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Airplanes and Rockets:
The Government and UFOs
''Further scientific investigation of UFOs is unwarranted. "
--Air Force, 1980
Perhaps most disturbing is the very fact that after thirty-two years, a small but significant percentage of UFOs still remains unidentified. While the government has been concerned with the psychological danger the UFO phenomenon poses, it has been unwilling to consider the prospect that some UFOs pose an actual physical threat. Fearful of generating undue concern, the government has deliberately chosen to debunk UFO reports and has misinformed the public as to the true importance of the phenomenon.
Though admittedly the government has "studied UFO reports, apparently no. government body has dwelt on those official government reports that indicate certain UFOs pose a threat to national security. Is there any doubt that it is these reports which deserve further scientific investigation? The now-defunct USAF twenty-year "Project Blue Book" UFO study never had a chance to receive the "outstanding report" from Iran. An Air Force document states: "Reports of UFOs which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146* or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system." The Air Force's UFO investigation was criticized as long ago as 1952 by the CIA. The CIA complained that the Air Force's case-by-case investigations and explanations were insufficient to determine the exact nature of the phenomenon.
Similarly, the Air Force-sponsored "Condon Committee" study by the University of Colorado in 1968 never earnestly intended to investigate the physical reality of the phenomenon. Indeed, an early memorandum by one of Dr. Edward U. Condon's staff indicates otherwise: "The trick would be. I think to describe the project so that to the public, it would appear a totally objective study ... one way to do this would be to stress investigation, not of the physical phenomenon, but rather of the people who are doing the observing ..."
In June 1978, a French government UFO study group (GEPANl concluded that "everything taken into consideration, a material phenomenon seems to be behind the totality of the phenomenon - a flying machine whose modes of sustenance: and propulsion are beyond our knowledge.
If the UFO phenomenon is indeed beyond the grasp of Our understanding - technologically speaking - all the more reason to strive towards learning more about it. For although the United States may ignore the significance of the UFO Phenomenon, it is hardly reasonable to suppose that the rest of the world will do so.
And there are other considerations besides national security in following up the UFO enigma. As a report from the National Securitv Agency in 1968 put it,
"Perhaps the UFO question might even make man undertake studies which could enable him
construct a society which is most conducive to developing a completely human being, healthy
in all aspects of mind and body - and most importantly, able to recognize and adapt to real
In isolating ourselves from the UFO phenomenon we may risk missing what could be the most important adventure man has yet embarked up-on.
*"Joint Army·Navy·Air Force Publication 146 is published by the Military Communications Board of the DOD Joint
Chiefs of Staff. It provided U.S.Canadian ·Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings
(CIRVIS) from Airborne and Waterborne Sources. Section III (Security), paragraph 208, calls for stiffpenalties for
divulging information about such sightings once reported.
BASED ON the 892 pages of UFO-related documents released to lawyer Peter Gersten, it is clear that the CIA's professed non-interest in UFOs is untrue. There is internal evidence of noncontinuity within the CIA, and even of one group or analyst being unaware of other files or previous work. This is not surprising considering the highly compartmentalized nature of the agency. But periodic studies or reviews were ordered and UFO reports, foreign and domestic, were routinely monitored over long periods of time.
The statement is sometimes made that the CIA has had no "formal" study of UFOs other than the 1953 Robertson Panel, but these documents show that the agency kept (and no doubt keeps) plenty of "channels" open to gather information, including an acknowledged channel into the 1966·68 University of Colorado UFO project. The documents also clearly indicate that in 1952 the CIA was prepared to mount a major scientific study of UFOs based on the extraordinary radar-visual sightings that year, but that the debunking conclusion of the Robertson Panel cut short that effort.
In May 1953, following the Robertson Panel report, "P&E Division assumed responsibility for the OSI project on unidentified flying objects." (December 17, 1953 memo to Assistant Director. Scientific Intelligence) A year later. the Chief of P&E (Physics and Electronics) said he would "maintain the OSI central file on such objects," which he did until August 1955, according to an August 8, 1955 memo to the Assistant Director of Scientific Intelligence.
AFTER THAT, responsibility was assigned to the Applied Science Division, here W.E. Lexow, Division Chief, stated in a February -1956 memo: "Achronological file of all OSI correspondence and action taken in lGr Force bases from Guam to Newfoundland. Another AF document reveals that the Air Force conducted an ivestigation into the incidents but found no explanation for their occurrence.
It appears Air Force "security measures" provided no protection against the "invasion." One month later, on January 21, 1976, UFOs "25 yards in diameter, gold or silver in color with blue light on top, hole in middle. and red light on bottom" were observed "near the flight line of Cannon AFB. N.M." Ten days later, on January 31, a UFO was observed near a radar site at Elgin AFB, Florida. On July 30, 1976, a UFO was observed "over the ammo storage area" at Fort Richie, Maryland.
The above accounts have numerous historical precedents. From 1948 through 1950, an FBI document reveals, UFOs were sighted by "persons whose reliability is not questioned," near highly sensitive military and government installations, including nuclear weapons design, construction, testing and stockpiling sites. Security officials were greatly alarmed by these incidents.
A CIA document reveals that in 1952 "sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and travelling at high speeds" were reported in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations and posed a threat to national security.
The evidence is clear and convincing that the Federal government has systematically misinformed the American people about the real threat to our national security posed by such UFO encounters.
UFO As Advanced Technology
The Government's position:
"There has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as unidentified represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge."
-Air Force, 1980
The official documents reveal hundreds of sighting reports - many confirmed by radar and other tracking devices - that describe - unconventional objects exhibiting advanced performance characteristics involving maneuverability, speed, size anf shape.
A Defense Intelligence Agency document reveals that on September 19, 1976, American-made Iranian jets encountered several UFOs that exhibited a technology beyond present-day development. During the night-time encounter, one F-4 jet, upon approaching one of the UFOs, lost all instrumentation and communications functions. Another F-4's weapons-control panel became inoperable when the pilot attempted to fire at the object.
The DIA evaluation' (October 12, 1976) refers to this incident as "an outstanding report" because the objects were seen by many witnesses of high credibility; the visual sightings had radar confirmation; similar electromagnetic effects were reported by three separate aircraft; and physiological effects were reported by some of the crew members. Furthermore, the UFOs displayed an "inordinate amount of maneuverability."
A State Department message (March 7, 1975) from the American Embassy in Algiers tells of "strange machines" seen near Algerian military installations by "respectable people." Some of the sightings were confirmed by radar.
And another State Department message from our embassy in Kuwait reports that during November 1978, a series of UFO sightings caused the Kuwaiti government to appoint an investigatory committee from the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. One UFO appearing over the northern oil fields "seemingly did strange things" to the automatic pumping equipment. The equipment is designed to shut itself down when any failure occurs that could seriously damage the petroleum-gathering and transmission system; when such an event occurs, the pumping equipment must be restarted manually. When the UFO appeared, the pumping system automatically shut down. But when the UFO "vanished," the. system started up again, automatically. The presence of a highly sophisticated technology - a technology beyond our present developmentseems obvious. Why is it being ignored by our government?
A Question of Survival
''It would seem a little more of this survival attitude is called for in dealing with the UFO problem."
- National Security Agency. 1968
The evidence indicates that some unconventional aerial objects could provoke, either intentionally or unintentionally, an international incident - with serious repercussions.
In March 1967, an intercept technician with the USAF Security Service intercepted a communication between the pilot of a Russian-made - Cuban MIG-21 and his command concerning a UFO encounter. Thetechnician has since stated that when the pilot attempted to fire at the object, the MIG and its pilot were destroyed by the UFO. Furthermore, the technician alleges that all reports, tapes, log entries, and notes on the incident were forwarded to the National Security Agency at their request.
Not surprisingly, several months later, the agency drafted a report entitled UFO Hyothesis and Survival Question. Released in October 1979 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the report states that "the leisurely scientific approach has too often taken precedence in dealing the UFO question." The Agency concluded that no matter what UFO hypothesis is considered, "all of them have serious survival implications."
Comparing the UFO problem to a rattler on a forest path, the NSA report says, "you would have to treat the alarm as if it were a real and immediate threat to your survival. Investigation would become an intensive emergency action to isolate the threat and to determine its precise nature. It would be geared to developing adequate defense measures in a minimum amount of time. It would seem a little more of this survival attitude is called for in dealing with the UFO problem."
RICHARD HALL was former Assistant. Director of NICAP, the leading UFO organization during the 1950s and 1960s. He is the Editor of MUFON Journal and a Frontiers of Science advisor.