Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Group Linked to Twa Jet Crash Worldwide Effort Yields No Clues, Sources Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Group Linked to Twa Jet Crash Worldwide Effort Yields No Clues, Sources Say

Article excerpt

After more than eight weeks of global intelligence gathering, authorities investigating the crash of Trans World Airlines Flight 800 have been unable to link it to international terrorist groups, according to high-ranking law enforcement sources.

Although investigators have not ruled out mechanical malfunction as the cause of the disaster, criminal investigators have suspected from the start that it was the result of a bomb and are confounded that a network of worldwide intelligence operations has failed to yield a useful link between terrorists and the crash, which killed 230 people.

The overseas intelligence-gathering effort has been undertaken by the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as a number of foreign investigative agencies, the sources said. They said the investigation included eavesdropping, use of informers and offers of large cash payments for leads. Analysts, including some from the National Reconnaissance Organization, have also reviewed voluminous archives of intelligence - drawn from spy satellites, intercepted phone calls and electronic eavesdrops - gathered before the crash to see if there was any information relevant to the TWA disaster. They have found nothing to resolve the mystery of the disaster, the sources said. "Anyone who has indices out there has been looking, but they are not getting anything," said one senior law enforcement official involved in the case. "If a sophisticated terrorist group did this, we should have pic ked up something by now." Another high-ranking official said "there is growing anxiety that this (case) might be unsolved." Although the inquiry will of course proceed at full strength, the law enforcement source said, "the evidence of a bomb is shaky, and evidence of a mechanical failure is even shakier." Investigators said the dearth of intelligence could mean that, barring mechanical failure, an individual acted alone in sabotaging the jumbo jet. Or it could mean that responsibility rests with a type of clandestine terrorist cell that has emerged abroad that is smaller than better-known terrorist groups and minimizes communication among members. …

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