In Part One of this article, this writer told how a witness named Troy Bentz, a civilian engineer for the U.S. Navy, claimed that a senior F.B.I. agent told he and two other men the REAL reason the F.B.I. closed the famous D.B. Cooper hijacking case. The reason given, said Bentz, was that the F.B.I. knew the identity of the hijacker, that he was dead, and that he was none other than suspect Kenny Christiansen. Bentz named the other witnesses, even providing details on where they worked, their phone numbers, and the fact that all three of them held security clearances with the U.S. government. (The names of the other witnesses and their contact information are available to the F.B.I., or to legitimate media, should they choose to ask. But I cannot release their information publicly, of course.)
This matter of ‘the real reason the F.B.I. closed the case’ was a stunning revelation, and I had some difficulty wrapping my mind around it. Where should I start verification on such a story? I began by talking to Bentz on the phone for a couple of hours, and then Adventure Books staff started running down the names of the witnesses and the names of the character references that he had provided.
The witnesses checked out. It was true. They were all at the baseball game with the F.B.I. agent, they all possessed security clearances as Bentz claimed, and they all heard what Agent Jarvis said.
My next step was to craft a carefully-worded email to the Seattle F.B.I. and get their response to Bentz’s allegations. I told them everything except Troy’s last name, but I did name the F.B.I. agent in question. They responded by saying ‘perhaps the agent was just giving his personal opinion on the case’. However, they did not deny that the incident happened as Bentz said. This answer from the F.B.I. did not satisfy me, so I went public and told Bentz’s story. (I referred to him as ‘Troy B’) I named Agent Jarvis, as well as posting his picture online. A year and a half later, and there was still not a peep from the Feds telling me to cease and desist. Questioning the reputation of the F.B.I.? Calling them nationally-reported liars about one of the most famous cases they ever handled? Posting the name and picture of the agent who told the truth? I thought surely they would say SOMETHING, but they never did. I wondered if the reason was that the Seattle F.B.I. had actually checked out the 54-page illustrated report we sent them on Kenny Christiansen, less than a year prior to their announcement about closing the case. Could be, I thought.
Two weeks after Troy Bentz came forward, he called me on the phone again. He was getting nervous, he said. He had a family, a wife, and a government job. Not only that, but he had told his wife what he had done, and she was very angry with him. She called him a ‘whistleblower,’ he said, and reminded Troy that their kids went to swim team with kids of F.B.I. agents, and military personnel. She was worried how his actions might affect their family’s life, even his job.
Bentz asked if I could keep his last name out of the whole thing, and I did just that for well over a year. However, I decided that after a certain amount of time had gone by, if nothing additional came out publicly about the real reason for the closure of the Cooper case, I would finally tell the whole story. As usual, I expect to receive a certain amount of flak from armchair investigators of the D.B. Cooper case, many of whom are still not convinced that Kenny Christiansen was Cooper. They sometimes go to great lengths to discredit even the possibility that he might be the hijacker. Dirty tricks and threats directed at Adventure Books are common, which we mostly shrug off anyway.
One email I received from Bentz contained this:
‘The Bible says that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search out a matter…’
Then he said I was doing the work of kings.
Nah, I told him. I was just the messenger boy.