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TWA 800 by Jack Cashill

TWA 800 by Jack Cashill

Author:Jack Cashill
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781621575467
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Published: 2016-05-22T16:00:00+00:00


Chapter: FOURTEEN

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

In late November 2002, I was strolling the concrete banks of Brush Creek, a channelized waterway that runs through the heart of Kansas City. As usual, I walked Huck Finn–style along the edge. With First Strike about to be released, scads of people had told me to “watch my back.” What they should have told me was to “watch my step.” Lost in thought, I stepped off into space and immediately knew I was going in the water. As in the cartoons, it took about a half hour to get there. On the way, I had time to contemplate the absurdity of what could happen were I to drown in the smelly, semi-toxic Brush Creek. Who would ever believe I just fell in? A whole conspiracy industry could grow up around my literal liquidation. I hit the water almost laughing.

The laughing stopped, however, when I realized I could not get out. I was wearing sweats, now about as heavy as I was, and boots. The walkway was about a foot and a half above the water. I could not quite pull myself out or throw my foot up over the edge. The harder I tried, the wearier I got. Few people in our overly antiseptic metropolis walk the creek even in the best of weather. In late November, no one does. But then—mirabile dictu!—a hefty, heaven-sent fellow came ambling down the walkway. “Hey, Mac,” I said to my new guardian angel, “could you lend me a hand?” Again as in the cartoons, he did a comic double take. My guess is that he had not seen too many swimmers in this waterway, especially in November. He cheerfully obliged and spared the conspiracy mills a story even the New York Times might have felt compelled to investigate.

Upon the book’s publication three months later, our young publicist Bob Keyser and I descended on the nation’s capital. Our goal was to find someone higher up the media chain to take an interest in the information Sanders and I had gathered. Thanks to the Internet, we had much more information at our disposal than the Times newsroom had a year after the crash, but we lacked the institutional clout to prod authorities to return our phone calls. That is not to say we didn’t try. We simply did not succeed. I had no illusion that we could break open this story ourselves.

As I had yet to acquire a reputation as a “loose cannon”—that would come in time—a few media people of note proved willing to talk with us. We began with AIM’s Reed Irvine, who had been helpful throughout. He knew what doors to knock on and what numbers to call and graciously shared those numbers with us. One door led to Don Phillips, an aviation reporter who covered the TWA 800 affair for the Washington Post. We met with him in the Post’s lobby. Although he told us little that was new or useful, Phillips did not disguise



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