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

After we closed our 2018 investigation with a 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. I fortunately was 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 all been copyrighted, including the decryption of Army-coded Cooper messages and his CIA history; and 3) when he traded an FBI prison cell for years of flying black ops missions, fed officials warned the pilot he’d be re-incarcerated if he ever went public. It was the fear of that secret “John Doe indictment” that ultimately kept him from signing a Cooper rights deal.

Our investigators first heard his fear in 2013; that’s why we’re grateful to the hundreds of sources (including relatives) who helped us methodically document Rackstraw’s life narrative – featuring 22 fake identities, six careers, three families and multiple mistresses in five countries.

The team’s award-winning book, THE LAST MASTER OUTLAW, is now being produced by a premium streamer for a 5-part documentary series in 2022. And we couldn’t be more honored. TJC

FYI: To see our other story discoveries that have reached the big and small screens, please visit; for those in development, see