When a former FBI leader called a cold case team’s hijacking evidence against Rackstraw “a tremendous circumstantial case,” alarm bells rang in the 7th floor offices of Director James Comey. His executive staff canceled a 2016 meeting with the private investigators, refused their forensic materials and moved the unsolved file to a secured agency archive.
Six months later, the dogged sleuths won a court fight to study the closed case’s secrets. They soon learned how 3 partners helped the jumper escape, where the parachute was buried, and why — for almost 50 years — the FBI shielded Rackstraw. The revelations unfold in these time-lined releases (Click on bullets):
FYI: For more information on the coding, scroll below the map.
MOVIE MAKERS, TRUE-CRIME READERS & COOPER-CASE FANS: 2019 Update
Court-released FBI records and four retired military commanders (with damning documents) have collectively concluded the missing 1971 hijacker was Robert W. Rackstraw Sr.
Hollywood buys it, too. In fact, after our mike-drop at the 2018 news announcement at FBI Headquarters, the race was on for the story rights. As one senior WME agent put it to my manager, Michael B. London: “We know Tom solved it.”
Tinseltown, however, went directly to Rackstraw. Sources tell us he was given a private jet-ride in for a confidential meet-and-greet with select talent reps, leading producers, studios and streamers. Fortunately, my wife and I were fully prepared for this end-run – thanks to our cold case team.
All of Rackstraw’s hush-hush 2018 negotiations fizzled because: 1) he was the polar opposite of the folk hero many imagined; 2) our new case details and evidence have been copyrighted – including his getaway with the help of crime partners, the parachute recovery, Rackstraw’s decrypted Army-coded Cooper letters and his deep CIA history; and finally, 3) when he traded an FBI prison cell for years of black ops work, authorities warned the contractor he’d be re-incarcerated if he ever went public. (His concern about this “secret indictment” is noted in the 8/8/18 CBS News-WBBM story.)
Time caught up with Rackstraw; his memory of the jump became, ironically, cloudy. During a private 2013 approach and sit-down in his hometown, the cordial suspect twice admitted (on surveillance tape): “The problem is, I don’t remember a lot of it.”
We believe that’s why, with release of our team’s acclaimed 2016 book, “Bob” was one of the first orders on Amazon. His posted review: “Full of unsubstantiated accusations and innuendos by writers trying to sensationalize with consistently negative comments about their target with nothing but unearned credits given to themselves. Wish they would go after Hillary and Obama in the same ruthless manner.”
Dawna and I are so grateful to the hundreds who helped us document this daredevil’s full life narrative in five countries – our 21st discovery for the big and small screens. But there is no race to make history here; we’re looking for the right partner that respects our team’s efforts and (tongue firmly in cheek) won’t take us for a ride. TJC
SKEPTICS OF THE CODE DECRYPTIONS
If you believe it is all bogus:
How did Rackstraw’s encrypted name, initials and every one of his military training schools and units — including two units that were top secret until the 1980s — get into the six 1971-72 letters?
Are the conclusions from three neutral experts (former FBI and military brass) also bogus? Is the 1950 Army interpretive code book (link at bottom) that they all relied on a sham?
If so, how do you explain the related interpretive code, used by WWII Navajo “code-talkers,” that fooled Japanese soldiers throughout the war?
If you believe Rackstraw wrote the letter coding but IS NOT the fugitive:
In Letter #5, how did the typing writer know the three confidential pieces of Cooper case evidence (“I left no fingerprints… I wore a toupee… I wore putty make-up”)? Old FBI memos show only the Bureau, a few sworn-to-secrecy passengers and the hijacker himself had this knowledge in 1971.
Two world-renowned forensic document experts separately compared D.B. Cooper’s hand-printed Letter #2 to the handwritten signature on the “Dan Cooper” airline boarding pass. Why, years apart, did they both declare there “are indications they were written by one person”?
Finally, a college student who sat directly across from Cooper rejected hundreds of mugshots brought to him by federal agents. But when a career lawman presented six black & white photos from that period to this witness in 2015, he pointed right at Rackstraw. Was it because of the nine points of match to the FBI’s “Sketch B” that this student in fact helped an artist create?
Before algorithms, apps and Apple, there was interpretive code — unique masked messaging created by young soldiers sharing the sleepless nights, putrid smells and guttural screams of hell on earth.
“Project Left Bank” was one of the most classified and valuable intelligence-gathering operations in the Vietnam War (More in 7/2/18 Stockton Record article at home page’s bottom). And like other military units in history, its veterans developed a private code-speak that only their particular group of brothers in 1969-70 could understand. Along with pilots like Rackstraw, radioing in from above.
If you want to truly comprehend interpretive coding, put aside your computers and smart phones, stop talking to academia under 60 years of age and find a veteran who still remembers the real VR. Your bible for this mission is a 200-page code manual from 1950 (at link below), put together by the very brightest men and women in the U.S. Army. Once absorbed, you will be ready to climb into a fox hole or co-pilot seat with our forgotten warriors.