Fox Blows TWA Flight 800 Opportunity
© Jack Cashill
I had allowed myself to get my hopes up. FOX NEWS actually seemed serious about doing the TWA Flight 800 story justice for a segment of Hannity’s America.
The producer called me repeatedly to set up an interview. She requested the video James Sanders and I produced on the subject and watched it. She interviewed me for about 20 minutes in a San Francisco studio and asked intelligent questions. She even encouraged me to alert my contacts to watch the show on July 29.
I alerted them but should not have. We all would have thought more highly of FOX and Sean Hannity had he we let the show go unwatched. Hannity, a well meaning guy, needs to be much more careful about what goes out under his name.
In its favor, the FOX piece was not creative in its disinformation like, say, CNN’s more ambitious “No Survivors.” Instead, FOX contented itself with rehashed misinformation.
The show presumed to be objective, but when the challengers are labeled as “conspiracy theorists” and those challenged are given 3/4 of the airtime, including the last word, objectivity is an illusion.
Playing the role of government defense counsel in the piece was Pat Milton, an AP reporter whose over-fondness for the FBI’s Jim Kallstrom made her book on TWA Flight 800, In the Blink of an Eye, read like a mash note.
I represented the plaintiff in the case, but my twenty minutes of interview time were reduced to twenty seconds of TV time. In those twenty seconds, I reported what the 270 official FBI eyewitness to the full crash sequence did, in fact, see.
Sean Hannity countered by showing the CIA animation of the crash and reassuring the audience that what the eyewitnesses actually saw was “really just the aftermath of the explosion.”
Milton then blathered on about how the NTSB metallurgists saw none of the signs of scarring and pitting that they would expect to see after a missile strike.
Milton did not mention the 116 suspicious pieces of the aircraft that the FBI acknowledged sending to its Washington labs, never to be seen again, but one would not expect her to.
Rather than repeat the many arguments for a missile strike, allow me to share the eyewitness account of one highly authoritative source. Shortly after the FOX show, I was alerted to this source by an acquaintance of the witness.
I have chosen, however, not to contact the witness directly. To do so might cost him his job. A pilot, meteorologist and accident investigator, he now works for the NTSB. If that agency’s brass wants to know the truth about TWA Flight 800, they need not look far.
Although this witness had previously spoken to the FBI, in October 1997 he gave a more detailed account of his experience to the Riverside Press Enterprise, the one mainstream newspaper to tackle the case honestly.
By contrast, The New York Times, which owned the story, interviewed not a single one of the 270 eyewitnesses.
On the evening of July 17, 1996 the witness, his wife and adolescent daughter were returning to Long Island's Great South Bay on their boat when his daughter noticed a red-tipped object lifting off the horizon. They all turned and stared.
"It was what we would best describe as a boat flare, a reddish object going up," said the witness. “It zigzagged a little. We thought it strange. "
In its notorious video, CIA analysts argued that the sound of the exploding aircraft alerted all the key eyewitnesses. They then turned and saw the aftermath of the explosion.
What the witnesses actually saw, according to the CIA, was a nose-less jumbo jet turn upright and shoot 3500 feet into space like a soaring rocket. This zoom climb of the 747 then confused some 270 FBI eyewitnesses into thinking they were seeing a missile.
This is, of course, nonsense. The witness and his family on their boat in Great South Bay heard nothing at all. They watched the object ascend from the horizon unprompted by any sound.
The witness not only saw the ascent of the object, but he was also in position to watch the aircraft explode. He then saw the nose disengage from the disintegrating plane, arch up, and then flutter downwards without burning. The two other major parts of the plane fell in flames straight into the water.
The day after the crash, the witness identified this breakup sequence to the FBI, and he did so correctly, long before any newspaper reports of the same.
This witness told the Press-Enterprise that it was "completely erroneous" to believe that the red-tipped object he and his family saw was fuel or other descending plane debris.
In November 1997, a month after the witness spoke to the Press Enterprise, the FBI closed the criminal case by showing the CIA video referenced above. The New York Times swallowed it uncritically, and the rest of the media followed suit.
Now, ironically, the CIA is being mocked for its historic “incompetence” by The New York Times’ Tim Weiner in his much praised new history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes.
In its November 1997 animation, however, the CIA had proved highly competent in convincing Weiner and his colleagues that up was down and down was up.
Weiner mentions not word one about this rather spectacular and consequential CIA success.
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.