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Ships Near TWA 800
Ships and other radar targets in vicinity of TWA Flight 800.

Letter to FBI: Ship Identities

Tom Stalcup
1269 E. Orange Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Feb. 23, 2000

Mr. Lewis D. Schiliro
Assistant Director in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
26 Federal Plaza
New York, New York 10278

Dear Director Schiliro:

As a concerned US citizen, I have been closely monitoring the federal investigation into the July 17, 1996 loss of TWA Flight 800. Nearly four years after the tragedy, secrecy continues to shroud the details of the FBI investigation. In May of 1999 I represented Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO) at the House Aviation Subcommittee's hearing on the reauthorization of the NTSB, where a report on the anomalies within the federal investigation was submitted into the written record.

I am presently communicating with Congress regarding some of these anomalies, which have not been adequately explained by any US government agency. This letter is an attempt to obtain answers, which may help clarify certain concerns, so that citizens, family members, and our US representatives may be able to better understand some of the unexplained data.

The RADAR data:

Official statements concerning US naval activity in Long Island Sound on the night of the tragedy have fueled various theories regarding the cause of the crash. Raw RADAR data, recently released by the National Transportation Safety Board, show significant activity just south of the crash site that has yet to be explained by US investigators.

Carefully review Figure 1 on the following page. Many RADAR targets are shown on this figure, representing aircraft, surface vessels, or anomalies. Each target has a marker and arrow depicting its position and heading at the moment Flight 800 exploded. Targets that traveled at or in excess of 30 knots have their ground speed (in knots) labeled. Next to most of the targets are letters, given for reference use within the questions that follow.

Please send answers to these questions to my above address.

Figure 1: RADAR data surrounding the TWA Flight 800 tragedy, recorded by ISP RADAR station, Islip, NY.

1: Of the targets identified with letters in Figure 1, how many has the FBI determined to be real targets (ie: not ghosts or other anomalies)? Please also list the appropriate letter(s) from Figure 1 that corresponds to each real target.

2: Of the real targets, how many has the FBI been able to identify? Please also list the letters from Figure 1 that correspond to each identified target.

3: Please give the exact identity of each real target, while noting its corresponding letter(s) as given in Figure 1.

4: If question 3 is not possible due to privacy or other concerns, please list the type of surface vessel or aircraft for each real target, while noting the corresponding letter(s) as given in Figure 1. Please be as specific as possible.

5: Since many targets appear to moving within groups, and on parallel headings, it may be difficult for investigators and captains of aircraft and surface vessels to identify a single vessel within a group. If this is the case, then please give the identities and/or type of aircraft or surface vessels known to be in the general area, at similar headings and speeds of a given target or group of targets. Please also list the appropriate Figure 1 letter(s) that may correspond to any and all targets identified.

6: W-105 (Whiskey 105) is a military warning area off the coast of Long Island. Does Figure 1 accurately portray its boundaries?

7: It has been reported by the Navy to various media outlets that W-105 was "activated" on the day Flight 800 went down. Has the FBI confirmed that W-105 was activated on the day of the Flight 800 tragedy?

8: If the answer to question 7 is "yes," then give the time period(s) when W-105 was activated on July 17, 1996. Please also provide any accompanying statements that may help describe the type of activation(s) for W-105 that day.

9: Has the FBI compared the data used in the CIA animation (depicting the official crash sequence) with the available RADAR data?

10: If the answer to question 9 is "yes," explain the discrepancies between the simulation data and RADAR data? Please be sure to address the discrepancies between the simulation data and "Attachment III-23" from NTSB Exhibit 13A, "Airplane Performance Study."

The Eyewitnesses:

NTSB Exhibit 4A quantifies 458 FBI provided eyewitness statements. According to this exhibit, out of 102 eyewitnesses who reported the origin of a streak of light, 96 said that it rose from the surface. However, in your July 27, 1998 response to questions from Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., you stated that "only approximately 20 reported a streak of light rising from the horizon."

11: How do you explain the above discrepancy between NTSB Exhibit 4A and your July 27, 1998 letter to Congressman Traficant?

In this same July 27, 1998 response, you wrote "a relatively straightforward mathematical analysis does show that what these people [eyewitnesses] reported seeing was not, in reality, what occurred."

12: Could you forward to my above address complete details of this mathematical analysis, together with the approximate locations of all eyewitnesses for which the analysis is relevant?

13: Of the 244 eyewitness statements the CIA reviewed for the crash sequence animation, how many reported the surface as the origin of a streak of light, flare, or similar object.

Friendly Fire and Terrorist Theories

Throughout the course of the FBI's investigation, there has been official and public speculation concerning the possibility of friendly fire or terrorism as the cause of the TWA 800 tragedy. The FBI has continuously assured the public that every stone has been unturned regarding its investigation into both of these theories and others. Since the eyewitness evidence was so prominent and overwhelming in this investigation, the public trusts that the FBI looked objectively at this evidence, with equal consideration to all theories.

14: With regard to the eyewitness statements, were all US and foreign naval missile systems analyzed as potentially involved in a missile engagement on TWA 800?

15: With regard to the eyewitness statements, was the most common US naval surface to air missile system analyzed as potentially involved in a missile engagement on TWA 800?

16: With regard to the eyewitness statements, was the US Navy's SM II Block IV missile system analyzed as potentially involved in a missile engagement on TWA 800?

17: Would the US Navy SM II Block IV missile burn out below 13,800 feet after a vertical launch?

18: Approximately how many seconds will a typical SM II Block IV missile travel before burning out?

19: What was the most common surface to air missile defending US Navy ships in July of 1996?

20: What is the approximate range for this missile, before burning out?


Thank you in advance for your prompt response,

[original signed]

Tom Stalcup

c: The Honorable John J. Duncan
The Honorable Allen Boyd

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