Those unfamiliar with the long and complex history of the UFO controversy may be understandably skeptical whether the astonishing events recounted in The Missing Times actually took place. After all, the nation's media took little notice. To help address this skepticism, I have included a few supporting documents below:
- A news story from the Nov. 19, 1975, Missoula, Montana Missoulan, in which Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Frederick Judd admits that "some kind of phenomena" had been observed by Minuteman ICBM guard personnel on "six or seven different evenings." Although UFOs continued to visit ICBM sites over an extended period, the Air Force claimed it was unconcerned about these unidentified aircraft flying over sensitive nuclear weapons facilities, a position natually greeted with astonishment by some readers. (See the associated letter.)
- A news story from the Dec. 5, 1975 Great Falls Tribune also reported UFO activity over Minuteman ICBM sites. Thus, the events were known to just about anyone who regularly read regional newspapers. Although the UFO sightings continued over a period of months, the national news media remained uninterested in the story.
- A few more
1975 Montana newspapers. Yes, there's another reality outside of what
you read in the New York Times
and watch on CBS or Fox TV. Maybe the "UFO buffs" are on to
something after all, eh?
volume of regional press coverage and the sensational nature of this
story, wouldn't the wire services have picked up on it? Well, not if
the CIA didn't want
report it. In the past, both AP and UPI (as well as other news
services) have quiety cooperated with the CIA when "national security"
was at stake. Another nutty conspiracy theory, you think? Then read
from the March 24, 2001, New York
Times. The flip side of
injecting propaganda is ensuring that
"sensitive" stories never go out on the wire in the first place. This
becomes rather easy when the CIA has "assets" inside the major news
services, which it clearly did by the early 1960s. Such covert
relationships between news services and the military/intelligence
community actually date back to World War I. It would be naive to think
that these relationships have ended, particularly given the astonishing
enthusiasm with which the American news media embraced the "need" to
invade Iraq. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
- UFO reports by commercial airline pilots were a major public-relations headache for the U.S. Air Force during the 1950s because they resulted in much sensational press coverage across the country. According to a military spokesman, UFOs were being reported by pilots at the rate of 5 to 10 a night in 1954. Commerical pilots had high credibility with the public because many had flown in combat during World War II and were considered reliable. Hence, it was difficult for the Air Force to debunk their claims in the way it did with sightings from the general public. Click here for a small sample of period news clips.
- The Air Force wanted all this bad news to go away, which it accomplished by pressuring airline pilots and their employers, and by making UFO reports an intelligence matter, protected from disclosure by the Espionage Act. To their credit the airline pilots did not forfeit their civil liberties without a protest. Here's a news story from the Dec. 22, 1958 Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger reporting a protest by commercial airline pilots over Air Force censorship of their UFO sightings.
- To make doubly sure the airline pilots would not talk to the media, UFO reports were included in a list of intelligence items civilian pilots were required to report to military authorities. Once they had reported their UFO sightings to the Air Force, these UFO reports were effectively protected from further disclosure under the Espionage Act. The instrument for this form of censorship was JANAP-146. Presto! No more embarrassing airline pilot reports!
- In 1952, another major wave of UFO activity swept the country. The following year the CIA decided enough was enough. UFO reports were becoming a threat to national security and needed to be suppressed via a covert, mass media program of "training and debunking." The panel that made this recommendation was chaired by a little-known but very influential scientist who had served as the liason between U.S. and British scientific intelligence during World War II. His name was Dr. H.P. Robertson. Yep, that's him in the Charlie Chaplin moustache standing there on the extreme left, with Einstein, Oppenheimer, and other leading physicists of the day. But if UFOs were no more than a public-relations problem, why would such high-level scientists be involved at all? Maybe UFOs were just a little more important than the CIA wanted the public to believe. Oh by the way, one of Robertson's associates in the scientific-intelligence game was Dr. R.V. Jones, a top British scientific intelligence officer and a leading expert in clever ways of fooling people. There's evidence that Jones played an important role in both the Robertson Panel and the later UFO "investigation" supervised by Dr. Edward Condon. Not only had Condon been up to his eyebrows in secret military R&D work, his security clearance had been reactivated prior to taking on the UFO research project at the University of Colorado.
took some time for
the CIA to get a handle on the media. In the mean time, the public was
getting jumpy. There was serious talk that we were being invaded by
beings from outer space. President Einsenhower, in a
front-page story in
the Dec. 16, 1954, New York Times,
assured Americans that this was not the case. But was he really so sure?
- A 1966 hand-written letter by CIA Robertson Panel member Dr. Thornton Page in which the author confesses to organizing a 1966 CBS TV UFO "documentary" around the CIA's conclusions. The program was narrated by famed newsman Walter Cronkite (once referred to as "the most trusted man in America") but was full of false and misleading information about UFOs. I have also included a typed version (of my own making) which may be easier to read. (The CIA's official position has been that the Robertson Panel's recommendations were not carried out.)
- While the CIA was quietly injecting its anti-UFO message into the mainstream media via cooperative news organizations such as CBS, there was one national newspaper that broke ranks and told the truth about UFOs and our nuclear missiles: the National Enquirer. But, of course, sophisticated folks didn't take that sleazy publication seriously! By mixing UFO reports with low-brow stories about celebrities and other trashy topics, the Enquirer made UFOs look completely ridiculous. This is, of course, just what the CIA wanted to do. So maybe it is not just a meaningless coincidence that the Enquirer was founded by Gene Pope, formerly of the CIA's psychological warfare division. Pope, 25 at the time he left the CIA, had loads of cash to spend on buying and nurturing a newspaper, the source of which has never been determined.
- A Time / CNN poll
showing 80 percent of Americans think their government is hiding
knowledge of aliens.
In 2002, The Missing Times was awarded "Best Book In a UFO Subject" by Britain's UFO Magazine.