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25 Sep
Witnesses Confirm Missile Took Down TWA 800

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 96 11:04:11 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Witnesses Confirm Missile Took Down TWA 800

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           Witnesses Confirm Missile Took Down TWA 800
                        by J. Orlin Grabbe

	An article from the *New York Post* (reproduced below) cites FBI
interviews with 154 credible witnesses that a missile took down TWA Flight

        In my original post on the subject, "The Downing of TWA Flight
800," on July 23, I said the normal normal procedure for personnel who
have received intelligence training (in this case Syria-trained terrorists)
would have been to fire the missile from a small boat off shore.  In
subsequent posts, "Bill Clinton's Choo-Choo" and "The Phosphorous-Headed
Missile and TWA Flight 800", I clarified that the missile was targeted at
the center, or belly, fuel tank.  A couple of months later, the *Post* now
comes belatedly comes to the same conclusion:

	"Law-enforcement sources said the hardest evidence gathered so
	far overwhelmingly suggests a surface-to-air missile -- with the
	sophisticated ability to lock on the center of a target rather
	than its red-hot engines -- was fired from a boat off the Long
	Island coast to bring down the airliner July 17."

	Only two details are lacking for the *Post* to have the entire
story.  First, they need to disregard the FBI's falsified figure of 13,700
for the altitude at which the plane was hit (the real number is about
7,600 feet).  Secondly, they need to figure out it was the forward end,
or head, of the missile that was glowing.  As noted in a *New York Times*
article about one of the missile photographs, "It is in a roughly
horizontal position, although its left end is tilted downward.  Its right
end seems to be brightly lighted." ("Is that a Missile? Snapshot on Night
of Air Crash Turns Hot," New York Times, August 26, 1996).

	And why was the elevated end, or head, of the missile glowing? As
I previously reported, the ordinary head of the Stinger had been replaced
with two small attachments--the first one containing a different guidance
system that allowed the missile to lock-in on the center fuel tank, the
second one being a phosphorous head that was designed to blow up fuel
tanks in a violently effective manner.

        The post article follows.

New York Post
September 22, 1996
TWA Probers: Missile Witnesses "Credible"

Criminal Justice Editor

More than 150 "credible" witnesses -- including several scientists -- have
told the FBI and military experts they saw a missile destroy TWA Flight
800, The Post has learned.

Sources provided startling new details from the frustrating two-month
probe -- persuading agents to acknowledge that the witnesses' accounts
point toward a missile:

The FBI interviewed 154 "credible" witnesses -- including scientists,
schoolteachers, Army personnel and business executives -- who described
seeing a missile heading through the sky just before Flight TWA 800

"Some of these people are extremely, extremely credible," a top federal
official said.

Sources said the witnesses lived or were vacationing along Long Island's
South Shore in Nassau and Suffolk counties when they saw the object
heading toward the sky.

"When we asked what they saw and where they saw it, the witnesses out east
pointed to the west, and the people to the west pointed to the east ,"
one source said.

FBI technicians mapped the various paths -- points in the sky where the
witnesses said they saw the rising "flare-like" object -- and determined
that the "triangulated" convergence point was virtually where the jumbo
jet initially exploded.

Struck by the number and confidence of the witnesses, the FBI sat down
many of the witnesses with U.S. military experts, who debriefed them and
independently confirmed for the FBI that their descriptions matched
surface-to-air missile attacks.

"The military experts told us that what the witnesses were describing was
consistent with a missile," a federal official acknowledged. "They told
us, "You know what they are describing is a missile.' "

Law-enforcement sources said the hardest evidence gathered so far
overwhelmingly suggests a surface-to-air missile -- with the sophisticated
ability to lock on the center of a target rather than its red-hot engines
-- was fired from a boat off the Long Island coast to bring down the
airliner July 17.

That theory would have the attackers launching their missile from a boat
and fleeing north into Canada during the confusion immediately after the
explosion. Investigators are reviewing an anonymous threat received after
the Oct. 1, 1995, conviction of radical sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a
law-enforcement source said.

The threat was that a New York area airport or jetliner would be attacked
in retaliation for the prosecution of the sheik, convicted of plotting to
blow up major New York City landmarks.

Investigators have been unable to find definitive evidence proving any of
their three key theories: missile, bomb planted in the plane or a
mechanical malfunction.

On Friday, the bomb theory took another tumble when the FBI revealed the
plane had carried explosives within a year of the crash as part of a
training exercise for drug-sniffing dogs.

That revelation could explain how traces of explosives were found on
wreckage of the downed Boeing 747.

The overriding obstacle for investigators probing the missile theory has
been the fact that Flight 800's engines show no signs of missile damage.

But military experts told the FBI several modern heat-seeking missiles --
in the hands of terrorists in Africa and available to their Middle East
counterparts -- target a plane's "central mass."

These missiles -- launched from a shoulder harness or a small pad --
different from the Stinger missiles that Afgani freedom fighters used
against the Russians -- are equipped with a super-sophisticated heat-
seeking device and are able to reach higher targets.

TWA 800 exploded at 13,700 feet -- the upper limit for the newest of these
portable-type missile systems.

Military experts pointed the FBI to man-portable missiles such as the
SA-14 Gremlin, SA-16 Gimlet and SA-18 Grouse -- equipped with
"proportional convergence logic" systems that are "sensitive enough to
home in on airframe radiation" once it nears its target, rather than
isolated hot spots.

Copyright 1996, N.Y.P. Holdings Inc.

September 23, 1996
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