The FBI agent in charge of the TWA Flight 800 investigation acknowledged for the first time Thursday that the plane could have been brought down by a shoulder-fired missile fired by a terrorist.
But so far, no evidence shows that, agent James Kallstrom added. He condemned as ridiculous a new flurry of claims that the jet was destroyed accidentally by the armed forces.
"This terrible, terrible tragedy was not caused by our military," Kallstrom said in an interview. "Our military, in particular the Navy divers, are the heroes of this operation, not the culprits." He said investigators long ago eliminated any "friendly fire" scenarios or the possibility of a military cover-up. The FBI reviewed radar and other sources to conclude that the armed services could not have shot down the plane, he said. Investigators have focused on three possible explanations for the disaster: a bomb, a missile or mechanical failure. No cause has been determined. Kallstrom said it was "technically possible" that a terrorist using a shoulder-fired, Stinger-type missile could have caused the explosion that brought down the Boeing 747 off Long Island, N.Y., July 17, killing all 230 people on board, and he said investigators were examining that possibility. He refused to elaborate. …