Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
April 5, 1999
Aviation Mishap Analyst
P.O. Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624
Web site: twa800.com
Mr. Philip M. Condit
The Boeing Company
P.O. Box 3707, Mail Code 10-10
Seattle, WA 98124-2207
Mr. Gerald L. Gitner
Trans World Airlines
One City Center
515 North Sixth St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Re: The unexplained
loss of TWA Flight 800
Over the last four months our investigation into the loss of TWA
Flight 800 has produced information far surpassing that contained
in our July 20, 1998 Interim Report to Congress. We can now
prove, before a jury or other independent fact-finding body, that
the aircraft was shot down. We can also explain why the
Administration covered it up and expose some of the methods they
employed to do so.
Your corporations are being scapegoated and defrauded by
Administration officials because, had the truth about this
incident been reported before November of 1996, it could have
derailed the reelection of Clinton/Gore. Exposed now, it could
send guilty parties to jail for Misprision of Felony Homicide.
We can provide your attorney's with witnesses, documents, or
reference material that will support the following text:
White House knowledge of a
threat prior to the loss of TWA Flight 800
- The Administration knew that in 1996, surrogates from
rogue states had access to MANPADS (Man Portable Air
Defense Systems) or shoulder-fired missiles in
mid-eastern weapons bazaars. $5,000 would acquire the
least capable model, the Russian SA-7. $50,000 would buy
the most capable, the Chinese Vanguard, a deadly new
missile upgraded from US Stinger technology transferred
to the Chinese in the early 90's. Superior to the
Stinger, this missile has a much longer range. The
Administration also knew Iran had a limited number of US
Stinger missiles in inventory.
- The Administration was aware that, worldwide, MANPADS
missiles had already claimed 26 civil transport aircraft
and was only a matter of time before a U.S. Flag carrier
would be targeted and hit. They knew the Administration
had dodged a bullet in 1994 when Maryland State Police
found a fully armed French Mistral MANPADS missile ready
to fire on its tripod directly under a busy northeastern
- In response to sanctions unilaterally levied against Iran
by Mr. Clinton in 1995, Iranian surrogate's car bombed US
troops in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and later smuggled MANPADS
missiles into the US from across the Canadian border.
Iranian officials warned the Administration that they
considered enactment of the Iran/Libya Sanctions Act
tantamount to an act of war!
- When Mr. Clinton signed the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act of
1996, a decision was made by the Iranian Supreme Council
to approve attacks on major American targets. Terrorist
surrogate groups from nine countries were summoned to
Tehran to meet with Iranian officials in June of 1996.
Later that month, a huge truck bomb was deployed against
the US Air Force barracks complex at Khobar Towers in
Saudi Arabia. Three weeks later, TWA Flight 800 was shot
down only hours after an explicit warning of an attack
was received in London and Washington that taunted the
- The White House, the CIA and the FBI were aware of the
threat and they knew preventing that attack was their
- We can show the Administration anticipated incorrectly
that, if the missiles were used, they would be targeted
against Olympic air traffic landing or taking off in the
- We can provide testimony that immediately after Flight
800 was shot down, Mr. Clinton called an FBI command post
supporting the Olympics and informed them Flight 800 was
downed with shoulder-fired missiles.
- The White House, the CIA and the FBI political leadership
have waged an unrelenting disinformation campaign from
the onset. This has ranged from the White House spokesman
stating, "Anyone in government that says this was a
missile only has half a brain", and to the CIA
cartoon that libeled hundreds of eyewitnesses.
- The day after Flight 800 was shot down, the Justice
Department, helped by 1,000 FBI agents, began the process
of converting hundreds of witnesses into the first
American "untouchable cast". The political
leadership of the NTSB aborted its mission in one
surrender of its responsibilities after another. When the
Justice Department illegally ordered the NTSB crash
investigators to have no contact with witnesses or their
statements, and the NTSB complied, the investigation was
over, the cover-up and Misprision of Felony Homicide had
- At the NTSB Public Hearing in December of 1997, the word
"witnesses" was not even mentioned. Before and
since, they have been ridiculed, slandered and liabled in
official videotapes and statements made by government
- On March 15, 1999 the derailment of the Spirit of New
Orleans after she hit a steel truck at a railroad
crossing in Bourbonnaise IL, prompted a media wide call
for witnesses by NTSB officials. It seems a witness was
needed to prove the truck had driven around the safety
gate. Apparently, investigations are much simpler and
witnesses more creditable for the NTSB when there is no
White House interest.
- We have access to 107 witnesses on 4 aircraft, 19 boats,
and 31 locations ashore. They were located in a 360°
circle around the missile engagement. Their live
testimony alone will prove the aircraft was shot down.
This is why the Justice Department has kept air crash
investigators away from witnesses for 2 1/2 years and
also one reason they are conducting a malicious
show-trial prosecution of author and outside investigator
James Sanders and his wife. It's hard to interview
witnesses from a Federal prison. The FBI failed to
identify and interview 17 of these people. Among these 17
are witnesses on a boat who may have seen the escaping
Justice Department suppression
of Missile Evidence
- It appears, aggressive FBI missile-team field agents
eventually solved the problem as to the cause of the
crash, but had no support in the FBI leadership. In fact,
the FBI leadership seems to have deliberately withheld
vital information from their own agents.
- George Gabrial, the senior FBI Agent on Long Island and
personal friend of Mr. Kalstrom, was a close witness on
his boat. We can provide witnesses who overheard him say
he believed what he observed was a missile. FBI
missile-team members did not know he was a witness until
we informed them.
- The FBI has videotape that was shown to military experts
of a missile shot from off the coast of Long Island that
failed to engage a target. This first attempt was nearly
coincidental to the Khobar Towers attack 3 weeks before
Flight 800s loss.
- By late September, 1996, FBI missile-team members had
established informal liaison with military missile
guidance experts. By that time the FBI knew witnesses at
sea on all sides were pointing to a missile launch a few
miles southeast of Flight 800's explosion point. What
they observed fit the profile of a MANPADS missile
- In December 1996, FBI missile team members told military
experts that two separate commercial fishermen dredged up
and threw back a MANPADS first stage, the missile
ejector-motor can. The ejector motor, about the size of a
Coke can, fires in the tube, ejecting the missile, then
drops in the water when the missile 2nd stage
- The fishing vessel Alpha Omega recovered one of these
motor cans in early October, 1996, while trawling for
scallops about 2 nautical miles from Flight 800's
explosion point. The crewman, not realizing the
importance of his find, noted the two distinctive
ignition wires attached to the can before he threw it
- Despite overwhelming forensic evidence of a weapon impact
in the number 2 main tank of the left wing and witness
testimony of a missile attack, the Administration would
not fund military missile experts or allow the FBI to
trawl for missile parts until after the November 1996
- The Alpha Omega was one of five trawlers contracted by
the Navy Supervisor of Salvage for trawler operations.
When FBI agents finally came aboard in November 1996 to
begin trawling and brought pictures of three objects they
were looking for, it was that point the crewman told them
they were too late, he had already found and discarded an
- Responding to the previous findings, Special Agents
Bongardt and Otto took a live ejector motor can from a
Stinger missile aboard all the trawlers under contract,
showing it to captain and crew.
- Interrogated for hours, the Alpha Omega crewman insisted
the can he found had the same features, ignition wires,
etc. but was somehow different.
- That interrogation should have prompted the FBI
leadership to suspect they may have been dealing with the
longer-range Chinese Vanguard or Russian SA16/18
- It is clear from the Supervisor of Salvage's operational
trawling maps depicting "missile firing zones"
and the FBI Trawling Operations Manual in our possession,
that the Justice Department's intent was to find and hide
from "other Interested Parties", missile
ejector cans, missile battery cooling units and the last
Flight 800 Scavenge Pump the NTSB was trying to blame as
a source of a spark.
- The $ 5 million trawling operation was funded by NTSB,
contracted to civilian scallop boats through the Navy
Supervisor of Salvage from 4 November 1996 until it was
suddenly terminated on 30 April 1997, yet the trawlers
were manned 24 hours a day by teams of FBI agents. Up
until 30 April 1997 the scallop boat captains had been
told the operation would continue indefinitely for months
or even years. FBI agents got the word via cell phone to
shut down the operations. On two of the boats, when the
captains refused to stop until the Navy contractor on
board told them to, the agents threatened force to make
the captains shut down. The first agent backed down when
the captain told him he would go anywhere at gunpoint,
but the agent could expect to be charged with piracy on
the high seas when they got ashore. The second agent
backed down when the captain informed him that he was
armed also and he was the captain and they weren't going
- The FBI's trawling plan was flawed in the following ways.
a. The missile firing zones depicted on the charts
were 1.75 NM and 2.7 NM radius circles. These distances
are accurate for two types of MANPADS but the Chinese
Vanguard exceeds those ranges.
b. They used the last transponder response from the
aircraft as the aircraft explosion point. The aircraft
was travelling east over 2,900 feet between each
transponder response. A two-second error would move the
trawling off by 1/4 mile.
c. They failed to notice, until December 1996, a
recorded surface radar contact only 2.9 NM from Flight
800 when it exploded!
d. They failed to identify that boat!
e. They failed to adjust the trawling lines to cover
that boat's surface track while it was in range of TWA
- The FBI told military experts they had a witness who
perfectly described a MANPADS engagement terminating in
an impact on Flight 800s left wing root. It
includes boost; sustainer-motor burn and total missile
fly-out time typical of the US Stinger and its copies.
- Military thermal imaging of B747-100s provided to
the FBI by China Lake Naval Air Weapons Facility,
indicate a MANPADS missile fired from a low forward
quarter would guide toward the three air pack exhaust
ports, directly under the center wing tank and not, as
publicly stated for the engine nacelles. See
attached Thermal Imaging.
- Military computer modeling of the TWA 800 engagement,
using Stinger data, shows the missiles velocity
would degrade to 400 meters per second as it climbed
through 13,700 ft. This would cause the circular error
probability (CEP) to expand to 20 ft. or more, allowing
an impact almost anywhere on the aircraft.
- Stinger guidance technology provides a last instant
steer-forward command to avoid a miss by flying through
an engine exhaust plume. Such a command would explain a
missile, fired from in front, steering for the air pack
exhausts under the center wing, impacting forward on the
left wing root leading edge.
- The Stinger, for example, has a two-pound warhead with
three fusing options, contact, penetration and time-out.
- Using stinger missile fly-out data provided to the FBI by
military experts, the combined velocity of missile body
and aircraft at impact would be 1950 ft/sec.
- If the cockpit voice recorder hasn't been tampered with,
an audio laboratory should be able to discern this
velocity through its analysis of recorded frequencies.
This may be why the NTSB has refused to allow the Cockpit
Voice Recorder group to convene and study the data
generated from the Bruntingthorpe tests done in England.
- E = ½ MV2 would predict kinetic energy
available at impact of over 1.2 million foot pounds.
- The kinetic energy from a missile body entering the
number two main, ¾ full of fuel, at mach 1.8 would cause
the tank to burst from hydraulic overpressurization.
- Fused for penetration, the two-pound high explosive
warhead, bursting in the fuel could impart an additional
200-PSI spike of hydraulic ram overpressure.
- Jet fuel is over 700 times the density of air. A MANPADS
missile warheads fragments would be stopped in a
few feet of fuel, negating high velocity fragment damage
to aircraft components. Mr. Kalstroms public
statements repeatedly used the lack of high velocity
fragment damage as an excuse to ignore witnesses and
shutdown the investigation.
- The Navy China Lake missile impact "Quick Look
Engineering Study" identified 4 criteria for
expected damage if a shoulder fired missile hit a 747-100
inboard main fuel tank. All four are caused by hydraulic
over pressurization of fuel tanks. All four are in
evidence on the left wing. None of these criteria have
ever been seen in previous air crashes.
- The China Lake reports first two recommendations
were to detonate shoulder-fired missile warheads in fuel
tanks to determine if the fragments would be trapped and
to do live firing of these missiles at inboard main tanks
to compare to left wing damage on Flight 800.
- Mr. Kalstrom ignored all seven recommendations; cherry
picked statements out of the China Lake report and used
them out of context in the media to argue the aircraft
was not shot down.
- When Mr. Kalstrom was faced with having to take action on
the China Lake report he chose to shut down the
- At the time the FBI investigation was prematurely shut
down in November of 1997, the FBI had failed to identify
a fast moving boat captured on radar only 2.9 nautical
miles from Flight 800 when it exploded. Mr. Schirilo, who
replaced Mr. Kalstrom, admitted that fact in a letter to
- After his retirement, Mr. Kalstrom was taped stating the
boat captured on radar was really a helicopter.
Considering the radar target was non-transponder and was
tracked on the surface at speed below 36 knots for 35
minutes prior to disappearing over the horizon, even FBI
agents have acknowledged Mr. Kalstroms excuse is
- Witnesses afloat and ashore observed a six second missile
burn (Stinger rocket burn is 6 ½ seconds) coming from
the near vicinity of the unidentified boat.
- Senior Justice Department officials need to be compelled
to answer under oath why testing essential to determine
if Flight 800 was brought down by a shoulder fired
missile was not funded and why they ignored the forensic
evidence, military experts, witnesses and their own FBI
The search for the Black Boxes
- Discovery of the plight of the Flight Data Recorder and
Cockpit Voice Recorder and their two Ducane pingers,
after water entry, may be the key to unlocking the
cover-up. We can show a Grand Jury how Mr. Clinton
personally involved himself.
- The NTSB is extremely sensitive to the subject of Black
Boxes. They opened the boxes without any investigators
from the Interested Parties present. They refused to
allow TWA's investigator to listen to the voice recorder
more than once.
- The Voice Recorder has a "sound like damaged
tape" precisely seven seconds prior to its end.
Seven seconds prior to missile impact would be
coincidental to MANPADS booster ignition. A visually
bright event that could be seen by the First Officer.
- Dr. Loeb has refused to release Addendum number two to
the Flight Data Recorder Analysis that was written to
rebut our interpretation of the last data line. The
NTSB even refuses to let the Voice Recorder Analysis
- The Administration's explanation of the circumstances
under which the USS Grasp" divers found the Digital
Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder is
- According to divers we interviewed and the Navy
Supervisor of Salvage Report, Navy divers from the USS
Grasp found the recorders during Dive #2 and Dive #3 on
the evening of 23 July 1996. The Administration maintains
these same divers found them more than 24 hours later at
2330 hours on 24 July 1996. East coast TV news coverage
ends at 23:30.
- The most probable motive for this deception was to ensure
investigators, who are Parties to the Investigation, were
not witnesses when NTSB/FBI officials were alleged to
have first opened the boxes in Washington during the
early morning hours of 25 July 1996.
- The boxes should have been found in the aircraft tail
cone section, or within its debris. Instead, divers from
the Grasp found each box 30 feet apart on a hard sand
bottom, devoid of any attached debris and neither
Ducane Pinger was operating. They appeared just as
they would if dropped overboard from a boat!
- Somehow both Ducane Systems fixed themselves while in
FBI custody. They were found to be fault-free in
laboratory test days later.
- The small cylindrical Ducane Pingers are mounted on the
narrow front face of each oblong rectangular box. They
are protected from damage because they are bolted firmly
to the inside angle of a short piece of angle iron.
Because of their shape, the probability of either free
falling box landing on the bottom with the pinger stuck
in the sand, would be akin to a free falling domino
landing on it's end and remaining standing in that
- The only way Ducane Pingers can be silenced under water
without evidence of damage is by partly unscrewing the
- The probability of both undamaged Ducane Pingers failing
simultaneously in a shallow open ocean environment, on
top of a hard sand bottom, approaches that of a
spontaneous aviation kerosene explosion in an
ignition-free Boeing 747-100 fuel tank.
- We consider the fact the NTSB has remained mute about
these alleged Ducane failures is Prima Facie evidence of
either abject incompetence on the part of the NTSB who
should have opened an inquiry into the cause, or proof of
a cover-up of NTSB misconduct.
- Weeks Marine, Inc. was verbally contracted by both the
Coast Guard and FAA officials the night of the crash to
position for salvage operations. They were on site the
next morning with the best salvage equipment available in
the Atlantic. It was superior to Navy assets, but
Weeks Marine was stood down by the NTSB. It would be five
more days before Navy divers would be on scene to recover
recorders, bodies, etc! Why the forced wait?
- Holding Weeks Marine, Inc. to standby while ordering Navy
assets to respond from far away points deliberately
condemned victims trapped in bottom wreckage to five
additional days of ravage by natural elements. This
grossly compounded the grief of the families and put at
risk the ability of medical examiners to identify all
remains. The White House was responsible for this order.
- Circumstantial evidence indicates the Administration,
knowing the aircraft to be shot down, may have ordered a
covert recovery, laboratory examination and reinsertion
of the recorders to ensure the aircrew did not describe
the attack on audio tape. Scuba divers could have
recovered the recorders on the afternoon of 18 July and
dropped them back overboard after 10 am 22 July, before
the USS Grasp and Navy divers were on scene. During that
period of time NOAA research vessel Rude and the motor
vessel Pirouette were simultaneously sent 5 miles off the
main debris field on a "wild goose chase" by
the NTSB. Both ships had been mapping that field with
side scan sonar!
- Properly done, a scuba team equipped with a Ducane
locator amplifier tube, held over the side, could
position a small boat directly over active Pingers, dive
and recover the boxes in a single effort. Active pingers
can be detected by divers300 yards away.
- We have a witness that has passed a polygraph test and
has provided a sworn affidavit that a member of the NTSB
leadership told him the recorders were found and examined
by 20 July. The Coast Guard told both TWA maintenance and
Congressman Forbes that the recorders were found on 18
July. The next day, 19 July, the Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence was told the aircraft was shot down by
terrorists. Senators Hatch and
D'Amato made public statements to the same effect.
- White House, NTSB and Justice Department officials need
to be compelled to explain these events and their actions
under oath. We also have other individuals who have asked
to remain anonymous who should be questioned under oath.
- Despite a steep learning curve and the best efforts of
some if its most aggressive field agents, FBI leadership
has demonstrated itself to be functionally illiterate in
the critical areas of; military weapons and tactics,
radar interpretation and air crash investigation. The
fact the White House failed to immediately assign
appropriate elements of the Department of Defense as lead
investigators in the missile inquiry is inculpatory.
- Gentlemen, we have the "FBI Trawler Operations
Manual" and Operations Order as well as other
documents left behind aboard a contract boat by FBI
agents. If found, the Justice Department intended to hide
from your companies; the last fuel scavenge pump, a
missile ejector can and the missile battery cooling unit!
TWA Flight 800 was the 27th civil aircraft shot
down worldwide by shoulder fired missiles. The
Administrations actions have greatly increased the danger
of a recurrence, not only because of the deception of this case
but because administration policy deliberately fails to link any
terrorist act to the government of the Sponsor State. This
provides political cover for the Administration's lack of action
and sanctuary to deadly enemies.
The Honorable Slade Gordon
I will point out the coincidence of the Clinton Administration's
pro Arab, anti Israeli policy shift and the arrival on our shores
of a creditable anti-aircraft threat under the control of rogue
states. In 1994, the Maryland State Police found a fully armed
French MANPADS missile, the Mistral, ready to fire on its tripod,
directly under a heavily used air corridor near Westminster
Our research also found U.S. Stinger technology transferred to
China in the early 90s enabling them to produce the
Vanguard, a quality shoulder fired Chinese missile. It was
deployed first in 1996. If past history is an indicator, the
China / Iran weapons transfer link bodes ill for future air
In a worse case scenario, absent a respected American
Commander-in-Chief, Irans Supreme Council, or other rogue
state, could successfully shutdown or disrupt major traffic hubs
worldwide by activating surrogate cells armed with Vanguard. If
they can shoot down one, why not a half dozen on a single day?
Gentlemen, the time to act is now, regardless of any arrangements
you may or may not have had to accept. Once the American people
understand the truth, your corporations will be indemnified
against any further political extortion from this administration.
We would ask, in the interest of long term air safety, that you
take an aggressive and public pro-active stance. Challenge the
Administration; educate the media and the electorate. Severance
from a politicized and fraudulent Federal investigation is no
penalty and maintenance of the status quo is certainly no prize.
William S. Donaldson
Unites States Senate
The Honorable Orin Hatch
Unites States Senate
The Honorable George Boinovitch
Unites States Senate
The Honorable John J. Duncan, Jr.
U. S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Henry Hyde
U. S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Porter Goss
U. S. House of Representatives
Judge Kenneth W. Starr
Independent Counsel USDJ
District Attorney James M. Catterson, Jr.
Suffolk County Office of the District Attorney
Air Attaché, Embassy of France
Air Attaché, Embassy of Italy
Gen. Avi Barber
Air Attaché, Embassy of Israel
Adm. Jay Johnson
Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. G. W. Prueher
Commander in Chief, Pacific
Vadm. W. J. Fallon
Commander, Second Fleet
Vadm. H. E. Browne
Commander, Third Fleet
The Families of TWA Flight 800
P.O. Box 1061, Clifton Park, NY 12065