Monday, February 22, 2010

The Washington National UFO Sighting Press Conference, Part 5

Moving back to the Washington Nationals, one of the reporters asked, "On what did they report sightings?"

Samford: Lights.

Ramey: In one or two instances, they reported sighting lights. In one instance, they reported locking on an object. It is pretty clear from the discussion of the pattern of two airplanes that went out that one of them was locked on the other one.

Samford: Yes.

Reporter: General --
Samford: Yes, sir?

Reporter: Back to the ionized cloud. Were the blips picked up recently comparable to the ionized cloud or were they different in maneuvering or motion?

Samford: They were different.

Reporter: General Samford, I understand there were radar experts who saw these sightings Saturday night or early Sunday morning. What was their interpretation of what they saw on the scope?
Samford: They said they saw good returns.

Reporter: Which would indicate that these were solid objects similar to aircraft?

Samford: No, not necessarily. We get good returns from birds.

Reporter: Well, you wouldn’t get as large a blip from a bird as --

Samford: No, unless it was close.

A point must be interjected here. The radar operators were all trained men who had been working at the nation’s capital’s airport. They would have, in the past, seen birds and temperature inversions on their radar scopes. They would be familiar with these sort of natural phenomena and wouldn’t be easily fooled by them, especially when it is remembered that they had years of experience. This wasn’t the situation ten years earlier when radar operators were poorly trained and the operations of radar were poorly understood.

Reporter: Did they report that these could have been birds?
Samford: No.

Reporter: Can you get a good return from a reflected ground target, General?
James: You can get a very large return from a reflected ground target.

Reporter: Just as good as you might get from an object actually in flight in the air?
James: Actually thicker. It depends on the amount of bending.

Reporter: And just as sharp on the scope?

James: Yes.

Reporter: Can you get a blip from the (inaudible) created by temperature inversion?
James: On the ground target, yes.

Reporter: In other words, something that’s on the ground that’s reflected off a refracted cloud bank would throw off a blip on the radar screen?

James: Yes, sir. That’s true.

Reporter: Would a nearby radar set get that blip at exactly the same speed?

James: Not necessarily; no.

Reporter: In other words, you can have a light and something that lacks substance and material and still have a blip?

James: I don’t quite understand the question.

Reporter: You can have a radar image that’s created without the necessity of radar striking the solid object or a semi-solid object, such as a cloud.

James: Well, eventually, it does have to strike an

Reporter: But you said it can be simply a reflection of something on the ground.

Reporter: I see.

Reporter: In other words, it doesn’t have to be in the air.

James: That’s correct.

Reporter: In the area covered by the sweep on the radar?

James: It has to be in the area covered by the radar set.
It has to be within the range.

Reporter: But not in the air.

James: But not in the air.
Reporter: What sort of ground targets give these reflections?

James: It depends on the amount of temperature inversion and the size and shape of the ground objects.

Reporter: Would this reflection account for simultaneous radar sightings and visual sightings which appear to coincide on the basis of conversations between the radar operator and the observer outside?
James: There is some possibility of that due to the same effects.

Reporter: Why would these temperature inversions change location so rapidly or travel?

James: Well, actually, it can be the appearance or disappearance of different ground targets giving the appearance of something moving when, actually, the different objects are standing still.

Reporter: Would these pseudo-blips cause any difficulties
in combat at all?
James: Not to people that understand what’s going on. They do cause some difficulty.

Reporter: Then the experienced operators really can tell the difference between --

James: That’s correct.

Reporter: How about the CAA men?

James: I don’t know.

It is clear from the questions that the reporters understood little about radar operations and temperature inversions. Captain James made it clear with his answers that trained, qualified, experienced men could tell the difference between real targets and those caused by temperature inversions.

It is also clear that the reporters had somehow come to the conclusion that the temperature inversions were responsible for creating the lights reported by both airline and military pilots and the men on the ground. The reporters had begun to think of a temperature inversion as a "cloud." That is, they seemed to think that it was something that could be seen, not realizing that a temperature inversion was merely a cold layer of clear air under a warmer layer of clear air. There would be nothing for anyone to see.

Reporter: Would the disappearance or reappearance of these blips be accounted for by the movement of a cloud bank that reflected a ground target?

James: Well, actually, it’s not a cloud bank. It’s a temperature inversion of the atmosphere. You see, if warm air comes in over a cool area, you have a temperature inversion and the atmosphere is perfectly clear, and still the rays will be bent.

The reporters have become confused, believing, for the moment, that the visual sightings were a result of the temperature inversion. They are searching for an explanation for what was seen by the pilots and ground observers, but a temperature inversion is, essentially, invisible to the human eye.


Frank Stalter said...

Reads like the attending press was more interested in completely explaining away the case than the USAF.

Bob Koford said...

I think there is also some confusion because the 1950(?), ice crystals in the cloud, Wright Patterson incident, had been mentioned, and so I think the reporter is keying in on that case way too much, thinking Samford had been saying it explained what happened over the capital.

steve sawyer said...

Part 1 of 2:

This farce of a press conference is quite interesting, both for how and what was said in an attempt to dismiss the sightings that repeatedly occurred simultaneously both on radar and visually (from both ground and air), and especially for what was not said, in order to essentially divert and deceive the press, and thus the public at large, who were anxiously wondering and questioning just what had occurred over Washington.

I agree the press also failed to ask critical questions or follow-up on ambiguous, diversionary answers. Accounts that appeared in newspapers nationwide later that week of not only the Washington, D.C. events, but also the wave of ufo sightings in many other parts of the country both before and after the Washington sightings contained details that, if they'd been known to the local reporters and the USAF questioned about them in an analytical manner, might have produced a far different result. But that did not happen, and the deceptive USAF plan succeeded amazingly well.

(Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the discussions within the USAF intelligence hierarchy at the Pentagon about what they could or should say at the press conference. Was even Samford not “in the loop”?)

For example, take the case of pilot Lt. William Patterson's experience on the second weekend:

From: The UFO Evidence (by NICAP, edited by Richard Hall, 1964)


"Again the following weekend, radar targets and maneuvering lights appeared. On the night of July 26/27, from 4 to 12 objects were tracked at various times between 8:00 p.m. and 1.20 a.m. on radar sets at the CAA control center, Washington National Airport tower, and Andrews AFB, Md. Lights were seen individually and in groups, both from the air and the ground.

"Air Force interceptors were called in, and criss-crossed the area from 10:25 p.m. to 1:20 a.m. The pilots observed fast-moving lights where radar told them to look. One, Lt. William Patterson, was badly frightened when a group of glowing objects surrounded his interceptor. As the CAA radar operators watched the blips on the scope cluster around his plane, the pilot asked them in a scared voice what he should do. There was a stunned silence; no one answered. After a tense moment, the UFOs pulled away and left the scene. (Incident confirmed by Al Chop, then Air Force spokesman on UFOs. Taped statement on file at NICAP).

"The dramatic visual sightings of unexplained lights in the same places that radar showed unexplained objects were later attributed to unusual weather conditions. Ground lights refracted by inverted layers of cool and heated air (temperature inversions) were said to account for the visual sightings. The same conditions were said to cause refraction of the radar beams causing simultaneous false radar targets. Unfortunately for this theory, the stable air conditions required to produce persistent light (refracted from a ground source) are inconsistent with the reported rapid motions of the observed lights across the sky and large angular displacements. [See Radar analyses, Section VIII.]

"At the time of the Washington radar-visual sightings, the NICAP Director consulted both a civilian scientist and an Air Force radar expert about the degree of temperature inversion necessary to produce false radar targets. The scientist stated the inversion would have to be 10 degrees Fahrenheit (about 6 degrees Centigrade), and much larger to produce strong radar effects. The Air Force expert, who had made a special study of temperature inversions, stated it would take an inversion of 5-10 degrees Centigrade."

steve sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2:

On the two weekends concerned, the thermal inversion layer temperature differentials were measured at between 1 to 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit within the operating areas of the three radar locations at differing elevations, not nearly enough to cause the kind of hard radar blips, their motion and pattern of behavior (in some cases reactive to attempts to intercept by temporarily disappearing, only to return when the jets sent in to intercept left the area), nor the simultaneous, in time and location, visual sightings).

During that summer around Washington, other periods of thermal inversion were more intense, sufficient to cause radar ducting of ground objects to create anomalous radar propagation effects, but which did not cause the type of radar return blips nor visual sightings seen on the two weekends involved.

So we have a contradiction. In Lt. Patterson's case, the incident involved four glowing white lights that temporarily encircled his jet interceptor as it traveled in parallel with the lights or objects at hundreds of miles per hour before all four spherical lights simultaneously and very rapidly pulled away and disappeared. Gee, was he encircled by thermal inversions or anomalous radar propagation?

Needless to say, the Patterson incident was never mentioned at the press conference, among other rather significant facts, since the purpose of the conference was not to tell the truth, but to suppress it, in order to quell the potential problems slowly developing interest and possible realization within some elements of the press and public that its own government, including its military and intelligence communities, saw the real UFO phenomenon as a both a direct and indirect national security threat, and the USAF decided to begin a accelerated public campaign of denial, obfuscation, ridicule, and dismissal, or sanctioned lying, and effectively launched a domestic psychological warfare operation against its own citizenry (and even within the government itself), which was both illegal and immoral, to undermine the rising interest of the public and media, and which penultimately gave rise to the infamous Robertson Panel conclusions, recommendations, and suppressive policies within government that were soon instituted and remain policy even today.

The press conference was merely a precursor, or initial warm-up if you will, to the later fiascos of the panel orchestrated by the CIA, which was also deceived by the USAF, and finally with the Condon committee debacle. But were these “investigations” merely incompetent and biased affairs based in mediocrity of imagination or comprehension, or were they intended to “fail” and conclude, at least for public consumption, that the UFO phenomenon is nothing more than misidentification, delusion, and hoax for other, more deeply disturbing, and covert reasons?

One of the crucial questions behind this outrageous spectacle of deception is whether it was and is done due to the incompetence and inability of the institutions and agencies of government to either accept or deal with the unknown reality of the phenomenon in an objective, scientific manner due to their respective political, military, and intelligence agendas regarding defense of the nation and control of the body politic, and do not know or care what the implications of the UFO phenomenon actually represent, which I find hard to believe, even though it may be possible they cannot comprehend the impotent failure of democratic governance that suggests, or because they do, don’t have a handle on the situation, and cannot admit it publicly as a result, due to the possible impact on society, and thus remain in silent denial. What a paradoxical dilemma.

In relation to the above, see: “Some thoughts on keeping it secret” by Dr. Bernard Haisch, at and

Complete transcript of Samford press conference:

steve sawyer said...

Postscript ref. the above latter meditation on the inability and unwillingness of both government and science to either seriously consider or investigate the UFO phenomenon:

1. "Sovereignty and the UFO"
by Alexander Wendt and Robert Duvall

2. “UFOCRITIQUE / UFOs, Social Intelligence, and the Condon Committee” by Diana Palmer Hoyt

3. “Proceedings of the Sign Historical Group UFO Workshop”--ref. article on pg. 40 (.pdf pg. 45)-– “Ruppelt’s Coverups” by Brad Sparks

[There will be no government "disclosure" -- the only hope may be the civilian/public UFO research community, although I'm pessimistic about that, too.]

steve sawyer said...


"1. 'Sovereignty and the UFO'
by Alexander Wendt and Robert Duvall"

That should have been _Raymond_ Duvall, not Robert. Must have been thinking of the actor due to common last names.