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TWA 800: What the CIA Did to Mike Wire, Witness 571

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TWA 800 was destroyed twenty years ago this July off the coast of Long Island. Mike Wire was one of the 258 FBI witnesses who reported an apparent missile strike. The New York Times, which owned the story, interviewed not a single one of them. In the absence of real information, the CIA and FBI collaborated to discredit the eyewitnesses and advance an exploding fuel tank theory. Wire’s case is just one shocking example out of many. To learn more, see Jack Cashill’s introductory article in this series or his book, TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up, The Conspiracy (Regnery: July 5).

coverup-twa-800Recently the CIA released documents pertaining to the tragic destruction of TWA 800. During review of those documents, I have learned that the CIA had designated me as Witness #1 to the heartbreaking events of that day. For the FBI, I was only Witness #571. How the CIA came to decide upon me is at the heart of this miscarriage of justice.

On July 17, 1996, I was working to get the new Beach Lane Bridge in Westhampton ready to open. The bridge crosses the narrow inland waterway and connects the mainland with a small strip of beach beyond.

As a millwright tradesman, I had been working all day in the mechanical room of the bridge. A little before 8:30 p.m. that night, I surfaced to get some air. I was talking to one of the many men working with me when I saw what looked like a cheap firework rising from beyond the houses along the beach. This wasn’t out of the ordinary for a summer weekday so close to the 4th of July.

I watched as the sparkling white light zigzagged southeast away from shore at about a 40-degree angle. At its peak, it arched over and disappeared. Then I saw what appeared to be an explosion, it expanded into a large fireball, and then I watched the aircraft in flames descend from the fireball and fall to the sea, breaking up as it fell.

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