3) Avoidance of public access to or failure to conduct necessary laboratory analyses to conclusively determine the source of nitrates found within the center wing tank wreckage.
FACT: A piece of the aircraft's center wing tank (labeled CW-504 during reconstruction) was among the earliest items ejected from Flight 800 after the initial explosion. Its recovery location in the "earliest part of the [debris field]" caused investigators to conclude that its location "might even be in conflict with the proposed [NTSB crash] scenario."
FACT: The NTSB contracted NASA to test the "splatter material" found on this item's surface. NASA test results confirmed the presence of nitrates (a high explosive indicator) within the splatter material, alarming the scientists conducting the tests who concluded that the nitrate presence warranted "further investigation."
FACT: The NTSB failed to request any further testing of the nitrate-laden splatter material by NASA. Ultimately, the source of the nitrates was not determined and the NASA report expressing concern over the nitrate presence was not included in the NTSB public docket.
ASSESSMENT: Further testing of the splatter material found on CW-504 is necessary to determine the origin of the nitrates detected. Common laboratory techniques exist that can help determine whether the nitrates came from high explosives or some other source.