Sunday, May 08, 2016

The CIA and the Ramey Memo

Since it has come up in the discussions here a couple of times, I thought I would identify that high-power government lab that was supposedly involved in an effort to decrypt the Ramey Memo. According to Colonel Richard Weaver, who answered my question about it without reservation, it was the National Photographic Interpretation Center which was part of the CIA back in 1994. I filed a FOIA request with them and received a fairly rapid response.

I told them that I was requesting information, documentation or anything relating to an examination of a photograph taken of General Ramey in July 1947, and that had been submitted to them for analysis by the Air Force in 1994. They responded writing, “This is a final response to your 17 January 2015 Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, received in the office of the Information and Privacy Coordinator for ‘information on an examination of a photograph taken on July 8, 1947, submitted to the National Photographic Interpretation Center (now National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) by the Secretary of the Air Force Office (Colonel Richard Weaver) in 1994.’”

They let me know that the CIA is not the repository for records of other government agencies, which, of course, I already knew. The request had gone to them because the National Photographic Interpretation Center had been part of the CIA at the time. By the time I filed my request it had become the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and fell under the auspices of the Air Force. The CIA supplied the names of the FOIA program managers at both the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and for the Air Force. Good information and helpful and I, of course, filed the requests on the day I received the letter from the CIA.

But then the CIA had to get snarky. They wrote, or rather John Giuffrida, who was the acting information and privacy coordinator wrote that “For your information, the CIA was not created until September 1947 [emphasis in original] and material prior to that date would be contained in the records of the Office of Strategic Services and other predecessor organizations of the CIA.”

All well and good, but I wasn’t asking about something that had taken place in 1947, but had occurred in 1994. The parent organization of the National Photographic Interpretation Center was the CIA. Had I wanted information that preceded the creation of the CIA, I would have communicated with the National Archives, but I would have also asked the CIA because September 1947 was a reorganization of the intelligence community and not the creation of a brand new organization.

Anyway, I did send a request to the Air Force and received a quick response from them, handing me off to another organization. The FOIA manager, who is not identified, wrote, “…we are not the correct office to submit your request.”

And I sent a request to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and received a quick response from them. They wrote, “Our extensive search of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency records failed to identify any documents in our files that are responsive to your request.”

What does all this mean?

Not much really. I suspect that the attempt to read the Ramey Memo was a just part of the exercise and that the Air Force had expected the results they received. I don’t believe much of an attempt was made to read the memo, that someone might have looked at it with a magnifying glass or under some form of magnification. But rather than guess at their mission, here is what they say that they do:

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a responsibility to provide the products and services that decision makers, warfighters, and first responders need, when they need it most. As a member of the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense, NGA supports a unique mission set. We are committed to acquiring, developing and maintaining the proper technology, people and processes that will enable overall mission success.
Geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. GEOINT consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information.
Department of Defense and government customers with CAC cards should go to https://www1.geoint.nga.mil.  First time users must first register their PKI/CAC credentials with NGA. 
 Go to: https://pki.geo.nga.mil/servlet/RegistrationForm.  You have to fill out who you are, command, supervisor (name/phone/email), and security officer (name/phone/email).  When submited, [sic] the registration request is sent to your supervisor and security officer for approval then to NGA to be registered.  Once registered, you'll be able to access our NIPR site and have access to NGA products and services.
Or, in other words, they aren’t in the business in attempting to read an obscure document from more than a half century ago. Their mission has a more timely and real world component and I suspect that the Air Force submitted the material to them so they could claim due diligence. The Air Force could say that “we used a high-powered lab and they were unable to read the memo.”
What does this mean?

Probably one of two things, neither of them important. First the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency didn’t spend a lot of time trying to read the memo. Someone may have looked at it, couldn’t make out much and quit. They told the Air Force they couldn’t read it which made the Air Force happy, and that was the end of it.

Second, I don’t view this as a cover up but as one governmental agency asking another if they can help and in the end the second agency said, “No.” It wasn’t their job to decipher cryptic notes on a piece of photographic film from a half century earlier. The Air Force could report the failure and move onto other things.
Of course, I made the rounds, going from the CIA which was originally the parent organization of the National Photographic Interpretation Center to the Air Force and then to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and never did get a good answer. They only told me that they had no records, and given the nature of the request from the Air Force, I don’t find that strange.

The point is that I was given the name of that high-power lab by the man who would have known, made the FOIA requests, got a typical run around, and have nowhere else to go. I could appeal, but what will they say? “Well, we looked again, even harder this time but we could find no documents responsive to your request.”

Now everyone knows the name of the lab and a little of the history that goes with it. There really is nothing of importance here, other than we did attempt to find any documentation but in the big bureaucracy that is the US government, you need a really big shovel to sift through all the crap.

12 comments:

David Rudiak said...

(1 of 2)
This is what Weaver wrote was requested of the photoanalysis lab:

"...the researchers obtained from the Archives of the University of Texas-Arlington (UTA), a set of original (i.e., first generation) prints of the photographs taken at the time by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that depicted Ramey and Marcel with the wreckage. A close review of these photos (and a set of first-generation negatives also subsequently obtained from UTA) revealed several interesting observations. First, although in some of the literature cited above, Marcel allegedly stated that he had his photo taken with the ”real” UFO wreckage and then it was subsequently removed and the weather balloon wreckage substituted for it, a comparison shows that the same wreckage appeared in the photos of Marcel and Ramey. ...It was also noted that in the two photos of Ramey he had a piece of paper in his hand. In one, it was folded over
so nothing could be seen. In the second, however, there appears to be text printed on the paper.however, there appears to be text printed on the paper. In an attempt to read this text to determine if it could shed any further light on locating documents relating to this matter, the photo was sent to a national-level organization for digitizing and subsequent photo interpretation and analysis. This organization was also asked to scrutinize the digitized photos for any indication of the flowered tape (or “hieroglyphics,” depending on the point of view) that were reputed to be visible to some of the persons who observed the wreckage prior to its getting to Fort Worth. This organization reported on July 20, 1994, that even after digitizing, the photos were of insufficient quality to visualize either of the details sought for analysis. [translation: flower tape and words on message] This organization was able to obtain measurements from the ”sticks” visible in the debris... The results of this process are provided in Atch 33, along with a reference diagram and the photo from which the measurements were made. All these measurements are compatible with the wooden materials used in the radar target previously described."

From this we learned:
1) The memo (and overall photo) was looked at with more than an optical loupe and some effort was put into this. Everything was digitized (scanned) so that computer analysis could also be done.
2) A written report on the stick analysis, accompanied with diagram and working photo, WAS created, and was reproduced in the 1995 Air Force phonebook Roswell report. Not surprisingly, Weaver used this to bolster the argument that all that was pictured in the photos was a radar target, with no alleged flying saucer debris.
3) No written report on the search for "flower tape" or what was done reading the memo was published. But more than a cursory look was requested and some work was obviously carried out. But if there was one written report with results for the sticks, there should have been others on the other requested material, even if the results were 100% negative.

Further, when the written report on the sticks is examined, it states they spent 7 hours on the analysis. So again, not a cursory analysis. Measuring kite stick lengths in an old photo would not be considered a matter of great importance either, yet a work day was spent on it.

If they spent 7 hours on one requested task of no great importance, wouldn't they be expected to devote some decent amount of time on the other two request? And shouldn't there have been written reports on those analyses, just like the stick analysis?

David Rudiak said...

(2 of 2)

All we have is Weaver's spin on what the lab supposedly reported, no actual written reports backing him up. What if the report on the "flower tape" DIDN'T say the photos were of "insufficient quality", but instead said there was no indication of any such tape to be found in any of the photos?

In REALITY, prints of the various photos ANYONE can get from UTA are very clear. The average person can digitize them as well, scrutinize them with great clarity for several hours blown up on a computer screen, and realize there is no evidence for "flower tape" being in any of the photos. So I don't believe the photos were of "insufficient quality" to "visualize" such "details". They were of more than sufficient quality. The reason no flower tape was found in the photos of the radar target is because it isn't there. That wouldn't support a Mogul scenario either. Can't have that if the lab actually reported there was no such tape to be found in the photos, not that they were of “insufficient quality” to see anything.

Similarly, I find it very hard to believe that literally nothing could be read by the lab in the memo either because of "insufficient quality". We certainly know some basic, unanimously agreed-upon words like WEATHER BALLOONS, FORT WORTH, TEX., and other few others CAN be read with a minimal amount of time and effort by most people, using no sophisticated equipment and easily-obtainable blow-up prints. So, at the very least, such a report should have said a few words can be read, but nothing of significance could be learned from it. If anything, the AFOSI propagandists could have used "WEATHER BALLOONS" out of context to bolster their Mogul argument, just like the kite-stick analysis was so used. Saying nothing could be read by their high-level government lab did not advance their agenda one bit.

If the CIA lab wouldn't put in the necessary effort and if the Air Force was serious about reading anything there were other government photoanalysis labs at their disposal I presume: NSA, FBI, AF's own photoanalysis labs, etc. So it was either amateur hour by both the CIA and AFOSI, or maybe there were a few conclusions actually reached that Weaver didn't want published, unlike the kite stick analysis they could use to their advantage, thus spun the actual results and swept it all under the rug by not publishing all of the written reports.

I might add that Dennis Balthauser also spent a great deal of time trying to unearth the original documentation that Weaver did not publish and got a major runaround from the Air Force for years, being sent from one archive to another. See:

www.truthseekeratroswell.com/foia-requests.html (Set 2 of FOIA documents)

Paul Young said...

I expect getting the runaround is par for course for loads of FOIA requests.
I keep imagining this nightmare scenario of people manically working on deciphering the memo from these photographs, while the real deal is just sat in a filing cabinet somewhere.

Incidently (and this is probably a really daft question)...but has anyone ever made an FOIA request to see the actual memo itself, or a copy of it?

cda said...

I am not surprised at the runaround you got, or at the response Richard Weaver got from the NPIC. The NPIC probably, as you say, did a quick attempt with their available equipment to decipher the memo but then decided it was not worth a lot of extra effort or expense to attempt something which would give very dubious returns.

These organisations do not lean towards UFO conspiracy ideas and for them to spend time & money examining a photograph some 50 years old which shows some broken sticks, pieces of fabric and an AF General holding a sheet of paper in his hand is hardly the sort of thing they would do, unless there was a VERY STRONG reason to do so. They would reason that it simply was not worth it.

As I have said before, ETHers are absolutely desperate that this, their only hard evidence, can finally prove them right about an ET crash. The NPIC, in contrast, have no such illusions and have no motive to take it further. Hence the negative result. Their reasoning was, most likely, "why should taxpayers money be spent on this futile exercise"? And in the 20+ years since then, they are still right.

Nitram Ang said...

CDA without much of a thought quickly wrote:

"As I have said before, ETHers are absolutely desperate that this, their only hard evidence, can finally prove them right about an ET crash."

As already explained to you by one of your friends - there is no reason not to try and decipher the thing... You simply don't wish to do any detective work, simpl because it is not worth it.

Imagine if you were a detective on a police force - just imagine how many people would get away with murder if you were unable to find an answer within an hour or so. You would simply give up and move on...

After several years you have made no progress, repeat the same old stuff and say the first thing that enters your mind as you are often the first person to post a comment on the blog.

For the record my name is not Angela and I have never been to Scotland either...
It will be 70 more years and you still won't know anything.

Regards
Nitram

cda said...

Nitram/Martin:

"It will be 70 more years and you still won't know anything."

Do you mean about the memo's contents or about your identity? I do not consider either has any real importance.

You do not consider the memo has any importance for ETHers. The difference between us is that I am not afraid to say so, whereas you, as usual, keep silent. I am confident (very confident) that if this memo really had any value to ETHers, and to science, there would exist a myriad of other, perfectly legible, documents saying much the same thing and these would have been known to the public decades ago.

Certainly there was no reason not to try and decipher the thing at the beginning of the Roswell 'saga' (c.1980). I do say, however, that further effort is pointless and that even if most of it could eventually be deciphered, ufologists would still be debating its meaning. This is proven by the debates that still ensue over the perfectly legible documents existing from that time frame.

Just think of the furore that would have ensued if the NPIC announced they had deciphered the words "THE VICTIMS OF THE WRECK YOU FORWARDED..." the letters "VA..." and "RAMEY" and other 'suggestive' phrases.

David Rudiak and other ETHers would be overjoyed and almost punch-drunk with excitement.

But science would still be none the wiser.

As I said before, your own comments contribute nothing to the debate either way, and your remarks about me saying the first thing that entered my mind indicate you can read people's thoughts. Can you? A pity you don't have any of your own, or don't appear to have.

Yes, in another 70 years we shall still be none the wiser over that scrap of paper.

Brian Bell said...

Today the NGA would be an odd place to send the photo for analysis, although it was (once) the National Photographic Interpretation Center (as Kevin states) until 1996 when it was renamed the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.

Now named the NGA, it's mission is very different and has changed extensively. I'm not surprised the FOIA returned no results.

I know people who work there and it's really not what they do anymore. I'm sure if there were records from 1994 asking for an analysis they wouldn't have them anymore or perhaps they never really created any.

The mission of the NGA is totally clandestine. The people I know who work there wouldn't see interpreting the old photo's memo as core to their mission.

Basically they supply intelligence gathering support and services to the Army and other agencies involved in global spying.

Think of them as an agency in the government that basically sells its specialized expertise to other agencies such as the NSA and CIA. There are both civilian and US Army personnel who make up their workforce.

tom livesey said...

Interesting post. It reminds me a bit of Mark Pilkington's book "Mirage Men" - each service spying on the other, jealous of what they may know, but then disavowing that, because the public must never know. Whether the rabbit-hole is more than a paranoid John LeCarre style construct or not just shows how "total" the UFO phenomenon is - it's anthropology, psychology, even literature sometimes.

KRandle said...

Geez David -

Your comments are longer than the original post and all we end up with is more evidence that the Air Force and the various government agencies did not work very hard to read the memo. When the Air Force report first came out it was obvious that they didn't bother with much work because even a kid with a two dollar magnifying class could read some of the words. That was what surprised me... that they couldn't read anything. I suppose if they admitted that, then there would be a call to attempt to resolve the rest of it, so they said they couldn't do it.

And just for the record, I began the attempts to gather documentation about the whole process in 1995... the Air Force told me that everything had been forwarded to the Government Printing Office, which made no sense. And I had a chance to review all the documentation that was gathered by the Air Force and eventually given to the National Archives. There was nothing in those nine boxes that contained anything we didn't already know except for the court martial of a doctor at the base for fooling around with a nurse in 1957... and the possession of some pornographic pictures were were small black and white photographs of a naked woman... nowhere near as graphic as pictures that had been printed in magazines some ten years later...

David Rudiak said...

Kevin wrote,
Your comments are longer than the original post and all we end up with is more evidence that the Air Force and the various government agencies did not work very hard to read the memo. When the Air Force report first came out it was obvious that they didn't bother with much work because even a kid with a two dollar magnifying class could read some of the words. That was what surprised me... that they couldn't read anything. I suppose if they admitted that, then there would be a call to attempt to resolve the rest of it, so they said they couldn't do it.

In the end, I think we mostly agree. It is hard to believe that a group like this could literally read nothing in the memo. What I disagree with is various statements, that amount to little more than speculation, that they spent hardly any time on the memo because they had better things to do.

My point was they DIDN'T do a cursory analysis of the kite sticks, but spent 7 hours on it and wrote it up. THAT analysis report the AF published. That's more of what I would expect from one high intelligence agency responding to a request for ANALYSIS by another high intel agency.

I would expect similar SERIOUS attention spent for the same reason to Weaver's two other requests for analysis: looking for the "flower tape" in the four photos and trying to read the memo. I would also expect the same written reports on the findings as the kite sticks, even with negative results.

Since everyone is speculating, I could also speculate that the lab was much more definitive in their conclusion that no flower tape could be found even though the photos were more than clear enough for that, not "insufficient quality" to determine, which is total nonsense. And MAYBE they also found an incriminating word or two in the memo which would have put the AF Mogul theory in doubt. Otherwise, why not publish the reports, like they did the kite sticks?

What is fact and not speculation is that such reports which would have clarified exactly what the lab told Weaver were never made public and seem to have disappeared, with you and Dennis Balthauser being given the bureaucratic run-around in your FOIA attempts to find them.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell wrote:
Now named the NGA, it's mission is very different and has changed extensively. I'm not surprised the FOIA returned no results. I know people who work there and it's really not what they do anymore. I'm sure if there were records from 1994 asking for an analysis they wouldn't have them anymore or perhaps they never really created any. The mission of the NGA is totally clandestine. The people I know who work there wouldn't see interpreting the old photo's memo as core to their mission.

How's that again? You know PEOPLE who work there and you also know what they would do or would not do?

If it were that clandestine, why would they tell you they even work there and why would you even know who they are? And it's not just one person, but multiple people you claim you know work there.

Brian Bell said...

@ David

Yes it's fact. I know people there. You forget (as usual) I was a GS15 in federal service. I also lived in a small town where they built a major facility. I've also talked to their recruiters.

It's not a crime or breach of security to say you work there and are an analyst or US Army officer and what your basic role is.

I think your warped conspiracy minded anti-government brain has malfunctioned....