many, if not all, of the aspects observed when an attack is in progress. As I recall the Iranians had steadfastly refused to have that airline flight leave at its designated time and often flew off course just to fly directly at warships in the area. I remember at the time how frustrating it was that the crew of the aircraft did almost everything they could to present a hostile profile to an American warship and then Iran bitched and moaned when the ship responded in a very appropriate manner. I know that you did not intend to imply that the airliner was innocent of any wrongdoing and was accidentally downed by trigger-happy Americans, but anytime this incident is mentioned I like to remind those who might have missed it originally that the guided mussel frigate was responding to what it thought was an attack by enemy forces. Thanks for reminding me of this unfortunate event. Also remember, our ships were in that area because Iran was trying to block the shipment of oil from the mideast by blockading the straits through which every oil-laden ship had to pass. An oil tanker sunken in that narrow area would have stopped all oil from being shipped out of the area. Remember all the mines they laid in the channel, and the number of times their miniature gun boats fired on unarmed oil tankers?
28 posted on 07/16/2004 5:49:57 AM PDT by jwpjr
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To: JohnHuang2

Two strong reasons why this incident was not an attack by some terrorist group:
1) No one took "credit" for it, which a terrorist group would certainly do to maximize the terror effect.
2) It hasn't been repeated.

These reasons alone, of course, do not rule out some other explanation such as a military accident or an attack by someone else with criminal intent, such as eliminating a specific person on the plane, although that would seem to be a highly difficult and improbable way to get rid of someone.

29 posted on 07/16/2004 5:54:49 AM PDT by Ken in Denver
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To: JohnHuang2
Michael Moore is working on a powerful documentary about this -- trust me!

Just as soon as he finds the "It's Bushs' fault" angle, he'll get right on it.

30 posted on 07/16/2004 5:55:07 AM PDT by NeonKnight
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To: Red Badger
"Has there ever been a "real documentary" done on this horrible event?"

I saw a two hour program on one of the educational channels a couple of years ago that went into GREAT detail showing why the conclusion was reached that it was an explosion in the center fuel tank. They took you inside the reconstructed tank and showed how it bulged outward and forward and even showed where it had made contact with some of the structural members of the aircraft just forward of the tank itself. All in all it was a compelling presentation that certainly seemed to support the exploding fuel tank explanation. The only thing lacking was an absolute cause for the ignition in the first place. They showed several possible scenarios that would have explained it, but could not say for certain which one might have done it. That having been said, let me hasten to say that I STILL think it was deliberate, either a bomb planted in the fuel tank or a missile. All they really proved was that the tank exploded, that could easily have happened after a missile strike or as the result of a bomb inside the tank.
31 posted on 07/16/2004 5:57:19 AM PDT by jwpjr
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To: Vigilantcitizen
The olympic park bombing can be added to that list.

Did anyone every claim responsibility?

32 posted on 07/16/2004 5:58:30 AM PDT by Half Vast Conspiracy (If the Rapture is coming, should I insist on a non-Christian pilot?)
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To: 1rudeboy

Ah, his memory lives on.

33 posted on 07/16/2004 5:59:07 AM PDT by Half Vast Conspiracy (If the Rapture is coming, should I insist on a non-Christian pilot?)
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To: Rokke
I remember news interviews with several people the night of the crash saying they had seen something climbing toward the aircraft and then an explosion when the object reached it. This was in that time period when the news people were desperate for anything to fill the air time and no one would have had an opportunity to change their stories a lot.
34 posted on 07/16/2004 6:00:02 AM PDT by jwpjr
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To: pctech

>>My question about all this is stuff is this: Can a stinger missile reach 13,500 feet? or even 18,000 feet?

My take is "probably" to "maybe, likely marginal" over that range.

From here:

Advertized range is 1-8 km (3000-25,000 ft), and height is 10,000 feet.

I would expect that actual performance is likely better than advertized performance.

35 posted on 07/16/2004 6:00:26 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (hoplophobia is a mental aberration rather than a mere attitude)
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To: Atlantic Friend

Many of them were in boats near the crash site. It was only about 15 miles offshore as I recall, certainly close enough to see an aircraft the size of a 747.

36 posted on 07/16/2004 6:02:03 AM PDT by jwpjr
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To: Half Vast Conspiracy
Did anyone every claim responsibility?

If they did, would we be told?

37 posted on 07/16/2004 6:02:04 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen
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To: JohnHuang2

If Bill Xlinton had not covered up the fact that a terrorist missile took out TWA Flight 800 the war on terror would have started five years before 9/11, meaning 9/11 never would have occurred.

38 posted on 07/16/2004 6:05:13 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: Atlantic Friend

This event happened very close to Long Island.

39 posted on 07/16/2004 6:05:27 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (hoplophobia is a mental aberration rather than a mere attitude)
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To: jwpjr

I thought the original theory of bundled high voltage wires arcing inside the fuel tank was bogus from the get-go. I'm no expert, and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but, there would probably not been enough oxygen inside the tank to sustain an explosion. Jet fuel, I believe, is primarily kerosene, not gasoline....

40 posted on 07/16/2004 6:10:20 AM PDT by Red Badger
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