The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency admitted its role in trying to "correct" public opinion about UFOs over the last half century
Amid mounting UFO sightings, the Air Force continued to collect and evaluate UFO data in the late 1940s under a new project, GRUDGE, which tried to alleviate public anxiety over UFOs via a public relations campaign designed to persuade the public that UFOs constituted nothing unusual or extraordinary. UFO sightings were explained as balloons, conventional aircraft, planets, meteors, optical illusions, solar reflections, or even "large hailstones." GRUDGE officials found no evidence in UFO sightings of advanced foreign weapons design or development, and they concluded that UFOs did not threaten US security. They recommended that the project be reduced in scope because the very existence of Air Force official interest encouraged people to believe in UFOs and contributed to a "war hysteria" atmosphere. On 27 December 1949, the Air Force announced the project's termination. (7)
With increased Cold War tensions, the Korean war, and continued UFO sightings, USAF Director of Intelligence Maj. Gen. Charles P. Cabell ordered a new UFO project in 1952. Project BLUE BOOK became the major Air Force effort to study the UFO phenomenon throughout the 1950s and 1960s. (8) The task of identifying and explaining UFOs continued to fall on the Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson. With a small staff, the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) tried to persuade the public that UFOs were not extraordinary. (9) Projects SIGN, GRUDGE, and BLUE BOOK set the tone for the official US Government position regarding UFOs for the next 30 years.
Early CIA Concerns, 1947-52
A massive buildup of sightings over the United States in 1952, especially in July, alarmed the Truman administration. On 19 and 20 July, radar scopes at Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base tracked mysterious blips. On 27 July, the blips reappeared. The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing. The incidents, however, caused headlines across the country. The White House wanted to know what was happening, and the Air Force quickly offered the explanation that the radar blips might be the result of "temperature inversions." Later, a Civil Aeronautics Administration investigation confirmed that such radar blips were quite common and were caused by temperature inversions. (13)
Although it had monitored UFO reports for at least three years, CIA reacted to the new rash of sightings by forming a special study group within the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) to review the situation. (14) Edward Tauss, acting chief of OSI's Weapons and Equipment Division, reported for the group that most UFO sightings could be easily explained. Nevertheless, he recommended that the Agency continue monitoring the problem, in coordination with ATIC. He also urged that CIA conceal its interest from the media and the public, "in view of their probable alarmist tendencies" to accept such interest as confirming the existence of UFOs.(15)
Amateur photographs of alleged UFOs
Because of the tense Cold War situation and increased Soviet capabilities, the CIA Study Group saw serious national security concerns in the flying saucer situation. The group believed that the Soviets could use UFO reports to touch off mass hysteria and panic in the United States. The group also believed that the Soviets might use UFO sightings to overload the US air warning system so that it could not distinguish real targets from phantom UFOs. H. Marshall Chadwell, Assistant Director of OSI, added that he considered the problem of such importance "that it should be brought to the attention of the National Security Council, in order that a community wide coordinated effort towards it solution may be initiated." (22)
Chadwell briefed DCI Smith on the subject of UFOs in December 1952. He urged action because he was convinced that "something was going on that must have immediate attention" and that "sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major US defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles." He drafted a memorandum from the DCI to the National Security Council (NSC) and a proposed NSC Directive establishing the investigation of UFOs as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community. (23) Chadwell also urged Smith to establish an external research project of top-level scientists to study the problem of UFOs. (24) After this briefing, Smith directed DDI Amory to prepare a NSC Intelligence Directive (NSCID) for submission to the NSC on the need to continue the investigation of UFOs and to coordinate such investigations with the Air Force. (25)
The Robertson Panel, 1952-53:
At the same time, Chadwell looked into British efforts in this area. He learned the British also were active in studying the UFO phenomena. An eminent British scientist, R. V. Jones, headed a standing committee created in June 1951 on flying saucers. Jones' and his committee's conclusions on UFOs were similar to those of Agency officials: the sightings were not enemy aircraft but misrepresentations of natural phenomena. The British noted, however, that during a recent air show RAF pilots and senior military officials had observed a "perfect flying saucer." Given the press response, according to the officer, Jones was having a most difficult time trying to correct public opinion regarding UFOs. The public was convinced they were real. (29)
In January 1953, Chadwell and H. P. Robertson, a noted physicist from the California Institute of Technology, put together a distinguished panel of nonmilitary scientists to study the UFO issue. It included Robertson as chairman; Samuel A. Goudsmit, a nuclear physicist from the Brookhaven National Laboratories; Luis Alvarez, a high-energy physicist; Thornton Page, the deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Operations Research Office and an expert on radar and electronics; and Lloyd Berkner, a director of the Brookhaven National Laboratories and a specialist in geophysics. (30)
Following the Robertson panel findings, the Agency abandoned efforts to draft an NSCID on UFOs.(34) The Scientific Advisory Panel on UFOs (the Robertson panel) submitted its report to the IAC, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board. CIA officials said no further consideration of the subject appeared warranted, although they continued to monitor sightings in the interest of national security. Philip Strong and Fred Durant from OSI also briefed the Office of National Estimates on the findings. (35) CIA officials wanted knowledge of any Agency interest in the subject of flying saucers carefully restricted, noting not only that the Robertson panel report was classified but also that any mention of CIA sponsorship of the panel was forbidden. This attitude would later cause the Agency major problems relating to its credibility. (36)
The 1950s: Fading CIA Interest in UFOs
A nonbeliever in UFOs, Odarenko sought to have his division relieved of the responsibility for monitoring UFO reports. In 1955, for example, he recommended that the entire project be terminated because no new information concerning UFOs had surfaced. Besides, he argued, his division was facing a serious budget reduction and could not spare the resources.(39) Chadwell and other Agency officials, however, continued to worry about UFOs. Of special concern were overseas reports of UFO sightings and claims that German engineers held by the Soviets were developing a "flying saucer" as a future weapon of war. (40)
To most US political and military leaders, the Soviet Union by the mid-1950s had become a dangerous opponent. Soviet progress in nuclear weapons and guided missiles was particularly alarming. In the summer of 1949, the USSR had detonated an atomic bomb. In August 1953, only nine months after the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, the Soviets detonated one. In the spring of 1953, a top secret RAND Corporation study also pointed out the vulnerability of SAC bases to a surprise attack by Soviet long-range bombers. Concern over the danger of a Soviet attack on the United States continued to grow, and UFO sightings added to the uneasiness of US policymakers.
Mounting reports of UFOs over eastern Europe and Afghanistan also prompted concern that the Soviets were making rapid progress in this area.
Adding to the concern was a flying saucer sighting by US Senator Richard Russell and his party while traveling on a train in the USSR in October 1955. After extensive interviews of Russell and his group, however, CIA officials concluded that Russell's sighting did not support the theory that the Soviets had developed saucerlike or unconventional aircraft. Herbert Scoville, Jr., the Assistant Director of OSI, wrote that the objects observed probably were normal jet aircraft in a steep climb. (42)
Wilton E. Lexow, head of the CIA's Applied Sciences Division, was also skeptical. He questioned why the Soviets were continuing to develop conventional-type aircraft if they had a "flying saucer." (43) Scoville asked Lexow to assume responsibility for fully assessing the capabilities and limitations of nonconventional aircraft and to maintain the OSI central file on the subject of UFOs.
CIA's U-2 and OXCART as UFOs:
According to later estimates from CIA officials who worked on the U-2 project and the OXCART (SR-71, or Blackbird) project, over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States. (45) This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project. While perhaps justified, this deception added fuel to the later conspiracy theories and the coverup controversy of the 1970s. The percentage of what the Air Force considered unexplained UFO sightings fell to 5.9 percent in 1955 and to 4 percent in 1956. (46)
The matter rested there until UFOlogist Leon Davidson talked with the Maier sisters in 1957. The sisters remembered they had talked with a Mr. Walker who said he was from the US Air Force. Davidson then wrote to a Mr. Walker, believing him to be a US Air Force Intelligence Officer from Wright-Patterson, to ask if the tape had been analyzed at ATIC. Dewelt Walker replied to Davidson that the tape had been forwarded to proper authorities for evaluation, and no information was available concerning the results. Not satisfied, and suspecting that Walker was really a CIA officer, Davidson next wrote DCI Allen Dulles demanding to learn what the coded message revealed and who Mr. Walker was. (55) The Agency, wanting to keep Walker's identity as a CIA employee secret, replied that another agency of the government had analyzed the tape in question and that Davidson would be hearing from the Air Force. (56) On 5 August, the Air Force wrote Davidson saying that Walker "was and is an Air Force Officer" and that the tape "was analyzed by another government organization." The Air Force letter confirmed that the recording contained only identifiable Morse code which came from a known US-licensed radio station.(57)
Davidson wrote Dulles again. This time he wanted to know the identity of the Morse operator and of the agency that had conducted the analysis. CIA and the Air Force were now in a quandary. The Agency had previously denied that it had actually analyzed the tape. The Air Force had also denied analyzing the tape and claimed that Walker was an Air Force officer. CIA officers, under cover, contacted Davidson in Chicago and promised to get the code translation and the identification of the transmitter, if possible. (58)
In another attempt to pacify Davidson, a CIA officer, again under cover and wearing his Air Force uniform, contacted Davidson in New York City.
The CIA officer explained that there was no super agency involved and that Air Force policy was not to disclose who was doing what. While seeming to accept this argument, Davidson nevertheless pressed for disclosure of the recording message and the source. The officer agreed to see what he could do. (59) After checking with Headquarters, the CIA officer phoned Davidson to report that a thorough check had been made and, because the signal was of known US origin, the tape and the notes made at the time had been destroyed to conserve file space. (60)
Another minor flap a few months later added to the growing questions surrounding the Agency's true role with regard to flying saucers. CIA's concern over secrecy again made matters worse. In 1958, Major Keyhoe charged that the Agency was deliberately asking eyewitnesses of UFOs not to make their sightings public. (63)
The 1960s: Declining CIA involvment and mounting controvery
In April 1969, Condon and his committee released their report on UFOs. The report concluded that little, if anything, had come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years and that further extensive study of UFO sightings was unwarranted. It also recommended that the Air Force special unit, Project BLUE BOOK, be discontinued. It did not mention CIA participation in the Condon committee's investigation. (79) A special panel established by the National Academy of Sciences reviewed the Condon report and concurred with its conclusion that "no high priority in UFO investigations is warranted by data of the past two decades." It concluded its review by declaring, "On the basis of present knowledge, the least likely explanation of UFOs is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitations by intelligent beings." Following the recommendations of the Condon Committee and the National Academy of Sciences, the Secretary of the Air Force, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., announced on 17 December 1969 the termination of BLUE BOOK. (80)
The 1970s and 1980s: The UFO Issue Refuses To Die
DCI Stansfield Turner was so upset when he read The New York Times article that he asked his senior officers, "Are we in UFOs?" After reviewing the records, Don Wortman, Deputy Director for Administration, reported to Turner that there was "no organized Agency effort to do research in connection with UFO phenomena nor has there been an organized effort to collect intelligence on UFOs since the 1950s." Wortman assured Turner that the Agency records held only "sporadic instances of correspondence dealing with the subject," including various kinds of reports of UFO sightings. There was no Agency program to collect actively information on UFOs, and the material released to GSW had few deletions. (88) Thus assured, Turner had the General Counsel press for a summary judgment against the new lawsuit by GSW. In May 1980, the courts dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the Agency had conducted a thorough and adequate search in good faith. (89)
CIA also maintained Intelligence Community coordination with other agencies regarding their work in parapsychology, psychic phenomena, and "remote viewing" experiments. In general, the Agency took a conservative scientific view of these unconventional scientific issues. There was no formal or official UFO project within the Agency in the 1980s, and Agency officials purposely kept files on UFOs to a minimum to avoid creating records that might mislead the public if released. (90)
The 1980s also produced renewed charges that the Agency was still withholding documents relating to the 1947 Roswell incident, in which a flying saucer supposedly crashed in New Mexico, and the surfacing of documents which purportedly revealed the existence of a top secret US research and development intelligence operation responsible only to the President on UFOs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. UFOlogists had long argued that, following a flying saucer crash in New Mexico in 1947, the government not only recovered debris from the crashed saucer but also four or five alien bodies. According to some UFOlogists, the government clamped tight security around the project and has refused to divulge its investigation results and research ever since.(91) In September 1994, the US Air Force released a new report on the Roswell incident that concluded that the debris found in New Mexico in 1947 probably came from a once top secret balloon operation, Project MOGUL, designed to monitor the atmosphere for evidence of Soviet nuclear tests.(92)
(2) See Klass, UFOs, p. 3; James S. Gordon, "The UFO Experience," Atlantic Monthly (August 1991), pp. 82-92; David Michael Jacobs, The UFO Controversy in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975); Howard Blum, Out There: The Government's Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990); Timothy Good, Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-Up (New York: William Morrow, 1987); and Whitley Strieber, Communion: The True Story (New York: Morrow, 1987).
(3) In September 1993 John Peterson, an acquaintance of Woolsey's, first approached the DCI with a package of heavily sanitized CIA material on UFOs released to UFOlogist Stanton T. Friedman. Peterson and Friedman wanted to know the reasons for the redactions. Woolsey agreed to look into the matter. See Richard J. Warshaw, Executive Assistant, note to author, 1 November 1994; Warshaw, note to John H. Wright, Information and Privacy Coordinator, 31 January 1994; and Wright, memorandum to Executive Secretariat, 2 March 1994. (Except where noted, all citations to CIA records in this article are to the records collected for the 1994 Agency-wide search that are held by the Executive Assistant to the DCI).
(4) See Hector Quintanilla, Jr., "The Investigation of UFOs," Vol. 10, No. 4, Studies in Intelligence (fall 1966): pp.95-110 and CIA, unsigned memorandum, "Flying Saucers," 14 August 1952. See also Good, Above Top Secret, p. 253. During World War II, US pilots reported "foo fighters" (bright lights trailing US aircraft). Fearing they might be Japanese or German secret weapons, OSS investigated but could find no concrete evidence of enemy weapons and often filed such reports in the "crackpot" category. The OSS also investigated possible sightings of German V-1 and V-2 rockets before their operational use during the war. See Jacobs, UFO Controversy, p. 33. The Central Intelligence Group, the predecessor of the CIA, also monitored reports of "ghost rockets" in Sweden in 1946. See CIG, Intelligence Report, 9 April 1947.
(5) Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 156 and Quintanilla, "The Investigation of UFOs," p. 97.
(6) See US Air Force, Air Material Command, "Unidentified Aerial Objects: Project SIGN, no. F-TR 2274, IA, February 1949, Records of the US Air Force Commands, Activities and Organizations, Record Group 341, National Archives, Washington, DC.
(7) See US Air Force, Projects GRUDGE and BLUEBOOK Reports 1- 12 (Washington, DC; National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, 1968) and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 50-54.
(8) See Cabell, memorandum to Commanding Generals Major Air Commands, "Reporting of Information on Unconventional Aircraft," 8 September 1950 and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 65.
(9) See Air Force, Projects GRUDGE and BLUE BOOK and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 67.
(10) See Edward Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI, "Flying Saucers," 1 August 1952. See also United Kingdom, Report by the "Flying Saucer" Working Party, "Unidentified Flying Objects," no date (approximately 1950).
(11) See Dr. Stone, OSI, memorandum to Dr. Willard Machle, OSI, 15 March 1949 and Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum for DDI, "Recent Sightings of Unexplained Objects," 29 July 1952.
(12) Stone, memorandum to Machle. See also Clark, memorandum for DDI, 29 July 1952.
(13) See Klass, UFOs, p. 15. For a brief review of the Washington sightings see Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 269-271.
14) See Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum to DDI Robert Amory, Jr., 29 July 1952. OSI and OCI were in the Directorate of Intelligence. Established in 1948, OSI served as the CIA's focal point for the analysis of foreign scientific and technological developments. In 1980, OSI was merged into the Office of Science and Weapons Research. The Office of Current Intelligence (OCI), established on 15 January 1951 was to provide all-source current intelligence to the President and the National Security Council.
(15) Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI (Philip Strong), 1 August 1952.
(16) On 2 January 1952, DCI Walter Bedell Smith created a Deputy Directorate for Intelligence (DDI) composed of six overt CIA organizations--OSI, OCI, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Office National Estimates, Office of Research and Reports, and the Office of Intelligence Coordination--to produce intelligence analysis for US policymakers.
(17) See Minutes of Branch Chief's Meeting, 11 August 1952.
(18) Smith expressed his opinions at a meeting in the DCI Conference Room attended by his top officers. See Deputy Chief, Requirements Staff, FI, memorandum for Deputy Director, Plans, "Flying Saucers," 20 August 1952, Directorate of Operations Records, Information Management Staff, Job 86-00538R, Box 1.
(19) See CIA memorandum, unsigned, "Flying Saucers," 11 August 1952.
(20) See CIA, memorandum, unsigned, "Flying Saucers," 14 August 1952.
(21) See CIA, memorandum, unsigned, "Flying Saucers," 19 August 1952.
(22) See Chadwell, memorandum for Smith, 17 September 1952 and 24 September 1952, "Flying Saucers." See also Chadwell, memorandum for DCI Smith, 2 October 1952 and Klass, UFOs, pp. 23-26.
(23) Chadwell, memorandum for DCI with attachments, 2 December 1952. See also Klass, UFOs, pp. 26-27 and Chadwell, memorandum, 25 November 1952.
(24) See Chadwell, memorandum, 25 November 1952 and Chadwell, memorandum, "Approval in Principle - External Research Project Concerned with Unidentified Flying Objects," no date. See also Philip G. Strong, OSI, memorandum for the record, "Meeting with Dr. Julius A. Stratton, Executive Vice President and Provost, MIT and Dr. Max Millikan, Director of CENIS." Strong believed that in order to undertake such a review they would need the full backing and support of DCI Smith.
(25) See Chadwell, memorandum for DCI, ""Unidentified Flying Objects," 2 December 1952. See also Chadwell, memorandum for Amory, DDI, "Approval in Principle - External Research Project Concerned with Unidentified Flying Objects," no date.
(26) The IAC was created in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body in establishing intelligence requirements. Chaired by the DCI, the IAC included representatives from the Department of State, the Army, the Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI, and the AEC.
(27) See Klass, UFOs, p. 27.
(28) See Richard D. Drain, Acting Secretary, IAC, "Minutes of Meeting held in Director's Conference Room, Administration Building, CIA," 4 December 1952.
(29) See Chadwell, memorandum for the record, "British Activity in the Field of UFOs," 18 December 1952.
(30) See Chadwell, memorandum for DCI, "Consultants for Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects," 9 January 1953; Curtis Peebles, Watch the Skies! A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994). pp. 73-90; and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 91-92.
(31) See Fred C. Durant III, Report on the Robertson Panel Meeting, January 1953. Durant, on contract with OSI and a past president of the American Rocket Society, attended the Robertson panel meetings and wrote a summary of the proceedings.
(32) See Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects (the Robertson Report), 17 January 1953 and the Durant report on the panel discussions.
(33) See Robertson Report and Durant Report. See also Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 337-38, Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 95, and Klass, UFO's, pp. 28-29.
(34) See Reber, memorandum to IAC, 18 February 1953.
(35) See Chadwell, memorandum for DDI, "Unidentified Flying Objects," 10 February 1953; Chadwell, letter to Robertson, 28 January 1953; and Reber, memorandum for IAC, "Unidentified Flying Objects," 18 February 1953. On briefing the ONE, see Durant, memorandum for the record, "Briefing of ONE Board on Unidentified Flying Objects," 30 January 1953 and CIA Summary disseminated to the field, "Unidentified Flying Objects," 6 February 1953.
(36) See Chadwell, letter to Julius A. Stratton, Provost MIT, 27 January 1953.
(37) See Chadwell, memorandum for Chief, Physics and Electronics Division/OSI (Todos M. Odarenko), "Unidentified Flying Objects," 27 May 1953.
(38) See Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, "Unidentified Flying Objects," 3 July 1953. See also Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, "Current Status of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOB) Project," 17 December 1953.
(39) See Odarenko, memorandum, "Unidentified Flying Objects," 8 August 1955.
(40) See FBIS, report, "Military Unconventional Aircraft," 18 August 1953 and various reports, "Military-Air, Unconventional Aircraft," 1953, 1954, 1955.
Developed by the Canadian affiliate of Britain's A. V. Roe, Ltd., Project Y did produce a small-scale model that hovered a few feet off the ground. See Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, "Flying Saucer Type of Planes" 25 May 1954; Frederic C. E. Oder, memorandum to Odarenko, "USAF Project Y," 21 May 1954; and Odarenko, T. M. Nordbeck, Ops/SI, and Sidney Graybeal, ASD/SI, memorandum for the record, "Intelligence Responsibilities for Non-Conventional Types of Air Vehicles," 14 June 1954.
(42) See Reuben Efron, memorandum, "Observation of Flying Object Near Baku," 13 October 1955; Scoville, memorandum for the record, "Interview with Senator Richard B. Russell," 27 October 1955; and Wilton E. Lexow, memorandum for information, "Reported Sighting of Unconventional Aircraft," 19 October 1955.
(43) See Lexow, memorandum for information, "Reported Sighting of Unconventional Aircraft," 19 October 1955. See also Frank C. Bolser, memorandum for George C. Miller, Deputy Chief, SAD/SI, "Possible Soviet Flying Saucers, Check On;" Lexow, memorandum, "Possible Soviet Flying Saucers, Follow Up On," 17 December 1954; Lexow, memorandum, "Possible Soviet Flying Saucers," 1 December 1954; and A. H. Sullivan, Jr., memorandum, "Possible Soviet Flying Saucers," 24 November 1954.
(44) See Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach, The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974 (Washington, DC: CIA History Staff, 1992), pp. 72-73.
(45) See Pedlow and Welzenbach, Overhead Reconnaissance, pp. 72-73. This also was confirmed in a telephone interview between the author and John Parongosky, 26 July 1994. Parongosky oversaw the day-to-day affairs of the OXCART program.
(46) See Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 135.
(47) See Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 128-146; Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (New York: Doubleday, 1956); Keyhoe, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy (New York: Holt, 1955); and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 347-49.
(48) See Strong, letter to Lloyd W. Berkner; Strong, letter to Thorton Page; Strong, letter to Robertson; Strong, letter to Samuel Goudsmit; Strong, letter to Luis Alvarez, 20 December 1957; and Strong, memorandum for Major James F. Byrne, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence Department of the Air Force, "Declassification of the `Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects,'" 20 December 1957. See also Berkner, letter to Strong, 20 November 1957 and Page, letter to Strong, 4 December 1957. The panel members were also reluctant to have their association with the Agency released.
(49) See Wilton E. Lexow, memorandum for the record, "Comments on Letters Dealing with Unidentified Flying Objects," 4 April 1958; J. S. Earman, letter to Major Lawrence J. Tacker, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Information Service, 4 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Berkner, 8 April 1958; Berkner, letter to Davidson, 18 April 1958; Berkner, letter to Strong, 21 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Tacker, 27 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Allen Dulles, 27 April 1958; Ruppelt, letter to Davidson, 7 May 1958; Strong, letter to Berkner, 8 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Berkner, 8 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Earman, 16 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Goudsmit, 18 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Page, 18 May 1958; and Tacker, letter to Davidson, 20 May 1958.
(50) See Lexow, memorandum for Chapin, 28 July 1958.
(51) See Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 346-47; Lexow, memorandum for the record, "Meeting with the Air Force Personnel Concerning Scientific Advisory Panel Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, dated 17 January 1953 (S)," 16 May 1958. See also La Rae L. Teel, Deputy Division Chief, ASD, memorandum for the record, "Meeting with Mr. Chapin on Replying to Leon Davidson's UFO Letter and Subsequent Telephone Conversation with Major Thacker, [sic]" 22 May 1958.
(52) See Edwin M. Ashcraft, Chief, Contact Division (Scientific), memorandum to Chief, Chicago Office, "Radio Code Recording," 4 March 1955 and Ashcraft, memorandum to Chief, Support Branch, OSI, 17 March 1955.
(53) The Contact Division was created to collect foreign intelligence information from sources within the United States. See the Directorate of Intelligence Historical Series, The Origin and Development of Contact Division, 11 July 19461 July 1965 (Washington, DC; CIA Historical Staff, June 1969).
(54) See George O. Forrest, Chief, Chicago Office, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division for Science, 11 March 1955.
§ (55) See Support Division (Connell), memorandum to Dewelt E. Walker, 25 April 1957.
(56) See J. Arnold Shaw, Assistant to the Director, letter to Davidson, 10 May 1957.
(57) See Support (Connell) memorandum to Lt. Col. V. Skakich, 27 August 1957 and Lamountain, memorandum to Support (Connell), 20 December 1957.
(58) See Lamountain, cable to Support (Connell), 31 July 1958.
(59) See Support (Connell) cable to Skakich, 3 October 1957 and Skakich, cable to Connell, 9 October 1957.
(60) See Skakich, cable to Connell, 9 October 1957.
(61) See R. P. B. Lohmann, memorandum for Chief, Contact Division, DO, 9 January 1958.
(62) See Support, cable to Skakich, 20 February 1958 and Connell (Support) cable to Lamountain, 19 December 1957.
(63) See Edwin M. Ashcraft, Chief, Contact Division, Office of Operations, memorandum for Austin Bricker, Jr., Assistant to the Director, "Inquiry by Major Donald E. Keyhoe on John Hazen's Association with the Agency," 22 January 1959.
(64) See John T. Hazen, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division, 12 December 1957. See also Ashcraft, memorandum to Cleveland Resident Agent, "Ralph E. Mayher," 20 December 1957. According to this memorandum, the photographs were viewed at "a high level and returned to us without comment." The Air Force held the original negatives. The CIA records were probably destroyed.
(65) The issue would resurface in the 1970s with the GSW FOIA court case.
(66) See Robert Amory, Jr., DDI, memorandum for Assistant Director/Scientific Intelligence, "Flying Saucers," 26 March 1956. See also Wallace R. Lamphire, Office of the Director, Planning and Coordination Staff, memorandum for Richard M. Bissell, Jr., "Unidentified Flying Saucers (UFO)," 11 June 1957; Philip Strong, memorandum for the Director, NPIC, "Reported Photography of Unidentified Flying Objects," 27 October 1958; Scoville, memorandum to Lawrence Houston, Legislative Counsel, "Reply to Honorable Joseph E. Garth," 12 July 1961; and Houston, letter to Garth, 13 July 1961.
(67) See, for example, Davidson, letter to Congressman Joseph Garth, 26 June 1961 and Carl Vinson, Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services, letter to Rep. Robert A. Everett, 2 September 1964.
(68) See Maxwell W. Hunter, staff member, National Aeronautics and Space Council, Executive Office of the President, memorandum for Robert F. Parkard, Office of International Scientific Affairs, Department of State, "Thoughts on the Space Alien Race Question," 18 July 1963, File SP 16, Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives. See also F. J. Sheridan, Chief, Washington Office, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division, "National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP)," 25 January 1965.
(69) Chamberlain, memorandum for DCI, "Evaluation of UFOs," 26 January 1965.
(70) See Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 199 and US Air Force, Scientific Advisory Board, Ad Hoc Committee (O'Brien Committee) to Review Project BLUE BOOK, Special Report (Washington, DC: 1966). See also The New York Times, 14 August 1966, p. 70.
(71) See "Congress Reassured on Space Visits," The New York Times, 6 April 1966.
(72) Weber, letter to Col. Gerald E. Jorgensen, Chief, Community Relations Division, Office of Information, US Air Force, 15 August 1966. The Durant report was a detailed summary of the Robertson panel proceedings.
(73) See John Lear, "The Disputed CIA Document on UFOs," Saturday Review (September 3, 1966), p. 45. The Lear article was otherwise unsympathetic to UFO sightings and the possibility that extraterritorials were involved. The Air Force had been eager to provide Lear with the full report. See Walter L. Mackey, Executive Officer, memorandum for DCI, "Air Force Request to Declassify CIA Material on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)," 1 September 1966.
(74) See Klass, UFOs, p. 40, Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 214 and Everet Clark, "Physicist Scores `Saucer Status,'" The New York Times, 21 October 1966. See also James E. McDonald, "Statement on Unidentified Flying Objects," submitted to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, 29 July 1968.
(75) Condon is quoted in Walter Sullivan, "3 Aides Selected in Saucer Inquiry," The New York Times, 8 October 1966. See also "An Outspoken Scientist, Edward Uhler Condon," The New York Times, 8 October 1966. Condon, an outgoing, gruff scientist, had earlier become embroiled in a controversy with the House Unamerican Activities Committee that claimed Condon was "one of the weakest links in our atomic security." See also Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 169-195.
(76) See Lundahl, memorandum for DDI, 7 February 1967.
(77) See memorandum for the record, "Visit of Dr. Condon to NPIC, 20 February 1967," 23 February 1967. See also the analysis of the photographs in memorandum for Lundahl, "Photo Analysis of UFO Photography," 17 February 1967.
(78) See memorandum for the record, "UFO Briefing for Dr. Edward Condon, 5 May 1967," 8 May 1967 and attached "Guidelines to UFO Photographers and UFO Photographic Information Sheet." See also Condon Committee, Press Release, 1 May 1967 and Klass, UFOs, p. 41. The Zaneville photographs turned out to be a hoax.
(79) See Edward U. Condon, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (New York: Bantam Books, 1969) and Klass, UFOs, p. 41. The report contained the Durant report with only minor deletions.
(80) See Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense, News Release, "Air Force to Terminate Project BLUEBOOK," 17 December 1969. The Air Force retired BLUEBOOK records to the USAF Archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. In 1976 the Air Force turned over all BLUEBOOK files to the National Archives and Records Administration, which made them available to the public without major restrictions. Some names have been withheld from the documents. See Klass, UFOs, p. 6.
(81) GSW was a small group of UFO buffs based in Phoenix, Arizona, and headed by William H. Spaulding.
(82) See Klass, UFOs, p. 8.
(83) See Wilson, letter to Spaulding, 26 March 1976 and GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859.
(84) GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859, p. 2.
(85) Author interview with Launie Ziebell, 23 June 1994 and author interview with OSI analyst, 21 July 1994. See also affidavits of George Owens, CIA Information and Privacy Act Coordinator; Karl H. Weber, OSI; Sidney D. Stembridge, Office of Security; and Rutledge P. Hazzard, DS&T; GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859 and Sayre Stevens, Deputy Director for National Foreign Assessment, memorandum for Thomas H. White, Assistant for Information, Information Review Committee, "FOIA Litigation Ground Saucer Watch," no date.
(86) See "CIA Papers Detail UFO Surveillance," The New York Times, 13 January 1979; Patrick Huyghe, "UFO Files: The Untold Story," The New York Times Magazine, 14 October 1979, p. 106; and Jerome Clark, "UFO Update," UFO Report, August 1979.
(87) Jerome Clark, "Latest UFO News Briefs From Around the World," UFO Update, August 1979 and GSW v. CIA Civil Action No. 78-859.
(88) See Wortman, memorandum for DCI Turner, "Your Question, `Are we in UFOs?' Annotated to The New York Times News Release Article," 18 January 1979.
(89) See GSW v. CIA Civil Action 78-859. See also Klass, UFOs, pp. 10-12.
(90) See John Brennan, memorandum for Richard Warshaw, Executive Assistant, DCI, "Requested Information on UFOs," 30 September 1993; Author interviews with OSWR analyst, 14 June 1994 and OSI analyst, 21 July 1994. This author found almost no documentation on Agency involvement with UFOs in the 1980s.
There is a DIA Psychic Center and the NSA studies parapsychology, that branch of psychology that deals with the investigation of such psychic phenomena as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, and telepathy. The CIA reportedly is also a member of an Incident Response Team to investigate UFO landings, if one should occur. This team has never met. The lack of solid CIA documentation on Agency UFO-related activities in the 1980s leaves the entire issue somewhat murky for this period.
Much of the UFO literature presently focuses on contactees and abductees. See John E. Mack, Abduction, Human Encounters with Aliens (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994) and Howard Blum, Out There (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990).
Dr. Larry Bland, editor of The George C. Marshall Papers, discovered that one of the so-called Majestic-12 documents was a complete fraud. It contained the exact same language as a letter from Marshall to Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey regarding the "Magic" intercepts in 1944. The dates and names had been altered and "Magic" changed to "Majic." Moreover, it was a photocopy, not an original. No original MJ-12 documents have ever surfaced. Telephone conversation between the author and Bland, 29 August 1994.