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Foo fighters:

Major Keyhoe calls ATIC:

From "Flying Saucers: Top Secret", book by Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USM ret. pp 99-106.

The foo fighters introduction page is here. ATIC is the US Air Force Intelligence office.

One afternoon a Washington friend of our office manager sent us a Photostat - a copy of an Air Force letter. A month before, he had written General Nathan Twining, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and asked him some pointed questions. (Twining formerly was Chief of Staff of the Air Force.) Ordinarily, such a letter would be relayed to Air Force Headquarters. For some reason it had been sent to ATIC, and apparently a direct answer had been ordered.

"This is terrific," Munsick said when he brought me the Photostat. "ATIC admits that Air Force pilots have fired on UFOs - or what they thought were UFOs." A quick look showed the letter was genuine. It was on the official stationary of ATIC, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dated July 12, 1957, it was signed by Captain Wallace W. Elwood, Assistant Adjutant. Munsick pointed out the key paragraph. I read it twice. "Lee, thatís the strangest admission theyíve ever made." I reached for the phone. "Iím going to call Captain Elwood. Be ready to come on your extension and take notes."

When I reached Elwood, I delayed giving him my name for fear he might hang up. "Captain, you answered a letter for General Twining which says, quote ĎAir Force pilots have officially reported firing on flying objectsí... Before we make this public, weíd like to have the details." "Who is this?" Elwood said quickly. I told him. There was a prolonged silence, and I went on. "Your letter said the pilots fired on quote: Ďflying objects they could not identify but were later determined to be conventional objects.í What were they? Why didnít the pilots recognize them before they fired?" "Now wait," protested Elwood. "Iím only the Assistant Adjutant."

"But you signed the letter. How does ATIC know the objects were conventional? Did the pilots shoot them down..." "I never said that! They didnít shoot down anything." "Then if the flying objects got away the pilots still must not have identified them. How does ATIC know they were conventional - and what kind of objects..." Captain Elwood hurriedly stopped me. "I donít have all the answers. Iíll have to transfer you - Operator! Give this call to Captain Gregory, Project Blue Book."

When Captain Gregory came on, I told him Elwood had transferred me. "Iím checking on a letter he answered for General Twining, on July 12. It says Air Force pilots have fired on UFOs" "What? said Gregory. Are you sure?" "I have a copy right here." Then I told him who I was. "But your not supposed - Iím not allowed - hold on, maybe Mr. Hieatt..." Gregoryís voice faded as he covered the mouthpiece. After a long delay, a new voice took over.

"Hieatt speaking." (Later we learned this was Theodore Hieatt, Deputy Chief of Intelligence at ATIC, one of the few civilians to hold such a post.) I presume youíve been briefed, Mr. Hieatt. Itís clear the Air Force pilots thought those objects were hostile." "Why?" Hieatt asked crisply. "Captain Elwoodís letter states: íThe orders to pilots are to fire on an unidentified object only if it commits and act which is hostile, menacing, or constituting a danger to the United States.í" "That is correct." "Then the pilots must have been convinced those UFOs were menacing them, or were a danger to this country. Otherwise they wouldnít have fired." I waited. Mr. Hieatt didnít answer. "To commit menacing acts," I said, "the objects would have to be guided, directly or by remote control. Who controlled them during these attacks?" But Mr. Hieatt wasnít an Intelligence expert for nothing. "I havenít seen the letter. I donít know the facts. Iíll check and call you back." The phone clicked.

Munsick brought me his notes. "Well Hieatt had enough warning to be on guard. But those two captains - I never saw anybody pass the buck so fast. Probably Elwood only signed the letter. And Gregory sounded if heíd never heard of it. I donít see how Hieatt can brush this off," said Munsick. "That was an official ATIC answer for General Twining. I canít see any loophole, either. Only two kinds of conventional flying objects could be menacing - planes and missiles. Thereís been no Russian attack. And if the Air Force pilots had mistakenly fired on nay of our planes or missiles, it would have raised the devil. They couldnít have kept it from leaking out. Munsick shook his head. Itís a queer deal. Whoever prepared that letter will be lucky if he isnít busted to private.

Hieatt returned the call the next morning to Keyhoe, and Munsick listened in.

"Major Keyhoe? Iíve reviewed that situation. The objects the pilots fired on were foo-fighters." "Foo-fighters? But the Air force claims the foo-fighters were only illusions from war nerves." "The pilots fired on foo-fighters," Hieatt said patiently, "and foo-fighters are conventional objects." "How can an illusion be a conventional object? Do you mean those pilots just imagined they saw hostile objects?" "The pilots fired on foo-fighters, and foo-fighters are conventional objects." The calm reiteration was infuriating. I had an impulse to spring the Far East report on him, but realized it would be wasted ammunition. And Hieatt, like the others, was only obeying orders. "In the future, he said when I thanked him, address your questions to the Chief of Staff, at the Pentagon."

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