Once you begin to really appreciate the extent to which unidentified aerial objects were seriously considered as a potential military/security threat, certain things become less mysterious and the activities of a number of government agencies much more understandable – although far more intrusive than most of us might have imagined at the time. That is just one of the aspects to the national security problem of UFOs which surface throughout the studies in Unidentified. The documents now available leave no room for doubt that both Soviet psychological warfare and technical espionage were very active concerns of the official UFO investigations.
Those who have been interested in the subject of UFOs for any extended time are likely familiar with the earliest discussions of mysterious investigators in civilian clothes, even more mysterious “men in black” and in later years actual military personnel who moved from routine UFO investigations into much more aggressive and even damaging interactions with witnesses. Certain of those activities ultimately appear to have generated many of the outright hoaxes and myths that continue to frustrate serious citizen inquiry into the subject – and yes, in terms of full transparency I’m talking about the constantly expanding volume of Majestic 12 documents and even worse grays, reptilians, underground bases, interstellar treaty agreements, secret scientific teams and human “harvesting”.
If you are interested in UFOs and have never heard any of those topics mentioned – congratulations. If you have I would strongly suggest that you do a reality check by reading Project Beta by Greg Bishop, and even better Mirage Men by Mark Pilkington. You don’t have to bring aliens into the subject to find some really nasty things going on.
The reality of the covert intelligence activities is deadly serious, albeit less sensational than that of mysterious men in black (those movies were late to the party, the MIB had been discussed for decades before they hit the screen). And those activities are totally understandable in the context first of post WWII America and later of the ongoing Cold War.
As early as 1946, the brand new Central Intelligence Group advised President Harry Truman that it appeared the Soviets were actively involved in the use of rockets and related devices as a form of psychological warfare in Scandinavia. The assessment was that the Soviets were covertly demonstrating potential weapons based in adapted German ballistic and cruise missile developments as a means to intimidate neutral nations from moving into the American sphere of influence, either military or economic.
From that point on first the Army Air Force, later the newly independent Air Force and ultimately the CIA focused on the likelihood of mysterious aerial devices being related to potential Soviet psychological warfare. When the “flying saucer” wave of 1947 hit the United States in 1947 the Air Force immediately enlisted the FBI in a search for potential Soviet agents as being a source for flying saucer reports. Over the years both the FBI and military intelligence groups covertly investigated individuals filing UFO reports (especially reports from military or national security installations). That was during an era of anti-communist concern in which loyalty oaths became common in government jobs and even for teachers.
There were concerns that communist agents, Soviet fellow travelers and even saboteurs might be involved in UFO reports. Official studies and assessments consistently discussed the danger represented by waves of false reports – such reports could undermine public confidence in the nation’s military, create morale problems or in the worst case even divert attention from an actual preemptive Russian strike.
Were there people in civilian clothes and men in dark suits investigating people who made UFO reports, especially reports that involved any type of physical evidence – most definitely. Was there a perceived threat related to UFOs – absolutely. But it wasn’t extra-terrestrial, it was most definitely earthly, and most likley Russian. Documents now available suggest that the suspicion of Russian involvement was so great that the initial Air Force UFO inquiry definitely expected to quickly identify the objects and connect them to Russian adaptation of German advanced technologies – and were frustrated and shocked when that didn’t happen.
By the time that attitude had become adjusted, the United States itself was on the way to developing its own advanced high speed and stratospheric aerial aircraft and balloon systems, under the highest levels of secrecy. At that point the second phase of the Russian fear kicked in – that of Soviet agents actually using UFO witnesses and most especially UFO interest groups as intelligence sources. Initially the worry was that Russian agents would use the groups to spread rumors and fears and possibly trigger diversionary waves of sightings. Later, as groups began to actively scout for signs of UFOs, that fear evolved.
In the earliest years UFO groups were specifically called out as an intelligence threat and identified for special monitoring. Later as the groups became more organized and even began to deploy their instruments for their own observations a new concern was that they would observe secret aircraft and secret weapons systems under development. That could lead to disclosure of details pertaining not to alien craft but on classified projects – providing “open source” intelligence for the Soviets.
When evidence was discovered suggesting that Soviet agents were indeed following certain UFO groups, and that members of those groups were unknowingly collecting information on some of the most highly classified national weapons and communications projects, things got nasty. Counter intelligence moved to planting disinformation and sensationalizing discussions among the UFO community. Both types of mind games were carried out against the various individuals, very effectively. The net result certainly muddied the water in terms of foreign intelligence collection but it did so in a manner as to poison the information being circulated within the community for decades.