Walter Cronkite received ample attention in this blog recently when we revisited the mid-sixties and referenced a CBS UFO "documentary" entitled "UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy," an extremely skeptical and one-sided examination of the UFO phenomenon. Cronkite's words reverberated with everything bad about this excruciatingly painful hour. That's why we were surprised in 1976 when the National Enquirer featured a major story trumpeting Cronkite's view that UFOs are real.
The popular tabloid's December 14 issue featured Robin Leach's exclusive tell-all interview, conducted in Cronkite's CBS-TV New York office, during which Cronkite confessed receiving reliable information from government officials and space scientists. In addition to describing cases passed on to him in confidence, the veteran newsman quoted a name familiar to UFO researchers:
"Senator (Barry) Goldwater told me that he believes the earth has been and is currently being visited and is under observation by extraterrestrial intelligence."
Additionally, Cronkite's expressed view that the government covers up UFO information certainly portrayed the sixties TV "documentary" as an absurdly constructed puff piece for the Air Force investigation.
Two weeks later, the National Enquirer (December 28) again stunned America with an interview spotlighting former moon-walking (1972) astronaut and brand new New Mexico Governor Harrison Schmitt. Schmitt told writer John Blosser that he believes life exists on other planets, and that UFOs may have visited the Earth. Soon to assume office as a U.S. senator, Dr. Schmitt made a promise to urge release of UFO information. "If the government has any information on UFOs, it should be released to the public -- barring anything that might affect national security.
"It occurred to me while I was walking on the moon," stated Schmitt, "that perhaps some extraterrestrial being has walked on the earth."
With Schmitt, Cronkite and so many others of prominence coming forth in the years following the pathetic Colorado University UFO project to assure us that UFOs are real and to suggest that information is still being withheld indicates that the smoking gun continues to smoke.
CHASE BRANDON AND THE CIA: It appears that (see especially Robbie Graham's Silver Screen Saucers, Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles and Grant Cameron's Presidential UFO, linked in the margin) portions of the Internet are ablaze with stories about former CIA agent Chase Brandon's revelations regarding Roswell -- that is, that pieces of extraterrestrial spacecraft and alien bodies were indeed acquired by the government in the forties. I generally avoid the Roswell issue because I've no background in investigating it, so my ramblings would be invalid (ha, that never stopped you before, some might say! True. . .). I will, however, make a prediction that seems as comfortable as an old shoe -- that this thing will blow over faster than a forest fire in a downpour. No, it SHOULD NOT disappear, but in a world far more concerned with glitz, glamour and how some athlete can send a ball from point A to point B than Things That Really Might Matter, the essentials tend to slide off into oblivion. I hope whatever remains of real journalism proves me wrong. Could happen, if some TV network among the usual suspects doesn't weave this thing into a throw-away feature piece.