The Best Available Evidence
The involvement of the U.S. Government in the UFO mystery dates back to the latter part of World War II, when "foo-fighters" (luminous orbs at night, shiny and reflective in daylight) puzzled Allied airmen by approaching and pacing their aircraft during missions, then suddenly darting away.
The objects, though assumed by debriefing intelligence officers to be enemy weapons or observation devices, never posed a threat. Sightings of them were recorded in military unit records, but it is not clear that they were ever systematically studied.
When the first major, well-recorded UFO sighting wave began in July 1947 in the Pacific Northwest, the reports stirred memories of "foo-fighters" among World War II veterans. Once again shiny, maneuverable unidentified objects were reported to be pacing aircraft and widely seen by ground observers as well.
When thousands of citizens reported daylight sightings of disc and oval- shaped, apparently metallic objects coursing through the skies, the Army and the spin-off Air Force (formerly Army Air Corps) initiated urgent studies.
At first it was feared that the Soviet Union, despite its bedraggled state, had somehow made a major aeronautical breakthrough - perhaps with the assistance of captured German engineers.
At the onset of the Cold War, this posed a threat to U.S. and Allied interests. The initial readings quickly ruled out a Soviet origin, but left an important mystery. These early intelligence findings remained totally secret for many years.
The top-level evaluations produced such conclusions as: "This 'flying saucer' situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomena. Something is really flying around." "The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious."
In October 1947, a U.S. Air Force document classified "secret" included the statement: "...it is the considered opinion of some elements that the object [sic] may in fact represent an interplanetary craft of some kind."
In the succeeding years, there were at least six U.S.
Air Force projects and studies ostensibly aimed at solving the UFO mystery. Although these studies have been perceived by the news media and important segments of the public as having fully explained UFOs in "prosaic" terms, a closer study reveals their serious flaws and shortcomings. The following brief summaries describe the six studies.
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS BRIEFING DOCUMENT
By: DON BERLINER