Excerpts From "The Fall of the FBI"
“The President Has Been Shot”
President Ronald Reagan was shot at 2:30 PM on Monday, March 30, 1981. I was in my Bureau car, having just left a meeting at FBI Headquarters. I was listening to music on the radio when the announcer broke in with news that President Reagan had just been shot at the Hilton Hotel.
I immediately called WFO. “Which Hilton is the incident at?”
Nobody knew about it.
There are two Hilton Hotels in Washington: the Washington Hilton at Connecticut and Florida Avenues, and the Capital Hilton at K and 16th Streets. But when I asked, “which Hilton,” the radio dispatcher replied, “What are you talking about?”
“The big incident!” I yelled, “Which Hilton is it at?”
Again, “What incident?”
Agents are to be discreet when speaking on the radio, but finally I bellowed, “The President has been shot outside the Hilton Hotel!”
Death Over Water
An explosion broke up TWA Flight 800 at 8:30 PM on July 16, 1996. The Boeing 747 aircraft was at 14,000 feet above the Atlantic, still within sight of New York’s Long Island. It departed JFK Airport at 8:19 PM with a crew of 18 and 212 passengers, a total of 230, men, women, and children: all killed.
In Paris, Flight 800’s destination, it was 2:30 AM, on July 17, 1996, when the explosion happened. Early morning phone calls at our Paris apartment began. The FBI’s New York Office, the NYO, was the first call. It was just a few hours after the crash and close to the time I would be getting up. James K. Kallstrom, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York FBI office, asked me to initiate the French end of the investigation. In quick succession FBIHQ and the embassy called. At headquarters, the SIOC (Strategic Information and Operations Center) was activated. On the fifth floor of the Hoover Building, The SIOC is a state-of-the-art command post, which was created to help manage crises. The message from the embassy was the Ambassador wanted to be briefed as soon as possible.So began one of the largest investigations in FBI history and the case would stay a priority for our Legat office for over a year.