Corrupted Probe Continues to Reverberate: TWA 800 Ghosts Ground American Airlines


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© Jack Cashill
April 11, 2008 -
Ran in WND as "Corrupted Probe Continues to Reverberate"

Lurking behind the massive cancellation of flights due to faulty wiring is the explosion of TWA Flight 800 off New York's Long Island in July 1996 that killed all 230 people on board.

Although the plane in question was a Boeing 747, not an MD-80, the disaster, as the AP and other news sources have faithfully reported, “was blamed on fuel vapors ignited by wiring.”

USA Today, in fact, quotes Bernard Loeb, the National Transportation Safety Board honcho, as saying that fuel tank issues are "very serious matters."

Loeb should know. As head of the TWA Flight 800 investigation, he did everything in his power to show how one could blow.

In fact, however, in its effort to avoid the obvious missile strike, the NTSB never got beyond rank speculation as to the cause of the TWA Flight 800 disaster.

To make the “fuel vapors ignited by wiring” theory work, the NTSB needed to establish at least two critical points.

The first was that the fuel-air mixture in the center wing tank was sufficiently volatile that the least spark could set it off. The second was that the aircraft was capable of spontaneously generating that spark.

The theoretical spark itself would require two separate causes of its own—a break in the insulation of the wiring and a breakdown in the system that limits the strength of the current through those wires.

All these conditions were fully necessary to validate any mechanical theory for TWA Flight 800’s destruction.

As the investigation evolved, NTSB officials steered their efforts to the realm of what scientists call the “unfalsifiable,” the realm where theories can neither be proved nor disproved.

In early November 1996, Loeb told CBS's Ed Bradley that static electricity from a faulty Wiggins coupler most likely triggered the explosion. Loeb neglected to add that there was no evidence that any Wiggins coupler was faulty.

The FBI’s James Kallstrom was reportedly furious at this indiscretion, but NTSB Chairman Jim Hall reassured Kallstrom that the NTSB “has more leeway to speculate because we’re not bound by criminal legal standards.”

With or without the Wiggins coupler, static electricity stood as Loeb’s “pet theory.”

It remained so, as AP reporter Patricia Milton noted, until “scientists at Wright Patterson laboratories had proved unable to produce a single scenario under which static electricity could have caused a significant spark.”

After many fruitless experiments by outside labs, the NTSB contracted with Combustion Dynamics “to evaluate the consistency between the computer calculations of the full-scale CWT [center wing tank] combustion model and other information and evidence obtained during the investigation.”

The NTSB had hoped “that by conducting this evaluation ... it would be possible to narrow the number of probable ignition location(s) within the CWT.”

This hope was in vain. The NTSB had to concede defeat yet again: “Therefore, the rules-based analysis did not provide a definitive determination regarding the probability that any given location within the CWT was the ignition location.”

With all of its investigative hypotheses reduced to rubble, the NTSB chose to reconstruct the results itself in a way more to its liking:

"Finally, analysis of the results of computer modeling of combustion in a full-scale CWT under conditions simulating those of TWA flight 800 indicated that a localized ignition of the flammable vapor could have generated pressure levels that, based upon failure analysis, would cause the damages observed in the wreckage of the accident airplane’s CWT."

Note all the “coulds” and “woulds.” No outside scientific agency or person had made such a statement. In fact, all contracted testing and analysis ran counter to the NTSB speculation.

Even Patricia Milton, whose book on the crash--In the Blink of An Eye--read like an FBI defense brief, had to acknowledge that the CWT pieces retrieved and studied in one simulated explosion after another “bore no resemblance to those of Flight 800.”

She consoled herself, however, with the thought that the government was at least “proving negatives.”

By the year 2000, the NTSB had exhausted just about all possible scientific testing that might have reinforced its wiring and fuel vapor scenarios.

The scientific community had too much integrity to validate desperate theories either about fuel volatility or ignition sources. Accordingly, the NTSB ceased scientific inquiry along these lines.

From that point forward the board descended from modern science to old-fashioned alchemy and summed it all up in a fable worthy of Harry Potter, titled “Factors Suggesting the Likelihood that a Short-Circuit Event Occurred on TWA Flight 800.”

In this report, aimless speculation goes on and on and on to the point of absurdity, considering the NTSB’s acknowledgement that the computer modeling done by the two research laboratories—Sandia National Laboratory and Christian Michelsen Research—had failed.

“The results of that modeling could not be used to determine the most likely ignition location,” said the report.

The NTSB officials, in fact, knew the whole exercise was a failure. At the final NTSB hearing, an honest staffer, Joseph Kolly, came to the following reluctant conclusion: "

The search for the probable ignition location was pushed to the limits of current technology. An accounting of the scientific uncertainties was meticulously maintained throughout the entire experimental, computational, and analytic processes. “

In the end, the uncertainties were too great to permit the identification of the probable location of ignition."

No, Joseph, the certainties were not too great at all. The ignition source was a missile.   Mr. Loeb just did not let you in on it.


Readers' Comments:

Mr. Cashill,   Once again I feel compelled to commend you for  your  superb investigation of TWA 800.  You did all the right things.   Knowing what I know about the probabilities of static electricity  igniting jet fuel vapors in a CWT of a 747, I knew immediately that  the government was instituting a classic "cover-up" of a disaster they  wanted to squelch!

Why?   I have no idea!

You did all the right things in conducting your investigation of the  facts.  You consulted the professional testing labs.  Their  conclusions were as expected.  There is no known condition that the  government proffered as the "cause" that could be duplicated by any  professional testing laboratory.   Static electricity is formed when 2- dissimilar metals come in contact.  When they separate a static spark  is formed  -  most of the time, invisible to the human eye.  The jet  fuel is not even closely similar to gasoline or other such flammable  fuels.  Jet fuel is more similar to kerosene in its volatility.  The  air-fuel mixture in the tank must be in the explosive range  -   probably a very narrow fuel to oxygen mixture.   You can confirm this  with any professional testing laboratory.   Obviously, the government  prevaricators did not know anything about this when they attempted  their foolish cover-up!

It is almost laughable that the government "experts" would have the  audacity to proffer such an explanation to cover-up whatever treachery  they were hiding.  Who knows?

But, to be able to marshal the credentials of the FBI Agent in charge  is just too much for any of us observers to swallow.  Mr. Cashill, I  can only conclude that our nation is in deep, deep trouble.  Thank God  for people like you in the media that we can keep these despicable  traitors from over-running our nation.

May God Bless You!

No other event in my life has been more detrimental to my trust of our government than Kalstrum's denial that a missile brought down TWA 800.

Kalstrum along with his co-colabatuers will forever be the worst of the worst.

What is amazingly grotesque to this old cop is that the 700 eye witness's were ignored.

Simply unbelievable!

Freddie Roberts
Orlando, Fl.

Jack, keep this issue on the front burner.  I had two friends on that flight that were sitting in first class. I often wonder how their kids have been able to handle this.  I read yours and Mr. Sanders’s book, and I recommend it often to my friends.  Thank you for your work, and keep up the heat.

Jack -
Thank you, my courageous friend, for not going away... .

I read your article on “Corrupted probe continues to reverberate” and fully agree with it.  I am an engineer and ...[i]t has always been obvious to me for a long time that the source of ignition for TWA 800 was external not internal.  The plane had just taken off for a transatlantic flight so the tanks would have to have been almost full and besides they are designed to stay vapor rich at all times so this can’t happen.  I believe the scenario proposed by the NTSB to explain the ascending trail of fire is aerodynamically impossible.

The current aircraft inspection situation is a classic example of the old adage that “one lie begets another”.  The problem we are having in the US is there are too many people who believe that if they close their eyes and wish really hard we won’t really be in a war.  This attitude (typical of Liberal Democrats) has already led to the death of far too many people and will lead to the death of many more if they get in power again.

Thanks for being a voice of reason in the wilderness.





Special Note:

Jack Cashill and James Sanders' First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America is now available. First Strike explains how a determined corps of ordinary citizens worked to reveal the compromise and corruption that tainted the federal investigation. With an impressive array of facts, Jack Cashill and James Sanders show the relationship between events in July 1996 and September 2001 and proclaim how and why the American government has attempted to cover up the truth.

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