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DIA on TWA 800 Missile

by John McCaslin

Inside the Beltway: Political tidbits and other shenanigans from the nation's capital
December 17, 1996

An official with the Defense Intelligence Agency, spy arm of the Pentagon, has informed congressional staff members that, in his opinion, a shoulder-fired missile brought down TWA Flight 800.

The same DIA official, described as an expert in missile technology, told the staff members last week that he personally was called in by the FBI in the days following the explosion of the TWA jet to assist with witness interviews, a source present for the congressional briefing told Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Even now, the DIA official said he spends as many as two or three days a week on Long Island, near the site of the explosion and recovery efforts.

Our source refused to reveal the identity of the DIA official.

"In his opinion, the plane was brought down by at least one shoulder-fired missile," said the congressional source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"When he said that, we all took a deep breath," the source added.

When asked by the congressional team what new evidence has been found to bolster the missile theory, the DIA official acknowledged "none," and he said perhaps none will ever be found. But he reminded those present that not all sections of the downed Boeing 747-100 have been recovered.

The FBI has long considered a surface-to-air missile attack, of the kind that might be launched from a shoulder-launched Stinger, as a possibility in the massive explosion of the aircraft.

An Air National Guard pilot flying in the area at the time of the explosion told FBI investigators that he saw a bright, flarelike object streaking toward the jet seconds before it blew up.