The Lost Opportunity: 1966 In Retrospect

Richard Dolan
March 23, 2017

copyright ©2001 by Richard M. Dolan. All rights reserved.

There are quite a few UFO researchers and lobbyists who believe they are thisclose to ending UFO secrecy sometime soon. As far as I can tell, they are good people, and I wish them success. It may be that within the next few years I may lend a voice to help.

Right now, however, all I can see is how past efforts have failed.

The struggle to end UFO secrecy has produced several still-borns. In 1947, a report of a crashed disc at Roswell survived for three hours before being snuffed out by the Air Force. During 1952, that amazing year of UFOs, a small faction of military insiders tried to end secrecy. They, too, were thwarted.

Each time, however, the struggle became more intense. By the late 1950s, a private organization entered the fray, dedicated to ending UFO secrecy. This was the National Investigative Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). With three admirals on its executive board, and led by retired Marine Corps Major, Donald E. Keyhoe, the organization gained the ear of several leading members of Congress. For several years, it appeared that NICAP was on the verge of gaining open Congressional hearings on UFOs, each time to experience disappointment at the eleventh hour. In late 1961, it looked like NICAP might go all the way. Its most prominent member was Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, formerly the director of the CIA. Hilly believed in UFOs and had agreed to appear before Congress in the spring of 1962 to talk about the secrecy. Everything was set until February, when Hillenkoetter, clearly under pressure from someone, resigned from NICAP and bailed out of UFOs altogether.

NICAP had given it a good effort, but by the early 1960s it appeared to be spinning its wheels, with the Air Force getting the final word on the matter of UFOs. Then, something happened: UFO sightings across the United States increased to a crescendo that equaled the great wave of 1952, and surpassed it in duration. By 1966, as Vietnam and the civil rights movement pushed the United States toward a boil, the fight to end UFO secrecy reached its great crisis. That year, many amazing sightings had taken place, and UFOs were being discussed on the floor of Congress!

It was all for nothing, for 1966 was a year of failure. It was the turning point in which Ufology failed to turn. The great Japanese kendo master Miyamoto Musashi once wrote: “”when the enemy starts to collapse you must pursue him without letting the chance go. If you fail to take advantage of your enemies’’ collapse, they may recover.””

NICAP had been pressing for almost 10 years to force open congressional hearings on UFOs. They had quite an organization, and some real guts, I think, to challenge every year the Air Force on this matter. But in 1966, at the moment of peak crisis, the enemy did recover.

What follows is the story of how that happened.

During the 1960s, a period of tremendous challenge and change, many things were up for grabs. The fight to end UFO secrecy was one of those things. The enemy did start to collapse. Already, even during the 1950s, the Air Force had been trying to unload Blue Book to such agencies as the National Science Foundation and NASA. Good luck. It could more easily have sold Communism to J. Edgar Hoover. No one wanted Blue Book. It had a typical staff of one or two low-level personnel, a typist, and an officer. It was never a competent investigative body. To be fair, it was never intended to be one. Blue Book’’s real job was to appease the public with statements about a topic that the Air Force would rather have buried.

Unable to unload Blue Book, the Air Force also looked into disbanding it. This was a problem, too. Essentially, the Air Force had backed itself into a corner. Despite all the loaded statistics and all the heavy handed rhetoric, they continued to associate Blue Book with part of the overall effort to defend American air space and national security. So they really needed to prove to the public that all was solved, in some way that would be seen as plausible. By the time the great wave of the 1960s hit, they still hadn’’t figured it out.

In fact, the very existence of Blue Book was doing more damage than good, from the point of view of the Air Force. It was lending credibility to UFOs. It enabled UFO believers to ask “”if UFOs exist solely in the imagination, as the Air Force claims, why does it bother to investigate them?”” I think most basic of all, the Project heightened awareness of the very phenomenon the Air Force was trying to dismiss. Blue Book after all, was a government office which enabled UFO witnesses to feel credible and patriotic when they reported what they saw. That there was such a place at all encouraged people to look at the skies and notice such odd things.

A greater problem was that the public stopped believing the absurd explanations that the Air Force doled out. Jokes were becoming common. In the long term, the erosion of credibility threatened to become a big problem. Of course, military people had other pressing matters, such as Vietnam, to worry about. But being laughed at over flying saucers was not something the Air Force planned to accept for the long term.

All this had been manageable as long as the UFOs themselves –– or their reports –– remained scarce. That had generally been the case through the late 1950s and into the 60s. But sightings spiked upward in 1964, then increased again during the following year. The UFO wave of 1965 was a major global event. In fact, America’’s share was not even the most extraordinary. Even so, the tiny operation at Blue Book took in nearly one thousand reports that year. It boldly explained all but 16. Many of these explanations were labored, and it showed. That summer, for example, thousands of Midwesterners saw UFOs for several consecutive days, which the Air Force first explained as Orion (which was not visible in the northern hemisphere). After that explanation fell flat, Jupiter became the answer.

Thus, the intensity of the UFO wave, combined with Blue Book’’s lame explanations, caused a serious problem. UFOs were becoming a public burden the Air Force could neither carry nor throw off. Newspaper editorials ripped the Air Force and demanded better investigations. A couple of good jokes came in, too: one editorial asked “”do you ever get the feeling that … the Air Force makes its denials six months in advance?””

As sightings continued at an amazing pace in 1966, a new person entered the fray. That was James McDonald, a man of tremendous scientific accomplishment who made it his business to get to the bottom of all this. In 1966, McDonald got hold of a copy of the Robertson Panel Report, which he was not supposed to have seen; found himself at the office of Blue Book consultant Allen Hynek slamming his fist down on the table demanding to know why Hynek had sat on so many tremendous UFO reports without saying a word; reinvestigating many old UFO reports; meeting with researchers. McDonald could stir the pot well, and was the best catalyst Ufology has ever had. By the end of 1966 he was prominent in the news, making public statements about the UFO coverup in his particular forthright manner. There was nobody quite like James McDonald.

McDonald was devastating, and it was not simply because of his personality. It was also because of his expertise. He was an atmospheric physicist. Not an astronomer like Hynek or arch-debunker Donald Menzel. It’’s interesting how astronomers so easily are given special status as evaluators of UFO reports. Yes, there’’s the assumption that if UFOs are from other planets that means they’’re from outer space, and we all know that astronomers look at outer space. But no matter where UFOs are from, they are usually observed within our atmosphere, which was McDonald’’s domain. Frankly, many of Blue Book’’s or Menzel’’s threadbare explanations could not withstand the scrutiny of James McDonald. And from all accounts about him, the man was fearless, and knew his stuff. That’’s potentially dangerous combination.

The UFO wave became a major media event in March of 1966. Heavy activity was being reported that month in Michigan. Civilians, police, and military personnel reported disc-shaped UFOs, and Selfridge AFB confirmed that they tracked amazing objects on radar. On March 20, a man and his son saw an object with lights hovering over a swamp. It made a whistling sound as it left. The following night, more strange lights were reported near Hillsdale, which many people watched for hours.

These last two sightings received national attention. The rest is well known. The Air Force sent Hynek in, and he gave that disastrous press conference with a quote about “”swamp gas.”” His actual statement was actually rather nuanced, but it didn’’t matter. To the rest of the world, the Air Force never looked so incompetent and duplicitous on the matter of UFOs as it did at that moment. Project Blue Book’’s image was destroyed.

So here was the opportunity –– the chance for open congressional hearings on UFOs. On March 25, Congressman Gerald Ford called for an inquiry, and within two weeks, Congress held its first-ever open hearing on UFOs. Unfortunately, it was an exclusive, one-day-only affair. Three people were invited to testify: Air Force Secretary Harold Brown, Blue Book Chief Hector Quintanilla, and Hynek. This was not exactly an open hearing, and the results were predictable. Quintanilla and Brown said in effect there was nothing to it; Hynek said it demanded more study. Note that NICAP, which had pushed for ten years for a congressional hearing on this topic, had not even been invited.

All through the spring and summer of 1966, the Air Force hunted for a university to take the problem of UFOs far away from Blue Book. By the middle of summer, they had settled on the University of Colorado. There’’s been some great writing about the Colorado Project lately. We all know that, from the point of view of science, it was a disaster. And one whose conclusion appears to have been foregone.

On August 9, several months before the Air Force contract was announced, an infamous memorandum was written by a person at the University of Colorado who soon became the number two man of the UFO project. Although he was no scientist, Robert Low was a senior university administrator. He was also a former intelligence officer who appears, from at least one independent source, to have performed some serious work for the CIA in Albania twenty years earlier.[1] In his 1966 memo, Low addressed some senior university officials and laid out the strategy for handling the UFO problem. “”The trick would be,”” wrote Low,

“… to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study, but to the scientific community would present the image of a group of nonbelievers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer…”

The memorandum blew up a year later, after project members found it and leaked it. Some have argued that this statement is not as incriminating against Low as it seems. Well, that’’s not how people interpreted this 30-plus years ago. It seemed pretty straightforward to them.

The dice were loaded from the beginning. The project director, Edward Condon, knew nothing about UFOs, didn’’t want to know anything about UFOs, and in fact was deeply and emotionally invested against an ET answer to the issue. There was no way it was going to happen.

Here is the heart of the matter. What the Air Force –– or the CIA for that matter –– absolutely would not abide was a true, open, independent congressional hearing on UFOs. They had thwarted NICAP in this matter for ten years. And for good reason. There was a real danger that this was a problem that could easily evade their control. That was not an acceptable option. So at the moment of crisis in 1966, when the situation appeared that it might be up for grabs, the Air Force and its allies did not panic, but maintained the initiative. By selecting –– and paying –– a university to conduct a study on UFOs, the Air Force stood a much better chance of dealing with a known quantity. They could get a sense of who was going to be conducting the study. If I were in the position of the Air Force at that time, I would certainly rather have the chance to select the organization that would solve this problem, rather than to hand it to Congress, where anything could happen.

In October 1966, the Air Force announced it had awarded a contract to the University of Colorado to conduct a scientific study of UFOs. The effort, it was said, would be independent and serious. For the moment, all sides of the UFO debate were satisfied that, finally, someone was doing something about this. But it was a false satisfaction, and a grave illusion

The Colorado study, better known as the Condon Committee, was a scientific disaster that had one overriding virtue: it came to the exact conclusion the Air Force needed to dispose of Blue Book. By the end of 1969, Blue Book was closed. NICAP met its fate, as well. The month that the Air Force closed Blue Book, a group of men we now know were closely associated with the CIA wrested control of NICAP away from Major Keyhoe. The organization immediately began its spiral into oblivion.

Oh, and James McDonald? He was dead by 1971, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

As we look back at 1960s ufology standing at the city gates, we might ask ourselves: was there ever a true chance for success? The military and intelligence “handlers” of the UFO problem had resources and capabilities far beyond that of NICAP or any civilian researcher. Fifty years of ufology have shown time and again how civilians have underestimated the resources and resolve of the military-intelligence community to manage this problem. If we today cannot be confident that even the president is fully informed of UFO reality (who can say how much he really knows?), is it realistic to think that private organizations in the 1960s could have done any better? And what about today?

Ever since, people have met this phenomenon –– that is, UFOs –– on their own. There is no longer a government office where people can make reports. This is important for several reasons, and in my next article I will discuss the implications of this phenomenon not for the military, but for ordinary people.

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[1] See Robin Winks, Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 (William Morrow and Company, 1987), pp. 396-397.

Book Review: Alien Agenda by Jim Marrs

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 21, 2017

Jim Marrs has been putting out high quality work for some time.  Backing his hard work with extensive research of over 30 years experience, Marrs has set the research bar high with books like The Rise Of The Fourth Reich, Rule By Secrecy, Our Occulted History, and Popular Control.  This book is no different.

Alien Agenda – Investigating The Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us is definitely one of the most seminal and top-tier no-nonsense books on UFOs out there.

In a realm of research that that is littered with countless books with not much sourced material, and even more witness and whistleblower testimony, this book is definitely near the top tier.

As a book for someone just getting in, this book is really top notch.  The only book I would recommend more personally would be Richard Dolan’s UFOs For The 21st Century Mind: A Fresh Guide To An Ancient Mystery.

Taking a thorough and methodical approach which is signature in all of his books, Marrs brings the reader along the journey of all things UFOlogy.  Notably, this book covers a wide breadth of the information within the UFO field.  From issues with NASA, to The Moon, Ancient Astronauts, to Roswell, and even intricate subjects like Area 51, Crop Circles, and some of the most widely known UFO accounts, Marrs sought to leave no stone unturned.  The book really is a veritable encyclopedia of much of this elusive and thought-provoking phenomena.

If the book only covered those above topics, that would still make it a great book, knowing reliance on sourced material Marrs employs.  But there’s more.  Marrs also covers abstruse subjects such as abductions & missing time, the CIA, MJ-12, cattle mutilations, remote viewing, and even takes a metaphysical gander into ‘the phenomenon’ that’s quite unique.  This book really employs a wide range.   Marrs even ventures into the role of big finance in this abstruse subject.

Another salient point is that this book is footnoted to the hilt!  That ALONE takes this to a whole different level, which is rarely achieved in UFOlogy except only by the best researchers.  That is one reason why my respect of Jim Marrs has only grown overtime, because he doesn’t just connect dots that people can’t verify themselves.

For everything it offers, this book offers a lot of value.  Anyone really interested in the subject would be doing themselves a great disservice by overlooking it.  This book is a must have.
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is where his personal work is shared, while serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

The Death Of James Forrestal

Richard Dolan
March 8, 2001

[This article is adapted from Richard Dolan’s UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-Up, 1941 to 1973, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2002. It appeared in the December 2001/January 2002 issue of UFO Magazine.]

Forrestal was taken home, but within a day the Air Force flew him to Hobe Sound, Florida, home of Robert Lovett (a future Secretary of Defense). Forrestal’s first words were “Bob, they’re after me.” He met with Dr. William Menninger, of the Menninger Foundation, and a consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army. Captain George N. Raines, chief psychologist at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda, soon arrived. It is not exactly clear what transpired during Forrestal’s brief stay in Florida. One story from Pearson was that Forrestal had several hysterical episodes and made at least one suicide attempt, certain that the Communists were planning an imminent invasion. Menninger explicitly denied this. He did say that upon his arrival, Forrestal told him that the day before, “he had placed a belt around his neck with the intention of hanging himself, but the belt broke.” But Menninger found no marks on Forrestal’s neck or body, nor did anyone find broken belts of any kind. Menninger considered Forrestal’s claim to be a nightmare. That’s about all we can know for sure.

On April 2, 1949, “for security reasons,” Forrestal’s coterie flew him to Bethesda. During the trip from the Air Field to the hospital, Forrestal made several attempts to leave the moving vehicle, and was forcibly restrained. He talked of suicide, of being a bad Catholic, and several times of those “who are trying to get me.” He was admitted to Bethesda under care of Raines, who diagnosed Forrestal’s illness as Involutional Melancholia, a depressive condition sometimes seen in people reaching middle age, often who saw their life as a failure. Upon arrival at Bethesda, Forrestal declared that he did not expect to leave the place alive. In a highly unusual decision for a suicidal patient, Forrestal’s doctor was instructed by “the people downtown” (e.g. national security) to place him in the VIP 16th floor suite.

[9/18/47: Stuart Symington sworn in as the nation’s first Secretary of the Air Force.Forrestal looks distracted.]

Meanwhile, Forrestal’s personal diaries, consisting of fifteen looseleaf binders totaling 3,000 pages, were removed from his former office and brought to the White House, where they remained for the next year. The White House later claimed that Forrestal had requested for Truman to take custody of the diaries. Such a claim, frankly, is preposterous. Throughout 1948, Forrestal had become increasingly alienated from Truman. Prior to the election, he had even met privately with leading Republicans to help insure his future with the Dewey administration. Truman then abruptly fired him in favor of Johnson, a man plainly not qualified for the job. Forrestal’s diaries contained sensitive information that Truman’s people needed to know about. Presumably they had ample time to review them during the seven weeks of Forrestal’s hospitalization.

Throughout Forrestal’s hospitalization, access to him was severely restricted. One-time visitors were his wife, his two sons, Sidney Souers (a former DCI, NSC executive secretary, and alleged MJ-12 member), Louis Johnson, Truman, and Congressman Lyndon Johnson. Menninger visited twice. Although Forrestal was presumably glad to see his sons, he was not close to any of these visitors, and had a political antipathy to his government colleagues who came by. However, Forrestal was not permitted to see the several people he continually asked to see: his brother, a friend, and two priests.Henry Forrestal, for example, repeatedly tried to see his brother but was refused until he threatened to tell the newspapers and sue the hospital. Ultimately, he was able to visit his brother four times. Henry told Raines and the hospital’s commandant, Captain B. W. Hogan, that his brother wanted to talk with a close friend, Monsignor Maurice Sheehy. Hogan replied that he was aware of this, but still would not allow it.Indeed, Sheehy had tried seven times to see Forrestal. Each time he was told his timing was “not opportune.” (What kind of hospital policy denies a patient the right to see a priest, minister, or rabbi?) Sheehan, a former Navy chaplain, argued several times with Raines, and had the impression that Raines was acting under orders. Another priest, Father Paul McNally of Georgetown University, was also barred from seeing Forrestal, as was at least one other (unnamed) friend of the former Secretary.

Still, by May, Forrestal was improving. When Henry finally got to see him, he thought his brother was “acting and talking as sanely and intelligently as any man I’ve ever known.” On May 14, 1949, Raines decided that he would leave Washington in four days to attend a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. After their last meeting on the morning of the 18th, Raines wrote that Forrestal was “somewhat better than on the corresponding day of the preceding week.” Forrestal continued in good spirits throughout all of the 20th and 21st. He showed no signs of depression, was well dressed, shaved, and in good appetite.

But the more Henry Forrestal thought about his brother being shut up at Bethesda and denied the right to see Father Sheehy, the more it bothered him. He decided he was going to take his brother to the countryside to complete his recovery, and made train reservations to return to Washington on May 22. He also reserved a room at the Mayflower Hotel for that day, then phoned the hospital to announce that he would arrive on May 22 to take his brother.He was too late.

The official account of Forrestal’s death runs as follows. During the night of May 21/22, Forrestal was awake at 1:45 a.m., copying a chorus from Sophocles’s Ajaxfrom a book of world literature. (The New York Times added that Forrestal had been asleep at 1:30, then awake at 1:45.) A Navy corpsman named Robert Wayne Harrison, Jr., responsible for guarding Forrestal’s room, checked in, as was his job every fifteen minutes. Forrestal told Harrison that he did not want a sedative, as he intended to stay up late and read. Harrison reported Forrestal’s refusal to the psychiatrist – Raines’ assistant, Dr. Robert Deen – sleeping next door. They returned five minutes later to an empty room. Deen later claimed that Forrestal had sent Harrison out on a “brief errand.” During this time, Forrestal walked to the diet kitchen across the hall, tied one end of his bathrobe cord to the radiator, the other end around his neck, removed a flimsy screen, and jumped from the 16th floor. The cord came untied, and he fell to his death after hitting part of the building on the way down.

Forrestal’s most recent biographers discounted the possibility of murder, calling the Secretary’s death “a series of chance events.” Yet, discrepancies in the official suicide story were never clearly resolved, and several people close to Forrestal did not believe it. A biographer of Forrestal writing in the 1960s, noted that “even now . . . certain details have not been made public,” and that some believed Forrestal’s death to be “very much desired by individuals and groups who, in 1949, held great power in the United States.” Others went further, and maintained that Forrestal was murdered. Henry Forrestal, for one, believed strongly that “they” murdered his brother – they being either Communists or Jews within the government (Henry considered the Jewish connection because Forrestal’s geopolitics gave him a pro-Arab disposition).

Father Sheehy had reason to suspect murder. When he arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital after learning of Forrestal’s death, an experienced-looking hospital corpsman approached him through the crowd. In a low, tense voice he said: “Father, you know Mr. Forrestal didn’t kill himself, don’t you?” Before Sheehy could respond or ask his name, others in the crowd pressed close, and the man quickly departed.

There are several odd elements concerning Forrestal’s final moments. First, the young corpsman guarding Forrestal – that is, Harrison – was a new man, someone Forrestal had never seen before. The regular guard during the midnight shift was absent without leave and, the story goes, had gotten drunk the night before. Harrison was the only person to have had direct contact with Forrestal in the moments before his death, and ultimately it was on his word only that the official account rested.

Also, Forrestal never finished writing the chorus from Sophocles, and in fact stopped in the middle of a word. Quite possibly, Forrestal had not even written the fragment that evening, especially if he had been asleep at 1:30 a.m. How reasonable is it to suppose that, sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m., he woke up, got out some writing material, located a bleak poem within a huge anthology, copied out 17 lines, put on his robe, crossed the hall to the diet kitchen where he tightly wrapped and knotted his bathrobe cord around his neck and presumably tied the loose end to the radiator under the window; then climbed up on the window sill and jumped.

There is also an odd juxtaposition of a tightly knotted bathrobe cord around Forrestal’s neck and the assumption that he tied the other end so loosely to a radiator that it immediately came untied and allowed him to fall to his death. This radiator was a rather improbable gallows: it was about two feet long, the top was six inches below the sill, and it was attached to the wall with its base a good fifteen inches above the floor. But there was no evidence that the bathrobe cord had ever been tied to the small radiator in the first place. If the cord had snapped under Forrestal’s weight, one end would have been found still fastened to the radiator. The cord did not break, however, and there was not a mark on the radiator to indicate it had ever been tied there.

Bethesda Naval Hospital

Moreover, if Forrestal wanted to hang himself, why choose a tiny window by anchoring himself to a radiator when he much more easily have done the job from a door or sturdy fixture, such as the shower curtain rod in his own bathroom? On the other hand, if Forrestal wanted to go out the window, why bother with a cord? Why not simply jump, a far easier proposition? In sum, we do not know that the cord was ever tied to the radiator, but we do know is it was tied tightly to Forrestal’s neck.

Later inspection found heavy scuff marks outside the window sill and cement work. Proponents of the suicide theory claim these were made by Forrestal’s feet while he was hanging by the neck from the radiator, and perhaps that he belatedly changed his mind and tried to climb back in. But the scuff marks confirm no such thing. They could just as easily have been made by his struggle with someone pushing him out the window.

There are many other suspicious elements to this story, such as the decision to place Forrestal on the 16th floor. This was exactly opposite what medical opinion desired (the bottom floor of a nearby annex had been the first choice of his caretakers), but was pressed by unnamed individuals in Washington.Also, the official investigation of Forrestal’s death was as much of a sham as that of President Kennedy would be 14 years later. The hospital labeled his death a suicide before any investigation took place; the county coroner hurried over to confirm the hospital statements. In cases where there is even a slight possibility of murder, it is normal for a coroner to delay signing a death certificate until an investigation, an autopsy, and an inquest had been completed. This did not happen. Since the death occurred on a U.S. naval reservation, local police did not investigate. Instead, the head of the naval board of inquiry immediately announced he was “absolutely certain” that Forrestal’s death “could be nothing else than suicide.”

If we concede the possibility of murder, we must ask who and why? One can hardly credit the budget issue, which was settled by then and especially moot once Forrestal was out of office. One proponent of the murder theory blamed Communists within the U.S. government, or perhaps even the Soviet KGB/GPU. The reason, it was claimed, had to do with Forrestal’s diaries and plans for a book after his release from the hospital. Forrestal was an inveterate anti-Communist, and might have been perceived as problematic for agents of the Soviets. Moreover, the Soviets were no strangers to the art of staged suicides. Of course, neither were the Americans.

But there is at least one other avenue to consider.

UFOs constitute the great hole of contemporary history. We know, at the very least, that this was a topic of great concern to those at the top of American national security policy, despite the near-complete absence of public references to it. It is the proverbial elephant in the dining room that no one wishes to discuss. There are several reasons to consider a UFO connection to Forrestal’s death.

In the first place, Forrestal’s position within the defense community made him de facto a key player in the formulation of UFO policy. Because of the key importance, even urgency, associated with this topic in policy formulation during the late 1940s, we must assume that Forrestal was involved. The sensitivity of the UFO problem meant that Forrestal’s mental deterioration was a real security risk. One might even wonder whether Forrestal learned a truth about UFOs that contributed to his breakdown.

After all, consider the recent developments of the UFO problem for American national security policymakers. By 1948 (if not earlier, e.g. Roswell), it was becoming clear that the Soviets were not responsible for UFOs, and neither were the Americans. It was equally clear that well qualified military observers and equipment had tracked these objects at speeds and maneuvering capabilities that were impossible with contemporary technology.

In the spring of 1948, White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico had been the scene of an extraordinary UFO sighting that was analyzed in secret by the Air Force Scientific Advisory Panel and security personnel at Los Alamos. The investigating team decided that UFOs were “of extreme importance.”

That summer, another incredible case occurred, which resulted in the famed “Estimate of the Situation” stating the extraterrestrial thesis as an answer to UFOs. This was shot down by Air Force Commander Hoyt Vandenberg. Even so, President Truman began receiving regular briefings that summer on UFOs from his Air Force liaison, Colonel Robert Landry (coordinated with the CIA). Such briefings lasted through the remainder of his presidency.

By the end of 1948, the curious and unexplained “green fireball” phenomenon began appearing in very localized fashion over Los Alamos. This, too, receivedextreme levels of attention from America’s military and scientific elite, and did not (and do not) appear to be natural phenomena. In short, UFOs mattered a great deal within defense circles, and Forrestal was at the hub.

Secondly, Forrestal’s concern about being followed by “foreign-looking men” is a common description of the legendary-to-the-point-of-cliché Men in Black. He never stated clearly just who he believed to be following him, at least not consistently. Others assumed that he was talking about Communists, Jews, and Washington insiders, but they could only assume.

Drawing of the 16th Floor of the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda. Forrestal’s room (A) shared a bath with his supervising doctor; he fell through a small, unsecured, window in the Diet Kitchen (B).

Then there is the disconcerting relationship with Air Force Secretary Symington. True, Symington considered Forrestal to be an enemy. But why, in the moment of Forrestal’s departure from politics, amid a spectacular psychological collapse, did Symington take it upon himself to have a secret conversation with Forrestal that left him utterly incoherent? This goes beyond mere conventional political maneuvering: what did Symington say – or do – to Forrestal? At least one senior military person linked Symington to a type of UFO “control group,” and that was General Arthur Exon, former base commander of Wright-Patterson AFB, in an interview he gave in 1990. According to Exon, Symington was one of the “unholy thirteen,” one of those who knew the most about Roswell. Forrestal, said Exon, was another.

An explanation centering on the UFO phenomenon accounts surprisingly well for the complete unhinging of a successful and brilliant individual, and more importantly, the need to silence someone who could no longer be trusted.

Perhaps Forrestal’s psychological state was such that he did commit suicide. Although the facts of his death do not point toward this conclusion, we do not have definitive knowledge, either. But consider the case of American journalist George Polk. A year before, Polk had been investigating corruption in the Greek military regime, elements of which then murdered him. The Communists were promptly blamed, while America’s intelligence and media communities knowingly went along with the charade. Or, just a few years later, in 1953, when American biological weapons expert Frank Olsen “fell” from the 10th floor of the Statler Hotel in New York City, after he had a very bad LSD trip, courtesy of the CIA, and had become a security risk.

During the bad old days of Stalin’s Russia, airbrushed photographs were a normal, if crude, way to sanitize history. American methods are less crude, but no less normal.

Richard M. Dolan, 2001

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Notes: Perhaps not surprisingly, there are precious few sources on Forrestal. See Arnold Rogow, James Forrestal, A Study of Personality, Politics, and Policy (MacMillan, 1963); Townsend Hoopes & Douglas Brinkley, Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal (Knopf, 1992); the extremely rare Cornell Simpson, The Death of James Forrestal (Western Islands Publishers, 1966); and the sanitized The Forrestal Diaries edited by Walter Mills (Viking Press, 1951).


Science, Secrecy, And Ufology

Richard Dolan
December 26, 2000

Secrecy permeates the UFO field. What does this mean for Ufology as a science? Answer: the field cannot really be handled scientifically within the public domain. The great model is the Manhattan Project. When a project is undertaken at highly classified levels, you will find nothing of value about it within the mainstream. This was true during the development of the atomic bomb in the 1940s; it is true regarding the UFO.

Missing the Obvious

Somethings are so obvious that they are invisible.

Segments of the intelligence community have been intensely interested in UFOs since the problem emerged after World War Two. Moreover, they have monitored and infiltrated the UFO field. Conversely, the “mainstream” (as opposed to “classified”) scientific community has ignored UFOs altogether. Ask yourself a simple question: why this discrepancy?

What passes for Ufology has spun its wheels for fifty years. Not only have even its most important researchers been unable to force recognition of the problem by official powers (not very surprising, after all), but some of these same researchers have not even taken a definite stand on what UFOs might represent. That is, they have been working without a hypothesis (!) and so in many cases have merely piled up sighting after sighting for years and years, and then expected this pile of “evidence” to do the trick. But in any intellectual endeavor, piling up evidence is never enough. The researcher has to organize and analyze the evidence through hypothesis or supposition. Without this effort, there is no research, only what Gore Vidal calls “scholarly squirreling” of data in a hole in a hollow tree. What can we say about such researchers, some of whom having been in the field for decades, or even in some cases, generations? What have they been doing?

A young innocent who wants to learn more about this topic – a subject of the utmost seriousness and importance – can easily become bewildered by the confusion. Should one side with Klass, Shaeffer, and Korff, or Hynek, Ruppelt, and Keyhoe, or Friedman, or Randall? Does one follow the line of the conservative J. Allen Hynek Center of UFO Studies (CUFOS), the paranormal leanings of MUFON, or the coverup themes of UFO Magazine? On the Internet, should one haunt the tepid world of listserves like Project 1947 or UFO Updates, or dive right into John Greenwald’s Black Vault?

Four centuries ago, Rene Descartes established a very simple principle of knowledge: one must create a strong skeleton – that is, a foundation of unquestionable facts – and build an edifice upon it.

So let us be Cartesian, and review the obvious.

Secrecy and the National Security Crowd

In 1946, a year before the great deluge of reports here in the states, Americans monitored “ghost rockets” over Europe. Two prominent American generals conferred with the Swedes, and censorship over the Swedish press followed. The Greek Army also investigated, according to Dr. Paul Santorini, a key scientist in the development of the atomic bomb. The Greeks concluded the objects were not Soviet, nor were they missiles. The American military then pressured them into silence.

In 1947, UFOs appeared over American skies in large numbers. Some incidents were quite serious, such as the repeated violation of air space over the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility. Oak Ridge housed some of the most sophisticated technology in the world and was highly classified: one did not simply fly over there. Yet Army Intelligence and the FBI monitored dozens of intrusions over Oak Ridge well into the 1950s. Similar violations occurred over sensitive places in Los Alamos, Hanford, and many military bases. All of this was classified, of course. Americans knew nothing about them at the time.

In a classified memo, General Nathan Twining wrote of the possibility – based on the careful evaluation of military personnel – that “some of the objects are controlled.” Controlled by whom was the $64,000 question, and America’s national security establishment set out to answer it, far removed from the prying eyes of the public.

In 1949, an FBI memo stated that: “Army intelligence has recently said that the matter of ‘unidentified aircraft’ or ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ … is considered top secret by intelligence officers of both the Army and the Air Forces.”

In 1950, Robert Sarbacher, a physicist with the DOD Research & Development Board, privately told Canadian official Wilbert Smith that UFOs were “the most highly classified subject in the U.S. government.”

After an extraordinary UFO encounter near Fort Monmouth, New Jersey in 1951, Air Force officer Edward Ruppelt attended a two-hour meeting chaired by General Charles Cabell, the Director of Air Force Intelligence (and later Deputy CIA Director). The meeting was recorded, but the tape “was so hot that it was later destroyed. . . . to be conservative, it didn’t exactly follow the tone of the official Air Force releases.”

The CIA, meanwhile, had monitored the problem since at least 1948. After the UFO wave of 1952, the Agency sponsored the Robertson Panel, which convened in January 1953 – the final weekend of the Truman presidency. The panel debunked UFOs, and its recommendations resulted in the gutting of Project Blue Book (already a public relations burden) and heightened surveillance of civilian UFO organizations.

Clearly, this was an issue considered to be of the utmost seriousness. As a result, it was not a topic ordinary citizens could simply waltz into and get easy answers. Observe what happened to the most dangerous of all civilian organizations: the National Investigative Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). Founded in 1956 with the goal of ending UFO secrecy, it was quickly and secretly infiltrated by “ex-CIA” officers involved in CIA psychological warfare operations. The most important of them, Colonel Joseph Bryan, was the key player in the ouster of Director Donald Keyhoe in 1969. A succession of CIA men then ran NICAP into the ground. Needless to say, no one outside the Agency knew of their CIA connections.

One might complain this was all a long time ago. Does the military still take UFOs seriously? Does the intelligence community still infiltrate UFO organizations? After all, if UFOs are still important, then intelligence operatives would presumably still need to monitor and influence the key organizations. Is there any reason to believe this is so?

In a word, yes. The military still encounters UFOs, as many reports continue to prove. Moreover, secrecy orders about UFOs remain in effect. In 1975, the late Senator Barry Goldwater stated that UFOs were still classified “above Top Secret.” As one of my Navy acquaintances recently said to me: “If I were to tell you what I knew about that subject, I would probably go to prison.”

In the mid-1980s, UFO researcher William Moore admitted to working covertly with the intelligence world, to the shock and dismay of his colleagues. But stuff like this is surely the tip of a large iceberg. Ufology is dominated by men and women connected to the world of intelligence, usually through prior experience in the military or CIA. Why is this so? What does it mean to Ufology that this is the case? It is a question I will return to – more than once, I suspect – in future articles.


Throughout history, people have used outdated concepts to think about the world, especially during periods of rapid change. It’s unavoidable. We remain wedded to the concepts we learned in our youth, while reality races ahead. Observe our cultural attitudes toward science. Science, we were taught, is a bastion, indeed the foundation, of intellectual freedom in the world. It is an independent search for truth, and the destroyer of social and religious myths.

How independent is science? In whose interest is it practiced today? This is no idle question, for gone are the days of scientists following their intellectual passions in a search for truth. Earlier this year, James Lovelock, a pioneer in environmental science now in his eighties, had this to say:

Nearly all scientists are employed by some large organization, such as a governmental department, a university, or a multinational company. Only rarely are they free to express their science as a personal view. They may think that they are free, but in reality they are, nearly all of them, employees; they have traded freedom of thought for good working conditions, a steady income, tenure, and a pension.

Science is an expensive business, and you need sponsorship. I laughed out loud when a sincere and interested reader of my book asked me who sponsored my research. But, he is a scientist, for whom such a thing is absolutely necessary.

Reflect on the following:

  1. Since the Second World War, the military has been by far the biggest sponsor of scientific work.
  2. The military and intelligence community has exhibited extreme levels of interest in the UFO phenomenon, and high levels of classification have enveloped the subject.
  3. It would seem logical that the military has sponsored classified – that is, secret – scientific work on this problem for many years.
  4. In public, however, mainstream scientists offer nothing more than ridicule or scorn upon the topic of UFOs

Like any other segment of our civilization, scientists follow the money. If the cash is there, so are they; if not, forget about it. If, as I believe, the vast sponsorship of UFO research is classified, we will not hear positive statements about the subject from the mainstream. Moreover, the extreme specialization of science ensures that mavericks do not stray into the uncharted seas of UFO research. The result is widespread ignorance by scientists of even the basics of the UFO phenomenon. At least, this is so within the non-classified, mainstream areas of research. In the classified world, we can only surmise, but we can do so based on some facts.

We know without question that within the first few years of the appearance of UFOs, many top-flight scientists became involved in some way with this phenomenon – in every case at the classified level. By no means exhaustive, here are some of the more noteworthies: Lloyd Berkner, Edward Teller, Detlev Bronk, Vannevar Bush, David Sarnoff, Thornton Page, H. P. Robertson, Allen Hynek, and Lincoln La Paz. In the case of Bush and Bronk, the connection has not been proven to the satisfaction of some skeptics, but even in their case, the evidence remains strong. For the rest, the case is open-and-shut. These men were some of the elite power scientists in the world, and intimately connected with the American defense establishment. And yet, we find them looking at UFO reports. Of course, let us not forget Harvard astronomer and UFO debunker extraordinaire, Donald Menzel, who, unbeknownst to the world, was deeply involved with the American intelligence community, in particular the super-secret National Security Agency.

One supposes that we shall have to wait another few decades to learn about our contemporaries – in other words, long after the issue becomes moot. Such secrecy, we realize, is not unique to UFOs. It is standard operating procedure. We learn the truth after it becomes irrelevant.

The Great Secrecy Model

As was stated above, when a project is undertaken at highly classified levels, you will find nothing of value about it within the mainstream. The primordial example is the Manhattan Project. Here was an undertaking of such magnitude that secrecy was of paramount importance. How to design and build an atomic bomb without the enemy knowing? It is, of course, a multifarious question. One of the answers, however, was to hide the knowledge from Congress itself – despite the fact that it involved unprecedented outlays of money. Amazingly, the plan succeeded.

In fact, when scientists detonated a nuclear bomb at Los Alamos on July 16, 1945, the most spectacular and ominous event in the history of science, no one outside that small classified circle knew a thing. Consider the implications. The work was done in a secrecy so profound that the mainstream scientific literature had nothing of import to say about nuclear technology. The information was too sensitive to discuss openly.

Significantly, though the Manhattan Project remained secret from the public, it was not secret from the Soviets, who had penetrated the American defense and scientific establishment, and used data from the project to build an atomic bomb years ahead of schedule. This pattern, in fact, recurred throughout the Cold War: more often than not, the American public was kept in the dark about black projects more successfully than were the Soviet authorities. Many times, it was they and not the Soviets who were the true target of secrecy – for instance, in such cases as the U-2 flyovers or mind control experiments.

Thus, the Manhattan Project possesses staggering historical importance for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it has served as a model ever since for conducting expensive and covert operations. Hiding the money, keeping the real talk classified, and steering the public discussion – all of these were successfully tackled by the national security world of the 1940s.

If it’s important, it’s probably secret. This was true during the development of the atomic bomb in the 1940s; it is almost certainly true regarding the UFO.


Those of us without a “need to know” about UFOs can still learn a few things. Enough information exists within the public realm that we can put many of the pieces together. It is, frankly, what I have tried to do in my recent study.

Do the math. For more than fifty years, millions of people have experienced a global phenomenon from agencies unknown, possessing what appears to be fantastic technology. We have on record hundreds of military UFO encounters and reports, with undoubted interest and infiltration by the intelligence world. Compound this with disturbingly strong claims of abduction (and even worse) on the part of these others, and you have powerful reasons for abject silence on the part of our erstwhile leaders.

The math is not higher calculus. No, it is simple addition, and when you add it up the conclusion is forced: this is a fundamentally covert event of awesome magnitude.

But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that we can “get to the bottom” of this. That is, as mere citizens of what some would call an oligarchic empire that masquerades as a democracy, we are unlikely to get official confirmation regarding something as important as an alien presence. And even if we did get such “confirmation,” could we truly depend on the accuracy and completeness of the information? I think you know the answer.

Knowledge may give us an edge in some way. Or, our situation may more closely match the American natives of 500 years ago. Either way, we on the outside are on our own where this phenomenon is concerned, and it behooves us to become as educated about it as we can. Otherwise, we experience our fate – for good or ill – in the dark.

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The CIA, Official History, And You: A Study Of Gerald Haines And UFOs

Richard Dolan
December 2000

Morally, a philosopher who uses his professional competence for anything except a disinterested search for truth is guilty of a kind of treachery.
– Bertrand Russell

In the summer of 1997, during the hoopla of the 50th anniversary of the Roswell crash, everyone with an opinion about UFOs came out of the woodwork. True believers trekked to their Mecca to gain a mystical awareness of their alien brothers, spend some money, and have a good time. Roswell merchants heard the ching-ching of cash hitting the cup. Television cameras abounded and talking heads smiled at the extravaganza, poked some fun at it all, and pretended sonorously to wonder whether all this alien stuff could be for real.

The Roswell media event was actually the centerpiece of a several-month-long crescendo of UFO news that spread across America in 1997. Some of this news was rather serious, some of it shocking, like the March tragedy of Heaven’s Gate, a mass suicide that reinforced the public perception of UFO believers as crazy. In April, a Pentagon spokesman told the press that the military had “long ago” stopped tracking UFOs. Of the 12,618 UFO sightings reported to the Air Force from 1947 to 1969, he said, none offered any evidence of aliens or even exotic technology. Even the officially “unidentified” UFO reports were obviously not due to aliens, whatever else they might have been. The Associated Press covered without additional comment. That spring also saw the release of Colonel Philip Corso’s controversial Day After Roswell, which claimed that Roswell-captured alien technology was funneled to the American defense industry. Corso was an embarrassment because of his connections to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, who obligingly wrote a foreword praising his long-time military liaison. A media storm followed, and Thurmond quickly claimed ignorance of Corso’s thesis, retracted his foreword, and disclaimed any knowledge of UFOs.

Several debunking works also appeared, such as those by Kal K. Korff and Karl Pflock. Pflock is yet another in a long list of CIA men who are “into” UFOs, while Korff is suspected by many to be connected with the Agency. Both of their books supported the establishment line that UFOs were nonsense, and I wrote at length about Korff’s piece elsewhere. [1] But the establishment itself got into the mix in 1997: the Air Force and CIA each sponsored debunking pieces about UFOs. It was these two arguments that received the lion’s share of mainstream media attention.

The Air Force, you may recall, released its infamous dummy drop explanation. Back in the mid- and late-1950s, they had dropped dummies from parachutes not far from Roswell, and claimed that the passage of time confused people’s memories into thinking these were alien bodies from 1947. Yes, it sounds stupid to me, too, but tell it to the Air Force. Anyway, this explanation was just an addendum to its earlier explanation of Roswell: Project Mogul, a secret balloon project the purpose of which was to learn when the Soviets would detonate an atomic bomb. The evolution of the Air Force’s explanation of the Roswell controversy is an intriguing and tortured road. But our subject is the other official statement about UFOs from that year.

This was the study by Gerald K. Haines, the official historian of the CIA. [2] I was already somewhat familiar with his work: back in my graduate student days, while toiling away in the stacks, I encountered several of his articles on U.S. foreign relations. Haines was establishment all the way. Indeed, his pedigree included more than the CIA. It also included the National Reconnaissance Office, perhaps the most secretive organization in the entire American government. Among other things, the NRO monitors all spy satellites. We can reasonably infer that, if UFOs were real and alien, the NRO would know (whether they would tell us is another matter). So here was Gerald Haines, coming down from the mountain to talk about … UFOs!

Of course, the reader should be reminded that Haines’ article itself was merely the declassified version of the piece he wrote for those with a “need to know.” Good luck getting the classified version – perhaps in the distant future our leaders will grace us with the full version following a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the version we were allowed to read, Haines made two basic points. The first was that, although the CIA was concerned about UFOs until the early 1950s, it has since “paid only limited and peripheral attention to the phenomena.” Second, Haines stated that from the mid-1950s until the end of the 1960s, “more than half” of alleged UFO sightings in the United States were actually of classified and/or experimental aircraft such as the U-2 or SR-71 spy planes. People saw such unfamiliar aircraft and assumed that they were even more unfamiliar. The CIA was interested in all this, since citizens were seeing their aircraft. The Air Force’s Project Blue Book knew all about this, too, and attempted to hide it with explanations that discerning people could tell were absurd. While Blue Book’s motives were understandable and even laudable, the result was a loss of public credibility in its ability and integrity.

These were important statements. They appeared to set the record straight by making a certain admission – that the CIA and Air Force had misled the public about UFOs. The conspiracy theorists seemed to be right – at least a little bit. But the actual explanation to the UFO mystery, wrote Haines, was much more mundane than the fantasy of alien visitation. That is, UFOs did exist – they were simply classified, and often experimental, aircraft.

It is sad but true that the great masses of this world are led around by a ring in their collective nose. Perhaps there is solace knowing that it has always been this way, perhaps not. Haines’ article received immediate, widespread, and uncritical media coverage. One can assume there was more than just luck in his ability to get immediate nationwide attention at just the right time regarding a matter of topical public interest. Certainly there were many worthies out there toiling away in obscurity, who would have loved to get that kind of publicity. But then again, they don’t have teams of experts working the media. The Associated Press and Reuters, for example, covered Haines’ story without critical commentary, as did most mainstream publications. The effect was quite profound. By the end of the summer of 1997, Haines’ explanation of the UFO phenomenon had essentially become the standard one. So let us review in more detail what he actually said.

Considering the gravity of Haines’ argument and the success of its message, it is startling to see so many glaring mistakes. Indeed, errors and sloppy statements litter his article like debris from a crashed object. Moreover, Haines’ selection (and omission) of certain facts demonstrate that this was not a work of history, per se, but a propaganda piece with the intention to persuade by deception and obfuscation.

Even when Haines was right, he was wrong. Twenty seconds into his article, we read that the “first report of a ‘flying saucer’ over the United States came on 24 June 1947.” Only the semantics here are true: this was the first UFO sighting in which the phrase ‘flying saucer’ was used. This is not mere nitpicking. Haines used this lawyerly word-play to imply that official interest in unexplained aerial objects did not begin until mid-1947 – which is untrue. He generously hinted as much in a footnote, but glossed over this fact entirely in the text of the article. That is, within the United States, over European skies, and over the world’s oceans, military personnel and civilians had already observed such extraordinary objects. During the Second World War, they were called “foo fighters.” In 1946, over Europe, they were called “ghost rockets.” America had experienced well-documented UFO sightings throughout the first half of 1947, as well as sporadic events in 1946 and earlier. Moreover, these events appeared to elicit interest within the American national security establishment. The U.S. Eighth Army studied the foo fighters during the war, and its commander (General James Doolittle) personally traveled to Europe in 1946 to discuss the ghost rockets with Swedish military authorities. The Office of Strategic Services also conducted studies on the foo fighters. The OSS, of course, was the predecessor of Haines’ employer, the CIA. Not a word of any of this from Mr. Haines.

Haines performed nothing less than a hatchet job on the Air Force’s Project Sign, which studied UFOs through the first half of 1948. He wrote that Air Force General Nathan Twining established the project in 1948 (wrong – Twining’s famous letter was in 1947) and that it was “initially named Project Saucer” (wrong – “Sign” was the classified name for the project, “Saucer” the public name).

But the serious problem was Haines’ treatment of Sign itself. “At first fearful,” he wrote, “that the objects might be Soviet secret weapons, the Air Force soon concluded that UFOs were real but easily explained and not extraordinary.” What is extraordinary here is that Haines possessed the moxie to make such a statement. Astronomer and Air Force consultant J. Allen Hynek, who was associated with Project Sign, made statements that directly contradict Haines. Project Sign had ruled the Soviets out almost from the start, Hynek claimed. Instead, the divisions within Sign were between those who believed the objects were extraterrestrial and those who thought they were nonsense. Captain Edward Ruppelt, who directed the Air Force’s Project Blue Book in the early 1950s, concurred with Hynek. Donald Keyhoe, author of many UFO books and well-plugged in to the government’s UFO crowd, also agreed that Air Force investigators were taking seriously the possibility of alien intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon.

Haines also ignored the great summer crisis of 1948, when qualified personnel on both sides of the Atlantic reported identical cigar-shaped UFOs (with two decks of windows) moving with exceptional maneuverability and speed. This prompted the Sign team to prepare an “Estimate of the Situation” that landed on the desk of Air Force Commander Hoyt Vandenberg. The Estimate concluded that UFOs were most likely the result of alien spaceships – a conclusion which Vandenberg rejected.

At the same time, President Harry Truman began to receive UFO briefings from his Air Force liaison, Colonel Robert B. Landry. This, at least, is what Landry said in an interview many years later. Although Landry downplayed the importance of these briefings, he did acknowledge they were given quarterly from 1948 until the end of Truman’s presidency. That’s more than four years and, by my reckoning, eighteen briefings. All for a subject of supposedly little interest in official circles. Incidentally, Landry also stated that he coordinated his briefings with the CIA.

Let us be clear: regardless of the reality behind the UFO phenomenon – whether it represented an alien intelligence or human psychosis – the summer crisis of 1948 had many people in the American military and intelligence community thinking about this problem, and considering all solutions, including the extraterrestrial one. In a few brushstrokes, however, Gerald Haines painted a rough sketch implying exactly the opposite of what the historical record actually tells us. The extraterrestrial possibility was never considered, according to Haines. But the historical record (and the many military UFO reports from the 1940s) clearly shows that it was.

The best Haines could do was restate the worn-out Air Force public relations statement from those years that “almost all sightings” were caused either by mass hysteria, hoaxes, or misidentification of known objects. It takes either a great deal of gumption to write this, or the confidence that no one will bother to refute it.

And so it goes. Haines wrote in deadpan fashion that Project Grudge (the successor to Project Sign) also “found no evidence in UFO sightings of advanced foreign weapons design or development.” Using Grudge as an authority is amusing. The project rated “minimum effort,” according to Ruppelt, and its files had been “chucked into an old storage case” when he took them over in 1951. Moreover, even though the skimpy effort at Grudge found nothing unusual about UFOs, there were many first-rate UFO reports at that time, often subject to extreme secrecy. Many of these reports came to light only after being pried out of the possession of the military – many years later – through Freedom of Information Act requests. It is impossible to ignore such incredible misrepresentation of the public record, and to do so in such a confident and cavalier manner. After all, these facts have been available for many years. Haines simply ignored them.

When he came to describe the massive buildup of UFO sightings in 1952, even Haines conceded that they caught the attention of the CIA and the White House. Of course, this would be hard to deny, considering that UFOs were seen visually and tracked over the Capitol for two weekends in a row. The experienced Air Traffic controllers who tracked these objects on radar were convinced the objects were solid, metallic objects. Yet, Haines blandly repeated the Air Force whitewash that explained such radar returns were caused by “temperature inversions.” He declined to account for the simultaneous visuals, or any of the intense controversy surrounding that explanation. Indeed, Haines ignored the extreme interest by CIA officers in a major wave of UFO sightings in North Africa during the summer of 1952.

For Haines, the extent of CIA concern at this time was that the Soviets might somehow exploit the American obsession about flying saucers or, more seriously, launch an attack when America’s radar facilities were jammed with “phantom” (whatever that means) UFOs. Haines begged the question of what precisely the UFO targets were, except to dismiss them as “misinterpretation of known objects or little understood natural phenomena.” As a result of this concern, wrote Haines, the CIA organized the secret Robertson Panel in order to make a policy decision about UFOs. Even though Haines referred to the panel members as “distinguished … nonmilitary scientists,” all of them in fact were deeply involved in classified scientific research. The problems of the Robertson Panel were serious and abundant – many writers have discussed them at length – and Haines ignored them all. He acknowledged only that the CIA’s policy of hiding its sponsorship of the Panel damaged its credibility later, causing UFO “buffs” to suspect even greater interest and involvement by the CIA in the matter of UFOs.

Haines mentioned very few UFO reports at all in his study. It is a common frustration when reading debunking articles that most ignore the actual reports. One of the few that Haines referred to was the 1955 sighting of two flying saucers by U.S. Senator Richard Russell, while Russell was accompanied by two aides aboard a Soviet train. Intelligence officials interviewed Russell upon his return. The classified report was not available until a 1985 FOIA request. This is what it said:

“there were two lights toward the inside of the disc, which remained stationery as the outer surface went around. . . . The lights sat near the top of the disc. . . . The aircraft was circular. The aircraft was round, resembled a flying saucer.”

Needless to say, Haines ignored such messy facts. Instead, he supported the theory that the objects “probably were normal jet aircraft in a steep climb.”

Incredibly, all of this nonsense was mere prologue to the main thesis of Haines’ article. This is that “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.” Thus, people who thought they saw a flying saucer most probably saw a spy plane flying at 80,000 feet.

This statement is so outlandish, so improbable, and yet so widely accepted now within mainstream culture, that we need to examine it closely. And yet the explanation is so vague, so threadbare, that we have nothing to grab onto. We learn only that Blue Book was aware of the U-2 flights and did its best to conceal this fact from the public, thus adding fuel to conspiracy theories. And that’s it. We do not know, for example, which sightings, or how many sightings, were actually U-2 or SR-71 aircraft. Did Haines really mean to imply that “more than half” of all UFO sightings in the United States from 1955 until 1969 were actually spy planes? Did he realize how many sightings there were during that period? In 1965 alone, Blue Book received more than a thousand reports. Moreover, by all estimates, Blue Book was receiving a small fraction of actual sightings, maybe one-tenth, maybe less. Civilian organizations such as NICAP and APRO were also receiving thousands of reports that never went to Blue Book. Just how many U-2 or SR-71 flights took place over American skies in the 1950s and 1960s? Did these planes account for the Great Wave of 1965 and 1966, when the matter of UFOs became such a national issue that it was discussed on the floor of Congress by such men as Gerald Ford? And of course, let us not forget that UFO sightings had been international since the beginning of the phenomenon. In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960, major UFO sightings – and large waves of sightings – were reported in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia, and in the oceans, many of which involved military and intelligence personnel. Did American spy planes cause these, too?

The argument is patently ludicrous. And yet it is the accepted truth of official culture.

Such a selective historical treatment of history carried Haines to a predictable conclusion: the diehard issue of UFOs will “probably not go away soon, no matter what the Agency does or says.” The wide-eyed, gullible masses will believe what they want to believe.

How did Gerald Haines think he could get away with such terrible historical writing? For this piece is not merely inadequate. As an academic work, it is far beyond repair, a hopeless shipwreck. On any other topic of American history, such bad writing could never have escaped unscathed (and probably would have been fact-checked by an editor who would have forbade release lest the writer stain his reputation). But no one in American academia has any knowledge of UFOs, save a few marginalized souls in the wilderness. Many hold strong prejudices about the subject, and none would ever bother to investigate what Haines actually claimed. Result: a slam dunk.

Obviously, Haines was not writing to his fellow professional historians. This is an important point, because most professional historians write for their colleagues, especially those pieces that appear in scholarly journals. Indeed, most amateur historians would be mystified by the arcane writing of professional historical journals. The publisher of Haines’ article, the regal Studies in Intelligence, is typical in this regard (of course it is atypical, too – as the house publication of the CIA). But, this time, Haines was not writing to that crowd.

Perhaps he was writing to professional UFO researchers? This would seem to be a reasonable conclusion, would it not? But it is precisely among UFO researchers where all the weaknesses of his argument are recognized. Shortly after Haines’ article appeared, a number of researchers, including Don Ecker and Bruce Macabbee, challenged it. Besides, it seems unlikely that Haines would have addressed himself to a group that he insulted throughout his article.

If not professional historians, and if not UFO researchers, then who? Judging by the response to Haines’ article, the answer is clear: the mainstream media. It was there – within such organizations as AP and Reuters – that Haines received immediate and positive attention. It was those organizations that gave his article immediate and international distribution.

Ultimately, the target of Haines’ message was you.

Former CIA Director Allen Dulles used to say that if you want to keep a secret, then pretend to share it. Gerald Haines, the official historian of the CIA, has pretended to share a secret. He has admitted to the world that, yes, the CIA really was interested in UFOs for a while, even while denying this at the time. The Agency was merely tracking the public’s sightings of its aircraft. “Ah,” exclaims the public, “we were right!”

This kind of thing happens frequently in our world. The point of such media announcements is not to persuade those with any specific knowledge. A much lower threshold of persuasion usually does the job: sow enough doubt in the public mind about a particular topic so that effective action is prevented.

A notable example of this type of activity occurred just a year before Haines’ article, when journalist Gary Webb published the scoop of a lifetime: an investigation of the relationship between the CIA, the Nicaraguan Contras, and the importation of crack cocaine. The contras, Webb argued, were making money as the middlemen in the drug trade. Since they were coordinated by CIA, the Agency had to know, and assent. Webb had done his homework, but the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times ripped him viciously. Within a year, he was out of work.

Analysts of the CIA have long known that the Agency has connections to the world of narcotics trafficking. Webb’s thesis in particular has been supported by much evidence from other researchers. But the issue is so explosive that it needs to be disabled, even if it cannot be disproved. In savaging Webb, did the mainstream press do the CIA’s work? All we can say with certainty is that the CIA has tried to manipulate the media since its inception, and admitted in the 1970s that it had working (e.g. paid) relationships with over 400 American journalists. Indeed, a recent study by Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War, lays out the amazing infiltration by the CIA within every niche of the cultural sphere during the Cold War years. Lest one think such activities are an artifact of those bad old days, the CIA admitted again in the 1990s that it continued to maintain “relationships” with undisclosed American journalists for reasons of national security.

Such relationships couldn’t have anything to do with the savaging of Gary Webb, could they? And so it goes in our surreal little world. America’s government fights narcotraffickers, and that’s that.

A great deal of serious persuasion (to say nothing of distraction) must take place to get ordinary citizens to consent to a society as top-heavy as our own. Quite simply, people need to be managed, and human history provides endless variations on this theme. But the public is not so easy to drive as, say, a car. One cannot simply insert the key and go. The more correct analogy would be with a horse: an animal with a will that needs to be broken and then directed. One must be a good trainer and rider to do this. At times the animal may get the better of you, at times you need to make important concessions to keep it happy and ultimately malleable. But a good rider can usually do the job.

In what capacity was Gerald K. Haines acting when he wrote this article? Professional historian, or horseman of the public will? Was he writing standard history, or using his office in order to manipulate public discourse about UFOs? The question is more than a theoretical exercise. In an organization such as the Central Intelligence Agency, what can be the function of its official historian? Surely, like other large institutions, the CIA needs a historian to impose order over its mountain of documents. But of course the CIA is not like most other large institutions. It is a very special kind, responsible for carrying out the covert foreign (and despite supposed legal strictures, domestic) policy of America’s national security planners. Such an organization does not play by the same rules as the rest of us.

People can debate Haines’ motivations without a provable conclusion. The effect of his article is less cloudy. With an official explanation for CIA interest in UFOs now in the ring, the CIA appears to have come clean on a longstanding issue. His article planted the idea within the public/media consciousness that UFOs were (and are) nothing more than misidentifications of highly classified, experimental, aircraft.

Official history serves a very important function: when successfully written, it defines the terms of discussion, the parameters of what is permissible. So far, Haines’ history has done its job.

Read More At:


  1. Richard M. Dolan. UFOs and the National Security State: An Unclassified History. Volume One: 1941 to 1973. (Keyhole Publishing, 2000), pp. 62-65.
  2. Gerald K. Haines. “A Die Hard Issue: CIA’s Study of UFOs, 1947-90.” Studies in Intelligence. (Vol. 01, No. 1, 1997). For web link, see



Richard Dolan: Why UFOs Matter

March 12, 2017

Historian and researcher Richard Dolan, who is author of UFOs & The National Security State – Chronology Of A Cover Up, speaks about what got him into studying UFOs, why the are crucial to understand and the historical implications of this issue.

Vimanas & The 10 Million Year Old Secret – Michael Cremo

Source: DarkJournalist
Daneil Liszt
March 5, 2017

Ancient Vimana UFO Revelations and Artifacts From a Lost Civilization

In this fascinating episode packed with exciting information, Dark Journalist Daniel Liszt interviews the influential author of Forbidden Archaeology Michael Cremo on his controversial research into the dating of human origin, ancient civilizations and the potential widespread impact of Extraterrestrial cultures on human development.

Cremo’s groundbreaking research has been featured on NBC’s Television Special ‘The Mysterious Origins of Man” and on the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens TV Series. His diligent investigation into the subject of Prehistory turned up a series of anomalies that strongly suggest a much older date for the advent of humanity, including finely manufactured spheres uncovered in South Africa that date all the way back to a staggering two billion years!

Scientific Coverup

Cremo strongly disagrees with mainstream scientific and archaeological assertions that human beings got their primitive start as cave dwellers around 200,000 B.C. and have only had relatively high culture for six thousand years. He has catalogued shocking artifacts and physical evidence for over two decades that show not only was there an advanced pre-diluvian culture that existed far before recorded history, but that it was predated by 10 million years by the legacy of a sophisticated human society. He sees a massive cover up in scientific circles as their focus has steadily moved towards a limited scientific materialism in the last two hundred years.

The UFO Enigma and Ancient Sanskrit Accounts of Vimanas

Cremo has pieced together from early Sanskrit accounts the devastating impact of a high tech flying machine that existed in antiquity called a ‘Vimana’ by the ancients. According to the Ramayana and other Sanskrit accounts, vimanas were capable of projecting themselves into multiple places at once, in what today could be described as quantum superpositions. They were thereby impossible to defend against. This fascinating flying marvel was responsible for the devastation of Dwarka, an ancient paradise that resembles Plato’s description of the legendary Atlantis. The striking similarity between modern day UFO Sightings and the detailed ancient descriptions of the Vimana lets us know that whatever the UFO Phenomena represents it has been with humanity for a very long time.