As I was completing my last UFO book, I ran into a number of things that were somewhat disturbing. Some of those were the ongoing Air Force attitude that these things weren’t alien in nature, those who saw them were somehow deluded, and it was the Air Force mission to convince people that UFOs were an illusion. It didn’t matter to them how honest the witnesses might be, how carefully they had made their observations, or what their level of education or expertise might be. The Air Force mission was to stop the UFO reports. If they had to lie about it, misrepresent the situation, hide evidence or smear witnesses, that was all for the greater good… though they don’t seem to have an idea what that greater good might be.
I have pointed out time and again, including the posting that preceded this, the clash between the Major Donald Keyhoe, he of the original NICAP and the Air Force in their discussions about what had happened in Levelland, Texas, in 1957. The short version is that Keyhoe, in the national press said there were nine witnesses to the UFO and the Air Force countered with there were only three who saw the object. The Air Force files carried the names of more than three witnesses and I now believe they were splitting a fine hair. They were saying only three had reported a craft and Keyhoe was talking about nine who had seen something in the sky including a craft. As I have said, repeatedly, both were wrong. More than three saw the craft (more than three names were available in the Blue Book files) and there were more than nine witnesses scattered throughout the Texas panhandle around the Levelland area who saw something strange that night.
This can be taken a step further, as I learned in working on the book. The Air Force sent a single NCO to Levelland to investigate. It seems he spent the lion’s share of a day there and returned to file a report that suggested a variety of answers that really explained nothing. By way of contrast, just days later when a fellow named Reinhold Schmidt told Nebraska authorities that he had been taken onboard a craft, the official response was officers from two separate command structures. They spent quite a bit of time with Schmidt and his clearly invented tale.
You have to ask yourself, “Why?”
The answer is simple. Schmidt was quite obviously making it up, the physical evidence he claimed was motor oil of a type found in his car’s trunk, and the public relations benefit for the Air Force was clear. “Look at the nonsense we have to investigate wasting time, money and personnel resources.”
At the other end, they do nothing to call attention to Levelland, dispute Keyhoe even though they knew that he was right based on what was in their own files, but that didn’t matter. Smear Keyhoe as someone just in it of the money and who had no worry about what the truth might be. That sort of outlines the Air Force position because, when Levelland is examined in a dispassionate light, Keyhoe’s report was much closer to the truth than that of the Air Force.
This isn’t the only time that the Air Force went after Keyhoe. A scientist in Australia, Harry Turner, produced a report that suggested there was something extremely strange going on Down Under and he believed it to be alien in nature. In his report, he quoted Major Donald Keyhoe, who, in his book Aliens from Space, had suggested that he, Keyhoe, was working from official and classified documents not to mention discussions with those in high places who had some of the inside information. Keyhoe was drawing his conclusions on what he had seen and what he had learned from various officials and Turner was basing his report on many of the claims made by Keyhoe.
The Royal Australian Air Force queried their counterparts in the USAF, asking about Keyhoe and his claim of access to important but classified documents and his access to important and high-ranking officials in the US government. The USAF response was that Keyhoe didn’t have the access to classified information he claimed, the documents from which he quoted did not exist, and his access to these important people was limited. He had exaggerated the information for the financial gain of a successful book. Keyhoe and his information were not to be trusted. The RAAF, believing they had received the straight information from the USAF, rejected Turner’s report because of the negative comments about it and ignored, as best they could, UFO sightings reported inside Australia.
The truth was that Keyhoe had not been overly exaggerating and the documents he claimed he had seen or used as reference did exist saying much of what he said they did. While Keyhoe might have engaged in some hyperbole, or slanted his take toward his bias, the USAF did the same thing in their attempts to discredit him. It turns out that Keyhoe was closer to the truth than the Air Force was which is sad state of affairs but also tells us something about the climate of the time.
And finally, though I don’t mean to keep harping on the November 1957 sightings, these cases offer some of the most compelling evidence of Air Force duplicity and showed that when they couldn’t find anything else, they attacked the witnesses themselves. The James Stokes sighting is a case on point. Everyone around him suggested he was an engineer. Even his bosses in the Air Force at Alamogordo referred to him as an engineer. But the Air Force couldn’t find a college degree and labeled him as a mere technician. That Stokes worked as an engineer and was called that by others in the Air Force made no difference. In the press, the Air Force investigators made it clear that Stokes couldn’t be trusted because he had been disingenuous in describing himself, or, at least that was the situation according to the Air Force.
The point here is that we just can’t take anything for granted when we look at the UFO files created by the Air Force. We can see that they were less than candid, and while it might be said, based on what I’ve presented here that this was limited to 1957, the truth is there are other examples scattered throughout the files, up to and including the letter that Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hippler to the Condon Committee explaining what the Air Force expected for their half a million bucks. I’ve explored that in earlier posts here.
Or, to put a point on it, everything the Air Force claimed should be verified because we have found the errors in their files. Some of those errors were simple mistakes, some of them born of incompetence, and more than a few were lies designed to hide the truth.