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TWA 800 Missile Topic: Witness Reports

Missile Animation

The Unusual Secrecy Surrounding the Witness Reports

This TWA 800 Missile Topic is a guided tour of internet available witness information.

Witness Reports are the foundation of the Missile Theory. Hundreds on land, on boats and in the air witnessed the crash of TWA Flight 800. Many believe they saw a "rising streak" prior to the initial explosion.

Immediately after the crash, the FBI restricted NTSB's access to the witnesses. Months later the FBI shared notes, but with interviewee names blacked out. The NTSB eventually prepared a report devoid of any eyewitness quotes, a mere statistical analysis. Even this was withheld from their December 1997 public hearing at the FBI's request.

Twenty-one months after the crash the FBI finally turned over eyewitness statements to the NTSB.

To this day no "official" Witness Report has ever been made public. In spite of Public Law 93-633 requiring the National Transportation Safety Board to report its findings in writing and make those findings available to the public.

Many believe the official investigation's unusual secrecy surrounding the Witness Reports is proof of a cover-up.

In the following you can read:

  1. Background: The Chronological History of the handling of the Witness Reports.
  2. Press articles written about TWA 800 Witnesses.
  3. Independent investigators' articles found on their websites.
  4. The unreleased NTSB Exhibit 4A - Witness Group Factual Report, as leaked to the internet.

Background: Witness Reports

July 19, 1996
Witness Group Formed and Disbanded
Two days after the July 17, 1996, crash, as the witness group was preparing to start interviewing witnesses, an FBI agent informed NTSB officials that the bureau ``was not prepared to share any information outside the NTSB, so parties [to the safety board investigation] could not be involved,'' the witness group report states. The NTSB had named one of its investigators, Bruce Magladry, to head the witness group, which initially included representatives of TWA, the Air Line Pilots Assn. and the FAA. On July 21, 1996, the report states, Assistant U.S. Attorney Valerie Caproni informed Magladry and Norm Wiemeyer, head of the Flight 800 probe's operations group, ``that no interviews were to be conducted by the NTSB.'' Safety board investigators could review FBI-supplied documents on the witnesses, ``provided no notes were taken and no copies were made.'' The next day, FBI and NTSB officials reached an agreement that safety board officials could conduct interviews ``under the direction and in the company of the FBI, and all information would be kept private with no notes taken.'' Concerned that this interfered with the NTSB's mandate to make public the information gathered in its investigations, Magladry withdrew from the witness group two days later. From Aviation Week article.
November 10, 1996
New Witness Group Formed
The NTSB's efforts to glean information from witnesses did not resume until mid-November 1996. The new witness group was made up of representatives of the NTSB, TWA, ALPA and the FAA, as well as Boeing, the International Federation of Flight Attendants and International Assn. of Machinists. It was then that the FBI permitted the group members to review notes of interviews with witnesses. From Aviation Week article.
October 16, 1997
NTSB Witness Group Factual Report completed
The report said there were 458 witness interviews provided by the FBI. Of those, 183 reported seeing a streak of light and 102 provided information on the origin of the streak. The report stated that six witnesses said the streak originated in the sky and 96 said it rose from the surface. It is not clear whether the accounts of the 96 witnesses were included in the 244 analyzed by the CIA for the FBI. From Aviation Week article dated December 15, 1997.
November 18, 1997
CIA Video Attempts to Discredit Witnesses
To view the video and understand the controversy surrounding it, visit Mike Rivero's site.

December 3, 1997
FBI objects to disclosure of Witness Reports at NTSB Public Hearing

From Text of Letter from Kallstrom to Hall on Baltimore Hearings as Reported in the Flight-800 Discussion List

...the FBI objects to the use of the CIA video at the hearing if the purpose is to examine the eyewitnesses observations or negate the possibility that a missile caused the crash. Because they are the product of a criminal investigation and the remote possibility that the criminal investigation could be reactivated, the FBI also objects to requests to disclose or include in the public docket of any FBI FD-302s or summaries of FD-302s prepared by the NTSB that report the results of any interviews or reinterviews of the 244 eyewitnesses whose reports were examined by the CIA in connection with its analysis and to calling any eyewitnesses to testify at the public hearing.
December 8-12, 1997
NTSB Public Hearing in Baltimore
The Witness Report is not discussed, per FBI request. The NTSB shows its own animation which is different than the CIA's version. To view the video and understand the controversy, visit Mike Rivero's site.
April 1998
FBI quietly turns over witness info to NTSB

From FBI Response to questions from Congressman Trafficant letter dated July 27, 1998:
In light of the FBI's planned production of eyewitness statements in response to the subpoena, in April, 1998, this office provided the NTSB with copies of the materials we will be producing in connection with the litigation. Since then, NTSB has been reviewing the material and the FBI is working with NTSB in an effort to satisfy NTSB's needs with respect to this material while at the same time protecting the FBI's concerns regarding making public the results of a criminal investigation into this still unresolved tragedy and to protect the legitimate privacy interests of those interviewed by the FBI. It is our understanding that NTSB, upon completion of its review and discussions with the FBI, will make these materials part of its public docket. We also note that, since early on in the FBI's investigation, NTSB has been afforded full access to the FBI's investigative work.

The last sentence in the above paragraph seems to be an attempt to rewrite history.

As of May 1999
Witness Report still not entered into the public docket!
More than 34 months after the crash, Exhibit 4A the Witness Group Factual Report has not yet been entered into the public docket. Failure of the official investigation to release key evidence looks suspiciously like a cover-up. In addition it appears to be against the law. See below.
About the Public Docket from Accident Investigation Dockets
Public Law 93-633 requires the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate transportation accidents and report its findings in writing. Other requirements include making these findings available to the public. Maintaining the Accident Investigation Dockets meets these requirements.

Check for yourself. The NTSB public docket exhibits are at Look for Exhibit 4A, the Witness Group Factual Report.

Press Articles:

Witness Reports from Independent Investigator Websites:







The leaked Witness Group Factual Report
NTSB Exhibit 4A from Corazon site:

[Cover Page] [page 1] [page 2] [page 3] [page 4] [page 5]
[page 6] [page 7] [page 8] [page 9] [page 10] [page 11]

These are the actual scanned images of the unreleased NTSB Exhibit 4A that the FBI did not want discussed at the December 1997 Baltimore Public Hearing. These pages are large and very slow to load. To save time, you may want to read the December 15, 1997 Aviation Week article which essentially covers the same information.

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