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

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. (MORE: Lap 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. … Continue reading What Airline Whistleblowers Have to Say About the New Theory on Flight 800