Skip to comments.MSNBC and the missing videotape: Jack Cashill examines network's role in TWA Flight 800 cover-up
Posted on 02/15/2005 1:19:18 AM PST by JohnHuang2
On April 20, 2001, a Peruvian military jet pilot confused a small plane carrying missionaries for one carrying drug runners and shot it down. In the last two weeks, MSNBC has been leading the charge to bring this case to closure.
Its on-air personnel Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough in particular have been asking hard questions about why no charges have been brought against CIA agents who may have lied about the nature of this crash. The MSNBC website invites citizens to communicate their concerns about this presumed cover-up through MSNBC to the U.S. government.
This would be all well and good were it not for the likely role that MSNBC played in the cover-up of TWA Flight 800. On July 18, 1996, about 12 hours after TWA Flight 800 exploded off the coast of Long Island, a military officer off the record told a very tired Fox News senior reporter that "a major screw-up" had occurred and that the "White House" had ordered the military to "stand down" for 48 hours until policy decisions were reached.
This did not surprise the Fox journalist. For hours the previous evening, Fox News had reportedly been involved in a bidding war for an amateur video tape of the 747 being destroyed by what appeared to be missile fire. When the electronic bidding war reached $50,000, Fox was eliminated from the process.
The high bidder seems to have been NBC and/or its new sister network, MSNBC. This makes market sense in that MSNBC had been launched just two days prior, and the publicity would have been well worth the cost. Still, I say "seems" because my sources here will not speak on record, nor will MSNBC follow up on queries. Here is exactly what I know, no more, no less.
In the summer of 2001, my partner James Sanders, and I were negotiating with Broadcast Network News (BNN) the world's largest independent news producer to distribute our documentary on the subject of TWA Flight 800, "Silenced." These were serious negotiations. The person with whom we were communicating was BNN's chief executive officer, Steve Rosenbaum.
One day that summer, Rosenbaum called me in a state of high excitement. "Jack," he said, "you will not believe the conversation I just had." Although Rosenbaum thought our video had market potential, he was not at all convinced of our thesis, namely that missiles had been fired at TWA Flight 800. The conversation in question eliminated just about all doubt.
As Rosenbaum explained, he had been interviewing a candidate for a position as BNN's technical director at a rooftop cafe when an airplane passed overhead. The conversation moved naturally to airplanes and then, with Rosenbaum taking the lead, to TWA Flight 800.
"I've seen the video," said the candidate, who had until recently been working at MSNBC.
"You mean 'Silenced'?" said Rosenbaum, a little surprised.
"No," the candidate answered, "the video, the actual video of the plane being shot down."
As the candidate told Rosenbaum, late on the night of the crash, editors at MSNBC had the tape on their monitors when "three men in suits" came to their editing suites, removed the tape, and threatened the editors with serious consequences if they ever revealed its contents.
The threats worked all too well. Despite my repeated requests, Rosenbaum could not get the technical director, whom he hired, to go on record. Over the years, I have asked various producers at MSNBC to follow up, but if they did, they kept what they learned to themselves.
Earlier in his research, Sanders had been approached by a technician at another station who had monitoring the competition's feeds from Long Island and made a bootleg copy of that same amateur video. What is more, he withheld a copy from the FBI when its agents came to confiscate whatever relevant tapes his station might have. Despite a series of phone calls, Sanders could not persuade the technician to hand over the tape. His fear was palpable enough, however, to convince Sanders that he was telling the truth.
Although I have not seen the video myself, I have heard from scores, if not hundreds, of credible people who swear they saw it on television in the first hours after the crash. That at least one among the hundreds of eyewitnesses would have had a video camera handy during a beautiful summer sunset evening makes perfect sense. The FBI admits to having confiscated two still photos and predictably writes off the images to dirt or scratches on the lens. A video would have been much harder to dismiss.
Nelson DeMille has obviously heard these stories as well and perhaps more. In his best-selling novel, "Night Falls," a confiscated amateur video drives the plot. Although he spices the video up a bit in the retelling, DeMille is not just spinning fantasy. His insider details have the ring of authenticity about them.
What makes the MSNBC involvement all the more ironic is that the CIA was responsible for producing the 15-minute animated video used successfully to discredit the eyewitness testimony. If the MSNBC producers are interested in exposing not just a routine CIA cover-up, but the most consequential cover-up in American history, my fellow investigators and I will be happy to lead them right to the source.
There is admittedly much we still do not know about the explosion of TWA Flight 800, but we know enough about the CIA cover-up to bring indictments. Before turning on the CIA, however, MSNBC might want to look inward. The CIA at least had the excuse of national security. If MSNBC had reasons for betraying its journalistic ethics, I am not sure I know what they are. Indeed, had its new executives stuck to their guns that night, they might very well have prevented Sept. 11.
Apparently their journalistic ethics may have been trumped by the liberal ethics to protect a Democrat President's re-election chances...
I need a better explanation of:
"Despite a series of phone calls, Sanders could not persuade the technician to hand over the tape. His fear was palpable enough, however, to convince Sanders that he was telling the truth."
The video only needs be made public and then the technician has nothing to fear. He is only in danger if he keeps it quiet while keeping the tape. That's why this claim makes little sense in this article.
Bump for later this morning; back to sleep, cats are fed.
Generally, I would agree with you. I threaten to kill you if you expose it and you name names, you might be safe. However, if I mention your pretty bride and little girl and your dog by name, you may not be as forthcoming. Especially if you believe that those threatening you have the means to make it happen and look unrelated and coincidental.
If any of you are looking for a great political thriller, Jack Cashill has written it. It is called:
2006: The Chautauqua Rising
For more info, go here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0967235715/103-9483700-2527036
When I got to about page 30, I couldn't put the book down. It's fiction and Algore is in his second term as president. Lots of twists and turns and suspense. Everyone that I know who read it, loved it.
By George, I think you've got it!
There has been hideousness for centuries on the part of even the best governments.
However, during Dillbo and Shrillery's reign, new lows were reached in the land of the fadingly free.
Jack Cashill ping! A snapshot of the media's role in the sticky web of government coverups.
Not if the video holder feels differently from his perspective regarding his and his family's welfare.
Logic may not play near as much into it as fear.
And, there are forces who are quite happy to exact retribution regardless of whether the tape is in the public domain or not.
Easier said than done. Ever had the FBI on your ass? Ever had them slander you in front of your employer, your landlord? Trust me, it's not that easy.
And yes, I saw the video, so did how many others on the night FL800 went down. It was shown constantly on TV until 11:30 pm, then mysteriously disappeared. The missile flew right over a lady in a tacky cocktail gown.
Was the missile launched from the grassy knoll?
I was in the states when this happened. I had to get on a flight a week after. I just knew someting was dodgy about TWA 800. It was fishy just like OKC bombing.
If you come out publicly with the tape and said you and your family are being threatened nothing much can happen. If it did there'd be investigations up the yeng-yang digging under every dark corner of the government. The last thing the FBI or CIA want...
Once it is out, there is nothing further gained by going after him.
Also, absolutely nothing prevents him from making copies and dropping them off at various news organizations anonymously.
BTW, I think I saw the video as well if its the one with streaks of light rising in the distance.
That does not surprise me in the least. That is BILL CLINTON'S MO! Clinton was THE PERSON most helped by covering up TWA 800.
The 'bombing' of TWA Flight 800
By Reed Irvine
© 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
Over five years have passed since the crash of TWA Flight 800 killed 230 people, and now, at long last, two former high-ranking government officials speaking on television have implicitly disavowed the claim that a fuel-tank explosion caused the destruction of that airplane.
The government's $40 million investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 ended up with the National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and the CIA all agreeing that an explosion in the center-wing fuel tank caused it to crash. They said that after the explosion broke off the entire front end of the plane, its tail dropped and it shot up like a rocket, trailing burning fuel behind it. They said that was what hundreds of eyewitnesses saw, mistaking it for a missile. The CIA actually produced a video showing the huge noseless jet ascending like a rocket, an aeronautical impossibility.
They got away with it because our establishment media in the Clinton era had the bad habit of believing nearly everything government agencies told them, even if it was patently ridiculous. But now, a former White House official, George Stephanopoulos, who was a senior adviser to President Clinton, has made a statement on television that indicates that the claim that a fuel-tank explosion caused the TWA 800 crash was false. On September 11, the unforgettable day of disaster, Stephanopoulos, who is now an ABC News correspondent, was talking to ABC's Peter Jennings on camera about President Bush being flown to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and taken to the situation room on the base where he could keep in touch with Washington by teleconferencing.
Stephanopoulos, implying that this was unnecessary, made this surprising statement: "There are facilities in the White House, not the normal situation room, which everyone has seen in the past, has seen pictures of. There is a second situation room, behind the primary situation room, which has video conferencing capabilities. The director of the Pentagon, the defense chief, can speak from a national military command center at the Pentagon. The Secretary of State can speak from the State Department, the president from wherever he is, and they'll have this capability for video conferencing throughout this crisis. In my time at the White House it was used in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, in the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 bombing, and that would be the way they would stay in contact through the afternoon."
The TWA Flight 800 bombing?
The problem now is that it is now known that there is a bootleg copy in someone's possession. The powers that be won't need an Einstein to narrow down the possibilities. His best hope is coming forward.
I quite agree.
I just understand his fear neutering his logic etc. Quite a human phenomenon.
Someone could go ask GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS!!!
There had to be something special about the TWA 800 crash to justify holding a meeting in the White House situation room to discuss it. That surely is not done every time one of our planes crashes. Stephanopoulos said that it was held in the "aftermath of the bombing," but the precise date and time are important.
In his book, "The Downing of TWA Flight 800," James Sanders says that there was a meeting in the White House situation room on the night of July 17, 1996, that began before the crash. Sanders says that he was told by a confidential source that high officials gathered there to watch in real time a video transmission of a Navy demonstration of its ability to shoot down a missile off the shore of Long Island. They were horrified when something went wrong and they saw the missile shoot down TWA Flight 800. What Stephanopoulos should tell us is whether the meeting he described began before or after the plane crashed. If he won't reveal that, the White House should.
The fuel-tank theory of the crash was also disavowed by James Kallstrom, who headed the FBI investigation. He said on CNN on September 11 that the attack that day was "the first act of terrorism in the U.S. since TWA 800." He has yet to explain when he discovered that TWA 800 was brought down by terrorists.
This is pretty standard operating procedure for conspiracy theories. Men in black, etc.
Posts like yours here are what makes FR and the Internet so great: instant peer review. Cashill has always struck me as being more interesting in profiting from TWA 800 (&c.) than getting to the bottom of it.
Clinton had buddies in the CIA going back to his college days, no doubt.
<< Was the missile launched from the grassy knoll? >>
Of course it was.
The loss of the Boeing B-747 which operated as Trans World Airline Flight TW-800 JFK-CDG on On July 18 1996 was caused by a walked-on terrorist bomb.
There was coverup and it was master-minded within the Cli'ton/Gore administration, overseen by Gore and effected by the FBI, FAA and NTSB.
There was no missile and the fact one is being talked about nine years after the atrocity of that day speaks only to the efficacy of the mis-and-dis-information-manipulated cover-up -- for which the Cli'ton Gang was well compensated -- and because of which responsibility for the even-worse atrocities of September 11 2001 sheets home to the Cli'ton Gang and to the airlines that -- to save the money and incovenience they would have incurred in bringing security up to standard -- paid them off.
There sure are a lot of unanswered questions out there regarding TWA 800. Assuming there is more to the story, WHY hasn't it been revealed, either at the time or with the change in administration.
Consider the explanations:
1) U.S. military shot it down - If this is revealed, what is the result? Horrible accident, very sorry, compensation, new safeguards, etc.
2) Terrorists shot it down or bombed it - Sorry we didn't reveal this because of National Security, didn't want a panic or cancellation of Olympics, etc. - If revealed now, the result: You see the terrorists were at work even then, we need to stop them, etc. Yes there would be political ramifications for not revealing this, and blame for not doing more to prevent 911, but that administration is gone.
Even if the reason for the Clinton administration cover-up was to cover up the cover-up, why did the Bush administration not reveal what it found out on taking office? So it could further advance a cover-up?
So right now, unless more real evidence, such as the video in question, comes out, the most reasonable explanation is the official one - accident. But you gotta keep digging.
Do you have a source for this? It's not on the transcript I've seen; and David MacLaine whose words are recorded on that transcript never told me about the words you quote. (MacClaine was flying opposite direction traffic at 15,000 and saw TWA 800 explode from a distance of about ten miles. I've spoken to him on several occasions about TWA 800, once for more than an hour. He did, in fact, quote words he said that night to ATC, before there was any public release of the tape or transcript so I suspect it might have come up. ) I think your quote is bogus.
In case you are not aware of my own thoughts about TWA 800, you might read TWA 800 "It wasn't terrorists. It couldn't have been."
On Sept. 20, one mainstream newspaper released the story of how the so-called Gore Commission failed conspicuously to address airline safety. The paper claimed that this failure "represents the clearest recent public example of the success that airlines have long had in defeating calls for more oversight."
The paper traced that failure to a series of campaign donations from the airlines to the Democratic National Committee in 1996 in the wake of the crash of TWA Flight 800, donations likely solicited by Al Gore himself. That newspaper just happened to be John Kerry's hometown Boston Globe.
Yes, Clinton and Gore did abandon airport security planning for sake of campaign cash. But worse, they concealed the real cause of the crash, in no small part to justify that abandonment.
In fact, on the same day in September of 1996 that Al Gore sent the airline's lobbyist a letter signaling his intent to roll over, the National Transportation Safety Board reversed its spin and all but ruled out a bomb or missile strike [on TWA 800].
In our book, "First Strike," James Sanders and I make this arguably prophetic comment:
John Kerry seemed to have his sights on Al Gore's Achilles' heel. After the events of Sept. 11, the story of how Al Gore helped subvert the investigation into TWA 800 and undermine airport security may yet prove to be a career-killer. Kerry's "slips" may have put Gore out of the race even before he got in.
Two weeks after advanced copies of "First Strike" started circulating around Washington, Gore withdrew from the presidential race. His withdrawal shocked Washington. It did not shock Sanders and me. We expected it. Kerry plays hardball, too.
To ask this question shows you do not know how Washington works. You first lesson is that it is not about party.
Thanks for the ping!
I remember a picture of what appeared to be a missile going up, but never a video. The missile was in the background of a picutre of a few people having cocktails on the beach.
Kallstrom who headed up the FBI investigation of TWA Flt. 800 initially approached it as an act of sabotage. He was summoned to Washington for consultation and subsequently began pushing the exploding center fuel tank theory. To my knowledge that is still the theory he stands by today.
Bush hasn't even admitted that the Clintonistas took all the W's off the computer keyboards. And you want him to spill the beans on TWA 800? Fat chance!
Why do the crash re-assemble photos have numerous windows in the upper deck and photos taken a month before only have three windows in the upper deck?
Ping for later.
I dont buy the missile theory at it would be too hard to cover up. However a shoe bomber over the center fuel tank would explain a lot of things and only a small number of people would has access to the information.
If so, wouldn't the explosion have caused the outer shell of the plane to rip OUTWARDS?
If so, how did a carryon suicide bomber get hundreds of people to see a missile's fiery trail?
If so, how did a carryon suicide bomber get a helicopter pilot and jet airliner pilots to see a missile track and hit the TWA800?
So, are you saying it was an accident caused by the CWT explosion?
It was a test of the patriot II. The plane was off course a little, and was a brighter target than the drone which was the intended target. Coverup was necessary to avoid bringing down one of the largest defense contactors. Actually, I'm glad for the coverup and I'm glad no one will take my post seriously.