A UFO is just an Unidentified or "Unconventional" Flying Object.
Official Government studies into UFOs
Project Blue Book
On 11 September 1951, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt took over the reins of Project Grudge; and one month later, a revamped version was established – Grudge II. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a "think-tank" consulting firm, was asked to prepare a statistical study of UFO reports obtained up until that time period. Several months later, in March 1952, Grudge II was officially designated as Project Blue Book – a project that would remain in existence until 1969.
There can be no doubt, however, that the role of Blue Book's mission was radically different to that of both projects Sign and Grudge. For the most part, Blue Book's approach was directed by a panel formed in late 1952 by the CIA known as The Scientific Advisory Panel on UFOs, or more popularly, The Robertson Panel. Although it was determined that there was a distinct lack of evidence to support the notions that UFOs were extra-terrestrial in origin, the Robertson Panel nevertheless felt that UFO sightings represented a potential danger to national security that could be exploited for propaganda and psychological means by the Soviets. It was this concern that prompted the Robertson Panel to conclude that UFO mystery should be demystified. This was to be the role assigned to Blue Book.
Whilst it is true that some staff assigned to Blue Book (such as Edward Ruppelt) were genuinely interested in resolving the UFO mystery and made praise-worthy moves to do so, on many occasions, bizarre and simply inaccurate explanations were offered to try and resolve as many cases as possible. Moreover, despite all the hype that continues to surround Blue Book, it was never anything more than an exercise in public relations and received minimal staffing from one officer, two clerks and a number of typists. Until it was officially terminated in 1969, Blue Book continued to present seemingly adequate explanations to the UFO mystery whilst the real work went on behind the scenes. As evidence of this, consider the following extracted from a 1969 USAF memorandum prepared by Brigadier General C.H. Bolender, the Air Force’s Deputy Director of Development. “Reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect the national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system.”
Declassified on July 23, 1997, Project Grudge was originally released in August of 1949 as a SECRET Technical Report (NO 102-AC 49/15-100) by the headquarters of the Air Materiel Command, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio. Approved by Lt. Col. Hemstreet and Col. Watson, it is 406 pages long and covers a large number of UFO sightings along with investigation analysis, conclusions, and supplementary reports. Overall, it is just the basic background work on pedestrian UFO sightings by many credible military witnesses. No discussion of crashes, alien bodies, or the other TOP SECRET material found in more classified reports — just the way you would expect it.
The following extract (classified SECRET) is taken from the SUMMARY to the U.S. Air Force’s PROJECT GRUDGE TECHNICAL REPORT on UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS of August 1949. Prepared by Lt. H. W. Smith and Mr. G. W. Towles for the Commanding General Harold E. Watson, Colonel, USAF, Chief Intelligence Department, it states:
While there are approximately 375 incidents on record, only incidents Nos. 1 thru 244 are encompassed in this report. Of the later incidents, many have not yet been investigated, few have been completely tabulated, and none have been submitted to the consulting agencies. It is certain that better over-all results will be obtained in the analysis of the later reports, as these incidents generally have been more completely investigated. Since 5 December 1948, a series of recurring phenomena described as “green fireballs” have been reported in the general vicinity of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Lincoln La Paz, noted meteoritic expert, has been directly, though unofficially, associated with the investigation of these sightings and has himself observed the phenomena. Dr. La Paz states he is convinced the green fireballs are not ordinary meteors. This group of incidents has little or nothing in common with other incidents on file with Project “Grudge”, therefore, these incidents are not considered in this report. The Scientific Advisory Committee was asked to investigate this matter and had advised that an independent investigation be conducted in the field of atmospheric research.
Upon eliminating several additional incidents due to vagueness and duplication, there remain 228 incidents, which are considered in this report. Thirty of these could not be explained, because there was found to be insufficient evidence on which to base a conclusion.
It is important to stress that Project Grudge was one of three acknowledged U.S. Air Force projects dealing with UFO investigations – the other two being Sign and Blue Book. Between 1948 (the year that saw the creation of Project Sign) and 1969 (the year in which Project Blue Book was officially terminated), 12,618 UFO reports were investigated by personnel assigned to these three projects. According to the Air Force, out of this total only 701 UFO reports remained unexplained; and that with respect to the remainder, “…there was no indication of a technology beyond our own scientific knowledge…” The Air Force further asserted (and continues to assert to this day) that no sighting “…could be considered an extra-terrestrial vehicle [and] throughout Project Blue Book there was never a shred of evidence to indicate a threat to our national security.”
How then do we reconcile these statements with the Majestic documents, the very demonstrable threats to national security posed by UFOs and cited in the documents, and the data pertaining to UFO crash-retrievals suggesting that at least some UFOs are alien spacecraft? It must be noted that the bulk of the data pertaining to projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book was classified up to Secret level only. However, as the Majestic documents make abundantly clear, data pertaining to crash-retrievals was classified at Top Secret level and need-to-know clearance to access such information was strictly required. Furthermore, consider the following extracted from a 1969 USAF memorandum prepared by Brigadier General C.H. Bolender, the Air Force’s Deputy Director of Development: “[R]eports of unidentified flying objects which could affect the national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system.”
Project Grudge can be downloaded in the "Authentication" section under Documents Obtained from the National Archives.
The genesis of Project Magnet can be largely traced back to a memorandum of 21 November 1950 that Wilbert B. Smith, an official with the Canadian Government’s Department of Communications (and who held a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering), wrote to the Department of Transport. Smith, who had a personal interest in UFOs and had studied the subject, stated in his proposal that (a) the Canadian Government should be prompted to establish an official UFO investigation project; and (b) that he was on the track of something that would lead to an understanding of both how UFOs were powered and the development of new technological advances on Earth.
According to Smith: "The existence of a different technology is borne out by the investigations which are being carried on at the present time in relation to flying saucers." Smith also advised the DoT that, having made a number of discreet inquiries at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, he had learned the following from a Dr. Robert Sarbacher:
On receipt of the memorandum, the Canadian Department of Transport quickly approved Smith's proposal to officially investigate UFO reports; and on 2 December 1950, Project Magnet — a classified Canadian government project — swung into action and a number of high-quality UFO reports caught the attention of Magnet staff. On 10 August 1953, Smith submitted the following report: "It appears then, that we are faced with a substantial probability of the real existence of extraterrestrial vehicles, regardless of whether they fit into our scheme of things. It is therefore submitted that the next step in this investigation should be a substantial effort toward the acquisition of as much as possible of this technology."
Three months later, at Shirleys Bay, Ontario, a station for investigating and detecting UFOs was established; and on 8 August 1954, the equipment "went wild," recalled Smith later. All of the available evidence suggested that a UFO had flown in close proximity of the station. Regrettably the entire vicinity was bathed in clouds and no visual sighting was made; the instrumentation, however, did record a major disturbance. Two days later, the DOT announced that Project Magnet was being shut down. The speed with which the project was shut down has led to allegations that a decision was taken to continue studies at a far more covert level. It is intriguing to note, too, that in the early 1980s Dr. Robert Sarbacher reaffirmed his knowledge of secret U.S. Government UFO investigations overseen by Vannevar Bush and admitted that he was aware that the U.S. had in its possession both crashed UFOs and alien bodies. Wilbert Brockhouse Smith died on 27 December 1961, at the age of 52.
Project Moon Dust & Blue Fly
Although ostensibly two projects involved in the recovery and exploitation for the US Government of foreign space debris such as crashed satellites, rocket boosters and so on, there is intriguing data at our disposal showing that both projects have been involved in the recovery of far more exotic items – including possibly crashed UFOs and UFO debris. A 1961 US Air Force document states that:
Of the approximately 1000 pages of official documentation on Moon Dust and Blue Fly that have now been released into the public domain by the Department of State, Air Force, Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA, one near illegible report from 1965 is titled: "FRAGMENT METAL, RECOVERED IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, ORIGIN BELIEVED TO BE AN UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT."
Similarly, a DIA paper from 1967 states the following with regard to a UFO encounter over Agadir: "This report forwards translations of two articles which appeared in the Potit Morocain. Each article is separately identified as to source. Although the two articles are very contradictory, the page one coverage afforded this sighting demonstrates a high level of interest in the subject of UFOs, and presages future reporting which could be valuable in pursuit of Project Moon Dust."
It should be noted to that Project Moon Dust is referenced in the 1-page CIA paper pertaining to crashed UFOs, alien bodies, the late actress Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy brothers John and Robert.
Declassified in 1997 as part of the GAO's investigation sponsered by the late Congressman Schift (Rep - New Mexico) in the Roswell incident, project SIGN began in 1947 as an Air Force investigation of UFOs, headed by Col. H. M. McCoy, Chief of Intelligence, Air Materiel Command, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio. Project SIGN ended in early 1949 when the name was changed to Project GRUDGE, though Col. McCoy remained in charge of the successor project. The 900 pages of released documents are primarily UFOB intelligence reports, some with good data and administrative correspondence, green fireball reports of 48-49 in the desert southwest. The Fund for UFO Research has an excellent summary of the Air Force's project SIGN documents.
At approximately 3.00 p.m. on the afternoon of 24 June 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold had his now-classic UFO encounter near the Cascade Mountains, Washington State. According to Arnold, he viewed nine, elliptical-shaped objects flying in a wedge-like formation and stated that the objects flew as a saucer would if it were skimmed across a pool of water. The Flying Saucer mystery had begun. In the weeks and months after Arnold’s now-historic encounter, a wealth of other reports reached both the military and the media.
On 28 June, while flying at a height of 10,000 feet and 30 miles northwest of Lake Meade, Nevada, an Air Force Lieutenant reported seeing five or six white, circular-shaped UFOs in close formation and traveling at a speed of approximately 285 miles per hour.
The following day, a party of three – including two scientists – reported seeing a large UFO near the White Sands Missile Range. They were able to keep the object in view for almost a full minute and described it as disk-shaped, moving at high speed and with no discernible wings.
On 7 July 1947, five Portland, Oregon, police officers reported varying numbers of disks flying over different parts of the city; and on the same day, William Rhoads of Phoenix, Arizona, saw an object not dissimilar to that reported by Kenneth Arnold. Seventy-two hours later, a Mr. Woodruff, a Pan-American Airways mechanic, reported seeing a circular-shaped UFO flying at high speed near Harmon Field, Newfoundland.
As the summer of 1947 drew to a close and the Air Force had become an independent entity of the military, Air Intelligence demanded a report from Air Materiel Command regarding the then-current opinions on "flying disks". Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining, the Commander of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field, held a conference with individuals attached to the Propeller Laboratories of Engineering Division T-3, the Air Institute of Technology, and the Office of Chief Engineering Division. The result was a 23 September 1947, memorandum sent by Twining to Brig. General George Schulgen, Chief of the Air Intelligence Requirements Division. It concluded that:
As a result, Air Materiel Command requested that a directive be issued assigning a permanent project to study the UFO phenomenon. On 30 December 1947, Major General L. C. Craigie, Director of Research and Development, issued an order that would establish Project Sign as the investigative body tasked with examining UFO reports. It would be the role of Sign to: “… collect, collate, evaluate and distribute to interested government agencies and contractors all information concerning sightings and phenomena in the atmosphere which can be construed to be of concern to the national security.”
During the first six months of 1948, Project Sign studied UFO reports at Wright-Patterson AFB and focused much of its attention on the possibility that some UFOs were, indeed, other-worldly in origin.
On 5 August 1948, the Project Sign team determined that it was time for an evaluation of the data obtained. As a result, a Top Secret Estimate of the Situation was prepared by the US Air Force’s Air Technical Intelligence Center, which concluded that UFOs were interplanetary spacecraft. This was to cause widespread dismay and concern amongst the higher echelons of the military and the conclusions of the report were rejected, largely on the orders of Chief of Staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg, who argued that the Estimate was bereft of any firm evidence to support such beliefs. As a result of this, the ET-hypothesis lost favor within Sign; and those involved in the production of the report were rapidly reassigned alongside rumors of a lack of morale within the project.
Nevertheless, by the end of 1948, Project Sign had received several hundred UFO reports, of which 167 had been classed as “good”; and almost 40 of which were considered to be “unknown”. By 16 December 1948, however, the work of Sign (much of which supported the ET-hypothesis) came to a close; and Brigadier General Donald Putt changed the name and made way for the more debunking-oriented Project Grudge.
If the Estimate of the Situation report was rejected by General Vandenberg, one might ask, is that because the conclusion was based on faulty data or is there a more sinister scenario? It is known that the project only carried a 2A restricted classification (with 1A being the highest); and whilst the project could, under required circumstances, be assigned a higher clearance, this suggests strongly that Sign personnel did not have blanket need-to-know with respect to the UFO mystery. Interestingly, the author and investigator Kevin Randle has spoken with a U.S. colonel who had worked with ATIC in the late 1940s and who confirmed the existence of the Estimate of the Situation and was aware that it had been hand-delivered to Vandenberg. According to the colonel, Vandenberg ordered that two paragraphs be removed from the Estimate – both of which referred to UFO crashes in New Mexico. Vandenberg’s actions seem to suggest that (a) Project Sign’s conclusions were being manipulated from the very beginning; and (b) there were those within the military that wanted Sign kept strictly out of the crashed UFO/Majestic 12 loop.
The original and only documented reference to this project came in 1983 when the “Project Aquarius Briefing Document” was shown to William L. Moore (the co-author of the book, The Roswell Incident) by an insider source in the U.S. Intelligence community. According to the documentation briefly revealed to Moore, Project Snowbird was established in 1972 to research and test-fly a recovered alien spacecraft. To date, attempts to resolve this claim via the Freedom of Information Act have been unsuccessful. The existence of another Project Snowbird, however, has been verified. This was a joint U.S. Army-U.S. Air Force military exercise established in 1955 to train troops to fight in the sub-Arctic region.
The Robertson Panel, 1952-53
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 the Robertson Panel, take note of the following from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) historian, Gerald Raines:
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 the Majestic documents.
NASA and UFOs
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 release:
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