by Patrick Huyghe

The New York Times Magazine

14 October 1979, p. 106

from NSA Website


Though officials have long denied that they take 'flying saucers' seriously, declassified documents now reveal extensive Government concern over the phenomenon.

A metallic-like object reported to have hovered over Santa Ana, Calif., in 1965,

was the subject of many government inquires.

The Defense Department message bears the classification CONFIDENTIAL. "Subject: Suspicious Unknown Air Activity."


Dated Nov. 11,1975, it reads:

"Since 28 Oct 75 numerous reports of suspicious objects have been received at the NORAD COC [North American Air Defense Combat Operations Center]. Reliable military personnel at Loring AFB [Air Force Base], Maine, Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, Malmstrom AFB, [Montana], Minot AFB, [North Dakota], and Canadian Forces Station, Falconbridge. Ontario. Canada, have visually sighted suspicious objects.


"Objects at Loring and Wurtsmith were characterized to be helicopters. Missile site personnel, security alert teams and Air Defense personnel at Malmstrom Montana reported object which sounded like a jet aircraft. FAA advised 'There were no jet aircraft in the vicinity.' Malmstrom search and height finder radars carried the object between 9,000 ft and 15,000 ft at a speed of seven knots....


F-106s scrambled from Malmstrom could not make contact due to darkness and low altitude. Site personnel reported the objects as low as 200 ft and said that as the interceptors approached the tights went out. After the interceptors had passed the lights came on again. One hour after the F-106s returned to base, missile site personnel reported the object increased to a high speed, raised in altitude and could not be discerned from the stars....

"I have expresses my concern to SAFOI [Air Force Office Information] that we come up soonest with a proposed answer to queries from the press to prevent overreaction by the public to reports by the media that may be blown out of proportion. To date efforts by Air Guard helicopters, SAC [Strategic Air Command] helicopters and NORAD F-106s have failed to produce positive ID."

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