This TWA 800 Missile Topic is a guided tour of websites containing information about the ships detected by FAA radar in the immediate vicinity of TWA Flight 800 when it exploded.
These ships are ONLY a mystery because the FBI can not or will not "officially" identify them.
In the following (quoted with referenced sources) you will read about:
- The FBI’s public assertions that they had investigated EVERY POSSIBLE ship as a missile launch source. [November 18, 1997]
- The FBI’s subsequent claim that they can not identity THE ship almost directly beneath the TWA 800 explosion, large enough to show up on "aviation" radar, and fleeing the scene at 30 knots. (Commander William Donaldson’s Report implicates this ship as the source of a missile.) [July 17, 1998]
- The NTSB’s lack of concern about this ship because "that's the FBI's territory"! [July 17, 1998]
- The FBI’s REFUSAL to reveal, even to a Congressman, the identities of three other ships in the immediate area of the TWA 800 crash. [July 27, 1998]
- Retired FBI TWA 800 Chief Investigator James Kallstrom's subsequent revelation that three of the surface radar contacts were U.S. Navy vessels conducting classified operations. [from a conversation taped on September 14, 1998]
Background: Mystery Ships
November 18, 1997(CNN):[James Kallstrom the now retired FBI TWA 800 Chief Investigator] "said that despite checking every possible angle on such an attack -- including tracing the course of thousands of boats in New York harbor, talking to boat owners, confiscating some boats to check them for burn marks, and viewing massive air-control radar data -- there was no evidence to support the missile theory."
July 17, 1998The Press-Enterprise
Two Years Later, Flight 800 Crash Questions Remain By David E. Hendrix"…Documents indicate four mystery ships were within six miles of the crash site at the moment TWA 800 exploded.
A Navy captain assigned to the Pentagon told an Atlantic Fleet watch officer about 24 hours after the crash to keep the names of three merchant ships that could have been near Flight 800 "in-house Navy for the time being." The directive was noted in Atlantic Fleet logs released under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Federal Aviation Administration radar captured four unidentified tracks "consistent with the speed of a boat" within three to six miles of the jumbo jet's course at the time of its midair breakup. One vessel, less than three miles from the crash scene, was headed southeast away from the area at 30 knots (34.5 mph) and another was headed toward the plane's path at 20 knots (23 mph). None of the ships has been publicly identified. Navy cruisers, frigates and destroyers can operate at speeds above 30 knots.
NTSB spokeswoman Shelly Hazle says the NTSB has no idea of the ships' identities and isn't concerned because that's the FBI's territory. FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette says he doesn't know anything about the ships…"
July 27, 1998The FBI
Letter from Lewis D. Schiliro, Acting Assistant Director in Charge.
In response to a letter from Congressman James A Trafficant, (D) Ohio"… Question 2. In its analysis of radar tapes, has the FBI been able to positively identify every single aircraft and surface vessel that was in the proximity of TWA Flight 800 at the time of the accident?
FBI Answer: No. Following extensive analysis of raw radar returns by the FBI, the NTSB and an outside expert, in January, 1997" [ A MERE 5 MONTHS AFTER THE CRASH ] "the FBI first noted the presence of a surface vessel, which, because of its speed of between 25 and 35 knots, is believed to be at least 25-30 feet in length, approximately 2.9 nautical miles from the position of Flight 800 at the time of the initial explosion. The analysis first noted the boat's presence at approximately 8:11 P.M., traveling in a South, Southwesterly direction. The last radar contact was noted at approximately 8:45 P.M. Despite extensive efforts, the FBI has been unable to identify this vessel. However, based on our investigative efforts, we are confident it was not a military vessel.
Question 3. If the answer to question number two is yes, can the FBI positively match every surface vessel and aircraft with an individual or individuals? Has the FBI interviewed every one of these individuals?
FBI Answer: With the exception of the vessel discussed in the response to question 2, all other vessels and aircraft noted on radar have been identified and appropriate interviews conducted.
Question 4. Can the FBI share with my office the results of its radar analysis, specifically, the identities of all the surface vessels and aircraft in the proximity of TWA Flight 800?
FBI Answer: No, for the reasons stated in response to question number 1, …" [ From question 1: "The FBI's investigation will remain in a pending inactive status at least until such time as NTSB determines a probable cause for the accident that excludes the possibility of criminal conduct being the cause of the Flight 800 tragedy. Therefore, except for our production in response to the subpoena issued in the civil litigation, which will be subject to a protective order, and the release of redacted eyewitness statements to NTSB, the FBI has no current intentions to release publicly other evidence in this case".]
September 14, 1998Commander William S. Donaldson's
September 24, 1998 letter to the FBI: Conflicting statements about surface vessels.
From the letter:The subject of this letter addresses a simple dilemma. Both Deputy Directors, Kalstrom and Schiliro are now on record in direct conflict attempting to explain to congress and the American people the identities of suspicious surface radar contacts in the immediate vicinity of Flight 800 when it exploded...
...Please recall Mr. Kalstrom’s quote in November 1997, “we turned over every rock 10 times.” That statement was offered up to the American people during the FBI’s Press Conference when you dropped the investigation. Apparently the FBI’s rock garden didn’t include a high-speed surface vessel almost underneath Flight 800 when it exploded. We have extremely credible witness testimony that implicates that vessel as a probable missile firing point (see Exhibit 15 of the Interim Report).
The FBI’s official representation to the Congress as to the identity of that 30-knot surface contact is in Mr. Schiliro’s incredible answer to Congressman Trafficant’s second question. He states “In January 1997, the FBI first noted the presence of a surface vessel, which because of its speed of between 25 and 35 knots, is believed to be at least 20-30 feet in length, approximately 2.9 nautical miles from the position of Flight 800 at the time of the initial explosion, …” and later, “the FBI has be unable to identify this vessel. However based on our investigative efforts, we are confident it was not a military vessel.”
Mr. Freeh, that first compound sentence is incredible. It admits; (1) the FBI took five months to examine the Islip ASR8 radar tape for surface contacts when witnesses were describing surface to air missile fire the first day; (2) the FBI dropped the investigation leaving this radar target unidentified although it was implicated by witness testimony as a possible source of missile fire.
... I also have in my possession a taped conversation held on 14 September 1998 between Deputy Director Kalstrom (Retired) and Mr. Reed Irvine, Chairman of Accuracy in Media. That conversation puts Deputy Director Kalstrom on record with two startling new facts. He alleges:
- The 30-knot surface contact was a helicopter.
- Three of the surface radar contacts were U.S. Navy vessels conducting classified operations.
End of Background
Articles containing information on the Mystery Ships
- FBI Agent Admits TWA 800 Cover-up. Published October 10, 1998 by Ian Williams Goddard. From the article:After first claiming that no Navy assets were in the area accept a P-3 Orion aircraft, the Navy then admi- tted that they had three submarines in the area. After first claiming that there were no military man- euvers in the area that night , months later the Navy admitted that there were.  In addition, TWA 800 researcher Tom Shoemaker proved that there was a large-scale wargame in the area during July 17, 1996 , and private investigator James Sanders learned through his inside contacts that the Navy was testing advanced anti-missile technologies that evening. 
Now, after claims that the closest Navy ship was 185 miles away, comes the admission that Navy ships were in fact within 3 to 6 miles of the TWA 800 crash, in the very area from which witnesses saw a missile rise.
- TWA Flight 800 Analysts Say FBI Is Intentionally Obsructing Justice Published October 1998 by the World Internet News Distibutary Service (WINDS) From the article:Commander William S. Donaldson, USN Ret., a longtime thorn in the side of the federal agencies investigating Flight 800, informed The WINDS that he also has personally heard, and has a copy of, the aforementioned tape recording. He quotes Special Agent Kalstrom [the retired FBI TWA 800 Chief Investigator] as saying, in reference to mysterious unnamed radar surface targets the FBI refused to identify, "We know what they were...they were navy ships on classified maneuvers."
- A Shaky House of Cards? by Tom Shoemaker August 24, 1998. From the article:"The third issue is as equally disturbing as the two discussed in the space above. It concerns the fact that radar returns thought to have been generated by "boats" appeared on NTSB plots of radar returns from various installations made the night of the explosion of TWA Flight 800. One NTSB document, a portion of which is duplicated here immediately below, mentions five "unidentified " sources of a series of radar returns: four appeared to have come from boats, and one was airborne."
- Commander Donaldson's Flight 800 Report Refutes NTSB Published August 2, 1998 by the World Internet News Distibutary Service (WINDS) From the article:" In an apparent attempt by the Navy to keep a lid on information a California newspaper reports, "A Navy captain assigned to the Pentagon told an Atlantic Fleet watch officer about 24 hours after the crash to keep the names of three merchant ships that could have been near Flight 800 "in-house Navy for the time being." The directive was noted in Atlantic Fleet logs released under a Freedom of Information Act request. (8) If three vessels in the area were merchant ships, what was the identity of the fourth? Obviously, the Navy didn't want the three merchant ships to reveal that."
- The Truth About TWA Flight 800 Published July 21,1998 by Reed Irvine, Accuracy in Media. From the article:"...radar at McArthur Airport on Long Island had recorded a surface target three nautical miles to the south of the crash site that headed out to sea doing 30 knots when TWA 800 exploded. Donaldson said that for it to be recorded by the radar, its superstructure had to rise 60 feet above the water. Its size and speed rules out a merchant ship. Racing out to sea instead of heading for the accident site to see if it could be of help is highly suspicious. This was only one of four surface targets recorded on radar near the crash site that have not been identified. Bill Donaldson said he had tried hard to get the FBI and the NTSB to tell him what ships these were, but they claim they don't know."
- Military Exercises Stoke Theories on TWA Crash Published July 18, 1998 by David E. Hendrix The Press-Enterprise . From the article:"...Four mystery radar targets, believed to be ships, were within six miles of the crash site at the moment TWA 800 exploded. The NTSB does not know their identities and the FBI's Flight 800 spokesman said he did not know about the ships or the extent to which they were investigated. The four mystery vessels were spotted by shore radar units. None is detected responding to the Flight 800 disaster. An Atlantic Fleet watch officer was told about 24 hours after the crash to keep the names of three merchant ships that could have been near Flight 800 "in house Navy for the time being." The identities of those ships still have not been released."
- TWA 800 Cover-up Motive and Opportunity April 13, 1998 by Ian Goddard . From the article:"6 days after the crash, a DoD spokesman said there were no military exercises in the area , yet after eight months of such denial the Navy did the right thing, coming forward to admit that exercises were taking place at the time of the TWA 800 accident.  Recently released radar data even reveals the presence of suspicious, large "boats" in the crash area, all of which either ignore the crash or flee from the area.
- Core Case by Ian Goddard . From the article:"While James Kallstrom (FBI) stated that all the sea-craft in the area were identified, the NTSB report does not identify any of the tracks it indicates are “boats.” Radar-horizon calculations dictate that the boat speeding away at 30 knots must be a large ship, at least 58-feet high. Two other tracks that come in and out of existance could be submarines. The Navy covered-up the identities of seacraft in the area."
- Did A Friendly Fire Missile Bring Down The 747? Published by Michael Rivero . From the article:"Now the Navy went to great pains to conceal the presence of the submarines and it's possible that there were other ships in the area who's presence is still a secret. But of the known ships in the area, USS Albuquerque, right next to the flight path (although its exact location has never been divulged), gets my vote for most likely launch platform for the missile that brought down flight 800, and a launch flash observed by Faret is perfectly consistent with this theory. "
Return to TWA 800 - Missile Website Roadmap page