Skip to comments.TWA 800's 'Deep Throat' - (FBI, liberal media conspired in TWA 800 cover-up; Clinton wanted closure)
Posted on 06/07/2005 5:04:39 PM PDT by CHARLITE
One has to marvel at how fully and conspicuously situational is the media's affection for whistleblowing. To blow the whistle on a Republican makes one a hero. Witness the legendary "Deep Throat" or Richard Clarke or the Enron whistleblowers.
To blow the whistle on a Democrat particularly, a Clinton makes one a pariah. Witness the treatment of Linda Tripp or Kathleen Willey or Paula Jones or the Arkansas State Troopers or the pathologists who pointed out the inconvenient hole in Ron Brown's head and paid for it with their careers.
Witness, too, the treatment of two lesser-known whistleblowers of that era, Capt. Terrell Stacey and Elizabeth Sanders.
A senior manager at TWA in 1996, Stacey had flown the 747 that would become TWA Flight 800 from Paris to New York the night before it exploded. In fact, he was in charge of all TWA 747 pilot activity within the airline. So it was logical that he would be among the first TWA employees assigned to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation.
Elizabeth Sanders had come to know Stacey through her years as a flight attendant and trainer for TWA. She thought of him as "a straight arrow, go-by-the-rules kind of guy" and respected him for it. Flight 800 would bind their fates in ways neither could have anticipated.
Fifty-three TWA crew members were killed in the explosion, and Sanders had trained several of them. Sanders, Stacey and the other TWA employees found themselves at one memorial service after another. The feeling among the TWA family then as now was that a missile had brought down the plane. As the official investigation sputtered, the frustration among them grew.
Elizabeth's reporter husband, James Sanders, could not help but to pick up the vibes. Aware of the dissatisfaction within the TWA community, Sanders sought out a few good sources within the investigation on Long Island. The best of them proved to be Terrell Stacey. For discretion's sake, Sanders would refer to him only as "hangar man."
After a phone introduction arranged by Elizabeth, James Sanders and Terrell Stacey agreed to meet. "What he told me over those first hours," relates Sanders, "was one thing: 'I know there's a cover-up in progress.'"
A few weeks after this first meeting, Sanders and Stacey met a second time. On this occasion, Stacey turned over an NTSB computer printout of the debris field. Sanders computerized what appeared to be key pieces and soon noticed a pattern. The very first damage to the plane centered on rows 17-19 with a general right-to-left bias.
At the next meeting, Stacey revealed for the first time the existence of a reddish-orange trail across the cabin interior of the plane in the same area of the passenger cabin, rows 17-19. The residue was on the foam-rubber seat-cushion backing attached to the metal frame. He claimed the FBI had taken several samples in late August, but refused to share the test results and ignored requests by his NTSB team for the same. In September 1996, the residue had become a hot topic among the investigators.
At a face-to-face meeting in November 1996, Sanders and Stacey agreed that without forensic testing there was no way to know the source of the residue. As Stacey observed, however, the residue appeared to have flakes on the surface. These could probably be coaxed into a plastic bag with very little help.
Unable to scrape off the flakes, Stacey cut out two small samples of foam rubber and sent them to Sanders in January 1997. Sanders made arrangements with West Coast Analytical Services, a commercial laboratory in the Los Angeles area, to determine what elements were found in the reddish-orange residue. They proved to be consistent with those found in the exhaust residue of a solid-fuel missile.
By early March 1997, a decision was made to publish a series of newspaper articles describing Sanders' findings. "New Data Show Missile May Have Nailed TWA 800," screamed the one-inch, front-page headline across the top of the Riverside Press-Enterprise on March 10, 1997.
The Press-Enterprise reporters had interviewed the FBI three days prior. Until the article appeared, however, they could not respond. They did not know the extent of the damage they would have to control. Evidence suggests, however, that they had a plan of action prepared in case the information about the residue trail escaped from the hangar.
On the same morning as the article appeared, March 10, Clinton operatives started gradually and anonymously leaking word that the residue was nothing more than glue. They offered no back up, but the major media had long since ceased to ask for any. The media began to report that the missile theory had once again been shot down.
One network, however, held promise for Sanders. It was CBS. Sanders had granted an exclusive interview to Emmy Award-winning producer Kristina Borjesson. After the interview had been videotaped, however, Borjesson grew alarmed when she realized no one on the Evening News was editing the piece. Frustrated, she walked into a morning meeting of news executives and asked why the network wasn't doing the story on Sanders and his documents.
"You think it's a missile, don't you?" queried an executive she didn't recognize.
"I don't know what the hell it is," Borjesson shot back, "but don't you think we should be doing a story that asks a few questions about this guy and his documents?" The silence that followed was, as Borjesson admits, "deafening." When she had walked in to the room, she honestly believed she was about to correct an oversight at a level where it could be corrected quickly. "I walked out of there," said Borjesson, "feeling like I'd cooked my own goose."
Although CBS News had no interest in the sample, "60 Minutes" did. Borjesson warned Senior Producer Josh Howard that a federal grand jury had been convened to deal with legal issues around the TWA 800 investigation, but Howard wasn't put off. "We've dealt with grand juries before," he told her. Borjesson was elated. In the world of news, she told him, "60 Minutes" was the "last broadcast with balls." Borjesson put a sample that Sanders had sent so CBS could do its own independent testing in Howard's desk for safekeeping until she could locate a lab.
A few days later Borjesson got a call from her executive producer. The FBI wanted to talk to her "about some stolen evidence." As she learned, management had meekly handed over the untested sample to the FBI "where it disappeared forever."
Despite the CBS rollover, the government suspected that investigative reporter James Sanders had additional residue scraped from the seatbacks of TWA Flight 800. As soon as its agents fixed onto an alternate explanation, he could produce a second or third sample for testing, possibly publicly.
Almost immediately, Justice Department officials zeroed in on what they sensed was Sanders' Achilles heel, his wife Elizabeth. The Justice Department found its rationale on page A-12 of the Press-Enterprise story where Elizabeth Sanders was mentioned by name. In fact, James Sanders had had no real choice but to mention her. Elizabeth was a TWA employee and the wife of the journalist. Disclosure was mandatory.
In April 1997, James Sanders and his attorney met with the Justice Department, represented by Valerie Caproni, chief of the New York Justice Department Criminal Division. Caproni now chief counsel for the FBI was the same attorney who muscled the NTSB out of the witness interviews in its first few days. Arguably, she was a participant in the subversion of the investigation, and here she was prosecuting those who would expose that subversion. At the meeting, Caproni laid down her nuclear option: Unless he gave up "Hangar Man," his own "Deep Throat," the government would indict Elizabeth Sanders as well.
The Justice Department underestimated Elizabeth Sanders. Although confused and disheartened by the FBI's harassment of her, she advised the government though counsel that she declined to cooperate in its investigation of her husband's journalistic pursuits. Regardless of the cost, she cold not even conceive of betraying his source and her friend, Terrell Stacey "Hangar Man."
To escape her pursuers, Elizabeth Sanders had to take leave from TWA and avoid her home or anywhere else the FBI agents might find her. For eight unnerving months in 1997, she found refuge with a friend in a lonely house trailer in the Northwest semi-wilderness. She was cut off from her career, her co-workers, her mother and sisters, her husband and her adolescent son. The experience threw her into a profound depression.
Despite the Sanders' silence, the FBI seized Sanders' phone records and found their way to Stacey. The agents' job was to intimidate, to create a feeling of terror and helplessness, to get Stacey to roll over before he regained his composure, before he developed the presence of mind to request an attorney.
Stacey knew that if he, too, chose not to cooperate, it would cost him significant legal fees and quite likely his job. He instantly faced a weighty decision. How long could he keep his daughter in college? How long could he make the monthly payments on his beautiful home? How long could he continue the lease payments on his three cars? How long could he pay for a defense team capable of opposing the awesome power of the Justice Department? The only alternative was to cooperate. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of stealing airplane parts from a crash scene.
The Sanders were not charged with theft. They were charged with conspiracy, aiding and abetting a source to obtain parts of an airplane, namely "residue." Their motive was transparently not to steal these parts, but to test evidence evidence of potential federal lawlessness.
The major media, however, found it comfortable to report the Sanders' transgression as theft. The New York Times would later note without a hint of irony or outrage that "the Sanderses were charged under a federal law enacted in 1996 after a truck driver in Florida was accused of taking a piece of the wreckage of the May 1996 Valujet crash as a souvenir." In fact, the law had been enacted in the 1960s to discourage souvenir hunters from carting away wreckage at a crash scene before authorities arrived. But the motive behind the act was, as described, to discourage scavengers. The Times also noted that the Sanders' attorney "tried yesterday to portray the matter as a free press issue," but the very word "tried" suggests the Times' lack of sympathy.
Newsday's online headline cut right to the chase: "Missile theorist, wife and pilot accused of stealing." Through this selective misinformation, the FBI was turning the potential Long Island jury pool against the Sanders.
It stunned the Sanders that none among the media managed to frame even one First Amendment question. When the Sanders' attorney attempted to bring this issue into focus, Newsday's Bob Kessler, began to argue the government's case. Another reporter asked the attorney why his client did not immediately return the residue and turn Stacey in to the FBI. James Sanders shook his head in disbelief.
Was it only a generation ago that the New York Times made Daniel Ellsberg a hero by publishing the purloined and fully classified "Pentagon Papers"? Or that the Washington Post had celebrated the daring-do of its own FBI source, the legendary "Deep Throat"?
"The day I was arrested was surreal," recalls Elizabeth Sanders. "It was something I would never thought could happen to an innocent, normal person in the United States." What made it all the worse was that the major media were celebrating her arrest. How times had changed, and how they would change again.
Editor's note: In his extraordinary new DVD documentary, "Mega Fix," Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jack Cashill traces the roots of Sept. 11 to the political exploitation of terror investigations by the Clinton White House in the desperate 1995-1996 election cycle. To arrange a showing in your city, contact Jack Cashill: email@example.com
The Bush Administration must Reopen the investigation to TWA 800.
Sorry, the FBI has more important work to do, like investigating the guards at GITMO.
Come to think of it, this moron would be right at home leading the United Nations of Thuggery!
Good luck ... however, it won't happen.
The Bush administration should gain control of the physical borders of the US.
Randy Weaver, Waco, OKC, TWA800, the Sanders...
I vote NO CONFIDENCE
If you want this kind of or any kind of pursecusion, elect Hitlery. And believe everyone is free game as far as she is concerned. If I were her so called friends; I would be looking over my shoulder. I suspect they do that already.
The FBI is still busy draining ponds and looking for the domestic terrorist who sent the anthrax in the mails.
If the downing of TWA 800 had been properly investigated, September 11 may have been prevented.
Using the CIA to explain how a plane that loses it's nose can defy the laws of physics, instead of a proper evaluation by flight dynamicists from NASA or the Air Force was the first big clue something was amiss.
And the proof of this is...?
Seriously, what proof is there that anyone related w/ the Clintons leaked that theory?
Look, I think now it was a missile too, and it should be opened. But that just won't happen.
"The Bush Administration must Reopen the investigation to TWA 800."
They're too afraid of the crtitcism they would get if they dissed Willie.
GWB should stop sticking the shiv in our sides so deeply.
The 'Toon had to cover up TWA 800, as if he didn't, Bob Dole would have very likely been elected president. I'm just surprised that so many corrupt federal employees rallied around The 'Toon to allow him to get away with it. I'm sure they were told it was in the interest of national security, but that so many bought into that BS amazes me.
Ridiculed Pierre Salinger too!
BINGO! The American people are but one thing to the clintons and the democrap political machine: cover fodder in votes, a means to take control never to relinquish it again, and that will involve oppression the likes of which America has never seen and from which the Republic will never recover. SinkEmperor ruled with a wet finger in the air; Hatellary shall rule with a bloody fist in the air.
If the downing of TWA 800 had been properly investigated, September 11 may have been prevented.
Can't get there in my thinking. What does the Navy shooting down a civilian jet got to do with terrorism? The solid rocket fuel most likely came from a radar guided missile (center of mass shot) not a heat seeker (engine shot). Terrorists would have used a shoulder launched unit (a man-pad) which are heat seekers. Besides, I think Slick Willie wanted to be a war president and would love to have had a target other than himself to focus on.
Bingo. Absolutely.....not to mention if the Clinton administration had investigated the terrorists who were behind OK City, and had been SERIOUS about the first WTC bombing............but, as everyone now knows, Billy was busy with other pressing matters.
Thank you for your excellent remarks.
She scares me a lot more than he did, in many ways. He's a joy boy, but she's deadly!
That's exactly why the gov. won't reopen the investigation.
This is one of the keys to why I won't be voting GOP anymore. I thought we'd see truth and justice step onto the stage with this admin, but as always, we got a dog and pony show, all dressed up in pretty little catch phrases du jour with just the right facial expressions at just the right time....No substance. No truth. No justice.
The revolution will be televised.
Not this $)(#$%^ again. As soon as someone finds a missile with a smokeless motor and no warhead that is designeed to hit its targets with a perpendicular flightpath I'll consider this something other than Jack Cashill's continued effort to mine cash from a tragedy.
Certainly there are too many unanswered questions regardinfg this. The presensence of a Navy P-3 aircraft and a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft. If one were to read the 2 US News and World Reports on this incident, they would find two completely different accounts of the story. Jim Kalstrom, is person that headed the FBI office and later retired to host a law enforcement show constantly swore that it was an malfunction with TWA 800.
"Not this $)(#$%^ again. As soon as someone finds a missile with a smokeless motor and no warhead that is designeed to hit its targets with a perpendicular flightpath I'll consider this something other than Jack Cashill's continued effort to mine cash from a tragedy."
I am confused by your statement and to what $)(#$%^ are your referring. If you are saying this could not have been a shoot down you are sadly mistaken. It appears to be a classic shoot down.
Based on what?
Based on how the aircraft was destroyed. To blame the fuel tank sensor was a rediculous ploy. That sensor has been used in thousands of aircraft prior to and after the incident with no problems what so ever. The eye witness accouts, the photo's, the aircraft flight path and the damage done are all indicative of a shoot down. This may have been something else, but it was not the fuel sensor and it does match a shoot down scenario. Reports also indicate that there was some Navy testing of an anti-aircraft system in the area that night (only reports and no proof on this but it makes me wonder).
What do you have to challenge this theory? I would be interested in hearing.
The Navy wasn't shooting at 800, they were shooting at a smaller light aircraft that was believed to be carying explosives, a plane-bomb if you will. 800 was unintended.
As I stated in post #30, there were 2 different accounts in the magazines. The first magazine had statements from the crew of the C-130 and that they were aware of the P-3 aircraft.
"800 was unintended"
Absolutely. I would agree with you in every way on that statement. I don't blame the Navy, accidents do happen.
I think that a "Harpoon" missile was mentioned.
For the record, I've got 15 years experience flying military fighters, I've been trained in accident investigations, I've witnessed numerous missile tests, been involved in several ordinance tests, been fired on by SAMs, am a certified flight engineer and a commercial pilot.
"How much experience do you have with shoot downs, aircraft mishaps, military ordinance tests, accident investigations or missiles"
I thought I was flushing out a selfrightous pilot. You have 15 years, and I have over 25. Just call me Colonel sonny. You are not the only one with any experience in these matters. I have also talked with s top engineer from Boeing on this subject who agrees with me that the fuel sensor could not have been the issue. As for the C-130 and the P-3 being in the area that means nothing to me as that is a busy area for air traffic.
Now back to my question. Do you have anything of substance to convince me to change my opinion?
Um hmmm. So why not just answer my questions. "How much experience do you have with shoot downs, aircraft mishaps, military ordinance tests, accident investigations or missiles" For all I know, you are an army nurse.
But since I'm just a self righteous pilot, why don't you read the investigation report from Boeing (or ALPA, or TWA). They found no evidence of anything resembling a bomb or missile involved in TWA 800's destruction. But frankly, I don't care whether that changes your opinion or not. If you believe the Navy shot down TWA 800, your opinion isn't worth much consideration.
"For all I know, you are an army nurse."
Nope, just a pilot like you. I have read the reports and found them lacking and with too many un-explained details (rocket fuel residue on the seats has always been an issue with me that was never properly explained). Also, the selfrightous comment is because you have not backed up anything with any facts. I wold like to change my opinion, it would make me feel better about things. I would really like to hear why you think something else happened and what do you think it was?
By the way what do you have against Army Nurses?
Oh yeah, why isn't my opinion worth much consideration? Is yours that much more valuable? If so why? If you are angry about my "self-rightous pilot" comment, I thought you would take it in the proper vein - all of us who wear the wings tend to fit that description.
Since you are a pilot, you should understand my initial argument with the theory presented in this article. If there was rocket fuel residue on aircraft seats than the following must be true 1. the rocket motor was still burning when the missile impacted the aircraft, 2. There is almost no evidence that describes the VERY noticeable and memorable smoke trail of every Navy SAM employed by our Navy and therefore the motor must have been smokeless. 3. The warhead did not function. 4. the missile must have struck the aircraft in an almost perpendicular flightpath. I repeat, show me a missile that meets those criteria, and all consider this article something other than Cashill's continued effort to line his wallet with money made from a tragedy.
You think the U.S. Navy shot down TWA 800 and successfully covered it up for almost 20 years. As a 25 year Colonel, you must have some familiarity with the military's ability to cover up an incident as significant as that. We can't even put panties on the heads of terrorists in a roach infested prison in a combat zone without creating the biggest news story in decades. As a 25 year Colonel you must be fully aware of how much the Clinton administration LOATHED the military. Do you really think they would help the Navy hide a mistake as big as shooting down a civilian airliner off the coast of Long Island?
With regard to the "self-righteous" comment...there was no indication from your post that you were including yourself in that description. You were more concerned with telling me you were a Colonel than what your experience was. I asked you some simple questions regarding your practical experience in matters such as "classic shoot downs". I provided mine. You still really haven't offered any.
"1. the rocket motor was still burning when the missile impacted the aircraft, 2. There is almost no evidence that describes the VERY noticeable and memorable smoke trail of every Navy SAM employed by our Navy and therefore the motor must have been smokeless. 3. The warhead did not function. 4. the missile must have struck the aircraft in an almost perpendicular flightpath."
First of all I am not following which ever person you are referring to. As for your issues: 1) Highly likely given range of missiles that could have been used and the altitude of the aircraft that the motor was still burning when it hit (even without that there would still be residue), 2) at night the smoke trail would not have been as noticable (but I concede this point more towards your argument - but not entirely), 3) The warhead did not malfuntion and since it worked as advertised it most likely was the cause of the center fuel tank explosion, 4) the perpendicular flight issue I fail to understand why you think it had to be near perpendicular, from the photo's and the eyewitness accounts the plane was struck from the bottom near center of mass with an object travelling at a high rate up speed upward - again very consistent with the path a radar guided missile would take if fired from a surface ship at an overhead target. Early reports did mention the solid rocket motor residue and then went quiet on that subject (if I remember right, some people changed at that time too)
Waited for your reply, but it is very late here on the east coast and us old guys cant stay up too late. I will look for your thoughts again tomorrow.
"As for the C-130 and the P-3 being in the area that means nothing to me as that is a busy area for air traffic. "
Since lived on Long Island for many years, P-3 traffic was extremely rare if ever. The Coast Guard operates a small base (not an airfield) on LI and their aircraft are routinely seen.
Jack Cashill is the author of this article and of several books on this topic. He makes his money writing books concerning various conspiracy theories.
With regard to your responses to my points...
1. If the rocket motor was still burning, it was smoking. Big time. Anyone who has witnessed a SAM launch knows that the smoke trail of a burning SAM is unmistakable, unforgettable, and far more prominent than even the flame from the rocket. Yet almost no evidence of that trail is described anywhere near TWA 800.
2. When TWA 800 went down it was still daylight.
3. SAM warheads are proximity or contact fuses. They are not designed to penetrate an aircraft and then explode. They are designed to explode just outside an aircraft to shower that aircraft with thousands of pieces of shrapnel to sever electrical, hydraulic and fuel lines. Not a single piece of evidence was found in TWA 800 to support that.
4. This article states the missile residue was found in rows 17-19. The aircraft was moving at roughly 350kias when it was hit. If the missile hit it in anything other than a perpendicular flight path, the "residue" would have been spread through the length of the fuselage. Not just two rows. If the missile hit the aircraft from the bottom, than it must have been fired from almost directly below it, because no SAM flies a profile that would cause it to intercept an aircraft from a vertical climb. If the missile had been fired from almost directly below, than everyone would have seen a large column of smoke connecting TWA 800 with the source of the missile launch. Nobody did.
Exactly what caused the destruction of TWA flight 800 will probably never be known.
The major question will always be: Why did the government feel that it must lie to the American public, about the crash of TWA flight 800?
AS always, BTTT