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TWA Flight 800





© Jack Cashill
August 3, 2006 -

Following the airing of CNN’s trumpery on TWA Flight 800 on July 17, I have received more serious input on what did happen in that disaster than in the previous several years before. The sheer propaganda of the CNN presentation disturbed a lot of people.

Among them is a genuinely humble Long Island systems engineer, Chris Fidis. If on the night of July 17, 1996, Fidis paid even more attention to the news of that doomed flight than the average Long islander, he had good reason. As a 15 year-old, he took a TWA flight bound for Athens--a 747 no less—that had to circle back to Dulles after one of its engines caught fire. Although the plane managed to land safely, the incident inspired the technically-minded Fidis to pay heed to aviation safety.

Following the TWA Flight 800 disaster, Fidis began his own investigation. In time his research would breach the wall between the official and the unofficial and reveal the depth of the government’s desperation to find some rationale for the disaster other than the obvious.

Given his own experience on the Athens trip and the limited information about TWA 800 then available, Fidis first looked at the possibility of mechanical failure. After scouring the FAA archives among others, he learned that Boeing aircraft did have manufacturing defects, specifically in regards to how the wiring was routed through the aircraft fuselage. He came to the independent conclusion that TWA 800 and other Boeing planes as well had the potential to explode if a short or induced flux current were to arc over from the high voltage to low voltage cable as it passed through the fuselage of the plane.

Fidis began to distribute his theory to the media and interested government parties, a hit or miss proposition given his lack of access. In the meantime, he continued his exploration of the crash. The more he learned, however, the more he began to doubt the explanatory capability of his own theory. He was particularly troubled when trying to deduce the source of the massive over-pressurization necessary to blow off the nose of the plane. From the reports he had seen, the center wing tank was not half empty--as Richard Clarke reports in his book, Against All Enemies--but completely empty. As such, it offered no real source of pressure. The inward deformation of one of the wing tanks and the bent landing gear likewise suggested an external event as the source of the plane’s destruction.

Fidis also began to investigate the U.S. Navy P-3 Orion plane that had flown over TWA Flight 800 a minute before the crash. He questioned whether it might have dispatched High Intensity Radiated Field (HIRF) emissions either to a sub below or in mapping the ocean floor. He wondered out loud whether these emissions might have pierced the plane and triggered the explosion.

An honest investigator with no agenda, Fidis included all of his research in a report he sent to the FBI, at the FBI’s request, in July 1997, a year after the crash. The FBI seemed particularly intrigued by his P-3 research. Fidis heard back that the report was read at the highest levels in both the FBI and the NTSB. Apparently, the fact that an inspired amateur was crafting tighter theories than the professionals caused some degree of inter-agency embarrassment.

In October 1997, Fidis heard from a well-placed source in the media that the NTSB was prepared to go with his initial wiring theory even though Fidis himself had moved beyond it. In early November, Fidis got a heads-up call from an FBI agent alerting him that the FBI was going to close the criminal case before the month was out and that his report was the most credible the agency had received to date.

On November 19, 1997 the FBI did indeed close the criminal case with a press conference and a showing of the CIA’s now notorious zoom-climb video. Yes, the government did run with his wiring theory. But more troubling to Fidis was that they had run with his break-up sequence as well. “As a novice,” Fidis tells me. “I had the plane flying even without the nose.” By the time he saw the CIA animation, Fidis knew he had miscalculated. That did not seem to bother the CIA.

After the press conference, Fidis fired off a frustrated email to some key contacts. “I was told by a highly reliable source within Washington that the NTSB went with my wiring theory!!!” he lamented. “Well my wiring theory was used as the alibi theory to explain to the American public what happened.”

Fidis continued:

I was told directly by a congressional office, "Mr Fidis, your theory is the one that will come out in the end but I can assure you that you will find it was military intervention of some kind that brought this aircraft down.” Guess what, they were right!!!!

For the next five years, Fidis has attempted to refine his theory of what did happen. We will save that for next week.





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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