The flight took off from JFK International Airport on July 17, 1996, with 230 people aboard -- 212 passengers and 18 crew members -- and exploded in mid-air some 12 minutes later, killing all aboard.
At the time, dozens of eyewitnesses claimed to have seen what appeared to be a missile streaking skyward before the airliner exploded in a massive fireball, leading many Americans at the time to conclude that it was likely a terrorist attack. But investigators at the time claimed otherwise.
Author Jack Cashill said in an interview with The New American, however, that he had been 95 percent certain that a missile fired by a U.S. Navy warship conducting exercises in the area at the time was responsible for the downing, but now, after seeing new evidence and hearing from whistleblowers, he's 100 percent sure.
"Families of the victims have now filed a lawsuit against the government as a result of the FOIA documents that have emerged thanks to the work of tireless researchers. According to Cashill, this was a tragic accident by the U.S. Navy as it was testing out new technology to shoot down planes and missiles," The New American noted.
" Under pressure from the CIA, the FBI played a key role in covering up the truth, and the dishonest New York Times carried water for the cover-up, highlighting the power of the 'Deep State.' Cashill thinks Bill Clinton’s re-election was one of the major reasons why the cover-up was so extreme. There must be accountability, he said," the outlet continued.
History.com noted the controversy at the time:
The flight departed at 8:19 p.m. in muggy, but "fairly clear" weather, according to The New York Times, blowing apart in a fiery explosion 12 minutes later. Among the dead were 18 crew members and 212 passengers, including 16 students and five chaperones from Pennsylvania's Montoursville Area High School French Club.
Witnesses in the area of the crash reported seeing an explosion in the night sky, followed by a shower of flaming debris. Almost immediately there was speculation that the plane had been the target of a terrorist attack, with many claiming they’d spotted what appeared to be a missile heading toward the plane just before it exploded.
Cashill noted that he has also seen amateur video footage taken the evening of the disaster that has been entered into evidence and, until recently, hidden from the public, revealed only through a FOIA request. He also said that the Navy was conducting a test of a new powerful anti-missile, anti-aircraft warning and targeting system that was land-based in New Jersey at the time, which is why there were warships off the coast of Long Island and the Garden State.
"Although the source that led to the explosion was never discovered, the investigation concluded the crash’s cause was not a terrorist attack, but an electrical failure that ignited a nearly empty center wing fuel tank in the 25-year-old aircraft. The event remains one of the deadliest plane crashes in U.S. history," History.com noted.
Said the safety board’s managing director in a 2021 statement: “The investigation of the crash of T.W.A. Flight 800 is a seminal moment in aviation safety history. From that investigation, we issued safety recommendations that fundamentally changed the way aircraft are designed.”
Over the course of months following the explosion, investigative teams recovered all victim remains and nearly all pieces of the aircraft. They then pieced most of the plane back together in an attempt to discover the 'cause' of the incident.
“The explosion that occurred on TWA 800 was in the center wing fuel tank and was not from anything external,” John Purvis, head of the accident investigation unit for the Boeing Company at the time of the event, said. “The NTSB was never able to pinpoint the precise cause, but it was clear that it was from within the tank.”
As for Cashill, he believes that the incident was covered up because then-President Bill Clinton wanted to avoid another scandal as he was running for reelection, much like Barack Obama sought to downplay the Benghazi terrorist attack ahead of his reelection in 2012.