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UFOs in the Press:

The few links I added to the original article point at relevant pages of my site, and these linked pages are not part of the original publication.

I, along with several ufologists and scientists, also do not share all the ideas presented in the article (the Washington sightings of 1952 are not explainable in terms of "temperature inversion.") Neverthless, this mainstream magazine article is a document of interest in UFO litterature.

An article by Popular Mechanics:

This pagePart I (This page)

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What The Government Really Knows
About UFO Sightings

Do you believe the government is telling the truth about UFOs? Each of the government's major UFO studies – projects Blue Book, Grudge and Sign – claimed to have made a clean breast of things. Yet, according to JAHCUS's Clark, 80% of Americans "believe the government is hiding evidence of UFOs."

David M. Jacobs, a historian at Temple University, says the government's own paper trail suggests there may be a good reason to distrust the official version. He points out that between 1953 and 1969, the entire period the Air Force was responsible for investigating UFOs, its officers operated under standing orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that made it a crime under the Espionage Act to share UFO reports with unauthorized personnel.

"This action effectively stops the flow of information to the public," says Jacobs. "Only if Blue Book could positively identify a sighting as a hoax or misidentification would the Air Force release information to the public."

The rules, Project Blue Book advisor Hynek once remarked, made it impossible to evaluate a UFO report as anything other than a natural object, weather or atmospheric phenomenon, a hoax or a hallucination.

Hynek claimed that the Air Force was also under economic pressure to reduce the paperwork that UFO reports generated. To help keep the work flow manageable, said Hynek, Blue Book made arbitrary rules. For example, sightings reported by anyone under 18 were automatically disregarded. Toward the end of the project, enlisted men were allowed to summarily dismiss cases by claiming they were filed by crackpots.

Now, many of the sightings that Blue Book and earlier UFO investigations refused to examine are about to come out. In 1980 a group called Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act that asked the National Security Agency (NSA) to open its files on 239 sightings. In documents filed under a top-secret security classification, NSA responded that revealing its knowledge of UFO activity would damage national security.

But now, under revised declassification rules, many of these documents are being released by virtue of their age. Included among them are the Joint Chiefs of Staff communications about the Iran sighting. Historians and ufologists may soon have the final pieces of the great UFO puzzle.

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This page was last updated on February 22, 2002