Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee
Alert May 10, 2002
Important Florida Today Article
There are courageous journalists telling
the truth to the public. The question
remains. Are there courageous members of
Congress willing to hear it?
May 7, 2002
Florida Today - People: National media
There was a
big subculture buzz in Washington, D.C., a year ago this week when a group called the
Disclosure Project launched a bid to end government secrecy surrounding unidentified
flying objects. The goal: Open congressional hearings. The hook was to invite 20
witnesses, some bolstered with government documents, with testimony so compelling the
media couldn't possibly freeze it out.
No doubt, some of the panelists who showed up at
the National Press Club offered detailed glimpses into the national- security
ramifications of the phenomenon. Retired Air Force Capt. Bob Salas, for instance, revealed
how UFOs had knocked 10 Minuteman nukes off-line at their Strategic Air Command silos in
Montana in 1967. Former Federal Aviation Administration chief of Accidents and
Investigations John Callahan showcased photocopies of incident reports seized by the CIA
concerning a half-hour jetliner/UFO encounter off Alaska in 1986.
The ensuing failure of the national media to
respond came as no surprise to a couple of journalists who've spent years monitoring these
dynamics. What most Americans fail to understand, contend Terry Hansen and Patrick Huyghe,
is that when it comes to national security issues, the facade of big-media outfits as
combative public watchdogs has always been fragile. Throw UFOs into the mix and that
facade becomes a myth.
From the World War II-era recruitment of
Scripps-Howard executive editor John Sorrels and publishing magnate John Knight by the
U.S. Office of Censorship to The New York Times' quashing its own field reports about the
1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, Hansen's The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO
Cover-up chronicles repeated patterns of sometimes avid collusion with conventional covert
operations. That such duplicity should extend to UFOs shouldn't be terribly surprising,
and yet, it is.
Take, for instance, a correspondence discovered
at the Smithsonian Institution in 1997 between former members of the CIA-sponsored
Robertson Panel. Formed in 1953 to marginalize UFOs after a vexing volume of reports began
receiving media attention, the panel recommended smearing witnesses as a way to stanch the
In 1966, shortly after a "CBS Reports"
investigation on UFOs portrayed witnesses as delusional or unreliable, Robertson panelist
Thorton Page wrote former group secretary Fred Durant that he "helped organize the
CBS TV show around the Robertson Panel conclusions." The host of that show: Walter
Cronkite, aka The Most Trusted Man In America.
From his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash., Hansen
says formulaic thinking still permeates the old-guard media. "The (Disclosure
Project) was a remarkable story, with men at a high level breaking their security
oaths," Hansen says. "Local and regional media around the country treated it as
a straightforward item, but the national networks, PBS, they virtually ignored it.
"This story could be covered right now. '60
Minutes' could blow the lid off it by interviewing retired airline pilots who aren't
afraid to talk about incidents and near-misses. But the major media is waiting for the
green light from the White House or the Pentagon."
However, Patrick Huyghe, author of The Swamp Gas
Times: My Two Decades On The UFO Beat, says news-gatherers may eventually have to confront
the phenomenon, whether they want to or not. He cites the July 15 UFO reports near
Carteret, N.J., as a potential scenario.
Shortly after midnight, FAA radar at nearby
Newark International Airport began tracking more than a dozen airborne lights that
appeared to fly in shifting formations. Motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike pulled over
to watch the air show; more than 100 witnesses were identified. A Freedom of Information
Act request by the National Institute for Discovery Science in Las Vegas discovered none
of the objects on the radar scopes had transponders.
"Now, imagine if something like that had
happened over a major metropolitan area two months later, after 9/11, when we were all on
a heightened state of alert," says Huyghe from his home in New York. "At least
during the Cold War, the Soviets never struck us on American soil. The terrorists have
demonstrated their capacity to do just that. When we have another Carteret-type incident,
can the media afford to throw it off and say, 'Oh, it's just UFOs'? I don't think
Even in that event, Hansen suspects the security
apparatus would remain intractable:
"It may just come down to the fact that they
don't know what's going on, that maybe this is happening and they can't do anything about
it. But that's an unacceptable public position when you're trying to project an image of
being in control. We found out on Sept. 11 they're not."
Billy Cox is at 321-242-3774 or Florida Today,
P.O. Box 419000, Melbourne, FL 32941-9000
4938 Hampden Lane, #161, Bethesda, MD 20814
s URL: www.X-PPAC.org