Newsday's editorial about TWA Flight 800 says, "Anyone holding back information that investigators didn't consider before has a moral obligation to step up now" ["The riddles of Flight 800," July 21].
It would be foolish for any civilian or Navy personnel to speak up if they were associated with the military ships offshore on the crash day. President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13039, removing the Naval Special Warfare Development Group from the federal whistle-blower protection of the Federal Labor-Management Relations Program. The order was issued on March 11, 1997, one day after the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., began a series of articles about a possible missile strike on TWA 800.
Robert E. Puttre, Baldwin
The missile theory is little more than a cover-up for reality. The cause was more likely the right inboard No. 3 engine's uncontained failure.
Other engine failures on other flights have damaged control surfaces. Some have knocked off adjoining engines and many ripped open fuel tanks. At one time, there were dozens of 747s grounded because of engine problems, which almost bankrupted Boeing.
Engines are mounted on pylons to protect aircraft from engine failures. Pylons are designed to separate on failure, allowing the engine to streak ahead still under power. This could explain the radar images.
The No. 3 engine was found several miles from the main debris field. This was no missile, just another of many engine failures.
Charles Odendhal, Purcell, Colo.
Editor's note: The writer is a former Air Force investigator of jet-engine failures.