One reason why people will lie about a person or a subject is because it suits their agenda, or supports a flawed argument. In the case of Cooper suspect Kenneth P. Christiansen, this is definitely the case. Below is a list of the Five Biggest Whoppers told by armchair types investigating the Cooper case, as well as the source of their lies.
LIE # 1: “I do agree that Skipp (meaning Skipp Porteous, co-author of the book on Christiansen) washed his hands of it all shortly after the book came out…”
Source: Dave Brown, founder of The DB Cooper Forum Dot Com, who is also known as ‘Shutter,’ or ‘Shutter 45’ on the internet:
THE TRUTH: Brown has repeatedly harped on this point, saying that NYC private investigator Skipp Porteous rejected his own book, and his conclusions in it, shortly after the book emerged. Brown also says Porteous would have nothing to do with his co-author (yours truly) after the book was published. The truth is that Porteous and I were friends until the day he died, and his family and I are on very good terms today. Porteous went to his grave believing Christiansen was almost certainly the famous skyjacker. The last update on the investigation he received was about a month prior to his death. His family now receives updates on the upcoming movie based on Christiansen, as well as any progress on the investigation.
LIE # 2: “The FBI checked employee records, especially, flight crews…”
Source: Same source as Lie # 1. Dave Brown. (By ‘flight crews,’ Brown is referring to the fact that Christiansen was not only a former US Army paratrooper, but an actual employee of Northwest Airlines.)
THE TRUTH: There was a request by someone in the FBI early on in the Cooper hijacking to check employees, but according to the most famous case agent on Cooper, Ralph Himmelsbach, such a check was never done. In fact, he confesses to not investigating any leads that Cooper was an inside job. Quote from Himmelsbach, via the Geoff Gray book Skyjack, page 120, on why the FBI decided to skip the airline employee background checks:
“Airline people are head and shoulders above the standards and values and the character of average, normal Americans.”
To date, no evidence from any released FBI file shows that an actual investigation of airline employees took place, except possibly the flight crew of the hijacked jet. Since Northwest Airlines had tens of thousands of employees stationed at different hubs worldwide, checking each employee’s background would have been an impossible task anyway…even for the FBI, who obviously went other routes in their investigation.
LIE # 3: “Kenny Christiansen was pale and pasty-faced, and the FBI described the hijacker as having a swarthy complexion.”
Source: This is more of a deliberate attempt to present Christiansen inaccurately, rather than an outright lie. Several sources are involved, and all of them have seen plenty of accurate pictures of Christiansen.
THE TRUTH: In letters home to his family in Minnesota, Christiansen said he was ‘brown as a potato chip,’ due to lounging on the beaches of Japan during layovers for Northwest Airlines. He also worked on Bikini Island for a time in the South Pacific. There are also the pictures, which show that Christiansen might not have been the George Hamilton-type, but neither did he have a face that resembled Johnny Whitebread.
A couple of pictures of Christiansen are shown from his days with Northwest Airlines. Color photos of Christiansen show the same features. Once in a while, someone in Internet Land will try altering a picture of Christiansen to make it appear he must have lived with movie spotlights following him around. It’s all a lie. When Christiansen wasn’t flying the Orient route for Northwest Airlines, he was either at home, or laying on a beach somewhere.
LIE # 4: “Christiansen was investigated and dismissed by the Seattle F.B.I…”
Source: Dave Brown, Mountain News blogger Bruce Smith, and others.
THE TRUTH: The only time Kenny Christiansen was actually ‘dismissed’ by the FBI was a couple of months after the very first article about him emerged. That was the now-famous article by author Geoff Gray in the New York Magazine in October 2007, long before any real investigation was done on Christiansen. The ‘dismissal’ was done by a single agent, Larry Carr, and was based solely on the article itself. In 2011, after the book on Christiansen was first published, inquiries were made by Adventure Books of Seattle staff on Christiansen’s current status as a suspect in the hijacking. This was the reply from Seattle FBI agent Frederick Gutt:
“Some in this office believe he’s a good suspect. Others believe there are better suspects.”
LIE # 5: “Not one piece of evidence has ever been shown to indicate Christiansen was the hijacker.”
Source: Multiple sources, but often quoted by Bruce Smith and others.
THE TRUTH: This is just deliberate ignorance. The list of evidence presented against both Kenny Christiansen and his alleged accomplice, Bernie Geestman, is nearly endless. There is the PDF version of the actual report sent to the FBI on these two, which you can download HERE. There is testimony from Geestman’s own niece that she saw Kenny creating a phony bomb only two weeks prior to the hijacking. And most damning, a senior FBI agent who told three witnesses only a month after the FBI supposedly ‘closed’ the Cooper case, that the reason they did was because they knew Kenny was the hijacker, and that he was dead. In reality, there is a LOT of evidence against Christiansen, including the fact that Christiansen lent the sister of his alleged accomplice $5,000 in cash just six months after the hijacking.
At the time, he was only earning $512 a month, before taxes, from the airline. The accomplice’s sister, Dawn Androsko of Fox Island, WA freely admitted to receiving the money from Christiansen to both Adventure Books staff, as well as former History Channel programming researcher Marisa Kagan, who now practices law in Los Angeles.
In a strange twist, Androsko told investigators that it was her own brother who approached Christiansen for the money and delivered it to her. She used it to move she and her four children out of her brother’s home in Bonney Lake, WA. In 2012, one of her daughters came forward not only to verify the loan, but to testify she saw Kenny creating a phony bomb using filled quarter-size coin rolls taped end-to-end with red electrical tape. She said he was also cutting off pieces of wire and laying them aside. Files released by the FBI after that date said that the ‘dynamite sticks’ were ‘wrapped in red plastic’. But Dawn Androsko’s daughter said it FIRST, before the FBI did, and before the information in the picture above became public. Coincidence, or simple truth? You decide.