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Volume 43

The Skeptics UFO Newsletter

Philip J. Klass

January 1, 1997

This volume is available as a PDF file. Download »

National Security Agency (NSA) Responds To SUN’s Request And Declassifies Revealing Portions Of Its Top Secret “UFO Documents”

Partially declassified copies of 156 Top Secret “UFO documents” recently obtained by SUN, which the National Security Agency refused to release in 1982 in response to a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA), reveal that NSA’s refusal was to keep secret that it was eavesdropping on Soviet air defense radar sites—providing vitally important intelligence for our Strategic Air Command bomber missions. When NSA intercepted messages from Soviet radars which reported tracking an “Unidentifiable object,” some NSA analysts translated that into “Unidentified Flying Object.” Because the Soviets used balloons carrying radar  reflectors to periodically check the performance of their air defense radars and the alertness of their radar operators, a NSA translator-analyst would add “Probably a balloon” where it seemed appropriate. After UFO organizations, such as Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS), began to make FOIA requests to CIA and NSA in the late 1970s to release documents involving “UFOs,” NSA translator-analysts stopped using the term UFO for the balloon-borne targets. 

Most of the 156 Comint documents obtained by SUN report the “Probably balloon” type of slow-moving UFO. The reports, covering the 21-year period from 1958 to 1979, are still heavily censored to withhold the identity/location of the Soviet radar sites whose communications NSA was able to intercept, the dates and other still-sensitive military information. Following are several typical NSA “UFO” summary reports, with still-censored material shown as [XXXX]. The first numbers show the time when the “UFOs” were being tracked by Soviet radar.

These Comint reports reveal that the Soviets had deployed height-finder-type radars, capable of tracking targets up to altitudes of nearly 80,000 ft., which could detect high-flying U-2 aircraft on reconnaissance missions. 

NSA UFO Documents Include A Few Visual Sighting Reports

A few of the NSA Comint documents contain summary reports of visual UFO sightings. Because there is no mention that the UFOs were tracked by radar, the reports probably come from other military facilities whose communications were being intercepted by NSA. Following are some of the more interesting visual UFO reports:

One Comint document indicates that the Soviets launched interceptor aircraft to "attack” the UFO. Conceivably this was part of a readiness/training exercise.

[XXXX] Unidentified Flying Object (UFO): 1424-1539, ONE UFO (PROBABLY A BALLOON) MOVED SLOWLY FROM 83 NAUTICAL MILES SE OF [XXXX] TOWARD EAST AND FADED 16 NM SOUTH OF [XXXX] ALT 43,600-49,200 FT. REACTION TO UFO; 1209-1455, ONE UFO (PROBABLY A BALLOON) MOVED SLOWLY FROM [XXXX] TOWARD EAST, PASSED [XXXX], AND FADED [XXXX], ALT 33,000- 46,000 FT. [XXXX] REACTION: 1241-1353, SIX [XXXX] DEPARTED [XXXX] FOR ATTACKING SAID UFO OVER [XXXX] AND [XXXX] ALT 26,200 FT, SPEED 430 KTS. (NOTE: The next eight lines of copy are blacked out, possibly reporting on the results of the attempted interceptor action.)

NSA “UFO Documents” Substantiate Assessment By Former NSA Analyst Tom Deuley, Long-Time UFOlogist, Now A MUFON Official

Although the Comint documents supplied to SUN remain heavily censored, their declassified UFO-related contents corroborate the assessment presented at the 1987 MUFON conference in Washington D.C. by Thomas P. Deuley, who had worked at NSA. Deuley said: “I believe that I saw or held copies of the large majority of the documents withheld [by NSA] in the FOIA suit. Though there may have been exceptions among the documents I did not see, none of the documents I was aware of had any information that was of scientific value.” (In recent years Deuley has been MUFON’s corporate secretary and a member of its Board of Directors.)

In Deuley’s 1987 MUFON paper, titled “Four Years At NSA—No UFOs,” he explained that he was assigned to the agency in mid-1978, shortly before attending that year’s MUFON conference in Dayton, Ohio. “Before making that trip I felt it was necessary to let NSA know that I had an interest in UFOs. I took the matter up with my immediate supervisor, suggesting that the fact be put on the record. Within a week I had an appointment with some administrative officials to discuss my trip to Dayton and my interest in UFOs....The meeting was not formal, and I did not come away with the feeling that...they even cared about UFOs or my personal interest in it.” (Emphasis added.)

In the early 1980s, when CAUS filed its FOIA suit seeking NSA’s UFO-related documents, the agency turned to Deuley, its “in-house UFOlogist” who held sufficiently high security clearances, to examine its "UFO-related documents” and assess which could be released without compromising NSA’s sensitive operations. Now that these Comint documents have been released, their UFO reports substantiate the wisdom of Deuley’s 1987 MUFON conference statement: “It [was] clear to me that the possibility of damage to national security sources and methods far outweighed the value of the information under question.” Deuley concluded his 1987 presentation by noting that during the four years he spent at NSA, “I did not see any indication of official NSA interest in the subject [of UFOs].”

NSA Also Releases Greatly Declassified Copy Of Top Secret Document Which UFO-Lecturer Friedman Claims Is Evidence Of “Cosmic Water Gate"

To enable U.S. District Court Judge Gesell to render an informed judgement on the agency’s rationale for not releasing its “UFO documents,” NSA provided him with a 21-page affidavit in October 1980, classified Top Secret, which described all of its “UFO documents” and explained the reasons for not releasing most of them. After studying the document, Judge Gesell ruled in favor of NSA. Subsequently, in response to an FOIA request to obtain a copy of this Top Secret court document, NSA released a heavily censored version in which about 70% of the contents were blacked out. UFO-LECTURER STANTON FRIEDMAN INVARIABLY SHOWS THESE MOST HEAVILY BLACKED-OUT PAGES DURING HIS LECTURES AND TV SHOW APPEARANCES, CLAIMING THEY PROVE A GOVERNMENT UFO COVER-UP.

Friedman Withholds Significant Information

Friedman knowingly withholds from his audiences the fact that the heavily censored version of NSA’s 21-page court document disclosed that the bulk of the documents being withheld were "communications intelligence (COMINT) reports.” Friedman also withholds from his audience the further NSA explanation that these Comint reports “are based on [covertly] intercepted communications of foreign governments.” In the affidavit, signed by a top NSA official, Eugene F. Yates, he said: “I certify that disclosure of past and present foreign intelligence communications activities of NSA revealed in the records the plaintiff [CAUS] seeks would endanger highly valuable sources of foreign intelligence.” FRIEDMAN 

NEVER MENTIONS THIS AS A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OR JUSTIFICATION FOR NSA'S ACTIONS.

(When Friedman presented a paper at the 1981 MUFON conference in Cambridge, Mass., it began with a statement attributed to Albert Einstein: “The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be the truth.”)

Whereas only about 30% of the originally released court document was readable (i.e., not blacked out), roughly 75% of the contents are now visible in the recently declassified version. The new release reveals that the court document carried the highest/most sensitive classification for Comint documents: TOP SECRET UMBRA. 

In response to CAUS’s FOIA request, NSA had refused to release “an account by a person assigned to NSA of his attendance at a UFO symposium [because] it cannot fairly be said to be a record of the kind sought by the plaintiff.” Although the author of this report was not identified by NSA in its court document, almost certainly it was Tom Deuley. He may also have authored another non-Comint document released to CAUS, entitled “UFO Hypothesis and Survival Questions.” Its last page was not released because it would have identified the author of the memo and his NSA affiliation. 

NEWLY RELEASED COURT DOCUMENT EXPLAINS PREVIOUS BLACK-OUTS

The original court document cited a second non-Comint document, written by the same NSA employee, which had been released to CAUS with some deletions. NSA’s explanation for the deletions was heavily blacked out in the copy of the court document originally released but are now revealed in the newly declassified version. (The portions of the court document previously blacked out are underlined below.)

“The second non-Comint document is a three page undated, unofficial draft of a monograph with a four page appendix by the same agency employee who authored the draft referenced in sub-paragraph a, above....It is entitled ‘UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise or Deceptive Data. In this document, the author discusses what he considers to be a serious shortcoming in the Agency’s COMINT interception and reporting procedures—the inability to respond correctly to surprising information or deliberately deceptive data. He uses the UFO phenomenon to illustrate his belief that the inability of the U.S. intelligence community to process this type of unusual data adversely affects U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities. Deletions in this document were made as follows: (1) All of the title after UFO, which addresses the perceived shortcoming and all of paragraph one, which discusses the employee’s perception of the negative implications of the handling of the UFO phenomena as it demonstrates what he believes is the less than optimum ability of the intelligence community to process and evaluate highly unusual data....

“The final deletion is in appendix A, paragraph 10 of this report. This section talks about deceptive communications tactics used by [XXXX] against U.S. forces and does not include any reference to UFO or UFO phenomena....” [It is not known if Deuley also authored this document.]

Bogus “Comint” Document In NSA Files, Which Claims UFO Shotdown Cuban Interceptors, Came Indirectly Via Freidman

Ironically, one of the heavily blacked-out pages of the originally released court document that Friedman so often shows involved a bogus Comint report which indicated that Cuban air force interceptors were shot down by a UFO—a report which NSA received indirectly from Friedman’s files. The Cuban incident allegedly occurred in early 1967 and a person who claimed to have been a Comint station operator later sent the alleged report to Friedman. He gave a copy to Bob Pratt, a reporter with the National Enquirer, who in turn supplied a copy to UFO researcher Robert Todd.

In early 1978, Todd used FOIA requests to NSA and the USAF to try to verify the authenticity of the Cuban incident and quoted from this “Comint” report. When Todd did not receive a prompt response, he threatened to contact the Cuban government to verify the incident. This prompted the FBI to visit Todd to ask how he had obtained the report. Todd responded that he did not know the original source who had sent the report to Friedman, but had obtained his copy from Pratt.

Following is the NSA court document’s report on this incident, with the originally blacked out information shown underlined. 

"(a) The document describing SIGINT [Signals Intelligence] operations reports an alleged intercept of [XXXX] communications. The factual circumstances of the incident reported in this record were received by NSA from an FOIA requester other than the plaintiff [CAUS] and are considered to be fictitious by NSA analysts. [XXXX]” The 15 typewritten lines which follow and remain blacked out presumably provide more details on the incident and the reason why NSA concluded that this “Comint report” is bogus. It is doubtful that either Todd or Friedman are mentioned by name.

SUMMARY OF NSA’s RATIONALE FOR WITHHOLDING ITS UFO COMINT REPORTS

The newly released “more declassified” copy of the 1980 NSA court document offers the following explanation for withholding the UFO Comint documents—an explanation that was completely blacked out on the first version released by the agency: “The communication sources involved in this [FOIA] case—which are specified or implicitly identified in the COMINT reports being withheld by NSA—are the source of extremely valuable 

communications intelligence covering a broad range of kinds of information from [XXXX] and other [XXXX] activities to [XXXX] and [XXXX] matters. Release of these documents would seriously damage the ability of the United States to gather this vital intelligence information....”

Roswell Crashed-Saucer Researchers Pflock and Randle Belatedly Agree With SUN That Mortician’s Story Of Nurse/ET-Autopsy Is Fiction

Rigorous Roswell researcher Karl T. Pflock, whose “Roswell In Perspective” (RIP) report published in mid-1994 challenged the credibility of many of the key witnesses endorsed by Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt in their two books ("UFO Crash At Roswell” and “The Truth About The UFO Crash At Roswell”), but endorsed the nurse/ET-autopsy story of former mortician Glenn Dennis, has recently disavowed Dennis' tale. Randle is expected to do the same in his new book, slated for publication this summer. Dennis’ story, which he first revealed to Stanton Friedman on Aug. 5, 1989, was the first report that ET bodies had been 

recovered which were related to the debris found on the Brazel ranch.

Dennis’ nurse/ET-autopsy tale was strongly endorsed by Friedman, and his book co-author Don Berliner, because it seemed to rule out any possible prosaic explanation for the unusual debris that Brazel had found on his ranch. Although Roswell researchers Randle/Schmitt, Friedman/Berliner and Pflock disagreed sharply on many key details of the “Roswell Incident,” they could agree on the veracity of Dennis' story. Two years ago, based on our own investigation, we devoted half of the January 1995 issue of SUN to detailing serious flaws and inconsistencies in Dennis’ nurse/ET-autopsy story. And the following (March) 

issue detailed still more. The May 1995 issue of SUN cited still another under the headline: “THE THIRD STRIKE—AND DENNIS SHOULD BE OUT (As A Credible Witness)”

From the content of Pflock’s letter of Jan. 6, 1995, informing Dennis of his new views, SUN suspects that he had learned of some information uncovered by a continuing USAF Roswell investigation, conducted by Capt. Jim McAndrew, which will soon be published by the Government Printing Office. It will cite hard evidence, some mentioned in Pflock’s letter, that the nurse whom Dennis claims told him about the ET autopsy is a figment of his imagination.

PFLOCK NOW BELIEVES THAT NO FLYING SAUCER CRASHED IN NEW MEXICO IN 1947

Pflock’s Jan. 6 letter to Dennis began: “I think you need to know my current views on the Roswell case in general and your story in particular. The first is easy. Based on my research and that of others, I’m as certain as it’s possible to be without absolute proof that no flying saucer or saucers crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell or on the Plains of San Agustin in 1947. The debris found by Mac Brazel...was the remains of something very earthly, all but certainly something from the Top Secret Project Mogul. (Emphasis added.)...The formerly highly classified record of correspondence and discussions among top Air Force officials 

who were responsible for cracking the flying saucer mystery from the mid-1940s through the early 1950s makes it crystal clear that they didn’t have any crashed saucer wreckage or bodies of saucer crews, but they were desperate to have such evidence...”

(The Sept. 1994 issue of SUN [#29], which presented highlights of Pflock’s “Roswell In Perspective” report and generally praised it, also needled Pflock for failing to mention four once-Secret or Top Secret reports which showed that as of late 1948, top USAF officials did not know what UFOs were and suspected they might be Soviet spy vehicles. Another example, reported in SUN #39 (May 1996), was contained in the once-Secret minutes of the March 17, 1948, meeting of the USAF’s Scientific Advisory Board. At that meeting, Col. H.M. McCoy, chief of intelligence for the USAF’s Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson AF Base, reported: “I can’t even tell you how much we would give to have one of those [UFOs] crash in an area so that we could recover whatever they are.”)

Pflock’s letter informed Dennis that “An Air Force investigator and a private investigator have located hospital morning reports and other hospital personnel records for the entirety of 1947, showing who was on duty and when, etc. They've also identified all the nurses who were assigned to the base during that year and when they were assigned there and transferred out...” Pflock concludes that the nurse with whom Dennis claims to have met “simply did not exist.”

Because of a warm friendship that Pflock developed with Dennis, Pflock does not accuse Dennis of intentionally fabricating the nurse/ET-autopsy story. Instead, he suggests that Dennis’ recollections are flawed, that the nurse was not named Naomi Selff—as Dennis had claimed. And despite Dennis' reproduction of the nurse’s sketches showing that the bodies resembled ETS and had suction pads on their fingertips, Pflock suggests that perhaps the bodies came from an airplane crash. Pflock strains to offer Dennis a “flawed-memory explanation” for his claim that USAF officers in the base hospital mistreated him and later threatened him if he talked about what (allegedly) had transpired. (SUN finds it easier to believe Dennis’ nurse/ET-autopsy story than Pflock’s suggested “flawed memory explanations.”)

In Pflock’s letter, he informed Dennis that he intended to disclose the contents of his letter to other Roswell/UFO researchers, and promptly did so. As of Jan. 12, Pflock told SUN he had received no response from Dennis. However, Pflock did hear from Stanton Friedman, who challenged Pflock’s new assessment and accused him of being a “disinformation agent,” according to Pflock. (In the 1960s, Pflock worked for the CIA and during the second Reagan Administration he held a high post in the Pentagon.) (If Dennis were to ask SUN’s advice for a more believable excuse than Pflock’s, we would suggest that he claim that he first told the tale to Friedman to test his credulity. When Friedman believed the nurse/ET-autopsy tale and passed it on to Randle/Schmitt who also “bought” it, Dennis decided it would be a good way to test the gullibility of other Roswell researchers. Now that their great credulity has been demonstrated, Dennis could admit the truth and be praised for his actions in revealing how gullible many Roswell researchers really are.)

Roswell researcher/author Kevin Randle has confided to close friends that his new UFO book, scheduled for publication this summer, will include a chapter titled: “The Decline And Fall Of Roswell.” In this chapter, Randle will report that efforts to locate Dennis’ alleged nurse friend indicate that such a person never existed. However, Randle is expected to continue to endorse the even wilder tales of Frank Kaufmann—his only remaining “credible crashed-saucer witness.”

CSETI Promises/Threatens To Reveal UFO Secrets Soon

The Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI), headed by Dr. Steven M. Greer, a North Carolina medical doctor—which should not be confused with the respected Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute headed by famed astronomer Dr. Frank Drake—has promised (or threatened) to reveal the U.S. Government’s (alleged) UFO secrets in the near future.

Last Nov. 15, Greer sent a letter-ultimatum to President Clinton, with copies to Vice-President Gore, Defense Secretary Perry, CIA Director Deutch and many other top Executive Dept., Congressional and Supreme Court officials. The letter stated that unless otherwise directed by Jan. 1, 1997, CSETI would conclude that "several dozen former and current military, intelligence and defense contractor related witnesses” would be free to publicly reveal the government’s UFO secrets, including “retrieval of disabled extraterrestrial devices and extraterrestrial life forms.”

CSETI received no reply by its Jan. 1 deadline from the President or other Government officials which challenged Greer’s claims or indicated that the (alleged) witnesses were still bound by their secrecy oaths. So Greer then announced that “a meeting of such military, intelligence, government and corporate witnesses will be held later this winter.” Greer claimed that “senior and reliable intelligence sources have stated that no response or interference would be forthcoming vis a vis plans for government witnesses to publicly come forward with their testimony.” (Emphasis added.) At this meeting, according to Greer, these (alleged) witnesses will “meet with Congressional and other public officials to request open hearings within the Congress, so that they may testify openly about their knowledge and experiences related to UFOs/ETI. Should Congress not agree to open hearings, other venues, such as the United Nations or a private disclosure event, will be pursued to effect a public acknowledgement of the reality of UFOs/ETI.”

SUN CHALLENGES GREER TO OBTAIN SIGNED STATEMENTS FROM EVERY “WITNESS” THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO TESTIFY UNDER OATH BEFORE CONGRESS WHERE FALSE CLAIMS WILL MAKE THEM VULNERABLE TO PENALTIES FOR PERJURY. AND TO RELEASE THOSE STATEMENTS AT HIS UPCOMING CONFERENCE.

Short Shrift

NOTE: Opinions expressed in SUN are those of its Editor—unless otherwise noted—and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization with which he is affiliated—or his spouse. We thank Dr. Gary Posner for help in proofreading.

Philip J. Klass

Phil Klass was a UFO researcher with a background in electrical engineering. He was author of seven books on UFOs, including UFOs Explained and UFO Abductions: A Dangerous Game. He was also editor of the SUN newsletter, a UFO-related publication.