A group has new theories on the identity of DB Cooper.
“Poverty sucks” is the name stenciled on Robert Rackstraw’s yacht. If one investigator is correct, Rackstraw is the notorious hijacker, “D.B. Cooper.” He never really denied it but he won’t confirm it either.
He isn’t about to admit to a crime. At least not until the checks clear from the upcoming docu-drama. The FBI doesn’t seem to be interested in prosecuting him anyway.
Tom Colbert is taking his evidence to the airwaves because the FBI is intentionally covering up. His investigator cracked a 40-year-old code that suggests the infamous skyjacking was a covert CIA operation. Not that the FBI would ever cover up a thing like that.
“This is about current FBI agents stonewalling, covering up, and flat-out lying for mentors and G-men long gone.”
The only reason, Colbert insists is “because of an unholy deal to hide and protect a valuable CIA Black Ops pilot known as DB Cooper.”
Colbert chose the sidewalk outside the FBI headquarters in Washington to accuse the agency of sheltering “a Black Ops CIA operative who may have been tied to the Iran-Contra scandal.”
Colbert assembled a “timeline” of apparent CIA missions involving Rackstraw, “running from 1969 and possibly up through the ’80s, when the Iran-Contra affair took place.”
He explores “other CIA ties to Rackstraw” supported by Pentagon records obtained through FOIA requests.
The military gave Rackstraw “400 hours of Green Beret training in special forces and psychological operations.” That is where he learned to jump out of planes like a pro.
It all started the night before Thanksgiving. November 24, 1971. At the Northwest Orient counter of the Portland airport, a man calling himself “Dan Cooper” paid for a one-way ticket to Seattle with cash.
Once on board the Boeing 727, he lit a cigarette and calmly ordered a bourbon and soda. After the plane was in the air, he handed the flight attendant a note.
She was used to getting little notes from bored and lonely businessmen. She stuck it in her purse unread. Cooper wasn’t expecting that.
He leaned over and whispered, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” Florence Schaffner looked at the note, then wanted to see his bomb.
When he flipped the catches on his briefcase and cracked the lid, “eight red cylinders attached to wires coated with red insulation and a large cylindrical battery” were peeping out from underneath.
“I want $200,000 in ‘negotiable American currency’ four parachutes, two primary and two reserves, and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle. Go tell the pilot.” He also wanted his note back.
The police took photos of the “10,000 unmarked 20-dollar bills,” as they packed them up. Most had “serial numbers beginning with the letter ‘L’ indicating issuance by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco” and were “from the 1963A or 1969 series.” They rounded up the parachutes.
Cooper told the pilots to keep the landing gear down and fly as slow as they could without falling out of the sky. After gathering the flight crew into the cockpit, he opened the rear door stairs and jumped out of the plane.
Thanks to that little maneuver, all planes are now equipped with “Cooper locks” to prevent the doors from being opened while the plane is off the ground.
A week after the hijacking, Cooper dropped authorities a series of letters to let them know he survived. The first said, “Attention! Thanks for the Hospitality. Was in a rut. D.B. Cooper.” Three more followed.
“The composite drawing on Page 3 as suspected by FBI does not represent the truth. I enjoyed the Grey Cup game. Am leaving Vancouver now. Thanks for your hospitality. D.B. Cooper.” He apparently didn’t like the FBI sketch and attended the Canadian version of the Superbowl.
“Am alive and doing well in hometown P.O. The system that beats the system. D.B. Cooper,” was postmarked from “somewhere in Portland” on December 1, 1971. “Plan ahead for retirement income. D.B. Cooper,” was sent to the Reno Evening Gazette. After decades, a fifth letter has recently surfaced.
When all five letters were examined by a Vietnam war era code specialist, he deciphered code groups on each of the letters that indicate exactly who Cooper is, and that he believes he is entitled to a “get out of jail free card from the CIA.”
One set of ciphers translates to: “IF CATCH I AM CIA RWR” The last group are Rakestraw’s initials. “CAN FBI CATCH ME SWS” indicates he attended Special Warfare School where coding like the one used was taught. Rakestraw did attend SWS.
Colbert also found physical evidence, “a parachute strap and foam padding from a skydiver’s backpack” which he turned over to the FBI. The bureau did nothing since.
Rakestraw has long been on the list of suspects but never charged. Rakestraw himself never ruled it out. When questioned back in the late 1970’s, he told the FBI he should be on their list of suspects. “I wouldn’t discount myself, or a person like myself.”
A reporter asked him straight out, are you D. B. Cooper? “Could have been. Could have been. I can’t commit myself on something like that.” With the upcoming video special on the horizon, he still is playing it coy.
“They say that I’m him. If you want to believe it, believe it.”