History and Background (1)
The UFO problem has involved military personnel around the world for more than sixty years, and is wrapped in secrecy. Because this subject is so widely ridiculed, it is important to stress why it is worthy of serious attention.
Stories of strange objects in the sky go far back in time, but from the 1940s to our own era, military personnel from the United States and many other nations have encountered unidentified flying objects, visually and on radar, sometimes at close range. These events happened not scores of times, but hundreds of times, and most likely thousands. Sometimes the encounter was nothing more than a solid radar return of an object moving at an incomprehensible speed, performing impossible maneuvers. Sometimes it included the violation of sensitive air space. Often it involved the dispatch of one or more aircraft to intercept the object. At times, crew members have claimed to see a metallic, disc-like object, sometimes with portholes, sometimes with lights, frequently engaged in what appeared to be intelligent, evasive maneuvers. In a very few cases, it appears to have involved the military retrieval of a UFO. In a few others, it involved injury and even death to military personnel. In a very large number of recorded instances, military personnel who encountered UFOs were adamant that they did not see a natural phenomenon.
This is clearly a serious development, and it has been treated as such by those groups charged with maintaining national security. The CIA, NSA, and all branches of military intelligence have historically received UFO reports and discussed the matter as something of serious concern.
And yet, the military and other branches of government have created the fiction, for public consumption only, that the UFO problem is nothing to be concerned about – certainly not the result of little green men.
We are fortunate that, starting in the 1970s, the U.S. Freedom of Information Act began to help researchers learn some of the truth that lay behind the facade of propaganda. We learned, for example, that some U.S. military analysts initially feared that the Soviet Union might be behind the “flying saucer” wave of the 1940s and 50s. They studied this possibility, but rejected it. They also rejected the possibility that these were secret American technology.
Indeed, options quickly narrowed. Either this was something real and alien, or it was something “conventional” but as yet unknown or unexplained. Already, by the end of 1947, a contingent of analysts at the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base believed that UFOs were extraterrestrial. By the summer of 1948, this team prepared what they called an “Estimate of the Situation” stating the extraterrestrial thesis. The response: the team was dispersed and reassigned.
Yet, thanks to FOIA and the courage of a few senior officials to go on the record, we have a collection of statements about UFOs that are so numerous as to be impossible to mention all of them here. But a few might give you an appropriate flavor of what I mean.
This one is from General Robert B. Landry, Air Force Aide to President Harry S. Truman “I was called one afternoon [in 1948] to come to the Oval Office – the President wanted to see me. . . . I was directed to report quarterly to the President after consulting with Central Intelligence people, as to whether or not any UFO incidents received by them could be considered as having any strategic threatening implications . . . .”
Landry went on to say that he continued to brief President Truman, in conjunction with the CIA, quarterly for the rest of the Truman Presidency. That’s no less than 16 briefings. We might want to know why a man as busy as President Truman was, would take the time out of his schedule to have so many meetings about UFOs? And yet we have no official transcript or record of these
This is a statement from a Top Secret 1948 Air Force Intelligence report, “Analysis of Flying Object Incidents in the U.S.”
“The frequency of reported sightings, the similarity in many of the characteristics attributed to the observed objects and the quality of observers considered as a whole, support the contention that some type of flying object has been observed…. The origin of the devices is not ascertainable.”
An Air Force Intelligence Report from 1951, relating to an aerial encounter by a U.S. fighter pilot:
[Object] described as flat on top and bottom and appearing from a front view to have round edges and slightly beveled … No vapor trails or exhaust or visible means of propulsion. Described as traveling at tremendous speed….
And, one more quote from the early years, this one from a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, in 1960:
Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.
How much clearer a statement should responsible citizens, academicians, media, and political leadership require before demanding to get some reaonsable answers as to what is going on behind the scene in relation to the phenomenon of UFOs?
Because the problem certainly did not end during the 1960s, or 1970s, or 1980s. It has continued to the present day.
During the summer of 2002, just outside this city, over the town of Waldorf, Maryland, dozens of witnesses reported an incredible scene: multiple jet fighters chasing multiple – large – unknown objects that were of blue and orange coloration. All the witnesses, two of whom I interviewed personally, and several of whom spoke to national media, described the amazing performance capability of these objects. The Air Force itself admitted it had scrambled F-16s to investigate unknowns, which it admitted it had tracked at least one UFO on radar. We also learned that the UFO simply disappeared from the radar. The Air Force conclusion: it could have been ‘any number of things.” Perhaps we might like to know… precisely which things? What blue object can descend at an 80 degree angle, stop, reverse course, and accelerate away from two F-16 jets?
Over Chicago’s O’hare airport, in novembe 2006. same kind of situation. A dozen United
Airlines employees, including at least one pilot while on the ground, saw a hovering disc-shaped object below the clouds. It then accelerated away so suddenly that it left a hole in the cloud. United ordered its employees to silence, but one of them reported the event anyway. After denials by United and The FAA, both agencies were forced to acknowledge that, indeed, those individuals had made UFO reports. Again, we might ask: what might this have been, over one of the busiest airports in the world, and why the steadfast silence and denial?
These are only some of the better known recent cases. There are, in fact, an overwhelming number of them. The two largest websites for collecting North American UFO reports, the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO network, have a combined total of well over 10,000 reports every year. Clearly, many or most of these would turn out to be something prosaic. But go through some of these reports. Many of them are truly incredible, and many of them have indeed received followup investigation. They are unexplained, and — at least by our conventional wisdom — unexplainable.
The combination of astonishing performance, powerful statements from selected senior officials, and steadfast silence and dismissal by our political establishment point to a problem. This is not merely the problem of cognitive dissonance. It is the problem a political system in which the wheels have fallen off the machine. it is imperative in the name of science and responsible public policy that we get those wheels back on, and begin a genuine, open, investigation of this phenomenon. We demand and deserve answers from responsible officials who ought to be in the know. And if they are not in the know, we all need to investigate and find out just who is.
History and Background (2)
Researchers of UFOs have long argued about many facets of the phenomenon, but one conclusion shared by all serious researchers is that it has become a central, albeit covert, component of modern U.S. history, and indeed of world history.
But as everyone knows, you can’t have much of a history – that is, a reliable, factually based history – without access to documents. It is the documents of the past that enable us in the present to try to puzzle through the complexities and find solid ground, as it were.
yet, it’s easy for us to forget that access to most of the key UFO documents we now have came to us by way of historical accident. And it happened to be a fleeting one at that.
All through the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, and well into the 1970s, there were many thousands of classified pages written about UFOs. Of course, the general public did not know this. Neither, it appears, did most members of Congress. But then came the end of the war in Vietnam and, of course, Watergate. This was a certain key moment in American history, a moment in which the United States Congress investigated the intelligence community, when it reopened the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. And it was a moment in which Congress dramatically strengthened the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, enabling U.S. citizens to petition their government for documents not merely relating to them personally, but to the nation in terms of broad issues of public policy.
Little did members of Congress realize that, of all subsequent FOIA requests, the most popular category would be related to UFOs.
Indeed, during the late 1970s, over 10,000 pages of documents relating to UFOs were released. The party lasted, as it were, until 1982, when a Presidential order by Ronald Reagan made FOIA substantially less user friendly, and did not require many agencies to reply in a timely manner. The result was a major ballooning in costs to those people making requests. The Glory Era of UFO FOIA documents was over. To this day, more than half of all U.S. declassified UFO documents come from that period of time over thirty years ago. Great for the Carter administration, shame on the subsequent ones.
And yet we remain fortunate. Because the documents we have, thank goodness, tell us enough. They give us enough of a history to hold on to. They give us enough solid ground.
And their aggregate message is startlingly clear: UFOs have been the subject not merely of interest to our nation’s military and intelligence community, but at times the subject of concern and even alarm. But how could it be otherwise, when we have report after report of violations of sensitive airspace by objects that defied any logical or conventional explanation? Whether the scene was Los Alamos during 1948 and 1949, or Oak Ridge from 1948 through much of the 1950s, or the many military bases during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, that reported such events, the question remains: how could this NOT be a matter of grave concern to those parties responsible for maintaining the integrity of their airspace? And, not surprisingly, we find the tone of their memos and requests for information to be appropriately concerned.
As one CIA memo from 1949 put the matter: “Information is desired if this was some new or experimental aircraft or for any explanation whatsoever.”
Such a statement was, in fact typical.
Indeed, the situation became so stressful to the CIA and elsewhere, that on December 2, 1952, the CIA’s Chief of Scientific Intelligence, H. Marshall Chadwell, wrote a classified memo to his boss, the Director of the CIA, Walter Bedell Smith:
“At this time, the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention…. Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and travelling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.”
This statement bears very close scrutiny. Here is yet another comment by a high-level U.S. official that UFOs were real, probably artificial, probably intelligently operated, and not apparently ours. Nor was there serious consideration that these were Soviet.
If not American, if not Soviet, if not natural phenomena, and if they appeared to be technological and under intelligent control, we begin to run out of viable options.
It is access to documents such as these that enable us to know with certainty that UFOs were a matter of serious concern to individuals at the highest level of U.S. national security. This is important because such levels of concern were consistently voiced within the classified world, but never given out publicly.
Today, official pronouncements about UFOs by U.S. government and military officials follow the exact same tone as fifty plus years ago. Unfortunately, we lack the kind of access to classified information on UFOs as we once, briefly, obtained in the past. Yet, enough genuine and recent UFO accounts have become known to us, many of which involve U.S. military, that we can see that very little has changed. Something important is happening behind the veil of the classified world.
My question to you is: How long will current members of Congress, and the public at large, be content to roll over and be spoonfed nonsense by responsible officials, when in fact they deserve the truth?