Friday, January 20, 2012

Roswell: From Schiff To Mogul

In relation to my previous post (of yesterday, on Roswell's missing files), I got an email from someone asking what it was that set the General Accounting Office on the trail of Roswell.

Good question!

It goes like this...

In the spring of 1993, New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff began to make inquiries with the Defense Department in an attempt to determine the truth surrounding certain aspects of the controversy.

In an 11 March 1993 letter to the then Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, Schiff wrote:

"Last fall I became aware of a strange series of events beginning in New Mexico over 45 years ago and involving personnel of what was then the Army Air Force. I have since reviewed the facts in some detail, and I am writing to request your assistance in arriving at a definitive explanation of what transpired and why.

"In brief, according to contemporary newspaper, wire service, national radio newscast, and numerous eyewitness accounts, on or about July 3, 1947, rancher William W. (Mac) Brazel found a large amount of unusual debris on property he managed northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, near the town of Corona. He brought his find to the attention of Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox, who then contacted the Roswell Army Air Field, home of the 509th Bomb Group (Atomic) commanded by Colonel William H. Blanchard…According to testimony of the group intelligence officer, Major Jesse A. Marcel, he and the Counter Intelligence Corps officer in charge at the field, Captain Sheridan, W. Cavitt, then accompanied Mr. Brazel to the discovery site.

"Marcel testified that he and Cavitt found an area measuring about three-quarters of a mile long by 200 to 300 feet wide densely strewn with large amount of extremely lightweight, extremely strong materials neither could identify. Samples of these materials were flown to Eighth Air Force Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas…

"A few hours later, Eighth Air Force Commanding General Roger M. Ramey told reporters in Fort Worth that what had been found in New Mexico were the initially misidentified remains of a weather balloon and its Rawin radar target. Recently, in written and videotaped depositions, Brigadier General Thomas J. DuBose, USAF(ret.), General Ramey’s chief of staff at the time of the incident, testified that the balloon explanation was a cover story…

"The inconsistency between repeated official denials and the public record and testimony of those involved has led to a great deal of sensational speculation and called into question the credibility of the Departments of Defense, Army, and the Air Force…

"Therefore, Mr. Secretary, I respectfully request that you direct such a review be undertaken on a priority basis and that a representative or representatives of the Department of Defense and the responsible Military Departments promptly arrange to brief and provide me with a written report providing a current, complete, and detailed description and explanation of both the nature of what was recovered and all official actions taken on the matter…"

On 31 March 1993, and as a direct result of this action, Schiff received the following reply - not from Aspin but from Colonel Larry G. Shockley, USAF, Director, Plans and Operations:

"I have received your letter of March 11, requesting information on alleged events which occurred in Roswell, New Mexico. In order to be of service to you, I have referred this matter to the National Archives and Records Administration for direct reply to you. If I can be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to let me know."

Schiff’s office duly followed this on 7 April 1993 with a submission of material to Rudy deLeon, Special Assistant, Office of the Secretary of Defense, who replied:

"This is in regard to your recent letter to Secretary Aspin regarding alleged events which occurred in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. I, too, find these unexplained occurrences of great interest; however, these records are too old to be available here at the Pentagon. I would, therefore, recommend that you contact the National Archives for additional information, as I believe Colonel Shockley has already done on your behalf. I regret that my response in not more favorable, but I trust you will find this information helpful."

Once again, Congressman Schiff’s office quickly sent a follow up letter to Secretary of Defense Aspin:

"I realize that, after almost 46 years, it is a virtual certainty that all or most of the records concerning this incident have been archived. However, my staff and several independent investigators have conclusively established they are not in any of the unclassified, including previously classified, holdings of the National Archives. Moreover, it is my understanding that it is highly unlikely they reside in any of the classified files in the custody of the Archives.

"Wherever the documents may be, what is at issue is my request for a personal briefing and a written report on a matter involving actions taken by officials of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, agencies under your purview. I realize the research required to uncover the relevant documents and related materials will take time and considerable effort, and I am prepared to wait a reasonable amount of time for this to be accomplished. However I expect the job to be done and my request to be addressed as set forth in the penultimate paragraph of my March letter…"

On 20 May 1993, Congressman Schiff received his reply from the National Archives:

"This is in reply to your letter of March 11, 1993, concerning information about a UFO sighting at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The Department of the Air Force forwarded your letter, and we received it on May 6, 1993. The U.S. Air Force has retired to our custody its records on Project BLUE BOOK relating to the investigations of unidentified flying objects. Project BLUE BOOK has been declassified and the records are available for examination in our research room. The project closed in 1969 and we have no information after that date. We have received numerous requests concerning records relating to the Roswell incident among these records. We have not located any documentation relating to this event in Project BLUE BOOK records, or in any other pertinent Defense Department records in our custody."

Interpreting the fact that he was being passed back and forth from the Defense Department to the National Archives as stonewalling, Schiff once again determined to resolve the matter once and for all with Secretary Aspin:

"…While I realize that the Department of Defense, and you, Mr. Secretary, have been very busy in areas throughout the world, while also concerned with proposed changes in policy within the Department, I must insist on the courtesy of a reply to my letter, which is now three months old. To reiterate, while I am prepared to wait a reasonable length of time for the briefing I requested, I do insist that the Department do the research on my inquiry and report the findings to me. I also must insist on having my letters to the Department of Defense acknowledged and acted upon. I look forward to your response to my letters, and to the scheduled briefing. I will expect a reply to this inquiry by September 7th."

Nevertheless things did not go according to Schiff’s wishes, and as a result, he contacted the General Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress) in a concerted effort to bring the Roswell controversy to rest, once and for all - as the Washington Post noted in January 1994:

"…GAO spokeswoman Laura A. Kopelson said the office’s investigation…stemmed from a meeting in October between Schiff and GAO Controller General Charles A Bowsher. Schiff complained then that the Defense Department had been ‘unresponsive’ to his inquiries about the 1947 incident…’I was getting pretty upset at all the running around,’ Schiff said, adding that at his meeting with GAO officials, ‘they made an offer to help.’… ‘Generally, I'm a skeptic on UFOs and alien beings, but there are indications from the runaround that I got that whatever it was, it wasn’t a balloon. Apparently, it's another government cover-up,’ Schiff said. He called the Defense Department’s lack of response ‘astounding,’ and said government accountability was an issue ‘even larger than UFOs.’…He added, ‘If the Defense Department had been responsive, it wouldn’t have come to this.'"

As a result of Schiff’s efforts, (A) the GAO duly launched an investigation and on 28 July 1995, a report surfaced from its National Security and International Affairs Division that disclosed the results of that same investigation; (B) the Air Force trotted out its controversial "Mogul Balloon" theory for Roswell; and (C) the UFO research community was faced with more data, more questions, but still no hard evidence of what it really was that happened at Roswell...


roger s said...

That brings up to 1995. What happened after that?
Roger S

Nick Redfern said...

The next thing was in 1997 when the USAF released a new report that tried to explain the bodies - as crash-test dummies. I am doing a follow up post on that for posting today or tomorrow.

Red Pill Junkie said...

It's interesting to note that in April 93, they were still referring to Roswell in those back-and-forth letters as "alleged events", but by May it had been upgraded to a bonafide "UFO sighting" —NOT "UFO crash"...

Nick Redfern said...

Yeah, when you read between the lines, there's a lot of thought-provoking, and unanswered issues in that whole time-line of events leading up to the publication of the report etc.

Occams Razor said...

I think the most important testimony with regard Roswell is that of Mac Brazel. I also think this is deliberately ignored as it reveals there's nothing whatsover to the alien spacecraft story very clearly.

Brazel was the guy that originally found the debris, it was so un-awe-inspiring that he didn't even bother to examine it for 3 weeks!

When he did return to have a look he described it as "balsa wood sticks, rubber strips, scotch tape, tin foil and a small fin glued to a surface"' He said he collected most of it and put it on the table in his shack, he estimated it wheighed about 5 pounds in total. There's no mention of a huge gouge, or a disk, or any alien bodies, if there were such a gouge I think he would have inspected it when he found it, not 3 weeks later.

You can google Mac Brazel and read it for yourself. Then you won't have to fill your head with all the nonsense that came along afterwards.

Occams Razor said...

With regard Roswell I think you can disregard any testimony made after Mac Brazel's.

Read what Mac Brazel had to say, he was the guy that originally found the Roswell wreckage. He found some material scattered around his field, this was so un-awe-inspiring that he didn't bother examining closely at the time. He returned to the material 3 weeks later! He described what he found as "balsa wood sticks, rubber strips, scotch tape, tin foil and a small fin glued to a surface". He said he collected most of it and put it on the table in his shack, he estimated it weighed 5 pounds in total. Some alien spacecraft. You don't need to read any of this fanciful nonsense that followed after reading Brazel's testimony.

Occams Razor said...

I think the Roswell story can be dismissed as being anything extraterrestrial simply by reading what Mac Brazel said.

I think Mac Brazel's testimony is deliberately ignored as it rules out anything other-worldly immediately.

Mac Brazel was the guy who actually found the Roswell wreckage. Just google 'Mac Brazel' and read what he said. He said he found some wreckage strewn around his field, the's no mention of any huge gouge, ths wreckage was so un-awe-inspring that he didn't bother looking at it closely for 3 weeks!

When he did return to inspect the wreckage he described it as "balsa wood sticks, rubber strips, scotch tape, tin foil and a small fin glued to a surface". He collected most of it and put it on the table in his shack, he estimated it weighed 5 pounds in total. Some alien spacecraft.

After reading this all the fanciful nonsense that followed can be discarded.

Occams Razor said...

I only intended one of the above posts to be on the site, it kept telling me that I had typed in the wrong validation words.

So, very sorry about the 2 additional posts regarding Mac Brazels testimony.