(NaturalNews) At the time, it became one of the most conspiracy-theorized incidents since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy -- the downing of TWA Flight 800.
In case you haven't heard the story, Flight 800 -- a Boeing 747-100 airliner - blew up and then crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York, on July 17, 1996, around 8:30 p.m. EST, 12 minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy (irony!) International Airport on a scheduled flight to Rome, following a stopover in Paris. All 230 aboard were, of course, killed, making it the third-worst air disaster.
The official version of events, according to the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, was that a center fuel tank in the plane exploded due to faulty wiring. But others weren't buying that.
In fact, the initial FBI investigation worked off the assumption that the plane was brought down by a missile, and the NTSB's final report, which wasn't issued until more than four years later, mentioned as much. Six months after the plane crashed, the NTSB's chairman, Jim Hall, was quoted as saying, "All three theories -- a bomb, a missile or mechanical failure -- remain." That speculation was fed by eyewitness accounts of a sudden explosion preceded by trails of fire arcing upward in the sky. Former NTSB investigator Henry Hughes has said he believes that either a bomb or a missile brought the plane down.
'No, the expert is wrong'
Hughes petitioned the NTSB to reopen the case in 2013 but was rebuffed. "The witness statements, the physical evidence and other facts clearly show there was an explosion external to the aircraft, not the center fuel tank," he told Reuters.
As the 18-year anniversary of the incident approaches, the NTSB has said it would not reopen its investigation; the agency is standing by its conclusion that a hot, faulty wire caused a fuel tank to blow up.
But now, suddenly, thanks to the slip of the tongue by a leading television news journalist, the conspiracy has been revived. As noted by Jack Cashill, writing at the American Thinker:
Some truths CNN reveals only accidentally. One such truth Anderson Cooper shared on the night of July 17. In speaking about the shoot down of Malaysian airliner MH 17 earlier that day, Cooper referred back to "July 17, 1996, when TWA Flight 800 was shot down off the coast of Long Island in New York."
Cashill noted that the fate of TWA Flight 800 was "fresh on Cooper's mind," as, two days earlier, Cooper hosted a CNN special report on the incident, titled, "Witnessed: The Crash of TWA Flight 800."
"To understand the depth of media-government complicity," Cashill wrote, "it is useful to compare 'Witnessed' with two prior videos." One of them is entitled, ironically, "No Survivors: Why TWA 800 Could Happen Again." The network created this special report for the 10th anniversary of the crash in 2006. The second video is a 15-minute shoot produced by the CIA in 1997 which Cashill called "Zoom Climb."
He further wrote:
"Zoom Climb," the theatrical highlight of the FBI investigation, was designed to negate the stubborn testimony of the eyewitnesses. An animated sequence in "Zoom Climb" shows an internal fuel tank explosion blowing the nose off the 747. According to the video's narration, TWA 800 then "pitched up abruptly and climbed several thousand feet from its last recorded altitude of about 13,800 feet to a maximum altitude of about 17,000 feet."
This rocketing aircraft was alleged to look like a missile and to have confused the eyewitnesses. This animation was essential to close the investigation. Without this zoom climb scenario, the FBI had no way to explain what hundreds of official eyewitnesses had actually seen.
In the end, Cooper recanted what he had said [see it here: YouTube.com].
I just want to correct something I said regarding the plane crash, earlier I said that today was the anniversary of flight TWA 800, crashing off the coast of Long Island in 1996. I believe I said that it was shot down. Obviously, the government said it was a center fuel tank explosion. Although some people indicated they saw a rocket, there was no evidence of that. It was ruled to be a center fuel tank explosion, so I apologize for misspeaking about that anniversary.