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Volume 26

The Skeptics UFO Newsletter

Philip J. Klass

March 1, 1994

This volume is available as a PDF file. Download »

Schiff Straddles “Crashed Saucer” Fence to Explain Request That GAO Investigate “Roswell Incident”

Ever since the story broke in the January issue of SUN and the Jan. 13 edition of the Albuquerque Journal that Congressman Steve Schiff (R-NM) had requested the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate the “Roswell crashed-saucer incident,” Schiff has gone to great lengths to explain that he’s not really that interested in UFOs and that he questions whether an ET craft crashed in New Mexico in 1947. But on the other hand...

In the Albuquerque Journal article, Schiff was quoted as saying: “It’s not a light thing to ask a government agency to look into something, but the government has been accused of cover-up. I would not ask for an investigation of something I was just curious about. The issue is whether the government is being forthright with the American people, and that is a serious issue to me....I just assume that if there were alien bodies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, somebody would have discovered them during all these years. On the other hand, you have to say that anything is possible as long as the government won’t talk.” When interviewed for a story published in the Jan. 14 edition of The Washington Post, Schiff was quoted as saying: "Generally, I’m a skeptic on UFOs and alien beings, but there are indications from the run-around that I got that whatever it was, it wasn’t a balloon. Apparently it’s another government coverup.”

When Schiff was interviewed on a CBS-radio network talk show on Feb. 4, host Gil Gross introduced the Congressman by saying he had “asked the General Accounting Office to at least once and for all settle the question...has there been an Air Force cover-up of whatever it was that happened in Roswell.” Schiff responded: “I did not ask the GAO to try to once and for all resolve this matter....What I asked the General Accounting Office to do was to assist me in locating whatever Air Force, Defense Dept. files would have existed on the subject, or an accounting of what happened to them.”

If Roswell Crashed Saucer File Ever Existed, Top Officials Never Saw It

There is much hard evidence to show that IF an ET craft crashed on the Brazel ranch in mid-1947, prompting the Air Force to create a “Roswell File,” its existence was unknown to high officials who had a "Need To Know.” For example, the rash of UFO sighting reports that followed on the heels of the June 24, 1947 report by pilot Kenneth Arnold prompted USAF headquarters in late August of 1947 to seek an appraisal of what UFOs might be from Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining, commander of the Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson AF Base (WPAFB) in Dayton, Ohio. (Recall that WPAFB is where the crashed saucer and ET bodies recovered in New Mexico allegedly were sent for analysis.)

IF a “Roswell File” existed, Twining could have responded quickly and easily by sending a copy to the Pentagon. But in fact, on Sept. 23, 1947, Gen. Twining responded with what he called “the considered opinion of this Command concerning the so-called ‘Flying Discs'.” One sentence from Twining’s letter is widely quoted in books and TV shows on crashed saucers: “It is the opinion that the phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.”

But the same books and TV programs invariably omit the following from the same Twining letter: "Due consideration must be given the following....the lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these objects.” Twining’s letter, originally classified “Secret,” was declassified more than 20 years ago.

Another hard-evidence example can be found in the book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects,” by Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed USAF’s Project Blue Book office of UFO investigations from 1951 to 1953. In the summer of 1948, after a rash of seemingly mysterious UFO incidents, the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB prepared an Estimate of the Situation, classified TOP SECRET. The ATIC “Estimate” was that UFOs were extraterrestrial craft. But when this report reached USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, according to Ruppelt, “it was batted back down. The general wouldn’t buy interplanetary vehicles. The report lacked proof. A group from ATIC went to the Pentagon to bolster their position but had no luck, the chief of staff just couldn’t be convinced.”

A single photo of the crashed saucer and alien bodies from a “Roswell File” could instantly have convinced Gen. Vandenberg. ATIC’s failure to include a single photo offers further evidence that IF a "Roswell File” was ever created, its existence was unknown to the chief of the USAF who was responsible for defending the nation’s sovereign airspace.


Top USAF/Navy Intelligence Officials Also Unaware of “Roswell File”

Further hard evidence can be found in the “TOP SECRET” Air Intelligence Report No. 100-203-79 on UFOs dated Dec. 10, 1948. The report, prepared by the USAF’s Directorate of Intelligence and the Office of Naval Intelligence, was declassified on Mar. 5, 1985, and published in the July 1985 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal.

As of late 1948, according to this once TOP SECRET report, “The origin of the devices [UFOs] is not ascertainable. There are two reasonable possibilities: (1) The objects are domestic [U.S.] devices....(2) Objects are foreign, and if so, it would seem most logical to consider that they are from a Soviet source. The Soviets possess information on a number of German flying-wing type aircraft, such as the Gotha P60A, Junkers EF- 130 long-range, high-speed jet bomber and the Horten 229 twin-jet fighter, which particularly resembles some of the descriptions of unidentified flying objects. (See Appendix ‘D').”

Clearly, the high-ranking USAF and Navy intelligence specialists who wrote the Dec. 10, 1948 report would never have concluded that “it would seem most logical to consider that [UFOs] are from a Soviet source” if they had seen a “Roswell File” containing a single photo of small, odd-looking ET bodies or an autopsy report on the creatures.

The Logical Explanation: No “Roswell File” Because No Crashed Saucer

Walter Haut, the then young public affairs officer at the Roswell AF Base who wrote and handed out the “flying disk” press release, now claims that he was told to do so by Col. William Blanchard, the base commander. There is evidence to show that Haut’s current recollections are in error. Haut had no formal training in public affairs and his press release failed to attribute the extraordinary “flying disk” claim to any senior official. But the reporter at the Roswell Daily Record to whom Haut gave the release clearly was an experienced journalist and knew the claim needed to be attributed to someone and so he asked.

When the resulting article was published in that evening’s (July 8) edition of the Roswell Daily Record it read: “The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer. According to information released by the department, over the authority of Maj. J.A. Marcel, intelligence officer, the disk was recovered....The intelligence office stated that no details...had been released.” (Emphasis added.)

If Haut had been instructed by Col. Blanchard to issue the press release, when he was asked by the Roswell Daily Record, he would have cited Blanchard, NOT Marcel.

Did Marcel “Goof?”

Maj. Marcel’s position as chief of intelligence for the 509th Bombardment Group—then the nation’s only nuclear-weapon delivery group—is testimony to his skills for that mission, such as assessing the impact of bombing on enemy facilities. But occasionally everyone goofs [except SUN’s editor]. Seemingly, Marcel did after he returned from the Brazel ranch on the morning of July 8 with the recovered debris.

Surely Marcel knew that the Army White Sands Missile Range, less than 100 miles west of Roswell, was testing captured German V-2 ballistic missiles and occasionally one of the missiles would go astray. For example, a month before Brazel first discovered the debris, a V-2 missile had malfunctioned and landed near Almogordo, N.M., and two weeks later another headed south and impacted near Juarez, Mexico. These incidents were reported in the local newspapers and radio station broadcasts.

If Marcel found the Brazel ranch material to be unusual, his very first thoughts should have been that perhaps the debris was associated with the V-2 missile tests—perhaps an instrument payload from another V-2 that had gone astray. Marcel’s first act should have been to call the White Sands Missile Range to determine if the Brazel ranch debris might be associated with their missile tests. BUT SO FAR AS IS KNOWN, MARCEL DID NOT.

If Marcel overlooked the possible V-2 missile test connection, he should certainly have considered that the Brazel ranch debris might be from a new type of Soviet reconnaissance craft, designed to spy on the activities of the 509th Bombardment Group and the several sensitive nuclear weapons facilities in New Mexico—perhaps in preparation for a surprise attack. (Less than six years earlier, Japan had launched its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.) If the Soviets were covertly violating the U.S. airspace for such purposes, top Defense and Government officials in Washington should be alerted immediately, and word of Soviet penetrations should be withheld until President Truman saw fit to make them public.

Who Was Considered Responsible?

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT Marcel was transferred to a “desk job” in the Pentagon in Washington. He resigned from the service three years after the “Roswell Incident,” giving “UNDUE HARDSHIP” as the reason. Walter Haut resigned less than a year after the incident. But Col. Blanchard rose to become a three-star general and was slated to become USAF Chief Of Staff had he not died of a heart attack.

The “Roswell Incident” occurred less than three months before the Army Air Force was slated to become an independent third service—the U.S. Air Force. For those who had opposed this change on the grounds that the “wild blue yonder boys” lacked maturity, the Roswell Incident seemed to confirm these concerns. If a “Roswell File” ever existed, it consisted of embarrassing newspaper clippings which USAF officials would be eager to shred or discard.


Was Schiff “Led Down The Primrose Path” Or Did He Volunteer?

Congressman Schiff says that as a long-time resident of New Mexico he had “heard of the Roswell Incident....But I did not know it was the subject of several books, that there were TV programs about it.” Yet a senior member of Schiff’s staff, Mary Martinek, was very familiar with the books and TV programs because her husband, Karl Pflock, a long-time pro-UFOlogist, has spent nearly two years investigating the incident. His effort has been partly financed by the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) which earlier produced a nearly two-hour video, titled “Recollections of Roswell (Part 2)"—intended to prompt Congressional inquiry.

(The FUFOR video features Gerald F. Anderson, who claims that as a child he and members of his family stumbled upon a crashed saucer and several ET bodies on the Plains of San Agustin in New Mexico. Since the video was made, Anderson’s tale has been exposed as a hoax and he reportedly has admitted document forgery.) [See SUN #20/March 1993.]

When Schiff first wrote to Defense Secretary Les Aspin on March 11, 1993, seeking information on the Roswell Incident [See SUN #25/Jan. 1994], the letter said that Martinek, then Schiff’s legislative director in Washington, would “coor- dinate all activities concern- ing this request,” according to an article in the Jan. 14 edition of the Albuquerque Journal. (Recently Martinek moved to Albuquerque to head up Schiff’s local office.) The article quoted Pflock (who also moved to New Mexico) as denying that he had prodded Schiff into requesting the GAO investigation: “This is his baby. He’s not doing me any favors. He’s doing it because he’s committed to the idea that this is something that should be brought out in public.”

But the Albuquerque Journal article quoted Pflock as saying that “he and other UFO researchers first made formal contact with Schiff’s staff about the incident in August 1992. Pflock and fellow researcher Fred Whiting subsequently compiled a 130-page ‘briefing paper'...much of which points toward some sort of government plot to hide whatever really happened in 1947. [Whiting is a member of FUFOR’s executive committee.] That paper was given to Schiff’s office in December [1992], Pflock said, and ‘they're going to be giving that to the GAO, if they haven't already done that, to help in the investigation.'”

A follow-on story in the Jan. 23 edition of the Albuquerque Journal quoted Stanton Friedman as saying he was one of several persons who had briefed Schiff’s staff at the August 1992 meeting. [SUN would be very surprised if Friedman, whose book on the Roswell Incident had just been published, did not provide Schiff’s staff with a copy of the book as well as copies of his numerous papers on crashed saucers and the “MJ-12 papers."]

The article quoted Pflock as saying: “The fact that [Schiff is] taking this seriously is good reason for other people to take this seriously.” The article said: “Schiff maintains that letters from constituents, not pressure from UFO hunters, prompted him to first seek out information on the Roswell Incident. He enlisted the help of the GAO after getting terse non-answers from the Pentagon and the National Archives.”

You Win Some; You Lose Some

Two Letters-to-the-Editor published in the Jan. 19 and Jan. 22 editions of the Albuquerque Tribune provide conflicting views on Schiff’s action. One, signed by Charles Bates, read: “While some may criticize Congressman Steve Schiff for wasting money on his quest for a General Accounting Office investigation of the 1947 UFO crash near Corona, I feel that his action is to be commended. Too much credible testimony from firsthand eyewitnesses has accumulated to dismiss the incident as a crash of a mere weather balloon, and it is long past time that the truth of this exceedingly enigmatic incident is disclosed. Schiff must be supported unconditionally by the media and the people of New Mexico in his quest for the long-suppressed truth.”

The other letter, from Stan Glenn, read: “I see where Rep. Steve Schiff is show-boating with an inquiry into whether aliens died in an alleged UFO incident almost 50 years ago. I’d be much more interested in learning why Schiff was the only member of the New Mexico delegation to vote for the Penny-Kasich deficit reduction bill and its provision against Cost-of-Living-Allowances (COLA) for approximately 40,000 military retirees’ widows and associated beneficiaries in New Mexico....His vote will be remembered at the polls this coming November much more than his grandstanding about UFOs.”


More than 30 years after Marcel recovered the debris from the Brazel ranch, he recalled “that the pieces of metal we brought back were so thin, just like tinfoil in a pack of cigarettes.” Marcel claimed: “I tried to bend the stuff....It would not bend and you could not tear it or cut it either....Now by bend, I mean crease. It was possible to flex this stuff back and forth, even to wrinkle it, but you could not put a crease in it that would stay, nor could you dent it at all. I would almost have to describe it as a metal with plastic properties.” ["The Roswell Incident,” by Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore, p. 66.]

Marcel’s description sounds very much like the foil-coated parchment paper used in the 1940s to construct lightweight balloon-borne radar corner-reflectors. However, if this thin metal foil had the remarkable characteristics that some persons now claim to remember after nearly half a century, and if the Government knew it came from an ET craft, then the U.S. Government would go to great lengths to analyze the “Miracle Material” so it could be manufactured and used in our aircraft and rocket-boosters to greatly increase their payload.

Inasmuch as no such “Miracle Material” has shown up in our aircraft or rocket-boosters since 1947, it would appear that it has been extremely difficult to analyze the “Miracle Material” and to reproduce it. This means that during the past 47 years, the U.S. Government would have called in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the leading metallurgists and plastics experts in the country to test, analyze, and try to replicate the “Miracle Material.”

THUS, THERE SHOULD BE MANY HUNDREDS OF REPORTS ON THE TESTS, ANALYSES AND ATTEMPTED REPLICATION EXPERIMENTS OF THE “MIRACLE MATERIAL” IN GOVERNMENT ARCHIVES. Naturally, such reports would be highly classified, but the GAO investigator holds the highest security clearances.


And Still Another Solution to GAO’s Quest

Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt, who co-authored the book “UFO Crash at Roswell,” will soon publish a new book titled “The Truth About The UFO Crash At Roswell,” featuring what they claim are newly discovered “firsthand eyewitnesses.” One of these not only claims to have seen the crashed-saucer and ET bodies, but claims he has material from the craft which he picked up at the site. [SUN hears that the material is nothing like the thin foil Marcel described.] So far, this “firsthand witness” has refused to release the material to Randle/Schmitt for professional analysis. However, Randle says “other things that we have been told by this source have been corroborated by four or more other sources...” according to Randle’s letter in the Jan. 15, 1994, issue of Saucer Smear, a newsletter published by Jim Moseley.

SUN SUGGESTS that the GAO investigator obtain from Randle the identity of this “firsthand eyewitness,” contact him and obtain the (alleged) crashed saucer material for analysis. To assure the person that the material will be returned, GAO could offer to put up a security deposit of $10,000,000. If Randle’s "firsthand eyewitness” refuses, then Schiff should arrange for Congress to subpoena the “firsthand eyewitness” AND his material.

Key “Witness” Denies Seeing Linda’s (Alleged) Manhattan Abduction

Budd Hopkins’ claim that the (alleged) UFO abduction of Linda Napolitano from her 12th floor Manhattan apartment was witnessed by a “Very Important Person” (VIP)—United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar—has been flatly denied by de Cuellar in a face-to-face meeting with Hopkins, according to an article in a British newspaper. [For details on the case, See SUN #17/Sept. 1992.] The article in the Jan. 2 edition of The Independent On Sunday was written by Jim Schnabel, who developed a close working relationship with Hopkins during research for his new book on UFO abductions, “Dark White.” [See SUN #25/Jan. 1994]

The meeting occurred last summer at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport during de Cuellar’s change-of-planes layover, and was arranged by Jay Sapir, whom Schnabel describes as “a long-time UFO enthusiast who is also the Midwest bureau chief of the United Press International radio news.” Sapir had been seeking an interview with de Cuellar on the issue and when advised of the upcoming opportunity, he alerted Hopkins who flew to Chicago. Schnabel quotes Sapir as saying when he handed de Cuellar a copy of International UFO Reporter with an article reporting his alleged involvement in the Linda case, de Cuellar responded: “I certainly don’t remember anything like this. There’s a restaurant we go [to] in Brooklyn sometimes. I don’t know, maybe my guards saw some strange light a few years ago.”

Sapir told Schnabel that de Cuellar “shook his head with a mixture of amusement and amazement.” But Sapir added: “I’m not convinced that the Third Man [alleged VIP witness] is not de Cuellar.” I am convinced that de Cuellar is at least consciously convinced it’s not him. But...there’s all kinds of mind control and they [ETs] switch you off....” Hopkins has publicly said that he believes ETs intentionally orchestrated Linda’s abduction so it would be witnessed by an internationally recognized VIP whose word would be accepted without question. BUT SAPIR'S IMPROVISED EXPLANATION FOR DE CUELLAR'S DENIAL- -THAT ETs INTENTIONALLY HAVE “SWITCHED-OFF” HIS MEMORY—CHALLENGES THIS HOPKINS HYPOTHESIS.

Schnabel reports that “Hopkins will not comment on Sapir’s interview with Perez de Cuellar, but according to Sapir, he [Hopkins] came away from it ‘more convinced than ever’ that Linda’s abduction by aliens had occurred and that Perez de Cuellar had been an involuntary participant.” (Emphasis added.) Although Hopkins has delivered a number of lectures on UFO abductions since his meeting with de Cuellar, so far he has not even mentioned the meeting or de Cuellar’s denial.

UFO Coverup: By NSA Or Friedman?

If you've ever seen “flying saucer super-salesman” Stanton Friedman on the lecture and talk-show circuit, you've seen his favorite “props” to prove a Government UFO coverup—heavily censored pages from a document stamped “Top Secret.” The 21-page document was submitted by the National Security Agency (NSA) to the U.S. District Court in 1980 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) action by Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) to obtain NSA’s UFO files. The documents look impressive because Friedman withholds the full facts from his audience.

One of NSA’s primary functions is to covertly “eavesdrop” on official communications of potential enemy countries—referred to as “Communications Intelligence” or “Comint.” Further, to try to decode their encrypted messages. If Country X learns that NSA has managed to decode its present encryption, then it works to develop a more secure technique.

The notarized (sworn) document which NSA submitted to the court stated that a search of NSA files had turned up a total of 239 documents of which 79 had originated with other agencies and had been referred to those agencies to decide whether they could be released. Of the remaining 160 documents, one “is an account by a person assigned to NSA of his attendance at a UFO symposium and it cannot fairly be said to be a record of the kind sought by the plaintiff.” The NSA document cited three other memoranda written by NSA employees, one entitled “UFO Hypothesis and Survival,” which were released to CAUS after minor deletions of references to NSA operations. “The remaining 156 records being withheld are communications intelligence (Comint) reports which were produced between 1958 and 1979....” (Emphasis added.)

“When alerted to the extent of NSA’s capability [to covertly intercept and decode messages], and if given information from which inferences could be drawn as to the processing methods used, foreign intelligence services would be able to evade or defeat portions of NSA’s present foreign intelligence efforts....The disclosure of other records at issue here would result in the loss of intelligence information....The value of intelligence data collected from these sources is obvious.” (Emphasis added.) After Judge Gesell studied NSA’s 21-page detailed justification, he endorsed the agency’s position and his decision subsequently was sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court. CAUS later requested and obtained a heavily censored version of the 21-page document which Friedman so proudly displays.

It is interesting to note that over a 21-year period NSA had accumulated a total of only 156 foreign message intercepts in which UFOs were mentioned—an average of fewer than eight (8) per year. If NSA were actively interested in UFOs one would expect it would have thousands of documents on the subject. More importantly, if any of these intercepted foreign messages revealed any important data on UFOs, that information was known to unfriendly governments who were unlikely to cooperate with the U.S. Government in a UFO coverup.

Former NSA Employee, Now MUFON Official, Speaks Out

Thomas P. Deuley, long-time UFOlogist and MUFON’s corporate secretary, provided useful insights into the withheld NSA documents in a paper presented at MUFON’s 1987 conference in Washington. Its title: “Four Years At NSA—No UFOs.” Deuley said: “In the summer of 1978 I transferred to NSA just prior to attending the MUFON symposium 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.) When CAUS brought its FOIA action, NSA turned to Deuley—its “in-house UFOlogist"—to assess which UFO documents could be released without damage to intelligence sources.

In Deuley’s MUFON talk he said: “I believe that I saw or held copies of the large majority of the documents withheld 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....It is clear to me that the possibility of damage to national security sources and methods far outweighed the value of the information under question.” Thus Deuley confirmed the wisdom of Judge Gesell’s earlier assessment. Deuley concluded his MUFON talk by saying that after spending four years working in NSA, “I did not see any indication of official NSA interest in the subject [UFOs].”

If you wonder whether Friedman is aware of the contents of Deuley’s MUFON paper, the answer is YES! SUN’s editor sent Friedman a copy more than six years ago.

Short Shrift

NOTE: Opinions expressed in SUN are those of its Editor—unless otherwise noted—and do not necessarily represent the views of any organizations with which he is affiliated—nor 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.