Friday, October 05, 2012

Presidents, Bill Clinton and Roswell

As we investigated the Roswell case, the question frequently came up about what the presidents knew about UFOs and Roswell. I had always been of the opinion that a president can learn pretty much all that he wants to know because he is the head of the government. All he needs to do is ask the right questions of the right people… and if they refuse to answer, he could fire them and ask their successors the questions.

I had been of the opinion that the president, as the head of the government had many important problems to solve, and that UFOs were not at the top of the list. With wars raging in two countries, with terrorists running around killing people, with the country and the world on the edge of economic collapse, it would seem that UFOs would be way down the list. It would be one of those nice to know things, but the president didn’t have to know anything about it unless UFOs suddenly appeared on the scene in such a way that they couldn’t be ignored… you know, like the big honking ship in orbit and other, smaller ships filled with fighters hovering over cities. At that point denial would seem to be a pretty poor strategy.

But Bill Clinton was asked about UFOs in general and Roswell in particular on a couple of occasions. In 2005, in Hong Kong, he said, "The Roswell thing, I think, really was an illusion - I don't think it happened. I did attempt to find out if there were any secret government documents that reveal things, and if there were, they were concealed from me, too. I wouldn't be the first president that underlings have lied to or that career bureaucrats have waited out. But there may be some career person, sitting around somewhere, hiding these dark secrets, even from elected presidents. But, if so, they successfully eluded me, and I'm almost embarrassed to tell you I did try to find out."

We know that some presidents have changed their minds about revealing UFO information. Jimmy Carter said that he was going to get to the bottom of the UFO conspiracy and release all the files, but never did. It would seem that if there was nothing to release, he would have said as much, but didn’t.

We know that Senator Barry Goldwater (who did run for president) talked to many about UFOs and of a secret room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base filled with saucer evidence. He even suggested that it was where the Roswell stuff was housed. But then he was just a senator, without the power of the president. Goldwater was never allowed to see it, though, from his letters to UFO researchers, there seemed to be no denial about its existence. It was there, but he couldn’t see it to tell us what was in it.

Of course none of this proves that there are any hidden UFO secrets. Clinton seems to suggest that he was told there was nothing hidden, though his language is a little vague. It is also interesting that he mentions the career bureaucrats waiting out the president. He’ll be gone in four or eight years, and the bureaucrat will still be there, protecting his turf.

So Clinton said that he thinks it is “an illusion… I don’t think it happened.” Except, of course, something did happen. It is the interpretation of that event that creates all the friction. I hope as my partners and I continue our research, we’ll be able to find some answers to the questions. We have a mountain of material, it is just a question of finding the right bits and pieces and asking the right questions… Maybe Bill Clinton didn’t do that. Maybe that is why he failed… in this particular case.


cda said...

Clinton was president when the 1995 USAF report, and its sequel, were produced. Presumably it is these that he was referring to in Hong Kong ten years later.

I believe he gave a similar answer to an inquisitive little girl on a visit to Ireland while he was in office.

Is there anything to show Clinton ever took any real interest in Roswell or UFOs in general?

cda said...


You say, referring to Clinton, or in fact any president: "He’ll be gone in four or eight years, and the bureaucrat will still be there, protecting his turf".

But even the bureaucrats will eventually be gone. And the ones there now are two or more generations removed from those of '47. And there has been an awful lot of water under the bridge (in the shape of bureaucrats, advisers, consultants, etc.) since then to sit on a secret such as this.

David Rudiak said...

"Is there anything to show Clinton ever took any real interest in Roswell or UFOs in general?"

Lance said...

Kevin wrote:

"Of course none of this proves that there are any hidden UFO secrets."

Indeed! Every fact you went over CONTRAINDICATES the secrets that enthusiasts imagine exist.

It's only when one takes a conspiracy mindset in which everything actually means the opposite, that the idea of a half century of super secret starts to form.


Frank Stalter said...

Firstly, Roswell is hardly a secret. If you can find someone who isn't aware of the incident, I'd like to know what cave they've lived their entire lives in.

Having some experience working in organizations over the years, the past gets buried pretty quickly. The past is forgotten very quickly for all sorts of reasons.

Larry said...

Lance, CDA: I couldn’t help but notice that whenever the issue of official secrecy surrounding UFOs comes up, you preferentially use the term “conspiracy”. I have to wonder what your motivation is?

Specifically, I would like to know what your definition of “conspiracy” is that distinguishes it from the less emotive term “secrecy” and why you don’t use the latter term.

For example, if Apple Computer Company withholds information about their upcoming iPhone 5 from their rival, Samsung, prior to the product release, is that a conspiracy? Or is it keeping product details secret as part of a business plan?

If the CIA withholds information about their next drone strike on Al Qaeda, is that a conspiracy? Or is that simply classified information?

If the Department of Energy withholds information about how to build an Atom Bomb, is that conspiracy?

What, if anything, distinguishes official secret keeping from conspiracy?

Lance said...


The nature of the supposed secret goes well beyond the legal function of government agencies (especially if the President himself is outside the loop). Most of the paranoid speculation supposes a hidden government that conspires against the constitution and the citizens for purposes of keeping the secret or worse.

Considering also the highly dubious chance that such a secret could be kept so secure for more than half a century takes this idea Into the realm of conspiracy theories. Note also the paranoid mutterings that anyone who is skeptical of the idea is a disinformation agent that frequently crops up and perhaps you have an idea of the paranoid style of the thing.


cda said...


"What, if anything, distinguishes official secret keeping from conspiracy?"

It is not skeptics who use the term 'conspiracy' (except when trying to counter the conspiracists). It is the ETHers who first introduced this idea, starting with Keyhoe in 1950. The hub of the theory then was that the US government knew the UFOs were interplanetary but were keeping it a secret from the populace. Other writers followed suit.

The 'secret' became a 'conspiracy' because these writers, and other ETHers, instilled the idea into the minds of the general public. The US govt 'conspired' to keep it secret. Strictly, a conspiracy needs two or more people, or two or more organisations, to be in on the act.
(see definition of the word).

There are genuine secrets, such as the ones you refer to, for which there is a real need; and there are imagined secrets and conspiracies, for which certain groups of people (such as determined and over-zealous ETHers) feel they are being deprived of by those authorities who are 'in the know'.

It is this latter type that is so dominant in the UFO subject.

Why are there no conspiracy theorists in the field of other pseudo-scientific matters, such as ESP, PK, ancient astronauts, creationism, quack medicine, scientology, pyramidology and so on? Have you, for example, ever heard of a Loch Ness Monster conspiracy?

Ah, but UFOs are different, aren't they?

Frank Stalter said...

"Why are there no conspiracy theorists in the field of other pseudo-scientific matters, such as ESP, PK, ancient astronauts, creationism, quack medicine, scientology, pyramidology and so on?"


ESP? PK? ancient astronauts? . . . it's mainstream academia discrediting these ideas.

Creationism? A liberal agenda out to destroy America.

Scientology? Any ex-scientologist who speaks out negatively is always branded in some way or form by the organization.

Alternative medicine (some of it quackery, of course)? . . . it's the pharmaceutical industry!

You can't really be serious with that non-point.

cda said...


Sorry. I should have said "official conspiracy", i.e. one by the government or a department thereof. By way, in the case of the Loch Ness Monster it is more a 'conspiracy in reverse' if anything, since the Scottish tourist board probably wants to encourage more visitors to the area.

Anthony Mugan said...

Anthony Mugan said..

Hello all
Just a couple of thoughts and a question...
The wide range of documentation regarding military, intelligence and government organisations' engagement with the UFO phenomena that have been released tend to paint a fairly consistent picture of 'sober concern' mixed with considerable differences in interpretation and some confusion as to the actual nature of the phenomenon (I am referring here to the pre-Colorado Commission period). This case was initially argued by Ruppelt back in 1956 and recently eloquently put by Swords et. al (2011), 'UFOs and Governement. There is an interesting 'glass cieling' in the documentation, however, which extend up to senior levels within the military and various agencies such as the CIA, FBI etc. but do not contain any documents relating to strategic co-ordination between agencies or executive authorisation.
Whilst post 1969 this position would be consistent with the skeptical perspective, and arguably even in the 1953-69 period, it is somewhat curious for the Truman administration when there was understandable concern that UFOs could represent Russian technology or some pychological warfare technique. Whilst in part this gap in the record could be addressed by decisions being kept off the record, such as General Landry's oral briefings to Truman on the subject, this seems a little strained as an explanation and has made me reconsider the Roswell incident (hence my recent reading of this stimulating blog!).
The second point - and question - is this. In testing the various hypotheses around Roswell - which essentially now means testing the Mogul hypothesis, I was struck by what can only be described as the 'demolition job' done on Dr Moore's model of the Mogul flight 4 trajectory by Rudiak and Sparks (as detailed on the Roswell Proof website). Naturally I have undertaken my own analysis of the data, which I had not previously questioned in the general sense, given Dr Moore's reputation, although I had always felt the interpretation of the data by some did not take fully into account the wide range of uncertainties and assumptions in any such model.

Whilst my work on testing the models is not complete in terms of all the permutations considered by Rudiak and Sparks, I am far enough into the project to reach the following broad conclusions:
a) Moore's model is wrong.
b) A trajectory for Flight 4 to reach the Foster ranch can only be achieved by combining a range of unsupported and sometimes contradictory assumptions into the model AND with a mathmatical error in the way in the which the model is calculated in Moore's 1997 model (to be fair this has the look of a simple spreadhseet error that is quite easy to make)
c) I have been unable to identify a set of conceptually valid assumptions which, when applied mathmatically correcly, leads to a trajectory anywhere near the Foster ranch.

It is probably not appropriate to go into the full details in this post - most of which are as identified by Rudiak and Sparks at the above reference which seems to me to be essentially correct in the key conclusions.

As this conclusion would falsify the Mogul hypothesis, and therefore perhaps provide an explanation for the curious lack of presidential, cabinet level, NSC etc documentation on the UFO subject from the Truman administration, I would welcome any serious (i.e. conceptually valid and analytically based) comments as to how the Mogul Flight 4 trajectory could be modelled such as to at least permit the possibility of this solution.

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...


I would like to read your analysis. If you would be so kind, you can get an email for me through my web site:

Unfortunately, accuracy in tracking things as the wind blows only happens on paper. I'd love to see evidence that proves such tracking operates under the margin of error that Rudiak and Sparks imagine.

Moore only suggested his model as a possibility.



Anthony Mugan said...

Thank you, I will put it together in paper format and send it to you. I would expect, work commitments permitting, that to be with you in two to three weeks. In practice my conclusions so far are consistent with Rudiack an Spark's analysis on the Roawell proof website.
Perhaps to highlight what would seem to be the main problem....
Allowing the very early 2.30 launch time as not definitively falsifiable, which would be needed to allow the extended flight time needed, themsin issue is how to get the assemblage up to the Stratosphere quickly enough to allow stratospheric winds to bring it back west far enough. This is relatively easy if you assume the lifter balloons fail to detach, but then you can't get it to level out and that would lead to too short a time before some of balloons begin to rupture at high altitude. It would also be necessary to presume a higher stratospheric wind speed than the flight 5 data used as model by Moore, which may not be fatal of itself of course. The problem is how to get it up into westerly stratospheric winds quickly enough without requiring a problem with the lifters. I suspect this destroys the Mogul solution but thoughts appreciated.

By the way. Quite agree that a precise trajectory is impossible with the data. The best we can hope for is range of scenarios, and perhaps to be able to exclude the impossible.

Thanks again


cda said...

Anthony Mugan wrote:

"As this conclusion would falsify the Mogul hypothesis, and therefore perhaps provide an explanation for the curious lack of presidential, cabinet level, NSC etc documentation on the UFO subject from the Truman administration...".

I am baffled as to what you are getting at.

Are you saying that the lack of UFO documentation from people at the cabinet and NSC level during the Truman era was likely due to realisation that the Mogul explanation for Roswell was false?

I surmise that nobody at cabinet or NSC level knew about Mogul at all (although I cannot prove this), and that Mogul never entered their heads as an answer for the good reason that the USAF had given their answer in July '47 and the case was long forgotten and/or closed.

What I am saying is that the GAO, in their search for documents of the case, turned up nothing - i.e. nothing but two brief notes that were already well known to ufologists. There is no reason to suppose anything else exists at any level, either during Truman's period of office (1945-52) or at any other time up to 1994 when Steven Schiff began to stir things on Roswell, mainly due to pressure from some constituents in NM.

There was documentation on Mogul of course, perhaps classified or perhaps not and maybe under a different name. But there was absolutely no linkage of that with Roswell until the mid-1990s. Until then, nobody had any reason to link them. Remember that Roswell was a non-event until the 1980 Berlitz/Moore book.

Anthony Mugan said...

Good morning cda

No, that wasn't the point I was making but rather that if whatever crashed at Roswell was not plausibly a Mogul cluster that creates some interesting possibilities. The documentation from the period has lots of activity up to general officer level, CIA director etc but nothing to co-ordinate or authorise this activity which is a curious omission in the record. But that isn't really the point of my query at the moment. We need to explore if there is any way to salvage a credible Mogul trajectory before drawing any further conclusions.

cda said...

Another diversion:

I've just read that this guy Felix Baumgartner is going to do his supersonic (?) skydive from 23 miles up tomorrow and his landing point is to be near Roswell NM.

Any significance?

At least he is a real person, not one of the 'anthropormorphic dummies' of the 1997 follow-up AF report!

Steve Sawyer said...

The man who will be falling to earth, shortly. One hopes without a splat. 8^}

KRandle said...

geez people -

I publish a post about Clinton and his take on the Roswell case and now you're talking about a high altitude parachute jump... Talk about topic drift.

Steve Sawyer said...

Oh, for the Love of Chair!

And... what about Naomi?