Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

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Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:57 am

Chapter 13: Into the Buzzsaw
by Kristina Borjesson
From Revised and Expanded Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press
© 2004 by Kristina Borjesson




Table of Contents

• Introduction
• Wake-Up Call
• The Assignment From Hell
• Ships -- What Ships? -- In the Night
• All Missiles Present and Accounted For
• Ministers of Truth
• Chaos at Calverton
• Day of Reckoning
• CBS: Hasta La Vista
• Touring Calverton With Chief of Staff Kelly O'Meara
• Interbody Implosion
• Getting Stoned
• Those Damned Eyewitnesses
• Bottomfeeders Versus Backbiters
• Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose (The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same)
• Raison D'etre
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:58 am


Kristina Borjesson has been an independent producer and writer for more than twenty years. Besides editing Into the Buzzsaw, she currently works on independent documentary film productions as well as writes and speaks publicly on media issues. Borjesson also produces and cohosts the Expert Witness radio show on WBAI in New York City. Prior to that, she produced for CNN's Newsstand magazine shows (Fortune and Entertainment Weekly). Borjesson joined CNN after working at CBS network, where she won an Emmy and a Murrow award for her investigative reporting on "CBS Reports: Legacy of Shame" with Dan Rather and Randall Pinkston. She was nominated again the following year for producing "CBS Reports: The Last Revolutionary," a film biography of Cuba's Fidel Castro. Borjesson also contributed in-depth, original reporting on the TWA 800 crash to CBS's Evening News and developed stories for 60 Minutes. Prior to producing for CBS, Borjesson was field producer for "Showdown in Haiti," an Emmy-nominated documentary for PBS's Frontline. She produced "Living with Crocodiles" for National Geographic Explorer while developing, acquiring, and distributing programming for the National Geographic Society's Television Division. As series coproducer for On Television, Borjesson worked on a thirteen-part series for PBS examining the roles TV plays in American society. Before that, she was director of research/production manager for a PBS film biography of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and renowned social critic. Borjesson is an alumna of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

You don't choose to have the kind of experience I had while trying to report on the demise of TWA Flight 800. It happens to you. You fall into it. At CBS, I'd recently picked up an Emmy for investigative reporting when I was assigned to investigate the crash. I had no idea that my life would be turned upside down and inside out -- that I'd been assigned to walk into what I now call "the buzzsaw."

The buzzsaw is what can rip through you when you try to investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions -- be they corporate or government -- want kept under wraps. The system fights back with official lies, disinformation, and stonewalling. Your phone starts acting funny. Strange people call you at strange hours to give you strange information. The FBI calls you. Your car is broken into and the thief takes your computer and your reporter's notebook and leaves everything else behind. You feel like you're being followed everywhere you go. You feel like you've been sucked into a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It gets harder and harder to distinguish truth and reality from falsehood and fiction. The sense of fear and paranoia is, at times, overwhelming.

Walk into the buzzsaw and you'll cut right to this layer of reality. You will feel a deep sense of loss and betrayal. A shocking shift in paradigm. Anyone who hasn't experienced it will call you crazy. Those who don't know the truth, or are covering it up, will call you a conspiracy nut. The word "conspiracy" is commonly used now (either as an adjective or part of a phrase) to malign those who raise unpopular questions about sensitive issues. The fact is, conspiracies do exist. There are laws on the books addressing them and Justice Department officials deal with them all the time. However, in the case of the TWA Flight 800 disaster, I don't know of anyone who disagrees with the government's conclusions who describes the official investigation as a conspiracy. Incompetent. A cover-up. These are the descriptions most skeptics use to characterize the official investigation. Not "conspiracy."
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:58 am


If TWA 800 hadn't exploded July 17, 1996, on its way to Paris, this book wouldn't have been written. If my executive producer at CBS, Linda Mason, hadn't assigned me to look into the story, you wouldn't be reading this chapter. Trust me, never in a million years did I ever imagine that I'd find myself in my current position as some kind of rebel trying to take on America's journalism establishment. I was reared a member of Haiti's "Morally Repugnant Elite" and educated, for the most part, in private institutions, including Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Not a thing in my frankly elitist background prepared me for this experience.

Looking back, this story was gunning for me from the very beginning.

The night it happened, I'd come home from work around 6:00 PM, totally exhausted. Senior Producer Jamie Stolz and I had been getting ready for the premiere of "CBS Reports: The Last Revolutionary," a biography of Fidel Castro that we'd spent a year producing. It was going to air the following night, July 18, at 9:00 PM. The show looked great and had already been critically acclaimed in the press. I couldn't wait to watch it on TV. At home, things were quiet. My husband was already on his way to JFK airport with my eleven-year-old son, who was catching a plane to Paris.

I decided to take a nap. At around 9:45 PM, the phone rang, jarring me out of a sound sleep. At the other end of the line, my neighbor was frantic. Was that my son's plane that just crashed? Her words were like hot oil on my brain. I told her I didn't know and hung up. I started dry heaving. Everything inside me went black.

My son was on Air France, five minutes behind TWA. That night, I cried for hours, out of relief, out of grief for what could have happened to him, and for what did happen to all those passengers on Flight 800.

The next night, my show was preempted by crash coverage.
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am


What I liked about my boss, Linda Mason, was that from the beginning of my tenure at CBS, she was very supportive. Only a few months after I'd been hired, she okayed on short notice an expensive and risky idea I had to go down into Mexico, hook up with a smuggler, and cross the border with a couple of undocumented farm workers. She also spent a lot of money and gave me endless leeway to investigate a brutal crew boss in charge of large groups of undocumented farm workers in several states. But I delivered. The crew boss was busted and our show, "Legacy of Shame," won an Emmy. Then Linda assigned me to deliver Fidel Castro for a film biography, which I did. For three days, Castro gave Dan Rather an unprecedented personal tour of significant sites of the Cuban leader's life.

It was while I was still basking in the golden glow of all kinds of professional praise for the Fidel show that Linda called me down to her office to tell me that she wanted me to look into the crash. The man in charge of the FBI task force assigned to investigate whether criminal activity had caused the incident was already a familiar face on TV. Jim Kallstrom was telling the public barely a week after the crash how confident he was that his task force was going to solve the mystery of TWA 800's demise in no time: "We have a very, very active investigation. We're still getting very good information, so when the day comes, and I think it will be soon ... whether it's going to be three or four days or a week [italics mine] ... that we decide collectively and based on science and based on good forensic investigation, we will be able to move swiftly, aggressively, and professionally" (Newshour transcript, "Sleuthing with Disaster," August 22, 1996).

Later on, senior National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Hank Hughes would provide shocking details to a senate judiciary committee about just how "swiftly, aggressively, and professionally" Kallstrom and his men moved for sixteen months after Kallstrom made that statement. Meanwhile, there I sat in my little box at CBS, gearing up my own investigation, blithely unaware that I was putting myself on a crash course with Mr. Kallstrom and his crew.

Linda told me that CBS already had reporters out on Long Island whom I could hook up with and that I should go to Washington to talk to correspondent Bob Orr. I flew to Washington and met with Orr, who told me that his high-level government sources in Washington were telling him the crash was caused by a mechanical failure. I didn't say much in response. I told him I was hearing other things and left it at that because it was obvious he trusted his sources.

On a story like this one, I was especially leery of official government sources. I was far more interested in talking to the people actually working at the crash site recovering the debris and investigating the cause. I wanted firsthand information. I wanted to get to the people who were directly involved, people who were not allowed to talk to the press. One of my rules of investigative reporting is: The more sensitive the investigation, the more you avoid "official" sources and the harder you try to get to the firsthand people. Sometimes you have to work with a "cutout," or someone these sources will talk honestly to, because they recognize the person as one of them.

My "cutout" was CBS's law enforcement consultant, Paul Ragonese. A no-bullshit cop from Brooklyn, Paul was on the NYPD's bomb squad and counterterrorism team for six years. He had a wealth of sources dealing directly with the aftermath of the crash -- NYPD divers involved in debris recovery, other specially trained NYPD personnel, and even agents on Kallstrom's task force. Here are excerpts from the notes I took when he got back to me after talking to them. For obvious reasons, I'll only identify the sources as being NYPD:

NYPD: "From day one, there were military guys everywhere on the scene ... thinks military is involved. Finding absolutely of bomb or missile. He says that the military was doing something twelve miles off the coast of Moriches. The whole thing is screwed up. Just a mess. People running around, touching stuff."

(Altered, tainted, or missing evidence was a hallmark of this investigation, but more on that later on.)

NYPD: "NYPD divers showed up on Thursday morning, and were given radio instructions by the military not to dive until the military showed up. The NYPD divers waited until Sunday for the military divers from the Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) from Fort Monmouth to show up ... military gave NYPD divers orders where to dive."

Paul also secretly met with two high-level members of the FBI task force. The ground rules for the meeting were that they would not offer any information, but would confirm or deny any information Paul ran by them. They confirmed that military exercises were going on in the area that evening and that a drone was part of the exercises.

They also told Paul that they had not yet been given permission (as of October, almost three months after the crash) to "check out" the military.

In an October 18, 1996, memo, Paul, in his inimical, cut-the-crap style, drew up a list of unanswered questions that no one else at CBS was asking, among them,

What was a sub hunter doing in the area?

Why was a missile cruise ship on patrol in the area?

Why did the Pentagon deny military presence in the area that night?

Why was the FBI involved from day one when normal procedure is to have the NTSB determine cause?

How do you write off the findings of missile experts who stated what the witnesses saw was consistent with a missile?

How is it that no military personnel that were in the area (P-3 Orion, USS Normandy) saw anything when civilians saw a lot?

Shouldn't we question the effectiveness of our defense if two high-tech military units missed something that was in the sky that night?

Paul ended his memo with this: "In any investigation there is an evolution of suspects and scenarios. There is mere suspicion, reasonable suspicion, and finally probable cause. All three scenarios (malfunction, explosive device, missile) cannot all be equal. After three months, one scenario must be the frontrunner. As of now, the malfunction is not logical and I believe never was; the explosive device on the plane is not being supported by the evidence although I believe still very possible, leaving only the missile scenario which includes witnesses which will never go away." Those last six words were prophetic, as even now, the witnesses hang around this officially closed investigation like skeletons that won't stay in the closet.

Besides an endless lineup of the logical sources -- eyewitnesses, scientists, law enforcement, medical personnel, airport personnel, etc., I was talking to other reporters. Most journalists hate to share, but on a huge story like this, pooling resources with solid reporters is, I think, a good idea. In his stories, veteran print reporter David Hendrix at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California, was asking the same questions as I, so I called him. He had some very good military sources who gave him information he was willing to pass along, as well as a few technical experts he was willing to share. David introduced me to cop-turned-journalist Jim Sanders and brought me one step closer to my day of reckoning at CBS.

Like me, Jim Sanders was inadvertently sucked into this story. His wife, Elizabeth, happened to work for TWA training flight attendants and was hearing all kinds of strange rumors. She and her colleagues asked Jim to look into them. Jim eventually hooked up with David Hendrix and a stunning source known to me at the time as "Hangarman." The only thing I knew about Hangarman was that he was an investigator inside the Calverton hangar (where the remains of Flight 800 were collected) who was so troubled by what he saw going on in there that he started talking to Sanders and smuggling out documents for him to peruse.

Hangarman had smuggled out a copy of the downed plane's debris field that undercut assertions that the center wing tank was the site of the "initiating event" that caused the plane to explode. He'd also sent a copy of the NTSB "Chairman's Briefing/Status Report," dated November 15, 1996, in which Chairman James Hall directs Ron Schleede, deputy director of the NTSB's Office of Aviation Safety, to write a letter for his boss, Bernard Loeb, to sign. The purpose of the letter was eyebrow raising: "The letter will reference," Hall wrote, "the [FAA] technician [not identified by name] who did the analysis resulting in conflicting radar tracks that indicated a missile. It will also inquire why that information was reported to the White House and sent to the FAA Technical Center before the Safety Board was given access to the data." The letter was sent to Mr. David F. Thomas of the FAA's Office of Accident Investigation. It contained a paragraph outlining an interesting sequence of events:

... during the first few hours after the accident, some FAA personnel made a preliminary assessment that recorded ATC [air traffic control] radar data showed primary radar hits that indicated the track of a high-speed target that approached and merged with TWA 800. One of your staff called our office about 0930 on July 8 [sic, the actual date is July 18], 1996 to advise us of the preliminary assessment of the radar data by FAA personnel, suggesting that a missile may have hit TWA 800. This preliminary assessment was passed on to other government officials, including White House officials. After the Safety Board received the ATC radar and reviewed it, it was determined that the preliminary assessment of FAA staff was incorrect.

With that, Bernard Loeb told the FAA that the NTSB's analysis trumped the FAA's. Then came a bit of strong-arming: "We understand that FAA official [sic] now agree [this part is underlined in pen or pencil] with the Safety Board's determination .... I would appreciate it if you could verify that all specialists and/or managers involved in the preliminary radar analyses fully agree that there is no evidence within the FAA ATC radar data of a track that would suggest a high-speed target merged with TWA 800." If smoke wasn't coming out of Thomas's ears when he read the part where Loeb tells him to get all the FAA experts to discredit themselves and get in line behind the NTSB's experts, surely he was fuming after reading Loeb's next request: "I would also appreciate an explanation about how the preliminary incorrect assessment occurred, so that potential public or media inquiries can be handled in an accurate and consistent manner." So not only did Loeb want Thomas to get his experts to back up the NTSB whether they wanted to or not, he wanted Thomas to provide him with an explanation as to why the FAA experts screwed up, so that Loeb could announce it to the world. In his January 9, 1997, response to Loeb's letter, Thomas refused to roll over completely. He said that he could not confirm that all the FAA personnel involved in the early radar analysis agreed with the NTSB's assessment. On a more conciliatory note, Thomas did say that "The assessment by the FAA Technical Center indicated that the likelihood of a missile was remote," but he qualified this statement by adding, "It must be noted, however, that FAA air traffic radar is designed to detect and monitor aircraft, not high-speed missiles, so any conclusions based on this review must consider the technical limits of the radar."

Network TV coverage of this exchange of letters conveyed the impression that the FAA technician had used bad judgment and flown off the handle too fast when he fired off his memo to the White House. The Loeb/Thomas letters were the prevailing images used. The "missile" part of Loeb's letter was highlighted and excerpted and was followed by the excerpted and highlighted "remote possibility" line in Thomas's response. The coverage bolstered the NTSB's position and discredited the FAA. Mainstream media wrapped up the whole episode in a nice, neat package, even though any journalist with half-decent instincts could tell there was more digging to be done on the radar issue.
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am


Around the time Sanders was receiving Hangarman's documents, the Pierre Salinger affair broke. A former White House press secretary and network correspondent, Salinger announced to the world on November 8, 1996, that he'd received documents from French intelligence proving that a US Navy missile had accidentally downed the jetliner. That same day, the FBI's Jim Kallstrom called a press conference to deny Salinger's allegations. When the conference began, he was flanked by Rear Admiral Edward K. Kristensen (the NTSB's Jim Hall was late) and surrounded by a phalanx of other secret service and military personnel. Kallstrom rattled off a prepared speech, and then it was time for questions. A man raised his hand and asked what I thought was a pertinent -- and impertinent -- question. He wanted to know why the navy was involved in the recovery and investigation while a possible suspect. Kallstrom's response was immediate: "Remove him!" he yelled. Two men leapt over to the questioner and grabbed him by the arms. There was a momentary chill in the air after the guy had been dragged out of the room. Kallstrom, Kristensen, Hall, and their entourage acted as if nothing had happened. There was something very disquieting about the goonish tactics. A dispassionately dismissive response from Kallstrom would have been a more convincing way to tell us that the navy had nothing to do with the disaster. In any case, right then and there, the rest of us had been put on notice to be on our best behavior.

The conference continued. Admiral Kristensen explained that the navy had only two assets in the area that night: a P-3 Orion submarine-hunting plane 80 miles south of the crash and the missile cruiser Normandy about 185 miles southwest. He was repeating the Defense Department's statement made moments after the explosion. The admiral was either misinformed or lying. This would become evident as time went on.

Both the P-3 Orion and the Normandy were capable of electronically tracking any object that may have hit the plane prior to its exploding. But by alleged unfortunate coincidence, neither did, according to the navy. Admiral Kristensen said at the press conference that at that time, the Normandy was conducting "basic engineering casualty control exercises," so the ship's radar was put on low power and couldn't pick up anything past the 150-mile range. Journalist Dave Hendrix scrutinized the Normandy's ship log, which, he reported in The Press-Enterprise, "notes every fluctuation on fog, speed, equipment change and on-board exercise" [italics mine]' The log, Hendrix wrote, "records no exercise or radar reduction that night." Indeed, on that day from noon to midnight the information recorded on the log is routine stuff, like "c.o. [commanding officer] on the bridge," "c.o. off the bridge," and "observed sunset energized nav [navigational] lights." There is absolutely no mention of a "basic engineering casualty control exercise." So again, what we have here is either a lie or a gross oversight on the part of the ship personnel keeping the log and the ship commander who signed off on it. Either prospect is disquieting.

Flight 800 crashed off the coast of Rep. Michael Forbes's (R-NY) district. His constituents called in droves after the disaster, putting intense pressure on him to find out what happened. Forbes told his then-chief of staff, Kelly O'Meara, to look into it. A few weeks after the Kallstrom/Hall/Kristensen press conference, O'Meara met with three FBI agents. She asked them if there had been any submarines in the area when Flight 800 crashed. Their response was to ask her if she had top security clearance. She didn't so they refused to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, a paper trail of conflicting information flowed into Kelly O'Meara's office from official military sources. In a December 1996 letter to Congressman Forbes, the Navy Department wrote that the P-3 Orion "had flown directly over TWA" [italics mine] just before the explosion and "dropped sonobuoys during a training portion of the flight." In February 1997, the Defense Department's general counsel's office wrote that the P-3 "was flying on a routine training flight approximately 55 miles southeast of the site" [italics mine].

... 55 individual division and branch chiefs in the Clandestine Services.
-- The Inspector General's Survey of the Cuban Operation, by Lyman B. Kirkpatrick

Allen Dulles's identification card from the Office of Strategic Services.
-- Princeton University Library

Hitler became the DAP's 55th member and received the number 555, as the DAP added '500' to every member's number to exaggerate the party's strength.
-- Nazi Party, by Wikipedia

Hitler's 55th birthday Swastika Stamp MNH.

The so-called "55th Brigade," a military force consisting primarily of Arabs under Syrian and Saudi commanders, was based outside of Kabul and was trained, maintained and paid for by al Qaeda. It "provided crucial support to Taliban forces during offensives against the Northern Alliance over the past five years." ... According to some reports, these al Qaeda fighters were the most aggressive and ideologically committed forces available to the Taliban leadership, and were used to control other Taliban units.
-- Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzales

[T]he test-shot envelope containing three test bullets fired on June 6, presented as Exhibit 55 at the trial, bore the serial number of a different gun.
-- Who Killed Bobby?, by Shane O'Sullivan

[T]he lower world of Abraxas is characterized by five, the number of natural man (the twice-five rays of his star).
-- The Red Book, by C.G. Jung

Nearly a year after the crash, the general counsel's office reported, "the Navy has confirmed that there were no submarines [my italics] in the vicinity of the TWA Flight 800 crash site at the time of the crash. Only two submarines were operating north of the Virginia Capes Operating Area at the time. These submarines were operating approximately 107 and 138 [my italics] miles from the crash site." So, according to official sources, at 185 nautical miles away the Normandy was in the vicinity, and at 107 and 138 miles away, respectively, the subs weren't. The same report upgraded the P-3's "routine training flight" to being "en route to operations with the USS Trepang," the sub that was 107 miles from the crash site. Later on, it would be discovered that there were more military assets that were much closer. The point here is to show you how information is twisted and turned, how contradictory information is disseminated at different times to create confusion, how lasting misimpressions are manufactured, and how ultimately the truth gets buried under mountains of "information."

O'Meara's most spectacular find with respect to military assets in the immediate area when Flight 800 went down would come around two years later, after she'd been pressured out of her job and had started working as an investigative reporter for the Washington Time's Insight magazine. The NTSB had previously released radar information that focused on a 20-nautical-mile circle centered on the crash site. According to O'Meara's September 20, 1999, article for Insight, this information "was the basis of the FBI's conclusion that there was little air or naval traffic in the selected area at the time of the crash." But now, O'Meara had received additional radar data from the NTSB which encompassed a larger perimeter. Just outside the 20-mile nautical circle the NTSB had previously released was a stunning sight: " ... between the perimeters of a 22-nautical-mile circle and a 35 nautical mile circle," O'Meara reported, "a concentration of a large number of radar blips appears to be moving into a well known military warning area closed to civilian and commercial traffic." This warning area, known as W-105, "was activated for military exercises along with several other warning areas along the Atlantic coast," she added. When activated for military use, these areas are off-limits to nonmilitary vessels like commercial and pleasure craft.

Months before O'Meara's article was published, the National Transportation Safety Board's radar analysts had identified the tracks of four surface vessels that were within a six-mile radius of the jetliner when it exploded. The closest vessel is now known as the "30-knot track."

In his "Independent Interim Report Regarding Some Anomalies within the Official Crash Investigation of TWA Flight 800," independent investigator and physicist Dr. Tom Stalcup explained why. By the way, Stalcup and his associates were the only independent investigators that NTSB Chairman Jim Hall ever met with (Stalcup told me Hall offered him a job during the meeting on August 22, 2000) to answer questions. In his report, Stalcup wrote,

1. [The 30-knot track was] confirmed a surface vessel by the FBI [Lewis D. Schiliro, acting director in charge, FBI, in a letter to Rep. James Traficant] and NTSB [Radar Data Group Chairman Charlie Pereira, in recorded phone conversation with Tom Stalcup (1998)], it was in the area ... moments before the debris began to fall. It left the scene at 30 knots (35 MPH) rather than assisting with search and rescue. [This is illegal as per maritime law; Federal Code Title 46, Section 2304 "Duty to Provide Assistance at Sea."]

2. Its [the 30-knot track] position just before F800's breakup is consistent with the origin of "flare" type object, which rose from the ocean surface, according to eyewitnesses.

3. Its speed (30 knots) and direction (away from the accident scene and land) are inconsistent with the many citizen mariners who sailed to the area to aid in the search and rescue effort. [The question here is, why was this ship leaving the scene at a fast clip when even citizens in pleasure craft were rushing to the scene?]

4. To date, this vessel has not been identified by the FBI or NTSB as stated in the following letter from Lewis D. Schiliro, Acting Assistant Director in Charge, FBI.

Stalcup goes on to quote Schiliro's response to Rep. James Traficant's question in an April 1998 letter about whether or not the FBI had positively identified all the aircraft and vessels near the flight that evening. Schiliro's response came three months later: "No ... in January 1997, the FBI first noted the presence of a surface vessel ... between 25 and 35 knots .... Despite extensive efforts, the FBI has been unable to identify this vessel."

After Schiliro wrote to Traficant, Accuracy In Media's Reed Irvine had this phone conversation with FBI task force chief James Kallstrom about the 30-knot track:

Irvine: Hey, the Bureau [FBI] just sent Traficant a letter saying they couldn't identify three vessels that were in the vicinity for privacy reasons -- come on.

Kallstrom: Well, yeah. Well, we all know what those were. In fact, I even spoke about those publicly.

Irvine: What were they?

Kallstrom: They were navy vessels that were on classified maneuvers.

Irvine: What about the one that went racing out to sea at 30 knots?

Kallstrom: That was a helicopter.

Irvine: On the surface?

Kallstrom: Well, between you and I, the conventional wisdom was, although it's probably not totally provable [emphasis mine], that it was a helicopter.

In one brief" doublespeak" exchange, Kallstrom went from saying the 30-knot track" was a helicopter," to "it's probably not totally provable" that it was a helicopter. Meanwhile, Schiliro, Kallstrom's successor, had already told Congressman Traficant that it was a surface vessel, but that the FBI hadn't figured out what kind of vessel it was. It's troubling that these two top dogs in the FBI couldn't get their stories straight. But it's even more disturbing that they couldn't identify the "30-knot track." If they're telling the truth, it says something pretty unsettling about our top law enforcement and military agencies' capabilities. It says that they are incompetent beyond our wildest nightmares and that we are extremely vulnerable to attack. Frankly, I hope they're lying on this one.

Even though the "30-knot track" has still not been identified, Kallstrom has long since assured the American people that no stone has been left unturned. If you ask me, this sure as hell is an unturned stone. In fact, it's been so pointedly ignored that the stone has turned into a boulder in the minds of those paying attention. It should be noted here, too, that O'Meara received the additional radar information almost two years after the NTSB publicly released the original radar data as Exhibit 13A of the "Aircraft Performance Group Chairman's Factual Report" at a hearing in Baltimore. She received it on a disk that, she reported, had "the complete [italics mine] database of Exhibit 13A." Here again, it seems that in December 1997 the NTSB used the classic "sin of omission" maneuver to lie to the public about what was out there that night. The radar information released at the Baltimore hearing was cut off right when it got really interesting. This is the kind of stuff that anyone even halfheartedly digging into this story runs into on a regular basis. The lesson here -- and I'm going to repeat it over and over in this essay -- is that on sensitive stories you can't trust official sources.
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am


This is going to be a brief section, but I just had to include it because it shows just how outrageous the lying gets. Shortly after TWA Flight 800's demise, the Pentagon assured the public that all missiles in the US arsenal were accounted for, implying that friendly fire was out of the question. Of course, no one asked how this was done, and done so fast. The answer is it wasn't, and it couldn't have been. There are hundreds of military facilities around the country, and each and every one would have to have been contacted to begin the process. Plus, missiles are constantly being moved around, so even an approximate accounting of the entire arsenal in America would have been difficult. Counting US missiles overseas would have been an even bigger problem. On his way to the crash site on July 17, Jim Kallstrom expressed concern about American missile stocks that weren't accounted for after the Gulf War. And what about all those missiles we gave to the Afghan rebels and then tried to buy back from them -- with little or no success? Two months after Flight 800 exploded, the General Accounting Office put out a report entitled "Inventory Management: Vulnerability of Sensitive Defense Material to Theft." Here's part of what's written in the "Results in Brief" section of the report: "Discrepancies still exist between records of the number of missiles and our physical count. Also, the missiles may be vulnerable to insider theft because DOD is not always selecting a representative sample of containers to be opened during maintenance checks. In addition, some facilities are not fully complying with DOD physical security requirements." Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn't it? When the Pentagon stepped up to the microphone and announced that all their missiles were present and accounted for, they didn't really mean it. What they were really saying to the public and the press was, "Don't go there."
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:00 am


While I was sifting through the reports Paul Ragonese was bringing in from his law enforcement sources on the scene and trying to figure out who was telling the truth and who was lying, Dan Rather was talking to the press about the Salinger situation. Rather told New York Times reporter Matthew Purdy that when the story broke, he decided to lead with it "primarily to knock it down." "I'll never cease to be amazed how a rumor takes off like mildew in a damp basement," Rather continued, adding that there was "quite considerable evidence that it didn't happen."

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Rather. He bears the extreme pressure of being CBS News' living logo with great grace for a man of his intensity. When I produced for him, he was quintessentially professional and easy to work with. So I wince when I say this: To my mind, his remarks were out of line. At the time, there was no considerable evidence of any kind, although a large number of eyewitnesses were raising eyebrows about seeing "flare-like" objects going up to meet the plane. Even the FBI was still publicly looking into a possible missile hit. Without a doubt, Salinger's rushing to the press with a statement he couldn't back up was incredibly irresponsible, and he got what he deserved. Rather's comments were just plain inappropriate. When he made them, he (purposely or inadvertently) took off his journalist's hat and became a communications officer for the government. It wouldn't be the last time.

During the first weeks following the Flight 800's demise, there was a great deal of coverage about evidence of a high-pressure explosive force -- either a bomb or a missile -- causing the jet to blow up. Indeed, the coverage was going in the same direction as the FBI. The New York Times was printing headlines like "Jet's Landing Gear Is Said to Provide Evidence of a Bomb," July 31, 1996), "Fuel Tank's Condition Makes Malfunction Seem Less Likely" (August 14, 1996), and "FBI Says 2 Labs Found Traces of Explosive on TWA Jetliner" (August 24, 1996). But by September, the press was turning around to the new government line, no questions asked. "New Focus on Malfunctions in Inquiry on TWA Crash," read a New York Times September 19, 1996, headline.

What's fascinating about this is how the same paper first prints a series of reports talking about hard evidence the investigators have uncovered indicating that a mechanical failure was unlikely -- like "traces of explosives in the passenger cabin," "very heavy damage to the landing gear," and "portions of the fuel tank wreckage" being "virtually unscathed" -- and then turns around and writes a subsequent story that says, "The investigators acknowledge that they have no evidence pointing to a mechanical malfunction. Rather, they say, the failure to find proof of a bombing, after more than two months, lends indirect credence to another theory ... " Indirect credence to another theory!? What happened to the traces of explosives, etc., that you reported about earlier?

And that's another huge problem for you, the average citizen seeking good information from your newspaper or TV news broadcast. You probably didn't realize until you read this just how mutable the truth is. You probably didn't know that often what is reported today is the truth, until official sources change it later on. The new truth can be the exact opposite of what was reported before, and it will be reported, no questions asked. What was reported before no longer exists or matters because official sources, our nation's ministers of truth, say it doesn't. Go back and read George Orwell's 1984. It'll give you goose bumps.

This peculiar linking-together of opposites -- knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism -- is one of the chief distinguishing marks of Oceanic society. The official ideology abounds with contradictions even when there is no practical reason for them. Thus, the Party rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it chooses to do this in the name of Socialism. It preaches a contempt for the working class unexampled for centuries past, and it dresses its members in a uniform which was at one time peculiar to manual workers and was adopted for that reason. It systematically undermines the solidarity of the family, and it calls its leader by a name which is a direct appeal to the sentiment of family loyalty. Even the names of the four Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted -- if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently -- then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.

-- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), by George Orwell
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:00 am


While government officials were publicly assuring everyone that the investigation was well in hand and proceeding apace, insiders were saying otherwise. Paul Ragonese's NYPD source's statement, about "people running around touching stuff" at the Calverton hangar where the jetliner was being reconstructed, was later corroborated by an October 28, 1996, document from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General that investigative reporter John Kelly gave to me. The document contains a transcript of a telephone interview that Inspector Alison Murphy conducted with FBI Examiner Bill Tobin. Tobin talked about a memo he wrote that contained a paragraph about the "hysteria" at Calverton in the first months of the TWA investigation. Tobin told Murphy that he wrote that the NTSB "questioned the behavior of [the FBI's] Explosives Unit Examiner Tom Thurman, because they felt some of his behavior was unscientific and that he had acted inappropriately during parts of the investigation." Tobin described Thurman as "exhibiting storm trooper behavior." "At one point during the investigation," Tobin said to Murphy, "Thurman dug into passenger seats and proceeded to place fragments in pillboxes with no concern for trajectory." (Analyzing and recording the trajectories or directions the fragments came from would help investigators determine what caused the explosion that embedded them in the seats.) Later on, I got even more details about evidence being tainted at Calverton when Kelly O'Meara and I met with an FBI agent who told us that Kallstrom had a posse of agents (including Tom Thurman) who were running around the hangar picking up debris and literally banging it up to make it fit into boxes headed for the FBI lab in Washington. There, the agent told us, this "evidence" was to be used to support Kallstrom's bomb scenario. He also said that agents inside Calverton had taken to calling the FBI task force chief, Jim "It' s a Fucking Bomb" Kallstrom. Even more outrageous, the agent told us that FBI agent Ken Maxwell was giving visiting VIPs "missile tours" of the wreckage, ostensibly pointing out evidence of a missile hit.

But back to the altered, tainted, and missing evidence. On the NTSB side, senior investigator Hank Hughes's contemporaneous notes for his May 10, 1999, appearance before a senate judiciary committee hearing on "Administrative Oversight of TWA Flight 800," are even more mind-boggling:

1. ME's [Medical Examiner's] office -- [FBI agents at Medical Examiner's office] lacked organization and failed to establish chain of custody on clothing and particulate matter taken from ME staff. Didn't decontaminate same at Calverton.

2. Stowed blood-soaked passenger and crew clothing in refrigerator trailer contrary to universally accepted forensic procedure. Two months into the investigation the refrigerator trailer's refrigeration unit ran out of fuel and the contents of the trailer baked in 90 degree temperature for 2-1/2 days until the trailer was refueled and the refrigerator unit restarted. This resulted in mold cultures growing in the clothing and other potential evidence which had been stored in the trailer.

3. Took seat covers off without documenting where they came from. [In his testimony, Hughes said that "many, many seat covers -- there were 430 passenger seats and 21 crew seats -- had the seat covers removed and they were commingled in a dumpster. About two months into the investigation, I went to the dumpster with the assistance ... of an FBI agent ... and tried to sort out the materials in there. We found, in addition to the seat covers, actually seats that had been missing .... "]

4. Didn't x-ray seats in an organized manner. Missed several rows of seats. [Hughes's testimony regarding x-raying and chemical swabbing seats: "my team and I went to great pains to specifically tag the seats that had not been examined. Yet to this day [May 10, 1999], those tags are still there because they have not -- the FBI never went back and did a subsequent exam, either by chemical swab or x-ray examination."]

5. Chemical swabbing wasn't done on an on-going basis.

6. Parts were taken from the interior hangar by the FBI without on-scene FBI or NTSB staff being consulted or advised as to what was taken. [Hughes testimony: "Another problem that occurred, and it was recognized about two months into the investigation, was the disappearance of parts from the hangar .... We found that seats were missing and other evidence had been disturbed."] After NTSB complaint was lodged, FBI security caught two FBI agents in interior hangar in the early morning hours. FBI installed security cameras and the problem was eliminated.

7. West Coast agent [in his testimony, Hughes identified Ricky Hahn as the FBI agent] attempted to flatten pieces of wreckage.

8. Bomb techs did not document evidence in accordance with accepted procedures.

9. ERT [Evidence Recovery Team (FBI)] qualification in basic forensics very limited. Only four [out of thirty-two] of the ERTs were trained.

10. FBI declined to provide representation on investigative groups. [The NTSB's investigation was compartmentalized into a series of groups, i.e., the "Witness Group," the "Forensic Pathology/Medical Examiners Group," etc. The FBI, according to Hughes, did not have representatives in any of these groups. What Hughes is saying here is critical because although the NTSB was legally mandated to lead the government's investigation unless and until the FBI formally declared it a criminal investigation (which they never did), the fact is that the FBI took charge and controlled access to the most critical evidence. By not providing representation on investigative groups, the FBI essentially obstructed the NTSB's investigation.]

11. [FBI] Treatment of ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms] was unprofessional. Didn't use them [even though explosives investigations are ATF's forte].

12. Lack of biohazard training and improper use of equipment. Wouldn't let their people [meaning the FBI wouldn't let FBI agents] use NTSB equipment.

13. Apparent lack of coordination between FBI bomb tech, lab, and agents assigned to investigation.

14. Agents stuck knives and screw [sic, he probably means "screwdrivers"] into seat back [sic] which destroyed any chance of trajectory analysis.

15. FBI took charge of victim recovery but failed to use GPS [Global Positioning Satellite] fixes to verify recovery location.

16. An FBI agent, not associated with the activities in Calverton, brought an unauthorized psychic into the hangar in September.

Hughes also had this to say about the aforementioned FBI Explosives Unit Manager, Tom Thurman, his group, and what they were looking for: "Mr. Thurman's group basically got to the scene and when we started to assemble the parts and catalog them for later reconstruction, began to do the chemical screening and examination, looking for what they believed was an explosive device, you know, a bomb or a missile.... The problem was ... we [the NISB investigators] wanted to do it in a systematic organized way. Their job, from what I could see, was more of a shotgun approach .... It caused some problems and friction."

Hughes testified that the ratio of "FBI and other folks" to NTSB personnel was about one hundred to one. This, along with the information provided above and the fact that the FBI refused to share its firsthand eyewitness information with the NTSB, should leave no doubt that while the NTSB was, by law, supposed to be in charge of the investigation, it never really was.

One month after his damning testimony before the senate judiciary committee, Hughes provided even more striking evidence of the NTSB's backseat role in the investigation. Committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley wrote Hughes with one more question on behalf of committee member Sen. Strom Thurmond: Did Hughes talk to his NTSB superiors about the FBI's shenanigans? Hughes's answer was as forthright and brutal as his testimony:

I saw little positive action taken by the NTSB to address these problems. In my opinion, we (NTSB) had a serious leadership problem during the course of the investigation. One of many examples of this was vice chairman's Robert Francis's absence on a daily basis from all daily investigative progress meetings .... I have participated in over 110 major transportation accident investigations while with the NTSB and the TWA 800 investigation is the only one in which the NTSB board member in charge was never available to the investigative staff.

But Hughes didn't stop there: "During the course of the on-scene investigation, which lasted over a 15-plus month period, the NTSB vice chairman in charge of the NTSB investigation not only never showed up for daily investigative progress meetings, he gave away the Safety Board's authority, to [sic] without, to my knowledge, consulting the staff or the headquarters managers. It is easy to see how the FBI just resorted to their usual modus operandi of taking charge even if they didn't know what they were getting into."

The FBI and the NTSB were at loggerheads from day one of the investigation, but the press didn't pay much attention to this crucial detail. There was little cooperation and a lot of compartmentalizing going on. The guys with the guns were really in charge, controlling key evidence, even though legally, they weren't supposed to be.
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:00 am


I had started talking to Jim Sanders after David Hendrix introduced us and told Sanders he could trust me. As a result, CBS was the first network to receive a copy of the documents smuggled out of the Calverton hangar. Since my executive producer, Linda Mason, had told me to offer all new information to CBS Evening News first, I took the stack of papers consisting of a copy of the debris field and some other documents (including the NTSB "Chairman's Briefing/Status Report" of November 15, 1996) to Northeastern Bureau Chief Bill Felling. I also gave Felling a copy of a lab report Sanders had sent to me which detailed the analysis of red residue found on some of the jetliner's seats. Sanders was soon to become an international figure by announcing that the analysis showed that the elements in the residue were consistent with those in solid rocket missile fuel.

CBS Law Enforcement Consultant Paul Ragonese and I had met with Felling to talk about what we'd uncovered so far. First, there was the fact that an investigator on the inside was leaking documents to Sanders because he felt something fishy was going on. The debris field documents were among them and were interesting because they showed what fell off first and where it landed. Since what is hit first usually falls off first, it raised questions about where the initiating event had occurred. Paul told Felling about his secret meeting with the FBI task force members who had told him that there were military exercises going on out there that night and that a drone had been involved. Felling asked Ragonese if his sources would be willing to come forward. I could practically hear what Ragonese was thinking (What? Is this guy stupid, or what?), but he calmly told Felling that this would not be possible because these guys would not only lose their jobs, but even worse things could happen to them. Meanwhile, Felling didn't seem too interested in the documents I'd handed to him.

When Jim Sanders was ready to go public with his "residue" story, he gave The Press-Enterprise, David Hendrix's paper, the print scoop and me the TV scoop. CBS was going to be the first TV network to tell the story of an independent investigator who claimed he'd been given evidence of a missile hitting TWA 800 from "Hangarman," a government investigator inside Calverton.

Since I "got" him, I interviewed Sanders. Sanders has a cheery manner of presenting things, and I couldn't help wondering during the interview if this man realized what he was doing. I remember, too, that an associate producer from my documentary unit had sat in on my interview with Sanders. Afterward, she told me that he gave her the creeps. I was taken aback by her remark but thought that maybe she was put off by the fact that he lacked some kind of title that would make him a more "legitimate" source. Personally, I was feeling a twinge of worry for the guy. To me, it looked like he was headed for big trouble after engaging in what I felt was either an act of courage or of supreme folly. Today, I realize it was an act of courage.

My interview with Sanders was in the can, and the documents he'd given me were on Felling's desk, yet no one at Evening News was using the material to put a story together. I couldn't figure out why, and I was getting antsy as other networks were calling him. Out of desperation, I finally did something very politically incorrect in any corporate environment. I burst into a morning meeting of news executives sitting in the glass-encased conference room of the Evening News "fishbowl" and demanded to know why we weren't doing a story on Sanders and his documents. At the very least I felt that the fact that an NTSB investigator was smuggling documents out to him was newsworthy. As I stood there in front of a sea of white shirts, someone I didn't recognize looked at me and said, "you think it's a missile, don't you?" "I don't know what the hell it is," I shot back, "but don't you think we should be doing a story that asks a few questions about this guy and his documents?" The silence that followed was deafening. I couldn't believe it. When I'd walked in there, I genuinely thought that there had been some major oversight and that I was helping to correct it at a level where it could be corrected immediately. Their response told me otherwise. I walked out of there feeling like I'd cooked my own goose. As I headed down a hallway back to my office, one of the Evening News producers ran after me. She introduced herself and said that she had some good sources who were talking about friendly fire. I don't remember the rest of our conversation because my head was vibrating, but we had a few conversations after that, and it was clear she felt that the issue was worth looking into, but dangerous to a reporter's career. Obviously, she had better survival instincts than I.

Meanwhile, the story was getting very hot and other networks were clamoring for Sanders, so I was forced to give up CBS's exclusive and tell him he could go elsewhere for airtime. Of course, the minute word hit the fishbowl that the other networks were booking Sanders, Felling called me to ask me if I could bring him in again. Controlling my anger, I told him I'd try, but Sanders was already in NBC's clutches. I marched down to the fishbowl, and in front of all the producers yelled out to Felling: "We've lost him to NBC!" He just looked at me and shrugged: "So (as in so what)?" Unfortunately, I couldn't hide my contempt as I turned on my heel and went back to my office.

But CBS could no longer avoid the Sanders story. Felling called and asked me if I could get photographs of the red residue. Sanders FedExed them to me, and I gave them to Felling. That day, I went down to Felling's office to talk to him about the story and remind him of the Sanders interview that we had in the can. As I walked in, Felling was on the phone with David Caravello, a producer in the Washington bureau. Felling signaled me to get on the phone extension to hear what Caravello was saying. I picked up right when an irate Caravello was telling Felling that Sanders wasn't credible and that he wasn't going to give him any airtime. I should have known. Caravello was producing for correspondent Bob Orr who had told me earlier that his top Pentagon contacts had assured him that the US military had nothing to do with TWA 800's demise and that it looked like a mechanical malfunction was responsible.

I couldn't help feeling that Orr was invested in the mechanical malfunction theory because he didn't want to contradict the sources that he depended on to do his job. I couldn't blame him. In the hard and fast TV news business, quick access to top sources is a bottom line.

After hanging up from Caravello, I turned to Felling and told him that I thought the Sanders story should be done with a New York correspondent. For Orr to do a story that might rile his Pentagon sources would, I told Felling, be the equivalent of him "shitting in his own nest." We could run two tracks on this story, I told him, the official Washington track and the New York track that raised more sensitive questions. Felling just looked at me and smiled a weak smile. What I realized later was that there was no way CBS was going to air a story that would rile the Pentagon. Silly me.

CBS used a classic avoidance tactic to keep Sanders off the air while reporting his side of the story. On the Evening News, Dan Rather, reading off of a teleprompter, told America about Sanders's allegations. Rather's narration continued while the camera cut to a photo of the residue that Sanders had provided. Then it was time for the FBI's response to the allegations. The FBI's TWA 800 task force chief, James Kallstrom, appeared live. Looming large in a big-screen image, Kallstrom told Dan that the red residue was glue. The fact is, Kallstrom lied to Rather, and Rather bought it hook, line, and sinker. Without one follow-up question, not even one asking how it could be that Sanders was able to get a piece of evidence from the hangar where security was supposed to be so tight, Rather thanked Kallstrom and moved on to the next story.

Shortly thereafter, Sanders wanted to know if I wanted a sample of the seat foam with residue on it so CBS could have it tested and report the results. He still trusted me, and I still hadn't given up on the network, so I told him that I'd ask around and get back to him. I called Felling and asked him if CBS Evening News was interested. He told me he'd get back to me. He called back and said no. Given my previous dealings with him, I wasn't surprised, so I didn't ask why. I went up to 60 Minutes (I was already developing some stories for them) and offered it to Senior Producer Josh Howard. I warned him that a federal grand jury had been convened to deal with legal transgressions connected to the TWA 800 investigation, including evidence being "stolen" (which is how the feds viewed the residue samples sent to Sanders) from the hangar. Howard wasn't fazed. "We've dealt with grand juries before," he said. I was elated. In the world of news, 60 Minutes, I told him, was the "last broadcast with balls."

With Howard's permission (which he more recently told me he didn't recall giving to me, although he does recall getting the sample) in hand, I called Sanders, and he FedExed the sample to me. The minute it arrived I took it to Howard's office and put it in his desk for safekeeping until I could locate a lab. A couple of days later, my beeper went off. I dialed the phone number indicated. It was my executive producer, Linda Mason. She sounded a little rattled. She said the FBI wanted to talk to me about some stolen evidence and that she told them I didn't have any. "Linda, we need to talk," I said.

In her office, I told Linda about the sample in Howard's desk. I told her that I'd given it to him after Felling had declined to take it. She told me that Felling had spoken to CBS's lawyer, Jonathan Sternberg, and he had advised against accepting it. Felling hadn't said a word to me about consulting with CBS counsel, but I wasn't surprised he'd kept that information to himself. We weren't exactly on the friendliest terms. I won't go into the rest of my conversation with Linda because she asked me to keep it confidential. She sent me up to see Sternberg, who told me that the government's lawyer, Valerie Caproni, was anxious to have me testify before her grand jury in Brooklyn about what I knew about Sanders's inside source, "Hangarman." The government was desperate to find out who he was. I had no idea who Hangarman was, although I would have given my right arm to know (although not for the purpose of telling the feds). Sanders had refused to tell me. Sternberg managed to convince Caproni that I wasn't the canary she was looking for. Linda arranged to return the sample to the feds, where it disappeared forever. I was deeply disappointed.

So just what was that red residue? To this day, I can't say for certain. But I can say this: physicist Tom Stalcup oversaw the same test on the glue named by the feds (after soaking it in sea water from the same area where the jetliner went down) that Sanders performed on the residue. The results are clearly different: the glue -- a specific 3M brand adhesive (Scotch Grip 1357) -- contains no silicon (a common solid rocket fuel ingredient), while Sanders's sample contains 15 percent silicon. The 3M adhesive contains only trace amounts of calcium (the pyrotechnic that provides the burn when mixed with oxygen-providing perchlorate) -- 0.0220, while Sanders's sample contains 12 percent calcium. The 3M adhesive contains trace amounts of aluminum (aluminum powder fuels rockets) -- 0.0065, while Sanders's sample contains 2.8 percent aluminum. Other elements found in Sanders's sample were undetected in the 3M adhesive.

With the comparative test results in hand, Dr. Stalcup called the National Transportation Safety Board to inform them of his results. He spoke directly with their scientist in charge of chemical testing, Dr. Merrit Birky. Dr. Birky said he had not compared the adhesive with Sanders's sample because if they didn't match, "Well, you're not going to put the thing to bed." When Stalcup told me about this conversation, I couldn't help thinking about how the American public had not only paid for the investigation of TWA 800, but for the cover-up, too.

One final note about the residue and explosives: NTSB investigator aka "Hangarman," Terrell Stacey, told Sanders that the residue was found on seats in rows seventeen through nineteen. Interestingly, these rows were among the rows (fifteen through twenty-five) where the FBI admitted that traces of explosives PETN and RDX had been found. The FBI tried to explain away the explosives findings with a lie covered with a veneer of truth. They said that most likely those explosives were deposited there from a "spill" during a bomb-sniffing exercise carried out on the 747 when it was parked at the St. Louis airport a little more than a month before Flight 800's demise. Indeed, the 747 that was to become Flight 800 was parked at that airport. The lie here is that the bomb-sniffing exercise took place in the 747 that was Flight 800. Officer Herman Burnett of the St. Louis Police Department carried out the exercise in an empty TWA 747 jetliner. He told the FBI that he began the exercise at 11:45 AM and that it took him about another half hour -- until 12:15 PM -- to conduct the exercise and then take the dog and explosives off the plane. Burnett didn't note the tail number of the jetliner he had used, but according to TWA's records, the 747 at the St. Louis airport with the same tail number (17119) as the future TWA 800, left its gate at 12:35 PM with more than four hundred passengers on board. Big question: How do you load four hundred-plus passengers and crew along with their bags and food on an aircraft in just twenty minutes?
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Re: Into the Buzzsaw, by Kristina Borjesson

Postby admin » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:01 am


A few weeks after the FBI's visit to CBS, I received my walking papers. I'd been expecting them. The unexpected had occurred earlier, when the institutional buzzsaw that kills sensitive stories and eventually comes after the journalists trying to tell them had been revealed to me.

Law enforcement consultant Paul Ragonese eventually got his walking papers, too. Bill Felling's farewell comment to Ragonese was, "You and Kristina were wrong about TWA 800." Ragonese was replaced by none other than the FBI's TWA 800 task force chief, James Kallstrom.

Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Caravello ever thinks about his assessment of Jim Sanders as an uncredible source. By the time CBS had become aware of him, Sanders had penetrated the investigation more deeply than any other reporter in America. The feds came down hard on him for it too. They illegally obtained his e-mails from AOL and then dragged his wife (because she had contacted NTSB investigator Terrell Stacey for her husband on a couple of occasions) and him to court, hanging threats of long prison sentences over their heads for coercing Stacey into sending Sanders the residue sample. The residue was evidence "stolen" from a federal investigation, and Stacey, who had nabbed it, wasn't the guilty one, it was that evil Sanders guy and his crafty wife who had cajoled him into taking it. Stacey testified against Sanders.

All journalists should take very careful note of what happened to James Sanders and his wife. If it could happen to them, it could happen to you and your spouse or loved one.

After leaving CBS, I wanted nothing more to do with TWA 800. I wasn't sure I wanted to have anything more to do with journalism either. But my phone was ringing off the hook. Reporters -- from Current Affair to the BBC -- wanted to talk to me about what happened at CBS. I refused to talk about that, but I did invite one Japanese journalist to come to my house and review my documents because he seemed genuinely interested in investigating the crash. While sifting through my papers, Yoichiro Kawai kept telling me that I should contact Congressman Mike Forbes's chief of staff, Kelly O'Meara. I kept smiling and saying yes, but thinking that I'd be damned if I was going to call some government flak to "share." From where I was sitting, the government was doing a great job of keeping a lid on any real information about TWA 800. A few days after Yoichiro's visit, Kelly O'Meara called me.
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