Monday, February 08, 2010

The Best UFO Headline Ever


I’m not sure why I haven’t posted this before. It is the best UFO headline ever. It is something right out of a science fiction movie.

It refers, of course, to the sightings that took place in July 1952 over Washington, D.C. The Air Force eventually claimed that these sightings were the result of a temperature inversion but the problem was that there were sightings on the ground, sightings in the air, radar sightings, and a rather “hairy” intercept by jet fighters. In fact, fighters were scrambled on a number of occasions during the sightings, and yes, the fighters got a radar lock on the objects and the pilots saw them in the air.

There has been much written about these sightings (including my own book on them) and while the Air Force is happy with the explanation, as are the skeptics, there were just too many sightings, too many witnesses and even observations using instrumentality to write them off so easily.

21 comments:

starman said...

If those sightings had occurred a few weeks later, debunkers would've claimed they were Perseid meteors. Btw the AF pilots did not, to my knowledge, claim any kills, despite an alleged crash or shoot down around then.

cda said...

As a result of these Washington sightings, the USAF held a famous UFO press conference on July 29. Keyhoe attended this and made a big story of it in his books. Another guy also attended this conference - but he was on the panel. You don't need me to tell you who this was, do you? A certain General Roger M. Ramey of Roswell fame 5 years earlier. If you are right about Roswell being ET, then Ramey sat through the entire proceedings without once divulging his great 5-year secret, and at a time of massive public interest in the saucers. And of course took it to his grave as well. You might care to reflect on this if nothing else.

Lance said...

Kevin, I do LOVE the headline.

But I hate to see you use the standard UFO fallacy of suggesting quantity = quality!

Lance

steve sawyer said...

Hi, Kevin---

Speaking of the "Washington Nationals," there is an obscure reference in the wikipedia entry on the Robertson Panel which notes there was some kind of meeting (apparently off the record) on July 28, 1952 between President Truman and members of the National Security Council as a result of Truman's interest and concerns about the two weekends of ufo activity around the Washington, D.C. area on July 19/20 and July 26/27 in 1952.

The reference is to a footnote 2 in the wikipedia entry, and which suggests there is some evidence or documentation of such a Truman/NSC meeting on July 28. The footnote references pg. 209 of the book "Captain Edward J. Ruppelt: Summer of the Saucers--1952" by Michael Hall and Wendy Connors.

Do you know or could you quote, if you have access to this book, exactly what is said there regarding this alleged meeting, or do you have any other references or documentation as to any such meeting having actually occurred or not?

Any insight, opinion, references or documentation you may know of, either way, would be greatly appreciated.

After several attempts recently, I still have not been able to pin down whether Truman ever did actually meet with the NSC as the wikipedia entry intriguingly suggests, or not.

It would seem that if Truman _did_ meet with the NSC at that time, this would be the highest level of civilian intelligence community concern ever shown about ufos, has national security implications, and if it could in any way be documented, it would go a long way to help explain the subsequent actions of the CIA and USAF efforts, and which resulted in a kind of bureaucratic infighting or turf war over the ufo investigations in general (and which the CIA lost to the USAF), and the related, subsequent findings and actions of the Robertson Panel, which set the US government's public policy of denial, "reeducation," and dismissal of the ufo phenomenon which ensued as a result.

If, on the other hand, Truman did _not_ meet with the NSC, or that no documentation or proof of any such meeting, even if informal, exists, why are there references in the literature to this supposed meeting and what are they based upon?

Do you think or have any documentation as to whether, during this critical time period, the USAF or Battelle deliberately withheld or denied access to the CIA, IAC, NSC, or Truman himself any crucial ufo case data, findings, or analytical recommendations to defuse higher level government interest and involvement in the national security implications of the ufo phenomenon? If so, what were the reasons for any such decision?

Your comments?

cda said...

There is indeed a reference to Truman's July 28 meeting with the NSC in the book quoted by Steve Sawyer (page 209). The quote in the book reads: "Newly released documents show the CIA really did come into the issue at the request of the National Security Council after Truman expressed concern over UFOs at a July 28 meeting". The said documents are not shown but presumably they are available somewhere.

starman said...

cda:

"..then Ramey sat through the entire proceedings without once divulging his great 5-year secret,.."

Military men have always kept secrets; what else is new?? Nobody divulged the ULTRA secret, not only during the war, but for 30 years afterwards.

KRandle said...

CDA -

Why would you think that Ramey would reveal a secret at the press conference? This is what, five years after Roswell and if what had fallen there been of alien origin, it would have still been classified. The Project Blue Book files were classified and if you read the entire transcript of the press conference you would have seen they failed to answer questions by dodging and weaving. Your comment makes little sense.

Lance -

I merely suggested that the Air Force explanations for the sightings left something to be desired... multiple sightings on multiple radars with multiple witnesses on the ground and in the air... I was suggesting to those who might not be familiar with the case that there was more to it than simple temperature inversions.

Frank Stalter said...

"Speaking of the "Washington Nationals," there is an obscure reference in the wikipedia entry on the Robertson Panel which notes there was some kind of meeting (apparently off the record) on July 28, 1952 between President Truman and members of the National Security Council as a result of Truman's interest and concerns about the two weekends of ufo activity around the Washington, D.C. area on July 19/20 and July 26/27 in 1952."

Truman went to Chicago for the Democrat National Convention July 25. He was out of town for the 2nd batch of sightings and in Kansas City on July 28.

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/calendar/main.php?currYear=1952&currMonth=7&currDay=28

cda said...

Kevin:
You say my comment "makes little sense".

Which makes more sense:
1. my comment. 2. The USAF holds a press conference about UFOs when they already knew the answer five years earlier. 3. They bother with such projects as the Battelle study and the Robertson committee (both done at the highest secrecy levels) when, again, they had known the true explanation for UFOs long before?

starman said...

cda:

"The USAF holds a press conference about UFOs when they already knew the answers five years earlier."

Lol, unfortunately the phenomenon didn't just go away after Roswell. It kept coming back, so there had to be more public debunking to maintain secrecy and keep the public calm.

"They bother with such projects as the Battelle study and the Robertson committee (both done at the highest secrecy levels)when, again, they had known the true explanation for UFOs long before?"

Roswell may have provided some answers but not all, and research could have been very difficult and time consuming.

Sarge said...

If something happens once it can be brushed aside, but twice looks like a pattern.
No matter where the President is he can contact his advisors and I'm sure they could have set up a meeting on the road if necessary.
His being out of town does not mean a meeting couldn't happen.
A suggestion of a pattern of objects appearing over the capital would have been more than enough to warrent SOME kind of meeting to get some answers.
Too bad there were no answers to give.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ CDA,

"The USAF holds a press conference about UFOs when they already knew the answers five years earlier."

It was done to quell the public, to give the impression that the situation was being properly handled.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Mr. Randle,

I just now heard your recent inteview with the Paracast guys and let me tell you this...

Do not be afraid to call BS when you hear it, especially with regards to the possibile origin of the visitors.

I like the Paracast guys, but I've heard them push their, how should I put it, *uninformed* opinions as to the origins of the visitors above and beyond the most logically worded responces.

I knew exactly where you were going with your comments, basically you are coming across how I approach the phenomenon, that we can rank probability to various scenarious and then choose the most likely scenario.

Take for example the "Extra Dimensions". Many people use this term incorrectly, as in to be a synonym for 'parallel universes'. Extra Dimensions are just that, other dimenison (like length, width, heighth, and time, but just not the ones we live in.) The extra dimenions camp is perhaps the least likely possibility of the origins of the visitors.

If the visitors are using advanced technology to move at faster-than-light speeds, or if they using loopholes to cheat, such as worm-holes, then by very nature the visitors would be moving through time as well as traveling through space.

It's even possible that the visitors are from a different planet, set in the future, of a parallel universe, so we don't have to rely on just one possibility.

What really bugged me is the a couple of episodes back the Paracast guys got into it with a guest and tried to push their theory of the visiotrs being from earth and living alongside us w/out us knowing it, as if that was the more probable likelihood when it is definitley not. I think it's time people speak up about that line of thinking, as it ranks among the least likelihood of being true. If they visitors are from here, and have been here the whole time, then the obvious quesiton is why no proof? The proof for such should be abundant.

So yes, I like the Paracast guys, but dont be afraid to argue with them and hit it home with logic and reasoning.

-Jason
boyinthemachine.blogspot.com

Frank Stalter said...

"His being out of town does not mean a meeting couldn't happen."

Meetings and phone calls definitely happened. Don't know about this Hall and Connors book as a source though. Ruppelt's own book, the Truman library's archives . . . . impeccable sources.

http://ufopartisan.blogspot.com/2009/10/trumans-white-house-meeting-on-1952-dc.html

steve sawyer said...

Part 1 of 2:

Very interesting (at least to me!). Thanks, CDA, for providing the quote from the book referenced on wikipedia. I very much appreciate your making the effort, as the question of Truman’s alleged meeting with the NSC (in addition to his known briefing by Landry via Ruppelt), raised a number of complex issues. It illuminates a few things for me, but also raises additional questions. The quote from wikipedia (ref. the Robertson Panel entry) says the following, in regard to the great controversy stirred within the government by the July 19/20 and 26/27 1952 Washington sightings:

“Documents indicate that the CIA became involved at the request of the National Security Council after President Truman personally expressed concern over UFOs at a July 28, 1952, NSC meeting. [2] (However, there was no formal NSC meeting on that date).”

Compare and contrast the assertion in the above quote to what was actually said in the book by Connors and Hall:

"Newly released documents show the CIA really did come into the issue at the request of the National Security Council after Truman expressed concern over UFOs at a July 28 meeting.”

This statement is somewhat more ambiguous, as it does not state "a July 28 meeting" was necessarily with the NSC, although that could be implied.

CDA then parenthetically adds: “The said documents are not shown but presumably they are available somewhere.” But, are they? This is the problem—if the quote from the book is not footnoted itself, to cite specific evidence by independent documentation, then it remains just an assertion itself, and possibly either an exaggeration or potential misinterpretation. If the source for the book quote was “newly released documents” which I can only assume refers to CIA declassified docs released under the FOIA, were they cited by footnote in the book so those interested can refer to them to confirm this statement independently?

[Here is the only collection of relevant CIA documents declassified under the FOIA I could find regarding the consequences of the Washington sightings--- (Note they start only on July 29, 1952)]:

http://www.cufon.org/cufon/cia-52-1.htm

If not, and I don’t think they were, then (especially given the wiki reference to “no formal NSC meeting on that date” which indicates a contradiction), and especially as Frank Stalter gives a reference to “Truman went to Chicago for the Democrat National Convention July 25. He was out of town for the 2nd batch of sightings and in Kansas City on July 28,” with a pertinent link, these two data points suggest that there was no off-the-record or informal meeting called by Truman with the NSC to discuss the “Washington National” sightings.

This interests me, as a matter of historical scholarship, since without proper citations or references to the aforesaid “newly released documents” to back up the claim of Truman having had a July 28, 1952 meeting with the NSC (“...the CIA really did come into the issue at the request of the National Security Council after Truman expressed concern over UFOs at a July 28 meeting.”—Connors and Hall, page 209), then it cannot be said that the CIA got so rapidly and deeply involved in the UFO controversy caused by the Washington sightings specifically at the behest of or due to NSC concerns or direction promulgated through the NSC to the CIA by Truman, although I’m open to reconsideration of the question if some documentation can be provided.

Although Truman was out of Washington in the few days before the 26th and including the 28th, attending the Democrat's national convention in Chicago and after that visiting with friends and relatives in Kansas in this period, it also cannot be proven or disproved in lieu of documentation that some other meetings may have transpired "on the road" regarding the Washington sightings, just that the wiki reference and the quote from the Connors and Hall book cannot be proven, as far as any NSC meeting with Truman on the 28th is concerned.

Frank Stalter said...

From the CUFON link above:

"Surely, if the Washington Sightings motivated the Robertson Panel of 1953, where among these released CIA documents are all the pages which an event of such magnitude would certainly generate?'"

From General Robert Landry, Air Force Aide to the President:

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/landryr.htm

"I was directed to report quarterly to the President after consulting with Central Intelligence people, as to whether or not any UFO incidents received by them could be considered as having any strategic threatening implications at all.

The report was to be made orally by me unless it was considered by intelligence to be so serious or alarming as to warrant a more detailed report in writing. During the four and one-half years in office there, all reports were made orally. Nothing of substance considered credible or threatening to the country was ever received from intelligence."

Looks like part of the system was to not put much of anything in writing if it got close to the president.

John Sawyer said...

BoyintheMachine:

Limiting speculation to what's most likely, leads to at least one relatively prosaic possibility: that if there are non-earthly visitors to Earth, they may have come from a nearby star system thousands of years ago, from a planet that either no longer exists, or which might no longer be habitable (orbit changed, putting it too close to or too far from its sun, or sun got too hot, too cold, etc.), so that if we spotted it from Earth, we'd say "no life there, let's keep looking". This scenario fits in with the possibility that there may be no faster-than-light travel, doesn't require "inter-dimensional beings", etc. If they were also from a culture that knew the dangers of contamination of one culture by another, and if they were concerned about that, they might have kept their distance from us, while still letting us know they were here (somewhere), for some reason useful to them, or simply as a practical recognition that they couldn't be out of sight all the time, but they COULD fool humans into not knowing what they really were, by staging bizarre, contradictory displays to introduce so much noise into the situation that we'd never be able to separate the reality from the circus, and thus we wouldn't be affected, on a mass scale, in ways they didn't want (worshiping them, loathing them, etc.), but rather just curious and puzzled, which may be the only viable compromise.

steve sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2:

Well, I found out a little bit more about the reference on wikipedia concerning the Robertson Panel in regard to the quote from the book by Connors and Hall that was used and edited slightly for inclusion on wiki.

It seems David Rudiak inserted that reference into the wiki entry on the Robertson Panel, and did indeed use as his source the quote from page 209 from the book co-authored by Wendy Connors. I also heard back from Ms. Connors, who confirms "the information is correct," but in a somewhat intriguing and ambiguous way, advising "Let me qualify here. In any legitimate research endeavor many materials are no longer available" and that "Due to the passage of time, some information cannot be backed up by documentation, but getting interviews from people who were there and associated with the BB project filled in many small details not found in the documentation" and finally that "If I remember correctly, the date [July 28 meeting] comes not from normal documentation, but from what was reported by others. They may have the date wrong or declared it to be subjective."

As noted above in part 1 of 2 of my comments here, there does not seem to be any evidence or documentation whatsoever of any NSC meeting being convened at Truman's direction over his concerns about the Washington sightings, and certainly not on July 28th, as both the wiki and book quote source seem to clearly indicate, although interpretations of the exact phraseology may vary. In addition, Truman was out of Washington between July 25th and August 5th.

However, curiously, I also found a reference in an article by Brad Sparks, entitled "Ruppelt's Coverup," from the 1999 Sign Oral History Project Workshop Proceedings (page 40, or .pdf page 45):

See: http://bit.ly/deBgv0

[I strongly recommend everyone here read this article by Sparks--I don't know if I agree with all his conclusions, but he seems to make a very interesting case for some degree of cover-up by Ruppelt about the Blue Book investigation in general, and specifically about the Washington sightings, or at least Ruppelt's role and activities regarding these sightings.]

Sparks says in para. 2 of the article: "In fact, the dramatic impact of the 'saucer' sightings over the nation's capital prompted President Truman to order a secret CIA investigation into the Air Force's handling of the matter" and later "In fact, CIA records prove that the panel was hastily convened within a matter of a few weeks after efforts by the CIA to postpone it failed. The CIA wanted to give Battelle Memorial Institute scientists time to finish their massive statistical study of Blue Book's 4000 UFO reports---facts certainly Ruppelt knew but did not publicly report."

Once again, it seems we have some contradictory or at least ambiguous statements--did Truman, in fact, order the CIA to conduct an investigation "of the Air Forces handling of the matter" of the Washington sightings? If so, where is the documentation or other, alternative evidence, such as other kinds of source data, like interviews with involved personnel? Citations? Is Sparks saying Truman directly ordered the CIA to become involved, and if so, how and via what venue? NSC? His USAF aide Robert B. Landry? It is not clear how or if this actually occurred, even though there seems to be a consensus of sorts by Connors, Rudiak, and Sparks. But how is this assertion or conclusion established, in fact?

I will be contacting Sparks for further information and sourcing.

To be continued...

Frank Stalter said...

Sparks really has a problem with Ruppelt. Why I just don't know. I think Ruppelt's book is a marvelous insider document that's about as good as you can expect from the mid 50s.

On the day of the definitively documented WH meeting about the DC UFOs, Truman met later in the day with Bedell Smith, who was head of the CIA at the time, and James Lay, Exec Sec'y of the NSC. Perhaps all the talk is of Sept 3?

steve sawyer said...

"Sparks really has a problem with Ruppelt. Why I just don't know. I think Ruppelt's book is a marvelous insider document that's about as good as you can expect from the mid 50s."

Well, yeah, assuming you read the article, it's pretty apparent Sparks is no big fan of Ruppelt, and he notes several cogent reasons why--the main ones being, I suppose, that Ruppelt may have exaggerated his role in Blue Book, and more importantly, may have participated in somewhat of a cover-up of both his activities and Blue Book investigations in general, which is a very serious charge.

Remember also that Ruppelt revised his seminal 1956 book in 1959 by adding three gratuitous debunking chapters, which in some ways contradicted his earlier, main text, allegedly under some pressure from both the USAF and his employer at the time, Northrop Aircraft, a major USAF defense contractor.

The questions Sparks raises about Ruppelt's book (and other actions), whose original manuscript, which Sparks and others have thoroughly reviewed over time, are important to try to resolve is because the draft was not only partially censored by the USAF prior to initial publication, but that according to Sparks and others, Ruppelt also edited out some significant cases and relevant data---so while he was definitely an insider, and his book quite a valuable early resource, just how much of an insider he was, and how much real inside info was revealed, as opposed to what he could, and perhaps should, have publicly said in his book is a matter of some debate. How much was held back by Ruppelt, vs. the USAF, is unknown to me. Perhaps Ruppelt was unable to publish the full story for both personal and national security reasons.

The Ruppelt papers collection, including the original marked-up draft edition of his book, is in the possession of Dr. Michael Swords, a long-time associate, editor, and former board member of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) in Illinois. It would be interesting if these original draft documents are ever scanned and distributed via online means so that others could independently judge for themselves what they may suggest in regard to Ruppelt's reputation and integrity of motive.

The Sept. 3, 1952 meeting Frank Stalter mentions (and has an article about at his blog, btw) is very interesting, based on the personnel who attended (several USAF honchos, RAND personnel, members of the NRSB, and Truman's USAF aide, Brig. Gen. Robert B. Landry), for what appears to be only a half hour meeting regarding "defense of the capital" [?] but I don't think it can be concluded this meeting necessarily related to the Washington sightings, although it may have. Later that same afternoon, Truman met also with CIA DCI W.B. Smith, and his executive secretary of the NSC, James S. Lay, Jr., as Frank notes. Busy day, eh?

See: http://bit.ly/av12f2

The issue behind all of these matters is that several differing conclusions and assertions have been drawn and made, but there has to be supporting documentation, alternative evidence (such as independent, personal testimonies), and other established facts on record to prove any of them to a reasonable degree of satisfaction, and which is often the lacking or missing linchpin required.

Why are these questions, and their answers, if obtainable, important? Because something _very_ significant occurred over Washington, D.C. those two critical weekends in July 1952, and almost as crucial, determining the actual reaction and effects on the government, and its conclusions and the plans implemented as a result, which were to covertly and essentially deny, suppress, ridicule, and dismiss the UFO phenomenon as a consequence by early 1953, for a variety of reasons, at least as far as the public was concerned, set policies that are still in effect today, and may amount to a cover-up of a genuine phenomenon that just might involve some form of advanced non-human intelligence operating within our world.

Kind of important, I'd say.

David Rudiak said...

From Gerald Haines official CIA UFO history:

http://tiny.cc/4LOgR

Note that this documents that the CIA started forming their special UFO study group on July 29, 1952, same day as the infamous DC press conference. Somebody gave the order. Truman, NSC, Landry? I don't know, but it wouldn't require an official NSC meeting or Truman being at the White House.

Early CIA Concerns, 1947-52

CIA closely monitored the Air Force effort, aware of the mounting number of sightings and increasingly concerned that UFOs might pose a potential security threat. (10)

[Footnote 10: See Edward Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI, "Flying Saucers," 1 August 1952]

... Agency officials accepted the Air Force's conclusions about UFO reports, although they concluded that "since there is a remote possibility that they may be interplanetary aircraft, it is necessary to investigate each sighting." (12)

[Footnote 12: Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum for DDI, "Recent Sightings of Unexplained Objects," 29 July 1952.]

A massive buildup of sightings over the United States in 1952, especially in July, alarmed the Truman administration. On 19 and 20 July, radar scopes at Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base tracked mysterious blips. On 27 July, the blips reappeared. The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing. The incidents, however, caused headlines across the country. The White House wanted to know what was happening, and the Air Force quickly offered the explanation that the radar blips might be the result of "temperature inversions."...

Although it had monitored UFO reports for at least three years, CIA reacted to the new rash of sightings by forming a special study group within the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) to review the situation. (14)

[Footnote 14: See Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum to DDI Robert Amory, Jr., 29 July 1952. OSI and OCI were in the Directorate of Intelligence. Established in 1948, OSI served as the CIA's focal point for the analysis of foreign scientific and technological developments...]

Edward Tauss, acting chief of OSI's Weapons and Equipment Division, reported for the group that most UFO sightings could be easily explained. Nevertheless, he recommended that the Agency continue monitoring the problem, in coordination with ATIC. He also urged that CIA conceal its interest from the media and the public, "in view of their probable alarmist tendencies" to accept such interest as confirming the existence of UFOs. (15)

[Footnote 15: Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI (Philip Strong), 1 August 1952.]