- Those who accept the government's claim that the crash
of TWA Flight 800 was caused by a fuel-tank explosion dismiss the evidence
that the plane was shot down accidentally by missiles launched in a Navy
exercise off the Long Island coast. They say that such an accident could
not have been covered up because a lot of Navy personnel would have known
about it, and some of them would have talked.
- One of them has finally done so. He recently said in
an interview that I recorded that he was on the deck of a [surfaced] Navy
submarine very close to the crash site and saw TWA 800 shot down.
- He was brought to my attention by an acquaintance of
his who told me that this retired Navy petty officer had said he was
TWA 800 when he saw a missile hit it and the 747 explode overhead."
He had told this acquaintance that he had given a statement to the FBI
when they returned to their port, and that the FBI had checked all their
torpedo tubes and all their missile silos to make sure they had all the
missiles on board that they had when they left port. Asked if there were
other military vessels in the area, he had said, "Yes,
- When Pierre Salinger, at a press conference in March
1997, declared that TWA Flight 800 had been shot down accidentally by a
U.S. Navy missile, this former presidential press secretary, U.S. Senator
and ABC News correspondent, was mercilessly attacked by his former
They accused him of peddling unsubstantiated Internet gossip. Salinger
said that his information had been confirmed by a source who learned of
the Navy's involvement from a friend who had a son in the Navy. The son
was said to have personal knowledge that a Navy missile had downed the
plane, but his father did not want to be identified, fearing his son would
suffer retaliation for disclosing information the Navy was hiding.
- There are hundreds of Navy and Coast Guard personnel,
as well as some FBI, CIA, FAA, NTSB and former White House employees who
know that the real cause of the crash of TWA 800 was papered over with
a tissue of lies. Two of them, James Kallstrom and George Stephanopoulos,
have made statements that indicate an official cover-up. Stephanopoulos,
a Clinton adviser who is now an ABC News correspondent, mentioned on the
air a secret meeting in the White House situation room "in the
of the TWA 800 bombing." Kallstrom, who headed the FBI's TWA 800
told me - and I have this on tape - that three radar targets close to the
crash site were Navy vessels on a classified maneuver. We know they were
submarines because the radar tracks disappeared when TWA 800
- Our newly found talker was on one of those submarines.
The Navy claims that it was at least 80 miles from the crash site, but
he says it was very close, and that is confirmed by the radar tracks. In
our taped interview, he was more guarded than he had been with his
He said he didn't want to do anything that might "mess up" his
- He said he saw "something come up." "I
don't know what in the hell it was," he said, "but that's what
it looked ..." Not completing what he started to say, he said,
know, something went up." He estimated that it went up about a mile
from his location, which was only a few miles from the shore. He said there
were a couple of other subs nearby. When told that the radar tracks of
all three disappeared because they submerged when the plane went down,
he said, "Yeah, that's what we did."
- He acknowledged that a number of Navy vessels were
for W-105, a large area of the ocean south of Long Island that is used
for naval maneuvers. He said that nothing they did off Long Island was
classified, but he was not comfortable in discussing it.
- When I called him a few days later, he was scared to
death. He feared the Navy would withdraw his pension if I reported what
he had said. It was not possible to convince him that the Navy couldn't
do that. Not wanting to worsen his anxiety, his name and other details
are being withheld as we try to get his and other interview reports that
the FBI has withheld.
- Reed Irvine is the chairman of Accuracy In Media, a media
watchdog group based in Washington, D.C.