As the UFO / U.S. Government Connections Continue to Grow, Consider Some Alternative Angles

There’s a new article over at Mirador titled “Congress Tells Pentagon and Intelligence Community: UFOs are Serious Business!” The article, from Douglas Dean Johnson, and dated December 7, states: “With the unveiling today of legislative language already agreed on in negotiations between key lawmakers meeting privately, it is likely that Congress will soon send the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community a set of emphatic statutory commands regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (or UFOs, in common parlance).” Well, the UFO subject has always been serious business. For example, in the 1950s, when the “Contactees” were at their height and hanging out with the “Space Brothers” (allegedly, at least…), the FBI opened near-voluminous files on the likes of George Adamski, George Van Tassel, George Hunt Williamson and way more. Many people in Ufology write-off the Contactees, but the fact is that they were of deep concern to the U.S. government for the best part of a decade. Adamski’s FBI file is more than 300-pages-long. So is the Van Tassel file. Of course, none of this really had anything to do with real aliens. Rather, the FBI was concerned by (A) the fact that many of the Contactees had communist leanings; (B) that the Contactees quickly developed huge followings; and (C) that for a while the FBI suspected some of the Contactees were possibly even working for Soviet spies in America.

(Nick Redfern) “Giant Rock,” California where George Van Tassel hung out. So did the FBI, now and again.

The big irony in all of this is that while many well-known ufologists of that era, such as Leonard Stringfield, Gray Barker and Albert Bender had files opened on them, those latter files were barely in the figure of around thirty-to-forty pages. Stan Friedman’s file is pitiful, in terms of what it tells us (or, rather, what it doesn’t). So, for the FBI, the UFO/Contactee issue was one of deep concern for a long time. UFOs themselves, though, were not of particular interest to the FBI. If at all, even. Rather, it was the politics of the Contactees that had the FBI worried. Moving on, there’s the matter of the CIA’s Robertson Panel of the 1950s. Yet again, we see serious business, but for reasons that weren’t directly tied to the UFO enigma, itself, but that had everything to do with politics. The curious and fantastic UFO events of July 1952, over Washington, D.C., deeply troubled the CIA and the Air Force. And, for very intriguing and alternative reasons that had very little to do with literal alien invasions or visitations. On December 2, 1952 the CIA’s Assistant Director H. Marshall Chadwell noted in a classified report on UFO activity in American airspace: “Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.”

Believing that something really might be afoot in the skies of America, Chadwell prepared a list of saucer-themed recommendations for the National Security Council: “1. The Director of Central Intelligence shall formulate and carry out a program of intelligence and research activities as required to solve the problem of instant positive identification of unidentified flying objects. 2. Upon call of the Director of Central Intelligence, Government departments and agencies shall provide assistance in this program of intelligence and research to the extent of their capacity provided, however, that the DCI shall avoid duplication of activities presently directed toward the solution of this problem. 3. This effort shall be coordinated with the military services and the Research and Development Board of the Department of Defense, with the Psychological Board and other Governmental agencies as appropriate. 4. The Director of Central Intelligence shall disseminate information concerning the program of intelligence and research activities in this field to the various departments and agencies which have authorized interest therein.”

The overall conclusion of the Robertson Panel was that while UFOs, per se, did not appear to have a bearing on national security or the defense of the United States, the way in which the subject could be used by unfriendly forces to manipulate the public mindset and disrupt the U.S. military infrastructure did have a bearing – and a major one, too – on matters of a security nature. According to the panel’s members: “Although evidence of any direct threat from these sightings was wholly lacking, related dangers might well exist resulting from: A. Misidentification of actual enemy artifacts by defense personnel. B. Overloading of emergency reporting channels with ‘false’ information. C. Subjectivity of public to mass hysteria and greater vulnerability to possible enemy psychological warfare.” There was also a recommendation that a number of the public UFO investigative groups that existed in the United States at the time, such as the Civilian Flying Saucer Investigators (CFSI) and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), should be “watched” carefully due to “the apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes” Now, moving onto later days:

(Nick Redfern)

In 1999, Gerald K. Haines – in his position as the historian of the National Reconnaissance Office – wrote a paper titled “CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90.” It’s now in the public domain, as a result of FOIA rules. Haines’ paper largely detailed the history of how, and why, the CIA became interested and involved in the phenomenon of UFOs. Although Haines covered a period of more than forty years, I’ll bring your attention to one particular section of his paper, which is focused on the 1970s-1980s. Haines wrote: “During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Agency continued its low-key interest in UFOs and UFO sightings. While most scientists now dismissed flying saucers reports as a quaint part of the 1950s and 1960s, some in the Agency and in the Intelligence Community shifted their interest to studying parapsychology and psychic phenomena associated with UFO sightings. CIA officials also looked at the UFO problem to determine what UFO sightings might tell them about Soviet progress in rockets and missiles and reviewed its counterintelligence aspects.”

The Soviets, then, were masking their secret, chemical- rocket tests by spreading false and fantastic tales of aliens and UFOs. Haines also noted something that is absolutely key to the story this article tells: “Agency analysts from the Life Science Division of OSI and OSWR officially devoted a small amount of their time to issues relating to UFOs. These included counterintelligence concerns that the Soviets and the KGB were using U.S. citizens and UFO groups to obtain information on sensitive U.S. weapons development programs (such as the Stealth aircraft), the vulnerability of the U.S. air-defense network to penetration by foreign missiles mimicking UFOs, and evidence of Soviet advanced technology associated with UFO sightings [italics mine].” So, there is nothing new, at all, about government agencies taking a serious approach to the UFO phenomenon. As we’ve seen in this article, the U.S. government’s UFO interest was not always for the reasons that so many ufologists wish for (namely, that the government has proof of alien life and, one day, will show it to us).

As the issues surrounding the U.S. government and UFOs continue to grow, we should keep in mind there are likely more than a few alternative reasons why  the government, right now, is watching the UFO phenomenon. And, will continue to do so. Will all of that interest be focused on alien life? I say “No.” Politics, Russian spies, counterintelligence, disinformation, and those “subversive purposes” I mentioned above will be the key issues. The UFO subject is not just about UFOs, as strange as that might sound.

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