Their list of alleged mishandlings includes evidence tampering, disappearing parts and a shield of secrecy separating the FBI from the rest of the investigators.
They also alleged that tapes were edited, debris location tags were changed and evidence vanished. They claim that TWA investigators were prevented from seeing evidence until it went through the FBI. In some cases, the former investigators said they were not permitted to see the evidence all together. Complaints, they said, fell on deaf ears.
In one instance, Hughes alleged, FBI agents were caught tampering with evidence.
On one occasion, an agent from California was brought in, he said. I found him in the main hanger with a hammer pounding on some of the wreckage, trying to flatten it out.
In addition, the former investigators charge that the FBI buried hundreds of eyewitness accounts like Fred Meyers, which report seeing a missile or streak of light before the plane plunged toward the ocean. FBI agents allegedly told these witnesses that they didnt see anything, and despite their willingness to testify, none of the more than 600 eyewitnesses were ever permitted to appear at any of the official NTSB hearings.
Along with eyewitnesses and family members, investigators filed a petition to the NTSB on Wednesday morning demanding that the investigation be reopened and all evidence taken into account. They did not know when they could expect a response. Until then, the wreckage of TWA 800, sitting in a Virginia warehouse, goes undisturbed.
But the former investigators stand by their conclusions.
At this point, based on what we found, Young said, my years of experience, the evaluation that weve all done individually and cooperatively . . . theres no question.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong first name for former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz.