Unknowncountry.com and Whitley Strieber have been questioning the TWA Flight 800 story since 1996 when, Strieber has always believed, the plane was destroyed by a missile. The destruction of the plane in a fireball that killed 230 people was falsely attributed by the National Transportation Safety Board to an internal explosion, and now a group of former NTSB investigators and a pilot are demanding that the case be re-opened. They are claiming that the government lied, and that the flight was indeed brought down by an external explosion. After years of investigation, the board concluded that "the in-flight breakup of TWA flight 800 was not initiated by a bomb or a missile strike." The testimony of all 258 witnesses who testified that they saw an streak of light rise toward the plane was dismissed. A CIA analysis claimed that the witnesses were actually seeing something falling from the plane.

A video of a smoke trail rising over Long Island Sound at dawn a few days before the crash was said in an FBI document obtained by investigator Ray Lahr to be "consistent with the exhaust plume from a MANPAD (Man-portable air-defense) missile."

On July 17,  the anniversary of the crash, the EPIX cable channel will air a documentary in which former NTSB investigators Hank Hughes, TWA investigator Bob Young and Jim Speer from the Air Line Pilots Association call on the NTSB to reopen the investigation because of suspicions that a missile or missiles caused  the explosion.

Speer said Wednesday one of the early tests run during the investigation indicated the presence of explosive residue on a part of the right wing. A retest, run with Speer’s participation, was said to indicated that the first test was a false positive. Speer also found holes that indicated that there was an explosion outside the plane, consistent with a missile attack.

In the post-crash investigation, the FBI cataloged every craft that was present on the water near the plane at the time of the crash, ignoring only one: a boat that was directly under the plane and sped out to sea immediately after it exploded. No explanation of this failure was ever offered.

Kennedy White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger was waiting for the flight in Paris, anticipating a delivery of documents, the contents of which have never been known. Almost at once after the plane crashed, Salinger announced his belief that it had been shot down. He was immediately made a laughingstock by the media. He never said what he was waiting for or why he was so sure the plane had been intentionally destroyed. It was his belief that it had been shot down by a US Navy missile.

On March 24, 2000, Whitley Strieber said in his online journal: "I want to take another look at Flight 800, for example. The New York Observer has been running a series of articles that poke holes in the official story, and some of these holes are quite serious. This is not over."

In early 2001, he interviewed James Sanders, the author of The Downing of TWA Flight 800, the Shocking Truth Behind the Worst Airplane Disaster in US History. During that interview, Strieber said that he would never believe that an accident had befallen Flight 800, and that he would never quit reporting on the story.

Right now the story of the Flight 800 documentary is all over the media. But where else have you read about the MANPAD document, or Pierre Salinger’s long-forgotten reaction to the crash? Keep the news behind the news coming. Support Unknowncountry with a subscription. To find out how, click here.

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