Email a Friend

  FREE Newsletter

  About FIRO

 The Evidence:
  Debris Field
  Black Box

 Further Research:
  In the News
  Crash Simulations
  Archived Articles
  Related Sites

  FREE Subcription

  Contact Washington
  Tell a Friend

CIA Director George Tenet
CIA Director George Tenet.

Flight 800, Time and CIA Deceit

July 16, 2003

Seven years ago this week, TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Long Island, NY on its way to Paris. It doesn't seem like that long ago, as many of us can recall witness reports of a rising streak seen before the crash. But the case has been officially closed now for years.

In August of 2000, the government handed down its official ruling. After spending four years and 40 million dollars researching a theory formulated a month after the crash, federal investigators inconclusively determined that a spontaneous explosion of a fuel tank caused it.

And as for the rising streak, officials relied on the CIA to help make its case. Similar to the CIA's misguidance of President George W. Bush on pre-war Iraqi intelligence, the CIA provided crash investigators with their assessment of some rather straightforward eyewitness accounts. The CIA ultimately concluded that witnesses who said a streak rose from the surface to Flight 800's altitude (13,700 feet) before the crash actually only saw Flight 800 climb sharply (from 13,700 feet to 17,000 feet) after it exploded and its front section ripped away.

CIA video frame from a live CNN broadcast (11/18/97).
This assessment was released in the form of a dramatic animation, broadcast nationwide during the final FBI press conference on the crash in November 1997. "This may have looked like a missile attacking an aircraft," according to the animation's narrator. The underlined and bolded words "Not A Missile" appeared throughout the video, as the production effectively hammered thoughts of missile involvement out of any reasonable person's head. "Nothing in [the eyewitness] statements leads CIA analysts to conclude that these eyewitnesses in fact saw a missile," the narrator continued.

But by saying "nothing," the CIA left itself vulnerable. When the witness documents were finally released two and a half years later, it was clear the CIA wasn't being entirely honest. Recorded on several documents were statements like this one, from and FBI interview of Witness 73 (numbered by investigators) "she believed that she witnessed a missile, which had been fired from a boat."

Witness 73 and nearly all the other witnesses were interviewed by the FBI over a year before the CIA released its video. Witness 73 saw Flight 800's front section fall away, just as depicted in the CIA video, but only after watching "a 'red streak' [that rose] up...and intercepted the aircraft."

She wasn't alone.

Secret Witness Report
From the FBI's formerly secret witness interview summary of witness #73. Click for full page. Witness #73's complete file is now available at
Her account was consistent with nearly all of the other 670 witnesses, except that she was among a minority of seventy or so who watched the whole thing, from surface launch, to airborne explosion, to fiery descent. The NTSB ultimately conducted two studies showing that over 90% of the witnesses with a clear view of the horizon and who gave information regarding the streak's origin said it rose off the surface.

From reviewing the CIA's misrepresentation of the Flight 800 witness accounts and the pre-war misdirection of President Bush, some noteworthy similarities reveal a pattern of deceit on the part of the CIA.

President Bush's State of the Union address and the Flight 800 video were each broadcast nationwide during highly anticipated press events. They were well-polished rhetorical productions designed to influence public opinion on clear agendas. But most troubling, key claims made in each production were ultimately shown to be based on unreliable intelligence work.

To learn more about how the government handled the Flight 800 eyewitness evidence, read this article: TWA Flight 800 Eyewitness Evidence .

FIRO's Main Page - Email this URL to a friend