Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Situation of the Estimate

In 1948 did the Air Force produce an "Estimate of the Situation" indicating official consensus that UFOs are likely interplanetary spacecraft? Apparently, yes. This was confirmed not only by Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, former Project Blue Book chief, in his own book, but also by such in-the-know Air Force officers as Maj. Dewey J. Fournet, Jr., who monitored the official UFO investigation. However, we are told that an Air Force general's disdain for the extraterrestrial conclusion resulted in all copies (and we mean all -- though one continues to wonder about that) being destroyed before acceptance and release publicly.
"The Estimate" has always been a touchy subject for the Air Force, and internal befuddlement could hardly be demonstrated more efficiently than by examination of the three letters displayed here.
In 1958, legislative liaison Major General Fisher informs a researcher that there has "never" been an Air Force conclusion that "flying saucers" are interplanetary spacecraft. "The alleged 1948 document. . .is non-existent," he promises.
Six years later, USAF public information officer Maj. Maston Jacks (my favorite PIO of all time, incidentally, because his 1965 letter to me described the 1964 Socorro UFO as a "vehicle" -- way to go, major!) attempts to answer several issues with standard government-issued poop. For instance, Jacks' assertion that NICAP's "The UFO Evidence" report was baseless regarding the possibility of extraterrestrial visitations is ridiculous. NICAP's (and Richard Hall's) document remains one of the best accounts of intelligence behind UFO maneuvers ever published, and the things described appear to cry out the words, "from someplace else."
The Kinross case was certainly not attributable to a Canadian aircraft as the evidence accumulated, and to this day the American F-89 and two crew members remain among the missing after pursuit of and apparent merging with something very large per radar images. Jacks also mentions the Washington, DC sightings of 1952, and his assurances that a temperature inversion was the obvious and definite culprit are far from being the last word.
And of course, according to Maj. Jacks, "The alleged 1948 ATIC (Air Technical Intelligence Command -- rb) document that 'concluded that UFOs were interplanetary vehicles' is nonexistent." Uh huh.
How very refreshing, therefore, to skip ahead three years, where Lt. Col. George P. Freeman, Jr., yet another Air Force officer, responds to another researcher's letter about "The Estimate." This time, Capt. Ruppelt himself is quoted and the document's existence is revealed, even down to the point where Freeman laments, ". . .it was completely declassified and relegated to the incinerator. I am sorry, but we have no copies of this document."
Sometimes, we just have to laugh over the official bungling, even when it tragically involves the truth we need to hear from our government. The Temple of Nevermind probably never worked harder to keep the American people as ignorant as it did when "The Estimate of the Situation" estimated that we aren't quite as alone as we thought. All copies were burned? All? Uh huh.