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James Kallstrom, Who Led FBI’s New York Field Office and Probe of TWA Flight 800, Dies

Former FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Kallstrom

By Steve Neavling

James K. Kallstrom, the former head of the New York Field Office and the lead investigator of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, has died. 

He was 78. 

A 27-year veteran of the FBI, Kallstrom became an electronic eavesdropping expert and investigated mobsters and terrorists. 

In 1995, Kallstrom was appointed to serve as head of the FBI’s New York City office. 

“In Mr. Kallstrom, the F.B.I. Director, Louis J. Freeh, chose one of the bureau’s most respected technical wizards, a man whose surveillance techniques played a critical role in the arrests of every major organized crime leader and terrorist in New York in the last 20 years,” The New York Times wrote in 1995. 

“Jim Kallstrom is superbly engineered to lead the New York office of the F.B.I.,” Mr. Freeh said at the time.

Following the TWA Flight 800 crash, which killed all 230 people on board, Kallstrom led the 16-month investigation, which revealed that a spark in the fuel tank caused the plane to explode. 

Kallstrom later co-founded the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which assists children who lose a parent in the line of duty. 

A Worcester, Mass., native, Kallstrom graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1966 before joining the Marines and serving in Vietnam.


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