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Downing of TWA Jet by 'Friendly Fire' Rejected by Probers

September 17, 1996| Washington Post

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. — Investigators on Monday dismissed theories that Trans World Airlines Flight 800 was downed by "friendly fire" from the U.S. military and that the government is covering it up.

Since the Boeing 747 crashed off Long Island, N.Y., on July 17, rumors have abounded that the jetliner was downed by an errant missile fired by a Navy vessel or a fighter plane, or by an Air National Guard plane.

"Friendly fire is highly, highly, highly unlikely. I would probably add a few more 'highlys' to that," said James K. Kallstrom, the FBI agent leading the criminal probe.

While declining to discuss specifics, he stressed that his agents have received full cooperation from the Pentagon at every level.

Witnesses have said they saw a streaking light heading for the jet before it crashed, killing all 230 people aboard. But investigators said Monday that the two leading theories continue to be that a bomb on the flight or a mechanical failure caused the crash.

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