When a former FBI leader called a cold case team’s hijacking evidence against Rackstraw “a tremendous circumstantial case,” it set off sirens in the 7th floor offices of Director James Comey. His executive staff canceled a 2016 meeting with the private investigators, refused their forensic materials (Including DNA) 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 decades — the FBI had shielded Rackstraw. The revelations unfold in these time-lined releases (Click on bullets of interest):

*3/30/17 Release: After judge grants team access to 1971 Cooper file, the FBI orders massive redactions (Samples of agency’s alleged obstruction of evidence on pgs. 2-3) 

*8/19/17 Release: Stunned FBI accepts team’s material evidence from hijacker’s alleged chute dig site (On video) and names of living crime-partners — then the feds go silent

*9/11/17 Release: Two senior FBI agents that led the 1980 Cooper-cash recovery along Columbia River see team’s evidence of it being a stunt; both call for a new investigation

*11/6/17 Release: After months of agency inaction and silence on the parachute lead, cold case team’s Washington, D.C. attorney sends a no-bones letter to FBI director

*11/19/17 Release: FBI “evidence” of Cooper’s clean getaway, held for 46 years, is released by federal court — 1 of 12 alleged examples of a cover-up (More on pgs. 5-7)

*1/4/18 Release: Two Vietnam vets claim an Army-coded encryption in a taunting Cooper letter reveals writer is from their old secret unit; he is Robert W. Rackstraw

*2/1/18 Release: Rackstraw is now linked to coded encryptions in 5 Cooper letters, along with CIA black ops work — before and after the daring hijacking (See pages 2-5)

*6/28/18 Release: In the court release of an unexpected 6th Army-coded Cooper letter, the FBI’s “ruled out” Rackstraw admits, in fact, to “hijacking one jet plane

*8/8/18 Release: Team reveals formula behind Rackstraw’s coded messages (Pgs. 2-3; more below map), where Cooper cash went (real estate), and his lavish San Diego life


Court-released FBI records and four retired military commanders (with supporting documents) collectively conclude the missing ’71 hijacker was Robert W. Rackstraw Sr. (R.I.P., 7/9/19).

After we closed our investigation at a 2018 news conference outside 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.”

Hollywood, however, went directly to Rackstraw. Sources tell us he was given a private jet-ride in for a confidential meet-and-greet with leading producers, studios and streamers. Fortunately, my wife and I were fully prepared for this end-run – thanks to our cold case team.

Rackstraw’s 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 posted 8/8/18 CBS News-WBBM story.)

Dawna and I are very grateful to the hundreds who helped us (including his family members) to document Rackstraw’s full life narrative in an award-winning book – our 21st discovery for the big and small screens. But there’s 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

FYI: For more true stories under development, see TJCConsulting.biz 


DB Cooper Postal Trail Map



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 from our team 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?

Coding History

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 details at the 7/2/18 Stockton Record article in “Latest News” section). 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.