Once again, going through older material looking for nothing specific, I have stumbled over something that might be of some significance. It all began when, scanning a document created by the Air Force that listed 49 UFO organizations in the United States that investigated UFOs, I spotted Karl Pflock’s name. He was listed as the director of something called the National Committee for
Investigation of UFO’s. The name, I suspect was designed to feed off that of
the bigger and better known National Investigations Committee on Aerial
Phenomena which was listed by the Air Force as the National Investigative
Committee on Aerial Phenomena providing a glimpse into how careful they were in
I attached nothing of importance to this discovery, other than Karl had been interested in UFOs for a long time and that he had apparently created his own organization to study them. In the mid-1960s, a friend and I created the Office of Scientific Investigation, a name we learned from a science fiction film. We did hold some meetings, created an investigation form, did investigate a few sightings, and began a small library of UFO related books. Nothing nefarious in that. We all (and here I include Karl) were just interested in the topic.
All this lead to a bigger revelation and confirmation of something that has been said for decades. The Air Force did keep track of the civilian UFO organizations and were aware of the policies of some and were worried about their influence on public perception. This was included in a secret document from December 18, 1958. I will note for the purists out that that part of it was secret, part of it was confidential and some of it was unclassified. By government regulations, the entire document, at that time, would have been considered secret because that was the highest classification contained inside the document. For the record, the list of UFO organizations was confidential, a classification level just below secret.
In the secret part of that document, which was inclosure [sic] one, and labeled as a draft proposal, it was noted:
Forty-nine (49) UFO organizations… exist in the ZI [Zone of the Interior, which is to say, the continental United States]in addition to many individual self-proclaimed experts whose affiliations or specific intentions are not clear. It is clear, however, that for various reasons these individuals and agencies such as NICAP, CSI [oddly, there are two organizations on the list that could be this particular CSI – Civilian Saucer Intelligence or Civilian Saucer Investigation] APRO, etc. feel a need for, and do everything possible to discredit the Air Force, its investigations, and its ultimate evaluation of reported sightings. These organizations, and for the most part individuals, are well equipped, and do in fact conduct a very comprehensive, although biased, field investigation. These generally result in well documented reports which are used for their chosen purposes… Some, such as Mr. Haber [of an investigation of a UFO sighting] for reason known only to him, take advantage of every opportunity to incite others.
The real take away here is that the Air Force is tracking UFO organizations though their spokesmen sometimes denied that, and that they found these civilian investigators to be competent, producing comprehensive reports. They suggested that the investigations were biased, but then the same can be said for Air Force investigations, especially when a body of documentation suggests that UFO sightings were to be explained, and if not, then classified. See Air Force regulations, 200-2 and 80-17.
There is another part of this secret document that is relevant to the discussion here. It said:
Some of the UFO organizations, such as NICAP, well know the deficiencies in the Air Force Program and take advantage of every opportunity to place us in a defensive position. In fact, it is understood that Captain Ruppelt, who was responsible for the ATIC part of the UFO Program from early 1951 until September 1953, is now affiliated with NICAP. In this organization alone ex-marine corps Major Kehoe [sic], a political adventurist, [this description was toned down in subsequent drafts of this document], and Captain Ruppelt, an ex-ATIC specialist, represent a formidable team from which plenty of trouble can be expected in the future. Both appear to be in the business for the money involved. Comparable conditions involving eminent authorities of questionable intensions exist in other of the 49 organizations.
This is another example of an outrageous and false allegation. I’m not sure why it is thrown around. Isn’t nearly everyone in it for the money or some other reward? Are journalists reporting news because it makes them feel good, or are they looking to climb the ladder to bigger assignments, more prestige, and a higher paycheck?
I have been told on many occasions that I’m only in it for the money but the real driving force is that I wanted to be a writer. The money was, of course, an important component of that, but then, once I had sold four books (none of which dealt with UFOs), I quit my job that included health and dental benefits to write full time.
But there was also the desire to tell a good story, to get at the truth in the UFO field, and report that truth, which explains why there is no monetization on this blog. I provide the information, and of course, my point of view for no monetary reward.
And while Keyhoe was director at NICAP and paid for his leadership, Ruppelt was not being paid. He wrote his book and was paid for that, but anyone who writes a book expects some monetary reward… but for the majority of us, that works out to less than minimum wage, not to mention all the rip-offs created by many of the others in the book business… Did you know that as much as 60 or 70% of the cover price of a book goes to the bookstore and the distributor? Doesn’t leave much for the publisher, his or her employees and then at the bottom of the ladder – the writer. But I digress (please excuse the editorial comment).
What we see here is that much of the response to the UFO question by the Air Force is secret. More importantly, and the real point here as noted, is that the Air Force was keeping tabs on the UFO organizations. That is something that they denied and many believed to be paranoia based on nothing other than a delusion of importance for the work done by those civilian organizations.
And yet the Air Force denied all this, while understanding what was going on out in the field. They denied this surveillance while engaged in it. Makes you wonder what other things the Air Force said about UFO investigations that were untrue and hidden by that veil of secrecy. But, as I say, we now know that the Air Force was watching… though it might not have been all that close or all the time. Still, it tells us a little about the importance of the UFO research and how seriously the Air Force took that all the while denying that there was anything of value to be learned in UFO investigation.