What Airline Whistleblowers Have to Say About the New Theory on Flight 800

There may be enough smoking guns to warrant reopening the investigation

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Ed Betz / AP Photo

Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, looks on as the reconstruction of TWA Flight 800 is moved to a smaller hanger in Calverton, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept., 14, 1999.

I’ve had members of Congress ignore my interview requests and seen my Freedom of Information Act petitions go unanswered, so I’ve learned that sometimes former insiders are our only hope for getting information. Last week came news of yet another group of whistleblowers, a cadre of six government and non-government experts who served the National Transportation Safety Board when that independent federal agency investigated the explosion of a Boeing 747 off the coast of Long Island in July 1996. They are the protagonists of a new documentary, TWA Flight 800, that will air July 17 on EPIX-TV. After four years of investigation, the NTSB claimed the cause of Flight 800′s explosion was a mechanical defect, but the new documentary, written and directed by journalist Kristina Borjesson, claims the FBI, NTSB and other government agencies may have covered up that the plane was brought down by a missile strike. Participants in the film have called on the NTSB to reopen the case based on altered physical evidence, suppressed data, and unexamined testimony from hundreds of eyewitnesses.

Of course, in a healthy and functioning democracy, we shouldn’t need whistleblowers—government employees who uncover waste, fraud, or abuse would be supported straight through to the Oval Office. But many of us know better, especially when it comes to the airline industry. When my book,  Attention All Passengers: The Airlines’ Dangerous Descent—and How to Reclaim Our Skies, was published last year and I thanked “the brave men and women who are Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and airline whistleblowers,” I was not overstating their importance. These whistleblowers confirmed such problems as defective airline maintenance outsourcing, FAA oversight failures, TSA waste, and many other important findings.

(MORELap Children—The Most Unsafe Passengers on a Plane)

An invaluable source was Gabe Bruno, who founded the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance after he criticized the agency and was ousted from his FAA management position. When I asked his opinion about the current controversy, he said he “absolutely” supports reopening TWA 800 if there is credible evidence, but criticized the film’s key witnesses. “I’ve got a problem with why the hell it took 17 years for them to come forward,” Bruno says. “When you blow the whistle, you’re trying to fix something—you can’t do that 17 years later.” But Loretta Alkalay, a former FAA regional counsel, told me, “It’s pretty tough to be a whistleblower in the government…It can destroy your life. I wouldn’t blame these [TWA 800] people for not coming forward sooner—although I don’t believe the issues they raise are new or substantial enough to warrant reinvestigation.”

While researching aviation safety I got to know John Goglia, who signed off on the TWA 800 findings and to date remains the only FAA-licensed aircraft mechanic to serve as an NTSB board member. He says he still supports the original report, but adds, “I support reopening any report where substantial new and credible evidence warrants.” That said, he published his own response to the documentary on Saturday, and dismissed cover-up charges as “spurious.”

(MORE: McGee: The Real Lesson of the JetBlue Pilot Meltdown)

Although I’m not ready to support all the film’s premises, after watching the documentary, I believe there are enough smoking guns to warrant an unbiased reexamination. What surprises me, although I suppose it shouldn’t, is the rush to slam the movie sight unseen. Last week one major news site was in near hysterics about the documentary, employing the term “conspiracy” ten times and cattily referencing it “on an obscure cable channel,” yet stacking the deck by quoting biased sources. When I talked to the movie’s creator, Kristina Borjesson, she wasn’t surprised, noting that reexamining hot topics “discredits previous reporting.” She also defends her film’s witnesses by noting that several did speak out during the investigation, and one former NTSB accident investigator, Hank Hughes, even testified before Congress in 1999.

I also contacted John King, a former Eastern Air Lines mechanic turned whistleblower, and it turns out that he claims he was rebuffed when trying to present data supporting alternate theories to the FBI during the TWA 800 investigation. “The media have a long, sordid history of ignoring these events,” says King. It’s time that journalists and government officials alike recognize the best way to quell public doubts is to encourage further investigation. And let the results speak for themselves.

 

10 comments
ktm4motox
ktm4motox

John Goglia...You were a piece-o-crappola at US Air and with anything to do with EXPANDING the likes of this PROVEN INVESTIGATION!  Like you "big guy," I've been up-close and personal with TWA's Flight 800 747 center tank...SCENE and understand the evidence...and with NO DOUBT know the center tank was a ticking time bomb whose fuse was finally lit!

Now, exactly what TABLOID media outlet paid you HOW MUCH MONEY to get this so-called investigation back open...THAT YOU SIGNED OFF ON MORON?!?

PS-We were SO glad to see you go from US Air!

deanohall44
deanohall44

NEW THEORY:  TMA trimetyhlaluminium in the Centre Wing Tank was not mixed at -14%. This is the additive used to make chemtrails. The practice had just begun at this time so there was a mix-up/mistake/malfunction.  Pure TMA is explosive in air & makes white smoke (ALoxide).

Maybe a jet of this explosion & the white smoke explains the missile theory.

They have always claimed an explosion in the CWTank but NONE have ever exploded before or after! (They used Propane gas & blown-up bulb filament to recreate. Jet fuel when used is replaced by oxygen breathers.)

Mind_Games
Mind_Games

If TWA Flight 800 was brought down by a mechanical failure, this story is irrelevant.

If TWA Flight 800 was brought down by a Navy missile, this story is irrelevant.

If TWA Flight 800 was brought down by -- surprise, surprise --   an act of creative sabotage or terrorism, a few things about this story are probably not a coincidence.

Read the story the U.S. government has gone to incredible lengths to cover up.

Should help the people seeking to reopen the investigation.

Published by Mosaic Press. Distributed by Bookmasters. To be released to a variety of outlets soon.


http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/mind-games/9780889620513-item.html


http://mosaic-press.com/catalogues/MosaicPressCatalogue2014.pdf    


http://books.rakuten.co.jp/rk/05910db6887c3a86b66066428af05c76/


LanceHollingshead
LanceHollingshead

I wonder if anyone has looked into the passenger list to see who was on board that our government or another would have wanted eliminated? 

LanceHollingshead
LanceHollingshead

Jordinh, THE DAMN THING, as you put it. Are peoples lives and families. You are as worthless as the FBI. Appalling!!!

connyank68
connyank68

There are no investigative journalists anymore. Just mouth pieces for official pronouncements. Anything that runs contrary to the official version is quickly labeled as paranoid, delusional, conspiracy oriented, etc. To this writer's credit, he makes an honest observation about the MSM's immediate rush to discredit the documentary without even a cursory analysis of its findings. I had the opportunity to view a rough cut of the film in its entirety online. The fact that not a single eyewitness, amongst hundreds (including professional pilots and a Vietnam helicopter vet), were not asked to testify at the NTSB hearings is a clear illustration of not only the arrogance of that agency but its clear intent not to examine all the facts regardless of where it may have led them. 

AubreyJackson
AubreyJackson

This is not the stuff of 9/11 "truthers" or even the kennedy assassination. This case involves dissent from a multitude of airline professionals, engineers and military veterans. This case provides far more accessible information that contradicts the official conclusions of the FBI and NTSB. This case shows, time and again, how government agencies picked and chose what evidence they wanted to support and what they wanted to discount.  Whatever didn't line up with their favored theory was dismissed with a contrary and baseless theory or a flimsy excuse.  Look into their explanations for explosive residue in the wreckage - they don't hold water. The CIA animation used to dismiss the hundreds of witnesses who saw an object ascend and strike the plane was not based on any real data and ignores basic aeronautic principles. When Ray Lahr, a retired United Airlines pilot, sued the CIA for the data used to create the animation and won, the CIA promptly told him that information was lost. How convenient. Please look into this case - the truth is in the details and a cursory look will not reveal the vital facts.  

jordinh
jordinh

Complete waste of tax payers money.  Let the damn thing go.  There is no conspiracy here.

ktm4motox
ktm4motox

@Mind_Games You're an IDIOT! See my comment aimed straight at my once buddy, NTSB investigator John Goglia