12:17 PM ET 03/13/97

Salinger claims ``proof'' on TWA missile theory
	    By Christopher Noble
    PARIS (Reuter) - Former U.S. presidential spokesman Pierre
Salinger waded back into a controversy Thursday over the crash
last year of a TWA jumbo jet, presenting what he called proof it
was shot down by a U.S. Navy missile.
    The evidence, dismissed in advance by U.S. investigators,
consisted mostly of radar images Salinger said backed a theory
that the U.S. Navy accidentally shot down Trans World Airlines
Flight 800 off New York July 17, killing all 230 people aboard.
    Salinger and a journalistic team headed Dr. Mike Sommers, an
investigative reporter, compiled their allegations in a 69-page
report he said proved their case. The images were published
simultaneously in the French news magazine Paris Match.
    ``That (radar) tape done by the air traffic control
completely confirms that a missile fired down TWA 800,''
Salinger told a news conference.
    ``We have now reached the point where we are totally sure
that what we are saying is true.''
    Salinger, who was spokesman for President John F. Kennedy,
called for a full investigation into his allegations by 
Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
    In a pre-emptive strike Wednesday, investigators in
Washington dismissed the claims ahead of Salinger's conference.
   ``It's just not true,'' lead investigator James Kallstrom
said on NBC television's ``Today Show.''
    Salinger said at the news conference that he had given his
team's report to Kallstrom four days ago.
    French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jacques Rummelhardt told a
news briefing Paris understood the impatience of families of
victims, many of whom were French, but had ``full confidence in
the results which will emerge from the U.S. investigation.''