- 2000 NOV 06 -


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00-11-06          Insp. LATHEM was in this afternoon and we spoke about various aspects of the file.  The first topic discussed involved the post-December work required by the TSB, as outlined in Vic GERDEN’s message.  He has asked for a certain amount of time to be put in by KERR, COOPER & me to assist in finishing off the file.  I told him that John had previously warned me about it, and that I fully expected it.  First, John has to update some of his notes regarding the Zurich trips, and this will allow me to also update certain areas of my own notes.  We had seen various areas of the aircraft and quick notes and photos had been taken.  John took the notes while I took the photos.  Then, other areas they want to see are the reports that I have put in, again as notes for John.  This is all to assist in the writing of his final report.  I told LATHEM that I did not see it as a problem as I intend to be on LTO at the time and will just work the time and add it on to the end of the period.  Second, it allows me to stay in contact with the TSB to be aware of ongoing tests and results, including reports.  We have to be aware of what is going on and have access to those reports.

            Next, he inquired about notes, as he had sent out a ROSS message requesting that all the notes be in E&R by 00-12-15, the end date of the file.  I told him that I did not think that everything would be completed by then, and that I have considerable work to do to complete the notes as I would like to have them (this included the addition of various fine details to exhibits, keyword searching, etc.)  He wanted a figure, so I told him 80% complete.  In addition, I told him that the January work with TSB would generate new notes and require the updating of old notes.  But I also told him that the notes would be submitted on a CD and will not be for inclusion directly into E&R because the program does not lend itself to my style of notes.  It does not accept the great number of tables that I have used.  He said that this would be up to COOPER & me to decide upon.

            In discussing upcoming work, etc., I mentioned about the further tests that had to be done, including further burn tests.  I told him that Dr. BROWN has not yet completed his work, and that I would be approaching John GARSTANG next week to ensure that further exemplars were submitted to Dr. BROWN.  He told me that GERDEN had informed him that BROWN’s preliminary report is expected next week.  I told him that BROWN still did not have a source for the magnesium, and that it was still a concern of his, and of mine.

            I asked LATHEM what would happen if/when BROWN comes back with an unknown source for the magnesium, and includes the possibility of a criminal source, while at the same time the TSB comes back with an unknown cause of the fire.  He said that we would have to seriously look at the file at that time and determine if we should go anywhere further with it.  He suggested that if a criminal scenario is a possibility, then it should be looked at.

            I asked him what would happen to the security on the jig and materials between the 15th of December and the time that we are provided sufficient documentation to be satisfied that there was no criminal act.  I told him that TSB is considering using room 111 for a secure compound for the jig, which is a good idea.  He suggested that a memo be submitted regarding follow-up work in January, and the need for any other work or security.  Cover this off in the memo.

            In discussing this concern, he asked if we had any localized burn areas on the plane that suggested a criminal act.  I told him about the ceiling tile at the forward doors, and that at present it appears to be an extreme hot spot.  I then mentioned the broom-straw on the door track, but the lack of burning of the wires, etc. around it.  I also mentioned about the green material above the area covering the Metallized Mylar, and that it is unlikely that it readily burns or all the wires in the area would have burnt up.  A device deposited on one or both door areas would catch enough Mylar to allow it to spread both forward and aft and would cause the extreme burn on the panel and possibly a burn through to the carpets.  Once it spread forward and burned through the Mylar and end cap above the forward emergency battery box, it would create a massive burn area well fed by fresh air resulting in the molten aluminium, and the invasion of the cockpit area.  This would eventually lead to the demise of the crew.  While it is a rough timeline, it certainly could be fine-tuned.  He wondered what the TSB would find as the cause, and I mentioned that the TSB no longer has to find cause, that they have an internal memo stating that very fact.  To find safety deficiencies is enough.  We discussed this for a minute or two, and he then said that when we had started out, this was certainly not the agreement between the two of us.  They were to search for the cause if at all possible.  I told him that I would be submitting something on this at a later date, something independent of this investigation because it has far reaching effects for the ‘partnership’.  But I told him that it is unlikely that they will come back with a definite “cause” of this fire.

            We discussed QUINTIERE and the British computer program.  I explained that John GARSTANG was satisfied with the program, and that it would do as good as or better than QUINTIERE.  I also mentioned that QUINTIERE might have already been hired by SWISSAIR.  He suggested that the program would be objective, while QUINTIERE would be less so under the circumstances.  I told him that this was one of the ongoing tests that had to be completed, and that we must remain in contact with the results.  The data will not be loaded until December, and the program tests will not be run until January.  This is certainly something that I want to be involved with, because I feel that I have earned the right to be one of the people in the Force who have to be convinced in order for this to be put to rest.

            I then mentioned about camera equipment.  I told him that I had not ordered the Nikon 990 because on finishing here, it would be going to the TSB.  But I had a problem with the fact that we had supplied three cameras to the file (2 x Nikon F70 and 1 x Nikon 801) and that they are now worn out and we have nothing to show for it, and replacement will be out of Division funding.  He told me to submit something to FRASER and himself in this regard, and he will see what we can do to free up some funds.

            The subject of the Insulation and End Cap Burn Test then came up.  He told me that he had forwarded the report and tape to Vic GERDEN after some considerable thought of the matter.  He had spoken with GERDEN, who was surprised and somewhat upset that we were involved at all in the matter, and that he felt that I was not here to do that kind of work but was here to assist the TSB.  The comment was made - I was a mole to get the inside information and then turn it over to the RCMP.  Well, I have been called a lot of things in 30 years in the RCMP, but I have never been called a cute, cuddly, furry little thing. GERDEN told him that there was nothing for us to be concerned about, and that there was much below the surface that we knew nothing about.  I commented that he should let us know, but it seems that this is part of their confidential/privileged information and there is no need for us to know.  I merely commented that if that were the case, then how come John GARSTANG knows nothing about it.  LATHEM suggested that was one of the things about GERDEN.  Those who work for him are on a need to know basis only.  Sounds like his military background to me!  I said that he would have to convince lawyers for the families of this when it comes out, and that it certainly will come out because it is in E&R and my notes.  I then suggested that, depending on how he handles this, the TSB could be branded the same as the FAA if it is ever shown they were responsible for the faulty tests.  Apparently, GERDEN advised him that it was none of our concern, but that he would look into it further and he agreed to give him a written response.  I told LATHEM that I had fulfilled what I considered to be my immediate requirement, and that I had worried about it until the report had gone forward to him.  Now he has passed it up to TSB, the agency (partly) responsible, as least so he thinks.  But I asked him what would happen if/when GERDEN came back in the negative, which I feel he will do.  LATHEM advised that he would then consider taking it further up the line, with ultimately something going to the NTSB or the FAA, who are responsible for these matters in the USA.  I suggested that the FBI would be more appropriate, since someone in the FAA appears to be involved in the faulty testing, and the NTSB are their cousins.  He said that he would have to wait to see what GERDEN does with it, that he now shares part of the responsibility.  The matter of looking at the whole picture was also raised.  After all, could we investigate a plane crash without Boeing?  It was suggested that if we were to burn the bridge to Boeing, we could have a problem with future crashes, and this bridge could also include the TSB.  I suggested that there were lots of people around who would be of assistance to us under such circumstances.  All we have to do it put out feelers and they would be glad to assist.  

            It is interesting to note that LATHEM was concerned that I might be trying to set myself up as a witness for the families, or something along those lines.  He said that he put this aside due to the seriousness of the matter.  I told him that I had sweat bullets worrying that another plane would crash before I could get this report out.  Now the responsibility lies with him and GERDEN.  I told him that when GERDEN consults with the TSB lawyers and comes back with his negative response because they do not handle criminal matters, then it would be up to him (LATHEM) to do something about it.  As far as being a witness in this matter, I would suggest that I am already fully involved in any ensuing legal matter and I don’t have to go searching for the obscure to get there.  But from the conversation it was quite apparent that this matter is the basis of at least one legal matter and that he also is involved in the matter, especially to explain what actions he took and why.

            The topic of lieu time off arose again, as he had been thinking about it while I was talking to him, and he was concerned that someone might deny me the time on my leaving here.  He agreed that I certainly had put in the time and the extra effort without any overtime compensation until this past summer.  He asked if there was any documentation of the time or an agreement, and I told him that GORMAN and I had an informal agreement.  I had put in sufficient time to be off for several months, and I fully intend to take it.  He suggested contacting GORMAN to firm this up.  It seems to me that GORMAN is no longer my boss, that LATHEM fulfils that roll until mid-December, and that we can make the agreement.  After that, when I leave the hangar, I revert back to Insp. ROBINSON in Contract Policing.  But I will phone Neil FRASER to advise him of the fact, as he is now the supervisor.  If he has a problem, he can contact GORMAN.

            That pretty well ended the discussion, as he had things to do and places to go, as evidenced by his continuous glancing at his watch throughout the conversation.  The following is a copy of the memo handed me in reply to the report.


             It seems that he received an unsigned copy, even though the original I gave to COOPER was indeed signed.  Certainly, this whole matter is subject of an AD, but I was talking about a potential criminal matter, not a safety issue.  I explained this to LATHEM this afternoon.  I told him that someone in Boeing or whoever the company was that was involved in the testing of the materials could have paid off someone in the FAA, and that someone in Boeing, because of their technical expertise in material designs and their extensive testing facilities, must have known of the defects.  GERDEN cannot investigate this matter, as it is a criminal investigation.  Now I have been told to back off and have no further involvement.  This is not the first time I have been told this during this file, and likely will not be the last time.  It seems to be a common occurrence when an issue is raised.  However, LATHEM assured me that if GERDEN comes back with a negative response, then he would take it further through channels.  I also told him that this matter will surface, and GERDEN and others will have to explain their actions, or lack thereof, especially if another crash occurs because of it. 

            There is another memo that I did not receive, the one from LATHEM to GERDEN.  I will try to obtain a copy of the file.

            Once again, when the crunch occurs, the TSB will be able to say that they are not responsible for any criminal investigation.  Add to that, they did not surface the potential criminal matter, we did.  We then turned it over to them and they will be able to say that they reviewed it, determined that as far as they were concerned it was already being dealt with by means of AD’s, and that there was nothing further for them to do because they do not handle criminal investigations.  They will notify us that there is nothing for them or us to worry about, and that will be it.  If asked later, they will be able to say that there was nothing for them to advise us about, because, after all, we raised the matter.  So, it will be up to LATHEM to do something about it, and sending it to the NTSB is not the answer, as they also are not responsible for criminal matters.  I did my part, and I have told him that the FBI are the people it should go to.  It will now be up to him.



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