HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE & ASTRONAUTICS
Criticism of the Air Force, not allowed
Symposium on UFOs, 1968

(NICAP's optimism abruptly ended, when we learned the truth about the supposed hearings)

No criticism of the Air Force or the Colorado UFO project would be allowed.

The orders had been issued by Chairman Miller. They applied to Congressman Roush and all the other members of the Science and Astronautics Committee. The invited scientists also had been warned. Anything that might lead to disparaging statements about the AF investigation or the CU (University of Colorado)  project was prohibited.

Although NICAP had played the leading role in securing the so-called hearings, we could not submit any information. Not only was our evidence blocked, we could make no comments on the discussions. No questions from the NICAP staff would be permitted, even if they were devoid of any AF or CU criticism - we could attend the meeting only as silent spectators. Although the discussions were officially called hearings, the meeting was also labeled as a symposium on unidentified flying objects, to remove any idea that this was an actual investigation.

Although the press had been invited, newsmen also were prohibited from asking questions. Some of them knew the inside story and they could have caused trouble. One correspondent, whom I had known for years, expected the muzzling order to cause a row.

"The Air Force must've pushed Miller into that," he told me. "But some of those Space Committee members are sore about it. They were all set to hit the AF and that Colorado Project. I know two who are going to try to buck the order. I'm not going to name them."

"I think I know who you mean.

"Well, it could set off a fight, and what a story that would be. That's the only reason I'm going-I already know most of the things McDonald and the rest will bring out."

Within minutes after the symposium began, Chairman Miller repeated his warning against criticizing the Air Force.

"I want to point out that your presence here is not a challenge to the work that is being done by the Air Force. Unfortunately there are those who are highly critical of the Air Force, saying that the AF has not approached the problem properly. I want you to know that we are in no way trying to go into the field that is theirs by law, and thus we are not critical of what the AF is doing.

"We should look at the problem from every angle. . . . I just want to point out we are not here to criticize the actions of the Air Force."

The first attempt to bypass the muzzling order was made by Congressman Ken Hechler.

"Is it your assumption," he asked Dr. Hynek, "that the AF . . . has not really measured up to a thorough scientific analysis of UFOs?"

But Hynek refused to answer the question. "The letter that came with the invitation to speak here strongly stated that we should not discuss the AF participation."

Congressman William F. Ryan, while questioning Dr. McDonald, tried to get his opinion of the Colorado Project Symposium Chairman Roush, following orders, quickly broke in:

"We agreed this was not the place to discuss that. . . . I'm sure Dr. McDonald would be very happy to confer with you privately on this."

Switching to another approach, Congressman Ryan led to McDonald's disclosing the Low memorandum to the National Academy of Sciences.

"You wrote . . . concerning this [Colorado] project?"

"Yes," McDonald replied. "I received a letter . saying we must let the Colorado Project run its course."

Congressman Roush interrupted. "I would appreciate it  if we disposed of that."

But Ryan persisted. "I'm suggesting maybe this committee should make an investigation of the University of Colorado Project."

Committee Chairman Miller immediately stopped him. "That is something we don't have authority to do here."

In spite of the silencing order, a surprising amount of open criticism, hitting at the AF and the CU Project, was printed in the official Hearings Record. Most of it was contained in prepared statements which were not read aloud or quoted at the symposium.

One sharp comment on the project at Boulder came from Dr. Garry C. Henderson, Senior Research Scientist, Space Sciences, General Dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Henderson said prominent scientists had ignored careful research methods in dealing with the UFO problem.

"Such an example," he stated, "is the unfortunate selection of the University of Colorado team headed by a respected scientist, with the result that the squirrel-cage atmosphere usually associated with UFO interest has been augmented by built-in bias and confusion, rather than eliminated by one group of scientists' involvement. . . . The public has been led to believe that everything has been done to either prove or disprove the existence of UFOs - rubbish! Available information of a truly reliable nature should tend to increase activity, not place it in neglect, or worse, in ridicule."

Another paper, inserted in the Hearings Record by Rep. James G. Fulton, was prepared by nuclear physicist Stanton T. Friedman, who has worked on nuclear and radiation projects at General Motors, Westinghouse and the Aerojet Corporation. Friedman said that long studies and UFO investigations had convinced him that Earth is being visited by alien-controlled space vehicles. Referring to the AF debunking explanations, he added, "The low percentage of unknowns [unsolved cases] is the direct result of deception on the part of the U.S. Air Force . ."

Another indication of AF deception appeared in a discussion by Dr. Robert M. L. Baker, Jr., a noted research scientist engaged in NASA, Navy and AF projects. As a Douglas Aircraft Company consultant he made an eighteen-month study and scientific analysis of the famous Utah and Montana films. Oddly enough, this was requested by the AF, although it had debunked the film images as birds and reflections from aircraft. During his extensive examination, Dr. Baker found that the AF explanations were incorrect. He reported his findings, with all the detailed analyses, to Maj. Gen. H. E. Watson, head of Air Technical Intelligence. But the disproved answers were never retracted. (At the time of the hearings, the AF was still using these false explanations.)

Dr. Baker urged a truly scientific UFO investigation, with a mobile force of highly qualified scientists to secure the best information; a special tracking system; "listening posts" to seek out possible alien messages. Plans should be made, he said, to extract valuable information from an advanced society, if the extraterrestrial answer proves correct. He also urged studies to learn the characteristics of an advanced civilization and to be prepared for the psychological impact on our own culture, in case of "contact."

"The goal of understanding, if attained," he said, "may be of unprecedented importance to the human race."

The AF claims that UFOs do not exist were rejected by Dr. James A. Harder, Professor of Engineering, University of California. A prolonged investigation, he stated, had proved UFO reality. He also stressed the need for learning the technical secrets of these superior spacecraft.

The bad effects of ridicule were emphasized by Dr. Robert L. Hall, head of the Sociology Department, University of Illinois, and a former AF psychologist. As an example, he related the case of an American artillery colonel in Korea. While flying in his observer plane he encountered a typical
UFO at fairly close range.

"He was an experienced observer," said Dr. Hall,". . . [but] when he returned he was so ridiculed he gave up trying to be taken seriously."

The risk of panic, from sudden contact with aliens, needs to be countered, Dr. Hall warned. Instead of issuing reassuring statements, he said, the public should be given sound information through a careful preparation program.

The most detailed expose of the AF cover-up was made by Dr. James McDonald. It was done without any harsh attack, through a long statement including over thirty pages of verified reports, with proof that public explanations were untrue-most of them AF debunking answers. Almost every important aspect of the UFO problem was covered, analyzed scientifically with confirmed evidence.

Even Dr. Carl Sagan, the least positive of the symposium scientists, made some important admissions. A frequent adviser to NASA, Dr. Sagan has degrees in physics, astronomy and astrophysics. He is an associate professor of astronomy at Cornell University, and is also connected with Cornell's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. Interstellar flight at nearly the speed of light is not impossible, even with present principles of science, Dr. Sagan told the symposium members. "If we are being visited by representatives of extraterrestrial life, just sticking our heads in the sand would be a very bad policy. . . . If there are other technical civilizations, any random one is likely to be vastly in advance of us. It is unlikely there is any other civilization in the galaxy that is as backward [as we are]."

The only scientist adamantly opposed to acceptance of the UFO evidence was Dr. Donald H. Menzel, former director of Harvard Observatory. In his prepared statement Menzel explained UFOs as mirages, reflections from windows, TV antennae and car fenders and also as optical illusions, after-images, or spots before the eyes. Pilots and other trained witnesses, Dr. Menzel said, often make huge errors. Many unidentified objects, he claimed, were only birds, saucer shaped clouds, or wind-blown hats, spider webs, feathers and seedpods. In conclusion, Dr. Menzel stated: "The time has come for the Air Force to wrap up Project Blue Book. . .

<>Major Donald E. Keyhoe
Aliens From Space - 1973