There have only ever been two official Congressional Hearings
held on UFOs. The House Armed Services Committee convened
the first such hearing in 1966 in response to widely publicized
sightings and repeated public and media criticism of the Air Force’s
Project Blue Book. The hearing had the noted support of former U.S.
President, Gerald Ford, the House Minority Leader. However,
the only witnesses who testified were allied to Project Blue Book.
As a result, the Secretary of the Air Force announced that there
would be an outside, independent review of Blue Book. This
was to be the genesis of the University of Colorado’s Scientific
Study of UFOs –or the Condon Committee project (after
Edward U. Condon), as it is popularly known. Two years later,
the House Science and Astronautics Committee convened a second
hearing (which occurred during the final stages of the Condon
Committee project) to review the scientific evidence for UFOs.
It took the form of a scientific symposium in which six scientists
testified and six others submitted prepared papers
In 1969, the Condon Committee published its findings.
According to the director of the project, physicist Dr.
Edward U. Condon, no scientific evidence existed in support of a
genuine UFO mystery for UFO. The result? It was
recommended that Project Blue Book should be
terminated. Critics of the Condon Report have noted, however, that
no less than 30 per cent of the cases investigated by the committee
defied explanation. According to the critics, such as Dr.
J. Allen Hynek, Dr. Condon's conclusions were politically
oriented rather than scientific: the Air Force wanted Blue
closed at the earliest opportunity.
Nevertheless, of the six scientists who testified as part of the
University of Colorado’s study, five were of the opinion that UFOs
were still a valid area for investigation. Of those, the late Dr.
James McDonald concluded:
"My own study of the
UFO problem has convinced me that we must rapidly escalate serious
scientific attention to this extra- ordinarily intriguing puzzle."
Following the release of
the Condon Report, Project Blue Book was set for
termination, with an announcement to that effect made in March 1969.
A formal directive was finalized in December of that year by Air
Force Secretary Robert C. Seamans, Jr. According to
"The continuation of
Project Blue Book cannot be justified either on the ground of
national security or in the interest of science.”
From the commencement of
Project Sign to the conclusion of
Project Blue Book, 12,618 UFO reports were analyzed. Of
these, 18% (701 cases) were catalogued as unidentified – and nearly
half of which dated from 1952. Since the close of Blue Book,
the Air Force has constantly tried to distance itself from the UFO
subject – publicly, at least. The Air Force’s current fact sheet on
UFOs states that "since the termination of Project Blue Book,
nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO
investigations by the Air Force." Nevertheless, as the Freedom of
Information Act has shown, official interest in the UFO
subject continues - albeit at a restricted and far more covert level
than that of Project Blue Book.
For years rumors have circulated to the effect that the Central
Intelligence Agency has been deeply implicated in the
UFO mystery and in the crashed UFO controversy in
particular. These assertions are further bolstered by the contents
of the Majestic 12 documents. Nevertheless, at an
official level at least, the CIA has only confirmed
its direct involvement in one UFO study – the so-called
Robertson Panel. To fully understand the official story of
Robertson Panel, take note of the following from the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) historian, Gerald Raines:
In January 1953, H.
Marshall Chadwell [CIA Director of Scientific
Intelligence] 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
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.
The charge to the panel was to review the available evidence on UFOs
and to consider the possible dangers of the phenomena to US national
security. The panel met from 14 to 17 January 1953. It reviewed
Air Force data on UFO case histories and, after spending 12
hours studying the phenomena, declared that reasonable explanations
could be suggested for most, if not all, sightings. For example,
after reviewing motion-picture film taken of a UFO sighting near
Tremonton, Utah, on 2 July 1952 and one near Great Falls, Montana,
on 15 August 1950, the panel concluded that the images on the
Tremonton film were caused by sunlight reflecting off seagulls and
that the images at Great Falls were sunlight reflecting off the
surface of two Air Force interceptors.
The panel concluded unanimously that there was no evidence of a direct
threat to national security in the UFO sightings. Nor could the
panel find any evidence that the objects sighted might be
extraterrestrials. It did find that continued emphasis on UFO
reporting might threaten "the orderly functioning" of the government
by clogging the channels of communication with irrelevant reports
and by inducing "hysterical mass behavior" harmful to constituted
authority. The panel also worried that potential enemies
contemplating an attack on the United States might exploit the UFO
phenomena and use them to disrupt US air defenses.
To meet these problems, the panel recommended that the
National Security Council debunk UFO reports
and institute a policy of public education to reassure the public of
the lack of evidence behind UFOs. It suggested using the mass media,
advertising, business clubs, schools, and even the Disney
corporation to get the message across. Reporting at the height of
McCarthyism, the panel also recommended that such private UFO groups
as the Civilian Flying Saucer Investigators in Los Angeles and the
Aerial Phenomena Research Organization in Wisconsin be monitored for
The Robertson panel's
conclusions were strikingly similar to those of the earlier Air
Force project reports on SIGN and GRUDGE
and to those of the CIA's own OSI Study Group.
All investigative groups found that UFO reports indicated no
direct threat to national security and no evidence of visits by
Following the Robertson
panel findings, the Agency abandoned efforts to draft an NSCID
on UFOs. 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. 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
CIA sponsorship of the panel was forbidden. This
attitude would later cause the Agency major problems relating to its
Despite the history of the CIA’s involvement in the UFO
controversy as presented by Haines and the Agency
itself, suspicions abound that the full story has yet to be told.
Victor Marchetti, formerly of the CIA, has stated
that he heard from within “high-levels” of the Agency accounts of
the bodies of “little gray men” recovered from a crashed UFO
held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. Similarly,
the late UFO investigator Major Donald Keyhoe learned from
insider sources that the purpose of the Robertson Panel was to
debunk and demystify the UFO subject and to allow the CIA
to continue its UFO investigations at a far more covert
level – something that ties in with the material presented in
Those with an interest in determining what has been learned by the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
about UFOs will in most cases be presented with the following press
No branch of the United
States Government is currently involved with or responsible for
investigations into the possibility of advanced alien civilizations
on other planets or for investigating Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's).
The US Air Force (USAF) and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) have had intermittent,
independent investigations of the possibility of alien life on other
planets; however, none of these has produced factual evidence that
life exists on other planets, nor that UFO's are related to aliens.
From 1947 to 1969, the Air Force investigated UFO's; then in 1977,
NASA was asked to examine the possibility of resuming
UFO investigations. After studying all of the facts available, it
was determined that nothing would be gained by further
investigation, since there was an absence of tangible evidence.
In October 1992,
was directed by Congress to begin a detailed search for artificial
radio signals from other civilizations under the NASA
Towards Other Planetary Systems (TOPS) / High
Resolution Microwave Survey (HRMS) program (also
known as the
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project).
Congress directed NASA to end this project in October
1993, citing pressures on the US Federal budget. The HRMS
did not detect any confirmed signal before it was stopped. However,
similar work continued through efforts of private groups and through
academic institutions. The Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence Institute (SETI Institute) in
Mountain View, CA, effectively replaced the Government project,
borrowing the signal processing system from NASA. The
Institute is a nonprofit corporation conducting research in a number
of fields including all science and technology aspects of astronomy
and planetary sciences, chemical evolution, the origin of life,
biological evolution, and cultural evolution.
During several space missions, NASA astronauts have
reported phenomena not immediately explainable; however, in every
NASA determined that the observations could not be termed
"abnormal" in the space environment.
The 1947 to 1969 USAF
investigations studied UFO's under Project Blue Book.
The project, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio,
was terminated December 17, 1969. Of the total of 12,618 sightings
reported to Project Blue Book, 701 remain "unidentified."
The decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based
on an evaluation of a report prepared by the University of Colorado
entitled, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects;" a
review of the University of Colorado's report by the National
Academy of Sciences; previous UFO studies; and Air Force experience
investigating UFO reports during the 1940's, '50's and '60's. As a
result of experience, investigations, and studies since 1948, the
Project Blue Book were:
(1) no UFO
reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force was ever a
threat to our national security;
(2) there was no
evidence submitted to, or discovered by, the Air Force that
sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological
developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific
(3) there was no
evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified"
were extraterrestrial vehicles.
With the termination of
Project Blue Book, the USAF regulation
establishing and controlling the program for investigating and
analyzing UFO's was rescinded. Documentation regarding the former
Project Blue Book investigation was permanently transferred to the
Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Service, in
Washington, DC 20408, and is available for public review and
Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has
occurred that would support a resumption of UFO
by the U.S. government. Since neither NASA nor
Air Force is engaged in day-to-day UFO research,
neither one reviews UFO-related articles intended for publication,
evaluates UFO-type spacecraft drawings, or accepts accounts of UFO
sightings or applications for employment in the field of aerial
It should be noted that there are very few indications of deep
involvement in the Majestic projects on the part of
NASA personnel; therefore, that NASA should
take a stance very much like that of Project Blue Book
is not surprising.
As evidence that the controversy surrounding the so-called
Roswell Incident refuses to roll over and die, in the 1990s
the Air Force published two investigative reports pertaining to the
events of July 1947. The following is taken from the Air Force’s
press release on the first report published in 1994 in response to
an inquiry launched by the General Accounting Office (GAO)
— the investigative arm of Congress.
GAO’s inquiry came as a direct result of questions
initiated by the late New Mexican Representative, Steven Schiff.
According to the Air Force’s massive, near-1000 page report (The
Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert, 1994)
the debris found at
Roswell was most likely from a Mogul balloon — a
Top Secret Army-Air-Force device designed to assist the U.S.
military in detecting evidence of nuclear tests by the Soviets.
But what of the reports of alien bodies? In 1997, the Air Force
expanded on this aspect of the Roswell affair in
a document titled The Roswell Report: Case Closed.
This report discusses the
results of this exhaustive research and identifies the likely
sources of the claims of "alien bodies" at Roswell.
Roswell crash map
Contrary to allegations,
many of the accounts appear to be descriptions of unclassified and
widely publicized Air Force scientific achievements. Other
descriptions of "bodies" appear to be actual incidents in which Air
Force members were killed or injured in the line of duty.
The conclusions are:
- Air Force
activities which occurred over a period of many years have been
consolidated and are now represented to have occurred in two or
three days in July 1947. "Aliens" observed in the New
Mexico desert were actually anthropomorphic test dummies that were
carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high altitude balloons for
- The "unusual" military activities in the New Mexico desert
were high altitude research balloon launch and recovery operations.
Reports of military units that always seemed to arrive shortly after
the crash of a flying saucer to retrieve the saucer and "crew," were
actually accurate descriptions of Air Force personnel engaged in
anthropomorphic dummy recovery operations.
- Claims of "alien bodies" at the Roswell Army Air Field
hospital were most likely a combination of two separate
1. a 1956 KC-97
aircraft accident in which 11 Air Force members lost their lives;
2. a 1959 manned balloon mishap in which two Air Force pilots
were injured. This report is based on thoroughly documented research
supported by official records, technical reports, film footage,
photographs, and interviews with individuals who were involved in
Despite the Air Force’s
attempts to diffuse the controversy surrounding the Roswell
events of 1947 and preempt the GAO’s
findings, it is significant to note several key factors.
First, Mogul balloons
possessed no unusual characteristics such as those described by the
witnesses to the event.
Second, the crash-test
dummy experiments that the Air Force asserts led to the legends of
alien bodies being recovered were not initiated until the 1950s.
Third, during the course
of its investigation, the GAO learned that all of the administrative
records of Roswell Army Air Field from March 1945 until December
1949 and all outgoing messages from the base from October 1946 to
December 1949 had been inexplicably destroyed.
The Roswell enigma
continues — despite the best efforts of the Air Force to lay the
matter to rest.