More than fifty years ago, the Air Force, believing that they were on the spot about UFOs, paid the University of Colorado more than a half a million dollars to investigate the subject. The claim was that this would be a scientific study into the reports of UFOs and a search for evidence. Dr. Edward U. Condon, a respected nuclear physicist who had once headed the National Bureau of Standards and was one-time president American Association for the Advancement of Science, was chosen to lead the project. He was selected, according to some sources, because he had no expressed bias about UFOs.
|Dr. Edward U. Condon|
That wasn’t the case.
Early on, in the investigation, an exchange of letters between Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hippler, who served in 1967 in the Air Force’s Science Division, Directorate of Science and Technology, and Dr. Robert Low, who was a member of Condon’s staff, outlined what was expected which was contrary to the stated purpose of the study. Hippler wrote:
This is an informal letter expressing some thoughts on our round- table discussion on the UFO program, and does not constitute the formal letter requested by John Coleman.
There are two items which leave me a little uneasy. The first is the Wertheimer Hypothesis, and its corollary that one cannot "prove" the negative on extraterrestrial visitations. The second is an apparently obscure understanding of what the Air Force wants. Since I will discuss this second item, you will see why this is an informal letter expressing my own opinion–and hence is not binding on you.
On the first item, I wish to present a slightly different approach. When we first took over the UFO program, the first order of business, even before approaching AFOSR, was to assure ourselves that the situation was as straightforward as logic indicated it should be. In other words, we too looked to see if by some chance the intelligence people have information other than what exists in Blue Book files. There were no surprises. While there exist some things which may forever remain unknowable in the universe, certainly an extraterrestrial visitation must fall in the "knowable" category. An alien would not come light years merely to pick up surreptitiously some rocks, or melt holes in reservoir ice (al la Edwards). He would have long since gone through the geologic bit, and would be fairly knowledgeable of the make-up of stars and planets. You have stated that President Truman was unaware of the Manhattan Project until he became President. In that same time period, physicists not connected with the project were aware of the possibilities and knew that something was going on.
No one knows of a visitation. It should therefore follow there has been no visitation to date. As you are aware, if UFOs are an Air Force "sacred cow," the other services in the usual competitive spirit would not be constrained by this "sacred cow." Nor the “fear of panic” holding anyone’s tongue. No one is reticent about the horror of an ICBM attack. Words such as “end of civilization have been used many times.
This brings us to the second item. When you have looked into some sightings and examined some Blue Book records and become acquainted with the true state of affairs, you must consider the cost of the Air Force program on UFOs, and determine if the taxpayer should support this for the next decade. It will be at least that long before another independent study can be mounted to see if the Air Force can get out from under this program. If the contract is up before you have laid the proper groundwork for a proper recommendation, an extension of the contract would be less costly than another decade of operating Project Blue Book.
Condon understood exactly what was being asked of him even if others didn’t. Just three days after reading the letter, Condon was in Corning, New York, to lecture scientists including members of Corning Section of the American Chemical Society and the Corning Works Chapter of Sigma Xi. He said, “It is my inclination right now to recommend that the government get out of this business [UFO investigations]. My attitude right now is that there is nothing in it. But I am not supposed to reach that conclusion for another year.”
What this demonstrates is that the fix was in. Although this was supposed to be an unbiased, dispassionate examination of the UFO phenomenon, it was, in fact, a program designed to explain away UFO sightings by wrapping it all in the mantle of science. And, for fifty years, we have heard about the Condon Committee’s negative findings and its conclusions that there is nothing of scientific value in continuing to study UFOs.
I’ll add here that another purpose of the committee was to determine if there was a national security implication in the sightings. They found that there was not even though they had run into that national security implication in the Belt, Montana/Malmstrom Air Force Base sightings of March 24, 1967.
In the end, Project Blue Book was closed and the Air Force claimed that they were no longer interested in collecting information about UFOs.
All that has been negated by what we have learned recently. There have been many government programs to collect UFO data around the world, including one that we know as Moon Dust. According to the documentation available, Moon Dust continued until 1985, when the program was exposed. In a letter to UFO researched Robert Todd, an Air Force officer explained that Moon Dust was compromised. The name was changed but that name was classified, implying that the investigation had continued.
We have, of course, learned about the AATIP program, which again, was a study of UFOs. It was discontinued a couple of years ago. But Congress, as part of a Covid-19 relief package included a mandate for a study of UFOs with a report due 180 days after passage of the package. It was announced, just days ago, that the report would be submitted on June 25.
Here is what has been overlooked.
The New York Times reported, “U.S. Find No Evidence of Alien Technology in Flying Objects, but Can’t Rule It Out Either.”
This effectively negates the Condon Report which did rule out alien technology. The latest information tells us that there is something to be learned from further study of UFO reports and it doesn’t matter if they are alien, natural phenomena, terrestrial technology or something we haven’t even considered. The point is, we can now throw out the conclusions of the Condon report, study the case files because there is some solid investigation in them, and reevaluate our position. But we can no longer say that science investigated and found there was nothing to study.
The idea that there is no alien visitation based on the Condon Committee’s investigation has just been rejected by the headline that tells us that though they have no evidence of alien technology, they cannot rule it out, which is exactly what Condon did.
The next time someone says that we know there are no alien spacecraft because of Condon’s “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects,” we can respond with, well, that might be what they said but it doesn’t seem to have been true then and certainly is not true now. The latest investigation, conducted by a mandate of Congress, says that such a conclusion can’t be ruled out. At this point we are starting from ground zero and given the history of UFO research, that’s not a bad thing.