Another wrinkle has been added to the already perplexing mystery surrounding the D.B. Cooper hijacking case of 1971.
A documentary filmmaker named Thomas Colbert claimed Thursday he believes the mysterious man to be a black ops CIA operative potentially involved with Iran-Contra whose identity has been suppressed by federal agents.
Colbert recruited a 40-person team to help him decipher the identity of the mysterious criminal who in 1971 hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 and parachuted out the back of the plane with $200,000 in ransom money.
In January, Colbert revealed to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the number “717171684” found on the bottom of the letter came from an Army veteran named Robert W. Rackstraw who is reportedly still alive and residing in San Diego.
Colbert revealed that his team came to this conclusion after utilizing information gathered from a code breaker who studied the five letters allegedly drafted by Cooper.
“The new decryptions include a dare to agents, directives to apparent partners, and a startling claim that is followed by Rackstraw’s own initials: If captured, he expects a get-out-of-jail card from a federal spy agency,” Colbert stated in a Thursday media release.
The investigator also noted that multiple people who knew Rackstraw came forward and claimed that he had connections to the CIA.
Another investigator on Colbert’s team revealed that other evidence gathered throughout the investigation shows that the FBI deliberately tried to keep the case a mystery.
“As we suspected, records show the Bureau has been stonewalling, covering up evidence and flat-out lying for decades,” the investigator told The Oregonian.
As noted by Fox News, Colbert believes that the nine-digit code found at the bottom of the letter may have been an attempt by Cooper to notify other conspirators that he was still alive after the heist.
The investigator claims that the number is a reference to three units in the Army that Rackstraw had connections to during his time in the military.
However, a former FBI agent believes that the idea of Colbert utilizing coding techniques is somewhat far-fetched, but that Rackstraw might be the culprit.
“I think the coding thing is remarkable, but I’m a hard skeptic,” Dorwin Schreuder, a former FBI agent told the Seattle PI in January. “The circumstances of those codes being what Tom says they are, that he says nobody but him would know these units and these figures, if it’s true that’s pretty hard to argue against. Rackstraw might be his guy.”
Schreuder worked on the Cooper case back in the 1980s, Fox News reported.
The fifth and final letter was released by the FBI in November 2017 through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
In the letter, Cooper explained why he believed authorities would never be able to capture him.
“I didn’t rob Northwest Orient because I thought it would be romantic, heroic or any of the other euphemisms that seem to attach themselves to situations of high risk,” the mysterious hijacker allegedly wrote in the fifth and final letter.
The statement continued: “My life has been one of hate, turmoil, hunger and more hate, this seemed to be the fastest and most profitable way to gain a few fast grains of peace of mind.
“I don’t blame people for hating me for what I’ve done nor do I blame anybody for wanting me to be caught and punished, though this can never happen.”
In an almost prophetic fashion, he went on to note that authorities would have trouble finding him because he “left no fingerprints” and is “not a boasting man,” among other things.
He ended the letter by stating that he is not a violent person.
“As a matter of fact I’ve never even received a speeding ticket,” Cooper concluded.
As noted by Seattle PI, the case of D.B. Cooper is the only unsolved incident of air piracy in U.S. history.
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