By Gabrielle Pickard
In 1952, Project Blue Book was launched by the United States Air Force. Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the U.S. military.
The project was the revival of two similar projects. The first being Project Sign, which was active for most of 1948 when it was dissolved and replaced with Project Grudge. Grudge was another short-lived U.S. Air Force study to investigate UFOs. Grudge continued until 1951. (1)
Similar to its predecessors, Project Blue Book had two goals: To scientifically analyze UFO-related data and to determine if UFO’s were a threat to national security. (2)
Despite having collected 12,618 UFO reports, in 1969 Project Blue Book was ordered to shut down. According to the National Reconnaissance Office, a number of the reports could be explained by flights of the formerly secret reconnaissance planes, such as the U-2 and A-12. (3)
The Condon Report and the “New” Project Blue BookAccording to a document released by the Department of the Air Control Force that has been archived on the FBI’s Vault section of its website, the decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based on an evaluation of a report prepared by the University of Colorado entitled, “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.”
The controversial paper – known as the “Condon Report” – stated that the conclusions of Project Blue Book are:
“No UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security, there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as “unidentified” represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present day scientific knowledge, and there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as “unidentified” are extraterrestrial vehicles.” (4)All of that is standard Ufology history for anyone interested in the subject. However, what many people don’t realize is that in 1989, an organisation that went by the name, “The New Project Blue Book” contacted the FBI.
In a letter to William Sessions, Director of the FBI, dated July 24 1989, the New Project Blue Book said it wished to issue a “challenge” to the FBI, pertaining to UFOs.
The Case Against the Air ForceThe letter, which is available to read on the FBI’s “Vault”, refers to how the U.S. government played an important role in the evaluation of the UFO reported sightings.
The letter stated that the New Project Blue Book was a “continuation” of the original Project Blue Book.
The writers claimed that some of the most important UFO sighting “announcements” had come from the Air Force itself, and they contended that the later statements by the Air Force revealed evidence of a cover-up.
The writers wrote that the report, “…later, stated to be something not in the original announcements – in a cover-up of the initial announcement. This repeatedly happened much to the chagrin of the Air Force.” (5)
The document goes on to state that the original members of Project Blue Book found that many reports that were received Blue Book instead went to intelligence-gathering agencies.
In spite of repeated requests made by the FBI’s first director Mr J. Edgar Hoover, for the Air Force to complete information that it had involving UFOs, the Air Force would not release certain case reports to Mr. Hoover. (6)
Even when Senator Barry Goldwater, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science, requested more information on an initial announcement made by the Air Force that a “saucer” had crashed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and that alien bodies were located in a hanger, Goldwater was denied further information and was not allowed to personally look inside the hanger.
The document goes on to say that before taking office as President, Jimmy Carter announced in public that, if elected, he would give the American people the Government’s information about UFOs.
According to the author of the letter – incidentally whose name has been attentively blacked out by the FBI – this failed to happen, and President Carter was given a “complete run around.” (7)
Not the FBI’s Responsibility
In his response to the unnamed author of the letter, William S. Sessions acknowledged receiving the New Project Blue Book’s correspondence and informed the group how UFO activities are not a responsibility of the FBI.
“I have discussed your request with my colleagues, and I would first like to explain that the investigation of UFOs is not now nor has it ever been the responsibility of the FBI.”
The FBI Director continued, “After studying all the facts available, it [the FBI] decided that nothing would be gained by further investigation, and the Department of the Air Force agreed with that decision.”
The fact that the individual who wrote the letter received a personal written response from William Sessions, who was at the time the 4th director of the FBI, reveals two things. First, it shows that the Director and his colleagues had studied and discussed the facts in detail, and did in fact take the issue of UFOs seriously.
It also reveals that the author of the letter would have been someone of some importance or with some standing within government circles.
The claim that many of the original members of Project Blue Book were unofficially continuing the investigative work in the ensuing 20 years is also interesting, and again shows how significant continued research into UFO sightings remained, even after the Air Force Project was officially shut down.
However, what is perhaps the biggest mystery in the story of the FBI’s investigation of the New Project Blue Book UFO Group is why the identity of the author to William Sessions was so carefully removed from the FBI file.