TWA Flight 800: The cover-up begins to unravel
Geoff Metcalf interviews producer Jack Cashill on latest developments in airline crash

On the evening of July 17, 1996, at 8:19 p.m., TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, took off from Kennedy Airport, bound for Paris, France. At 8:31 p.m., over 730 people watched Flight 800 explode, killing all 230 of the people aboard. Not long afterwards, millions of Americans watched their televisions in stunned horror as search and rescue crews looked for survivors among the flaming debris. Only dead bodies were recovered.

Flight 800 is mostly an ugly memory for people these days. The U.S. government issued an explanation that a fuel tank had somehow exploded. Yet, they flatly denied any evidence existed of foul play, including the possibility that Flight 800 had been blown out of the air by a missile.

Today, Geoff Metcalf interviews Jack Cashill about previously undisclosed issues surrounding the production of "Silenced: Flight 800 and The Subversion of Justice," and looks into recent and fascinating events in this still developing story of deceit and cover-up.

By Geoff Metcalf

Question: Jack, I took a lot of heat for the interview I did with Christine Negroni -- which was basically a defense of the "official" story.

Answer: "Deadly Departure" was the book.

Q: Yeah -- and I'm still getting hate mail over it.

A: And you deserve it.

Q: I really don't think so. My argument at the time was, we have heard the government story that flies in the face of what anybody with two brain cells could clearly see. I had her on after we talked with Bill Donaldson and Jim Sanders. And there is an overwhelming abundance of facts that suggests the official story is a dog that just won't hunt.

A: In fact, of all the would-be conspiracies you mentioned -- the whole litany of them to Foster's suicide, et cetera -- this is the most obvious, spectacular and brazen of them all. The most brazen cover up I have ever seen. It is also the most easily unraveled case of the lot.

Q: What is so fascinating is that in the alleged government investigation, they specifically excluded any facts that contradicted their preconceived opinion. Eyewitnesses? They didn't care if the guy spent 30 years in the Air Force or Navy. Residue? They didn't want to hear about that -- that doesn't count, they weren't going to look at that. And they just selectively cherry picked. One thing I want you to talk about is the creative writing that went into that fabrication that the CIA did -- talk about that silly animation?

A: In fact, that is a critical item. I recently got off the phone with the wife of the one man who holds the key to this whole investigation. This was not known until a few months ago -- and it was not seen until the video. This is such a visual topic that you really have to see it. That's why this video is so critical. I mean all of the hard work over the years that has been done by Commander Donaldson and Jim Sanders. What we did here was put it all together.

The centerpiece of the defense of the mechanical theory -- the theory that the plane just blew up -- was the CIA animation, as you know, Geoff. They began working on that within four or five months of the crash and presented it to the world -- one time only, in November of 1997 -- almost a year and a half after the crash ...

Q: ... the amazing thing is, they actually did it with a straight face.

A: They did it with a straight face and the really disturbing thing is the American media rolled over. Never asked any questions. I have yet to meet the pilot or aviation expert who thought that the scenario that they created was conceivable. What they said was that the witnesses, the 736 official eyewitnesses, didn't see a missile -- or two missiles -- what they saw was a "plane in crippled flight."

What they argued happened is that the nose of the plane just sort of spontaneously blew off and then the plane tilted back, turned into a rocket and ascended about 3,500 more feet from its original altitude of about 13,800 up to about 17,200. And that brief ascension confused all the eyewitnesses along the Long Island shore -- many of whom were seasoned ...

Q: ... or Dwight Brumley, a 20 year Navy veteran ...

A: ... or Fritz Meyer and Chris Bauer. Fritz Meyer -- earned the Distinguished Flying Cross -- who rescued pilots over North Vietnam. That confused him into thinking it was a missile? Critical to this -- and I think this is the most revealing part of the video -- I think anyone who watches this five minute segment will be convinced of the most brazen cover-up in American history. And I'm not overstating it.

And, that is the case of Mike Wire. Mike Wire is the union millwright from Philadelphia. He's a mechanic who was working on the Beach Lane Bridge in Westhampton, New York. He was taking a break from his duties -- stepped outside his little booth and standing at the bridge observing when he sees come off the beach and from behind a house what he takes to be a firework.

Q: From behind the house. That is a significant point!

A: It is a significant point. It comes up from a house just above the beach and he watches it ascend from behind the house -- ascend not only up, but out. And this is a critical thing. Everyone sees this object in three dimensions -- it's not just moving across the horizon, it's moving south and east. It was moving out and away and it was leaving a contrail that is looped and zigzagging, as he describes it. He watched it go up, and then it disappears -- another critical observation. Then, a few seconds later, he saw this huge, orange fireball in the sky and he watched the plane, fully consumed, drop out of the sky.

Q: So explain, please, why the Wire story is so crucial?

A: What is interesting about this, about Mike Wire's story -- I mean, there are at least 95 people who saw the same object come off the horizon, it's not unique in that -- what is unique about Mike Wire's story is, for some reason, the CIA chose to base its animation around his 302 [FBI witness statement] and directly from his perspective. So when you watch the CIA animation you're seeing it from where Mike Wire stood.

Q: However, you are not seeing what Mike Wire actually described he saw?

A: No. You're not seeing what he described, but you are seeing it from his perspective as though he described it.

Q: Explain the distinction and differences.

A: Here's what they did -- and this is the most amazing part of the whole story, the most obvious part of the whole story, that any major media person who listens to or reads this right now to get on the phone, right now, and call Mike Wire. He's in the phone book -- and he's happy to talk to you. What Mike Wire told the FBI when they called him immediately afterwards -- in fact his buddies told the FBI. He didn't call in himself. He's not a glory hound. He went back to Philadelphia. The FBI called him there and he told them what he saw. And they recorded it in a 302.

He said, I saw this thing come off the beach -- streaked out, zigzagged, white trail and so forth. And then, just a few days later, the FBI in Philadelphia comes to him at his home and interviews him. The FBI in Philadelphia was obviously not in on the game plan because they gave him a serious 90-minute interview -- and this is all documented. Mike Wire told them the same story: It came up from behind the house, zigzagged out in three dimensions, disappears, orange fireball.

Q: So how could the CIA animators get it so wrong?

A: When the CIA goes to create the animation, they look at Mike Wire's documents and they acknowledge -- and this is in their own supporting documentation -- that in his original FBI interview, he said the object came off the beach. But, they said, that couldn't have been right so the CIA -- in their own documents say -- we commissioned the FBI to go back and re-interview Mike Wire.

In this later interview, several months later, the FBI goes back to interview him and Mike Wire says, "You're right! I didn't see it come off the beach. I saw it about 20-degrees above the beach. That's where I first saw this." And that's the way it is narrated in the CIA animation -- this critical CIA animation that dispels all the witness tales -- from Mike Wire's perspective, with Mike Wire's altered testimony, upon his having a clearer head.

Q: What's the catch?

A: Here's the catch! And this is the critical catch -- and a stunning catch. The FBI never went back to talk to Mike Wire.

They made this whole story up! I don't know whether the FBI made it up or the CIA made it up -- but one of them fully concocted a brand-new story for Mike Wire and built the CIA animation around it.

Q: OK, Jack, is there an FBI 302 witness report on the alleged second interview?

A: That's an excellent question. I'm looking for that. I'm in the middle of writing a story specifically on Mike Wire right now and I'm looking for that documentation. I found the two earlier 302s -- the one phone interview 302 that was taken two or three days after the crash, and then the in-depth interview six days later. The CIA documentation refers to those 302s. However, I have not seen any other 302.

Q: Number one, if the missing report does not exist, it for sure blows a hole in the CIA version of events -- and, number two, if it does exist and the interview was never conducted that would constitute something that sure sounds like fraud?

A: I think that's a criminal act. Geoff, the interview was never conducted. Mike Wire is a straight, unassuming guy. Jim Sanders brought him out just recently to the Beach Lane Bridge -- the CIA never talked to him, the NTSB never talked to him. The CIA talked to no eyewitnesses -- in fact, neither did the NTSB except for a handful of military people.

We put him on the bridge and said, "Tell us what you saw." What he told us is exactly what he told the FBI the first two times. This guy is an artless guy. There's not an ounce of guile in his body. He served in the Army during Vietnam. He served two years in Korea. He worked on helicopters. He's just a good, straight-forward guy and it is very heartening to talk to him and his wife because there are an awful lot of reasons for them to not to want this story out.

Q: At least 96 other people saw the alleged missile come up off the horizon right?

A: Right.

Q: So why did they pick Mike Wire?

A: Well they've got 736 people. The great majority of them are affluent New York-based vacationers on Long Island -- with access to the media. Then, you've got one guy -- an unassuming guy, a Philadelphia millwright, union guy: Who are you going to pick? They picked Mike Wire. They almost picked the right person. It took him four years before he even found out he was involved in the CIA video animation.

Q: Mike is not the Lone Ranger. There are a couple of guys I want you to talk about. Dwight Brumley -- tell us about him?

A: Another fascinating case. I recently got an e-mail from Dwight. He had just watched the video. Dwight is a 20-year Navy veteran -- a technician. A guy with real skills and knowing compass readings and bearings and all that sort of stuff. He was flying in USAir 217 on the way to Providence and his plane was only about two or three miles above TWA 800. He sees this streak -- he describes it as either a streak or a flare -- nobody describes it as a missile. He sees it coming from his right to his left -- heading basically west and north.

Q: And again, that also is significant!

A: Totally significant. Because when the NTSB tried to humiliate them all -- and said that none of them saw what they saw -- they said the crippled plane was going west to east. What Dwight sees is going from east to west. It can't be! What he sees can not be a plane in crippled flight. It just transparently, totally cannot be.

He, like Mike Wire, loses track of it for a few seconds -- because rocket motors and missiles burn out and you lose track of them. That's what their own missile tests say. And because they lose track of them for that second, the guy at the NTSB hearing, David Mayer, said: Well, they couldn't have possibly seen it. Then BOOM -- three seconds later the whole plane blows up. They know exactly what they saw.

No one with any aviation experience whatsoever ever talked to Dwight Brumley. And he was the guy with perhaps the best position of virtually anyone, with the possible exception of the helicopter pilot, to observe what happened.

Q: The next man I'd like you to mention -- and please give us background on this dirt-bag -- Peter Goelz? Am I being too kind in referring to him as a dirt-bag?

A: No, it's an interesting description. I live in Kansas City and Peter is from Kansas City. I've known of Peter for years -- I've never met him that I know of because I've been involved in Republican politics and he's been involved in Democratic politics. He was always in the newspapers for one sleazy deal or another.

His last surfacing in Kansas City -- and this was where he apparently got his transportation skills -- was working as a lobbyist for the utterly corrupt river-boat gaming interests that were trying to buy their way into Missouri politics, and succeeded. He went from that to working at the Get-Out-The-Vote drive for Clinton-Gore in Tennessee in '92. And then, a couple of years later, he's the chief administrative officer for the most sophisticated accident-investigation unit in the world? Only in Bill Clinton's America could that take place.

Q: Arguably even more shocking than that was, as the NTSB honcho, he called Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post?

A: Right. Kelly O'Meara, who has been following this story for years -- she used to work for Congressman Forbes -- working for Insight Magazine from the Washington Times goes in to interview him in 1997. And she brings in this new NTSB radar data that had just been released and she asked him, "Can you account for this series of what seems to be sequential tracks on the water -- ships that seem to be moving in sequence?"

She taped the interview -- transcripts are available. He gets mocking and evasive and starts ridiculing her and when she leaves, he calls Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post immediately upon her leaving. And he says, "Kelly O'Meara was in here trying to pass off that stuff about how Navy missiles shot down TWA Flight 800." Howard Kurtz, of course, reports that.

Of course, Kelly O'Meara never mentioned missiles -- never mentioned the United States Navy. What's fascinating about that is that I wrote about that in the WorldNetDaily series and then Goelz sends me an incredibly nasty letter accusing me of insulting the Navy.

Q: I read the whole five-part series and you never even mentioned the Navy.

A: I never even inferred the Navy was guilty. He did the same thing to me that he did to her -- ridicule, humiliation, and pious exploitation.

Q: Gee, that kinda sounds like a common theme, routinely prevalent somewhere in the not too distant past.

A: Doesn't it? Like the last eight years?

Q: Tell our readers what kind of reaction you have received from pilots at TWA and folks at Boeing?

A: This is fascinating. Because, as a test flight for this video, we previewed it for an audience of 75 to 80 veteran airline pilots for our meeting. About half of them were TWA. I kind of held my breath, although I was pretty confident about it. I didn't know how they would respond.

Q: OK, so how did they respond?

A: After the screening, they sat in a kind of shocked silence when it ended. We took questions both privately and publicly. There was not one dissenting voice among them all. In fact, just the opposite. There were many corroborating details added -- particularly about the money trail.

Q: You wrote that one pilot said, "Ninety percent of us believe there was a government cover-up."

A: That's what he said. "Ninety percent of us believe there was a government cover-up."

Q: This video is fascinating and presents an abundance of evidence to suggest that the official story we are getting -- still -- from the government, and most certainly that CIA animation, is bullfeathers.

A: It is amazing how brazen they were. I mean we've seen other cover-ups, but nothing quite so outrageous. And I think it was incremental. I think they couldn't believe at first they were getting away with it and then they realized they could -- and then it got pretty bold.

Q: OK, a recurring question is why? What possible purpose would there be for the government to shoot the plane down? And, as a follow up, what about the passenger list?

A: The passenger list has been vetted very, very thoroughly. If the government shot the plane down -- and I'm not sure they did, I won't say that -- but, if they did, it was an accident. They didn't do it on purpose. And if they did shoot it down, it wasn't the Navy that covered it up. The Navy doesn't have the power to cover this up. It had to come from above.

Q: Reportedly there was a test site -- Reed Irvine (from Accuracy In Media) goes into excruciating detail about that -- the government acknowledges that, don't they?

A: Well, there is some debate about that. Cmdr. Bill Donaldson, for example, denies that. Partly out of respect for him, I have chosen to remain officially agnostic on who pulled the trigger.

Q: Jack, I've talked to a lot of people about this on both sides of the issue and the one thing I have come away with is it was a "Whoops!" ... it was a mistake. It was not the intentionally taking out of this aircraft. And I also don't buy the line that it was some terrorist cell because, if they did it, they'd be jumping up and down screaming and taking credit for it.

A: Let me counter that argument a little bit, Geoff. Let's face it: A government capable of suppressing the investigation of a flight off New York with 230 people on board is capable of silencing a terrorist cell. In other words, if they didn't want that moment of jubilation to be released, they have a pretty good lock on that kind of thing.

Q: Jack, once upon a time -- maybe. But with the Internet and everything else, we get all kinds of weird stuff that comes floating through cyberspace.

A: You've got a point there.

Q: If some terrorist cell had done it and wanted to take credit, word would have sneaked out somewhere and Art Bell would be talking about it coast to coast.

A: Yeah, you've got a point. But certainly CNN could be silenced with a phone call.

Q: Sure! In a heartbeat. Especially back when Kaplan was pulling the strings.

Since the video was completed, has there been any "official" reaction to it? I mean, other than the love letter you got from Peter Goelz?

A: No. And, I think he realized he made a strategic error in doing that because he just gave me fodder. I think their strategy now is to ignore it. Although, I think what we will see -- as we saw recently -- is the release of other bizarre, corroborating information on other planes blowing up or something or other that they will throw out there to try to confuse the public. You see, they have July 17th to cope with -- that's the fifth anniversary. There will be a certain amount of attention paid to the story.

Q: What is the status of Jim Sanders? I know they went after him for a swatch of cloth he had that had some residue on it.

A: Jim Sanders is critical to this. And I think part of the power of the video is you get to meet these people. They are not just names on a page. So when you talk about Jim and Liz Sanders -- when you see this video, you get a sense of who these people are. In fact, it was really meeting and getting to know Liz Sanders that inspired me to get involved in this project. She is such a sweetheart -- she's a nice lady. Philippino by descent, just a lovely woman who was just thrilled to be working for TWA as a flight attendant and a trainer. She loved her job.

Through her job, she met a guy named Terry Stacy who was a 747 pilot and, in fact, the last guy to fly into New York the day before on Flight 800. He was working at the investigation out on Long Island as the number-two man for TWA. A straight arrow, play-by-the-rules kind of guy -- he became concerned that there was a cover up going on. Liz Sanders -- and that she was arrested and convicted for this and faced ten years in prison is chilling -- her only crime was to introduce her husband, the reporter, to her friend, the pilot.

Q: Whoa! What did they charge her with -- felonious introduction?

A: They charged her with conspiracy to steal government property. She was part of the "conspiracy." By introducing them, that made her part of the conspiracy.

Q: After the feds grabbed the evidence Jim had, what happened to it? Where is it now?

A: I'm not certain. They took his computer and I think the information on it was purged. I think he got the machine back.

Q: I haven't looked in a while, but there were images flying through cyberspace of the red fabric ...

A: Oh yeah -- he has that.

Q: Donaldson has it on his web page and you show it in the video ...

A: Yeah, we show his swatch and we compare it very visibly and starkly to the swatch that the NTSB sent to NASA to be tested. If you look at Jim Sanders piece, there is a little pinch of foam rubber with the missile residue on it that the pilot secreted out and sent to Sanders. It is erratically streaked with an orange-black residue. The swatch that they sent to NASA is perfectly daubed with pinkish-red -- perfectly, completely saturated.

Q: So what did NASA say?

A: The guy at NASA, to his credit, sent Jim a notarized statement for the trial that said, what the NTSB sent me has nothing to do with what you had tested. They are different materials all together. But they just did it to buy off the mainstream media.

Q: And what happened at the so-called trial?

A: Then, at the trial, which was fully controlled by the Clinton Justice Department -- the jury was not allowed to hear that Jim Sanders was a reporter. Even though the pilot took this stuff of his own volition -- sent it to Sanders, Sanders took one little bit of it to the lab, another little bit to "60 Minutes" -- Sanders gets arrested and convicted as though he were a scavenger.

Q: Regarding the claim that it was an old plane and a spark apparently got into the gas tank -- that just doesn't seem to survive the scrutiny of conflicting facts. If TWA 800 had a systemic problem that potentially was fleet wide, why didn't they do something about it and, by the way, how many other planes blew up with a similar problem?

A: That's an excellent question. In fact, we were showing the video at a movie theater in Kansas City. I was answering questions after a screening and this guy comes in -- there's always a lot of TWA guys there because K.C. is an overhaul base -- and this one guy comes in and said, "My job for 34 years was the center-wing tank." He was a center-wing tank mechanic and he's outraged when he sees this stuff. He said there is no way in God's Heaven that tank could have blown up on that plane. The IAMAW, the machinists union, went on record -- very, very bravely and said, "No. This wiring is fine. This could not have happened." Even after $40 million, the NTSB, in their final hearings of August 2000, acknowledged, "no source of ignition could be found." It couldn't have happened.

Q: Which goes back to my observation that some people don't want to be confused with facts that contradict their preconceived opinion. If this was a problem, as Christine Negroni suggested when I spoke with her -- I mean, we just went through this with the Firestone tire flap, with Ford Explorers -- the potential liability to TWA would have been humongous. They would have removed such a potential problem quicker than a minnow can swim a dipper.

A: Exactly. This 747 was 25-years old but, by airplane standards, that's not that old. It wasn't just tired and weary and decided to blow up. That plane probably made the equivalent of nine round trips to the sun.

Q: I'm curious. They couldn't get the machinist union, TWA pilots, or Boeing engineers after $40 million of investigating -- they couldn't get the data they wanted, even after manufacturing that CIA embarrassment -- so what does the government say now?

A: Well, what the government has in their pocket (at least the Clinton administration did) is the media. They don't even need the truth. The Soviets were better served by Pravda because at least they knew enough to distrust Pravda. Here in the United States -- and this is sad to say, and I'm not exaggerating -- the major media in the United States are worse than useless. Pravda was merely useless. To be worse than useless is to be subversive.

Q: I stumbled across something years ago and couldn't find the citing until a dear friend recently sent it to me. The World Audit Organization ranks countries according to democracy, corruption, and press freedom. Press freedom -- do you know where the United States of America ends up on that list?

A: Where?

Q: Twelfth. The United States of America -- land of the free, home of the brave -- is ranked 12th.

A: Thank God for the Internet and talk radio and the VCR.

Q: Since the dark ages of the Clinton regime are, hopefully, behind us, have you had any contact at all with the replacement players in the new administration?

A: This is a little disheartening. I'm not surprised. I think Bush has defined himself as wanting to move on. Well before we can move on we have to go there. We have to go to that heart of darkness. I know John Ashcroft -- not well, but I know him. I know his chief of staff. I've e-mailed his chief of staff a dozen times. I sent him a copy of the video. I haven't heard a word.

Q: The level of the cover-up on this is beyond outrageous.

A: It is outrageous -- and it is so easily unraveled. I could do it in an afternoon. Mike Wire could do it in 15 minutes.

Q: What about Fox?

A: I have calls in. I've talked to Peter Zurich who is O'Reilly's producer about three or four times. Last time I talked to him, he just hadn't got around to watching the video yet. That, I think, would be an interesting conduit. This is going to have to be a grassroots uprising.