Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell (left) claims that "since the Roswell
incident in 1947 … there was a cover-up… That was a valid incident and that
there have been … active investigation programme, reverse engineering programme
and cover-up associated with that since that time." (1) Certainly Arnold’s sightings and the Roswell incident were not
‘one offs’ as further reports of UFO sightings continued unabated. In fact a US
Air Force report of 30th July of that year made reference to 18
reported sightings of flying discs, although there was no further reference to
other physical evidence (2).
Clearly such sightings could not be simply logged, they would
have to be investigated to identify their nature and establish if they posed a
security threat the to United States. Inevitably this task would fall within the
jurisdiction of the US Intelligence Community.
Under the oversight of the Director of Central Intelligence,
this intelligence community spans the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, as
well as the perhaps lesser known military intelligence agencies and other
governmental departments. Yet each of the major agencies has systematically denied having
any interest or ongoing involvement in the UFO phenomenon. The National Security Agency was established by President Harry
Truman, on 4th November 1952. With an annual reported budget of over
$30billion per annum, the ‘NSA’ has the task of intercepting foreign government
communications and breaking the codes that exist to protect such transmissions,
in addition to diplomatic, commercial traffic, domestic telephone calls and fax
headquarters at Fort George G Meade in Maryland, the agency employs tens of
thousands of personnel and co-ordinates activities throughout the globe.
Not surprisingly the NSA has been considered a storehouse of
UFO information. It was contacted on 20th February 1976 by researcher
Robert Todd and asked to reveal its UFO materials. Todd received the following
"Please be advised that NSA does not have any interest in UFOs
in any manner."
The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) stance on UFOs was one
of apparent similar disinterest. Its position on the phenomena was summarised in
a letter it wrote to researcher Bill Spaulding in March 1976: "In order that you
may be aware of the true facts concerning the involvement of the CIA in the
investigation of the UFO phenomenon, let me give you the following brief
history. Late in 1952 the National Security Council levied upon the CIA the
requirement to determine if the existence of UFOs would create a danger to the
security of the United States.
The Office of
Scientific Intelligence established the Intelligence Advisory Committee to study
the matter. That committee made the recommendations [in] the Robertson Panel
Report. At no time prior to the formation of the Robertson Panel and subsequent
to this issuance of the panel’s report [January 1953], has the CIA engaged in
the study of UFO phenomena. The Robertson Panel Report is the summation of the
Agency’s interest and involvement in this matter."
The FBI held a
similar position, advising a correspondent in 1973 that "The investigation of
Unidentified Flying Objects is not and never has been a matter that is within
the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI." (70).
So if none of the ‘big three’ agencies held any interest,
perhaps another agency outside the intelligence community was involved in the
investigation of the phenomena.
The obvious choice would be NASA. Created by President Dwight
D. Eisenhower on 1st October 1958 to "co-ordinate national space
activities" and to "co-ordinate the administration of the civilian space
program" the agency stated its position in the UFO phenomenon in a 1978 NASA
NASA is the focal
point for answering public enquiries to the White House relating to UFOs. NASA
is not engaged in a research program involving these phenomena, nor is any other
government agency. Reports of unidentified flying objects entering United States
airspace are of interest to the military as a regular part of defence
surveillance. Beyond that, the US Airforce no longer investigates reports of UFO
sightings." The official line then appears to be that the major US intelligence
agencies were and are not involved in the UFO phenomenon.
they were - and the 1974 Freedom of Information Act proved it. This Act allowed
members of the public the right to acquire documents from government files
provided they could identify their subject and source with reasonable