We all know there are two levels of communications which occur in association with any national security event which requires a national response, whether by a government agency, a military service or a political administration. One is the public story, which generally calls for calm and offers reassurance – as it should, panic and the emergence of mob mentality seriously magnify the consequences of such incidents. At the time the public story also provides a certain amount of “maneuvering room” for appropriate legal, law enforcement or military actions.
It sometimes amazes me that not only the public but experienced political and media figures routinely talk as if the official announcements should divulge all the known details of national security incidents when the “first responders” (whether civilian, military or law enforcement) are still in the process of trying to sort out matters and come up with a tactical response. Obviously sharing full details with the public also shares them with those behind the incidents and that is a very bad thing, allowing them to know how well their plans succeeded, whether their identity is now known and what they can best do to escape or avoid retaliation.
Of course the internal, inter-agency, inter-service communications are a wholly different matter. To be effective those communications should not be constrained and should be as honest about matters as possible. Unfortunately experience with CIA documents shows us that sort of information sharing certainly has not always occurred within that agency. In the interest of internal security information is compartmentalized, and misinformation is sometimes circulated to frustrate leaks and foreign penetrations. Worse yet the CYA factor can seriously confabulate internal realities – interestingly, with access to a considerable body of KGB documents we can see that Russian intelligence was plagued by both the same issues.
I’ve learned to expect such things when espionage, deniable covert paramilitary operations (such as regime change) and covert political action are in play, but in researching and writing Unidentified it was surprising to me to find the same phenomena within Air Force, Army, AEC and FBI internal communications on UFOs.
Researchers have turned up a host of internal documents which show that initially UFOs were taken quite seriously. However as time passed and as it became increasingly obvious that the official projects were failing to identify them – and that the Air Defense Command had no chance of dealing with them even on the instances were intercepts occurred – the Air Force moved into something of a state of internal denial.
I cover that evolution in detail in the book but even a few select documents can see the extent to which headquarters groups were were forced to fall back on internal explanations involving balloons, radar anomalies (temperature inversions) or even mystery helicopters – even in instances when field intelligence personnel clearly were describing something truly unknown. For just a taste of that, I refer you to the following document links:
Top Secret Analysis of Flying Object Incidents in the United States – the intelligence “problem”
Hide and Seek – Air Space Violation at Oak Ridge Atomic materials production facility:
Failure to Intercept – Objects over Ellsworth Strategic Air Command base
Incoming – The Air Force discounts its own investigation (finding of “no false targets”) of 18 incoming UFOs targeting a major Strategic Air Command base:
Flyovers of SAC Bases in 1975 – officially reported as “air defense”against unknown “helicopter assault”