By Douglas J. Hagmann
Seventeen years ago today, the lives of 230 men, women, and children were snuffed out, and the lives of their families and friends were forever changed. At 8:31 p.m. ET on July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 fell from the sky in a sickening fireball of debris and human carnage, plunging into the Atlantic Ocean about 8 miles off the southern coast of Long Island, New York. It was only twelve minutes into its flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to Rome, Italy, with a scheduled stopover in Paris when the flight, like the lives of those aboard, was abruptly and prematurely terminated.
The evening was clear, and the weather calm as the large passenger plane climbed to 13,700 feet and was traveling parallel to Long Island. Many people were outside on patios, beaches, and boats enjoying this pleasant summer evening when the serenity of the approaching twilight was shattered by an explosion in the sky that was TWA Flight 800. Not only did they witness the explosion and events leading up to it, but they also bore witness to much more.
They had front-row center seats to yet more death; the death of honor, integrity, and truth by the very people who had taken an oath to uphold it. Sadly, the only thing that has changed over the last 17 years is the depth of the depravity by those who have chosen to deceive, the exponential rise of the criminally complicit, and the number of the willfully clueless clinging to a compromised corporate media.
We must not forget that 1996 was an election year, and incumbent William Jefferson Clinton was running for a second term. The opening ceremonies for the Olympics were just days away, and the national political conventions were scheduled for the following month. Peace and prosperity were the forced ambiance in the U.S., reality be damned.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the nation’s first co-President, was as much a powerful political influence and purveyor of false reality then as she is today. In fact, the parallels between her role in the narrative of TWA Flight 800 and the official story behind the murders of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, are strikingly similar.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, in conjunction with Bill Clinton and former deputy National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, led the charge to construct the official account of TWA Flight 800 to ensure that nothing would interrupt or interfere with the Clinton power structure or the false reality of peace and prosperity, including the ‘inconsequential’ lives of 230 innocent people aboard a U.S. aircraft. The Clinton response team was in full damage control mode on that fateful night, assembled in the White House residence where the Clintons and their personal point man Sandy Berger busily created a viable alternative to the reality of the events relating to the downed airliner. Hardly any imagination is necessary to compare her rabid machinations of revisionism of the events of July 17, 1996, with those of September 11, 2012. It’s all about power and perception, the former held by a Hillary death grip and the latter fabricated through whatever might be convenient and available. The names, faces, and numbers of those forever lost might be different, but the objective of maintaining power has remained unchanged.
What difference does it make, whether it’s the murder of four Americans or the death of 230 passengers aboard a commercial airliner when the reins of power are at stake? What’s the difference between a center fuel tank or an obscure internet video when it comes down to a gullible public, placated into submission, and a cooperative mass media running interference against any difficult or stubborn questions? What difference does it make as royalty reigns supreme over the facts?
There were 270 documented eyewitnesses to the events of that night, each observing what can best be described as a missile striking the aircraft. Of those 270 witnesses, 96 individually described their observations in more detail, stating that a missile-like object rapidly ascended from the horizon, or ground level, toward the doomed flight. According to top-rated researcher and author Jack Cashill, many of the witnesses provided nearly identical accounts of an object, ” a red tip, a plume trail after it, gray, and then it gets near the plane and it arcs over, zigzags, hits the plane, [and] blows up.”
These people are indeed witnesses to history. Not only did they witness death on a wholesale level, they witnessed history being revised to suit an official narrative designed and decided by those in power, victims and their families… the truth be damned.
Like the events in Benghazi, truth is as relative as the morality behind it, or its absence. Despite the compelling accounts of eyewitnesses hovering in the three digit range to missile activity on the night of July 17, 1996, we were told that they were all mistaken as to what they saw. To negate the observations of the subjugated masses, the collective intelligence of a thinking American public was further insulted by a contracted CIA animation of an event that not only defied logic, but physics as well. Ripping a page from the Warren Commission, the infamous animation depicted Flight 800 climbing from 13,700 feet to 17,000 feet, minus the front of the plane.
Whether it’s 17,000 feet or 17 years, a center fuel tank or an obscure internet video, the process of revising the official account of inconvenient history has not changed. The official account of any event necessary to achieve certain objectives, regardless of its inherent insanity, will be brazenly foisted upon the public at will.
Concurrent with the eyewitnesses, FAA radar operators operating out of Islip, Long Island, observed an unidentified object on their radar screens that was visibly “merging with TWA Flight 800.” As indefatigable investigative journalist and author Jack Cashill reported several years ago, Ron Schleede of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) admitted that radar data “showed this track that suggested something fast made the turn and ‘took’ the airplane.”
In addition to the airborne object, FAA radar also documented a large ship positioned directly under TWA Flight 800 at the moment of impact. In a most unusual move, the ship immediately and inexplicably turned away from the expanding debris field, speeding away at 30 knots.
Interestingly, some of the key sections of radar data have since been deleted, while other data remains suppressed. As for the presence of the ship, the FBI publicly denied its existence for at least six months of their investigation.
Perhaps the missing portions of the radar data can be found in the possession of Clinton confidante Sandy Berger, along with the classified documents he allegedly removed from the National Archives in 2003, just prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission. Maybe they are with the missing computers and files taken from the law offices of Schulman & Mathias during a burglary last month – the law firm representing state department whistleblowers of events that occurred under her tenure as Secretary of State.
Perhaps the unidentified ship situated immediately below Flight 800 was re-commissioned by Hillary Rodham Clinton in her role as Secretary of State to ship arms from Libya to Syria. But then, “what difference does it make?” Whether they are lies by omission, lies by commission, they are lies just the same.
Cooperation with Hillary Rodham Clinton, even at the expense of the truth, certainly has its perks. Conversely, being uncooperative might be perilous. In matters relating to civilian transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an ‘independent’ U.S. government investigative agency, assumes the lead in investigations involving incidents and accidents. Under congressional mandate, the NTSB has full authority to take the investigative lead over and above any other law enforcement body unless the incident is officially declared a crime scene.
That scenario informally changed with Jim Hall, the head of the NTSB on the night of the TWA Flight 800 takedown. Hall, an attorney from Tennessee with no aeronautical experience but with very close political and personal ties to Al Gore, offered no resistance when former U.S. Attorney Valerie Caproni arrived on scene with a troop of FBI agents and snatched the investigation away from Hall, despite refusing to identify the incident as a crime or the area as a crime scene. Caproni’s boss, then U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, served as the trusted eyes and ears of William Jefferson Clinton and his closest aides.
The reasoning behind this investigative power grab, posits Mr. Cashill, was simple in its strategy. Regarding Flight 800, the FBI would report directly to Gorelick who would ultimately control the flow of information to the public about the events of July 17, 1996. Her direction and oversight began on August 22, 1996 with a meeting of the lead FBI agents. According to at least one report, she reportedly provided the narrow investigative parameters which directed the investigation to a predetermined cause.
The investigation conducted by the FBI, as thoroughly documented by Mr. Cashill in the book co-authored with James Sanders titled “First Strike, TWA 800 and the Attack on America,” was troubling and appeared scripted in advance. Based on numerous accounts of witnesses and others who encountered the FBI, the agents under the Gorelick umbrella seemed to have little interest in seeking truthful accounts that did not fit into an already established official narrative. Witnesses who became persistent were deemed uncooperative, and others were reportedly threatened.
Gorelick did her job of controlling the investigation and the flow of information very well. Less than a year later, Gorelick was rewarded by being selected to be the vice chair of Fannie Mae at a salary of about $4 million annually, a position she held for six years. Not bad for a lawyer with no related experience. Having cut her teeth on the TWA “investigation” and later for constructing a legal wall that prevented cross-agency sharing of intelligence data, Jamie Gorelick was later tapped by former President George W. Bush to be a member of the 9/11 Commission.
To be sure, her service on that commission warrants an investigative report of its own, as does the reason for her selection. Valerie Caproni, meanwhile, was tapped to serve as the FBI’s general counsel from 2003 to September 2011. Presently, she is vice president and deputy general counsel, litigation and investigations, for Northrop Grumman, a U.S. defense contractor.
While under FBI control, the NTSB remained in the background as window dressing, only stepping back into the “investigation” after the FBI bowed out on December 8, 1997. It was the determination by the FBI that the downing of TWA 800 was unrelated to terrorism or any other crime. Following that announcement, the investigation was turned back over to the NTSB which began public hearings.
As noted, those who cooperated were handsomely rewarded by positions of power and wealth. In the end, a 50,000-page report was published and the case was conveniently closed. Well, almost.
Today, a documentary produced by Tom Stalcup and Kristina Borjesson is being released to the public. Tom Stalcup, a Ph.D. physicist by background, dedicated the last sixteen years of his life to exposing what is arguably the most flagrant government cover-up in American peacetime history, according to author Jack Cashill. Ms. Borjesson was a producer at CBS in 1996 when TWA 800 was destroyed, and as noted by Mr. Cashill, “sacrificed her future at CBS to get at the truth.”
Despite the compelling presentation of facts, the identification of inconsistencies, and the introduction of witnesses coming forward in this documentary, the video is being criticized by some officials involved in the original investigation faster than the video trailer “Innocence of Muslims” was elevated to a cult favorite within the Obama regime. Such reviews serve as catalysts to ward off an unthinking public, and are already relegating the video to the dustbins of conspiracy tales.
From TWA Flight 800 to the attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, it appears that the corruption by those in power has only deepened. It is because we have permitted it, again and again. To quote Jack Cashill:
“Too many ordinary citizens have reconciled themselves to an enduring heart of American darkness, one that can swallow reputations and bank accounts whole and possibly even lives.”
We must not allow legitimate questions to remain unanswered. We must not be deterred by accusations of having a conspiratorial mindset. Between TWA 800 and the Benghazi attacks, there are 234 individual reasons that cry out for answers and demand justice in place of a shrill, rhetorical “what difference does it make” response to legitimate questions. Seventeen years is far too long.