Insight

UFOs and the National Security State by Jacques Vallee

The important book you are about to read (UFOs and the National Security State by Richard Dolan) is the first comprehensive study of the U.S. Government's response to the intrusion of UFO phenomena in American skies over the last 50 years. While several historical studies of the controversies surrounding the reports have been conducted, the military and intelligence implications have, until now, remained in a state of confusion.

As a longtime student of the phenomenon I can testify to the complexity of the data Richard Dolan had to decipher. The U.S. Air Force itself, overtly the main contender in this drama, never attempted to compile a comprehensive history of its own files on the matter. When I reviewed the 11,000 cases in the Air Force files between 1963 and 1967, the military had no index of that data. The most cogent participants, such as Captain Edward Ruppelt and professor J.Allen Hynek, did write about what they had done but they left many undocumented areas. Interested outsiders picked up the pieces of the various projects, and presented personal interpretations of what had happened. Understandably, the result was a vibrant melange of facts, fiction and subjective interpretations, which has led to the wildly conflicting theories the media love to exploit.

Even the White House was unable to reconstruct the full picture when President Jimmy Carter instructed Nasa to undertake a review UFO information in the late seventies. A Washington wag described the space agencys reaction to this presidential order as a flurry of alarmed paralysis. At the height of the Carter effort a small group of us from various research institutes and universities volunteered to help. I vividly recall a meeting I had with a high-level official at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, across the street from the White House in September 1977. I tried to convey to him that we had experts all across the U.S. who were ready, willing and able to get involved in Nasas review of the phenomenon if they were given a green light. He listened to me sympathetically but expressed discouragement about what he saw as an impossible political situation. Discussion turned to the fact that the CIA and the Air Force, as well as several other agencies, must have entire file cabinets filled with reports from their own people, if only because the phenomenon is known to trigger the kinds of sensors that have been deployed to detect enemy threats during the Cold War. I was told there was plenty of data all right, collected by the military and intelligence community, but it never saw the light of day. The White House might force some of it to be released, he told me, but that might not advance the problem: Those guys twist everything to suit their own political schemes. Its like pulling teeth to get data, and you never know if they tell you the truth.

It is in this murky world of deception and confusion that Richard Dolan has now cast a welcome light. But it will take a sustained effort along the lines he has pioneered if we hope to validate the facts, uncover the motives, and reconstruct the patterns. In order to conduct this analysis it is very important to take notice of what is NOT there: The missing parts of the overall puzzle. What is not there constitutes a world of heroic complexity and immense proportion.

I had a vivid example of this fact, on a much smaller scale, when I unearthed a secret letter from a Battelle scientist named Cross, who had written to the CIA at the time of the Robertson panel in 1953. (I have referred to this document in my previous books as the Pentacle Memorandum). To this day there are ufologists who claim the letter was unimportant. Yet there are indications it may represent the point of major bifurcation when the most serious part of the official study plunged underground while Blue Book continued as a public relations exercise, the visible effort by the military to gather UFO reports from American citizens.

The experience of tracking down that single document makes me appreciate the delicate nature and the sheer difficulty of the task undertaken by Richard Dolan in compiling the present book.

The Cross letter was significant because it implied that a group of specialists working in the shadows on the most massive UFO study to date had the power to keep critical information from a prestigious national security panel. Furthermore they had another plan, a brilliant project of far-reaching implication, which they proposed to implement as a way of getting to the heart of the phenomenon. I had a copy of that letter. It was stamped Secret. I knew its exact origin. Yet all the efforts I made to unearth an official copy from the Air Force or the National Archives through the Freedom of Information Act failed to yield results. It is finally through Congress that I obtained clearance to release the text. The process has given me a sobering view of the ability of the bureaucracy to hide the truth for decades, occasionally using the colorful community of UFO believers itself as an unwitting tool as it covered its tracks. To this day I am convinced that historians of the phenomenon have remained blind to some of the implications. It is my hope that books like the present one can stimulate a renewed effort to get at the truth.

Like the missing mass that astronomers are trying to locate in the far reaches of our universe, the UFO phenomenon rests on an ocean of dark matter, deep secrets, and forgotten wars fought only in shadows. Not all of it had to do with the kind of objects the American public imagines UFOs to be. Some of the warriors seem to have understood, early on, that if UFOs existed as a genuine new phenomenon of intelligent origin, this fact did not necessarily mean they were from outer space. And other warriors may have decided that the belief in the reality of UFOs could be twisted, exploited, and bent to obscure political ends. They may have planted false UFO stories to hide real experiments. They may have disguised helicopters as flying saucers, or lied to witnesses at sites where advanced prototypes had crashed, never to be divulged again. No wonder even White House officials get confused when they try, years later, to reassemble the facts.

As we ponder the implications we are led, inexorably, to a much larger issue. As anyone learns who has become a naturalized United States citizen, the rock upon which American democracy is built is an informed citizenry. Without full information, how would you know how to vote And if you didnt know how to vote, could you still pretend you lived in a democracy

In the last fifty years the various branches of the military and intelligence community in the United States have so clouded the reports of the UFO phenomenon that the citizenry has been left not just uninformed but indeed disinformed. This may not have been the intent, but it is indeed the result. Those who truly care about democracy are justified in asking that the government come clean about what it knows, and most importantly perhaps what it doesnt know about a phenomenon of such far-reaching consequences for our science and our society.

All efforts to break open the mystery so far have made the assumption that the big secret merely involves extraterrestrial spacecraft put together with metal and rivets. This partial view is supported by the many instances in which UFOs have been seen by pilots, photographed, and tracked on radar. Yet modern physical theory opens up a much wider, richer spectrum of hypotheses for objects that might blink in and out of perception, impact the consciousness of witnesses, accelerate without creating sonic booms, change shape and merge with one another dynamically. Concepts of higher dimensionality, once on the fringes of physics, have entered the mainstream of science. Given what we know about the universe today, it is irrational to assume it can be described with only three dimensions of space and one dimension of time.

The UFO witnesses are telling us they have experienced objects of vast complexity that challenged their sense of reality. Such observations are anomalous in the narrow sense of the classical physics we learn in school, but they may help build a conceptual framework for the physics of the twenty-first century. It is all the more important then, as Richard Dolan points out, to make a precise assessment of what the most reliable witnesses have observed, and to seriously start looking for the missing parts of this famous puzzle. UFOs have been with us since the beginning of recorded history. Could they be trying to tell us who we are, and what true place we are destined to occupy in the universe

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