Feds keep voice recorder data hush-hush
© Jack Cashill
On July 10, 1997, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall appeared before the House Aviation Subcommittee and had the following exchange with Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, in regards to TWA Flight 800:
Traficant: I would just like the panelists to answer my questions, yes or no. If you can't, just say you can't answer it. First question, Mr. Hall. Hypothesis and theories and opinion, not a fact, correct? Hypothesis is theory, correct?
Traficant: To this point, has any physical evidence, conclusive forensic evidence, to prove it was a mechanical failure that caused the explosion of the center fuel tank? Yes or no.
Hall: We're looking at that.
Trafficant: I want a one [word] answer.
This is a stunning admission. TWA 800 had exploded in the sky off the coast of Long Island nearly one full year before this exchange occurred. By this time, the flight data recorder had been recovered, the fuselage had been largely reconstructed, and 736 eyewitnesses had been interviewed. And yet the NTSB was admittedly no closer to proving a mechanical explanation for the crash than it was in October of 1996 when it went public with this conclusion.
It gets worse. By this time, too, unbeknownst to Traficant, the NTSB had recovered and deciphered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). In fact, the agency had secretly contracted with Southampton (England) University's Stuart Dyne some months before to analyze the information that the CVR conveyed. But the results of that analysis Jim Hall was not about to share.
In the video, "Silenced", and in the accompanying five-part series written for WorldNetDaily, we showed the larger picture of an obvious government conspiracy to suppress the truth, In the past two articles, we have shown more detailed evidence of witness tampering and Flight Data Recorder manipulation. In this article, we take a good look at the all-important CVR. Stuart Dyne knew his stuff. About this there was no dispute. The Airline Pilot's Association, among others, has commented favorably on a CVR study performed by Dyne on a Trident aircraft several years earlier:
"The study indicated that it should be possible to ... determine whether the explosion was a detonation (high explosive) or deflagration (low order, e.g. fuel-air) event, determine where the initiating event occurred and whether it was a fuel-air event or high-order event indicative of a missile."
Dyne launched his TWA 800 study in England on March 3, 1997. He was confident that he could locate the point of initiation and identify which type of event, missile or mechanical, caused the plane to explode. At the investigation hangar on Long Island, members of the official Sound Spectrum Group, ALPA reps included, patiently awaited results of Dyne's analysis. They are waiting still. An ALPA document filed with the NTSB's Final TWA Flight 800 Report makes no bones about the pilot group's ultimate feeling of betrayal:
"The NTSB and interested parties invested a significant amount of resources in supporting the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) sound spectrum activity. However, the Sound Spectrum Group has never met to review or discuss any of the testing that was conducted. The valuable data that was collected during those tests has never been published, nor has there been any group or Party opportunity to analyze the CVR from TWA Flight 800 in the light of the work that was done. Furthermore, the NTSB has not made the analysis of a third-party's study on this subject available to investigators or the public."
This misdirection is hardly unique. Throughout the four-plus years of investigation, elements within the federal government withheld information, altered documents, manipulated physical evidence and created factually false witness reports to advance a mechanical thesis.
In the case of the sound spectrum analysis, this pattern is egregious and unmistakable. A member of the Sound Spectrum Group has told the authors of this article that the Flight 800 CVR recorded a vibration traveling through the frame of Flight 800 in excess of 2,000 feet per second. The Sound Spectrum Group knew from prior air disasters that a fuel-air explosion would send a vibration through the 747 frame at less than 350 feet per second.
An investigation seeking the truth would have followed this significant evidentiary trail. The 2,000 feet per second vibration was a powerful clue the testing would not be favorable to a mechanical cause.
The NTSB must have expected as much. In 1997, the agency withheld the mere existence of the Southampton tests from the press and public. The NTSB also inserted into the record factually false information to discredit the findings of the secret Southampton report should they ever be revealed, to wit: "The amplitude of the [CVR] noise was not a reliable means of comparison because these noise events typically overload the CVR recording system when occurred [sic]."
One must ask, if such testing is not reliable why did the NTSB secretly fund the test? And where is the objective analysis from disinterested third parties confirming that the above NTSB statement is something other than propaganda?
The testing began one week before James Sanders and the Riverside, Calif., Press-Enterprise launched a series of articles providing hard evidence that missile-fire brought down Flight 800 and that elements within the FBI and NTSB were covering up the same. Please recall that Jim Hall of the NTSB admitted he still had no proof of a mechanical failure four months after these articles appeared. A missile theory should not have alarmed the authorities nor caused them to panic.
But panic they did – harassing Sanders' wife, Elizabeth, and illegally seizing Sanders' journalistic work product, phone records and computer without a warrant or other legal authority.
The sequence of events is critical here. If the English study pointed to a high order detonation, not a low order fuel-air event, it would have supported Sanders' missile-fire conclusion at exactly the wrong time for the NTSB. Given the NTSB's proven willingness to leak favorable information, even when inconclusive, the study must have supported Sanders. Had the third-party analysis favored a mechanical explanation – or even been neutral – the NTSB would have released the results in a heartbeat.
The NTSB's withholding of the test results suggests not so much discretion as an obstruction of justice long in progress. Certain individuals, we now know, had already altered the reconstruction, neutralized compelling witnesses to missile-fire, and apparently tampered with the Flight Data Recorder.
There could be no turning back. The journalist who placed the conspirators within the federal government at risk had to be neutralized. The Southampton University testing and analysis had to be withheld not only to preserve a mechanical explanation but also to protect the outlaws orchestrating the cover-up.
And so the feds pressed on. The NTSB squandered millions more in illusory scientific analysis towards an end that held no promise from the beginning. And to preserve the illusion, the Justice Department pushed through the arrest and conviction of reporter James Sanders and his wife, Liz, for conspiracy.
Only two agencies exist within the federal power structure that can deal with such specific criminal allegations – the Justice Department and the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform.
Because senior career Justice Department officials are believed to have placed themselves criminally at risk by their conduct during the TWA Flight 800 investigation, Attorney General John Ashcroft would require almost superhuman political ability to force the department he controls to investigate, incriminate and indict individuals and the system itself. But he must be encouraged to try.
Congressman Dan Burton's Committee on Government Reform operates under no such handicap, so he must be encouraged to investigate the prima facie conspiracy to obstruct justice, violate the Constitution and civil rights presented in this article. Please mail this article to:
Congressman Dan Burton
Attorney General John Ashcroft
Ask the attorney general and congressman to act now to protect and defend the Constitution. If you don't ask, they have no reason to act and you have no right to complain.
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.