Even though I've exchanged e-mails and chatted with Skipp Porteous by phone during the course of a couple years, I have yet to meet him. I'm looking forward to it one day.
Skipp and I have a few things in common: we are both private investigators, and we both spend our free time hunting for DB Cooper. Of course, Skipp has his beautiful angels working with him, I work mostly alone.
Skipp and I do not share a suspect list. We bounce ideas off of each other and examine hypotheticals that could support some of the more credible theories about the DB Cooper case. Skipp was seen on National Geographic's tv special and I was heard on the Coast to Coast radio show. We both believe that the DB Cooper mystery is solveable and we each carry a portfolio of active investigation in the case.
Skipp and I also share the belief that the FBI has not been forthcoming with the public when it comes to DB Cooper. The FBI refers to this case as "NORJAK," the only unsolved case of air piracy/extortion in the United States. Could it be that the FBI is haunted by this case, or does it more resemble a pesky fly that won't leave the dinner table? Take your pick. When it comes to solving bank robberies, the FBI is pretty good. But when a particular robber escapes by company jet and then jumps out the back end into a November storm with a parachute and a bag full of money, the FBI flounders. Sure, the FBI did catch McCoy and others who copied DB, but they were now prepared to defend against known criminal tactics. A criminal with original design is hard to catch, though. For DB Cooper it has been 38 years on the uncaptured list, an eye-sore for the pursuer.
Recently, the FBI announced that it was assembling a "Citizens Sleuth Group" (CSG) to broaden the scope of opportunity to catch DB Cooper. In part, Skipp Porteous can take some credit for this, in part, maybe I can. In 2004, I sued the Department of Justice in a Seattle federal court to release some of the NORJAK file to the public. In 2008, Skipp outed a new DB Cooper suspect through an article in New York Magazine, based on his investigative work for a client. Shortly thereafter, the FBI started releasing more details about DB Cooper and upped their efforts to get the public involved. These arrangements are usually broached through compelling efforts of others................oh, those pesky flies.
Skipp and I have made numerous attempts during the past two years to coordinate with the FBI in certain matters regarding the Cooper case. For the most part, we have been ignored, despite our professional backgrounds and our knowledge about the case. What is puzzling is that the FBI has made public appearances with certain individuals from the CSG. It can be assumed that these individuals have access to the FBI NORJAK files and the evidence room where Cooper-related "material articles" are stored. Skipp and my repeated requests to the FBI for access to these items go ignored.
The question we both ask, then, is on what basis does the FBI discriminate or use discretionary authorization in the sharing of its material evidence to the public?
Skipp and I would like nothing better than to see the DB Cooper case solved. Sure, one of us, or both of us, would like to be in on the resolution to this mystery. But after nearly four decades of tantalizing the public with a brilliant and daring escape, does the real DB Cooper really care who solves his case?
Galen G. Cook
Attorney at Law
Note from Skipp: Although I've been approached by several P.I.s and/or writers, I've never had a guest author on this blog. Recently, when talking to Galen, I invited him to write something. He has a different suspect in mind, but it doesn't matter. Both of us want to see the D.B. Cooper case solved.
One thing about private investigation work, is that it truly is an "artform." Skipp Porteous' book is coming out before mine, which is actually better for me. And I applaud Skipp for his ambition to "unmask" DB Cooper. But unmasking DB Cooper is going to take a lot more than dedicating the next Cooper book to a couple of eye-witnesses (the flight attendants), hoping to influence their 40-year old recollections. Flo Schaffner has already told me that a photo of a suspect who is not Kenny Christianson, was the best Cooper candidate yet, at least in her opinion. And good luck getting as much as a "howdy" from Tina Mucklow. If you are lucky enough to get her an autographed copy of your new book through a returned-receipt in the mail, let me know. I'll compare it with the address that I was given by the "head sisters." As all lawyers know from their Criminal Procedure classes, "overly suggestive means" can taint a line-up of suspects. The reality is that this is a One Cooper Universe. The physical evidence alone will be the final arbitor. But in the world of creative private investigation, I tip my hat to my friend Skipp Porteous. I will buy his book and I will read it.
Attorney at Law
DB Cooper Hunter
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