FBI Raises Questions About Paul Wellstone's Death

FBI records show investigators looked into the possibility that the death of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone was no accident.

Wellstone was killed eight years ago in a plane crash. The crash killed seven others, including his wife, daughter and three staffers. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the crash was caused by pilot error, but that wasn't always the belief.

Minnesota Public Radio obtained the FBI records of Wellstone, which began in the early 1970s. The files show the organization pursued various criminal leads as part of the investigation into the crash.

Part of the FBI probe focused on problems with the plane’s de-icing equipment. According to one lead, the cause of that faulty equipment may not have been an accident: A caller from Florida, where the flight originated, said members of the American Trucking Association had planned to disconnect the plane’s de-icing equipment because they were upset with Wellstone’s efforts to expose organized crime in the trucking industry.

The report also reveals that Wellstone’s office received a threatening postcard the day before the plane crash. The handwritten postcard said in part that "the sniper should go after people like you, not real Americans."

Despite all of that, the final NTSB report said there was no evidence of criminal activity, and said it was simply pilot error.


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