It was billed as an investigation of the investigators. On May 10,1999, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) held a one-day hearing with witnesses offering damaging testimony about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's role in the TWA 800 probe. Grassley's opening remarks were particularly critical of former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom for failing to uncover the cause of the explosion that killed the jumbo jet's 230 passengers and crew on July 17, 1996.
Grassley's hearing focused on two star witnesses. One was Andrew Vita, assistant director of field operations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). The second was William A. Tobin, former chief metallurgist for the FBI. Both supported Grassley's claim that Kallstrom needlessly prolonged the probe.